Friday, December 30, 2016



                                                   How  weird  will  things  get?

For Progressives wanting to stay rational and avoid emotionalism and other distractions,
the evaluation of Trump is best done, at least for now, on an
issue-by-issue basis. Here are many of the key issues to watch for, and see the results of,
in order to evaluate Trump in the most honest and fact-based way.


****  ---- Issues where Trump might possibly accomplish positive results (from a
                      Progressive/Populist perspective).

**** ---- Issues where Trump might get into especially BIG trouble, with explosive results.

---- Issues where a bad result, for Progressives, is to be expected

 ???  or  ??? ---- Indicates further uncertainty on this issue


Deportations----If Trump only tries to deport violent felons, there will be little backlash.

                           But if he moves ahead with aggressive plans to deport millions, expect all hell
                           to break loose, with public mass-demonstrations, possible riots and
                           violent police actions.

                           Also, a huge, messy, unprecedented legal and funding battle between
                           "Sanctuary Cities" and the Federal Government could ensue.

Muslim Registry----If it goes beyond actual terrorism suspects, this is just flat-out unconstitutional                                      (i.e. listing "dangerous" people based solely on Religion/country-of-origin).

.                                If Trump tries to do this, the fight could be enormous, vicious, and complicated.

 Could Standing Rock become a bloodbath under Trump?

Standing Rock----Although it is not on the radar specifically as a "People vs Trump" issue, yet,
                 Standing Rock has the potential of being super-explosive right away
                 for Trump, if he handles it too violently. Although he has reportedly
                 divested his $1/2-Million interest in the pipeline, he has said
                 he supports its construction.

                 Could there be an unprecedented confrontation coming at Standing Rock?

                 There has already been violence and some serious injuries among
                 protestors hurt by heavily-equipped security forces, and that
                 was under a President who as trying to calm the situation.

                 How different will things be under President Trump?

                 If there is a violent confrontation there, and Trump is seen as an enabler of
                 authoritarian aggression, he could exacerbate some really deep divisions
                 in the country.

                 And if there were, god forbid,
                 fatalities (as with the 4 students shot dead at Kent State in 1970),
                 then a Standing Rock bloodbath would bring an extreme public reaction and
                 severely polarize America.

                 For now, Legal and Environmental-related delays of the pipeline have
                 forestalled more clashes.
                 But the situation could change under Trump, and become combustible very quickly.

                 See this post from The Suspicionist: (LINK)


TPP----The stifling of TPP in the recent lame-duck session has been attributed
          to the effect of Trump's election, and that is decidedly a good thing.

          The only trouble is --------It's not dead yet.
          "fast-track" is good for 6 years.
          That is, the damn thing could still be voted thru lickedy-split
          any time before 2023.
          In order to prevent that, Trump would have
          to formally pull-out of the agreement, which he has said he wants to do. Hopefully,
          he will, and TPP will finally be dead. But not before.
          Keep watching this issue. If Trump kills TPP once
          and for all, that is a very good thing.

          But, if he doesn't, you have to wonder---Why not?


**** Renegotiating NAFTA----Trump has clearly and repeatedly said he wants to do this, so                                                                   this is yet another of the, "will he actually do what he said"                                                                     issues.
                              If NAFTA is re-negotiated, the main
                              thing to remove from the pact, FOREVER, are the especially horrid
                              ISDS Provisions (which are further advanced in TPP), that can actually
                              negate sovereign law. Getting rid of ISDS would be a great thing, no matter
                              who does it.

                              Other aspects of NAFTA , like Rules-Of-Origin, loose Environmental and Labor
                              regulations, Procurement Chapter undermining of "Buy America Laws", etc,
                              need changes as well.

                              What will Trump do on NAFTA?
                              Regardless of his words, one can only guess at what Trump's priorities will be.

Prescription Drug Prices----Trump submitted a plan last Spring to reduce the price
                                                of Prescription drugs by allowing foreign drug manufacturers to                                                             compete with domestic drug companies. Even though                                                                                               this sounds like
                                                a solid "free-market" idea, this goes against GOP (pro-corporate)                                                           orthodoxy on the issue. Indeed, the GOP, along with 13 Democrats,                                                       voted in January, 2017, to NOT PERMIT competition for prescription                                                                  drugs from Canada in the US, which is close to the above described plan presented by Trump. 
                                                More recently, he has suggested Medicare negotiate drug prices
                                                directly with pharmaceutical companies, which the GOP has always                                                                        opposed, although many Democrats, Progressives especially, 
                                                have strongly advocated for this.

                                                Will Trump go against the GOP on this issue, and help millions of                                                                          Americans better afford their needed medications?

                                                We shall see.

Supreme Court Appointments----Forget it. Nothing good for Progressives here.
                                                         Trump has already submitted his list of rightwingers and
                                                         old-school ultra-conservative activist-religious types.
                                                         And he's got both Senate and House to help him.

                                                         Hopefully, he will only make one appointment----To replace
                                                         Scalia.  That will be bad enough for Progressives.

                                                         If he gets to appoint more than one, however, then
                                                         look for the court to become even more corporatist and socially
                                                         regressive than we have seen in our lifetimes.



Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid----On the campaign trail, Trump said repeatedly he                 wanted to protect and not harm SS and Medicare.
                                           However, his cabinet is chock full of Oligarch-types
                                           who are not supporters of those social programs, so it
                                           looks like those statements were false. This is an area
                                           where Trump could directly hurt millions of his own                                                                                  voters by cutting/privatizing these programs, which was                                                                           not what he said he would do during the campaign.
                                           It is well-known the GOP has long wanted to privatize
                                           SS (GW Bush tried and failed in his attempt in 2005).

                                           Whether Trump will stand in
                                           their way on this issue, and protect benefits, as he implied he would
                                           (see video near bottom of page) is anyone's guess.

                                           This could go either way, with cutting/damaging these                                                                            programs seeming more likely. If he goes that way, how                                                                          much support he will lose as a result, will say a lot                                                                                  about how much his supporters will go along with, even                                                                          if it represents a betrayal of campaign-promises,
                                           and hurts them personally, as well.             

                                             ACA (ObamaCare)----Not much to say here; It won't be good.              
                                                                  Trump has already vowed to repeal it.

                       As a Progressive, I have always criticized the fact the ACA is based 
on corporate (health insurance company) profits. Still, it was
                definitely better than what we had before (i.e. nothing). Unfortunately,
       we should expect the ACA to be all. or at least partly, repealed. 

Any way you slice it, millions of people are going to be losing coverage,
or at least receiving much-reduced coverage. 

The time-span is the key unknown here.
There may well be a 
                                                      "delayed-action" of a couple years, or some supplementary                                           funds added temporarily, just to minimize the immediate impact,
        and dampen public outcry. 

                  But it looks like ACA will be mostly gone. The after-effect, for
                both the Country and the GOP, are unknown at this time.

                What is also unknown is what, if anything, will the GOP 
put in the ACA's place?

AT&T Acquisition Of Time-Warner----Trump has said he wants to block it; He's right on this one.

                                   Let's hope he does find a way to block it. If he does, and he also takes action
                                   to block OTHER big corporate mergers, that would be all to the good.

                                   Would the mainstream Democrats dare oppose him on this? Really?

                                   All true Progressives would be anxious to help Trump on this issue.

Infrastructure Spending----This is another good thing Trump could accomplish (Congress
                           ironically, severely limited what Obama wanted to do in 2009).

                           If it goes above $1-Trillion,
                           this could really help the country a great deal----As long as it does
                           not rely on tax-credits, and spreads
                           the money around fairly --- In other words, not concentrated in "red" states, or
                           areas of mainly white population ---Moves like that could further divide the country,
                           and would be counter-productive.
                           Local communities should be able to decide how
                           the money is used, within parameters, and the money allocated should not be                                        showered on big-ticket projects benefitting Trump or his cronies, which would                                      constitute an inflammatory conflict-of-interest.

                           Also, the money should simply be allocated, and not tied-up in corporate-friendly                                "public-private partnerships" where public money is basically used to create a
                           for-profit resource (bridge, highway, park, etc) belonging to private interests.
                           Given Trump's history as a developer, this is a danger sign to watch out for.

Keeping Jobs in America----The Carrier deal has turned out to be a rather inflated show-piece.
                           Nevertheless, it did save about 800 jobs. But it depended on tax-giveaways,
                           which are not practical in most Cases. If Trump really is a "tough" guy,
                           then he can be tough with Corporations who want to leave the country
                           by hitting them with his proclaimed 35% tariff, as he promised
                           to many audiences.
                           We'll see if he has the guts to actually do it.

                           Due to systemic changes in American corporations who manufacture offshore,                                      substantive results will likely still be minimal in this area.

                           The real challenge would be to grow jobs in vast new US industries
                           to employ, and sell to, a large new American middle class. That is probably
                           way too much to expect.

                           As time goes by, the regular sources will reveal the truth, as in
                           the Bureau Of Labor Statistics regular reports on payroll jobs added
                           per month and per year.

                           Check it here (link):


Iran Policy----WAR?? Several of Trump's key military and state dept advisors are radical
               in their hostility to Iran and inclination for military intervention in that country.

               Trump himself, ominously, has talked tough about Iran, and has even said he
               wants to tear-up the Iran Agreement. This makes IRAN probably the #1 concern
               for all those who worry about the possibility of a Trump War.

               How a war with Iran would sit with Russia, however,
               is a huge question, and could be pivotal here.

                                         Can Trump and Putin make peace together?
Relations with Russia----Much is said about how close Trump seems to Russia/Putin, and the
                         hacking controversy has just added fuel to the fire. But the
                         US and Russia have been increasingly at odds for various reasons
                         including Ukraine, Crimea, NATO policy, encirclement of Russia by US bases,
                         Syria, and the competing pipelines issue (totally blacked-out in US media), etc.

                         If Trump smoothes our relations with Russia, and a new cold war is avoided,
                         that would be an unequivocally good thing.

                         If Trump can be part of an expanded peace
                         agreement involving many countries,
                         that would be a positive milestone, and make
                         the Democrats (who proclaim Putin will manipulate Trump),
                         look like war-mongers in comparison.
Relations with China----Trump has said more negative things about China than almost every other                           country except Iran. Does Trump have some plan to keep Russia and China from
                        becoming stronger allies (as those 2 countries seem to want to do lately)?
                        Has he planned some actions,
                        military or economic, against China? Does he have a plan at all?

                        Again, the winner here for all of us is economic stability and LESS chance of war.
                        Was his "insult" to the Chinese (talking to Taiwan) intentional,
                        or strategy? Could Trump be a bull in a china shop (no pun intended) on
                        this issue, and make serious diplomatic mistakes here?

                        This one's hard to read. The Obama administration has already been
                        building-up our military presence around China. Will Trump continue
                        on this aggressive path?

                        Also, if Trump takes a "soft"/peace-oriented approach with Russia, will he feel                                       compelled, as a balance, to be tough on China to placate the hawkish 
                        gov't insiders of the Deep-State?

                        Trump's relationship to the Neocons, who have dominated US Foreign policy since the                         mid-90s, is a mystery at this point, and a key inside-story on how the Trump                                           Administration will behave on the International stage.

NATO bases in Europe, Asia and North Africa

 NATO Policy----Hard to totally separate from Russian relations. Under Clinton/Bush/Obama, we                              have been expanding NATO bases relentlessly, which Russia considers,                                                understandibly, a threat. Cutting-back on NATO bases a bit would be a nice                                          bargaining chip to use with Russia to achieve greater stability in the region.

                         Trump has actually been critical of NATO, which is refreshing to hear from an                                      American politician. Is there any substance behind Trump's campaign                                                    pronouncements on this important and complex issue?

                         Will Trump be able to defy numerous people in the Government, including
                         members of his own Party in changing, or at least adjusting, the present US
                         policy course on NATO?

                        Will Trump go for stability here by limiting NATO, or will he settle for merely asking                               NATO allies to put-in more fund$?
                         This is a huge issue, intimately connected to our relationship with Russia.
                         Good results are possible here. But there are many obstacles as well, both
                         outside, and within, the US government.

                                             Soon-to-be Attorney General, Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Sessions' effects on the country----Expect little action on Civil Rights cases
                                           from this Good 'ole Boy.

                                           Also, Sessions is a renowned marijuana-hater with
                                           a propensity to crack down on it bigtime. If he goes hard after
                                           dispensaries in the "legal" states (esp "blue" states like
                                           CA), expect some nasty confrontations ahead.
                                           He would also not be expected to be supportive of LGBT issues
                                           or abortion rights.

                                           As Attorney General,  he will be heavily-involved in any Immigrant                                                         round-ups or Muslim registry, and could possibly play a major role at
                                          the  Standing Rock confrontation .
                                           If Sessions goes completely old-school law and order-type, and becomes
                                           the Federal equivalent of hardline Arizona Sheriff
                                           Joe Arpaio, expect Session's term to be disruptive and very messy.
                                           And possibly, short.

Child Care and Paid Leave----Trump has made a proposal involving 6 weeks paid plus a tax break.
                                                    (see link near bottom of page)
                                                    Will he defy some in his own party and actually push it?

                                                    Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, among others,                                                             would certainly help him on this issue, as long as any actual Bill in                                                         Senate & House would treat these as distinct issues, and not                                                                   have attached "poison-pill" sections or carry undesirable riders.



Military Budget----Trump has said he wants to BOOST our spending on what already is the biggest                      and most expensive military in the world, by far. On its face, this seems crazy.

                  What we really need is to re-organize,
                   cut-back at least somewhat, and make our military spending far more efficient,
                   so it serves MILITARY needs, and not just the rapacious desires of  the                        
                   contractors who always hunger for huge, dazzling, ultra-expensive                                                        weapons systems, regardless of their actual effectiveness. It is doubtful that Trump's                            thoughts on this subject are even that complex.
                   Will he go for efficiency, cut the military budget, and, perhaps, use the money
                   for infrastructure?
                   Will he give-in and support more big-ticket items to satisfy the arms industry?

                   Also, will Trump be willing to push the National Debt up a large amount, in
                   order to boost the military budget? This could be a limiting factor, or perhaps not,
                   since the GOP doesn't seem to mind deficits so much when they are in power.


                                 Don't expect much environmental progress under Trump

Environmental Protection----Sorry, but with the wall-to-wall Industry-types Trump's put in, what                                                       other result could there be but BAD ones. This issue, along with                                                             energy policy and Interior Department issues (leasing of Federal                                                       Lands, etc) could get very ugly.

                                                  At this time, it looks like a bunch of hungry foxes will be in charge
                                                  of the henhouse.

                                                  Look for already modest regulations to be stripped, and Public lands                                                     to be handed-over to private interests as much as possible.
                                                  Much pessimism for Progressives here.

                                                      Trump, with Betsy Devos

Public Education----Same as the last one--Very pessimistic outlook.
                    Another issue of "corporate infiltration".

                    With Betsy DeVos in there (a longtime enemy of Pub Ed) as Sec Of Ed, what
                    else could possibly be expected but an all-out attack on Pub Ed, in any ways possible.

                    She is seen as a Conservative Christian activist, which is an added element in
                    influencing policy.

                    Wishfully hoping the likes of DeVos will nurture Pub Ed is like hoping a crocodile will
                    live on kale. Look for a big emphasis on vouchers, charter schools, and other
                    fund$-draining, pro-privatization tools to use against Public Ed, nationwide.

Financial Regulation----On the campaign trail, Trump spoke favorably about the 
Glass-Steagall Act.
                        Apparently, that was all BS. He has loaded his administration up with Wall-Streeters,                           and the talk now is that even the relatively mild Dodd-Frank
                        Regulation will be lifted.

                        Looks like even happier days are here again.
                        For the Banksters. Not so much for ordinary Americans desiring a stable,
                        honest banking system.



Personality and Leadership Style----Trump's style seemingly is not one that lends itself to                                                                               reconciliation, or introspection, or healing.

                                    He is all about bluster, intimidation, and loud proclamations.

                                    The one positive tool he's got is his humor---He can be
                                    genuinely funny at times, but tends to use his humor more as
                                    a sarcastic weapon than as a unifying energy.

                                    It is hard to imagine him trying
                                    to soothe the Nation after a terrible tragedy, or using words and
                                    persuasiveness to inspire unity in times of division.
                                    In fact, this area could be one where he is seen as a huge failure.

                                    How he handles different crises, and how he speaks to America about 
                                    them, will be the true test of his communication, and leadership skills.

                                    Can he change, and adapt?
                                    Is he just a "1-trick" Reality-TV Showman, or can he comfort, or reassure,
                                    or inspire a Nation in need of a "pep talk", as Presidents sometimes
                                    need to give?

                                    Does he really have the versatility or wide-vision
                                    to lead and inspire anyone else
                                    besides his already rabid supporters?

                                    How broad, or narrow, is his political skillset, really?

                                    Another big question: Is Trump a disingenuous Populist?

                                    Did he really mean some of those populist things he said on the 
                                    campaign trail?
                                    They certainly got a lot of loud cheers from his followers at the time.

                                    Will Progressives and economic populists ultimately find anything to
                                    be happy about in Trump's policies?

                                    He, and his character, will surely be revealed, in all these areas, and more,
                                    by the challenges ahead.

                                    The endless theorizing about Trump is about to end.

                                    Test-time is fast-approaching.


  Links and Videos:





Trump Promises to Deliver on Child Care and Paid Leave

Will Trump's Education Agenda Be Extremist? 




Senate Democrats' hopes for populist alliance with Trump fizzle

As Trump Administration Approaches, Cities & Towns Prep for Political Resistance




As Inauguration-Day approaches, Progressives may be wary about Trump's cabinet selections, but this cartoon gently satirizes the 
very real hopes of many actual Trump voters ...


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