Wednesday, December 14, 2016

About those cabinet choices by Trump

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon
Bannon, 63, campaign CEO, former chairman of Breitbart News. Harvard, Goldman Sachs, documentary film-maker, and Seinfeld, of all things. Boasted that he made Breitbart the ‘platform for the alt-right,’ in reference to the far-right movement in the US. His web site was a clearinghouse for hate speech of all kinds including white nationalism, anti-semitism, immigrant-hatred and misogyny. Seen as opponent of the institutional Republican Party, a former sharp critic of House speaker Paul Ryan. Read further

National security adviser: Michael Flynn
Flynn, 57, retired US army general and former director of the defense intelligence agency. A close Trump adviser known for his scandalously broad-brush criticism of Islam and flirtation with conspiracy theories. A vocal critic of the Obama administration. Flynn has falsely claimed that Sharia law is spreading across the US and that the nation is in the midst of a world war with radical Islamists. ‘Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,’ he tweeted earlier this year. Son recently booted from the Trump transition team after tweeting credulously about fake news. Read further

Education: Betsy DeVos
DeVos, education secretary. Daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, co-founder of marketing company Amway. The family has a net worth of $5.1bn, according to Forbes. Her lobbying for school vouchers has been criticized for undermining public sector schools (which critics note neither she nor her children attended). DeVos’s brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, a private security contractor notorious for its lucrative and deadly role in the Iraq war. Read further. [A few more things about DeVos: ‘no education degree or teaching experience, does not believe in or support public education, believes public school teachers are overpaid, supports for-profit education, advocate of vouchers…”].

Commerce: Wilbur Ross
Ross, 79, billionaire investor known for aggressive moves to agglomerate and sell failing steel and coal-industry interests. Like Trump, a critic of US trade deals who has lamented the decline of American manufacturing. Net worth of $2.9bn, according to Forbes. Dubbed a ‘vulture’ and ‘king of bankruptcy’ because of his knack for extracting a profit from failing businesses. Helped Trump keep control of his failing Taj Mahal casino in the 1990s by persuading investors not to push him out. An explosion at a mine in West Virginia, which his company had bought a few weeks earlier, killed 12 miners in 2002. Read further.

Environmental protection agency: Scott Pruitt
Pruitt, 48, Oklahoma state attorney general. A climate change denier and longtime enemy of the EPA, whose rule he has called ‘unlawful and overreaching.’ Part of legal action waged by 28 states against the EPA to halt the Clean Power Plan, an effort by Barack Obama’s administration to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. On the overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity is causing the planet to warm: ‘That debate is far from settled,’ he said in May. ‘Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.’ Environmental groups say that Pruitt has been a ‘puppet’ of the fossil fuel industry. Read further.

Housing and urban development: Ben Carson
Carson, 65, retired pediatric neurosurgeon. His mother, one of 24 children, raised Carson and a brother in poverty in Detroit and then in Boston, occasionally relying on food stamps and other programs. Carson, a critic of government welfare, has called for private charities to shoulder welfare needs. Ran department of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins for 30 years but no government experience. A purveyor of bizarre conspiracy theories and a provocateur who compares abortion to slavery and same-sex marriage to pedophilia… Read further.

Energy: Rick Perry
“Perry, 66, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, former two-time presidential candidate and Dancing with the Stars contestant. Perry, along with Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson and EPA administrator pick Scott Pruitt, is a climate change skeptic. Perry attempted in a 2011 presidential debate to say that he would as president eliminate the department of energy, but he forgot the name of the department. Once called Trump ‘a cancer on conservatism.’ Read further.

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
Tillerson, 64, outgoing chairman of ExxonMobil after 41 years with the energy giant. Has a history of close business ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson in 2013. He signed a 2011 agreement giving his energy company access to the huge resources under the Russian Arctic in return for giving the giant state-owned Russian oil company, OAO Rosneft, the opportunity to invest in ExxonMobil’s operations overseas. Climate change skeptic

According to regulatory filings, Tillerson retains a huge financial interest in the energy company, owning $151m in company stock. He may face questions from senators over the potential benefits to ExxonMobil from US foreign policy if sanctions imposed on Russia after its annexation of Crimea were lifted. Senators from both parties have also raised concerns about Tillerson’s lack of government experience and close ties to Putin. Read further.

A few more comments about Tillerson: “‘In Tillerson's tenure,’ [Stephen] Kretzmann, [executive director of Oil Change International] observes, ‘ExxonMobil has supported undemocratic regimes, attacked climate science and activists, and stands accused in U.S. courts of complicity in human rights abuses including torture, murder, and sexual assault.’ Trump is ‘showing Americans and the world that he quite literally intends the interests of large powerful corporations to dominate our country's decision-making,’ [according to] Trip Van Noppen [of] Earthjustice.

“‘Does Rex Tillerson understand that democracy, the Earth's climate, and human rights matter more than profits and petroleum?’ Kretzmann asks. ‘To judge by his record, you'd have to say no.’ ‘At this moment in time,’ [Greenpeace executive director Annie] Leonard continued, ‘choosing a man who knows the world through the single frame of the oil and gas industry may actually be more dangerous than picking somebody with no understanding of the world at all.’

“‘Van Noppen said that with Tillerson's appointment, Trump is ‘showing Americans and the world that he quite literally intends the interests of large powerful corporations to dominate our country's decision-making—making it all the more important for Americans to fiercely resist the big corporate takeover of our democracy’” (Ties to Putin Are Nothing Compared to Rex Tillerson's Vast Climate Crimes). 

Health and human services: Tom Price
Price, 62, six-term Republican congressman from Georgia. Orthopedic surgeon staunchly opposed to Obamacare. Became chair of the House budget committee in 2015. Attempted in 2015 to defund Planned Parenthood through a budget maneuver. Seen as opponent of women’s health programs. Described as having ‘a 100% pro-life record.’ Read further.

Secretary of Labor: Andrew F Puzder
Puzder, 66, restaurant executive operating fast-food chains including Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s. Vehement critic of government regulation and staunch opponent of minimum wage laws and the Fight for $15 movement. Blames Obamacare for increased labor costs and has diagnosed a ‘government-mandated restaurant recession.’ Read further.

Secretary of Defense: James N Mattis
Mattis, 66, retired Marine Corps general. Led troops to combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq and rose to top military commands. Stepped down as commander of US central command in 2013. Hawkishness especially on Iran put him at odds with the Obama administration. Has called for a ‘new security architecture for the Mideast built on sound policy … Iran is a special case that must be dealt with as a threat to regional stability, nuclear and otherwise.’ Only three years out of active duty, would require a congressional waiver of a federal law requiring a seven-year cooling off period for defense. Nicknamed ‘Mad Dog.’ Read further.

CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Pompeo, 52, a third-term congressman from Kansas. After the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Pompeo falsely claimed that US Muslim organizations and religious leaders had not condemned terrorism. He called those at the CIA who participated in torture ‘heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and [former intelligence committee chair] Senator [Dianne] Feinstein.’ Opponent of closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal and a supporter of NSA bulk data collection. Has called for ‘the traitor Edward Snowden’ to be executed. Read further.

Treasury: Steven Mnuchin
Mnuchin, 53, campaign finance chairman. Former Goldman Sachs, hedge funder and Hollywood producer (Sully, American Sniper, The Legend of Tarzan). Son of Goldman Sachs employee, Yale grad. Swooped on doomed IndyMac bank as it sunk in the 2008 housing crash, acquired it and scored when the federal government bailed out the bank. They call him the ‘foreclosure king.’ Democratic senator Sherrod Brown said: ‘This isn’t draining the swamp – it’s stocking it with alligators.’ Announced he would oversee ‘the largest tax change since Reagan’ and said his ‘No 1 priority is tax reform.’ Read further.

Attorney general: Jeff Sessions
Sessions, 69, US senator from Alabama in his fourth term. Former US attorney, state attorney general. An immigration hardliner who was an early Trump adopter, becoming the first senator to back the eventual winner. Sessions’ last confirmation hearing, for a federal judgeship under Ronald Reagan in 1986, was derailed when former colleagues testified that he used the N-word, called a black assistant US attorney ‘boy’ and joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan were ‘OK until I found out they smoked pot.’ Has emphasized ‘law and order,’ seen by some liberals as a coded phrase for discriminatory policing of minorities. Read further.

Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus
Priebus, 44, chairman of the Republican national committee. Wisconsin native and a steady hand when things get weird. Once criticized for a failure to stand up to Trump, in retrospect praised for winning over his party’s insurgent and ascendant president-elect… ‘Priebus spent months trying to bring Republican leaders to terms with their party’s nominee, who often railed against them and drove several senior senators away with his mockery of disabled people and prisoners of war, and boasts of groping women.’”  Read further.

Most of this information is from Trump's cabinet picks: here are all of the appointments so far by Tom McCarthy

1 comment:

  1. This all makes my hair stand on end. There are so many people in this country that are scared of what Trump will do when he is President. I think we are in for four very tough years in the USA