Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
On Monday, the President of the United States held a group hug and circle jerk Cabinet meeting. Don Corleone could not have done it better when he held a gathering of crime bosses. Kiss the ring or get the kiss of death. Cabinet members, many whom are billionaires, kowtowed in abject obedience; not to the people and Constitution of the United States but to the Capo d’Capo Donald J. Trump.
This is the Anthropocene, the human epoch. Humans are the most significant force on the planet. We move more earth than erosion. No river is without human control. No form of life is safe from our dominion. Yet today the most powerful nation on the planet has chosen the fiction of money over the absolute tangibles of food, water, shelter and a sustainable future. From the First World War until this administration, the U.S. had the respect and leadership of the world. Today it is viewed with fear, trepidation, confusion and pity.
A talented carnival barker in a $4,000.00 suit, flamboyantly coifed hairdo and three-foot long tie has dazzled the masses with bovine feces. There is no substance to his hyperbole. It is the best hyperbole in the world. Great hyperbole. The best ever. No one has ever done hyperbole better than Donald J. Trump!
It is clear he rejects the science of climate change, as he rejects any science or professional opinion that conflicts with his selectively narrow view from inside the penthouse and beltway bubble. Instead, he surrounds himself with yes men and sycophants.
The toast, “Confusion to our enemies,” has become the campaign strategy of confusing the masses so they will cling to a “strongman” who claims to be the only one who can save them. “Deutschland Uber Ales” has been warped into the ruse of “Make America Great Again.” That isn’t the real objective either. It is “Screw the masses and make the rich even richer.”
Social Darwinists claim cream rises to the top. Haven’t you heard this old argument; take the money from the rich and give it to the poor and in a few years the rich would have it back again. Where did the rich get it? Not every immigrant came here rich. From Andrew Carnegie to Albert Einstein to Abraham Lincoln and millions of others; they rose from poverty by merit and work, not birthright.
Don’t be confused by the turmoil and tweets of a delusional megalomaniac. Keep an eye on the real action going on under the table.
Deregulation isn’t taking place to streamline efficiency. It is opening the gates of profiteering and undetected corruption. Allowing coal companies to discharge to streams isn’t sound environmentalism. Allowing known toxins to go unregulated isn’t good for public health but it improves the bottom-line of a few chemical manufacturers.
Withdrawing from the Paris Accord isn’t protecting American jobs and the economy. It makes America a liar and a fraud. It creates distrust among friendly nations, and causes developing nations to look elsewhere for help. Germany has stepped up to the plate in Europe, and China is eager to become the leader in Asia and Africa.
Removing banking regulations simply puts America on that boom and bust economic rollercoaster. It’s boom for the billionaires and bust for the laboring classes who lose homes and jobs.
A $110+ billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia is more than the military budget of any nation in the world except the U.S. Saudi Arabia immediately began to act out against nations with differing religious beliefs. How does this stabilize the Middle East and secure U.S. interests?
Our Secretary of Education wants charter schools and argues that it will offer greater opportunity for excellence. For whom? Rich neighborhoods get good schools while the poor get put back in the ghetto. Good schools get science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while poor charter schools are lucky to get the 3Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic. Secretary Betsy DeVos is a billionaire who has preached segregation her entire public life under the false premise that it increases “access.” Access… if you can afford it.
Blackwater’s Eric Prince is Betsy DeVos’s brother. He held secret meetings in the Indian Ocean to establish a Trump-Putin back channel.
The GOP health plan is also sold under the argument that instead of “affordability” it offers greater “access.” Again “access” is only to those who can afford it.
I watched President Trump’s first full Cabinet meeting and was appalled at the craven fawning by those who should be advising the President. Instead, they bowed and scraped as if addressing a Caesar. Each pledged absolute fealty, and the privilege of serving his Majesty.
U.S. leadership is so distorted by the weird, outrageous behavior that has become the norm. Collaboration with the enemy is not treason but the new diplomacy. Don’t trust 17 of your own intelligence agencies. Believe every word coming out of Breitbart and Fox News. Interfering with an investigation by firing the head of the agency conducting the investigation doesn’t even raise an eyebrow among Trump loyalists or the brown-nosing Cabinet.
Many of the problems of history and the Anthropocene can be blamed on an excess of testosterone. However, looking at Trump’s Cabinet members genuflect around that antique table indicates a distinct lack of it.
W. Douglas Smith is an environmental scientist, environmental diplomat, explorer, educator and a retired Senior Compliance Investigator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked for 36 years.