Avoiding distraction, part I

Published by marco on

Since the last election, America has become obsessed with synonyms for propaganda—fake news, alternative news—a focus that is, ironically, propaganda. Anything that doesn’t fit a particular worldview is fake news. The sources that trumpet the most about this are the ones I would trust the least: when did CNN or the CIA become purveyors of truth? This newly popular obsession is a distraction.

 Ted Rall 'Protesters Against Trump'After a week of tweets and executive orders, we see that Trump thinks he really did mean a bunch of things that said during his campaign. He signed an executive order for a moratorium on visas from several countries, focused on banning Muslims. He did not “sign it into law” because it’s patently illegal and conflicts with several existing laws. Also that’s not how executive orders work. Congress makes laws, not the executive.

But it signals his intent. And he signaled his intent in so many other ways, he’s messing with the EPA, started the KeyStone and Dakota Access pipelines back up[1], he’s building the wall, he wants to rebuild the military and stop China in the sea named after itself, use the Feds to “clean up” cities, and so on and so forth.

 Trump's Muslim Ban Tech CEOs Silicon Valley (Ted Rall)

What changed?

But don’t you remember how Democrats and the mainstream media whined about how powerless Obama was? That the office of the president can’t really make anything happen? That that’s why Obama couldn’t get us all rainbows and ponies? Although he so dearly wanted to? Well, if that’s true, why will Trump be able to get everything done in his first week? And, if it’s not true, why didn’t Obama do all of those wonderful things he told us he would? Is it because Trump is a much more powerful and effective person than Obama? Or is it because Obama didn’t really want anything other than what he ended up giving us during his presidency?

The article The Uncomfortable Truth: Are We Hating Donald Trump for the Wrong Reasons? by Ramzy Baroud (CounterPunch) discusses the actual effects of the Obama presidency.

“Obama has spent eight years reversing George W. Bush’s bad brand. Yet, Obama has done so without reversing any of Bush’s disreputable deeds. On the contrary, he has redefined and expanded war, advanced the nuclear arms race and destabilized more countries.

“Trump is also a brand, an unpromising one. The product – whether military aggressions, racism, islamophobia, anti-immigration policies, economic inequality, etc. – remains unchanged.”

Is Trump probably a worse human being than Obama? Yes, I think so. But I wouldn’t trust either one of them any farther than I could throw them.

Will the effects of Trump presidency be worse than that of Obama? He’s really going to have to try.

What Obama was like

But how are we supposed to know what will happen based on what presidents say? The interview with Obama ‘Better Is Good’: Obama on Reparations, Civil Rights, and the Art of the Possible by Ta Nehisi Coates includes long sections from Obama like this one[2]:

“But as a general matter, my view would be that if you want to get at African American poverty, the income gap, wealth gap, achievement gap, that the most important thing is to make sure that the society as a whole does right by people who are poor, are working class, are aspiring to a better life for their kids. Higher minimum wages, full-employment programs, early-childhood education: Those kinds of programs are, by design, universal, but by definition, because they are helping folks who are in the worst economic situations, are most likely to disproportionately impact and benefit African Americans”

Would you have guessed that, during his eight years, African American wealth was wiped out? That his administration espoused unequivocal support for all police during worsening police killing of blacks? That black unemployment is higher than ever? That education is worse than ever? That 98% of the increased income/productivity/economic recovery went to the 1%? He sure talks a good game. It doesn’t matter on the ground, though, does it?

I named this article weeks ago and now the following video just landed in my inbox. He just went over a lot of the points I outlined above.

Trump’s Muslim Ban Is A DISTRACTION by Lee Camp (YouTube)

[1] Although Obama dropped his own support for these so late that he might have done it to get credit for having done it—for his legacy—knowing that Hillary would just walk it back anyway.
[2] Disclaimer: I only read the first few paragraphs of this article. I read enough to get to the citation I grabbed. I did not want to invest half an hour on yet another of Coates’s endless encomiums/paeans to Obama.