Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Greens are On Deck

Green Partiers were not in the audience, but The Charles Koch Foundation CEO Brian Hooks said something that should be very encouraging to them at the Koch network semi-annual retreat last weekend. After describing how Barack Obama's election to President was a backlash against the failures of the George W. Bush administration, and Trump's election a backlash against Obama's failures, he predicted that we could see the same thing amplified after the Trump administration debacle. Hooks said,
 “If things don’t get better, then we should expect history to repeat itself. We should expect that the political pendulum will swing with even more force to the other direction the next time. With people even further to the left than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren! There are people right now who are prepared for the next four years to be a failure, people who cannot wait to be there to address the frustrated American people and introduce them to their own vision of radical hope and change. So the stakes are extremely high.”
The Libertarians/Kochists will certainly not be on the rise when the pendulum swings from right to left. That leaves the Green Party as the most likely party to succeed the Trumpists in four or eight years!

Aside from pondering the political pendulum on my own before Brian Hooks described it so well, another reason I put great hope in our next presidential turnover is the theory of the secular cycle of American history described in the 1997 book, The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. After the current fourth turning, which should end with the tRump administration, we will begin the secular cycle anew. The resolution of the crisis of the current phase will set us up for the beginning of the next 80 to 100 year secular cycle. Our next 20 to 25 year phase (the new cycle's first "turning") should be far less turbulent.

There comes a galvanizing event in a fourth turning which unifies national resolve and the problem we then join together to solve serves as a proxy for all of the major ills and threats facing us. To me, it looks like climate change could become that nexus, even within the span of tRump's presidency. Something worse than Hurricane Katrina, perhaps, would bring climate change to the fore. The Green Party would rapidly rise in esteem.

Photo by peterkreder
Then again, it doesn't have to be climate change that gives the Greens their turn at bat. The Green Party also holds very antimilitaristic ideals. Should we become involved in a devastating war (as all of our fourth turning forefathers have), the nation may afterward turn utterly away from militancy and bring the Greens in for assurance that our national security policy will embrace pacifism.

Whatever culminating problem the fourth turning involves, the Green Party platform offers hope through a banner of solutions showing how we would endeavor to serve the nation in crisis and in calm. When the time suddenly arrives for Greens to assume the mantle of leadership, having stepped up, advocated, and participated in shaping our democracy, let us finally be ready to govern.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stepping Up

All of the foot dragging and civil disturbance by environmentalists over development of fossil fuel infrastructure comes down to one basic demand: stop heating up the planet. Clean air, earth, and water are also quite important, but the issue that has most of our attention is the catastrophic future of our climate. Local and tribal objections are, in a strategic sense, wedges to enable and attract climate warriors to stand in the breach.

A friend of mine, +David Hardy, took the bold step of being arrested for joining a protest which blocked the steps of the county courthouse when the Cove Point Plant expansion approval was still undecided. He may not know it, but I admire his conviction and sacrifice. I wasn't then willing to risk such a fate, but now that I am retired, my old excuse of having to show up at work is pretty flimsy.

If I had a choice, being arrested would be a collateral risk of a bold or daring act, but not one that would place myself or others in mortal danger. For instance, one would not want to make law enforcement think there is a hostile threat to them or the public. Civil disobedience must be evidently peaceful enough that onlookers and police see it as an act of expression rather than aggression. The action should be planned to offer maximum public exposure. If possible, it should be prolonged enough to give the press a chance to film it. David's arrest got plenty of local press coverage. A tip off to the press could be the best way to ensure this.

The Greenpeace crane climbers near the White House did not have to tip their hand, but they were the epitome of a public and media spectacle. One of the climbers was a true inspiration. Sixty-two years old and afraid to even climb a ladder at home, she had never participated in any such stunts before, but volunteered to scale the crane and stay up there from pre-dawn into the nighttime because she saw the urgency of the changing mood and direction wrought by the new administration. Arrest after crane climbing is a pretty sure bet, unfortunately, but it would be nice to come up with a stunt that would garner as much attention while also affording a chance of escape.

One way to improve chances of escape, either from arrest or prosecution, would be to overwhelm law enforcement with more protesters than they are willing to take in. Provided everyone involved is contributing to the civil disobedience objective (like delaying critical work on infrastructure construction), then even if the police arrest a token few, there may be some safety in numbers. I suppose they could photograph a crowd and track down people to arrest later. Perhaps masks would be advisable in such situations.

There are offers available to subject oneself to being arrested - not the kind of thing you typically go shopping for on the web, but these are not typical times. I'll try to find one close by. Meanwhile, it would probably do me good to read up on carrying out civil disobedience.

"Strength" by Keoni Cabral

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Battles Aplenty

Not only was it surprising to see so many turn out for the Women's March on Washington, D.C., but the numbers in other cities across the U.S. were astonishing, too. Many cities then rallied protesters last night over the President's decision to green light two big oil pipeline projects, one of which (Dakota Access) is 90% complete. Then, today Greenpeace acrobats hung a big "Resist!" banner off a crane near the White House. Widespread protests look like they will be a distinguishing characteristic of the Trump era.


There are actually numerous pipeline resistance movements ongoing across the country, some over oil, others over gas pipelines. Aside from these projects' failure to address indigenous peoples' concerns, adding fossil fuel infrastructure would rarely be worth the environmental cost at this point in Earth's feverish condition. If, however, there is an either/or choice between burning coal or natural gas, the decision would be more nuanced. Since 2006, the United States alone has averaged more than 300 pipeline spills a year, and technology to predict and monitor leaks is notoriously unreliable. Pipelines and roads also break up wild habitat. Keystone XL comes with the even more detrimental problem of transporting tar sand.

The fact that pipelines (and roads under tRump's infrastructure strategy) are owned privately violates the rights of landowners when eminent domain is applied. It is the continuous, linear nature of pipelines that makes them the most politically, as well as physically, vulnerable subsystem of fuel extraction. On the other hand, if the industry has sunk investment into drilling, storing, and refining, there may be more sympathy by government to help the companies involved link everything up. While there may be holdouts one any given route, there are many possible routes to take. Therefore, pipelines are unlikely to be a complete show stopper for fuel extraction.

Ideally, infrastructure projects will be shut down well before pipes are being laid. From the standpoint of reducing buy-in by government entities, preventing construction of high value subsystems, e.g. refineries, would be better than blocking a pipeline. We found that to be too hard with the Cove Point LNG Plant expansion, but local efforts elsewhere have succeeded in preventing LNG export facilities from going forward. An even more widespread intervention would be to legislate against activities that cause excessive environmental damage. If you live in my state, perhaps the most effective action against expanding fossil fuel infrastructure would be Don't Frack Maryland. There are many subsystems to target in infrastructure intervention campaigns and many external factors that can be influenced. We have plenty of battlefields to choose from. Let us choose our battles wisely.



Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Million Joans

On Friday, as the new President was preparing to brandish his clenched fists to the meager crowds
on the national mall, a smallish group of dissenters gathered in Malcolm X Park not far away to listen to speakers, singers, and Native American chants, preparing ourselves for a march downtown and years of resistance to follow. Behind us stood a statue of Jeanne d'Arc on horseback and she was draped in a blood red ribbon that read "Resist!" The lovely spiritual chanting below her statue appears to have beckoned forth her spirit because, by the following day, Washington, D.C. and cities all over the globe were swarmed with women filled with that spirit of resistance.

For a quick refresher, Joan of Arc was a young lady in pre-renaissance France who left her home in the South at the behest of heaven-sent voices instructing her how to lead her countrymen against the British invaders. With great determination and courage she rallied French defenders and saved her country from a lasting defeat. She was eventually captured by the British and burned at the stake. Perhaps her wandering spirit has found our current dilemma to be suitable circumstances in which to complete her unfinished business. It wouldn't be the first time the French have pulled our nuts out of the fire.

The particular nuts currently at risk are those that contain our freedom and democracy. Fascists now hold the two highest positions in our government. Since most of Congress are complicit with the corporatocracy, they aren't about to object to this momentous shift in rulership. The only way left to eliminate this threat is to multiply the power of the people. Without a change to more democratic leadership, our country will be locked into a state of depravity and remorse for the remainder of the century.  Anne Applebaum in today's Washington Post writes:
Indeed, it is likely the Trump administration will be remembered around the world as the tipping point, the moment when U.S. influence, which always had a base in ideas and morality as well as economic and military power, finally went into steep and irreversible decline.
"Tipping point," in this context, would also correspond to the climax of our fourth turning crisis, a  key catalyst to the tipping point being the ideological split between the administration and the polity. TRump is ignoring the clear signs of popular dissent. Our best hope would be that Congress would do its job and side with the people, curb executive power, and divorce themselves from industry special interests. What do you want to bet on that happening?

We cannot afford eight years of institutionalized fascism, even as an expedient to defeating Islamic terror, because it will indelibly debase our national character. The resolution to our crisis will probably necessitate a radical realignment of government under a new constitution. The Green Party has made a great start to shaping such a constitution with their ten key values and democratically generated party platform. On the other end of the spectrum is the likelihood that fascism runs its course and our Constitution is repeatedly sullied by the President, lawmakers, and the courts, to the point that it becomes a dead letter. In that case, the crisis resolution could be ushered in by a new, far less democratic constitution replacing the tattered ideals of our founding fathers. I choose to defend the Constitution against foreign and domestic enemies by resisting the fascist threats posed by our leadership and their enablers.

Mild, but important, methods of struggle include the mentality that Charles Eisenstein promoted in his speech on Friday: "Don't owe, won't pay." Another, more comprehensive, theme of lifestyle change is captured in the meme, "Turn off, tune in, drop out." The result of a massive movement to wage a boycott against the fossil fuel economy would be to provoke an economic crisis rather than a political crisis that appears unwinnable. Yet, too many Americans are far more inclined to be happy idiots, struggling for the legal tender. Instead of tuning in, they've tuned out from democracy, and voted their pocketbooks for a carnival barker who offers boundless prosperity. In any case, economic detachment is not enough to bring about the revolution we need.

In our resistance march on Inauguration Day, a much repeated cadence was, "What do we want? Justice! If we don't get it? Shut. It. Down!" To me, that translates to a call to class conflict of the 99% against the privileged few. "Progress" that serves the interests of the 1%, and not that of the majority of citizens must be opposed, disrupted, and halted. Institutions that support the status quo by benefiting top executives and the system, but degrade the environment, abuse or exploit workers, or aggravate other societal ills must be vanquished or reformed. The costs of stranded assets should not be counted, especially as the benefits are immaterial to most of society.

Many who see the clear and present danger of fascism have turned to more direct means of fighting for the environment and against industrial growth. Water protectors have placed themselves in harm's way, most notably at Standing Rock. There are more uprisings being prepared, one on the Klamath River in northern California. After the Women's Marches yesterday that woke up the people, we need to give all of these activists, and many others who will join, activities to continue with. We also need to steer them away from identity politics and into the common causes of our earth, democracy, and freedom from tyranny.

Conveniently for me, there is the Cove Point LNG plant a couple of miles from my house. It may not matter that natural gas reserves are probably grossly overestimated and that the plant may never ship any liquefied natural gas. What may matter more is that resistance to this and other harmful projects is visible, ubiquitous, and vocal so that the people will keep waking up and not go back to sleep until we have shut it down and rearranged the social contract with government in order to preserve our democracy and life itself.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Days of Shame

Back when Bill Clinton was scrambling to fend off impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair, it bothered me that Hillary stood by him rather than walk out like many red-blooded American women would have. Her priority was her future political career, i.e. to be elected President.

Now we are bringing in a new President with a much more sordid history, whose third wife cannot but be painfully aware of her husband's waywardness, but appears to care more for her trophy wife status than for her spouse's devotion. Melania should stand up and prove what she's made of by taking her horny husband to divorce court. Aside from being free to stay with her spoiled, rich, brat of a son in New York, she would be doing us all a favor. TRump would be so enmeshed in divorce proceedings and fighting sexual harassment complaints that his staff and the VP could tend to governmental matters while tRump's job would be to sign edicts whenever required. Oh, and tweet, of course.

At least dealing with all of his dirty laundry will give the President something to do, since he will not be able to control Congress or restore his waning popularity among the people. Whenever the GOP leadership feels that the tyrannical tRump is trying to actually control anything of importance and is no longer toeing the line, they will cooperate in impeaching him in order to bring in one of their own kind - former Congressman Mike Pence. Congress will have plenty of high crimes and misdemeanors on which to base its case.

When my wife and I happened to be traveling home today from Washington, D.C. and were stopped in order to allow safe passage of the President-elect's MASSIVE motorcade speeding toward town on the far side of the widely divided Suitland Parkway, among the negative emotions that lingered from the experience was a sense of shame to be an American.  Knowing what a thug sat behind the blackened backseat windows of one of the many armored vehicles, making such an intimidating intrusion on mere passersby, and realizing that he was given that privilege by millions of fellow Americans, left me in despair and shame.

Individually, I am but a reed in the wind, but with hundreds of thousands of others on Inauguration Day making known their objections to this abomination of the Presidency, at least we can have the pleasure of shaming him in return. Though my major objection is to tRump's climate denial, the sexual misconduct allegations alone would have kept me from voting for him. TRump's misogyny is so objectionable to women, in particular, that the day after the inauguration, hundreds of thousands of Gloria Allred avatars are going to take him to task for it. I've offered to push my wife, Bonnie, in her wheelchair to join in, (though I will pass on the pussyhat, thank-you).

Norfolk photographer Deb Markham - Women's March demonstrator

Monday, January 16, 2017

District of Dystopia

Veteran politician and civil-rights pioneer John Lewis dealt a masterstroke against the TRump administration going into the Martin Luther King, Jr. day weekend. Remembrances of King and the Freedom Marchers will be magnified today as Americans reflect on Lewis' sacrifices alongside the black Moses. TRump's reflective deficit disorder landed him in trouble when he retaliated against Lewis for passing on the inauguration. +Reince Preibus dug the hole deeper by calling Lewis' decision "insanity." If you think that's insanity, Reince, just wait until Friday.
Riot by Jean-Claude Dufourd

The word "inauguration" originates in the Latin inauguratio or "installment under good omens." Rest assured, there will be no such inauguration for TRump. Other than the no-shows by Democratic officialdom, other omens bode ill for the 45th President. The groundwork is already being laid with marches that began last Saturday and will continue through the week. VIPs coming from out of town this Friday morning may be excessively delayed on certain routes by Antifascists of D.C. (staging "breakdowns" in key traffic choke points?) as attendees motor in from the airports or Joint Airbase Andrews. Nearly one million demonstrators will swarm around the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue in organized, intentional chaos. Many of the protesters will attempt to block ticketed guests from entering the ceremony. Guests that make it in will have a hard time hearing anything above the din of jeers from the rabble.

Police and National Guard units expect to counter violent outbreaks, but they will be outnumbered about 25-to-1 by demonstrators, so they will have their hands full stopping several #DisruptJ20 incursions, security violations, and fights between pro- and anti-TRumpists. Bikers for TRump plans to position their hemorrhoidal heft in a "wall of meat" between their exalted TRump and the wailing hordes of protesters.

Terrorists can enjoy a day off on Friday watching the U.S.A. gnash on itself, not only in the Capital, but in hundreds of other cities across the country. Let's hope terrorists realize that it would be supremely stupid for them to interfere with this schism, because if and when they do conduct another large-scale terror attack in the U.S., the new battle cry will become #AmericanLivesMatter, and our collective outrage will override the divided polity on display in this most inauspicious inauguration.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Lowlight of the Transition

A limited command of the English language is helpful to trump's political career. With minimal ability to express himself definitively and a tendency to limit his remarks to 140 characters, it is hard to pin trump down on his promises or intentions. When he blasted the reports of his alleged hidden dealings with Russia as "fake news," it landed like a foul ball outside the chalked lines of consensus on the meaning of the phrase. That's alright though. trump can have his "fake news." I'll revert to using the term "propaganda" despite the cold war overtones. In this case, neither term applies.

The thirty-five page dossier detailing instances of trump's miscreancy, with implications of treason, was not from an open news source, but from covert intelligence sources. It wasn't made up by news organizations, it was obtained under much higher stakes than typical investigative journalism demands. The fact that the lead private investigator, former MI6 Russia desk chief, Christopher Steele was compelled to go into hiding as attribution became public implies that there was no prearranged public release date (otherwise Steele would have been long gone before yesterday). Buzzfeed apparently took it on themselves to publish the dossier, though, after the FBI put it into the hands of various news organizations, it was just a matter of time before someone did.
"The King's Bedroom" by ClaraDon

The story of how this hot potato was passed around has all the hallmarks of a John LeCarre novel. Who needs RT's fantastic tales to make news interesting? The Guardian has a great synopsis of the opening chapters of what could well become the political scandal of the century. If you want to explore some of the nuances and possible motivations involved, FAIR covers it nicely.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Truth Seeking

It seems disingenuous that so many liberals cling to RT and other sources distorted by Russian propaganda when there are many liberal homegrown options that don't have the ulterior motive of sowing chaos through disinformation. One might conclude that adopting such a post-truth stance, whereby you can pick a narrative arbitrarily and ignore any evidence to the contrary, betrays an unprincipled intent to destroy the existing economic and political structure in order to replace it with one that is more socialistic. Maybe this expedient to promoting revolution stems from affinity to socialist ideals which Russia tried and then corrupted, as opposed to capitalist ideals which are flawed at inception. The latter motivation is more noble, but there are surely news sources with more integrity that align with socialism.

Much fuss has been made over The List of over 200 websites that turned out to be Russian stooges, but, as much as I hate to banish sites like "Assassination Science" and "Bare Naked Islam" from my reading list, there are still more real news sources to be tapped than I would ever have time for. There are also numerous weekly news magazines that aren't beholden to big corporate interests. Here are some independent sources that publish breaking news and commentary:
  • The Real News Network - Baltimore based, left wing news with sights on become a TV station
  • The Christian Science Monitor - Global, balanced news of significance with humanitarian focus
  • Reuters - The largest international multimedia news agency, a division of Thompson-Reuters
  • Reuters TV - Video-rich Internet TV reports of Reuters news; app available for mobile devices
  • The Nation - Opinionated and aspirational writings by mostly young progressives
  • ProPublica - In-depth investigative reporting on topics of significance to U.S. citizens
  • The Center for Public Integrity - Investigative reporting within the U.S., mainly on the public sector  
  • Reveal (The Center for Investigative Reporting) - San Francisco Bay area investigative news covering stories around the U.S. and internationally. Also produces a podcast.
  • AllSides - Reporting from left, right, and center from various sources with the hope of reconciling understanding of clashing views
  • FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) - Alternative news organization seeking to reduce the power of mainstream media
  • Who, What, Why - Unvarnished forensic journalism. Podcast and blog, too.
  • WorldNews (WN) Network - A news junkie's paradise with over 750 sources for multiple perspectives
  • Watchdog - Investigative reporting to hold government (states, in particular) more accountable
              Sources cited were obtained from Gemini Fox's Soapboxie post after removing Russian propagandists.


Photo by Joe Clay
As for myself, after running back into the arms of the Washington Post when I learned that I'd been snookered by the Russian fake news machine, I have become more aware of the slanted perspective of our own mainstream news, as well. The Green Party platform aided my awareness of this, noting that:
Our media laws and rules promote the formation of huge media conglomerates while discouraging competing voices. As a result, the mainstream media is increasingly cozy with the economic and political elites whom they should be investigating. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints in the mass media. With U.S. media overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, investigative journalism is in an alarming decline.
With the above list of trustworthy independent news sources, I am looking forward to expanding my perspective of important topics, and having a firmer grasp of ground truth.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Fake President

Image by Alan Davey
Allowing The Donald to adjust to his new upcoming role as POTUS by giving him the benefit of a honeymoon period is tempting; something we would do for most people in the early stages of a new relationship. In this case, since we've been through the courtship stage already and ended up in an unhappy forced marriage, we aren't going to reward the lout with a happy honeymoon. We are going to make him crave an annulment.

Multiple grounds exist for annulling his illegitimate claim to the Presidency.

  • He was elevated to that office with the help of a foreign adversary with whom he has business and political ties.
  • His tax returns over several years may show that he has evaded his responsibility to the U.S., but he refuses to disclose them to the public.
  • His foundation was caught abusing the system and failing to report truthfully to the IRS.
  • He personally dishonors American military heroes by disparaging their sacrifices.
  • The elections were rigged, by his own admission.
  • His conflicts of interest would make him ineligible, under longstanding ethics rules, to participate in any material decisions regarding numerous entities potentially affected by the oval office.
A similar set of disqualifications was compiled by activist Nancy Altman and Ira Lupu, an Emeritus professor of law at George Washington University. They break these down into transgressions of political legitimacy and moral authority and list four presumptions we should all hold regarding communications, activities, subordinates, and decisions of the head huckster. They conclude by calling for his opponents in Congress to set the tone for the resistance movement and for a provisional withdrawal of the customary respect due the office of the President:
At noon on January 20, 2017, we will have a new president. The office of the presidency deserves respect, but the new occupant has relied on illegitimate means to seize power, and he deserves moral contempt.
In his speech, The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplain urged soldiers to resist brutal leaders who treat them as machines. Trump's objectivist worldview lends itself to such high-handedness. As a career U.S. military officer, it is discomfiting to my imbued sense of rank and honor to treat the President that way, but Trump may well not have been elected President without the nefarious designs of Putin and his den of liars and thieves. The fact that Trump will hardly even acknowledge that Russia was involved in hacking or propaganda marks him as a self-serving crook undeserving of respect at home or abroad.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

No Time for Apathy

It is noteworthy that the PEOTUS dictates his tweets. Donald Trump is chomping at the bit to assume executive power over the U.S. His recent history on Twitter - decrying the UN vote against Israeli settlements, praising Vladimir Putin, calling for federal help to fight Chicago's crime spree - match the persona of a proactive boss. After his twittervention in Congressional attempts to loosen oversight of internal unethical behavior, @RealDonaldTrump looks more like a tool for dictatorship than merely a bully pulpit.

Just wait 'til he becomes President! Once in office, his tweets will be augmented with executive orders, backed by the weight of Trump's rabid fan base. It is this daily end-around with populist support that gives Trump extra leverage over the already Republican-led Congress, and consequently, unprecedented executive authority. His railings and boasts are reminiscent of the constant bombardment of mass media bullets in Orwell's '1984.'

Following a fairly steady expansion of executive power beginning with Lyndon Johnson, approaching the climax of our fourth turning we are now near becoming a totalitarian oligarchy in the mold of Putin's Russia. Even four to eight years of dictatorship is anathema to the American spirit, but desperation has brought us to the verge of abdicating democracy for the sake of another piece of American pie.

I am inclined to stand against our burgeoning ruler, at least until mass imprisonments and executions begin. It may be possible to keep him in check by drawing disenchanted Trumpists into the resistance movement. The focus of resistance should be on particular issues, not on the person. However, lest he gain more widespread allegiance, the more successful he becomes on different programs (many of which could be beneficial), the harder the resistance much push against his agenda on important matters under dispute.


If the dictator wannabe can be kept in check, keeping governmental continuity may be better than changing horses in the middle of his 4-year term. If he cannot be kept in check or deposed, after opposing him, we may eventually have to go to ground in order to preserve our lives, with the hope that one day we will again be home free.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! but Curb Your Enthusiasm

Photo by Seb
Donald Trump's promises to voters during the campaign were, for the most part, encouraging and even plausible. On the other hand, of the 282 Trump vows collected by Jenna Johnson for the Washington Post, there are many that I abjure (mainly regarding capitalism, the environment, and localism), to a degree that I actively oppose the PEOTUS. Rather than rehash those dividing lines, I picked out the statements from the long list that are just a bit too over the top and comment on why I predict that 2017 will not include or lead to these accomplishments:
9. Make the auto industry in Michigan “bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” Trump plans to return to the state each time a new factory or auto plant opens. - This presumes long-term economic growth, but the U.S. is stuck with low or no growth due to financial and resource issues.
10. Bring the coal industry back to life in the Appalachian Mountain region. - The tide is running strongly in favor of growth in renewable and natural gas generation, rather than coal.
18. “My only special interest is you, the American people,” not major donors, the party or corporations. - His very special interests are himself,his family, and their businesses.
39. Eliminate the $19 trillion national debt within eight years by “vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, ending redundant government programs and growing the economy to increase tax revenues.” - Growth will not happen to that extent, especially while retiring a $19 trillion debt. Many of the inefficiencies are in DoD, but that department will probably not shrink while growing the military. I expect that any growth will come from spending on wartime mobilization, which will actually grow the national debt and drive sweeping change throughout the nation.
161. Target and kill the relatives of suspected terrorists, a violation of international law. - Only if this were covered up would it last for long before someone was prosecuted.
193. Restore and protect the Florida Everglades, even though it’s a “rough-looking sight down there.” - Warming, rising seas will submerge the Everglades.
196. Negotiate rates for these [infrastructure] projects that are one-third of what the United States is currently paying. “Cut wasteful spending on boondoggles” by streamlining the permit and approval processes. - I'm all for stretch goals, but a 67% rate cut is pretty hard to swallow.
228. Rebuild and fix inner cities, especially Detroit. “The inner cities are unbelievably dangerous. The education is no good, the safety is horrible, and there are no jobs. And I tell everybody: ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ I’m going to fix it.” - Micromanagement by the federal government is not the answer.  In fact, Detroit had a federally appointed city manager for several years, but it still turns out to be, in Trump's estimation, a highly dysfunctional city.
229. Quickly end inner-city violence, which Trump has repeatedly compared to war zones. “I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you’re not gonna be shot. Your child isn’t gonna be shot.” - How is he going to stop the crazies? See 252.
232. “And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African American vote. I promise you. Because I will produce.” - Race correlates with voting preference in presidential elections, but most of Trump's opponents are better aligned with African Americans. Trump got only 8% of the African American vote this time.
235. “Dismantle every last criminal gang and cartel threatening our cities. . . . They are not going to be here very long, folks. They’re gonna be out of here.” - If he manages to dismantle them, many will regroup under looser, more agile leadership, just as Islamic terrorist groups have over the past decade.
236. Immediately stop the killing of police officers. “It’s going to stop, okay? It’s going to stop. We’re going to be law and order. It’s going to stop.” - See 235.  Anti-police violence may be subdued, especially due to a mobilized citizenry, but it won't stop entirely.
239. Ensure that firefighters are not shot at when they are responding to a fire. How is he going to stop the crazies? See 252.
247. “We will be one people under one God.” - Revoking or revising the 1st Amendment will be hard, much as he may try. Even if this refers to an inclusive Abrahamic God, it would exclude many other faiths.
252. Use “common sense” to fix the mental health system to prevent mass shootings. Expand treatment programs and reform laws to make it easier to take preventive action. - Identifying likely mass shooters would take a lot more than common sense and is probably beyond current mental health state of the art. "Preventive action" would involve widespread gun seizures, probably directed at people with anti-Trumpist views, e.g. protesters who get arrested and summarily prosecuted.  Could be reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
276. “Whether you vote for me or not, I’m with you. I will never ever let you down.” - You can't please all of the people all of the time.
277. “I will give you everything.” - ('Except what's mine, which will be so much more.')
So, that's only 17 out of 282 campaign promises that I can confidently predict won't be fulfilled the way Trump said. Maybe he would call these obvious exaggerations "locker room talk." Not bad (provided you agree with the 265 other things Trump has promised to deliver). If he is able to make good on even half of those plausible pledges, we are in for a lot of change in 2017.

Featured Post

A Coming War We Must Strive to Prevent

S ome anger smolders over generations. It depends on the offense. Whatever the eldest of the Paddock boys endured because of his father'...