Bill Britton: Reflecting on the “Trump Doctrine.”

 

Declaration_independence

Declaration of Independence

TRUMP’S “AMERICA FIRST” DOCTRINE RECALLS THE NAME OF THE ISOLATIONIST, ANTI-SEMETIC NATIONAL ORGANIZATION THAT URGED THE UNITED STATES TO APPEASE ADOLF HITLER IN THE 1930’s.

Eventually President Gerald Ford and future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart drafted a petition stating, “We demand that Congress refrain from war, even if England is on the verge of defeat.” It is unfortunate that Trump, an admitted non-student of history, used a term loaded with negative connotations.

I will not deny that I am a Progressive, which makes me a “snowflake” or even a traitor to U.S. values, according to some; but so be it. But after working since age 13, dutifully paying my taxes over that period, being unwaveringly faithful to a marriage of 56 years, and serving for 4 years in the Marines, I am entitled to say or believe any damn thing I wish, including my being an avowed atheist.

The latter, of course, relegates me to the fringe of social norms–How can he be “good” without god’s help?  Believing in empathy and altruism is the path I have chosen, rather than “faith,” both anathema to Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randism, which, like a virus, increasingly infects America’s me-first society.

I’ll stand with the Founding Fathers who believed that theism, i.e., church dogma, should be excluded from national politics. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”

T-Jefferson1

Part of Trump’s doctrine includes increasing the Pentagon budget by $54 billion and spending $1 trillion on infrastructure, while maintaining Social Security and Medicare commitments at their current levels, all while lowering corporate and middle-class tax rates.

Because non-defense discretionary spending represents only 16 percent of the national budget, the option is obvious: increase the national debt. This runs counter to the Republican mantra of reducing that debt, so a battle with Congress will soon ensue.

Corporate tax rates of less than the current 35 percent are a fait accompli. According to the GAO, the average rate for all corporations is about 14 percent, and their share of total tax collected has been declining steadily over the years. The burden of any increase in federal spending, not covered by increasing the national debt, will inevitably fall on the individual taxpayer.

Eliminating the E.P.A., a favorite Trump target, would realize less than $9 billion in savings, but at what cost? I still remember a largely sterile Hudson River and the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969, which led to the Clean Water Act, now partially rescinded by the Trump administration. Is there no lesson to be learned from Flint, Michigan, indeed, from history?

Flint

Similarly, Trump’s denial of the effects of anthropomorphic-caused global warming echoes Florida governor Rick Scott’s order to expunge the terms “global warming” and “climate change” from his administration’s language, this while rising seawaters threaten coastal cities like Miami and Jacksonville. That global warming is real is buttressed by statements made by 97 percent of climate scientists in the U.S. and by nearly 100 percent in the rest of the world. Ironically, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida could be inundated by mid-century.

Mira Largo

I agree that the “fat” should be trimmed from the federal budget, but indiscriminate slashing is not prudent. There are many good federal programs run by competent people.

For example, the drive to privatize line items like the National Parks system is not in the common interest. The dedication of park rangers and other caretakers of federal lands is unquestionable; I have seen this first-hand. The parallel drive to sell off public lands is similarly short-sighted. These millions of acres represent a hedge against future needs; greed is the only justification for selling them off now.

Our military budget is greater than the next seven nation’s military budgets combined. It seems that Presidents and generals continue to be enamored of those weapons that are the most impressive, whether bigger ships, faster planes, or more-devastating ordnance. Meanwhile, our enemies today are scattered throughout general populations, and their host countries resist even our best efforts at “nation-building.” And despite claims to the contrary, “surgical” air strikes inflict horrendous numbers of civilian casualties. A continued pursuit of American world hegemony will deplete our national treasure and eventually impoverish us all, both fiscally and morally.

Another part of the Trump doctrine is an attack on a free press. Publications with either reportage or editorial content that portray him in an unfavorable light are labeled “fake.” Thus, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and CNN are denigrated in favor of Breitbart. There is no perfect media source, either in print or in cyberspace, but to, in effect, imply that Breitbart offers up more accurate reportage than the former is beyond the pale.

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All Presidents have found that dealing with the press can be both confrontational and irritating, and that’s the way it should be. The press plays a key role in limiting the power of Washington.

A President can either enter into a reasoned debate with the press, or, in the case of Trump, bypass the press and tweet 140-character blurbs to make his thoughts known.

Careful reflection should be part of every pronouncement emanating from the White House. Obviously, his 3:00 AM tweets are more indicative of emotional outbursts, rather than prudent statements. This habit is alarming both to members of his administration and to world leaders abroad, although Vladimir Putin must be amused by the administration’s apparent ineptitude.

Putin smiling

Observing President Trump in action brings to mind an article by Richard Wolffe in The Guardian, where he drew a comparison between Trump and Ricky Gervais, the boss in the British sitcom, The Office: “[The new administration] is actually a very long season of The Office, with our new president playing the role of a self-obsessed buffoon who clearly thinks he’s smart, funny, kind and successful.

Trump is the boss we all know so well, and never want to see again. The one winging it at every turn, in every sentence. The one who just read something, or talked to somebody, and is now an Olympic-sized expert.”

Bill Britton is a Vero Communiqué Contributing Editor and a freelance writer for John Hopkins University.

8 thoughts on “Bill Britton: Reflecting on the “Trump Doctrine.”

  1. Nice job.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Bill Britton Bayville, NY to Vero Beach, FL “History repeats itself; the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” —Karl Marx Semper Fi

    ________________________________

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  2. Bill, you said that you are an avowed atheist. Well, good for you and good luck!
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there is not, rather than to live my life as if there is no God, and die to find out that God does, indeed, exist.

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  3. Sadly, many in this country find fault with the concept of ‘America First’ but it is exactly that fault that has us discussing a Trump Doctrine today. Were it not for the fact this country has been lead over the past 8 years based on an ‘America Last’ doctrine, or ‘leading from behind’ on the international stage, Trump would not be president today. Most proud Americans do not cotton to the concept of ‘America Second’ so have no problem with America First. It’s also the disgusting references to the Hitlarian era in association with millions of Americans’ chosen candidate that have driven an unyielding support for the current President. Guilt by association has never been a good campaign tactic or debate strategy as evidenced by The Deplorables comment.

    To be clear, the Founding Fathers excluded church doctrine from government operations because of the habit of the times. Many colonies had assigned a given church to be the official church of the ‘state’ and taxed residents to support that official church. Therefore, the founders wisely decided to exclude any church affiliations in the formal structure of government in order to solicit acceptance of a federal ‘state’ by all of the colonies – or collection of ‘states’.
    However, the Founders did not intend for religion to be stricken from daily life including the lives of government officials. They strongly believed that the Republic would not flourish unless it was governed by moral, virtuous men. Jefferson, in particular, considered the elements of a virtuous life, one of moral goodness and character. His deliberations on virtue inspired his compilation of personal writings entitled “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”.

    Jefferson required the study of Washington’s famous “Farewell Address” at the college he founded, the University of Virginia, which included the passage, “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
    Yes, the country was founded by Christian people and by extrapolation of the Old Testament, Jewish immigrants, as well. Regardless of their strong belief in religious freedom, the Founders were familiar with Muslims and the religion of Islam and I doubt they found its tenets compatible with their vision for the country. John Quincy Adams wrote of the Prophet Mohammad: “He declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind… The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust: to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature… As the essential principle of his faith is the subjugation of others by the sword;”

    As J. David Gowdy wrote of Jefferson in his study “Thomas Jefferson and the Pursuit of Virtue”:
    He also believed that the simple combination of morality and common sense was more likely to be found in the average man, such “a ploughman,” than in the highly educated man such as “a professor,” who are “led astray by artificial rules.”

    How true those words are today! We only have to look at the McCarthy like behavior of students and professors on college campuses around the country and most recently Middlebury College to understand Jefferson’s valuing of common sense attributes. As Daniel Henninger wrote in the WSJ this week, “Today, polite liberals—in politics, academia and the media arts—watch in silent assent as McCarythyist radicals hound, repress and attack conservatives like Charles Murray for what they think, write and say.”

    We also should consider the common hardworking New Yorker’s nick name for Trump – the Blue Collar Billionaire – to know why he resonated with millions of people throughout the heartland of America. Despite his background at a military prep school and an Economics degree from Wharton, he cut his teeth on construction sites and later hired thousands of everyday men and women. And he never lost sight of their priorities – a good job, fair wages and a means to better the lives of their children.

    Common Sense…The Trump Doctrine of sovergn borders, sensible immigration policy, smaller government, fewer regulations and a strong military defense struck a chord with people across the country, both Democrats and Republicans. Of course, his lack of political experience was a major plus for millions as well…and many of his advisors were not ‘highly educated professors’ but rather people from private industry.

    Common sense about a number of issues including the theory of Climate Change and a national education curriculum is what drove governorships and state houses around the country to go ‘Red’ over the last few elections. Many a Republican governor has said ‘when you can show me provable, solid science that something we can do in this country will actually lower the temperature of the planet, I’ll sit down with you’. In the meantime, we need to consider that most sustainable/renewable energy requires major tax subsidies and means rate hikes for everyday Americans.

    Yes, we’ve learned a lesson from Flint, Michigan and it is that we’ve spent billions of dollars over the past 12 years supporting companies like Solyndra and Tesla and have invested in green energy development instead of dealing with our crumbling infrastructure. How long did Michigan and the city of Flint know it had a problem and how much money has that state spent on feel good renewable energy projects? How much money did the fed give New Orleans and how often did the Army Corps of Engineers warn of levy faults? How long has the California damn been known to have problems and how much money has California spent instead on projects and regulation enforcement in the name of GREEN? Better still, if we had 25 cents for every dollar of the Pork-ulous Package spent on NOTHING, we could have fixed Flint’s problem and many others.

    Rather than address each and every item in Britton’s response, let’s cut to the chase. With the release of the Wikileaks emails obtained from the DNC and Podesta, we have found that the majority of main stream media outlets are now an integral part of the Resistance. We will never go back to a time when the MSM was admired and believed – that day is over and their undoing was their own.

    The old saw that the person with the most advertising money will win was dispelled in the last election. Communicating via social media and going directly to the people at televised events won the day. Taking that one step further, Trump’s use of Twitter to reach millions without the filter of the resistance/MSM is proving problematic for the Dems and blissful for his supporters.

    Lastly, the division in the country is now stoked by the left and their constant harangue of the legitimately elected President. That common ‘ploughman’ sees the marches, violence and nasty rhetoric daily and is reminded how important the next election will be. A good example happened this week when a progressive TV personality unknowingly used a young man suffering from brain cancer as an example of a conservative with a Nazi haircut. The term Nazi used to be considered as inflammatory as the “N-word” but now without fact or principle, the Left is free to hurl the word and many other highly derogatory remarks at anyone who they believe doesn’t agree with them.

    The common ‘ploughman’ has spoken. Those who suggest he’s nothing better than a Nazi proceed at their own peril.

    J. David Gowdy review: http://www.liberty1.org/TJVirtue.pdf

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/mccarthyism-at-middlebury-1489016328?tesla=y

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  4. Finally a sane voice out of madness! The political correctness liberals and far left progressive are possessed with an insane ambition to destroy America. We are thankful for the Fox News Channel, Donald Trump, and for the people like this writer, SMEHIEL. Thank you!

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  5. Pingback: Two Loyal Readers Comment on Bill Britton’s Article: “Reflecting on the Trump Doctrine.” | Vero Communiqué

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