by Andrew Kliman and Anne Jaclard
Donald “The Art of the Deal” Trump lost—bigly. Despite his threats against Republicans who refused to vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and despite his ultimatum that he was done negotiating and the bill had to be voted on immediately, the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives withdrew the bill yesterday afternoon, and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, conceded on national television that Obamacare remains “the law of the land” for the foreseeable future.
It had become clear that Trump would fail to get the bill through the Senate, where the Republican majority is slim. But he also failed to get it through the House, where they have a whopping majority. He even failed in his effort to force through a vote of the AHCA, even though it would lose, so that he would have a record of which Republican representatives to persecute for daring to defy him. In the end, he acquiesced to Ryan’s plea that the bill be withdrawn, thereby allowing some Republicans to avoid taking responsibility for depriving their constituents of their health insurance, and others to avoid taking responsibility for passing something less extreme than the total elimination of all features of Obamacare.
Millions march to stop Trump;
women lead in self-mobilization
On January 21, less than one day after Donald Trump–self-proclaimed sexual assailant and virulent authoritarian, xenophobe, and racist—was inaugurated as U.S. president, an unprecedented and unexpectedly huge outpouring of humanity, for humanity, rose up in demonstrations against him. Throughout the country and around the world, between three-and-a-half and five million people served notice to him and his government that we will not sit idly by as he tries to take away our rights, freedoms, and well-being.
Although the Women’s March on Washington refrained from officially declaring that it was a march against Trump and Trumpism—and although Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, had the audacity to claim that it was not—no one was fooled, least of all Trump himself. The Washington Post reported that he “grew increasingly and visibly enraged” as he watched “massive demonstrations around the globe protesting his day-old presidency.” He lamely tried to divert attention from this gigantic rejection of his rule by forcing Spicer to publicize the lie that the crowd Trump drew the day before was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.”
Lately, some U.S. media have voiced criticism of the term “alt right” and have shown a little interest in exposing the extent of “fake news” going around.
On the first, I am happy to see people condemning the term “alt right” because it makes those crusaders for un-freedom sound as if they were a tendency within the Republican Party, which they were not before Trump captured the party; their form of reaction goes far beyond even the Tea Party wing of the Republicans. The criticism is that the term sounds makes the alt-right sound respectable, as if comparable to some new break-away form in music.
The undisputed essence of the “alt right” readily supplies a name for it: white supremacism. Its members unashamedly parrot and accept the backing of the Ku Klux Klan and other militant racist groups—anti-Black, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant, groups that the “mainstream media” had treated as disgraceful remnants of U.S. history for the past 50 years. Now, courtesy of Trump, these groups are treated by many as legitimate players on the political field.
The mainstream media also just discovered the extent of “fake news” that appears on the internet, on TV and in newspapers. This should have long been obvious to everyone who is not so committed to right-wing propaganda that they believe the fake news, and call the real news fake. Unfortunately, many people believe the most absurd nonsense, in spite of recent admissions from Russian web posters that they were paid by their government to create fake websites and stories for the U.S. market, the more outrageous the stories, the better.
The problem of fake news received some attention today because a man with a rifle was apprehended shooting up a pizzeria in Washington, D.C. He claimed he had come to free children who were hidden in the basement for the purpose of being sexually abused by Hillary Clinton. He had read about it on the internet.
The store doesn’t even have a basement, and the owner has no idea why he was targeted. He’s just glad he’s still alive.
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