The Genius and Nouveau Know-Nothings
I planned to lead with trade in this WIR and I will get back to that important question. But an ambush gone sideways trumps trade.
POTUS, uncharacteristically making nice, had called for a bipartisan effort in Congress for immigration reform that could be tied to an emergency spending measure needed to keep the government running past the end of this week. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Dick Durbin dutifully began work on a compromise both boss parties could live with. On short notice, both Senators were invited to the White House last Thursday to brief the resident stable genius.
But when they arrived, instead of being escorted to the Oval Office they were taken to the Cabinet Room where they were confronted by a bevy of hard line xenophobe GOP Senators and cabinet members as well as a President dedicated to building walls, not bridges. It was a bushwhack designed to goad angry Democrats in to forcing a shutdown. On cue, McDonald’s number one customer feigned shock that thousands of Haitians would be spared from losing their temporary protected status.
But genius is noted for improvisation and G-1 went way off script in describing the Haitians in such vulgar and racist language that some newspapers declined to print it. In the past the Bigot-in-Chief has often used similar slurs directed against all people who share the same skin pigment as Haitians.
One of the first to react was Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah of Haitian descent–“The (President’s) comments are unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. The President must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”
While this President is often apoplectic he is never apologetic. When indignant diplomatic protests started being delivered in American embassies throughout the world, and the British government asked him to cancel a scheduled trip to London because it would provoke angry mass protests, Trump simply lied and dismissed his quoted remarks as Democrat Fake News.
Donald Trump is, of course, not the first racist in the White House. While still British colonies, some future presidents signed the Declaration of Independence–often hailed as a landmark in human rights–that characterized Indians as “savages” to justify ongoing genocidal wars against them in pursuit of Manifest Destiny.
Many pre-Civil War White House occupants owned slaves who were counted in census reports as 3/5ths of a person.
Woodrow Wilson was a staunch supporter of racial segregation which he enforced in the armed forces that fought the War to End All Wars. During the Red Scare after the Russian Revolution Wilson also whipped up xenophobic attacks on immigrants such as the infamous Palmer Raids.
In sharp contrast to his “First Lady,” the liberal hero Franklin Delano Roosevelt ignored Jim Crow atrocities of his Dixie-Crat allies, slammed the door shut on Jewish refugees who later perished in the Holocaust, and at the beginning of World War II, green-lighted sending Japanese-Americans to concentration camps while confiscating their property. Fortunately for my lot, German-Americans were too numerous to incarcerate.
After that war, demobilized Black and Chicano GIs started to press demands for freedoms that they were told were the objectives of WWII. Early on, a racist commissioner of baseball had to accept Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the American Pastime.
Mainstream politicians also had to adapt. Truman ordered racial integration of the armed forces. Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock to enforce school desegregation. Kennedy and Johnson were compelled to grant significant concessions to the mass civil rights movement of the 60s—even though it meant the collapse of their party’s rule in the South.
In 2008, an African-American was elected President. Among the obstacles he had to overcome was the “birther” movement launched by Trump that convinced millions of gullible racists—Trump’s real “base”–that the 44th President was a Black Muslim born in Kenya. To this day, Trump has not retracted or apologized for fabricating this Fake News that would have been admired by Joseph Goebbels.
That millions of white workers twice voted to elect a Black man to the highest office in the land was seen by many as an historic breakthrough and much nonsense was written about a post-racialist society. But after eight years of Obama, there was so much dissatisfaction among those same workers that enough of them, even in union strongholds, cast protest votes that wound up giving a bigoted billionaire dedicated to erasing all traces of his Black predecessor an upset electoral college victory.
The liberal media has done a thorough job in exposing Trump’s lies and the dangerous policy measures he has implemented. Even the Wall Street Journal at times has sounded alarms—especially about his battles of the buttons with “Little Rocket Man.” Some hope Russia will become Trump’s Watergate—which would give us a President Pence. The social movements that brought millions in to the streets last year are now mostly gearing up to support the Democrats in the November congressional elections.
Among the best comprehensive summaries of the multiple crises confronting America—and the world—is an opinion essay by Cornel West that was published on the Guardian site on Sunday. I will offer extensive comments about it next time.
Straight From the Top
After years of droughts and wildfires, California finally got some substantial rain. But that was at best a mixed blessing. In areas of scorched earth downpours triggered massive mud and boulder slides destroying many homes, killing at least twenty, and blocking the usually scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
For the first time, a Coast Guard ice-breaker had to be used to break up jams on the Connecticut River. Erie, Pennsylvania was measuring snow events in feet. Numerous record low temperatures were established in southern Texas.
Less dramatic, my schedule was somewhat disrupted when frozen water pipes on the third floor burst sending a cascade of water collapsing the ceiling in the room below—a problem we had never before encountered in twenty years in our house.
Meteorologists describe this harsh weather that we hope will not become normal using terms like Pacific Ridge and Polar Vortex. But climate scientists go a step further in identifying the underlying cause of their power and increasing frequency—global warming. Bob Berwyn, writing in Inside Climate News, explains,
“Here’s what scientists involved in the research think is happening: The evidence is clear that the Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet. That warming is reducing the amount of Arctic sea ice, allowing more heat to escape from the ocean. The scientists think that the ocean energy that is being released is causing a weakening of the polar vortex winds over the Arctic, which normally keep cold air centered over the polar region. That weakening is then allowing cold polar air to slip southward more often.”
Of course, from the North Pole the only direction is south. Siberia and northern Europe will share our misery. Drilling through Permafrost for gas and oil in Russia, and the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Reserve sure won’t help.
As I was completing this draft, Breaking News on the New York Times was reporting an announcement by NASA that 2017 was the second warmest year on record and the very warmest without the El Niño effect. 2016 was the overall warmest.
Missing the Point In Hawaii
There was just outrage that a bogus warning of an imminent ICBM nuclear strike on the 50th state stood for 38 minutes before being corrected. But even more scandalous is the revival of the “Civil Defense” scam as a way of protecting us during a nuclear war. Such tactics had very limited value even during conventional bombing during World War II. They are worse than useless against today’s megaton weapons. Our only hope is to make sure they are never used.
That’s all for this week.
If you’re not already signed up you can get the Week In Review free of charge in one of the following ways.
Simply send your name and e-mail address to billonasch[at]kclabor.org
Follow Bill Onasch on Google +
Our companion Labor Advocate news blog posts articles of interest to working people by 9AM Central, Monday-Friday.
Our sole source of operating income is reader contributions. If you can help please visit the KC Labor Donate page.
The original content we provide is copyrighted and may not be reproduced by commercial media without our consent. However, labor movement and other nonprofit media may reproduce with attribution.