Make America Small Again Part 6

A small patch on the wound following the dramatic UN defeat was that Congress had passed dramatic tax cuts a few days earlier. The corporate tax rate was reduced from 35% to 21 and the top tax rate for the wealthiest was reduced from 39.6% to 37. The price for the massive tax cuts was 1,500 billion. US $ that was unfunded and would put on superpower debt. It was, in fact, the first law complex Trump got through Congress and thus at the same time symbol of the president’s lack of political experience and powerlessness. (Republicans celebrate with Trump after House passes tax bill – again, Guardian 20/12 2017)

Also in December, the FBI arrested African-American civil rights activist Rakem Balogun. The charge was “domestic terrorism”. Balogun then was jailed for 5 months before being released. By then he had lost both house and job. The arrest revealed that the authorities had a secret program for monitoring so-called “Black identity extremists”. These “extremists” were, in effect, civil rights activists who monitored, recorded, and documented the execution and mistreatment of thousands of African Americans each year. The authorities and their allied media have a centuries-long tradition of systematically and violently eradicating any opposition. In the period 1956-75 this program was called Cointelpro. (Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance, Guardian 11/5 2018). US action against opposition was in line with the dictatorships of Latin America in the last century. Just in the same days Rakem was released, a report was published in Brazil revealing that, in the 1970’s, the country’s dictator Ernesto Geisel, with the CIA’s knowledge, had ordered the execution of several hundred oppositionists “at risk to state security”. (‘Astonishing’ CIA memo shows Brazil’s ex-dictator authorized torture and executions, Guardian 11/5 2018)

A study conducted by the British daily GuardianJanuary 2018 showed that 15,000 had been killed by explosive weapons in 2017. A 42% increase over the previous year. The main reason for the increase was the changed attitude of the United States to bomb civilians following Trump’s accession as president. About twice as many civilians were now killed during the US bombing because the superpower no longer took into account the presence of civilians. It turned out, among other things. during its bombings by Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. Acc. the Action on Armed Violence organization increased the number of civilians killed by bombs and rockets fired from aircraft by 82% from 2016 to 2017. A total of 8,932 civilians were killed from aircraft in 2017. The escalation hit Syria and Iraq, but also in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia left the bloody tracks of the United States Air War. In Somalia, the number of US air operations more than doubled in 2017. The number of civilian casualties was uncertain because the country’s infrastructure is not functioning and therefore information often does not reach. (‘Crazy numbers’: civilian deaths from airstrikes almost double in a year, Guardian 8/1 2018; Somali citizens count cost of surge in US airstrikes under Trump, Guardian 23/1 2018)

In January, Trump characterized the African countries, Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole countries” and questioned why so many of their residents had been allowed to enter the United States. The statements were condemned by the African Union which, on behalf of the 55 countries of the continent, characterized them as clearly racist, and was also condemned by the UN. The statements meant that US ambassadors in the civilized world (though not in Denmark) were called in consultation and sent the US State Department in overtime. (‘There’s no other word but racist’: Trump’s global rebuke for ‘shithole’ remark, Guardian 13/1 2018)

On Feb. 14, a young man with an automatic rifle killed 17 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. It once again sparked debate about US antiquated gun laws, dating from before the state became a state with police authority. President Trump himself – like most other elected politicians – had received money from the weapons lobby, the NRA. Rather than regulating access to weapons that, after all, ensure that even minors are allowed to roam around with automatic weapons, Trump suggested that all school teachers in the United States should instead be armed so that they could defend their classes. However, this school massacre was different because the school movement, the survivors, entered it and required reform of the free access to weapons. At the end of March, the movement held demonstrations in 800 cities around the world under the slogan “March for our lives” demanding reform of the law. Hundreds of thousands of students and parents demonstrated in Washington DC. The weapons lobby and the radical right wing, with the support of “Fox News”, now went against the attack and began to pig out the survivors. This, in turn, triggered the advertising boycott of Fox. A sign of the increasingly strong political conflict in the United States according to simplyyellowpages. (Marchers across the US united in plan for pro-gun politicians: ‘Vote them out’, Guardian 24/3 2018; March for Our Lives: thousands join anti-gun protests around the world, Guardian 25/3 2018; Florida school shooting survivors march on unfazed by personal attacks, Guardian 31/3 2018)

Make America Small Again 6