In his first week, Donald Trump essentially has declared war not only on science but on the American people; future generations; immigrants other than East European models, escorts, hotel workers, and labor for his winery; and much of the world, particularly Mexico. Many of his executive orders are illegal — they violate standing law. For example, his Executive Order regarding both Keystone XL and DAPL.
His many victims so far, those that are not entirely oblivious to his true intents and purposes, are left having to defend themselves from authoritarian actions that are only presently illegal. To that end, he will subvert the court system and change laws. Effectively, we are being put under de facto martial law. Funny thing is this manic dunce has Congress in his pocket. He doesn’t need to make an ass of himself and us by executive excess. He does have the option of executing decency humanely. His administration is already encouraging the states to criminalize protests and protestors. Other legislation on the table is designed to censor or punish the media. So much for free speech. Whatever is in his way, he intends to change the law to suit his will, which is to say his authoritarian image. Other of his actions and policies, like freezing research funding, are simply medieval. He intends to destroy what always made America exceptional all for the sake of looking Presidential. The sad fact is that this dunce can only envision himself as leader as Destroyer of civil society and Western culture.
Most people who voted for him did so for other reasons. Generally in the negative, they voted against Hillary and the Obama legacy in a fit of passion tired of the status quo or needing someone to blame largely for imagined problems. Fits of mass hysteria are not atypical on the ground level but we do seem to be dwelling in a particularly destructive trough of national nihilism. And, we do find ourselves in the midst of the going concern of a mimetic crisis evidenced by the severe scapegoating that has broken free of its restraints in the depths to crudely sheen over the surface. “No more PC.” Astonishing.
A mimetic crisis is always resolved, assuming it will be for the sake of discussion, by a violent murder of an innocent scapegoat (likely the entire middle class along with select non-Christian immigrants and other targeted representative individuals) that theoretically should result in an eventual catharsis and then guilt whence Trump will go down in history as the worst President elected in the darkest days of modern American and World history. Or worse. Maybe Donald Trump is destined to be the End of History.
Declaring war on science is to be expected from any despot like Trump. Science is inconvenient to his present rule over the passions fixated on imaginary bogeys. It is no wonder he prefers to speak at rallies, or speak as if he is holding a rally. Rallies invoke the crowd usually in the face of the other where the only truth is the adrenaline rush from participants shedding their own guilt and other insecurities in concert by projection onto their others. Speeches at least attempt the boring truths. Trump is incapable of speeches. Even when bridled, he is prone to spit the bit. One thing is certain; no one is going to tell him anything. He knows better.
There is no sense kidding ourselves. Democracy is no longer threatened — it’s over, maybe not forever but for the foreseeable future. In a mad snap, the non-democratic election of a minority candidate — not by a slim margin — has immediately transformed itself into a coup d’état of civil government and reason (science included). There no longer is any question; Donald Trump pure and simple is an authoritarian of the fascist blot. Like Franco, Mussolini, and Hitler, he is particularly dangerous because he also is primarily asocial, a sociopath driven by his appetite for power, a mesmerizing charismatic who has lost his grip on reality. All critics are become his enemy and thus are now the enemy of the state as he imagines himself, the state, and his position over the state. He is preoccupied with his image and susceptible to dark suggestions, conspiracy theories that paint a dark fiction of American progress and the status quo. He is driven to these fictions because these dark myths are necessary to his megalomania’s needs to actualize itself, to see itself as savior. He’s got a God complex. He is the fireman who is the arsonist. He is “the law and order President” who rules by inciting passions, contrary to reason and law ever since Aristotle first made the point in writing 2,500 years ago. He is “the law and order President” who is the murderer when he points out the other to his mob as evil. His insane appetite can only witness his power by what it does to his victims, how he stands above and dictates, takes from one only pretending to give to the other. Even his so-called business acumen is limited to a medieval concept of mercantilism, the zero-sum game. That’s why he thinks of business and policy merely in terms of primitive negotiating deals — he likes the structure of him versus the other, the relatively weak, such as the family subcontractor he contractually owes who can’t match him in court for example. He’ll pick on Mexico and avoid conflict with those who can outwit him, such as Putin. He’s already allowed Putin free reign by threatening NATO, abandoning Syria while he mocks the military for its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says the generals don’t know what they are doing, we should have “sneak attacked” — Disney military strategy on the comic book level of the “Avengers.”
It is a mistake to treat all his thrusts independently. It is important for what opposition exists to coalesce. It’s all the same as defunding science when he declares we should have taken the Iraqi’s oil — because that is not only ignorant of our free market economics but a plain petty and aggressive (illegal by international law) thing to say. Oil is a commodity traded on markets. Its price is all that affects Americans generally. It makes no difference to us as Americans who sells the damn oil. Besides, corporations have not been national entities for some time. They also are more like Frankenstein’s than Romney’s legal persons these days. They are made up of many independent pieces loosely sewed together in order to shed risks and tax liabilities. We as Americans no longer even benefit from tax revenues from the oil economy. Multinational corporations and the rich, like Trump, haven’t paid taxes for years. “We should have taken the oil,” means a few of Trump’s larger quid pro quo rich donors and potential rich donors should appropriate the revenues for themselves. Those whose present day mantra is the hell with us every greed for itself.
We all know we must resist but how? He’ll make sure Bannon triggers associates to stage counter-protests as if Trump will ever consider the message of any peaceful protest. He’ll ignore the massive unrest and speak to the pitiful theatrics of the staged counter-protest.
I’m provoked to this tangential add-on comment. I am sitting here managing my despair as I try to respond the Army Corps of Engineers request for comments on scope for an EIS regarding Dakota Access. It actually is a lot of work to respond in a meaningful way. Meanwhile, Trump has issued an executive order that means to affect the process — as in end it. On the one hand, Trump usurps all environmental law and outlaws public input and on the other hand, says his decree is not intended to overrule existing law. It does however lean on the Secretary of the Army to rescind the EIS process and go back to the EA (relatively meager Environmental Assessment) — which by law should never have been adequate for a pipeline like this. It was fast-tracked last year to circumvent public input just as Dakota Access purposely circumvented holding hearings on affected Native American reservations. The reservations have essentially the same legal standing as affected States whose utility commission’s hearings are more easily manipulated by the applicant. ETP and Trump’s executive disorder disrespect the sovereignty of Native American reservations preferring to bury them, their concerns, and their sovereignty under the floorboards of some state utility commission closet. (Just in case you were still wondering why the Natives are so pissed off.) He also asks the Secretary of the Army to ignore waiting periods (that allow the public and other interested parties to conduct their own studies and comment). So here we are, we the public are compelled to rely on the good nature and understanding of the Secretary of the Army who Trump has not appointed yet. It seems reasonable to assume the issue will be discussed with prospective candidates and be part of the vetting process. If that happens, Trump succeeds in turning the US Army on its own people and leaves the courts as the only viable option left for the people, particularly the Native Americans most affected by the crossing of this highly pressurized pipe full of volatile toxic crude under one of the world’s major waterways, a federal navigable river — we all have a stake in this. Army Corps lands and the river are federal — they belong to all Americans. Meanwhile, we are waiting to hear just how bad the court system will rapidly become after refusing to fill a seat nearly a year. Roe v. Wade seems to be the eye of the storm. The environment and science will die alongside.
The pipe is to be buried beneath the river bed where a spill can’t be remediated the half-year the river is iced out. And, where it can’t be inspected by third parties as if there are any with any such authority and the resources to effectively do so. Pipeline disaster history tends to argue against the effectiveness of the paucity of existing federal regulation. We are in all vectors simply left to rely on the good nature of Energy Transfer Partners and Dakota Access (the need to create an independent organization like Dakota Access for the particular project to shield ETP and its investors from the liability of its inevitable leaks while we are all supposed to take ETP’s word that its safe — no truckers or rail workers have ever died from a pipeline leak.) ETP still claims we (it’s the public whose concern is addressed by an EIS) don’t need an EIS for a major pipeline full of unrefined crude given the what — exceptional safety outlined in ETP’s prior EA (EAs are supposed to be rare exemptions for projects having no possible environmental impact).
I am concerned because the technically sophisticated response needed now is different than the protests that initiated the EIS (the formal process asking for comments regarding the scope of the EIS that could still happen, well maybe). In fact, what’s missing in the wording of the notice published in the Federal Register makes me worry the Army Corps of Engineers still intends to accept the bulk of the prior EA. Scope they are suggesting will be covered primarily deals with contested and existing treaty rights and water intakes serving the reservation(s). Nowhere does it say that a complete EIS will be conducted (isn’t the scope of an EIS outlined by law?) Meanwhile, landowners in IOWA are asking that Iowa be included (many Iowans argue against ETP’s claims that the pipeline serves a public need and is safe. They object to ETP’s taking private land by eminent domain or forcing sales by the threat.
Now it seems like I am well off on a tangent. But if you read the EA that was approved once by the Army Corps of Engineers, you are confronted with more than a thousand pages of anti-Science, cherry-picked and written by the applicant for the Army Corps of Engineers. WTF? It’s all-out war on science, reason, and civil discourse.