America First: Trump’s 100 Days of ‘Shock and Awe’

A history lesson shows the days of this Trump administration can be compared to the America First isolationist party during WWII and the FDR years.
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Shock and Awe is being widely used to describe the daily “blitzkrieg” of lawful but not legal directives and extralegal pronouncements emanating from the current occupant of the White House and his minions. The actions contained within them will soon affect all American citizens and most inhabitants of the “civilized” world. Commentators in South and Central America say Trump acts like a “caudillo” or strongman; the Arab world says welcome to the daily protests of “the Arab Spring” and the following repression. It is all reminiscent of the U.S.’s last dalliance with paranoid isolationism, the America First movement of the late 1930s.

The man appears to be mentally ill, suffering from a mental disorder or a learning disability. Entitlement and privilege can mean that nobody has ever told you, in forceful terms, “No”. He continues to talk about serious issues in the manner of a 12 year old adolescent, saying what he wants to believe to be true.

The Republicans will have a lot to answer for and their moderate elements will end up joining with Democrats to impeach Trump or whatever process can force him out. But only after he does more damage to the process of Constitutional Democracy and the country’s institutions until his actions affect the voters who allowed him access to these powers. That is the good news.

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The other good news is that resistance is rising but it must remain consistent, using viable not reactive strategies and hit back as often as possible. Every group he attacks needs to be supported with all citizens responding in every available format and at venues all over the country instead of being bullied. If the GOP wants to remain the GOP and save face with the American people, they need a dialogue with practical elements of the left, Democrats and more so the Independents.

The 11.9 event basically is now a corporate coup d’état. Fascism has been described as the merger of state and corporate power, in this American version corporate heads are installed in the very departments that are supposed to regulate that industry on the behalf of consumers, families and citizens. The “jobs” aspect is complicated because most of the manufacturing jobs are not coming back, areas like coal have no market, and automation is the future for many jobs, and the health care industry no one knows what’s going on yet. Social safety nets will be shredded affecting all people, all families, veterans and active military families. Any foreign trade wars will affect domestic jobs and raise prices on goods here and overseas. These are domestic issues that cause economic pain but the international issues brought on by isolationism are actually dangerous. But first a history lesson.

There was a plan for a coup by right wing business elements to overthrow the Roosevelt administration in the 1930’s. It has been referred to as Wall Street’s Failed Coup of 1934, instigated by The American Liberty League involving “the DuPont and J.P Morgan cartels with support from Andrew Mellon Associates, Pew (Sun Oil), Rockefeller Associates, E.F. Hutton Associates, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Chase, Standard Oil and Goodyear Tires. Also involved was Prescott Bush and Brown Brothers Harriman,” and the story later continues with “Henry Ford, Tom Watson of IBM and Adolf Hitler.” Ex-Marine General Smedley Butler was approached by the cabal but he went directly to President Roosevelt. The New York Times promoted the American Liberty League on its front pages and TIME Magazine ridiculed General Butler. But World War II changed the political landscape and within a few years an isolationist party named America First appeared.

The hatred of FDR’s social reforms and his New Deal legacy by extreme conservatives continues to this day. Yet FDR’s handling of the economy during the war years (where he coerced business and industry to go along with his war effort) led to the golden age of the America that became “the Great” that Trump now seeks to reiterate.

Trump is not a student of history, or much of anything, except short-form media. America First was the manifesto of that isolationist party during the 40’s but its legacy is tainted by pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish allegations. It was an alliance of isolationists, intellectuals, pacifists, communists, and the German-American Bund, as most did not want to the revisit the horrors of WWI plus there was the issue of European war debt to America; and Washington’s farewell speech of foreign entanglements is always used to rationalize isolationist agendas. Trump probably did not know this, but Steve Bannon surely did. Bannon’s influence is now all over Trump utterances starting with his plagiarized Dark Knight Rises inaugural references and his “blitzkrieg” Presidential directives that still must meet the scrutiny of the rule of law.

The War Machine of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex does not run on solar, wind and renewable energy and this regime seems intent on causing even more chaos in the international arena by stating up front its intent to “pirate” oil from former client states. The unconstitutional immigration policies of the new America First run counter to recruiting the brightest for America’s new technologies; its entire top State Department officers all quit or were fired and with idiot directives emanating from Washington combined with missing intelligence on the ground, will make for a dangerous foreign policy. The winners appear to be the Islamic State by the negative treatment of all Muslims by this new immigration directive, even if IS faces imminent destructive force they will probably gain new recruits; China will gain in economic influence and Russia will do what it does best, “meddle” in the affairs of its neighbors to add more territory along its borders.

If we look at only one controversial cabinet appointee, Betsy DeVos’ family entanglements includes her brother Erik Prince and his mercenary corporation Blackwater, which made hundreds of millions in contracts through Halliburton, et al, during the Iraq War providing “security contracts”. The State Department chaos will put American citizens and business concerns overseas at risk, so Blackwater and other “security contractors” will assuredly make more money protecting US interests. If Betsy DeVos is approved as “Minister of Education” in the New America First Regime, expect indoctrination of young students for recruitment as Christian or Spiritual Warriors in the New Model Army. See how DeVos’ paid-for agenda led to an over-abundance of charter schools that mismanaged tax-payer funds due to the lack of regulation and accountability as seen in the her experiment in the Detroit school system. She has one hundred areas of potential financial conflict including a company that recovers student debt which has been charged with unethical practices. Is this what makes America Great again? Sad.

 "The New Constitution, it's time for a new revolution. The Patriot Act is the new constitution."

Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.