Cheryl Cook: Shallow promises and deep rabbit holes
Just as President Trump was conjuring up another Deep State conspiracy about a “spy” being placed by the FBI in his election campaign to benefit his opponent, a large rabbit hole opening appeared on the White House lawn.
We have followed these distracting rabbit holes in the past:
He had proclaimed President Obama was born in Kenya.
He had proclaimed Ted Cruz’s father was part of the JFK assassination.
He had proclaimed the tapping of his phone in Trump Tower by Obama.
He had proclaimed the FBI utilized illegal FISA warrants against members of his campaign.
All paths resulted in dead ends.
This American president has compulsively maligned the integrity and reputation of the free press, whose First Amendment rights are protected under our Constitution. Now his misleading claims against the FBI/DOJ further test our Constitution, which protects the independent authority of the highest law enforcement body in our nation.
When the conspiracies are debunked, Trump simply shrugs and continues playing the part of the harmless clown who entertains his supporters with juggling lie after lie. Distortion. Distraction. Deception. It’s an act.
The main event in this administration’s circus has always been to do anything to protect and secure his position by enhancing the profits of corporations and the wealthiest Americans in this country — the people who donate more to politicians than their salary.
Since former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left office, he has said, “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as a people become accepting of alternative realties that are no longer grounded in facts, then we, as American citizens, are on a path to relinquish our freedom.”
He warned Americans who “hoped for outcomes made on shallow promises.”
Trump promised that he would surround himself with the best men and drain the swamp. But he brought in more billionaires, CEOs and Wall Street moguls who appear to craft policies that favor the same industries they previously worked in and against the protection and interests of their department.
Trump promised that he would close the special interest loopholes. He said the carried interest loophole was “so good for Wall Street investors, but bad for American worker.” The carried interest loophole benefits real estate investors, hedge funds and private equity firms. He didn’t, and the loophole remains.
Trump promised that he would cut taxes and the super rich would pay more. The tax cuts for the middle class are temporary and those for the wealthiest Americans are permanent. By 2027, the richest 1 percent will receive 87 percent of the tax cut.
Trump promised that $1.5 trillion would be spent to rebuild infrastructure on our roads, bridges, railways and ports. That train is completely de-railed following the tax cuts to the wealthy and the push back from oil and gas oligarchs like the Kochs against a gas tax to raise the money needed.
Trump promised that big companies weren’t going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Carrier, Ford, GM and Harley Davidson have continued to ship jobs to Mexico and elsewhere. No consequences.
Trump promised that the tax law would create jobs and pay increases. Most of the tax credit went to shareholder buybacks. There was a record $178 billion in stock buybacks in the first three months of 2018. Walmart, for example, is paying salaries that are below the federal poverty line to workers, but paying $20 billion to shareholders.
Trump’s budget for 2018 already cut Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for children. His recently proposed rescission package would cut an additional $15 billion in already approved spending as he scrambles to make up for the deep tax cuts given to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Nearly half of those cuts would come from the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Donald Trump promised there would be no new international deals made between Trump Enterprises and foreign companies during his presidency, stating, “No new deals will be done during my term.”
In May, President Xi Jinping invested $500 million in an Indonesian project including a Trump hotel, golf course, resort, and condominiums. He threw in seven new trademarks for Ivanka Trump that will benefit her long after her father leaves office. Five days later, Trump announced the lifting of U.S. sanctions on the Chinese ZTE telecommunications company that had been guilty of egregious violations in trading with Iran and North Korea. Suddenly, Trump decreed that the U.S. Commerce Department would begin allowing the flow of American parts needed by ZTE to aid the company where too many Chinese jobs were being lost … as a personal favor to the Chinese Premier.
The Rabbit Hole strategy is an attempt to sweep you down an alternative reality. It is Donald Trump as the Mad Red Hatter forcing you to accept a cup of chaos and confusion laced with patriotism.
But forced patriotism is fascism, and Donald Trump’s is taking us all down a very dark and dangerous hole.
Cheryl Cook lives in Penn Valley.
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