The squalling infant in the Oval Office has brought his reality-show presidency to new levels of deceit and disinformation by declaring a national emergency in order to build a wall along the border with Mexico using money purloined from several government agencies, mostly the military.
After his bid to hold the entire country hostage during a month-long government shutdown ended in abject failure, the Mouth That Roared has fallen back on his well established modus operandi for a life in which he has, in net, built nothing, created nothing of value to society, and accomplished nothing other than self-aggrandizing stunts like the TV show The Apprentice.
What does any of this have to do with clean technology? On the surface, nothing. But look a little deeper and it’s clear this grandstanding is in direct opposition to any serious attempt to address the existential threat of a warming planet and its corresponding negative impact on billions of people.
It’s as if instead of planning for D-Day, General Eisenhower and his staff spent all their time prepping for the annual Christmas party. It is making the halftime show more important than the Super Bowl game itself. It is form over substance on a grand scale — a hallmark of Despicable Donnie’s long and disappointing career in which he careened from one failure to another while preening in front of a mirror.
Trump likes to brag — his only known oratory skill — that the American economy is in great shape. And it is, if you focus only on the stock market. But much of the lofty valuation of companies on the market is due to billions of dollars of tax breaks handed out by Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress in 2016. Accompanied by the usual Reagan-era tripe about how the wealthy would take their ill-gotten gains and invest them back into the economy, the reality has been something else entirely.
The vast majority of the windfall that befell corporations from the latest round of tax cuts has been used to repurchase shares of company stock, a move which makes the remaining shares more valuable and — by a remarkable coincidence — also has the concomitant benefit of increasing the compensation of senior-level executives. Benefits to society as a whole from the tax giveaway were negligible, as ordinary Americans are finding to their sorrow as tax day approaches and they learn just how bad a hand they were dealt by their so-called leaders.
To be a great nation, America needs to take a leading role in carbon reduction, renewable energy, improved efficiency of buildings and residences, electric transportation, energy storage, and all of the other technologies necessary to prevent the average temperature of the Earth from rising more than 2° Celsius. Many climate scientists fear the world is on a trajectory that will see temperatures increase by as much as 7° C, a number that portends extinction for most life on Earth. As the expression goes, there is no Planet B. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and Trump is fiddling while the Earth burns.
Time To Call Trump What He Is — A Sociopath
According to HealthLine [my notes in brackets], “sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder. People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. They’ll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use ‘mind games’ to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.
“The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders says that someone with ASPD consistently shows a lack of regard for others’ feelings or violations of people’s rights. People with ASPD may not realize that they have these behaviors. They may live their entire lives without a diagnosis. To receive a diagnosis of ASPD, someone must be older than 18. Their behaviors must show a pattern of at least three of the following seven traits:
- Doesn’t respect social norms or laws. They consistently break laws or overstep social boundaries. [Insulting a journalist with physical disability or urging people in an audience to physically remove protesters.]
- Lies, deceives others, uses false identities or nicknames, and uses others for personal gain. [Insert list of Trump administration officials who have been fired or quit since he took office.]
- Doesn’t make any long-term plans. They also often behave without thinking of consequences. [Leaving Paris accords, threatening to pull out of NATO, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan against advice of military advisers.]
- Shows aggressive or aggravated behavior. They consistently get into fights or physically harm others. [Bragging he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters, among other things.]
- Doesn’t consider their own safety or the safety of others. [Publicizing a planned Congressional trip to Afghanistan, putting members of Congress in jeopardy of physical harm.]
- Doesn’t follow up on personal or professional responsibilities. This can include repeatedly being late to work or not paying bills on time. [Trump has declared bankruptcy numerous times and claims that he has refused to pay personal debts are numerous.]
- Doesn’t feel guilt or remorse for having harmed or mistreated others. [Thousands of young people forcibly removed from their parents’ custody and kept in detention centers with little medical care or educational opportunities. Total disregard for black or brown people, gays, transgender people, and Muslims. Disparaging anyone from a “shithole country.”]”
What Else Could America Spend That Money On?
If Trump got the 1,000 mile 32′ high concrete wall he says he wants, some estimates say it would cost up to $25 billion to build the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for. Is there anything else America could spend that money on? There most certainly is — infrastructure like roads, bridges, airports, tunnels, and the like. Thanks to an unwillingness by Congress to maintain America’s infrastructure since the 1960s, many of its roads, bridges, and tunnels are crumbling and there is no money to repair them.
The situation was expressed perfectly by regular CleanTechnica reader Dan Allard in a comment to a recent story. “I watched Episode 6 of the Grand Tour last night. They where in China driving on the new highways across massive bridges and elevated roadways. I was thinking to myself how different it was than just 12 years ago when I was in Asia. Then they pointed out that China has been building 6,000 miles of new roads every single year since 2011.
“Now put everything else aside from an environmental perspective for just a second and realize that while the USA is the wealthiest nation on Earth, we have crumbling infrastructure from over half a century ago in use today and China has built enough highway each year to cross the USA from east to west 3 times every single year since 2011. That shows you one example of the price we are paying for our income inequality and military empire.”
Border Security Is Important But It’s Not The Most Important Thing
Border security is important, no doubt about it. No nation on Earth has open borders where people are free to wander in and wander back out again at will. The drug problem in America is enormous and deserves forceful action, but the drugs that are killing American aren’t coming across the border from Mexico. Most of them arrive in the mail from internet sources. Building a wall to stop drugs is like trying to stanch a leak in a sink in the kitchen of the Titanic while the frigid North Atlantic is flooding in below the waterline.
It’s beyond dumb. It’s stupidity raised to the 10th power. And only a lunatic would suggest it and then try to cram it down the throats of the people just to prove a point. Maybe Trump has an inferiority complex that he overcompensates for. He certainly is fond of referring to the size of his penis, a ploy that stops being amusing in young boys once they reach the age of 12 or so. His fondness for sexual allusions and his dismissive way of referring to women hardly indicate any degree of emotional or intellectual maturity — he once claimed on a radio show (and seemingly out of habit) that his own personal Vietnam was avoiding contracting an STD and equated a woman’s vagina to a land mine.
If nothing else, stealing money appropriated by Congress for specific purposes so it can be used for something else is a direct assault on the concept of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution since Day 1. Lawsuits have already been filed challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Congress can pass a law revoking the declaration but the man-child of Pennsylvania Avenue would certainly veto it and it would take a super majority of 2/3 of both houses of Congress to override that veto.
This is where our elected representatives will have to place themselves on record as supporting or opposing this stunning power grab by the White House. For the past 40 years, Congress has been happy to delegate more and more of its powers to the executive branch. It will require a Herculean effort by many Republican senators to find the courage they need to stand up to this tyrant. But like Madame DuFarge in Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, the voters will be watching and they will reward or punish those who are up for reelection in 2020 accordingly.
Ultimately, the matter could wind up before the Supreme Court, where conservative stooges like Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch — and newest member Bart Kavadrunk — will support the president right down the line, having been suckled since high school at the breast of the Federalist Society, the Koch Brothers–supported organization that preaches the gospel of the unitary executive.
Only Chief Justice John Roberts has shown any appetite for being an actual judge instead of a political operative. His single vote could change the course of history. Of course, Roberts is one of the 5-judge majority that installed George W. Bush in office by judicial decree. Putting our faith in him to do the right thing is a slender reed to grasp in the middle of the tempest called Donald Trump.
Believe it or not, members of Congress are terrified of popular uprisings. If millions of Americans would simply call their local representatives and senators and denounce the declaration of a national emergency, it could go along way toward stiffening their representatives’ spines and doing the right thing instead of the expedient thing. If you need a phone number or email address, there’s a website for that very thing.
America needs a leader, not a fool with sociopathic tendencies. Congress must act to reassert its authority or risk turning the US into a second-tier nation, a status from which it may never recover. The damage Trump has done is incalculable. It’s time to make it clear he is but one of three co-equal branches of government. That’s the heart of the American experiment and must be preserved if the US is to survive as a democracy.
Afflicting The Comfortable
Brian McGrory, the editor in chief of the Boston Globe, likes to say the job of the press is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” If so, Saturday Night Live did precisely that this last weekend in a satirical skit featuring Alec Baldwin as Trump delivering his national emergency press conference.
Proving once again what a bully he is, the thin-skinned Trump responded in a tweet that NBC and other “fake news” outlets — like CBS, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and all of the other news channels that aren’t Faux News — should be subject to “retribution.” He then tweeted, “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
Baldwin responded to the use of the world “retribution” by asking whether Trump’s remark constitutes “a threat to my safety and that of my family?” Thinking about the Nazi-style rallies where Trump likes to whip up his supporters into a frenzy of hatred, Baldwin may well have reason to be concerned.
Imagine if you will a world in which America is held hostage by a braying jackass who advocates government-sponsored sanctions against any and all who fail to bow down to him or dare criticize him in any way. Now imagine the same dangerous lunatic has his finger on the nuclear button. America has now entered The Twilight Zone where insanity is the norm. His unhinged “Off with their heads!” behavior makes for easy satire, but it threatens to make America little more than a pariah nation in the world community.
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