Monday, July 24, 2017


The Guardian has a nice overview of how the Trump administration - in spite of colossal incompetence when it comes to health care, tax reform, and foreign affairs - is still accomplishing  something. Unfortunately that "something" is the gradual dismantling of safeguards and protections we don't see but nonetheless have made a significant difference in our every day lives.

How do these safeguards and protections work, you ask? Think of the hypothetical below, and you should understand what we're talking about.

Imagine you have the option of being in a skyscraper in Seattle or Thailand. If you knew there was going to be an 8.5 earthquake, and you had the option of being on the 30th floor of a building in Seattle or Thailand, which would you choose? You would choose Seattle, of course. Apart from the building codes and inspections that many contractors and building owners might complain about, standards make a difference. Then we have the tax supported and publicly managed emergency response teams (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) that provide another level of protection and security.

Protocols, rules and regulations are all there for a reason. They provide safeguards and protections we don't think about, but are there to make our lives better, and safer (think vaccines).

President Trump, as this Guardian piece points out, isn't much concerned about these safeguards. The primary reason he's not concerned is because - in spite of his wide use of government bankruptcy courts, his abuse of government tax codes (for the write-offs), and his team of government sanctioned lawyers - he believes government only gets in the way of people like him making money.

Below is a synopsis, with my commentary, of the Guardian's six ways Donald Trump is 'dismantling' the United States.
1. ECONOMY / BUSINESS: Apart from freeing up firms to pollute our rivers and streams, the Trump administration has "scrapped a rule" that prevented companies from receiving federal contracts if they had a history violating worker wage, labor, and safety laws. Worse, almost ten years after the market started its downward spiral into a mega-collapse, the Trump administration is working to dismantle the rules designed to guard against another 2008-like market collapse. 

2. THE ENVIRONMENT: From going after emission standards to dismantling the EPA, to opening public lands to coal mining, to dismissing the scientific consensus on climate change, the Trump administration has made it clear if science and health get in the way of the bottom line they will be questioned, and then ignored when possible. And let's not forget our exit from the Paris Accord. These people are Flat-Earthers.

3. IMMIGRATION: By going after Muslims and undocumented migrant families, Donald Trump is both feeding, and feeding off of, the paranoid and bigoted fears of America. Citing non-existent terrorist fears (you're more likely to win the lottery and get hit by lightening than get wrapped up in a terrorist related activity), Trump is going after the weakest and most vulnerable communities. This might keep his base motivated, but it also pits those who understand the spirit of America against those who are driven by fear and hate. 

4. DIPLOMACY: While Trump hasn't started a war, yet (a definite plus), there's no doubt that the global community think he's either a lunatic, a joke, or both. He embarrasses America daily on the world stage, which undermines our prestige and capacity to lead. Then we have this: The Mother of All Diplomatic Giveaways. Donald Trump is doing Russia's bidding on the global stage, and has become Vladimir Putin's stooge.

5. GENDER: Whether it's ignoring sexual assault on our nation's college campuses, going after Planned Parenthood, eliminating Obamacare's birth control mandate, or defunding the Legal Services Corporation (the main source for women attempting to escape domestic violence) the Trump administration has made it clear issues tied to gender are not a priority; unless rules need to be rolled back.

6. CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Campaigning on a non-existent "rising crime" theme, Donald Trump has commissioned a task force to make policy recommendations about a rising threat that even Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledges doesn't exist. Then we have AG Session's agenda, which includes upping the use of "civil forfeiture" which allows law enforcement to confiscate assets of anyone accused of making money criminally, even if they haven't been convicted of a crime. AG Sessions has also made it clear that he's not really interested in going after, or even investigating, rogue and corrupt law enforcement agencies.

Critical to all of this is how the Republican Party is enabling Trump's slow dismantling of America. For them, it doesn't matter what our nation's intelligence agencies say about Russia meddling in our elections, and what is slowly being leaked about collusion between Trump's inner circle and the Russians. It also doesn't matter that Trump's inciting division and fear, and how he does nothing to appeal to our better angels.

The GOP is putting party above country. Period.

You can read the entire Guardian article by clicking here.

- Mark

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