Friday, December 09, 2016

The Anti-Cabinet

If you're paying attention to how Trump is shaping his Cabinet - the subordinates who will manage the various Executive departments that manage this nation - you'll notice a disturbing trend.

Well, not that 9/10ths of them are a bunch of incompetent rubes with almost NO experience in administrative office or that they're racist fearmongers incapable of the empathy needed to oversee their duties. Gotta admit, like Gary Legum at it's hard to ignore what is really happening:

...Trump has surrounded himself with people who are happy to do the work of having an ideology for him: people like former Breitbart News impresario Steve Bannon, his chief adviser, or his theocratic Vice President-elect Mike Pence, or his designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus, a bowl of vanilla pudding who would probably drop dead of an aneurysm if he had to consider whether a political move or legislative policy is good for anyone outside the GOP’s millionaire donor class.
These advisers have happily stepped into this ideological vacuum. Which, combined with Trump’s natural laziness, is why we are now seeing the appointments of officials who will likely push exactly the opposite of policy goals that Trump talked about during the campaign...

It's worse than that: So far when it comes to every Cabinet and high-level pick, Trump is selecting pretty much the one single person on the planet who opposes each philosophical and practical reasons why those Cabinet positions exist in the first place.

Legum's biggest example from his article is the most recent pick of the Trump transition: Selecting CEO Andrew Puzder to serve as Secretary of Labor. Puzder's public record has him outspoken against minimum wage laws, he's argued for cheap foreign immigrant labor, and he's considered automating his own restaurant chains to reduce employment costs. Puzder is not only mocking Trump's own claims of "bringing jobs back to America" and "saving our jobs," Puzder is mocking the very concept of supporting our labor force, period.

As Legum notes:

In a happy coincidence, Puzder’s far-right ideology lines up with that of some of Trump’s advisers, who can steer Trump into appointing a business-friendly leader likely to leave the Department of Labor a smoking ruin. Or into appointing an Environmental Protection Agency administrator who would just as soon dismantle the EPA as lead it. Or an Education secretary, also a big Trump donor, who hates the public schools that have been a bedrock of the nation’s educational system for 200 years.

Let's take a person-and-position review of what we see will be Trump's administration:

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions, a Far Right conservative so opposed to civil rights he lost out on a judicial post during the Reagan years. Elected by Alabama residents as Senator only because there's no disqualification for elective office for raging segregationists, this SOB is likely going to preside over an FBI and internal law enforcement campaign of shredding every progressive or civil rights-minded group across the nation, not to mention escalating a War on Drugs against marijuana at a time more states are legalizing that drug.

Secretary of Education: Betty DeVos, whose only claim to fame is her public opposition to public education. She's been a vocal proponent for school vouchers - a potentially corrupt method of defunding schools - and for charter schools - a method of privatizing education with little oversight or permanence of institutions (charter schools have closed the second they're not profitable). She'd likely preside over the end of our public-funding K-12 system - something we've had in place for centuries - and replace it with an unregulated nightmare of religious-backed and expensive private schools that would only ensure education for those who can afford it.

Secretary of Defense: James Mattis, a retired Marine general and one of the few who has a legitimate justification to serve his position. Even then, he'd have to receive a Congressional waiver to serve (ironically to avoid conflicts of interest, a DefSec can't be coming from a high-ranking position in the military within a set time period, which explains why Colin Powell was chosen for State and not Defense under the Bush the Lesser term, now I know).

Secretary of Interior: Mary McMorris Rodgers. A prominent Congresswoman with a history of "Drill Baby Drill" who'll likely allow fracking in every national park - if any remain existing after 2017 - first chance she gets. Think James Watt was bad...?

Secretary of Labor: Pudzer. Already described above as someone who'll likely push for an end to minimum wage guarantees that can pretty much give business CEOs the ability to reduce salaries across the board (except their own), as well as likely pushing to eliminate this Department altogether.

Secretary of Treasury: Steven Mnuchin. Formerly with Goldman Sachs and a banking CEO with a track record of questionable business practices and property foreclosures that ruined a lot of lives during the Great Recession. He's here because he helped finance Trump's campaign. Essentially a slap in the face of every middle-class American out there - including the ones who voted for Trump - and likely someone who'll happily raid the vault until there's nothing left, not even wooden nickels.

Secretary of Energy: No one named yet, but the odds are good we're going to see a CEO with ties to Oil/Gas eager to dump the green energy programs that Obama pushed. There's already an attempt by Trump's people to quiz the staffers at Energy about anybody who attended climate change meetings in a way to suggest a purge of pro-climate staffers is going to happen.

Secretary of Agriculture: No one named yet (and there's a lot of guessing here) but it's bound to be someone who will preside over massive deregulation of food safety and a shutdown of public support programs like SNAP / Food Stamps.

Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross, a CEO and banker of various companies across a number of industries. Like most of the other nominees with no previous elective or public service experience, he's only here because he and Trump have done business. Ross's greatest claim to shame is that he's tied into the Coal industry and that one of his holdings was in control of the Sago Mine in 2006 when lax observation of safety laws led to an explosion and tunnel collapse that killed twelve workers.

Secretary of Health Human Services: Tom Price, Congressman from Georgia. Best known as a vocal opponent of Obamacare and someone who would eagerly dismantle it even if Congress doesn't vote to repeal it (because then Congress would have to replace it, and they honestly don't know what with).

Secretary of Housing Urban Development: Ben Carson, someone with NO administrative or organizational experience who won't know or understand the first thing about the housing issues of major cities or any other issues that will affect a majority of Americans who, believe it or not, LIVE AND WORK IN LARGE CITIES RATHER THAN THE BOONDOCKS OF FLYOVER COUNTRY. That Carson is likely going to preside over another Department under threat of Republican dismantling, expect the worst.

Secretary of Homeland Security: John Kelly, a retired Marine general with combat experience during the Second Persian Gulf War, and alongside Mattis probably the most qualified guy to the position being picked. He's also most likely to be asked to push Trump's aggressive anti-immigrant plans, which suggests a more militarized approach to the issue than ever before (not a good sign).

Secretary of Transportation: Elaine Chao. Granted, she's served before as a Cabinet Secretary - Labor for Bush the Lesser - but she's likely to push the standard Republican ideology of deregulation weakening the guidelines of worker safety and transit safety. There's no guarantee she'll push for bridge repairs and replacements that are in dire need of both.

Secretary of Veteran Affairs: No one named yet, but don't be surprised if it's another retired General who's going to argue in favor of slicing and dicing veteran aid in the name of "balanced budgets" and "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology.

Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus, someone who couldn't ever keep Trump in line during the campaigns now asked to keep Trump in line while in the Oval Office. /headdesk

Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt, someone deep in the pocket of the Oil industry and a known climate change denialist. It's been noted that putting Pruitt in charge of the EPA is akin to putting foxes in charge of hen houses. Say goodbye to clean water and air.

There's several more still not filled, but the way things are going those spots will either be a retired General, a CEO buddy, or a raging anti-institutional critic of that office.

It's not just a subversion of the office, it's wholesale destruction.

Welcome to the Republicans' wet dream of Anarchy In the USA.

I'm a comic book geek, so I'm pretty much recognizing Trump's Cabinet as a kind of Legion of Doom, replacing the Superfriends Justice League that served out Superman's Obama's tenure.

I'm not joking. I've never seen a roster of "talent" for an incoming administration so stacked with people who are clear and present dangers to the very departments they are set to take over.

I'm looking at an administration that's set to eclipse every scandal made under the corrupt regimes of Grant and Harding and Reagan and Bush the Lesser. A level of graft and ignorance that will cost lives and billions of dollars.

Congratulations, America. 62 MILLION OF YOU voted for this.

Update 12/12/2016: Jesus effing Christ On a Bike. You should see who Trump is picking to serve as Director of National Intelligence (there's apparently a lot of chiefs in the intelligence community).

Carly Fiorina?!?!?!

Overlooking the simple fact that she's NEVER BEEN INVOLVED IN INTELLIGENCE MATTERS HER ENTIRE LIFE, Fiorina isn't exactly that great managing anything as Hewlett-Packard and her own campaign staffers over the years can attest.

Gods help us.

He's also thinking about Rick "Brain Fart" Perry for Secretary of Energy. I think Trump's just seriously trolling the whole nation - Perry included - because Perry's claim to fame on the national stage was forgetting the debate question in 2012 about which federal agencies he'd like to shut down (Energy was, yup, one of those agencies). Then again, Trump's entire modus operandi with his incoming Anti-Cabinet is to pick those most likely to mismanage these departments into shutting down anyway.

Again. Gods help us.


dinthebeast said...

They had to have their fire-demon to blow it all up. Now they have him. This is what I was writing about for the whole campaign. Trump is too narcissistic and distracted to do the damage himself, but he's also vindictive and mean enough to get off on watching our utter horror as he carefully chooses to his team each player he believes will enrage us the most. Serves us right for laughing at him at the dinner.
But now the Republicans are free to do the thing that they do: dismantle the government and sell it to their friends to prove that government can't do anything right. Which carries with it the side benefit of occupying the next Democratic administration's attention with repairing the damage through much of the eighteen months they will have a favorable congress, thereby limiting how much of their actual agenda they can enact. As a political strategy it has worked well for them. As a governing strategy, it hasn't been all that hot for us.

-Doug in Oakland

Pinku-Sensei said...

Re Sessions -- "this SOB is likely going to preside over an FBI and internal law enforcement campaign of shredding every progressive or civil rights-minded group across the nation" -- since I'm a director of Coffee Party USA, that includes me and my organization. I may have more pressing things to worry about than the environment.

As for Mnuchin, the company that munchkin ran was the successor to IndyMac Bank, which screwed my wife out of her equity in a refinance. Mnuchin hadn't taken over the organization yet, but signs are that the rapacious corporate culture continued under him. Yeah, it's personal.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Ah, hell, Pinku-Sensei. You need to start placing a sh-t-ton of phone calls to your senators.

Sorry about what Mnuchin did to your wife. then again, the bastard has a long list of people he screwed out of foreclosures and bad loans, I was bound to bump into somebody either online or RW that had been screwed by him. :(