Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump's First, Alarming week as President Elect

I may hurt the feelings of some, but I don't know how any sane and rational person could think that Donald Trump is fit to occupy the White House.  His first week as president elect is already confirming the idiocy of anyone who voted for the man.   His transition team is marked by chaos, cronyism, and settling for the least qualified since so many reputable individuals fear staining their reputations and perhaps selling their souls should they join a Trump administration.  The head of an alt-right, racist, misogynistic "news" outlet is senior counselor to the president and an open contempt for the free press has been again revealed.   As has been consistently the case, New York based media where Trump is best known has led the way in excoriating the man's dangerous failings and narcissistic egomania.  A piece in the New Yorker looks at Trump's first week of incompetent misrule before he has even taken the oath of office.  Here are excerpts: 
It’s been one week since an unusually subdued Donald Trump gave his victory speech in Manhattan. “For those who have chosen not to support me in the past—of which there were a few people,” Trump said, eliciting laughter from the crowd of ecstatic supporters wearing red Make America Great Again hats, “I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.” After running a campaign defined more by whom and what he opposed, Trump’s remarks were out of character and welcome.
A week later, those words seem hollow. The first sign that our easily distracted President-elect remained unchanged from the campaign came on Thursday. For twenty-four hours, Trump had shown some restraint. His victory speech raised hopes that, despite the evidence of his behavior on the campaign trail, he might be capable of magnanimity.
Just after 9 P.M., back in Trump Tower, the President-elect tweeted about his frustrations with protesters and the news media: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
Some saw the tweet as self-pitying and pathetic. Others saw it as a frightening attack on the First Amendment by the man who will soon swear to defend the Constitution. Either way, as his first substantive public comment since his election, it was widely rebuked.
On Friday, the purge began, when Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, was fired as chairman of the transition and Mike Pence was installed in his place. During the campaign, Christie, perhaps the most unpopular governor in America and Trump’s most embarrassingly sycophantic supporter, was appointed to head the transition. . . . Then the Trump campaign team, led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, began a takeover of the team run by Christie, who, when he was a U.S. Attorney, sent Kushner’s father, Charles, to jail for tax evasion and witness tampering.
Christie became a vice-chair of the transition, along with a group of top Trump advisers who seemed to be in line for Cabinet positions: Ben Carson, whose spokesman said he actually did not want to serve in the Trump Administration because Carson believed himself to be unqualified, even though he had run for President; the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is seventy-three years old and resigned from Congress in late 1998; Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was “forced out” of the Pentagon in 2014, and, when he’s not dining with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, spends some of his time as an analyst on RT, a TV channel funded by the Russian government; the former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is seventy-two and, since leaving the mayoralty, has spent his time as a foreign lobbyist
The rest of the transition team was stacked with Trump loyalists, donors, and family members. Four of the sixteen spots were filled by three of Trump’s adult children—Eric, Donald, and Ivanka—and Kushner, his son-in-law. These are the same people Trump promised would be running his business empire, which has interests around the world and could benefit enormously by influencing government policy and staff appointments.
The [Wall Street] Journal led with the fact that Trump wanted to retain two of the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act: the regulations on insurance companies that require them to allow children to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of twenty-six, and a provision that requires insurers to accept new customers without regard to preĆ«xisting medical conditions. This is classic Trump: he is for any policy that is popular, and he made no effort to explain how he would retain these regulations without maintaining the individual mandate, which was the insurance industry’s price for accepting the new regulations when the legislation was negotiated.
In the same interview, Trump articulated a new Syria policy . . . . A careful reading of the logic behind this policy is that President-elect Trump accepts that American foreign policy should be guided by Russia.
That same day, Trump announced his top two White House advisers. I’ve written about the disturbing background of his new chief strategist and senior counselor, Steve Bannon, who ran a Web site, Breitbart, that helped mainstream the neo-white-nationalist movement known as the alt-right. Reince Priebus was named the incoming chief of staff; his lack of an association with a racist movement made him seem palatable by comparison.
On Sunday, Trump woke up and attacked the press: . . . . All three of these tweets were false. The Times said that subscriptions were up by four times more than normal since the election. There was no letter “apologizing” to subscribers. The paper sent an e-mail noting, “After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?” Finally, the Times had written that Trump “suggested” more countries, specifically South Korea and Japan, should acquire nuclear weapons if the United States withdrew from protecting them—and he did say that.
Later that evening, Trump’s interview with “60 Minutes,” recorded on Friday, aired, . . . . There was no appeal to the rule of law. Instead, Trump talked the way an autocrat talks and suggested that the Justice Department was simply a tool to be used against opponents, unless he felt like sparing them based on his mood and if he believes his potential targets are “good people.” This is terrifying.
On Tuesday, the purge of the Christie-ites from the transition team was completed with Rogers’s ouster, and Trump reportedly asked that Kushner, a thirty-five-year-old with no national-security or government experience, be allowed to have a security clearance giving him access to classified information.
As of Wednesday morning, Trump has given two interviews—the ones to the Journal and “60 Minutes”—and has spoken in public twice, at his victory speech, early Wednesday morning, and at his Oval Office meeting with Obama, on Thursday. His transition office has issued half a dozen press releases, and he has made several important personnel and policy decisions. He has tweeted twenty-three times. Seven days may not be enough time to fully assess any new leader, especially in the case of Trump, whose first week was marked by seeming chaos in his efforts to put together an Administration. But what we’ve learned so far about the least-experienced President-elect in history is as troubling and ominous as his critics have feared. The Greeks have a word for the emerging Trump Administration: kakistocracy. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a “government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.” Webster’s is simpler: “government by the worst people.”

As anyone sane who wasn't duped by demagoguery should have know, things likely will not turn out well for America.  Most upsetting is the fact that the injury was self-inflicted and hinged upon the votes of Christofascists and low information, bigoted voters - the last people to be guiding the fate of America.

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