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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/24/17

"Trump: The 'Shift' and the Ruling Class"

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Back in the 1940's, when I first started getting interested in (U.S.) football, there were two common backfield formations in use: the "single-wing " and the "T-formation ." Some teams used both, in different situations, just as in modern football teams will use both the "I," with the quarterback standing directly behind the center, as in the "T" (which passed into football history many years ago) and the "spread ," in recent years called the "shotgun," with the quarterback standing off the line-of-scrimmage and receiving the ball from the center via a short, between-the-legs pass, as in the old single-wing. The change will sometimes come after the play-clock has started running, with the team in one formation until the quarterback calls "shift," when the move to the other formation is made. Easier to watch than to explain, but you could look it up.

Trump. Ah but what?  Well, RT knows.
Trump. Ah but what? Well, RT knows.
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Well, Trump has made a major shift in the last couple of weeks, as just about everyone watching knows. In foreign policy, he has gone very quickly from "America first" to the American military first and intervening in foreign wars first. In recognizing (more likely accepting than really understanding what is going on) he has gone from NATO-critic to NATO supporter. Most importantly he has gone from "man, Putin is the man" to "Russia? Friend? Are you kidding me?" Thus, on major issues, especially in the foreign policy realm, "SHIFT" is heard loud and clear. And on the domestic side, for "shift" openers, whatever happened to that national infra-structure plan we were going to see on "Day One?'

Further on the domestic policy side, other shifts are occurring too, although with the exception of the substitute Trumpcare for Obamacare failure, they haven't been as dramatic. "Tax reform" (which in Trump-Repub. lingo means "more tax cuts for the rich, which they were supposed to get in the Obama-Trumpcare shift but didn't) has had to have been put off. It really is complicated, not because the details are totally beyond Trump but because if you want to see lobbyists going at it hammer and tong, just wait until Trump and Congress get to this one, if they ever do.

Then there are the mis-named "entitlements" you know, like Social Security which people pay into over the course of their working lives, but the Repubs. still call a gift because A) they would like to privatize it (need those profit-centers you know) and B) they absolutely do not want to do the simple thing that could guarantee funding for the program to something like 2060: raise the income limit on which the Social Security tax is paid, as so often proposed by Bernie Sanders. Trump vowed to save them, but the Repubs. still want to severely damage them, and with the Trump "shifts" going on, hey, you never know. And then of course there's Bannon shift from "far-right wing propagandist on the National Security Council" to "Steve who?" And others as well.

But certain things haven't shifted. First of all, the cabinet was filled with echt representatives of the ruling class: BY HIS APPOINTMENTS THOU SHALT KNOW HIM.

Then, indeed there is a mass deportation program underway, even separating parents and little children. Betsy DeVos has just started her massive assault on the public education system. Planned Parenthood is in the misogynists' bulls-eye. The Gorsuch appointment may very well herald reversal of Roe v. Wade no matter how loudly the Judge proclaimed his allegiance to precedent. (Well, rules are made to be broken, aren't they?) Obama rules designed to protect transgender people are being lifter as fast as the White House homophobes can get to them.

A variety of "religious freedom" cases are being pressed, although what such cases really mean is that their Republican promoters desperately want the government to promote and support one particular religious viewpoint as against all others, through the use of the criminal and civil law. And then there is the massive attack on "gumint regulation" which in the long run is going to end up killing lots of individuals through various kinds of poisonings and injuries. A whole bunch of foxes are going to be guarding the government regulatory chicken coops that protect individual health, workplace equity and safety, safe water supply, clean air, and so on and so forth. That this policy also has a good chance of killing the planet as we know it through not only the abandonment of any campaign to deal with climate change but also through the aggressive expansion of the use of fossil fuels seems not to be on the Trump agenda of concerns.

So what is going on? On the major economic issues of concern to the economically dominant sector of the ruling class, Trump is shifting, rapidly. He was always there on regulation (which he has hated ever since his Dad put him into the real estate business). But Russia, NATO, the use of US force overseas, and etc. NOT. "Economic nationalism" (if it was ever anything more than a cover for Bannon-Breitbart racism-Islamophobia-xenophobia and covert anti-Semitism) is out, literally and figuratively. And so on and so forth.

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
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