Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How Stupid Can Washington Get? You Haven't Seen Anything Yet

by Nomad

Trump Supporter

Candidate Trump ran his campaign as a protest against Washington. He routinely castigated politicians and bureaucrats in the nation's capitol as being too stupid the run the country properly. It was, as far as a theme, a hit with his supporters. Now, as President-elect, the shoe is on the other foot.

Stupid is a Fun Word

From the clip below, it's fairly clear that Candidate Trump enjoyed calling everybody in government "stupid." To cheers and jeers, Trump regularly worked the crowds into a frenzy all along the campaign trail. Everybody in government was stupid, he told them. They said and did stupid things. Their policies were stupid. Washington was filled to the rafters with stupid, stupid people. 

Trump might have been short on specifics about his smart policies but what did it matter? Those subjects were too boring to discuss or understand. It was all about rounding off all the criticism to its common denominator, reducing it a single word everybody could understand. A virile sort of word loaded with strong consonants- Stupid.
To his credit, Trump knew how to play the crowd and knew what they wanted. They didn't want solutions, or facts, or percentages. In fact, they didn't want to hear what was wrong and how Trump planned to fix it. 
No, what they really wanted was to find somebody else to call stupid. 

And labeling people who have devoted their lives to public service stupid was easy. It was fun. Stupid is a fun word to say, especially with an exaggerated New York accent. And the crowds seemed to think it was entertaining. Not one of them asked whether Trump who has devoted his life to selfish pursuits whether this man had any right to judge.
It was more fun to think up new ways to insult that stupid President Obama and those stupid members of Congress and all those stupid liberals.

This was payback time for all of the moments in their lives when they felt intellectually inferior. For the time, the other children laughed at them, the high school teacher that smirked when they had the wrong answer. The public humiliation for not knowing what a multi-syllable word meant. 

Now who was stupid, they cried? And Trump seemed to tell them, "Not you! Your leaders!"

Now that he has become president, he can demonstrate his brand of cleverness. 

Meet the President-Elect

In a sign that Trump's new vision has arrived in Washington, he now has an official transition website with ".gov" federal web address. Presumably, taxpayers foot the bill. Nothing particularly extraordinary in that. 

As per custom, the section, "Meet The President Elect" has been included. How can you not know who Donald Trump is?
Normally, this part is devoted to outlining the new president's vision for the country and his background. Meet and greet and in Trump's case, it ought to have been devoted to convincing the American public that the president-elect isn't as much of an ogre as they thought.

However, in Trump's website, a quarter of that section is given over to advertising his business properties around the world.

In effect, in less than a week, Trump has managed to use taxpayer funding to promote his private businesses.
Is this the kind of intelligence Trump was referring to? 

The Royal Family

This leads to yet another nightmarish problem: how to discreetly separate Trump the President from Trump the Corporate Mogul. It simply cannot be done. 

Trump has lamely vowed to put all of business holdings into a so-called blind fund to be run by his devoted children. That's not going to satisfactory for a variety of reasons.

For example, what insurance is there against Trump "accidentally" reveal details about a secret government contract to his daughter? What should happen if his businessman, investor son-in-law should learn of a classified financial report giving valuable stock information, or undisclosed information about an indictment against a corporation days before anybody else?
What is to stop government workers from being intimidated or subject to pressure by Trump family members?

The answer is, of course, there's nothing to stop these forms of corruption. And news forms that haven't been invented yet. It should have disqualified him from ever being president in the first place.
The problem was so serious that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) this week urged lawmakers to review Trump’s “financial entanglements” before he assumes office in January.
We have never had a president like Mr. Trump in terms of his vast financial entanglements and his widespread business interests around the globe.. Mr. Trump’s unprecedented secrecy and his extensive business dealings in foreign countries raise serious questions about how he intends to avoid conflicts of interest as president. Following his stunning election victory last week, Trump said he would hand his business over to his children while he is in the White House. But critics point out they continue to advise Trump on politics.”
This weekend- a hellish weekend for the sane- saw this dilemma go into full bloom.
The Trump team has asked the White House to explore the possibility of getting his children the top secret security clearances. Logistically, the children would need to be designated by the current White House as national security advisers to their father to receive top secret clearances.
Apparently, the voters didn't elect Donald Trump president, they laid the groundwork for a royal family. That's a dangerously stupid thing to let happen.

The Best People

As president, Trump has the authority- indeed, the duty- to seek out the best minds and give them positions in his administration. No matter is expected to know all things and to have infallible judgment. His staff is, therefore, critical to his decision-making process. 

Trump adviser BannonA quick glance at the list of Trump administration staff candidates and it is hard to see how Washington is going to be any less stupid in the next four years.

Seriously? Steven Bannon, the former editor of a ultra-right propaganda site adored "by white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and the KKK" as his"chief strategist and senior counselor." 
RNC chair Reince Priebus- the guy responsible for this blight on the Republican Party- will become chief of staff. 

(To make matters worse, Trump made the fundamental mistake of not carefully delineating the respective roles for each man, declaring that Bannon and Priebus would be "equal partners." That, my friends, is a rookie management mistake.) 

The Smartest People

Ben Carson is rumored to be Trump's pick for the Department of Education. The primary functions of the Department of Education (ED) are to "establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal assistance to education, collect data on US schools, and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights."

During the campaign, Carson accidentally admitted that he was slated for some position in the Trump administration in exchange for his support of Trump. Carson wasn't aware that such practices are illegal. 

So, the man who said that the notion of evolution was encouraged by the devil, the man who said global climate change is “irrelevant," that guy who said pyramids were used to store grain is now eager to run the ED.

CarsonBe that as it may, Dr. Carson was on Glenn Beck's radio show this weekend and expressed his desire to become head of the  ED  not to improve it, not even to dismantle it, as so many Republicans have called for.

No, Carson has another practical use for the agency. He explained that he wishes to use the federal agency to "monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.” 

Basically, a means of spying on professors and academics for liberal bias and to threaten the offending universities. What's that mean in real terms for teachers?
Teach students about the realities of climate change and you could find yourself without a job. Teach that homosexuality isn't actually "curable" and you could be given the sack. History professors who dare to promote the idea that America was founded on secular principles and was never a Christian nation could cross swords with the federal government.

When given a choice between federal funding and the loss of a few liberal professors, it's clear who would win that battle. Under Carson, the Education Department could also be used to suppress student organizations that are not approved by the Trump government.

From the sound of it, right-wing religious programming back up by implied threats is Carson's idea of education.
What happened to the all those wild-eyed fears of Big Government? What happened to Trump's condemning of "political correctness"?  

Trump- The Synonym for Stupidity?

Based on the limited sample of "experts" we have seen in Trump's administration, I have a feeling - a strong feeling- that President Trump will have to get used to hearing the word stupid said about him. It will be on everybody's lips.

In fact, in four years' time, I predict the word "stupid" will be replaced by "Trump" as a noun, verb, and adjective.  ("Oh, don't be so trump. Two plus two doesn't equal 4. Ask Dr. Carson.")

After the first- and hopefully only-term of President Trump, the very idea of stupid will forever be associated with one man. Let's see how much he enjoys this new branding of his name.