Discord and sour notes

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We’ll soon see just who’s got fun. And I’d make book on the fact that it won’t be the majority of us. This particular little song, repeated here in part, was a mainstay through the 1920s, when Donald Trump’s father Fred was getting his real estate empire under way.

The song came out in 1921. Eight years later (the year I was born) the Wall Street crash announced the arrival of the Great Depression—and the country’s number-one song hit soon became “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

See YouTube with Al Jolson (well illustrated): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4yT0KAMyo

Steve Crosby, former chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party, wrote recently of the epiphany he experienced when he turned to ignoring what people said about Donald Trump and listened to what he had to say for himself instead (like on his web site). But the contradiction I see there is that what people have been saying about Donald already is based on what he himself has been saying—plus what he’s actually been doing. The arrogant manner in which he campaigned, his unchecked rudeness and vulgarity, the appointments to his cabinet and related positions, his continuing obsession with his personal image, his inane un-Presidential tweeting . . . 

Donald’s been lie and deny from the beginning, and I’ve seen no change at all along the way in either his demeanor or what he has planned for the country (and the rest of the world).

However, the guano has not yet been tossed directly into the fan. The nation must first endure the smug strutting of the Trump clan through what probably will be one of the most-expensive inauguration parties in U. S. history--with Donald claiming that it illustrates how the public loves him. 

It’s not love, Donald, when you pay for it.

Meanwhile, I think our president-elect has saved some of the worst for the last with his appointments. A Secretary of State who’s the CEO of Exxon Mobile and in bed with Vladimir Putin, an ambassador to Israel who is despised by both liberal Jews and Palestinians in general--and a Secretary of the Interior who has advocated more drilling and mining on public lands and is a skeptical of Global Warming (as is the nominee for head of the Environmental Agency). 

Trump appointments so far all pander to fossil fuel development and the accumulators of great wealth. All signs point to such general things as elimination of government in all forms of health care, deregulation for banking and industry, disregard for the working class and the impoverished, etc. I fear that not enough of the public have any idea how much damage Trump can do in a couple of years with Republicans in control of every branch of government.  And we’ll have a pretty slim shot at fixing anything much at all in the 2018 mid-term election, when Senate seats on the ballot will be those held by 23 Democrats, 2 independents—and only 8 Republicans. 

It’s the seeming low-hanging fruit, I feel, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that will be one of the first sought harvests of money-oriented conservatives. ANWAR is the largest protected wilderness in the United States and was created by Congress under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. Section 1002 of that act deferred a decision on the management of oil and gas exploration and development of 1,500,000 acres. President Barack Obama has proposed declaring an additional 5 million acres of the refuge as a wilderness area, which would put a total of 12.8 million acres of the refuge permanently off-limits to drilling or other development, including the coastal plain where oil exploration has been sought. His executive power has been the last bastion of defense in recent years against a Republican Congress easily wooed by oil lobbyists. 

As I was readying to post this, the media announced that President Obama was attempting to thwart offshore drilling in ANWR with presidential authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953. He appears to be on solid ground and is being supported by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But let’s remember that the ninth and perhaps tie-breaking member of the U. S. Supreme Court soon will be appointed by Donald Trump—who already plans to make the CEO of Exxon Mobil Secretary of State (and appoint anti-environmentalists to Interior and the EPA). And I don’t know if inshore drilling would remain a feasible option for the oil-oriented to pursue.

Those of you unacquainted with the Arctic wilderness home of caribou and polar bears can find fascinating information merely by googling ANWR. I can’t believe so many Americans in effect voted to allow trashing of one of earth’s few remaining pristine wilderness areas.

A note in memory of anti-environmentalist James Watt, Interior Secretary 1981-’83: This Reagan appointee once infamously bifurcated the American people into ‘liberals and Americans,’ made another regrettable quip featuring ‘a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple,’ and seemed to invoke religion as justification for his policies. In a job that requires balancing the protection of natural resources with harnessing the commercial potential of federal land, Watt was viewed by many as favoring development over preservation. Among the acts environmentalists decried: leasing massive tracts of land to coal-mining companies (the amount quintupled during his tenure) and opening up large swaths of the outer continental shelf to offshore oil drillers.” Yes, I remember well old “if you’ve seen one squirrel you’ve seen them all.”

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