“We’ll always have Paris”

With a fond nod to “Casablanca”, a destination passed over by Donald Trumped-up on his disastrous foreign adventure, the Paris Accord on Emissions is dead, unless it isn’t, thanks to the fool in the Oval Office. Having no understanding of the consequences of further fossil fuel burning, the ignorant orange-haired bumbler has succumbed to the dictates of corporate planet-rapists, anti-science religious fundamentalists, and deniers of climate change.

The Trump administration and their Republican minions in Congress have shown their determination to roll back every Obama effort to slow or mitigate climate change. Dragging the U. S. out of the Paris Accord will be their greatest victory yet in their war on our planet’s future.

“Populism” without popular support is a sham, a cover for policies that, on their own, would never be implemented. Going against the climate wishes and judgments of his own people, Trump and his brigade of goons could fatally undermine the efforts of nearly two hundred rational nations to combat global warming by reducing CO2 emissions.

Thanks to the actions of the energy industries and their stooges, Donald Trump now being the chief among them, uncounted billions of humans will face lifetimes of misery and deprivation.

Trump is not a thinking, mature, responsible adult, so it was unrealistic on our part to expect him to actually care about the damage his energy industry backers are doing to the environment and thousands of other species that share our world. These corporations, led by the pals of our current no-show Secretary of State, the former CEO of Exxon Mobile, now know they can proceed with their long-term plan, unimpeded by our government.

The central goal of their plan is to dig up or drill every accessible store of carbon on the planet and burn it. The men who run the energy companies are unspeakably venal, morally bankrupt, and irresponsible, but they’re not stupid. They realize that global demand for energy will continue to grow, but sooner or later we’ll have burned all the accessible carbon. So they run PR campaigns to make themselves look “green”, They highlight trivial investments in clean power while earning hundreds of billions in Black profits. They’re taking steps to ensure that when the carbon runs out, they’ll be in control of the main sources of “alternative energy” such as solar and wind power. They’ll thus still be the largest corporations in the world. They’ll still be the great engine of greed, sucking up the wealth from working people and smaller businesses and handing it over on a platter to their plutocrat owners.

And we, through political tools like Trump, are clearing all obstacles from the corporations’ pathway to global domination.

In blocking every major attempt to migrate from fossil fuels to clean alternatives our leaders are committing nothing less than a crime against humanity.

It’s easy to condemn the usual suspects. It’s easy to condemn the politicians and denialist allies of the energy Lords. It’s easy to condemn the religious ignoramuses who hate any policy based on science. It’s easy to condemn the so-called conservatives who want to free corporations from any kind of national regulation. It’s easy to condemn the corporations themselves, as they destroy the world that our grandchildren and their children will inherit.

What is not so easy is to face the fundamental truths of global warming, and accept our collective responsibility for it. The harsh truth is that we are the collaborators in the Great Burning. We burn fossil fuels to get energy we can then consume in our homes, businesses, vehicles, and transportation systems. We use the energy to produce our food, power our devices, and to get still more energy out of the earth’s stores of carbon.

The demand for energy is based on how many people need it, and on how these folks live. In 1960, a decade or so after World War Two ended, there were roughly three billion people on Earth. There are now well over seven billion. Realistic projections are for as many as twelve billion people by around 2060, and up to fifteen or more billion by 2080. Why has global warming occurred dramatically over the last hundred years? The first half of the answer is humans have irresponsibly tripled the number of energy consumers.

But that’s just half of the full truth. How much energy do these people consume? Do they live humble lives, using a minimum amount of energy per person? Or do they live like Americans, Europeans, and others in richer countries and large cities, using and often wasting vast amounts of fuel and kilowatts? The answer in 2017 is that most people in our world still live relatively low-energy-consuming lives. This will be hard for most consumers in the economically advanced countries to believe. But we generally fail to remember the billions of poor, underpaid, struggling people who use almost no energy as compared to us.

Here’s the hardest truth to swallow. By 2060 or thereabouts most humans will be living lives that consume as much energy per person as we do today in the richer countries. The amount of energy required per average global consumer in 2060 could be eight or ten times as much as humans consumed on average in 1960.

The hidden-in-plain-sight truth about global warming is this: thanks to the amazing global economic growth the world has experienced since 1960, we’ve introduced billions of people to the energy-dependent life we Westerners enjoy. As these billions move from rural areas to cities, from agricultural to industrial jobs, from producing their own food to eating manufactured foods, from walking to their fields and village centers to commuting in electric trains and cars, from little contact with the larger world to smart phones and PCs, they increase their usage of energy dramatically.

Let’s do the math. Thanks to quadrupling our population from 3 billion to about twelve billion by 2060, we’ll need to generate four times as much energy every year as we used in 1960, right?

Wrong. Thanks to economic growth and a more energy-dependent standard of living around the world, each of the twelve billion humans in 2060 will probably require on average at least five times as much energy per year as their great-grandparents did. Four times as many humans times five times as much energy use means we’ll be using perhaps twenty times as much energy globally as we did in 1960.

Twenty times as much carbon burning. If “alternatives” are allowed to develop, maybe only fifteen times. Those climate activists who say we’re toast have no idea how right they are.

This is the real truth behind global warming. Our ceaseless and profligate growth in population over the last hundred years has driven economic growth based on consumption of fossil fuels to a level that now threatens to bring catastrophic changes to the climate.

We’re just over halfway from 1960 to 2060, and we’ve already caused CO2 atmospheric levels to nearly double from early industrial levels to above 400 parts per million. Other greenhouse gas emissions are keeping pace. That’s sufficient to raise global average temperatures 3 degrees Fahrenheit. In the coming 45 years, we’ll see emissions double again, in lockstep with species-killing temperatures. As terrifying as this must be to any thoughtful, reasoning person, these awful numbers will likely be much worse, given how Earth’s people will be consuming, on average, so much more energy than they do today.

We don’t just have a corrupt, rapacious, profit-grasping carbon industry that’s poisoning the planet; we have a carbon-based economy that’s out of control. We’re not just facing some massive killer hurricanes and a really bad heat wave; we’re condemning our descendants to centuries of climate terror, poverty, warfare, rape, disease, and starvation.

But instead of confronting the real truths, we focus on a looming rise in sea level of two meters. Two meters, a seemingly manageable six or seven feet? Try two hundred meters as the icecaps melt.

At least, we can say we had Paris. Two hundred years from now, the only Paris our great, great, great, great, grandchildren are going to have is the top few floors of the Eiffel Tower as they drift by on rafts, trying to escape the chaos of killing and starvation on the suffering lands we left them.

Dead man tweeting

Trump is done. He showed this by sticking several forks, er, tweets, in himself early this morning. Characteristically, each whiny message reverse-brags in typically Trumpian bravissimo, in these instances claiming to be the best at being the worst:

At 4:39, he complained:

“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!”

That’s because there were no prosecutable illegal acts by Clinton and Obama, but Trump cannot stomach that, even with his bloated belly. In his 13-year old heated mind, our Bully-in-Chief needs them to have committed crimes, so his own nefarious deeds can outrank theirs: he “wins” by being awarded a special counsel! Nah nah ni nah nah, so there!

Sick, indeed.

At 4:52, presumably after a satisfying visit to his golden throne, he elevates his status as a hunted animal even further, with:

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Or, inside his paranoid, sex-befuddled brain, where greatness is everything, “I’m the biggest beast in the forest, ever! It’s taking the entire Media plus the loser Democrats and the Deep State hordes to bring me down. Color me awesome!”

All this would be wonderful low comedy, watching Trump lurch and stumble over his own tail of self-made errors and lies as the forces of truth and justice close in for the kill – potentially a summer-long chase scene rivaling any of the teenage blockbusters screaming at your local multiplex – as the entire backward-facing agenda of Ryan and his Republican cronies stews in the summer heat. Picture a gang of cringing politicians toiling over a boiled mess of laws designed to eliminate progressive values from our country, afraid to watch the Trump hunt, afraid his end could foreshadow their own. A real block bluster, Trump and his minions and Jackals on the run, while Ryan grinds his teeth down to the point where his famously phony, falsely sincere smile looks like the drooling mouth of an old man who forgot to put in his dentures. Delicious! Popcorn, anyone?

I said “would be wonderful”, and it would be, except for the shadowy presence of Mike Pence, waiting like a hangman at the end of Trump’s short-lived tweet tyranny.

As discussed in several earlier posts, the end of Trump’s clown-car regime means the beginning of the Pence parade, and the potential passage of the cruel right-wing agenda espoused by Ryan and backed by his ultra-rich and corporate supporters. For starters, a huge tax cut for these fewest of the fortunate few disguised as a repeal and replacement of Obamacare, then more tax cuts masquerading as “tax reform”, then an infrastructure bill intended to line the pockets of the big developer companies while ten million hard-pressed workers line up for jobs that will never happen. Oh, and let’s not forget the increases in the defense budget, designed to increase corporate profits while ostensibly increasing “national security”. Suuuure.

All this shoveling of your money to the richest one-tenth percent will neatly position Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and a hundred sorely-needed programs for the poor, sick, and elderly on the Conservative chopping block: these “entitlements” will need to be cut, reduced, whittled down to a twig because we can’t afford them anymore.

So, fellow progressives, by all means enjoy the entertaining spectacle of Trump on the run. Laugh at each blustering tweet, every bumbling denial, and each belabored White House response, or as the Chief clown himself calls them, “counter punches”.

But be warned: the Trump farce won’t last long, may not make it even to September. Then we get Pence, and that show ain’t gonna be nearly so funny.

Far, far away from anywhere one would wish to be

In eight horrendously difficult years, Barack Obama showed us how far we’ve come. How far from the dark, fearful days of a white boy who grew up in the still racist-dominated South, a boy who watched, fearing for their safety, a small group of Black children my own age as they were were ushered into an unwelcoming school in Little Rock.

Half a century later, for me, for my country, Obama was a progressive miracle, an explosion of hope in an America turned nasty by greed, intolerance, and ignorance. By 2008, the corrupting influence of unbridled Corporatism had made us a dismal shadow of our former world-leading selves. The national government was gridlocked by partisanship, as the highly organized and well-funded Conservative defenders of the “rights” of corporations and the tiny proportion of super-rich Americans who control them pushed the country into lost wars and the trillions of debt needed to finance them. Most threatening of all, the twenty year strategy of the Koch brothers and their billionaire allies was nearing its goal of controlling enough States to enable the rabid right to make changes to our Constitution.

But Obama’s accession to the Presidency in 2009 gave us much-needed proof that beneath all the rich class’s insatiable greed and self-dealing, and the religious white-is-right wing’s ignorance, our nation’s sickened soul was still breathing.

He was easily the most competent Head of State we’d seen in generations, as demonstrated by his no-nonsense, no politics handling of the Great Republican Financial Meltdown. Obama led us out of a once-in-a-century national economic disaster in spite of the Republicans in the House and Senate who opposed him every inch of the way.

Then, undaunted by the unyielding opposition, he took the burdens of the poor and weak and ill upon his shoulders. With Democrats who he’d awakened finally from years of torpor, he gave us healthcare for millions. He did what no President since Lyndon Johnson could, and showed us the path to a future where healthcare is a right for everyone, not a privilege of those who can pay for it.

He followed this with hundreds of steps in the positive direction of Progressivism, from equal pay for women to the affirmation of LGBT rights, even though every achievement was opposed by the Republican majorities in Congress. How the hatred and bitterness has flowed these past few years!

In a final drive toward a more hopeful future, Obama used the limited power at his disposal to reign in the excesses of the Energy Barons, whose burning of carbon is causing the current, life-threatening increase in global surface and oceanic temperatures. His final achievement was to bring our country into the community of nations, signing the Paris Accord on carbon emissions reduction.

With his civility, patience, learning, kindness, and calm, steady reason he showed all of us how far along the road of human decency our nation has traveled from my childhood days.

And now, here at the end of his bold, thoughtful, humane, and often courageous tenure, Barack Obama has shown us how far we have to go.

Just a few agonizing months into his successor’s Presidency, the free-market legions of greed are loosed again upon our country, while the fanatical religious forces are gloating at the prospect of overturning just about every positive evolutionary change in human, minority, voting, and women’s rights achieved since Nixon. The agents of environmental rapacity are moving at breakneck speed to pull the nation back into the era of mindless pollution. The opponents of science are ensuring a new dark age of sicker poor and older people, destitute families, and uneducated children.

Not content to punish the middle class, the poor, minorities, and women with policies spoon-fed him by the radical rightists who surround him, the President has lashed out at the very democratic structure that enabled him to become one. He’s attacking the Constitution-respecting courts, the diligent press, those who guard our national and domestic security and freedom, even the Congress itself for speaking the truth to his childish, narcissistic, bullying, belligerent brand of power.

Backward we march now, pausing only for thoughtless, arrogant, phony photo-op celebrations in the Rose Garden.

All this, these months of a paranoid President, watched with what one can only imagine is despair by the great man who showed us how far we’ve come, and in so doing, how far away is the future he helped us dream, a future this country can be proud to share with all the peoples and creatures of this tortured Earth.

100 days of zip, zero, nada

Never have so many expended so much shouting and lying to accomplish so little in one hundred days.

Unless one counts a sheaf of Executive Orders signed by the Adolescent-in-Chief, command blasts full of full of bluster and bombast that will mostly go nowhere and result in nothing.

But what about getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?

Sure, we can agree that, thanks to McConnell’s theft of Obama’s SCOTUS appointment, plus some adroit nastiness on the part of conservative activist organizations across the country, the Gorsuch appointment counts as a win. But it’s a win for the country’s ultra right wing activists, not Trumpleorangeskin. And it’s certainly not a “win” for the American people, who can now look forward to a generation or more of SCOTUS rulings that will take power away from 99% of our citizens and give it to the large corporations and the rich persons that own or control them.

Turning the Supreme Court back fifty years: great for Trump’s Twitter Report Card and the mindless egos of his chest-thumping followers, Not so good for the rest of us. Ditto with the few other “accomplishments” of the Trumpocracy so far. Reversing critical Obama environmental and energy regulations, withdrawing support for family planning, approving dangerous, unneeded pipelines, killing public information about climate change, gearing up for the Great Deportation – all undermine the common good and many re-distribute wealth upward, continuing the Great Middle Class Rape started by Reagan.

Just angry words of a old Truthteller? Hardly. Read the Trump tax “plan” – all one fact-free page of it – hundreds of billions of dollars to the very richest one-tenth of one percent. Study the Obamacare repeal and non-replacement proposal – a hundred billion more in cash for the wealthiest Americans. See the Trump concept of “Infrastructure” funding: very few jobs, new airports, or bridges, schools, or energy-saving construction, but a fat half trillion in tax credits to the huge corporations.

It’s not fake news, friends: Trump is really out to gut the poor, the working, the professional, and the small business classes of our country so he can finally be accepted as one of the stylish rich people he’s always wanted to be. It is fake accomplishments though, delivered by a fake President.

Reality Check # 6 — Cruise missiles are less destructive than a terrible Supreme Court Justice

Last week saw Trump’s floundering Presidency saved by the quick response of his national security team to the Syrian chemical weapons attack on a hospital near Aleppo. Generals McMaster, Mattis, and Dunford, with CIA head Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and the U. S. Navy planned and executed the Tomahawk cruise missile attack on a secondary Syrian Air Force base, thereby bringing steel and thunder, and more importantly, resolve into the President’s otherwise weak and confused performance as Commander in Chief to date.

Will Trump’s image benefit from their speedy action? Sure. Will his instant popularity last? Doubtful, once the public comes to understand that little serious damage was done to the Syrian forces of Dictator Assad. But even when people realize the Tomahawk attack was more of a PR event than a military “victory”, the global political benefits of the forceful-seeming response will have some lasting impact:

  • The bombing shows our potential enemies along with our allies that, when guided by professionals, Trump can take decisive action
  • The bombing warns Assad and his Russian puppet masters that the US is not going to walk away from the tragic, cruel, seemingly hopeless Syrian civil war
  • The bombing buys Trump much-needed time to get his White House in working order.

But, with all its associated benefits, the impact and memory of the US bombing will fade in time. The same cannot be said of two other Trump administration “victories” this week, when, first, the Senate voted to kill the 60-vote requirement to confirm a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and then, triumphant in their march backward toward a repressive America, voted to seat Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.

Your Truthteller predicts that Gorsuch will prove to be the most right-wing Justice in recent history — that is, until the next Trump appointment, should he get one. Thanks to the Senate rules changes, he can now nominate a flagrantly reactionary judge, knowing his choice only needs fifty-one votes to be appointed to the court.

If, as expected, the Republicans add several Senate seats to their current 52-seat total in 2018, then, even should a Democrat win the Presidency in 2020, it’s unlikely she or he will control the Senate. The result? A Democratic/Progressive successor to Trump will be unable to appoint a justice who is deemed “liberal” or left-leaning by the Republicans, who can block any nominee with just 51 votes. More broadly, from last week, a President who faces a Senate controlled by the other party will likely not be allowed to appoint any Supreme Court Justice.

We could well see the Court lose one or even two Justices to age after 2020, to find that those seats cannot be filled, thanks to Republican obstructionism. Merrick Garland will be joined by more Democratic-supported Nominees on the bench of the betrayed.

Worse, the business of SCOTUS will be proceeding apace, as the five or six right-wing Justices overturn one progressive precedent after another. We need to remember: a Court with just seven active Justices can accept cases from the lower courts if as few of four Justices agree. With Gorsuch, the right wingers will control five. The addition of another Conservative should Trump get the chance will give the reactionaries six of nine Justices.

When those of us warned voters in the months leading up to the November election that a victory by Trump would have disastrous consequences for American democracy, this is what we were talking about. Putting SCOTUS in the hands of the conservative faction of the Republican party means that for at least the next twenty to twenty-five years, the great Corporations, the religious right, the rabid America Firsters, and the anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-gun control, and anti-civil and voting rights forces will have a cooperative Court to ensure that anti-progressive, corporate-friendly, one-percent enriching Republican legislation continues to become the law of the land.

Overturning Citizens United? Not gonna be possible. Climate change regulation and proactive environmental programs? Forget them. Long term economic growth? Forget it. Voting rights? Forget them. Women’s reproductive rights? The appointment of Gorsuch, coupled with the Ryan/Pence agenda, dooms them. The reining in of the Greed Class, who’ve used the law to secure their economic strangle-hold on our country? Not going to happen, not with a Republican-controlled Congress, a malleable, morally spineless President, and a pro-business Court to back them up.

This seemingly small change, the quiet takeover of the Supreme Court, will put approximate 20% of Americans in legal control of the other 80%.for the foreseeable future. Since the dominant 20% will march in lockstep to the drumbeat of the ruling one-tenth of one percent, this control will:

  • Match the economic domination of America already secured by the great corporations and those who own them
  • complete the crushing of individual and lower class rights, furthering the trend we’ve witnessed in most of the Red States for over a decade
  • become the club with which the few who rule American will beat down any group who challenges the ruling elite’s authority.

The murder of those poor Syrian children and their relatives was an inexcusable criminal act. But, tragic as it was, it pales in your Truthteller’s eyes to the murder of American democracy. Someday, somehow, Assad and his Generals and Russian enablers will, I hope, be punished. But the murder of the dream that is America will not be prosecuted and judged in any court, for the Supreme Court, the place where ultimate justice has so many times been obtained by the weak, by minorities, by the outsiders, and by women, is now in the hands of the right wing authoritarians.

Reality Check #5 — It’s not going to get better

The latest surveys all testify to Trump’s growing unpopularity:

  • One third of Americans give his performance a grade of “F”
  • The most credible polls of favorability show him with a rate of from 36 to 40%, meaning nearly two-thirds of Americans have a neutral to negative assessment of him as Commander-in-Chief
  • Surveys show that his core supporters are increasingly dismayed by his ceaseless belligerence, willful ignorance, and continuing managerial incompetence.
Insider surveys suggest most knowledgeable pundits and political professionals expect his popularity to continue to sink, as additional negative revelations about the collusion of the Trump campaign with dark Russian interests are discovered. His endless Twitter war on just about everybody doesn’t bode well either. But long term, meaning in his case, the next three to six months, it’s Trump’s abandonment of his campaign promises that will cause more of his voters to abandon him.

All this negative news has fueled a fresh wave of gloating by Democrats and unceasing TV commentary with a strong flavor of “I told you so”, delivered by otherwise intelligent politicians and party pros who should know better. Sure, the mentally unfit buffoon in the White House is down, but he’s far from out.

Investigations like those underway always take many months to reach a conclusion. Watergate, the most famous of Congressional probes, required over a year to produce results, and only did so due to the more or less accidental discovery of Nixon’s secret audiotapes. In the present case, Trump’s allies control both houses of Congress, and could soon have a hammerlock again on the Supreme Court. The opportunities to hinder or outright block an investigation’s slow progress will be manifold for Trump and his cronies, as evidenced by the crude obstructions of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes over the past two weeks.

Get real, Democrats, liberals, idealistic Bernie backers, and all you millions of women now living in fear for your freedom and health care: do not expect any of the President’s troubles and mistakes to lead to his impeachment this year, even if Congressional (or an independent commission’s) investigators succeed in uncovering prosecutable crimes or high misdemeanors by Trump or his immediate staff.

The truth is we’re stuck with Trump for at least two years. This makes him an ongoing threat to the health and well being of our country. Even if his legislative agenda stalls due to the infighting among Republican factions, Trump can still do serious damage with his Executive Orders, and even more harm when his Cabinet Secretaries use their power to slow or halt the enforcement of established law.

And if the thought of the would-be dictator trampling more of our rights, and attacking the poor and working classes is depressing, never forget that his replacement by Vice President Pence, should that unlikely scenario play out, would be even more of a disaster for the country.

But don’t give up, fellow progressives. Your Truthteller’s bleak outlook isn’t necessarily all bad.

We have roughly eighteen months to prepare for the the 2018 Congressional election, our real chance to resist Trump and his pussy-hating Republican allies. It’s vital we turn out the left and moderate vote in enough districts to take back the House majority and send Ryan and his pals packing. Funding for Democratic candidates is strong. The continuing string of unforced and intentional policy and legislative errors of Trump/Ryan/McConnell will drive more and more voters away from the Republican ranks, or at least encourage them to stay home in November of next year.

So this is the silver lining in an otherwise gray sky for the next year and a half. Simply by doing the job of getting out our voters, we can stop the anti-progressive legislative and policy agenda in its tracks. Even if the right wingers take a few more Senate seats next year, we can still prevent any further erosion of our rights through our control of the House.

Reason enough to roll up our sleeves and do everything possible to encourage grass-roots progressive action in all the House districts where we have a chance to win. And don’t underestimate the odds of retaking control of the Senate, as the Trump “strategy” team makes one miscalculation after another, alienating senatorial voters in the states in play. Many, many Republicans are deeply offended by Trump’s looseness with the truth and his closeness to Russia. It needs to be our mission to make those Senators who condone his behavior and policies pay for their betrayal of the rest of us.

Establishment One; Trump Zero

Trump’s second major defeat

As I write, Trump seems headed for his second goose egg. The only question is which of his agenda items will fail next?

Going by the never-ending media frenzy, Defeat Number Two ought to be his latest attempt to bypass the Constitution with a slightly re-written Muslim, I mean “immigration” ban. But the court battle over the revised executive order is likely to still be unresolved well into the summer months, so the highly probable rejection of his Muslim ban will probably be Trumpfail number three, or even four.

The most satisfying next Trump clown car wreck would of course be the collapse of his much ballyhooed Wall. Satisfying, that is, for the majority of American voters, who voted against him last November. But again, time is already against the moment when we can savor his rage as his Wall disappears into the north Mexican desert sands. Congress is already playing it’s classic delaying game, wrestling how to slow if not altogether stop its wasteful, foolish construction. We all, even Trump, know that the Mexicans won’t pay for it, and we’re quickly learning that the US Congress won’t, either. Trump’s only hope to get a win on this most-repeated campaign promise is to borrow twenty-five billion dollars from his Russian gangsta buddies.

Meaning the end of April vote on funding the government, which has to happen, whether Trump is too busy playing golf at Mar-A-Lago or not, is shaping up to be his second major fail. No, it’s technically not the defeat of one of his absurd agenda items; it’s simply a requirement of the law, and every Administration has to cajole the Congressional factions to go along with raising the debt ceiling (again), or see their entire program placed at risk.

Now, I’m sure the Democrats would love to join with the so-called Freedom Caucus and help shut down this sorry excuse for a national government, but they may not be able to: At his present rate of bumbling, unforced errors, laziness, poor communications, and ill-considered policy fails, there’s a good chance that Trump and his corrupt cronies will succeed in closing the Administration doors before the Dems even get the chance to vote in late April.

Adding these three defeats to his TrumpCare fiasco, I predict a score of four for the combined “establishment” to zero for the Trump/Bannon goon squad going into the fall.

Trumpfollypaloozer votes five, six and seven

His golfing, I mean Presidential scorecard looks to get even worse, as we near the end of his first year in office.

The Budget is another example of an allegedly joint Ryan-Trump plan that is so far from being acceptable to his Party, and to almost all Americans, as to be dead in the taco bowl. If by some miracle Ryan and McConnell can get it passed and on Trump’s fake desk in Mar-A-Lago, they’ll be handing the Democrats a long list of killer issues for the 2018 races.

Tax reform is another likely loosing cause for Trump and Ryan, and another huge win for the middle and poor classes. It’s even more messy: Trump and Ryan now seem sure to lock horns over the bill, meaning it will again be easy for the factions in the Republican Party to take opposite sides over just what “reform” means, and just how much the One Percent and the One-tenth of One Percent will be allowed to steal from the federal government. Their differences on Ryan’s dream proposal have so far been papered over, with most of the details that will be in Ryan’s plan kept in the dirty darkness of the Republican caucus rooms until the last minute.

Leaving us with the ghost-like “infrastructure bill”. At this point, Trump and Ryan are so far apart on what that means, and both are so far apart from anything the Democrats and Freedom Caucus would even vote for it’s safe to say this item is never going to see the light of day this year, or maybe ever, so long as the Republicans rule the Congress.

But can a proposal that never gets a vote be fairly counted as another loss for the oaf in the White House?

Yes, because he promised it as a condition of being elected.

Yes, because the only serious hope for all those “good jobs” Trump has promised, and still promises, would come from a well-constructed national program to rebuild our creaky, crumbling country.

And yes, because Trump’s first and massive defeat counts, even though the chicken-hearted Republicans did not allow a vote to happen.

The likely score, come December?

Establishment forces seven; Trump nothing.

“Originalism” is just another word for “Obstructionism”

As the Senate plods toward the seemingly inevitable appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the SCOTUS, your Truthteller restrains himself from screaming how I predicted this was going to happen if Trump won the election. No point in that sort of drama, now.

Nor would there be any value in belaboring the truth how President Obama and the American people were robbed of a SCOTUS appointment for a solid year by McConnell and his Republican cronies. Yes, the Republicans should have held hearings on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination. But no, it was not inevitable that he would have been confirmed; the Senate (and country) is now so polarized that it’s highly unlikely any Democratic nominee would be approved, even such a middle-of-the-roader like Garland.

Instead, we face the prospect of seeing the conservative Gorsuch fill the chair occupied by Antonin Scalia. Scalia was a terrible Justice from a Progressive point of view. And by several accounts, Gorsuch can be expected to be even more to the right than Scalia, especially in cases involving large corporate plaintiffs and defendants.

None of this is news to any Progressive familiar with the events following President Obama’s nomination of Judge Garland. Nor are we surprised any more by the near-universal praise of Scalia as a paragon among Justices. Nor have we allowed the often-endearing tales of his out-of-Court behavior to make us forget the hard, historical truth: Scalia’s tenure was disastrous for the future of our democracy. Anyone who needs to read the evidence can Google his record.

What is less understood is the debate about Scalia’s judicial “Originalism”, and the sub-arguments of just how “pure” an Originalist he was.

The judicial theory of Constitutional “Originalism” holds that the primary job of the SCOTUS is to ensure that the final decision in cases adheres to a reading of the USCon where the (imagined) “original intent” of the Founders takes precedence over any other decision-criteria of the Justices. In a word, according to the so-called Originalists, all SCOTUS decisions need to remain forever and rigidly in sync with the original intentions of the rich white men who wrote our Constitution.

Yes, I know. The whole notion that this theory of SCOTUS “justice”, and only this theory, is the only acceptable guideline for making final decisions on our laws is, sorry Conservative flyweights, crazy. If I must, I’ll try to explain why in one or, very likely more than one, future post. I don’t look forward to the task, nor should you, dear reader.

What concerns us now, as the confirmation of Gorsuch marches forward, is how this esoteric discussion of what we used to call “Strict Constructionism” has become the favorite topic among the TV talking heads and the pundit class. In a few words, the perceived issues may be summarized as follows:

  • Scalia was the most Originalist Justice in recent decades
  • Gorsuch is (probably) going to take the Scalia chair
  • Will Gorsuch be more, or less of an Origanalist then was Scalia?
Notice: no one seems to be asking the much more important question, namely, to what degree will this new Justice continue the recent SCOTUS trends of ruling against citizens in favor of corporate interests and undermining voting rights?

Instead of debating Gorsuch’s conservatism versus Scalia’s, commentators need to be reminding us that the real impact of “Originalism” is to serve as a further block of the movement toward a more progressive, just, informed society.

Instead of accepting the stupid, even evil idea that the USCon is somehow magically the best guideline for judging public policy going forward, our leading thinkers should be exploring the many ways in which the Constitution is obsolete.

Whose health?

The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t Official Trumped-up Republican approach to “fixing” health care would be just another Trump policy disaster in the making if it were not so nefarious.

The primary reasons the Repubs have been trying to repeal Obamacare for 7 years are to:

  • Kill the special taxes on the wealthy that were “bundled” with the ACA to pay for it — “repeal” means a huge tax break for the 1%, and a monstrous tax break for the richest 1/10th of the 1%
  • Put the health insurance industry back in control of all non-Medicare health insurance
  • Severely cut Medicaid over time
  • Force hospitals and state governments to pay for the huge increase in medical expenses that will result once Obamacare is dead, and no longer covers some 20 million working class, poor seniors, and single moms.
The Republican alliance of big business, right-wing Christians, and self-styled fiscal conservatives is, as always, mouthing about their faux “principles” while redistributing wealth and income upward.

Do the whites who run things give a crap about the poor, the working poor, students, and seniors? Of course not, and why should they — these impoverished groups will not vote to stop Ryan and Trump and the Koch Brothers.

So long as roughly 45% of voters refuse to go to the polls, and the Democratic Party continues to focus on the demographics of the future, we will have a society where 20% has all the privileges and 80% is stuck with the pain.