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Trump Is Now Breaking His Core Promises

2017 March 17
by Ian Welsh

On January 26th, I wrote that Trump had yet to break his core promises; that his actions at that point were consistent with the major promises he had made during the election. He had ended TPP, was moving on the immigration bill, was working on the wall, and so on.

He might have lied about a lot of things, but he had yet to lie about what mattered.

However Trump made promises that lay at the core of his ur-promise, which was to make things better for those who the old economy had failed. He is now making those promises into a lie.

Trumpcare is clearly worse than Obamacare. It will not cover things Obamacare covered, will cover fewer people and will cost more.

The budget is a direct strike at the poorest and weakest and at people who voted for Trump in regions whose support he needed, like the Rust Belt. It’s one thing to “cut the state,” it’s another to cut programs that feed hungry adults and children. The extra money to the police state and military will help his people, but not as much as the cuts and the Trumpcare failure will cost them.

He has yet to move on NAFTA, a core promise.

It’s not possible for me to look at what Trump is doing and say, “This will really make a difference to his core supporters.” It won’t.

It’s quite possible than Trumpcare won’t pass, and it’s almost certain that Trump’s budget will take some huge hits before passage as well. But both indicate a failure by Trump to take his promises, and his ur-promises seriously.

Course correction is possible but unlikely. It is rare for Presidents to change from who they are during their first year: Obama never changed from the man who bailed out bankers and the rich, and fucked over small people, for example.

In one sense, this changes little. It will continue the loss of faith in the political system, continue America’s decline and continue on the glide path to the age of war and revolution our world is in. It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton, and more Americans will suffer sooner, but the trend lines remain intact.

In another sense, this is a lost opportunity, not to do the right thing, though some of what Trump promised was the right thing, but to restore some faith. Trump failing, but doing what he promised would be quite a bit different than Trump not even trying to keep his ur-promise, the same as Obama (Change!) or Bush.

So it has been, and it looks like, so it shall be.

So be it.

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128 Responses
  1. George Balanchine permalink
    March 20, 2017

    Dear Mr. Whoever-you-are,

    “So it has been, and it looks like, so it shall be.

    So be it.”

    Conclusion? Ignore politics and enjoy one’s life.

    George Balanchine

  2. March 20, 2017

    @Gaianne and @different clue

    I appreciate the resources–bookmarked for later perusal.

    That said, I’m not quite ready to go full survivalist. For one, that only works until the Feds come up with an excuse to kick in your door (see Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.). For two, that would require relocation, since I live in a semi-arid locale that’s only going to get worse water-wise according to the local climate change forecasts (yes, these can be found, if you’re persistent, for much of the world). If we’re going to relocate, we might as well move to New Zealand as somewhere more sustainable in the States.

    I’m also more optimistic that we can find some solutions that don’t require complete withdrawal from the world. I’m more cyberpunkish about the future than post-apocalyptic.

    However, I do think localism has to be a key for whatever’s next. The Federal level is broken and unsustainable. The questions then become ‘how do we help our local community thrive?” and “how do we protect ourselves from the machinations of the Federal level?”

    Some of these resources will be helpful in answering those.

  3. Peter permalink
    March 20, 2017


    The US certainly created the battleground where what became the IS developed fighting the US occupation of Iraq. The military may have erred in not separating the QA in Iraq members they captured there but there is no evidence this was intentional or part of some grand plan. Remember these AQI personnel were dedicated to blowing the legs off and life out of Infidel US soldiers which prison stopped these inmates from accomplishing for some years.

    The TFH ravers see collusion and planning everywhere but have to spin mostly meaningless occurrences as if they were the plot of some imagined and mostly hidden mind games.

    I agree with your assessment of Obama and would add Bush and Bill Clinton but the Red Queen is a different type of political creature. None of these boys had the huge cult of personality develop around them that she enjoys and as we are seeing it is a fanatical following. Facts and reality are ignored by this seething horde replaced with identifying with and desire for power.

  4. Knot Galt permalink
    March 20, 2017

    “It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton, and more Americans will suffer sooner, but the trend lines remain intact.”

    That’s one of those assumptions that one will ‘never know’. In the least, I don’t know how anyone can quantifiably provide proof or site facts that can be independently verified. (even though I understand the process has fallen out of fashion.)

    I’m not a Trump fan although I did vote for him. And I agree he has started to break many of his core promises. But one implied core promise from Trump is that he would stop Clinton and the lost hope of Obama. In this core promise, he delivered.

  5. different clue permalink
    March 20, 2017


    I am not ready to go full survivalist either. If civilization dies I expect I will die with it. I am not trained or qualified to survivalize in the woods. So I want to live lightly on the grid as my part of keeping alive the grids which keep me alive. Whether enough people could do that at the level of individual conservation lifestyling to keep the grids sustainably alive or not is unknowable to me. It is worth the effort because the worst that could happen is it won’t work, and doing nothing already won’t work anyway.

    Many of the resources pointed to can be used for conservation lifestyling in service to living lightly on the grids. The information need not be viewed useful only for total survivalism or useful for nothing at all.

  6. different clue permalink
    March 20, 2017

    @Knot Galt,

    Exactly. Trump was our Tire Iron of Justice to swing into the Evil Mouth of Clintonism. And it has worked provisionally. If the Clintons can be driven from public life as thoroughly as the Bushes have been driven, then we will have achieved something to build on.

    The next step would be to purge and burn every last little filthy Clinton cancer cell from every corner and out from under every rock of the Clintobamacrat Party. No Clinton and No Bama. Make the Clintobamacrat Party Democratic again.

  7. different clue permalink
    March 20, 2017


    A book you might find interesting is Growing Food In A Hotter Dryer Land by Gary Paul Nabhan.

    Another book called Gardening With Less Water also contains information about growing food plants in semi-arid conditions. Semi-arid, not hyper-arid. Nothing much works for hyper-arid.

    There are seed sources for hot-dry adapted seeds. Gary Paul Nabhan co-founded the ancient Indian seed rescue effort which led to the company called Native Seeds Search. He is no longer with them, but he left it in good hands.

    Circling back to Gary Paul Nabhan, he has written lots of books and things, some of them quite good.;_ylt=AwrBT9EyKtBYeSwAUgtXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZzBpYTZoBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjM2MjNfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=gary+paul+nabhan&fr=sfp

    As to interacting with the Federal Government, I consider the Federal Government to be one of the social grids we live on. It has fallen into bad hands. Can we reconquer it and repurpose it to our benefit? The effort deserves to be made, if we can find non-futile non-gesture things to do that might actually work.

  8. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    March 20, 2017

    If the Clintons were both as evil and as all-powerful as the Diff Clues of the world perceive them to be, then why are Diff Clue–and so many, many more Clintonophobes–still unjailed and breathing? For that matter, why isn’t Hillary in the White House now, if the Evil Clintobamacrats (to use the eternally baroque quasi-English dialect of Diff Clue) are so widespread in the upper ranks of society, and so mighty?

    That reminds me of a fallacy of the anti-Semites: If *THE JEWS* are so well-organized and almighty, how did Charlie Chaplin’s Evil Twin From Another Mother ever manage to rise to power?

    But then, if I expect clear, rational thought from such people, I guess I am even sillier than they. 😉

  9. March 20, 2017

    @different clue

    That’s actually how I’ll treat the info. For example, it’s hard to get off the water grid where I live, but pulling off the power grid (actually not that hard given how much sun we get) will certainly help reduce the ability of other folks to dictate how me and mine live.

  10. tagio permalink
    March 20, 2017

    I voted for Trump because I thought that, unlike Clinton, we had a chance for peace with Russia. That was my number one concern. He seems to be losing the battle with the MIC on that one, but I sure hope he prevails on that one.

  11. Peter permalink
    March 20, 2017


    Solar systems have some benefits for some people who are affluent enough to finance the instillation and a backup storage system large enough to meet their needs. Grid connected systems are the most practical because there is no need for backup and the system can be smaller and less expensive while still generating excess power at times.

    A huge class problem is developing where large numbers of home solar instillations are occurring. The revenues needed to maintain the grid are falling and may require the non-solar class of less affluent people to make up the difference with higher rates. So far connection fees for solar are being used to cover this cost but the problem is growing and complete separation from the grid will only make it worse.

  12. different clue permalink
    March 20, 2017


    The utilities could partway solve that problem if they became buyers-brokers-resellers of very distributed solar power bought from roof-top solar powermakers at wholesale price and sold it to whomever at retail price. That way at least some of the solar powermakers would stay on the grid and keep helping pay to maintain it.

    I wonder if affluent rooftop panelizers would have gone full-standalone-panel if utilities had been more co-operative and welcoming to begin with about integrating renewable rooftop power into their systems. I also wonder if a full and total production and life-cycle audit of the solar panels would reveal more or less carbon having been skydumped in their cradle to grave making and use . . . as against a panelized homeowner’s own little pro-rated share of the cradle to grave carbon skydump involved in having made and maintained and fed their own little pro-rated part of the power grid.

    Regardless, if the defection of the affluent plays out as you say, perhaps the rising price of electric power charged to the remaining non-affluent customers will become high and then punitive enough so as to spur forced conservation lifestyling among the non-affluent power customers.

  13. March 20, 2017


    I’m well aware of the problems the utilities have when users convert to solar. Here, they’re having to shut down coal plants or convert them to natural gas, since that’s cheaper. I’m not exactly upset at that.

    As for passing the costs on, that’s where localism kicks in. Our utilities are regulated pretty fiercely and a couple of nearby towns have started their own utilities rather than pay the big boys. Also, several towns started by going solar for city services first. I may personally not be off the power grid yet, but the town I pay my sales tax dollars to is. Even better, the city council is *very* responsive to voters. We’re just not big enough for serious corruption.

    It’s not perfect, and we’re all waiting for better battery technology, but it would be easy for me and my affluent neighbors to absorb a minor/modest tax increase so we could make solar electric available to every residence in town via the city solar farms.

  14. Peter permalink
    March 20, 2017


    My point is that all these problems/solutions are connected and can’t be treated individually. Your town may build a solar power instillation but they are still connected because when the clouds come or the sun sets they need a gas fired backup power supplier ready to fill their demand. Waiting for the mythical better battery is at about thirty years and counting now. I’ve seen some hype from researchers about wonder batteries but nothing economical or near production has emerged.

    I know that solar instillations have a strong visual and even emotional effect on people because in operation they seem so clean and green and are often profitable. It’s too easy to disregard the long trail of co2, pollution and destruction that is required to build this new green industrial revolution along with other unintended problems with their adoption.

  15. March 20, 2017


    Yep, everything’s connected, but one either makes progress when one can or one gives up. I prefer not to give up.

    The evils of the petro-states and oil oligarchs are obvious, and that ignores carbon emissions. It seems to me that anything we can do to cut back our usage of those fuels is worthwhile, even if there are other challenges involved.

    And even if those batteries never appear and we still need a backup gas plant, I’d rather have that gas plant be one under local control than owned by some Enron-esque organization out of Texas. My neck of the country exports natural gas to the rest of the USA. It’s stupid to have the power generated any further away than necessary.

  16. different clue permalink
    March 21, 2017


    I am guessing you live somewhere in one of the Southwest or near-Southwest states, but I can’t get any more specific in my guessing than that.

    If you are interested in reading about broader energy and energy-engineering issues, you might like a blog called The Ergosphere by “Engineer-Poet”. The actual post that the link will take you to first thing is depressing, but there is a lot of interesting material there going back through time. Several years ago, for example, Engineer-Poet wrote a post about how while it is difficult to store electricity, it is easier to store the things it does. Or that we can do with it. He gave the example of Holland’s small national network of super deepfreeze meat storage lockers. For safety, that meat is supposed to stay at O degrees Farenheit. So the Dutch were sending some of the electricity produced by their windspinners WHEN the wind is blowing . . . to the chill-works components of those meat storage lockers. They use the windmade electricity to cool the lockers down beLOW O degrees. The longer the wind blows, the farther beLOW zero the lockers get. When the wind slows or stops enough that a “surplus” of windmade electricity cannot be committed to those lockers, they are permitted to “warm” back up to zero degrees. If there is still no windmade power after that, then they have to start drawing from the fossil power grid. But they don’t often have to do that. Intermittent wind power can be effectively stored in those lockers as surplus chill in those lockers.

    How could that be relevant to your situation? If you are making surplus solar power in the cloudless daytime, you can air condition your house down to as cold as you can stand it. When night comes, or clouds block the sun, you can let the house warm back up to the hottest acceptable level before tapping the grid or your batteries. If you have a solar powered freezer AND fridge, you could spend the surplus solar power on having your freezer freeze “cooler-style chill blocks” which you could put in your fridge to help keep it cool without running its own motor so much.

    If you find such thinking fun to do and read about, here is the link to The Ergosphere.

    I notice you said you remain on the water grid. There might be a way to use less gridwater.
    There is a book called Humanure about how to build and use a simple waterless composting toilet. He has also put the less-than-most-current version of the book online. If you click on the little word rectangle near the homepage top called “the book” , one of the choices is the whole book itself on line. He also sells, for people who don’t want to build it themselves from plans, something called The Lovable Loo.

    While Mr. Humanure claims that his process will naturally de-pathogenize the accumulating pee and poo harvest, it is understandable that some people might not agree. Living in a high-sun area with much solar energy would allow you to solar boil and therefor totally sterilize the output beyond any doubt, to where it is totally safe to put in a garden. That would allow for living very lightly indeed on the water grid.

    These are the kinds of things I would do/ will do if I ever had/ ever have a real house on a real yard of my very own. Till then, I can only read and think about some of these things in my little co-op dwelling unit.

  17. different clue permalink
    March 21, 2017


    Addendum to above comment: The Ergosphere has become a lot more nuclear-power focused than what it used to be. Still, going back several years on it turns up all kinds of interesting things. And who knows, we may have no choice left soon except to re-think nuclear as well. But enough conservation might put that day off till something else turns up . . .. maybe.

  18. March 21, 2017

    @different clue

    My dad was a nuclear researcher. It’s worth rethinking if for no other reason than it’s almost never been rationally considered and discussed in the USA. The hysteria because “it’s nuclear!” has overwhelmed serious discussions about risks, ways to mitigate those risks, and what the benefits are.

    For example: if my father had died inside the plant, regulations prevented his body from being removed. The natural radioactivity inside the human body is higher than what you’re allowed to remove from a nuclear facility. But efforts to explain that to the public were a waste of breath because “we can’t have *anything* radioactive leave that facility!” Say ‘radioactive’ and rationality leaves too many people…

  19. Peter permalink
    March 21, 2017


    I appreciate someone not giving up but wonder about the logic of sending large amounts of money to Chinese sweatshop owners to avoid paying some Texan wheeler-dealer for his juice.

    I live in the primary Nuke weapons/power sacrifice zone in the US where the full Nuke cycle and its radioactive byproducts are strewn from Church Rock to the WIPP site. My brother was a Nuke engineer at General Atomics and tried for years to sell me the Nuke industry pabulum about clean safe radioactive power. What we know now is that all Nuke plants either discharge or leak different kinds and amounts of radioactive pollution continuously.

    The China Syndrome was a SF that could never happen according to our Nuke experts but Fukushima has pushed it into reality. Two cores are still cooking their way down spewing incredible amounts of radioactive material into the environment with no end in sight.

    Stick with promoting solar or better yet reduction in excessive consumption which is the basis of our problem.

  20. March 21, 2017


    Solar panel production in China is an economic/trade issue. Nothing to prevent us from making them here. Ditto wind (got a good friend who’s a wind turbine designer).

    As for nukes–my issue is simply that we’ve had damned few rational examinations and risk assessments, especially compared to the costs of things like coal mining. It’s a species problem. We have trouble engaging some subjects rationally (cf: war on drugs).

    That said, we’re in agreement that reducing consumption absolutely needs to be highest focus. That’s the basis of the problem indeed.

  21. musical interlude permalink
    March 21, 2017

    Trump—just another Israel ass-licker. His motto should have been: Fuck the poor.

    I gave him time. Fuck his budget. He’s fired! And so is everyone else.

  22. Tom W Harris permalink
    March 21, 2017

    OmiGOD, he’s PRO-SEMITIC!!!!!!!! AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  23. realitychecker permalink
    March 21, 2017

    @ musical interlude

    You turned yourself in-to an asshole.

    (Up until now, I thought you were just a weirdo.)

  24. Morongobill permalink
    March 22, 2017

    No Tom, I am not complicit and if you told me that to my face, you would be picking your teeth up from the floor.

    It is amazing how someone like you can damn a whole generation.

    Of course, if you feel like spouting off Mano to Mano, grab a few of your buddies and head down to a veteran or cop bar, I know who my money is on, if a challenge is offered.

  25. different clue permalink
    March 22, 2017


    Halfway into his book Storms Of My Grandchildren by James Hansen the NASA climatologist, Hansen writes a few pages about some kind of reactor design which was being studied at Argonne National Lab and maybe elsewhere. It was some kind of full-fast breeder-eater reactor. Released neutrons were guided around inside the atomic fuel loads so that ever-more nucleii could be destabilized and fissed for energy, leaving about 3% of the original radioactivity potential behind as irreducibly un-fast-fissible radionuclides . . . an easy storage problem.

    What we call the “fast breeder reactor” was in fact a half-fast reactor designed to produce plutonium for extracting and making bombs with. The “full-fast” design consumed the plutonium as fuel and consumed almost all the downstream species produced by plut0-neutrons destabilizing yet other nucleii. Apparently the “full-fast” design was too successful and would have threatened established coal industries and so it was suddenly and swiftly terminated and suppressed at Argonne. Hansen would like us to take another look at the very least at the full-fast reactor. Does Hansen know what he is talking about in this regard?

    Meanwhile, as Peter above and others elsewhere have said, lowering electricity use by millions of homedwellers is important in itself for lowering the level of carbon outfarting. Hopefully the affluent all defect from the electro-grid as fast as possible to force the grid masters into raising the price of electricity to all non-defectors . . . if it really works the way Peter says it does. That will forcibly recruit all the anti-conservation consumers to the cause of power-use curtailment and global de-warming purely to save money under tight budget pressure. They can all come down to the 3 kilowatt-hours-per-day annually averaged daily use levels that I have achieved. And if there are others on the grid who are using even less than 3 kilowatt-hours per day, then we can all shrink our at-home electro-use down to that less-than 3 killowatt-hours-per-day level.

    Meanwhile, do you live either just north enough, or just high enough elevation, that you have real genuine winter where you live? Or do you live where the “winter” is just a kinder gentler summer?

  26. March 23, 2017


    I trust Hansen’s science. I am less trustworthy of his politics because I know he’s got an axe to grind. The Bush Jr. Administration actively tried to destroy his career, even forcing him to send his scientific papers to the White House for review before he could submit them to scientific journals or give them at conferences (yes, they pulled some serious dirty shit because he was such a vocal climate change supporter). So his comments on the “full fast” design being suppressed could be true, or could be exaggerations because he’s projecting similar suppression elsewhere.

    As for lowering power consumption, there are ways to implement changes besides having the affluent pull off the grid. Back in the mid-90’s, for example, the Maryland Public Utility came to the houses of every customer and *gave* them compact fluorescent bulbs. In Tucson, they made changes to street lighting decades ago, in part to protect the telescopes, but with the side effect of cutting power consumption. Local communities have a lot of options if they make it a priority.

    As for where I live–I live in Colorado, where we get 310+ sunny or mostly sunny days a year. We also get a lot of snow, though with climate change we’re getting less and less. So I don’t know what you mean by “real genuine winter.” I realize that it makes solar more viable for us than other places, but that’s the hand we were dealt: lots of sun year round, enough wind to make that viable too, but a serious issue with lack of water.

  27. different clue permalink
    March 23, 2017


    Colorado sounds like real genuine winter to me. If there is snow and subfreezing cold often enough and long enough to prevent warm weather plants like tomatoes or corn from growing at all, that’s a real winter. A non-growing season.

    I certainly know so little about nuclear engineering that I am totally unable to assess what Hansen was saying about the prospective reactor design he was describing. Hopefully those who know can comment.

    About using less electricity, there are many ways to do that . . . some ways for some people, other ways for other people. All deserve to be applied by those who can.

    Winter snow . . . here in Michigan I have spent the last few winters harvesting the snow off my little back yard space and packing it onto my garden beds. That way it can soak down into the soil after the soil begins to thaw out in spring and let smowmelt soak down in. Perhaps the same approach could be used in your part of Colorado. It might pay even more if you have a winter weather regime of snowfall followed by flash thaw which melts or evaporates all the snow which fell. Packing it into piles on beds might save some which would otherwise be totally lost. Trying to move all that snow with a shovel would be silly, pointless, and un-doable. Luckily, there are two-handled snow pushalongs nicknamed “yooper scoopers”. A good one easy to use is the Ergo Sleigh. It lets me move huge amounts of snow real fast to the snow-assembly place right next to the target garden. I can shovel it onto the garden from there. Here is a little video on the Ergo Sleigh.

    Snow harvesting and snow-storage; perhaps one way to live more lightly on the water grid?
    And have more garden-water?

  28. March 23, 2017

    @ DC.

    Thanks for the pointer. Colorado winter is all “snow on Monday, melt on Friday” so moving it around generally doesn’t happen.

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