by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page, Dec. 12, 2016
December 15, 2016
Even for a failed gambling czar, Donald Trump has been surprisingly quick to show his hand as he sets the course of his forthcoming presidency. With a reactionary fervor, he is bursting backwards into the future. He has accomplished this feat through the first wave of nominations to his Cabinet and White House staff.
Only if there is a superlative to the word “nightmare” can the dictionary provide a description of his bizarre selection of men and women marinated either in corporatism or militarism, with strains of racism, class cruelty and ideological rigidity. Many of Mr. Trump’s nominees lack an appreciation of the awesome responsibilities of public office.
Let’s run through Trump’s “picks”:
First there are the selections that will make it easier to co-opt the Republicans in Congress. He has appointed Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Chao does not like regulation of big business, such as those for auto, aviation, railroad and pipeline safety. Next is Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Price wants to dump Obamacare, turn over control of Medicaid to the states – including Governors who dislike Medicaid – and even privatize (eg. corporatize) Medicare itself into the hands of the business sector already defrauding just that program by about $60 billion a year.
Trump selected Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Pompeo is a cold war warrior who believes in a militaristic, interventionist CIA, especially toward Iran, taking that agency even further away from its original mission of gathering intelligence.
Then come the Generals. Notwithstanding the Constitutional imperative that there should be civilian control over the military, Trump has placed two generals in charge of foreign and domestic military theatres. For Secretary of Defense, Trump chose recently retired Marine General James Mattis. This “Mad Dog” believes Barack Obama to be too weak, indecisive and without a strategic plan for the Middle East. He looks very much like he is a believer in the American Empire and the U.S. being the policeman for the world.
The next general is retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, chosen to run the Department of Homeland Security. He is seen as a modern believer in the Monroe Doctrine over the Hispanic world south of Florida and the Rio Grande. He shares dangerous views on Iran and Islam with Gen. Mattis.
Inside the White House, retired General Mike Flynn is slated to take the post as national security adviser. His public statements against Islam being an ideological, existential threat to the U.S., and his proliferation of inaccurate conspiracy theories have alienated his former colleagues in the military, including reportedly the incoming Secretary of Defense.
Then there are the Trump nominees selected to run the departments whose numerous missions under existing law they want to dismantle. The proposed Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, is a chain restaurateur adamantly against raising the federal minim wage of $7.25 an hour and his labor views are so extreme that a progressive group of restaurant owners organized to oppose his exploitative positions and argue for a fair minimum wage. In another flagrant display of bureaucratic obstruction, Trump wants to appoint climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, the same agency he, as Oklahoma Attorney General, fought tirelessly to undermine.
Another magnet for Trump’s nominations are those who made big donations to his campaign. For Linda McMahon’s $7 million to pro-Trump Super PACs, she gets to head the Small Business Administration. As a highly controversial professional wrestling CEO, she worked to monopolize the professional wrestling market and stifle competition.
For the Department of Education, school children and their teachers will face Betsy DeVos. From a billionaire family, she is a ferocious advocate of using taxpayer money in the form of vouchers for private schools. She makes no bones about her hatred of public schools and her desire to have commercial managers of school systems.
To lead the Justice Department, Trump has selected Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is big on police surveillance, weak on civil rights enforcement, a hard-liner on immigration and very mixed on corporate crime.
Add these strong-willed ideologues, coupled with Trump’s easily bruised ego, Twitter-tantrums on trivial matters and his penchant to always be the decision-making strongman, and you’ve got the making of an explosive regime with daily eruptions.
Whatever the media makes of the inevitable intrigue, in-fighting and likely resistance by the civil service to adhere to their lawful missions, it is the people who will be paying the price. President Trump will use the media to sugarcoat, falsify, distract, intimidate, glorify and massify the millions of people who believed, once upon a recent time, that he would “Make America Great Again.”
As the profiteers of Wall Street and the war hawks blend with the corporate statists, the super-confident Trump is telling us what their products will be like and that he’ll be their salesman.
If you think all this sounds predictable, there are going to be more than a few “black swans” (to use Nassim Taleb’s best-selling book title) coming over the horizon. It is time to mobilize as citizens in the Paul Revere mode.
from the archives:
Trump Dredging the Swamp to Empower the Worst Elements of the ‘Shadow World’
Trump and His Betraying Makeover by Ralph Nader + Robert Weissman: Trump’s Deal That “Saved Jobs” at Carrier Based on a $7 Million Tax Break & Reduced Regulations
Abby Martin: The Unpredictability of Donald Trump
Trump, Anti-Semitism and Solidarity In Struggle by Shelley Ettinger
Dear Mr. Trump, About Your 29 Ideas by David Swanson
Trump is Radicalizing the Masses by Larry Holmes
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Greg Palast’s latest article: http://www.gregpalast.com/the-republican-sabotage-of-the-vote-recounts-in-michigan-and-wisconsin/
What makes this so irresponsible is that Nader, who has done great work, is speculating on Trump like a fortune teller. Can’t he wait for facts? Did Nader write about the abundant failures of President Obama? President Obama who I voted for once has done much that is wrong which Nader and mainstream press has ignored: dividing the nation by race and exaggerating racism, unlawfully funding Obamacare according to the GAO, unlawful immigration polices, lax immigration allowing Moslem terrorists in the country easily and even mis-labeling terrorism “domestic violence” when Major Hassan killed nine U.S. military personnel in Texas, billions of dollars wasted in “stimulus package” when companies receiving public funds went bankrupt, etc. This is endless failure.
Guess you missed my comment below: https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/trump-trumpets-his-real-plans-by-ralph-nader/comment-page-1/#comment-241495
Nader has been writing about Obama for 8 years now. See: https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/tag/ralph-nader/
in reply to David’s statement tonight . – Yes – everyone but the powers that be want the Trumpster to drain the swamp . That is the advantage to not being owned . I view Trumpster in the same category of Bill Kauffman’s book ”America First”. Trumpster is not a globalist but an America Firster.
But the rest of the USA government is part of the international elite- and yes – you are right about that being the problem . All incoming presidents never had a choice . why ? they were owned and told what to do by their corporate paymasters . And that has always been Empire building . So – this will be a first since the Republic became an Empire as to someone in the white house that is not obligated to attack other nations for profit .
but – this thing could go either way .
Yep! Agree with you…we need to dump the empire meme, re-purpose all those redundant arrangements & make corruption unfashionable ~ or at the very least, try hard to redeem that ‘noble savage’ notion…as I’d describe myself as one of those, ‘though still working on the nobility aspect…..
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Nader is playing the Fear Card.
Any of these appointments look good to you, Michael?
I am not a Trump supporter, but I don’t borrow trouble.
I have been reading and hearing a lot of criticism about President Elect Trump . Here are the facts: He has not even taken office yet . How can someone critique a man who has not taken the job yet.?
Another thing is this : Trump historically is known for firing people at the drop of a hat . His show really was reality TV . If any one of these people that Nader is talking about step out of line , or dont meet Trumps standard he will just fire them . And if that new person does not measure he will fire them too . So on and so forth .
Trump is a pragmatist not an ideologue . Now that can work good or bad depending on ones point of view . Trump will smoke out the media and play them off each other . As he ran for president so will he be president : firing and hiring a lot and working around the media .
nobody has any idea what kind of president Trump will be . why? because he is unpredictable . That can be good or bad also. But we wont know until he is sworn into office .
Nader is criticizing Trump’s appointments with good reason as he states in his article. It does read like a nightmare.
my guess is this : Trumpster will be bad for Enviroment and will be pro Eminant domain. that is a given .
I think he will be Nixionian in foreign policy . that will be a plus .
he might take some middle ground in areas he was extreme on . he put Nikki Haley – rep to UN . she is the Gov of SC that took down confederate flag . Trumpster is sending a strong signal there .
I agree with your general drift Rocket, as the consequences of so much randomized bloodletting may be both dire and quasi-revolutionary ~ in a radically unpredictable, but also quite shallow reactionary sense.
My real worry is how this caligula-like extravagance impacts the global polity. It may be to our advantage, if it opens up sufficient opportunity for dramatically progressive global movements that are already well coordinated, to gain further massive support ~ providing they remain both well informed and grounded in biophilic intelligence. So this is not just about ‘the USA.’
Within the United States per se, indigenous spirit consciousness is emerging as such an inexorable, Earth-empowered (prophetic) grass-roots historic force, I am certain this must change things for the better ~ regardless of Trump’s protean humpty-dumptiness, or any unanticipated seismic events that may trump his cosmetic conceit.
Thanks, David. I so agree that it is more global and not just about the USA.
if that is what worries you – Global – then Trump just stopped Hillary Clinton from more war with Russia .
I am no fan of Putin , but he is not the USA enemy . Trump wants to deal with another Alpha Male like Putin and make peace with the Russians .
in that sense he is right .
Don’t forget Iran.
Iran , China , NK , etc ….
Art of the deal . I hope Trumpster has Putin to the White House . that would be a good start .
his Sec of Statehe picked is good at art of the deal .
better to jaw jaw then to bang bang .
The thing is this: the USA only has enemies because of its own hostile and aggressive actions.
Any incumbent Pres has an existential choice ~ either strive to amend the errors of a foreign policy that needs to keep others forever foreign and perpetually dependent, or to tackle the critically real, inter-laced cultural and climatic issues that much of the rest of the world understand only too well.
Besides the obvious, Trump is almost an irrelevance compared to the egregious corruption of a Congress that is sinking in slime. Better drain that corporate swamp pal.
I believe it is very legitimate to criticize an incoming president based on his campaign promises, and his selections for cabinet and other appointments.
Nader did the exact same thing before Obama was inaugurated.
And in fact, you also criticized Obama on Jan. 28, 2009, a week after his inauguration.
that is true but …. as Julian Assange said ” Nobody owns Trump ” . not true with Obama and every president in US history .
we are gonna find out just what that means . my guess is that Trumpster will do a lot of experimenting of hiring and firing . that’s his style .
for good or ill – no one owns Trump . that is why he changes on a dime . how can anyone asses that ? it is new to the presidency .
You’re missing my point and Nader’s. We can judge his future presidency on these appointments. You’re right that Trump is unpredictable but once he is president he will have to work within the government and those that run it (behind the curtain).
we don’t know that . Trump is rogue !
Trump hires and fires at the drop of a hat .
that is why both parties are scared . also the political pros don’t want private citizens in office .
don’t forget that Nader missed it this time when saying Trump did not stand a chance of winning .
in the past if you wanted to get an idea of where a prez was headed you looked at their donors . Trump bulldozed and outsmarted the whole shabang and does not owe anything to anyone .
again – we are about to find out if that is bad or good .