Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Militant Trumpsters: How Much of It Is Hot Air?

Donald Trump and the militant Republicans have said lots of alarming things that, if they actually did them, would lead us toward a dark age from which we might never recover. But much of it might just be hot air. Here are some examples.

Anti-Muslim bias. Trump has been a very vocal attacker of Islam, in all of its forms, peaceful as well as violent. He promised to start a Muslim registry and to keep Muslims from even visiting the United States. But his pick for the United Nations, Nikki Haley, rejected this idea (see here).

Oil, oil, oil. Trump’s conservatives seem to think that America should scrap all of the progress it has made toward renewable energy production and rely totally on coal and oil. One might think that his choice for Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, would believe this also. But, although Rick Perry is one of the principal anti-environmental voices in the world today, he also promoted renewable energy (especially wind energy) when he was governor of Texas. Parts of Texas are devoted solely to oil (such as the Midland-Odessa region) while others (especially Sweetwater) have invested heavily in wind energy.

Federal land giveaway. The federal government (that is, you, the taxpayers) own millions of acres of wild lands, primarily in the west. Congressional Republicans are poised to hand over much of that land to state control (see here) which means that some states might sell it off to private interests. Trump will probably agree to this. But it appears that Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, says that there will be no selloff of federal lands. This might be a technicality—transferring land to state control is not a selloff—but it might be that Trump is just spouting rhetoric, knowing that his cabinet will not actually implement what he says.

Global warming. Trump has also famously said that global warming is a hoax—in fact, a hoax started by the Chinese. However, Ryan Zinke says that global warming is real and that he will believe what the scientists say about it (see here).

Torture. Trump campaigned on the idea that we should torture political detainees. Then, after the election, he reversed his opinion, no doubt in part due to the fact that his nominee for Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, made it clear that torture does not work (see here).

The most famous example of all is the huge wall that Trump said he would build along the border with Mexico, and make Mexico pay for it. Ha, ha, he was just joking. We all fell for it like suckers: his supporters lapped it up, his opponents such as myself got all bent out of shape.

What this means is that we have no idea what Trump will really do. Trump courted the idiot vote and got it. But when it comes to actually governing a country, he has already discovered that he cannot legally do many of the things he boasted that he would do.

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