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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.

So, what can we conclude? Well, a Deal has been made. The leading members of the economically dominant sector of the ruling class, including at least some members of his cabinet, likely have the goods on Trump, enough goods to lead to impeachment, even by a Republican-dominated Congress. But, they like his strong regulation-destruction policy. They didn't like his foreign policy. They do now. Since they have had so many tax cuts since Reagan, even though they didn't get the ones that were snuck into the failed Trumpcare, they decided that they can wait on further tax cuts. As long as he is a good boy on the issues central to their corporate interests, they will leave him in place. And they don't care if he burnishes his reactionary credentials on the backs of the undocumented immigrants, the African-Americans, the poor, the LGBTQ community, and so on and so forth.

Although I did think that Pence might well become President sooner rather than later, now I'm not so sure. Trump is getting to like being president, especially when he can talk about "my generals" and drop bombs with no follow-up plan as well as boast about "sending the fleet" to Korean waters (when it was still, at the time of the original announcement, safely ensconced in Indonesian waters), go to Mar-a-Lago as often as he wants to, for now at least put the Trump Royal Family in charge of running the government (even if they don't have the foggiest notion of how to go about doing that), and continue to Tweet, or at least approve what his tweet writers put before him every now and then. Of course, he still might resign if he feels that he has done just about as much Trump-brand promotion
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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)

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