Cabinet Selection for Idiots
by Deacon Blues
I have no idea why certain people in Trump’s orbit have the knives out for Mitt Romney, especially if it is for the silly reason that Romney said mean things about Trump’s candidacy. The campaign that made an art form out of ugliness wants to now complain about people who trashed them during the campaign? Really?
The problem for Trump is that once you parade Romney, Senator Bob Corker, and David Petraeus through the process like circus animals, it makes it all the harder and laughable to end up selecting a bottom-dweller like Rudy Giuliani or John Bolton. So despite what Kellyanne or the rest of the crazies think, it’s going to be one of those three, because Trump can’t afford not to pick one of them now.
By the way, all you need to know about Kellyanne is that she thinks Trump is "brilliant."
And if you are going to read one piece today, make it this one from the Post’s E. J. Dionne, who correctly points out the ethical dilemma the GOP faces if they don’t hold Trump to the standard they held Hillary to. Of course, the GOP will ignore their rhetoric and let Trump get away with high crimes and misdemeanors, because he’s a white male Republican and not a Clinton.
The biggest story of this post-election period isn’t the various moves Trump makes in assembling his cabinet, no matter what the internal strife demonstrates behind a Romney-versus-Giuliani potential Secretary of State selection. And it isn’t the detachment of his cabinet picks from the everyday voter he courted during the campaign. The biggest story is the emerging reality that Vladimir Putin just selected the next president of the United States.
We already knew that the American intelligence services had proof that their Russian counterparts actively hacked and undermined the Democratic Party and its campaign. We already knew that those same Russian intelligence services had the capability to affect the actual outcome in various areas of the country, where the GOP is in control of the election machinery and using hackable systems. What we suspected and didn’t know until today was that the Russian government ran a years-long disinformation campaign through GOP-allied websites to inject outright lies about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party into our social media platforms. Their task was made easier after Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber spent decades undermining the integrity of our mainstream media and government institutions. As a result, millions of low-information voters, who should be directing their rage at GOP elites, instead turned out in large numbers to vote against the one person feared by both Putin and the Koch Brothers.
The whole campaign has the makings of a classic KGB effort, which worked right under the noses of the Beltway, who were too busy chasing the latest anti-Hillary meme or absurdity from Trump.
Yet neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times can be bothered to front-page this latest news on their websites today, even though the work was produced by a Washington Post reporter buried in their Business section. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. The same Washington Post buried the work of Walter Pincus challenging the Bush administration lies in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and the same New York Times gave us five years of the Whitewater “scandal”.
Enough said. Both are now eagerly covering the Trump transition moves while virtually ignoring the fact that our national election was just rigged by a hostile power, with assistance from a real right-wing conspiracy involving the FBI, all because they hate one person.
Well, That Didn’t Work Out
Now that the horrifying shock of Donald Trump soon to be reclining in Air Force One has somewhat worn off I feel a compulsion to codify my observations as best I can. If we are to have any chance at all moving forward a tenacious grasp of the truth, as always, will be one of our pillar principles.
If anyone or group flatly states Secretary Clinton lost because of This One Thing you’re being childishly manipulated, lied to or both. The factors behind this cultural and political catastrophe are many and multifaceted.Continue reading "Well, That Didn’t Work Out"
Having A Lot To Lose
by Deacon Blues
During the campaign, in front of white audiences, Donald Trump asked African American voters “what do you have to lose?” by voting for him instead of Hillary. Apparently, they have a lot to lose, with the news that Trump plans to nominate Cracker-in-Chief GOP Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama to be the next Attorney General.
With Sessions as the Attorney General, people of color can be assured that the Trump Justice Department will ensure that red states can disenfranchise black and brown voters with impunity; that DOJ will proceed with suits against Democratic voters for voting fraud; that the AG will work to blast past constitutional barriers to deport immigrants and Muslims; that Justice will no longer investigate police killings of African Americans; and that the federal government will try and kill off the Voting Rights Act and most environmental laws.
You should immediately donate to the NAACP, the ACLU, and the National Resources Defense Council for starters.
And if heartburn outside our borders is more to your taste, you can also be assured that a foreign policy coordinated by Putin asset retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn will be one based on Islamophobia and what the intelligence community calls “Flynn facts”, which is the alternate universe that he operates in. He will be aided and abetted by our incoming CIA Director, who is owned by the Koch Brothers, and believes that despite 8 investigations that Benghazi was a cover-up. Yet we’re to believe that somehow Mitt Romney is willing to step into this and be Secretary of State with this group? Don’t believe it.
Donald Trump spent the week parading names through his Secretary of State process in an effort to make people crawl to him and bamboozle the media into thinking he would be a big thinker. What he's actually hiring for these jobs are retrograde 1950's-era white knuckle-draggers who want to keep everyone else in their place.
Just think of what a James Comey-led FBI, leaking lies and smears to House GOP Government Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, and reporting to an Attorney General Jeff Sessions could do to Donald Trump's political enemies over the next four years, while Flynn and Pompeo tell us "look over here at these brown-people Muslim extremists."
Trump's Transition: A Real "Knife Fight"
by Deacon Blues
As Paul Krugman and others correctly point out, Donald Trump is likely to have some success initially on economic policy and results. But the real flashpoints facing Trump are on foreign policy. Trump is already getting serious pushback from within his own party on any notion that a President Trump would cozy up to Vladimir Putin or the Chinese.
And that’s before the foreign policy elite digest the potential of a Secretary of State Rudy Giuliani or John Bolton. Apparently the entire Trump transition process has imploded, with severe consequences for the national security team, a process that is being characterized as a “knife-fight.”
Fun times indeed. I can't wait for these guys to Make America Great Again.
The Deplorables Take Power
One wonders how functional the Trump White House will be, with a Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist. As evidenced by some of Trump’s other personnel moves already, it will be more of the same nativist, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, and anti-African American tone and policies that dominated the campaign.
But of course to many millennials, both choices were equally bad on Tuesday. Yup.
If your first overseas reach-outs are with the French and British nativist parties, you can see the makings of a new nationalist alliance between Trump and fellow travelers in those countries at the same time he talks down NATO.
If you hire Ken Blackwell, anti-gay measures will be on the menu, as well as more voter suppression efforts against those of his own race, like those he engineered in Ohio to deliver the 2004 election to George W. Bush.
If you hire Kris Kobach, we can expect the Trump administration to indeed push the hard anti-immigrant, anti-African American agenda. Trump himself confirms today that he’ll immediately deport or imprison 3 million immigrants.
And somehow Priebus, who couldn’t get the RNC to follow his own post-2012 prescription to fix the GOP, is now expecting to successfully manage this group, now loose in the Oval Office? Sure. Remember that Priebus is allegedly being put into this job to be the "Establishment" presence that makes if safe for the rest of the party to come aboard Trump's "Make America Great Again" effort. I'm predicting that Priebus will fail to contain the far-right impulses and agenda from this group.
The makings of a GOP overreach are already coming together. All Democrats need to keep asking are "How does this make America great again?" and "How does this help the working class?"
Clearing the Fog
Nothing snaps you out of a funk quicker than knowing the virtue and essential value in being part of a principled opposition. It's disconcerting yet energizing to see such rank nepotism, naked hypocrisy, rampaging bloodlust, and alarming insularity manifest themselves so easily and so early with Trump and those around him.
The same people who railed against imaginary conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation now see no problem with having your kids run your companies with no degree of separation from your official acts. The same people who railed against an alleged Clinton cabal of immorality can only surround themselves with an inner circle of advisors with an ingrained DNA of infidelity, immorality, and entitlement.
And that's just the incoming inner circle. We haven't yet addressed the already-evident bloodlust inside the GOP to blow up Obamacare as soon as possible, without a plan to immediately replace it and without any concern for the millions of Trump supporters that will be harmed. We haven't addressed the conflict inside the GOP about infrastructure spending, tax policy, and remaking Medicare and Medicaid, let alone immigration. All we do know is that Mike Pence has already ensured that the Koch Brothers will be at the table for all final decisions, including the Supreme Court and Cabinet, so the confirmation process for all needs to be fully-engaged by a not necessarily loyal opposition.
Oh, and foreign policy under Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions? It'll be something akin to kids playing with matches.
So perhaps it'll be fun after all to stick around and be part of the opposition again. My advice for others, after I myself have now crawled out from under the first several days of overwhelming gloom and depression is to look around for others like you and find opportunities to connect and become part of the Americans in Exile, right here at home. I and the Left Coaster are not going anywhere, and you as always are welcome to stay around.
Thanks for Everything
This blog started back in 2003 at the time George W. Bush launched his illegal war on Iraq, at a time when I had serious concerns about the direction of this country and about the integrity of the administration running the country. Through some personal and professional ups and downs over the years, Mary, Paradox, and I have kept the blog up and running, blessed with a group of periodic contributors who collectively shared a conviction that the electorate, provided with the facts would eventually make the right decisions.
Speaking for myself, that conviction ended yesterday, and so with it ended this American experiment.
Thirty years of post-Reagan America have led to a corporate controlled conservative media, a government largely financed and controlled by a small group of oligarchs committed to anti-democratic control of the federal government to feather their personal fortunes. And it has also led to a generation or more of a white America, college educated and non-college educated, that is dumber, more easily manipulated, and yes, more racist and sexist than it was decades ago. This same white America has been lied to for years by Republican politicians, who tell them repeatedly that tax cuts for wealthy people will help Main Street, who tell them that people not like them are to blame for their economic misery, and who tell them that one political family, and particularly “that bitch” is the root of all evil.
And with that combustible mix of white grievance politics, racism, sexism, ignorance, outright hatred, and corporate control of our government and media, along came a carnival barker speaking their language, making extreme views and prejudices mainstream, who thought being Commander-in-Chief was like being a scam-selling CEO, when all he really wanted was to improve his branding, poke a finger in the eye of the political establishment, and show everyone how great he could be at their game. Except that one political party, the media, the FBI, and yes the Clinton campaign enabled him to not only get the nomination but then to actually win the Electoral College. Yes, millions of good people, working class and middle class, almost all white, disliked and even hated Hillary Clinton based on what their media told them about her for two decades. And those millions had their chance to vent that anger and hatred in the most effective way possible by voting against her, and did so.
So now the white American electorate, college and non-college educated, angry at the wrong people when they should be looking in the mirror, has placed this ignorant, racist, tax-avoiding, misogynistic, failed businessman into that Commander in Chief’s seat, and thereby has also allowed the Koch Brothers directly into the Oval Office through his vice president. As a result, Corporate America and its anti-civil and consumer rights agenda will control the Supreme Court for another generation, while this country transitions from being the leader of the free world into being an appeaser of Vladimir Putin, less safe at home from Islamic extremism, more divided and tense than ever before, and now poisoning the planet at accelerated rates. This is what that angry white America will now leave their children, and all of them own what is about to come.
And ask why the banking sector, the defense industrial complex, and energy/coal company stocks went up today. While you are at it, ask yourself if rural America will see the return of thousands of jobs during the next four years while the oligarchs and hedge fund owners get their tax cuts. You already know the answer.
My uncles all barely survived World War II, and my father survived Korea, and none of them would believe that a draft-deferring playboy who denigrates the military while bamboozling veterans could ever sit in the same seat as General Eisenhower. But here we are, seeing Vladimir Putin already calling in his investment this morning and seeking a meeting with his controlled asset before he is even sworn in.
As someone who has loved politics and policy for most of my adult life, and now sees what this ill-informed white electorate willingly did to the country yesterday, I can’t stomach the next four years, nor will I. I’m checking out because life is too short. I’ll let my white Republican friends gloat over slaying the Clinton family, but the GOP and everyone who voted for Trump is now fully responsible for what happens next; they must wear this. They’ll be no more blaming others, brown people, women, and the Clintons for your own mistakes. Actions have consequences, and the corporate elite, white America, and the Republican Party are to blame for what is to come.
As for me, my deepest thanks to all of you who have read this blog and supported our efforts over the years. May God be with you and your families, and our once-great country.