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Est. April 5, 2002
Jan 09, 2020 - Issue 800
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A Thug in the White House

"Trump has tried his best to emulate the world's strong men,
but there remain some laws in the U.S. that prevent his
acting on his impulses, although he has managed to turn
the American electorate, at least a large part of it, into a
bobble-headed crowd that takes his word as truth and law."

Every once in a while, it would be good for the American people to hear and see what the rest of the world thinks of the United States and, in recent years, the sounds and the sights they see are not pretty and for the most part, the rest of the world fears what the U.S. has become.

For example, The Guardian newspaper headlined a recent editorial, “Trump's lawless thuggery is corrupting justice in America.” While the news service addresses the problem that Americans have in having elected Donald Trump president, the actions by this president already has had profound effects on the rest of the world, for he is part of the rise of right-wing governments across the globe and he takes a particular delight in rubbing elbows with some of the worst dictators who are in power in 2020.

He hasn't bragged about his association with powerful despots because it was part of his great foreign policy efforts and his work with Congress in attempting to make the world a more peaceful place. He simply wants to associate with people whose word he perceives to be law. His admiration for someone like Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has been a surprise to some and a shock to many, since Duterte has waged a “war on drugs” that has seen extrajudicial killings in the streets and elsewhere. Trump praised the man for his efficiency in ridding the streets of those involved in the drug trade, no matter how peripheral their involvement or how brutal the official response.

The South China Morning Post put it this way on Jan. 4, 2020: “Viewing the US president as a kindred spirit, Duterte welcomed a fellow right-wing populist in the White House. Here was someone who downplayed human rights issues, lashed out at liberals, blamed his predecessor for strained relations with Manila and enthusiastically embraced authoritarian leaders the world over.”

Trump has tried his best to emulate the world's strong men, but there remain some laws in the U.S. that prevent his acting on his impulses, although he has managed to turn the American electorate, at least a large part of it, into a bobble-headed crowd that takes his word as truth and law. His lies, which he perpetrates from his bully pulpit every day, has millions doubting what they see before them. They have, indeed, come to reject the credibility of just about every American institution, including the free press, the courts, the educational system at every level, the departments and agencies of his own administration, his political opponents (just about anyone who disagrees with him), and his own military, the justice system of which he recently upended by fully pardoning a Navy SEAL, who was convicted of a war crime and charged with other crimes.

His so-called trial in the Senate promises to be a fiasco which would more likely be presided over by Judge Judy than by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has promised that there would be no witnesses allowed to be called and that he and other top Republicans will work closely with Trump and his minions to make sure that there are no real judicial acts performed by GOP senators, who by law and tradition are supposed to act in the manner of jurors in a court trial. They already have said that they agree with McConnell and plan to work closely with the White House in conducting a trial of its occupant. How could anyone take seriously any actions of the nation's Republican leaders with such a cartoonish plan for seeking justice?

Here is an excerpt from The Guardian, in its assessment of the U.S. in the Trump era and it should be read by every American who wants to understand how their nation is viewed by the rest of the world:

(Attorney General William) Barr is part of Trump’s private goon squad, along with Rudy Giuliani, chief enabler Mick Mulvaney and Trump’s resident white supremacist, Stephen Miller. Giuliani is using the authority of the presidency to mount a rogue foreign policy designed to keep Trump in power. It’s double lawlessness: Giuliani is bending the law and he’s accountable to no one.

“Miller, meanwhile, is waging Trump’s ongoing war against people legally seeking asylum in the United States – featuring family separations, caged children and inhumane detention. Related: Trump's order to kill Iran's top general is his biggest gamble yet. Miller even got Trump to pardon Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was ordered by a federal judge to stop detaining people solely on suspicion of their immigration status. Arpaio disregarded the order, which is why he was convicted of criminal contempt of court. From now on, rogue sheriffs will be less constrained.

“You see the pattern: whistleblowers intimidated, the justice department politicized, findings of special counsels and inspectors general distorted or ignored, foreign policy made by a private citizen unaccountable to anybody, rogue military officers and rogue sheriffs pardoned. Each instance is disturbing on its own. Viewed as a whole, Trump’s lawlessness is systematically corrupting justice in the US.”

To top it all off, Trump has proven himself to be the world's leading climate change denier and his position on the issue has made it permissible for millions of Americans to ignore the preponderance of scientific evidence that indicates climate catastrophe. Signs of that catastrophe are all around the world, from the devastation of nearly the whole continent of Australia by fires, as well as fires in California, to hurricanes and monsoons that are worse than ever, to melting Arctic permafrost, to rising sea levels that already are forcing the movement of coastal communities to higher ground.

For years, scientists have tried to convince the mainstream media that it is wrong to label people like Trump as “skeptics,” when they should be labeled “deniers,” those who disseminate false information or disinformation. Rather, all scientists are skeptics, until their research can be proven and the results are peer reviewed and available to everyone. Deniers, on the other hand, parrot the propaganda of the rich and corporations, whose bottom lines are threatened by any action to mitigate climate change and global heating.

The crime, as many see it, with Trump's climate change denial is that the people are not being given enough time to digest what is happening and what will be happening in the next several years. And, it will take years for 325 million to adapt to the changing conditions of their environment as global heating takes effect. There may be only a few years to learn to adapt. Collapse of both the U.S. empire and the biosphere will happen gradually and those who will pay the greatest price in suffering and death will be communities of color and all poor communities, in general. The rich, as always, will protect themselves and their families, until there is no protection possible for anyone.

Trump's refusal to accept the science is thuggish behavior, but that is the way he has done business all his life and running the country, for him, is no different from his business as usual. He may bully his staff, he may bully Republicans, he may bully millions of Americans, and he may try to bully the rest of the world. He's a master at bullying, but he never will be able to bully nature. Columnist, John Funiciello, is aformer newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.

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