I have read the reactions to Trump’s Presidential Inauguration address with some degree of amazement.  It is not so much the hubris and arrogance and narcissism that Trump displays, or his Inaugural Address which was also extraordinary with its ‘America First’ demagoguery and blatant nationalism.
I should suppose that hubris and narcissism are not uncommon traits among politicians.  No, what is unusual here is that not only are they not hidden beneath a mask of goodwill to all men and women but they are displayed and celebrated as qualities that effective leaders require.  This is both the reason we softie liberals look on in horror and the reason he attracts the voters who place great store on plain speaking, on God and Country, and on them damn elitist metropolitans with their global conspiracies.
But what has amazed and discombobulated me somewhat more has been the ferocity and plain viciousness of the responses from a supposedly liberal intelligentsia.  What is coming to be known as the alt-left and particularly, women.
The extraordinary cruelty with which Trump is attacked from the feminist alt-left consists of continual reference to his physical presentation, to attacks on his sexual potency (remember all the fuss about those small hands?)  To his wife’s looks with smirking reference to her unfeasibly perfect breasts.  To his supposed idiocy and buffoonery and his hair.  To allegations (completely unproven to date) that he is a user of prostitutes and in the pockets of Putin.  Rumour gathered by some freelance spy with a dodgy dossier presented as fact.   That he is a liar and deal-breaker.  Even the revered Gloria Steinem in a Guardian article referred to the jelly that emerges when Trump opens his jacket.  Extraordinarily rude crude and meaningless and I imagine the howls of protest from all these liberal feminists if a woman was to be defined purely on the grounds of her physical appearance.  Is it not that very thing that we have all been fighting for these last thirty years?  That we are judged equally upon our capacities and talents and not, like a tribe of hapless baboons focusing on our breasts and penises and bank accounts and inspecting each other’s bottoms for fleas?
The other astonishing thing about Trump’s ‘America First’ diatribe is how remarkably it misses all the chronic issues that face us now and in the not too distant future.
These can be ascribed to three external impending disasters and three internal ones.  The external pressures are-Global warming and resulting climate change, chronic and mostly permanent geo-political instability, and rampant technological innovation completely outstripping humanity’s ability to integrate and adapt to it.
The three internal crises are the chronic un-freedom of children due to fears for their safety, the internal alienation sweeping the western world with huge levels of mental health problems and the growing sense of and actuality of massive levels of inequality and the birth of a hugely enriched global elite with a sense of gross entitlement that matches their ludicrous levels of wealth.
Add to this the death throes of the three major Sky-God religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and we have an explosive mix which bodes ill indeed for future generations and the survival of the non-human world.
None of this was addressed in Trump’s speech.  Indeed, it headlined a commitment to exacerbate the very crises that face humanity.  It was aggressive, parochial, ignorant and stupid.  It celebrated paranoia, greed, suspicion, racism, militarism and the continued exploitation and rape of the world’s resources.  Imagine if instead of America First it had been called Earth First?
Let’s take these apocalyptic horsemen one at a time:  It is now evident that two degree warming is irreversible.  It may have been possible, if we had created a global movement to save the planet and transfer from fossil fuel dependence in the seventies, that about now we would have left the oil and gas in the ground and be largely solar, hydro, wind and nuclear in terms of meeting our energy needs.  That is now a dream.  Not only is every scientific community on the planet absolutely united about the coming warming but the climatic impact is unknown in terms of the complexity of the global weather systems that are held in a quite beautiful and sustaining balance of complex interrelated parts.  These impacts will be shocking and will hit the most vulnerable initially.  But what is most astounding about Trump’s America First speech is that not only is there no reference to this impending catastrophe but there is a commitment to drill for more oil, more gas, more fracking wherever and whenever it is to be found.  A two degree rise appears even preferable to what is now coming down the road.  A four degree rise?  Six?  A four metre rise in seal levels?  Twelve?  It has been a preventable catastrophe that future generations will look back on in dumbfounded stupefaction, should they survive to look.
Trump has assembled a cabal of oil, gas, big pharma and big agro and military interests that beggars belief.  A group of right wing ideologues funded by billionaires and secretive think tanks and global banking interests will now be running the biggest economy in the world.  It is the supreme irony that it is the sense of being left behind and forgotten that permeates the American working class in their rustbelt that has put this corporate global elite in charge of the American machine.
Geo-political instability sounds punchy but it is in fact like a creeping disease.  The Calais jungle, mass immigration, Syria, Isis, the middle eastern time bomb, the Russian expansion west, China, the massive corruption that infects much of Africa and Asia.  The impending fracturing of the European Union, people smuggling and trafficking, sexual slavery.  And atop it all sits a heartless organised criminality that feeds off the poor and the dispossessed like a vampire.  The impact of this on children is almost too unspeakable to contemplate.
The Syrian refugee crisis is a result of terror.  Of the terror of men, women and children slaughtered in their beds, hospitals, in their markets and schools and at prayer, deliberately targeted with hideous weapons such as barrel bombs and chlorine.  Bashar Al Assad and Vladimir Putin have brought back atrocity with a vengeance.  Isis has brought back a medieval barbarity to the battlefield and proven an attractive death cult for young muslim men as well as a hideously effective fighting force on the battlefield feeding on rape, murder and dreams of paradise in the arms of virgins.

None of this is going to change with America First, in fact it’s all going to get a lot worse.  Terror works well for autocrats and ideologues.  It works well for the Trumpist cabal.  It works well for the Putinistas.
To be continued:


  1. I wouldn't have voted from Trump but neither would I have voted for the alternative candidate. I have no moral responsibility to vote for someone or anyone. Trump's speech is, as you suggest, typical of a newly elected president or prime minister. After all, the great saviour of the world, Barrack Obama, said many things but, apart from being the first black U.S. president, achieved nothing of note.
    Trump seems uncomfortable to me, he is a man in a place that he didn't expect or even want to be. The American people though had every right to be wrong (if that is what they are) and elect him. It's really depressing that a country that has stood for so many good things (and bad) can be so bereft of any really inspiring candidates for the biggest office of all.
    If Trump is setting the world on a course of ecological oblivion then may be Mrs. Thatcher wasn't so bad, after all she destroyed the coal mining industry in this country.
    Personally I don't buy into the gospel of man made global warming, it hasn't been proved, but for that I am labeled a 'climate change denier' sounds a bit like 'Holocaust denier' so it must be something sinister.
    I also voted to leave what I believe is the corrupt EU, with it's free-loading parasites, but again this view tars me with a particular brush. I must vote for UKIP, I am a little Englander and I am xenophobic.
    The Syrian refugee crisis is the result of a many faceted terror, which started with the west destabilizing the Middle East. Of the terror of men, women, children and MEN are being slaughtered in their beds.
    That Basher Al Assad and Vladimir Putin are ruthless men I have no doubt, but the fashion for comparing any nasty leader with Hitler is very tiring.
    We are constantly fed, on the news channels, a diet of self-righteous tripe, which amounts to anti-Russian propaganda. Inch by inch, the truth about the Western 'coalition's bombing of Mosul is beginning to emerge in the mainstream media. Not only Mosul but Felluja too. What is the difference between this, where we were fighting Isis, but sadly killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children cowering in sheer terror at the bombardment from the air, and Assad and Putin doing exactly the same thing in Alepo? The difference, according to 24 hour news and our wonderful political classes, is that Putin and Assad are war criminals and we are not.

  2. Well first may I thank you for your thoughtful response to my little, purely personal, thoughts on our present political shenanigans. I claim no expertise. Like you, these are just my thoughts and hopefully helpful even if occasionally provocative.
    Regarding climate change through global warming I tend not to get into a debate if it is or is not happening. The evidence points to the fact that it is and this is supported by nearly every reputable scientist in the World. That is enough to make Global Warming a Fact. A scientific fact. The proofs for this just pile up over the last 40 years and then there is the evidence of our own eyes and senses. There seems no point in discussing facts. The denial of climate change is therefore based on something other than facts and, of course, you and everyone else who thinks so are completely entitled to your opinions. It's a bit like GOD! I seen no evidence for the existence of GOD so I presume on the absence of evidence that there is no God but I don't want to torture or kill believers in him/her/IT!
    Of course I take your point on the Western Propaganda Machine and bemoan it but I do wonder about the rise of the crew of Russian Apologists in the teeth of growing evidence of a corrupt kleptocracy thriving under Putin and his cronies. But equally I think Blair and Bush should be looking at the World from the walls of a jail cell for their war crimes. What is the difference you ask between the depredations of the West and the crimes of Putin and Assad? I answer-To the dead, there is no difference.

  3. Man made global warming hasn't been proved. Global warming, maybe.

  4. Dear Islander,
    Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you-I only just saw this. I absolutely agree-what is coming to be called the Anthropocene is not yet proven but highly likely. In any event it is not wise to wait until the house has burned down before you start fetching some water.
    In case you may wish to explore the evidence, here are some references from Nasa'a web page:References
    IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers

    B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,” Nature vol 382, 4 July 1996, 39-46

    Gabriele C. Hegerl, “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method,” Journal of Climate, v. 9, October 1996, 2281-2306

    V. Ramaswamy et.al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling,” Science 311 (24 February 2006), 1138-1141

    B.D. Santer et.al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes,” Science vol. 301 (25 July 2003), 479-483.

    In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first predicted that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.

    National Research Council (NRC), 2006. Surface Temperature Reconstructions For the Last 2,000 Years. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.



    Church, J. A. and N.J. White (2006), A 20th century acceleration in global sea level rise, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L01602, doi:10.1029/2005GL024826.

    The global sea level estimate described in this work can be downloaded from the CSIRO website.




    Levitus, et al, "Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems," Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07608 (2009).

    L. Polyak, et.al., “History of Sea Ice in the Arctic,” in Past Climate Variability and Change in the Arctic and at High Latitudes, U.S. Geological Survey, Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 1.2, January 2009, chapter 7

    R. Kwok and D. A. Rothrock, “Decline in Arctic sea ice thickness from submarine and ICESAT records: 1958-2008,” Geophysical Research Letters, v. 36, paper no. L15501, 2009


    National Snow and Ice Data Center

    World Glacier Monitoring Service

    "Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change," National Academies Press, 2016

    Kunkel, K. et al, "Probable maximum precipitation and climate change," Geophysical Research Letters, (12 April 2013) DOI: 10.1002/grl.50334

    Kunkel, K. et al, "Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of the Knowledge," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2012.




    C. L. Sabine et.al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2,” Science vol. 305 (16 July 2004), 367-371

    Copenhagen Diagnosis, p. 36.

    National Snow and Ice Data Center

    C. Derksen and R. Brown, "Spring snow cover extent reductions in the 2008-2012 period exceeding climate model projections," GRL, 39:L19504


    Rutgers University Global Snow Lab, Data History Accessed August 29, 2011.