Upfront: Total Disaster

Upfront: Total Disaster

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Illustration by Trevor Alixopulos.

By Tom Gogola

Donald Trump has been in office nearly 100 days and as we reach this grim milestone we tally the ways the popular vote loser has been a disaster for the North Bay and civilization at large.

  1. Fuel-Efficiency Fallout
  • Let’s start right at the kitchen-table issues and—heh? President Obama bails out the auto industry and now the industry gets the back-seat deal from Trump on fuel-efficiency rollbacks? The administration has vowed to eliminate the phased-in standards. California can hold the line, says Gov. Brown, but you can’t stop the guzzlers from crossing the border from Nevada. Can you?
  1. Bank-Fee Freedom
  • The fine print in numerous areas of consumer concern got a lot less mean under Obama, under rules instituted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), both of which Trump has vowed to repeal and eliminate. For the time being, enjoy the absence of $35 overdraft fees when you go 35 cents into the red on your checking account.
  1. Car-Loan Reforms
  • The CFPB leveraged a North Bay lawsuit that paid out to thousands of car buyers who’d been subjected to discrimination at the dealership. Trump has vowed to kill the CFPB, so there goes another great reform. The good news is that pro-CFPB agitation is well-represented by organizations like the California Reinvestment Coalition and the North Bay Fair Housing Coalition.
  1. Emergent Farmworker Shortage
  • Who is going to work when Immigration and Customs Enforcement is in the field checking papers among the grapes?
  1. Offshore Drilling
  • Trump has pledged a renewed push for offshore drilling and a streamlined regulatory and review process, but all bets are off when Trump’s secretary of state is an Exxon diplomat whom you’re not even allowed to look at.
  1. Dams and Drought
  • State Republicans called for more drought-beating dams in the dry season—which means more concrete, more gravel mining and more dust for anyone who agrees that this is the way to go as far as infrastructure boondoggles are concerned. Not to mention that dams are no good for salmon.
  1. Planned Parenthood Putsch
  • Access to reproductive care is threatened by Trump’s call to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that would be especially harmful to low-income women who depend on the services. The good news: Public support for Planned Parenthood has never been higher.
  1. Disconnect Decrees
  • The U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama sought and obtained binding consent decrees (legal agreements) in various local police departments and jails to bring them into compliance with the Constitution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: We’re not doing that anymore.
  1. Civil Rights Investigations
  • The FBI swooped into Santa Rosa when Andy Lopez was killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy and eventually exonerated the officer of federal civil rights violations. Sessions and the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office: We’ll take a pass.
  1. Militarization of Police
  • Trump has proposed a $753 quintillion defense budget to make “America Great Again” (that’s an exaggeration, but no coin shall be left unspent in the search for the USS Carl Vinson!). The older military hardware trickles down to half-failed states and any needful locality with a Black Lives Matters “problem” or otherwise. Locally, Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties can each field an armored personnel carrier and multiple military-issue firearms (Sonoma and Marin share one).
  1. California McCarthyism
  • The rugged hard-right California congressional delegation has been among the worst of the Trump throne-sniffers. Downstate, Kevin McCarthy urges a federal-fund shutdown for a high-speed rail, which can’t be good for anyone who loves trains.
  1. Infrastructure Buyoffs
  • The promised trillion-dollar boondoggle will have devilish details to sort out locally, and democratically, as the corporate-industrial juggernaut meets with the business-class POTUS and the actual need on the ground in Sonoma and elsewhere. It could get awkward.
  1. ICE Meltdowns
  • New anti-immigration edicts from the administration have taken hold as California sheriffs react with varying degrees of participation, as Dreamers have nightmares about Jeff Sessions with a Gitmo switchblade. The good news is that on the whole, the respective sheriffs of Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties lie on the more reasonable side of the “We’re not ICE agents” question.
  1. Roads to Ruin
  • Trump’s roadbuilding plan eliminates the federal Department of Transportation with its $500 million budget. OK, dude. A Petaluma pothole has meanwhile taken its latest victim. The good news: It was a gas-guzzler.
  1. Endangered Species Act I
  • Trump’s not going to let a few squirrely butterflies intrude on his business plan, as his minions push him to blow off the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) wherever and whenever possible. The wolves can move to Canada or face execution if they don’t like it. The good news: First Nation wolf packs are allowed under California law.
  1. Endangered Species Act II
  • Trump-emboldened California Republican Congressman Tom McClintock wants to “reform” the act to allow for logging of previously off-limits forests—to end the apocalyptic fires that have plagued the state. It therefore holds that if you support salamanders, you hate first responders. Nice try.
  1. Endangered Species Act III
  • The good news is that Trump has yet to send his sons to kill the last American buffalo—and CESA is a rugged and court-challenged law that has saved numerous California beasts from extinction.
  1. Medical Cannabis Criminalized
  • Expect a Sessions-driven spike in incentive for raids at dispensaries seeing an uptick in business as a recreational crackdown sends users to the canna-doc. It’s also true that while Sessions’ views on medical cannabis are not especially enlightened, it’s never too late for a CBD rubdown to shake a man to his soul.
  1. Elder Abuse
  • The elders of West Marin, Sebastopol, San Rafael and other havens of spiritual decency are in for some real pain on numerous fronts—any room for Alzheimer’s research at the savagely gutted National Institutes of Health under Trump’s budget? Nope.
  1. Homeless Veteran Surge
  • It’s axiomatic that if the administration withholds the number of American troops it is sending into harm’s way, then their disappearance into a USS Vinsonland of “miscommunicated” priorities about care for wounded warriors will ensue upon their return.
  1. Economics of Resistance
  • Trump’s election has created a surge in donations and interest in liberal and progressive groups as he’s pledged to hack away at federal grants that enhance community programs. Can the donations keep pace with the promised cuts? Yes, but we may have to go Doctor Zhivago on Mark Zuckerberg’s San Francisco estate.
  1. Carbon Cut to Coal Crudity
  • Ever get the feeling that this whole coal thing is just so Trump can stand around with a bunch of white guys in blackface and not get called out for it? And even if he did get called out for it . . .
  1. Open Encouragement of Disaster Capitalism
  • Trump has called for a $500 million cut in FEMA’s pre-pre-preparedness budget, which generally goes for stuff like fires, earthquakes or floods—and those signs that tell you where to go if there’s a tsunami.
  1. Section—Wait?
  • Marin County has a great program where they encourage landlords (or potential ones) to take a Section 8 voucher and rent below market, in exchange for a kick-in from the county to make up the diff. HUD secretary Ben Carson thinks Section 8 is the devil’s work.
  1. Prisoner Program Putsch
  • That San Quentin is one of the least violent prisons in the state is a direct reflection of its unusually high level of anti-recidivism programs, run mainly by citizens and groups from around the Bay Area. Obama put a priority on grants targeted at education and skills-training programs—a priority that is, alas, not shared by the new administration.
  1. Let’s Try That Thing Where We Lock up All the Young Black Boys Again and Hope No One Notices
  • A “crackdown on crime” threatens any progress Obama and Black Lives Matter have made when it comes to multiple lost generations of young black boys to the prison system.
  1. Hedge-Fund Mental-Health Prison Blues
  • The American prison industry can expect a surge in new business, and with it, a surge in profit to a cadre of select vulture capitalist entities that stand to profit mightily on others’ weakness, illness and pathos.
  1. Encouraging Aggression Through Bully-Tactic Normalization
  • The insidious normalization of the insane equals a possible road-rage meltdown on the commute if you dwell on it too long. The good news: There are other radio stations, and some of them rock.
  1. Tourism Industry Cooked
  • Numerous reports have rolled in that the U.S. Trump tourism slump is a real, ongoing deal, and did you know—seriously!—that Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties rely heavily on tourism to keep their economies humming along? The good news is maybe people can afford to live around here again.
  1. Brain Drain on Specialized Medical Services
  • Trump’s new guidance on H1B1 visas means fewer high-degree specialists from faraway lands will be on call to replace that balky heart valve.
  1. National Public Radio Silence
  • These threats come along every once in a while, but this time they mean it!
  1. Symphony of Sorrowful Cuts
  • Break out the violins. Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties’ respective symphonies each rely on federal arts grants in their annual budgets.
  1. Museum of Museums
  • “Hey, remember museums? Well, we’ve got a museum full of them. See, after Me and the Freedom Caucus heroically cut all the funding for arts and culture, we’re down to one museum, but it’s a big one, folks—a museum of museums! That’ll be $125, double for the kids. I don’t really like kids.”
  1. School Arts Programs
  • “You know, while we’re at it—why are we encouraging this art stuff in school anyway?” Trump’s budget cuts federal funds devoted to school arts programs utilized in districts throughout the North Bay, for less advantaged and other kids who could use a hand.
  1. Meals in Wheelbarrows
  • Elders comprise a significant and growing percentage of Sonoma and Marin counties, and the homebound rely on Meals on Wheels programs that Trump has vowed to cut because they’re inefficient and haven’t been adequately means-tested. Or was that mean-tested?
  1. Librarians Are Cool
  • Ivanka said great things about libraries the other day and was tweet-shamed by librarians who pointed out dad’s disdain for federal funds to support them. Sort of puts a new perspective on the critical role that local library tax-votes play.
  1. The Numbing, Dumbing Lies . . .
  • . . . that never seem to catch up with Trump, but they have caught up to, and warped, reality—a scary lurch toward a mandate of might makes right, emboldening morons where few right-wing loons have dared to tread before (such as on our Facebook comments section).
  1. Nazi Punks . . .
  • Witness the rise of a new California White Nationalist right that expresses its patriotism by flying a Confederate Flag at the July 4 Parade in Petaluma—and that was before he was elected.
  1. Existential Pressures Are Mounting
  2. California is home to the nation’s Strategic Air Command. 2. The hothead president. 3. A four-pack of jets just zoomed over my Bolinas fringe-pad . . .
  3. Recreational Blowback
  • Say what you will about Big Cannabis in California, but if it goes, it all goes—and with it, all the investment and opportunity to expand an economy without fracking your state to death.
  1. Cannabis and Cartel
  • A cannabis crackdown means a vibrant black market, more cartel violence and a further militarization of police in neighborhoods that for the most part don’t need it.
  1. Five Dollars a Gallon Just in Time for the Fourth
  • And California will be blamed for “leading the pack.” The good news: Gas is already $5 a gallon in Bolinas, but they use the money for affordable housing in town.
  1. Jared Kushner in a Flak Jacket Over His Suit Jacket
  • Very troubling.
  1. Me Tarzan, You Payin’
  • The administration promises more domestic oil production, which means even more tar sands coming down the rail into the Bay Area.
  1. Monomaniacal Pursuit of Popular-Vote Victory
  • Trump said he could have won California, and is hellbent on winning the state in 2020 led by a pack of rabid California advisers who hate-love their home state so much they want to destroy it before the rest of the country gets wind that things actually work pretty well here if you let them.
  1. Paris Accord Is Burning
  • California can lead the way all it wants on carbon emissions, and will continue to do so as the high-sheen president demands a queen’s carriage and withdrawal from the multilateral accord. Sonoma Clean Power, Marin Clean Energy—they’ll continue to crank out the geo-thermalized truth of the matter. Plus PG&E is discounting seniors and pot growers, so how bad can things be, really?
  1. Crock of the Bay
  • Trump’s budget eliminates the entire $500 million EPA contribution to the ongoing San Francisco Bay Restoration project.
  1. ‘Degradation Without Consequence … ’
  • Could apply to the 100-day spectacle to date, but specifically, Trump’s budget eliminates the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. There goes the enforcement arm that makes sure the brown field goes back to green when the polluter is brought to justice.
  1. We Could Get Nuked by North Korea
  2. Day 101
  • One hundred days into this experiment and the vile campaign is now subsumed by the history of cable-internet immediacy, and erased at the next presidential Mother of All Bombast moment. “They’re still talkin’ about my taxes, whuuuh?” The good news is that tomorrow is another day to resist, refuse, write, rock out, write a letter, roll a number, call a loved one, march in the street, prepare the bunker, pick some basil or get ready for court.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I never liked Trump, but why make up stuff to criticize him on? It only undermines the real stuff. Number 20 predicts he will worsen the homeless veterans situation. Obama/Dems have had eight years, and the VA only got worse, and the lack of adequate support for homeless vets is on their head. On this one, Trump actually did inherit a mess.

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