Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Demolition Derby Administration

It's fun, on this Thanksgiving Day, to think about the kind of administration Donald Trump plans to give us as a present for at least the next four years.

A few examples:

1.  The administration's Chief Strategist is the Breitbart News Chief Executive Stephen Bannon, who once called the Breitbart site "the platform of the Alt Right":

We're the platform for the alt-right," Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July. Though disavowed by every other major conservative news outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon's target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon's leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an "eclectic mix of renegades," accusing President Barack Obama of importing "more hating Muslims," and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of "political correctness."
 The Alt Right is polite-speak for racists, misogynists and white supremacists.
Their representative is now the chief strategist of this country.  And sure, perhaps Bannon doesn't really believe in white supremacy, but he certainly exploited its dog whistles in designing Trump's presidential campaign.

2.  The man Trump picked to oversee the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is Myron Ebell.  He doesn't believe that climate change is real.  He has no qualifications relevant for that job, and:

In an interview with Business Insider in August, Ebell repeatedly referred to climate scientists as "global warming alarmists" and suggested that climate research is in fact an arm of a coordinated political movement.
"I think that the global warming movement has three parts," he said. "One is to exaggerate the rate of warming, one is to exaggerate the potential impacts of warming and how soon they may occur, and the third is to underestimate wildly the costs of reducing our emissions by the magical amount that they have picked."

3.  Trump's choice for the head of the Department of Education is a billionaire who wants to gut public education:

Betsy DeVos is hardly a household name, but the Michigan billionaire and conservative activist has quietly helped change the education landscape in many states, spending millions of dollars in a successful push to expand voucher programs that give families taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.

What fun we will have if DeVos succeeds in that and taxpayer-funded madrasas sprout up all over the United States!  I very much doubt deVos thinks of any other religion than Christianity when she promotes religious education.

Anyway, public education is at risk.  There are good theoretical reasons why markets don't do very well in education, and there are extremely important reasons for worrying about the rise of sectarian religious education.

4.  Trump's Attorney General will be Jeff Sessions.  He is going to lead the agency in charge of protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans:

This is not the first time Sessions has earned a presidential nomination as an administrator of justice. In 1986, President Reagan tapped him to serve as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but at the time the Senate found him too racist for the post, and he became the second nominee in 50 years to be denied an appointment.
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions was pressed on accusations that he had called a black prosecutor “boy” and a white civil rights attorney “a disgrace to his race.” He was called out on his comment that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was OK until I found out they smoked pot” and that the NAACP and ACLU were “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.”

Sessions has also been opposed to

the Violence Against Women Act, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the expansion of anti-hate legislation to include sexual orientation.
He fought the removal of the Confederate flag from public buildings, immigration reform, and criminal justice reform.

The White Supremacists love Sessions as the Attorney General!  They love him.

The rumor mill has also listed the fracking mogul Harold Hamm as one of the forerunners for the Secretary of Energy, which would be terrible news for alternative energy.  Though Hamm is not the only possible pick, all the picks look like energy insiders to me.  You know, the side which wants oil to remain the only feasible alternative.

And so it goes.  The basic principle Trump uses is demolition derby for the departments he hates*, which would be those departments not catering for the interests of the one percenters or the religionists.  The departments he loves get something different, of course, and that would be those departments which are needed to protect the one percenters:  the department of War (or whatever euphemism you wish to give it) and those arms of the law which must embrace nothing but the property rights of the one percent.


* Or picking a wolf to mind the sheep, if you wish.  All Americans are invited to the feasts of the Trump administration, but some of us will be the main course, the appetizer or the dessert, while others should dress appropriately (white hoods?) to sit down and enjoy the meal.