Saturday, December 3, 2016
It's Going To Be A Long Four Years
Well, let's see what we have so far. Trump has been our president-elect for only 25 days and it already seems like forever.
We have some of his picks for his cabinet. Steve Bannon, who as the Breitbart editor, bragged about providing the platform for what they like to call the Alt-Right but is really a White Nationalist movement. We have Betsy DeVos, who never attended public schools, never sent her kids to public schools, never taught at public schools, and would like to see funding for public schools transferred to Christian schools for Secretary of Education. We have Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, who was unable to be confirmed for a judgeship because of his racist attitudes. We have Steve Mnuchen, a former Goldman Sachs guy for Economic Secretary (one who made a fortune in foreclosures during the recession) and his deputy will be another Goldman Sachs guy. You remember Goldman Sachs surely? It was giving speeches to them that caused Trump to call Hillary Crooked Hillary because they were a big part of that swamp he told us he was going to drain. We'll have Pompeo for CIA Director. He could never accept no for an answer on Benghazi no matter how many investigations found nothing nefarious on Hillary's part. We have a Health and Human Services guy who hates Obamacare and hates Medicare and Medicaid as well. He vows to get started on repealing the first and privatizing the second as soon as Trump takes office, which makes him a man after Paul Ryan's own heart. (Of course, the Republicans always felt safe voting to repeal Obamacare while Obama was president because they knew he'd veto it. In other words, all the money they wasted repealing it 60 times was a big farce. Now they have to actually do it and they're talking about phasing the repeal in over three years.) We have the foolish society matron who ran against Hillary for Senator from New York and lied about her resume. I can't remember what she's going to be. It doesn't really matter.
There are others I won't bother mentioning. What a motley collection of billionaires and millionaires and lobbyists and politicians and Fox New "analysts". Most of them have no experience in what they are going to be doing, like Ben Carson for HUD (I'm not sure he's accepted yet). Seriously? These people are going to pull the plug on the scummy hot tub they themselves play in?
There are two with whom I have no quarrel. The first is Nikki Hailey. She doesn't have any experience with foreign policy either but she seems to have a likeable, commonsense personality that should serve her well at the U.N. And General "Mad Dog" Mattis. I trust his judgement although I wonder if he has the temperament to put up with Trump if Trump doesn't listen to him. (And does Trump listen to anyone?)
I hate these games Trump seems to like to play with people's lives and their pride, parading them publicly to Trump Tower or one of his other resorts. Does he just get off on forcing people to come to him on bended knee, do you think? Does it make him feel all-powerful?
Choose your goddamed Secretary of State for God's sake and let the ones you don't choose off the hook. My preference would actually be for David Petraus even though to pick someone still on probation for giving out classified information to his mistress would be rich indeed after all the grief Trump gave Hillary got for unintentionally using an insecure server.
And he needs a wise Secretary of State as soon as possible after all the blunders he's made on the foreign relations front. Inviting a Philippine dictator accused of killing thousands of his citizens without evidence or trial to the White House. Taking a call from the Taiwanese president, a country with whom we haven't had diplomatic relations in 40 years....to the great piss off of the Chinese. Having a more than friendly conversation with the head of Pakistan, offering to do whatever Pakistan wants him to do. Uh, hate to tell you Donald but it is India that is our ally, not Pakistan. Pakistan is the one that harbored Bin Laden and other members of Al Qaida, remember?
He passes on the briefings he could get from the intelligence agencies regarding what is going on in the world and talks on an unsecure private phone. He mingles his business with diplomacy, inviting his children into meetings with foreign leaders. He asks leaders of other countries for help in lowering the road blocks to building a hotel or not allowing a wind farm close to his gold course. His conflicts of interest are many. At least the ones we know about. Since he's never released his taxes we're not really aware of the extent of his foreign financial entanglements. But never fear - on December 15, he's going to have a press conference (his first since July) to tell us how he's going to handle the conflict problem. So far, his plan seems to be to let his kids "control" the business while they all promise not to share information with one another.
It appears that he is going to by-pass the press as much as possible and communicate with the people directly through rallies and tweets. Whether you like the professional media or not, they are crucial to holding a president's feet to the fire. But hey, he told us up front that he wasn't a "go by the rules" kind of guy so we've got no right to be surprised.
And so far, I haven't been surprised by anything he's done. His choices for his cabinet are about the level I would have expected because I never bought his "drain the swamp" promise. It doesn't surprise me that he is a bull-in-the-china shop on foreign policy or that he won't even bother to learn the essentials of diplomacy because he never actually seemed interested in anything very deep or time-consuming. It doesn't surprise me that his first "deal" allowed Carrier Corp. to fire only half its people whiling paying them $7 million to leave the other half in the U.S. Yeah, that was a hell of a deal, all right. It doesn't surprise me that he still seems petty and venal and vindictive because after 16 months of campaigning, that's all I ever saw from him.
It going to be a long, ugly four years.