Friday, March 31, 2017

All Aboard For The National Trainwreck

We are toast. Lying is the new truth-telling. Il Douche is a despicable fraud and the Stupids cry out for more. Horrible as it sounds, it may be that the only way to save this village is to destroy it. If this is a (fair & balanced) consideration of nihilism, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
Trump's Chumps
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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You voted for a man who boasted of sexual assault, a man whose “university” defrauded thousands of people, a billionaire who thought the minimum wage was too high. You switched from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 — one in four white working-class voters — because you thought he was on your side.

You don’t mind the lying. In fact, you’re all in with the biggest lies, the baseless claims that three million people voted illegally, that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, and on, and on. The lying is disruptive. Yay for disruption!

You don’t mind the flip-flops. Last year, Trump said the unemployment rate was “one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.” This year, because he’s president, it’s very real. Last year, Wall Street was a puppeteer for the Democrats. Now your man has brought in Goldman Sachs puppeteers to run the economy. Last year, a golfing president was lazy. Now your guy has paid 14 presidential visits to a golf course.

You’re not bothered by the foreign policy incompetence, the siding up to gangster regimes and human rights violators, the snub of the rest of the world in the name of America First. You don’t mind unleashing polluters. If the job creators want filthy air and foul water, give it to them.

You shrug at all of this hypocrisy and craziness, because you still think he’s going to help you. But you’ve been played, sucker-punched, duped. You can continue to believe Trump has your back, but the evidence is already overwhelming that the people his presidency will hurt most are those at the bottom who gave him their trust.

Trump acknowledged as much when told that the health care plan he pushed would significantly harm his base. “Oh, I know,” he said, and then promised to fix it later. Later was changed to let the whole thing die, and damn the consequences.

Given that Trump’s approval rating, 35 percent, hit a historic low this week in Gallup’s survey, given that a majority of Americans believe that Trump is not honest and does not care about average people, it’s easy to think Democrats can abandon the voters who abandoned them last year.

In a New York magazine piece titled “No Sympathy for the Hillbilly,” Frank Rich wrote that white voters without a college degree, who went for Trump by 39 points, are never going to come around — no matter how much this president turns his back on them. An earlier piece, from the right, made some of the same points. “Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good,” Kevin Williamson wrote in National Review. “So does OxyContin.”

The condescension, like the opioids, may feel good as well, but it won’t do anything to help the forces of reason and progress. The way to bring around the forgotten men and women is to remind them, every day, that Trump has forgotten them. And to give them something — say, Medicare for all, being pushed by the energized Bernie Sanders base — to back words with action.

Trump is banking on the ignorance of voters who took a chance with him. His budget proposal — a cruel, Dickensian document — offers nothing but pain for these people. An Appalachian economic partnership that helps workers in 420 of the nation’s poorest counties would be abolished. Seniors who need Meals on Wheels for food and social contact would lose the service. Cancer victims, waiting for something miraculous to come from the extraordinary work of the National Institutes of Health, will have to wait longer, as Trump cuts cancer research to fund his Mexican wall.

If you’re a poor kid in Kentucky looking for that college break that will get you somewhere, his budget slashes tuition grants for you. If you’re a single mom trying to hold onto a job, he could force you onto welfare by eliminating the after-school program that enabled you to work full time.

He promised “insurance for everybody” and then supported the ill-fated Republican plan that would have added 24 million Americans to the uninsured. Those in their 50s and early 60s, and the working poor, would have been hit hardest. And Medicaid recipients, many of whom didn’t realize they had coverage for the first time in their lives thanks to Obamacare, would have been left out.

Oh, but Trump is bringing back jobs — that’s why you put him in office. About those jobs: The coal mining initiative is a hoax. We have half the coal industry jobs today that we had in 1990 — down to 64,000 from 131,000. This is because of the free market, turning to cheaper natural gas for power, and energy alternatives because they are the future. It’s as if Herbert Hoover ordered the federal government to bring back manure sweepers and horseshoers to the cities.

“He can’t bring them back,” said Robert Murray, founder of the largest private coal company in the United States. Give the coal man credit for being honest. It’s more than some Trump supporters are being with themselves. ###

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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