Donald Trump’s right-wing militarist State of the Union speech

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump’s STOU Calls for More Spending on Nuclear Weapons and Galvanises Extremism

30 January 2018

Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, and Norman Solomon discuss President Trump‘s State of the Union. They express their dismay for the simplistic narrative and lack of substance for such a serious address that is designed to galvanize extremism.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Trump’s State of the Union address: A spectacle of reaction and militarism

31 January 2018

US President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, delivered Tuesday night, was a festival of reaction and political filth. The speech dragged on for more than 80 minutes, interrupted by ovations from the assembled members of the Senate and House of Representatives. It was filled with paeans to the police and military (which won the particular support of Democrats), fascistic attacks on immigrants, and invocations of religion, patriotism and the American flag, culminating in howls of “USA! USA!” during the closing section of the address.

The annual State of the Union speech has long since decayed into a hollow ritual, whose essential emptiness is an expression of the crisis and decay of American democracy, weighed down by militarism and rampant economic inequality.

With Donald Trump, the real State of the Union is revealed, not by the endless torrent of lies fashioned by his speechwriters, or the people they exploited as human props, but in the persona of the president himself: the first billionaire to occupy the White House, preening over the signal accomplishment of his first year in office—trillions of dollars in tax breaks for corporations and the super-rich.

In a speech that quickly received positive responses in the media, Trump cited the record-breaking rise in the stock market and the decision of major corporations to repatriate funds to the United States—since they can now do so virtually tax free—as though these would benefit American workers.

However, Trump’s efforts to paint a portrait of a country on the rise, with living conditions improving, will not have fooled anyone. Only a few minutes after claiming that Americans have never had it so good, he noted that 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in America last year, a record number. This was one of his few concessions to social reality, which Trump used to demand increased police powers.

Trump’s arrogant demeanor reflected something of the political conjuncture. The Democrats pretended to oppose the tax cut, but did nothing to stop it, because their most important social base, Wall Street, supported it enthusiastically. The Democrats pretended to fight for immigrant youth covered by the DACA program, but abandoned the effort after a two-day shutdown of the federal government. Trump has taken the measure of this toothless “opposition,” and feels strengthened accordingly.

His State of the Union speech made no concessions whatsoever on immigration, with Trump elaborating on the plan released last week by the White House, which ties an onerous 12-year process of legalization for DACA-age immigrants to a raft of reactionary measures, including his wall along the US-Mexico border, a massive build-up of the Border Patrol and immigration police, and drastic cuts in legal immigration, limiting family reunification measures to spouses and minor children.

Trump appealed to anti-immigrant prejudice with a grotesquely false depiction of immigrants as a threat to the jobs and
even the lives of American workers, using the Salvadoran M-13 gang—a creation of the Los Angeles slums and the US prison system, not El Salvador—as the replacement for ISIS in US government scaremongering.

Leading Democrats joined in the applause, especially when Trump praised the military, the police, the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other repressive forces. This included a bipartisan standing ovation for Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is preparing to execute Trump’s orders for nuclear war with North Korea.

This 30 January 2018 video from the USA is called Activists Call on Senators to End US-Saudi War in Yemen, Which Unleashed World’s Largest Catastrophe.

Only the intelligence agencies were left off the list, an omission that was the sole indication in Trump’s speech of the struggle raging within the American state between the White House and sections of the military-intelligence apparatus, which has taken the form of the Russia investigation.

The Russia probe is the only issue which the congressional Democrats have fought on intransigently, voicing the demands of the CIA and Pentagon that there should be no change in the anti-Russian foreign policy stance adopted by the Obama administration during its second term.

Last week the leading congressional Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, called for incorporating into the new budget resolution, which must be passed by February 8 to prevent another federal shutdown, a provision to block Trump from firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who heads the Russia investigation. This came only days after Schumer dropped demands that the budget resolution include protection for DACA recipients.

There is little point in attempting to provide a point-by-point rebuttal of the barefaced lies in Trump’s speech. He was describing America as it is seen by the billionaires, for whom, as he said, this seems the best of times, with stock prices and profits soaring, income and corporate taxes slashed, government regulations on business either not enforced or scrapped outright.

On foreign policy, Trump said relatively little, but all of it was reactionary. He called for Congress to “fully fund our great military”, hailed US military operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, while announcing he had signed an executive order to keep open the US torture prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to house new prisoners seized in the “war on terror”. He insisted that alleged “terrorists” should be treated as “enemy combatants”, and made clear that the US would maintain and expand its network of detention and torture centers.

He threatened Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, as well as the more than 100 countries that voted in the UN General Assembly to condemn the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He cited North Korea as a nuclear threat to the United States and promised a further build-up of the US nuclear arsenal.

The truly foul character of the speech, the media coverage, and the ceremony as a whole only testifies to the exclusion of any genuine opposition to the political and social agenda of corporate America. Official American politics consists of various gradations of far-right politics, from the pro-corporate, pro-CIA agenda of the Democratic Party to the fascistic ravings of sections of the Republican Party who view even Trump as too soft on immigrants.

The official Democratic Party response, delivered by Massachusetts Representative Joseph Kennedy III, a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, combined demagogic posturing, mostly along the lines of identity politics, but with some criticism of Wall Street profiteering thrown in, and scaremongering against Russia, which he described as “knee-deep in our democracy.”

Even at his most demagogic, however, Kennedy could make no reference to the working class, or to any movement from below against the growth of economic inequality. That is because the Democratic Party is just as much an instrument of the corporate and financial aristocracy as the Republican Party. Whatever differences they have on secondary issues and matters of tactics are subordinated to a common defense of the profit system and the interests of Wall Street and American imperialism.

The State of the Union showed an extremely degraded and reactionary president and an impotent and bankrupt “opposition.” The real opposition, to both Trump and the Democratic Party, must come from below, from an independent movement of the working class in opposition to the capitalist profit system.

Amidst the nauseating spectacle of Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, perhaps the most remarkable feature was the inability of the ruling class—not only Trump, but also the Democratic opposition and the unending stream of media commentary—to deal seriously with any of the myriad crises engulfing American and world capitalism: here.

CNN’s Van Jones said the speech was “sweet-tasting candy with poison in it.”

Trade unionists slam Donald Trump for ‘actively hurting’ US workers after first State of the Union address: here.

This video shows the response to Trump’s speech by Senator Bernie Sanders.

‘THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION IS WHAT HE DIDN’T SAY’ Here’s how the president presented immigration as a violent threat. While Trump talked about a large number of natural disasters — even acknowledging Puerto Rico hurricane victimshe did not mention climate change. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the only politician to mention that in his recorded response. Critics pointed out Trump only spent 49 seconds on the opioid crisis, which is killing 64,000 Americans a year.

This 30 January 2018 video from the USA is called Climate State Of The Union: Activists Urge Politicians to Reject Money from Dirty Energy.

By Paul Blumenthal:

01/30/2018 04:39 pm ET

Only One President Had The Guts To Say The State Of The Union Is ‘Not Good’

He, of course, lost the next election.

WASHINGTON ― The State of the Union is one of the most predictable set pieces of political theater in the United States. Washington’s partisan divide will be easily evident by who sits and who stands and claps. Some octogenarian senator will be caught asleep on camera. A military widow or a wounded soldier will be used as justification for continued overseas military operations ― and easy applause. No one will remember what policies were proposed. The opposition party response will doom the career of whoever gives it.

Hillary Clinton allowed a top adviser for her 2008 presidential campaign to keep his job after she learned he had been accused of sexual harassment, The New York Times reported on Friday. An unnamed 30-year-old female staffer made a complaint at the time against Clinton’s faith adviser, Burns Strider: here.

Democrats and Republicans pass budget to prepare US for war: here.

26 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s right-wing militarist State of the Union speech

  1. This analysis of Trump’s SOTU is very excellent and concise! I had to stop watching due to the obvious lies and was upset that some of my Facebook friends actually have him applause for “sticking to the speech” without sounding like a lunatic! That is really a new low for what we consider presidential.


    • You are right, Tamanisha! Some people in the corporate media considered Trump ‘presidential’ when he bombed Syria (profiting from the bombing, being a major Raytheon shareowner):

      Some people people think that the problem with Trump is that he is a fool. No, the problem is that he is evil rather than foolish. Concentrating on foolishness causes underestimation. If he would have been a total fool, then he would not have become president against the opposition of the Republican and Democratic party establishments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read a piece in The Nation earlier last year called “Trump The Hawk” written by Michael Klare and another piece called “The Honeymoon of the Generals” written by Englehardt and essentially, they were both saying that it is ridiculous to think that Trump would not ramp up the MIC. As your link suggests he does benefit and profit from our military weapons use. And I am baffled that people are blatantly supporting imperial wars— for reasons that they do not even know. We’re also not going to be pulling out of Syria and the ME. Our foreign policy is just unbelievable and each day becomes normalized because people again, simply focus on him “acting” presidential because of the misconception that he is stupid


  2. In last night’s State of the Union, Trump bragged about his new “fantastic” infrastructure plan. But don’t be fooled — this plan is nothing but a scam, another massive giveaway to corporate polluters. To Trump, infrastructure is just another word for environmental destruction.

    This. Cannot. Happen. Our window to stop this is short — right now, we need to be joining rallies. We need to be flooding House and Senate offices with calls and letters. We need to be campaigning all over the country.

    Trump used his first State of the Union to tout how he’s allegedly making our country great again. But we don’t think rolling back our public health and environmental safeguards makes our nation better for anyone except Trump’s corporate polluter buddies. We know you agree, and we know that we cannot slow down the fight against his anti-environment proposals, especially as the infrastructure debate heats up.

    EPA funding: slashed.
    Clean air and water safeguards: repealed.
    Endangered species protections: eviscerated.
    Public lands protections: gone.

    We have to stop him before it’s too late. In this make-or-break moment for the environmental movement, the best thing you can do to help is renew your membership for 2018. It only costs $5. I really can’t overstate how important this is — and how much we need your help right now.

    ANYTHING you can give will help. Even $5 counts towards the goal, so if you’ve been waiting, now’s your chance to pitch in — your donation could unlock a half million dollars to fight for the environment!

    I want you to know that even when it seems like everything is stacked against us, we can win. The environmental movement is resisting in SO many ways right now, like blocking some of Trump’s worst nominations and taking to the streets to fight for what we believe in. …


    Gene Karpinski
    League of Conservation Voters


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