Friday, March 31, 2017

"Disasterville": 70 Days And Counting

Self-fulfilling prophecies are a dime a dozen. When the leader of the free world issues one, it becomes a blight on the country's landscape.

For the entirety of the 2016 Presidential election, one word in Donald Trump's vocabulary loomed ubiquitous: DISASTER. Everything that occurred under 8 years of the Obama administration was a literal disaster.

The Affordable Care Act? Disaster. The Clean Power Plan? Disaster. Handling of illegal immigrants? Disaster. Crime in Chicago and other Black communities? Disaster. Obama's overall presidency? Disaster. And the list goes on.

On the surface, a person moderately uneducated in the ways of contemporary American politics and markedly uninformed of Donald Trump's patternistic communication and leadership style might conclude that he may be on to something. I mean, take a look around you. We don't live in a perfect America. Racism, sexism, elitism, socioeconomic problems, unemployment...and the list goes on.

So maybe Trump, to the untrained mind, might be what we need: a change from establishment politics. Except there's one problem: Trump may not be "establishment", but he is sho' 'nuff changing things.

How so, you ask? All one needs to do is look at the first 70 days of his Presidency and see that his administration is changing not only the face of politics (in a not-so-credible manner), but the blueprint of how not to build a successful Presidential legacy.

The same man who ran his campaign on America being such a mess that only he can fix it, the same man who claimed that the country needs him as a savior for our crumbling republic, the same man who couldn't keep the word "disaster" out of his mouth (and still can't), is creating a disaster with the Trump brand emblazoned across the marquis. This disaster of Trumpian proportions began well before he was even elected...and is reaching disastrous levels never before seen during the first 100 days of any Presidency (which is the bellwether for POTUS success).

Let's tally the evidence:
  • His 70th-day approval rating is 40.6% (and dropping), and his disapproval rating is 53.6% (and climbing) - easily the worst ratings, by a landslide, of any President in the last 70 years.
  • He chose a known "alt-right" (read: White nationalist) propagandist, Steve Bannon, as his most trusted chief adviser.
  • He chose among his Cabinet selections a National Security Adviser (fired), a special advisor, a campaign manager (fired halfway through the election), a Secretary of State, an Attorney General, a son-in-law-turned-senior-adviser, a Commerce Secretary, another longtime adviser, and some guy named Carter Page...most of whom have reported million-dollar incomes. I figure that his "draining the swamp" involved removing the piranhas and replacing them with alligators.
  • All of the above selections are purported to have some documentable association, affiliation, affection, adulation, or flirtation with Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, or Russian business interests. And I didn't even have to bring up his sons, or his own alleged business ties to Russia.
I would've put a photo of Kellyanne from Inauguration Day, but I actually want people to read this blog...
  • The same Attorney General pick, Senator Jeff Sessions, caused a major uproar during his confirmation process due to his nonexistent record and evidence of being a civil rights "champion". Somehow I'm feeling as though Dwight Howard might believe him.
  • He chose another campaign manager-turned-White House chief strategist, Kellyanne Conway, who gave us such hits as "alternative facts", the "Bowling Green Massacre", "Go buy Ivanka's stuff", and the whole kneeling-on-the-couch deal.
  • He chose Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. That's like choosing Clarence Thomas to be a columnist for The Root. Or choosing former Texas governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy. Wait...that actually happened.
  • His first executive order - the infamous immigration travel ban-that-he-said-was-not-a-ban - barred people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, even though none of these countries ever harbored or facilitated terrorists, one of these countries (Iraq) is a US ally, and the order contained no country that actually funneled terrorists into America.  This first "ban" caused the detainment of hundreds of people in US airports, left other people stranded in these seven countries, and sparked a firestorm of protests, legal challenges, and global confusion...even though he said things were working out "very nicely". Federal judges shot down the "ban", which forced him to pull it, redraft it, and reissue it, only to be blocked at the rim again by another Federal judge.
  • He promised to "repeal and replace" Obamacare as his first order of business with Congress. Couldn't get the bill past the House. So what if it wasn't HIS bill. Happened on his watch. (More on this later.)
  • Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Enough said.
  • Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Vince McMahon are still in the picture as advisors or "friends", which should not give anyone a reason to cheer.
  • He has given his working "no vote of confidence" to the US (as well as British) intelligence agencies in regards to Russian ties, effectively suggesting that they are not credible because they concluded that Putin meddled in the Presidential election. I'm not sure how he can fight the battle against "radical Islamic terrorists" if he cannot trust the first line of defense - US spies.
  • His first budget seeks to drastically increase defense and military spending while cutting funding on almost all forms of social, humanitarian, and community effort. He actually wants to eliminate Meals on Wheels. He's doing this because our military it is again...a DISASTER. In terms of how locked and loaded our military is, not even close. In terms of military decisions made by the Commander-in-Chief and his administration, just Google "Yemen Raid"...
  • He has spoken and acted either undiplomatically or awkwardly towards the president of Mexico, the prime minister of Australia, the prime minister of Germany, the prime minister of Great Britain, and the United Nations. All allies. Not a good attempt at coming across as presidential.

Spicer...the there a relationship??

  • In his mind, all news is "fake news"...even though he relies on the so-called purveyors of "fake news" to report his own news stream in his "I Have a Tweet" series. He apparently finds time to tweet at 3:00am when he probably could use that time more constructively. Like catching up on briefings that he purportedly has no time for. Or crafting a cheat sheet on which news outlets are not "fake"...which will be a short list. Either way, those not making the list will continue to be in business because his administration is the news stream, for "better" (whatever that is) or for worse.
  • Despite the selections he has made for his administration, there are almost 2,000 more that he has yet to fill, causing a bottleneck of Federal agency staffing and budgeting issues. And he STILL has not finished his Cabinet selections because confirmation is another unresolved bottleneck.
  • He has turned his Mar-a-Lago Resort as his personal 4-star Camp David, which now is being scrutinized for any financial conflict of interests. Not to mention his refusal to submit his tax returns, family involvement with his national business interests that question whether he has actually relinquished control, and international properties that raise eyebrows when one hears of where those properties are located.
  • When he said that he "inherited a mess" when he became President, you have to wonder if this should apply to his own political clan, the Republican Party. What is happening within their ranks seems like a mélange of soap-opera camps the likes of which the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has never seen. Nicodemus-like, stealth-of-night visits to the White House. Delayed congressional hearings. The rise of the House of Freedom Caucus putting a wrench in the works to get a majority vote on anything of significance. Flip-flopping of congressional figures from pro-Trump to anti-Trump, and vice versa. Inappropriately silencing Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, for name-dropping Coretta Scott King, which effectively censored two women at once...a move that backfired on the GOP (a little over two weeks after the Women's March. Perfect timing.) And the coup-de-grace: not one, but TWO Obamacare replacements in The Battle of the Pauls (Ryan and Rand), causing a potential party-wide Civil War-like tussle, prompting a threat from Trump to get it done or else, initiating an 11th-hour-and-59th-minute scramble to scrape up votes...only to fail...wait for it...DISASTROUSLY.

Repeal my way...
NO...repeal MY way...

And the list goes on...

Every attempt to call him or his supporters in their hot mess of lies and the Tweet du jour evolves into a master class in deflection. And...regardless of the various issues facing our nation, he manages to continue to blame, deflect, decry foul, complain, distort, accuse without evidence, tweet without vetting, and lie. Because, as Roland Martin puts it, Trump Lies Matter.

Of course he will lie about living in "Disasterville". Where he sits in DC, he sees no disaster in his immediate circle nor will he admit to one. He is running a "well-oiled machine". But one would think that the Master of Disaster himself during the 2016 campaign would know a disaster when he sees one. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly doubtful that he is aware of what an authentic disaster looks like, even though he continues to fancy himself an expert on the subject.  I'm sure some people would suggest that he look in the mirror if he wants to see an authentic disaster in living color.

Through it all, Black Lives still don't Matter, Central American illegal immigrants still look for asylum sanctuary, ISIS still terrorizes, the Democrats are still outnumbered, the Republican still plays Capitol Hill Family Feud, poor and working-class Americans still borrow from Peter to pay Dr. Luke, and Donald Trump and his cohorts still wage war against a familiar, eternal concept called the truth.

And we're only 70 days into this madness. Ironically, we're still in March.

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