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Triumphal Divisions: Trump’s State of the Union Address

Binoy Kampmark

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Doug Mills/AP/REX/Shutterstock (10095046j)
President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address – 05 Feb 2019

In this year of the presidential elections, President Donald J. Trump shows little sign of cowering. It had been some time in coming, but here was a businessman talking to a Congress long in the pocket of business, a seemingly seamless order of things that would have made the Founding Fathers cringe.

Trump’s rule has remade political practice in the United States. Protocols have been abandoned; forms torn. The language of politics is sillier, barrel-scraping and coarse, the lingo of the tweet, rather than the elevation of inspired ideas. His enemies have become poor facsimiles of the Trump method, and for this, he must always be remembered.

Damning protocol was already something Trump was keen on even before he began his speech. He turned his back on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s outstretched hand.

It was not a level of rudeness to be batted away with magisterial indifference; Pelosi was keen to show that she was more than able to abandon convention and reciprocate with similar childishness.

She refused to use the language of customary introduction – that it was her “honour” to introduce the president. At the conclusion of his speech, she tore up the speech in view of the cameras. It was, she explained to journalists, “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives.”

The Democrats have never quite nailed down a program of getting at Trump the showman. They lament his mendacity, which he can always turn into a weapon, deployed as brief stabs over the social media cycle; they loathe his character, which he can always rebrand as daring in the face of fetters that encourage dreariness.

Shockingly, the opposition seems grey, haggard, stilted and, at points, decidedly confused. (The Iowa Caucus fiasco did not help.) By vote, they impeached him in the House of Representatives, where they were bound to, given that they control the chamber. By vote, they are bound to fail to remove him from office in the Senate trial that concludes on Wednesday.

Trump’s speech, billed as the “Great American Comeback”, took deep bites out of the economy mantra, fictional as it is. “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again!”

He stressed high velocity, speedy movement, the sort of subject matter US presidents luxuriate in.

We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

What this entails is less relevant than the illusion of busy dedication.

In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny.”

The president also took a chance to dare and prod his opponents in the House. He made it clear that the Presidential Medal of Freedom would be awarded to Rush Limbaugh, a radio demagogue who has revealed he has advanced lung cancer. Having rewarded a figure with well proven credentials in divisiveness, he explained that he was himself the leader of inclusivity.

The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

His project for the US involved constructing “the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society – one where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success, and where every community can take place in America’s extraordinary rise.”

That prosperous society evidently entailed not having universal healthcare but a good deal of private healthcare directed away from rogue illegal aliens who seemed to be finding themselves in the United States, despite Trump’s own claims that the US-Mexico border is resoundingly secure.

Unconvincingly, Trump suggested that 130 lawmakers “in this chamber have endorsed legislation that would bankrupt our Nation by providing free taxpayer-funded healthcare to millions of illegal aliens, forcing taxpayers to subsidize free care for anyone in the world who unlawfully crosses our borders.”

By right of reply, the opposition duties for this year fell to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Bullying people on Twitter doesn’t fix bridges – it burns them.”

What the governor has failed to appreciate here is that bridges have a solidity a tweet does not. A set of rapidly fired words furnish fantastic distractions that can be altered at a moment’s pressing. Lacking punch, even Trump critics found Whitmer’s speech tedious.

Trump’s speeches are never to be taken as factual representations. They are merely signposted sentiments and crude displays. Unemployment is low, but job security in the United States is precarious. The stock market has been booming, but that ignores the massive underwritten expansion that arose from the injection of public moneys into the economy during the Obama years.

The fiction of a healthy Wall Street independent, daring and free of the state remains a delusion with high circulation. Trump is by no means the only one to advertise that nonsense, which assures companies that their losses will be socialised, and their profits treated as acts of ingenious self-achievement.

The timing of the address was also significant, becoming a display of of both the man himself and the system he represents.

On Wednesday, his impeachment trial will conclude with a Senate vote, and he is likely to remain in place. Pelosi’s rudeness was put down, in part, to the hope that she will not preside over another State of the Union from Trump. She may well live to regret saying so.

The White House is certainly reminding her of that fact, claiming that the act of tearing Trump’s speech was tantamount to ripping up, “The survival of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen”, survival of a child born at 21 weeks, families in mourning, and a “service member’s reunion with his family.” Shallow and flawed reasoning, but substantive enough to sell.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

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pàul_m
pàul_m
Feb 6, 2020 9:25 AM

Edward Curtin’s,The united states of america’s dolls house.this wonderful essay can be found on dissidentvoice.com,just scroll down.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Feb 6, 2020 4:59 AM

That prosperous society evidently entailed not having universal healthcare but a good deal of private healthcare …

Well, Obama had the chance to implement Medicare for All — or at least a lousy public option — and he punted, so here we are.

RobG
RobG
Feb 6, 2020 1:49 AM

Totally off a topic that’s totally Alice In Wonderland, anyway, here’s the latest official Chinese take on what’s going on with the cornonavirus stuff…

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1178655.shtml

I don’t need to add that Global Times are a mouthpiece of the Chinese government.

Again, worldwide the flu kills 600,000 plus every year.

So far, about 200 have died in China from this latest strain of flu.

But of course the drug companies have rushed out a vaccine for the ‘Wuhan Flu’, all supported by the WHO.

It’s corruption on an industrial scale.

Willem
Willem
Feb 6, 2020 6:16 AM
Reply to  RobG

I find that one more interesting than the election show of the US.

They’re both shows, however, with a same outcome. That is no matter what we do, we are going to get something that will be pretty expensive and leads to nothing.

Bullshit combines, and in that way it’s not off topic at all!

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 6, 2020 7:46 AM
Reply to  RobG

I’ll take the Global Times before the evil sewer, the ‘Guardian’, whose ‘coverage’ of the coronavirus has been deeply racist, Sinophobic, gleeful and hate-crazed, and that also applies to most of the racist turds who are allowed to ‘comment’.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Feb 7, 2020 1:28 PM

Indeed.

wardropper
wardropper
Feb 6, 2020 1:18 AM

I consider the Democrats to have been irretrievably tainted, not by having to deal with Trump, but by having an identically materialistic, immoral and indecent philosophy behind their own politics.
Courageous people like Dennis Kucenich, who tried to impeach the Bush/Cheney abomination, were shut down, not only by the brain-dead media of today, but by the likes of Pelosi, who had her chance, but didn’t want to risk the entire Republican castle crashing on her head.
Trump is different. Today, any fool could impeach him, but not if their own integrity is equally compromised.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Feb 5, 2020 11:54 PM

There have been equally unstable and deluded minds commanding countries before. Never with stellar outcomes for the species.

How far the delusion has progressed, can be observed by looking at the Orwellian state of the non-union. ‘Low unemployment’ by having people do two or more hourly part time jobs. But no new 40 hour workweek (or 172 hrs/month) salaried employment. Student loan debt, lies about universal healthcare – but already equipping biometric scanners in all public and corporate buildings and places. Paying for someone who is ‘illegally’ in the countrywouldn’t work then, since benefits would only be possible via biometric identification.

And speaking of those who (in an equally deluded and incomprehensible way) want to work in the U.S. as ‘illegal aliens’. Without going the regular way through the machine via application for whatever applies, any illegal residency in the U.S. is a highly dangerous situation and has been for some time. People are unaware that the submission to the system in order to send money back to wherever, will have a price to be paid via the indoctrination and poisoning of both body and mind in multiple ways.

What it also shows is, that the owners are doubling down on the exceptionalism mantra and who else could be better than a braggard that makes stuff up as it is needed. America could deserve much better, but it doesn’t, because it is a rogue terrorist state responsible for the worsening of living conditions for all life on Earth. To imagine that people thought of this opportunist to ever speak the truth is mind boggling.

Climate change (or whatever you like to call it) – does not exist. Debt is through the roof and there is no better comparison of the nation’s debt to the debt of a small business, or private (in the flesh) person. They would have to file for bancruptcy – just like the great pretender did a number of times. The highly radioactive/toxic waste dumps all over the country are entering water tables, poisoning people and wild life. Not a word about that. Or the mentioning of the Indigenous American population and their fight for survival of their cultur, their ancestral lands/environment and bare existence.

No mentioning of the slave labor by African people that enabled the U.S. owner class to prosper/profit and consolidate the entire country into one exploitation corporation.

There is a word for all this. It’s short and poignant:

Pathetic.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 7, 2020 8:13 AM
Reply to  nottheonly1

That is the answer to the Fermi Paradox. All ‘sapient’ species must contain a variety of ‘minds’ and psychologies, unless they reproduce by parthenogenesis and live in unchangingly benign environments. Among these varying psyches, some will be what is known as Evil, to varying degrees. In our species we call these types, Rightists, capitalists, businessmen etc, because their character traits are those of the psychopath eg insatiable greed, gigantic (often ludicrously mistaken)egotism, hatred of others, love of violence etc. Once a certain degree of technological power has been created, these types use it to make their planet’s uninhabitable, in their pursuit of ‘wealth’, power and DOMINANCE. That is the situation we are living through, now. The End Times that the most crazed psychopaths, those following perverted ‘religions’ are so looking forward to, and doing their Evil worst to hasten.

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
Feb 5, 2020 11:33 PM

It was reported just yesterday, Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 49% his highest in Gallup polling since taking office in 2017. And Trump’s approval rating is probably 90% among Republicans. We can clearly see how successful Schiff’s Russophobic impeachment, and Pelosi’s disingenuous wishy-washy attacks were in diminishing the buffoons popularity.

For three years, the “big dollar donor Dems” carefully chose to attack Trump from the Right over security state issues regarding Ukraine and Russia. The leadership of the Democratic Party twisted like contortionists to avoid: scrutinizing Trump’s reactionary policies; his overt violations of the emoluments clause; his excessive militarism (assassinating an Iranian General); and his murdering of immigrant children.

If the Democratic Party leadership snatched Bernie’s platform and used it for three years to attack Trump
by citing each issue, the lying Buffoon would now have a 10% Gallup approval rating.

But what can you do with a corporate warmongering political party which in actuality prefers Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders. You can vote Third Party, after Bernie is cheated out of the nomination……

RobG
RobG
Feb 6, 2020 12:21 AM

It doesn’t matter who you vote for.

It’s all a con.

We are ruled by complete psychopaths.

The solution is very easy: don’t listen to their propaganda (the psychos control the entire MSM and most of the ‘alternate’ media), all you have to do is withdraw your consent for all this madness.

Just say NO.

It really is that simple…

RobG
RobG
Feb 6, 2020 12:39 AM
Reply to  RobG

The psychos are constantly pushing all these narratives to try and control people; terrorism and disease being the two favourites at the moment.

At the time of writing, the coronavirus has killed (very sadly) about 200 people in China.

What’s known as ‘Seasonal Flu’ kills, worldwide, more than 600,000 people every year.

Yes, there’s a chance that the Wuhan outbreak might become more viral than it is at the moment[ but as it stands this is more politics than public health.

wardropper
wardropper
Feb 6, 2020 1:26 AM

I taught for several years at a university in the USA. Among my many excellent students were one or two cheerleaders, whose academic interests clearly came second in order of priority. Nevertheless it’s okay to have a variety of personality types in any discipline, and my cheerleaders graduated without any hassle.
But today, we have moved on from there.
Today, the cheerleaders control everything in the U.S., and they have NO academic interests at all.

paul
paul
Feb 5, 2020 11:26 PM

Trump has added $3.3 trillion to the National Debt.
He is presiding over a $1.3 trillion Budget Deficit, a $850 billion Trade Deficit, and a $1.1 trillion military budget.
Inflation and unemployment figures of 2% and 4% respectively are routinely touted.
The true figures are 10% and 17%.
Tens of millions with no healthcare, millions of others facing insurance bills of $20,000.
The vast legions of working poor with a median income of $18,000, the 51% with savings of less than $400.
While Gates, Buffett and Bezos together are worth more than half the US population.
Still, its nice to know the Orange Man is building the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society.

kevin morris
kevin morris
Feb 6, 2020 10:25 PM
Reply to  paul

Hilary would have added far more. Be grateful for small mercies.

harry stotle
harry stotle
Feb 5, 2020 11:12 PM

Britain is well down the same road having elected an equally abysmal leader who tells so many lies they are woven into his political persona in much the same way they are with Trump.

Given how grotesque both are it amazes me how any rational person can identify with them, but apparently millions do.

For a moment there was at least a fleeting chance of a different future in Britain (in the shape of Corbyn) but poor old Americans don’t even have that, presumably because the empire is not prepared to risk any threat to it’s interests from things like democracy or a political class not completely owned by the corpocracy (hence media attacks on Bernie or the news blackout against Tulsi).

In fact the only people who buy into this absurd form of theatre are the MSM or voters who still haven’t worked out how they are being played: in a strange kind of way they both deserve each other.

kevin morris
kevin morris
Feb 6, 2020 10:30 PM
Reply to  harry stotle

An abysmal leader who nevertheless saw what the majority wanted and gave it to them. Had Jeremy been truer to his beliefs and willing to show the same ruthlessness to his parliamentary party as Boris, then who knows-? The result might well have been much closer.

Gall
Gall
Feb 5, 2020 11:07 PM

I never watched the State of the Onion address as the last one was bad enough with his non sequitur rant about “antisemitism”. Of course there was that moment of levity when some Holocaust “survivor” claimed he was saved by American troops while being shipped to Dachau by train from the east somewhere though he never mentioned where specifically.

The only problem is that most of the area east of Dachau was actually being liberated by the Red Army. Also the answer to the question inquiring minds would like to know was why were the Nazis evacuating Jews from “Death Camps” to the western front ahead of Russian advance?

Anyway I suppose we’ll never know the answer to yet another strange historical mystery to what has become known as the Holocaust with a capital “H” as if it was the only one to ever happen in human history.

Moving on to the more current speech. According to the article Trump says “Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again!”

News to me. Most jobs are low paying service jobs, not those high paying factory jobs which were either shipped south across the Rio Grande or overseas after that “sucking sound” that Ross Perot warned about prior to signing NAFTA and giving China its most favored nation status or gigs driving for Uber or Lift or packing for Amazon working in some Taylorised hell.

The only people that “incomes are soaring” for is the very rich and poverty is not plummeting but is almost at the highest levels since the Great Depression. By the way crime has been falling since the 80’s while corporate or white collar crime, criminal actions by the police and those perpetrated by the state have actually increased. In fact its the only industry that hasn’t been privatized.

Then one has to ask who’s “confidence is surging”? Most people are worried that the nation is headed toward a civil war of some kind. Not exactly conditions that would instill “confidence”. Anyone who is confident right now makes Pollyanna look like the worlds greatest cynic.

Can’t see how the country is “thriving” unless I had access to Trumpenstein and his cult like followers rose tinted glasses. Maybe I should trade in the “They Live” shades I’ve got and get some new ones.

Finally the comic relief portion of his speech about being “highly respected”. In comparison to what? A $5 dollar hooker to a call girl?

RobG
RobG
Feb 5, 2020 11:47 PM
Reply to  Gall

Gall, you have to try and keep a sense of humour about it all, otherwise we’ll all go mad.

I’m sure you’re aware that George W used to have male prostitutes stay overnight at the White House (this is documented fact), and of course there’s all the rumours about Obama. Whatever the truth, these two Presidents were personally responsible for the deaths of millions of people; way more so than any Presidents before them.

RobG
RobG
Feb 6, 2020 12:12 AM
Reply to  RobG

In case anyone doesn’t believe what I’m saying…

Gall
Gall
Feb 6, 2020 1:08 AM
Reply to  RobG

I thought my comment was somewhat humorous. Well I tried for some comic relief at least. Maybe more dark satire like John Carpenter’s classic They Live which I mentioned:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096256/

Yeah well the Rocky Horror Picture Show pretty much defines the Glam Show known as DC. Especially the Republicans who pretend the Franklin Scandal never happened. You know the old saying that the only thing you can do wrong in Washington is get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

norman wisdom
norman wisdom
Feb 5, 2020 10:52 PM

shenanigans

the 13th tribe is a great book it explains a lot about the history of the red beard pirates that run the daily horror shows
yes sir them ashkanazim khazars have the goyim at sixes and sevens 24 and 7
no doubt

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Feb 5, 2020 10:26 PM

The clash of egos in that place can be heard from the farthest planet in our solar system.
And what a God forsaken din it is.

Loverat
Loverat
Feb 5, 2020 9:48 PM

Well, after being reluctant to follow all this nonsense, I’m gradually starting to. But for entertainment purposes strictly than for any worthwhile analysis.

Pelosi tearing up the speech was hilarious. Likewise the chaos with the democratic voting.

I’ve been laughing all day. They’re just like children.

RobG
RobG
Feb 5, 2020 10:29 PM
Reply to  Loverat

You’ll be doing well not to follow all this nonsense; because that’s what Trump’s impeachment is.

If they really wanted to impeach Trump they could start with the quite brazen assassination – completely against all international law – of a high level Iranian general in early January, and the number two in the Iranian government.

You could also impeach Trump for any other numerous war crimes, that all American presidents carry out – because America is a rogue/terrorist state and has butchered huge numbers of people in the name of neo-liberalism.

You could also easily impeach Trump for his time as a ‘businessman’, when he was heavily involved in the Mafia in New York, and other places.

Since at least World War Two the US Government have been a bunch of psychopathic gangsters.

We all know this.

Why keep pretending otherwise..?

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
Feb 6, 2020 9:04 PM
Reply to  RobG

The Trump regime was boasting of ‘exterminating’ Soliemani, as if he was an insect! Generation after generation, under the increasingly heavy influence of Israel and its Zionist and Talmudic apostles of hatred, murder and genocide, the US ruling elites grow rapidly more and more purely Evil, and destructive of humanity.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Feb 5, 2020 10:36 PM
Reply to  Loverat

They’re just like children.

Mean children at that.

Gall
Gall
Feb 5, 2020 11:09 PM
Reply to  Loverat

Actually children act more mature.