Friday, December 16, 2016

Trump Atrocities — Gilding the Swamp


Donald Trump dining on Mitt Romney's frogs legs (click to enlarge)

by Gaius Publius

This whole next administration, all of its people and all of its work, is going to be a horror show of Dantesque proportions. Even if Democrats were organized against it — which I'm certain they won't be — and if they bent every ounce of their will and energy to keep it from being "normalized" in the public's perception — which I'm certain they won't do — where would they begin to fight? They'd have to fight it all.

Not one nomination is acceptable to any pro-worker, pro-rights-of-the-people party. Not one. Which means we'll likely have the twin spectacles, played out in the news, of Trump's destruction of everything a Sanders-populist holds dear, plus the normalization of that destruction by those whom we may have thought were on our side.

Elon Musk: Normalizing a Fellow Billionaire

For example, Elon Musk, he of the ''save the climate" car, is doing this:
WASHINGTON — Elon Musk, the founder and chief executive of SpaceX, has joined a group created by President-elect Trump to provide advice on the economy for the incoming administration.

The addition of Musk to the President's Strategic and Policy Forum came as he and a number of other executives from technology companies, including Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, met with Trump and his senior advisors in New York Dec. 14 to discuss economic issues.

The forum, established by Trump Dec. 2 with an initial roster of 16 current and former executives, is intended to serve as an advisory board on economic issues for the incoming administration. "The Forum is designed to provide direct input to the President from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic and non-partisan manner," the office of President-elect Trump said in a Dec. 14 statement.
And that's how it's done. Elon Musk, normalizing Trump.

Gilding the Swamp

For this edition of Trump Atrocities, I want to call your attention to something Marcy Wheeler found and named, and from whom I stole the title of this piece.

As Dan Kopf of Quartz points out, Trump’s 17 cabinet-level picks have more money than a third of American households combined. Rule by the rich indeed. Or, to use Wheeler's phrase, 'gilding the swamp."

Kopf writes:
The 17 people who US president-elect Donald Trump has selected for his cabinet or for posts with cabinet rank have well over $9.5 billion in combined wealth, with several positions still unfilled. This collection of wealth is greater than that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined—over one third of the 126 million households total in the US.

Affluence of this magnitude in a US presidential cabinet is unprecedented. ...

Even if we just compare the wealth of Trump’s cabinet to the median household, it is still an impressive concentration of riches. It would take about 120,000 households with the the United States median net worth of about $83,200 to match the wealth of just the four richest members of Trump’s cabinet—Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross Jr., Linda McMahon, and Rex Tillerson.
Four appointees with the wealth of 120,000 median households. The whole cabinet, so far, with the wealth of the bottom third of all Americans. Unprecedented indeed. The swamp may never stop filling, but they're lining it with gold to match the gilded toilets that feed it.

I wonder how many of Americans in that "lower third in wealth" category were Trump voters — and might they be persuaded to switch if a real progressive were on the menu next time?

All this without touching on the climate problem under Trump. Strap yourselves in, folks. We're in for a bumpy ride.

And as you're holding onto your seats — and your wallets and purses — remember, it didn't have to be this way.


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At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Well Gaius, you sure are summing it up, clearly and concisely as usual. The gilt swamp, indeed. The shit show will begin in earnest quite soon. I would say "God help us all" if I were a believer. God certainly did zip for the Jews in World War II and I am sure he will not step up to the plate now.

All of you third party voters who thought Hillary was so bad and voted third party, what are you thinking now? She would have been appointing people a ZILLION times better that Herr Trump, and not just old white men either.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, all of those virtuous voters who chose Jill Stein should be happy with their new president-elect.

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time we had a "they're as rich as the bottom X per cent of the population" revelation an interesting calculation was made possible.

So here's another round of "prosperity in America": The wealth of the cabinet members is $9.5 billion. This is more than the wealth of 43 million households.

Divide $9.5 bil by 43 mil and you get a average household net worth of a whopping $221 per household for fully ONE-THIRD of the households of America (which IS, emphatically, #1, and make no mistake about it!!!.) Many American's pay more than this for their monthly phone/data package.

Let's just give them all toxic water and point out that they obviously can't be considered poor if they are worth half of one of them new-fangled refrigerators!

Note: this condition has been developing steadily in the absence of Herr Hair in political office. But this process, that has been grinding greater and greater numbers into economic dust, has lead, finally, to Herr Hair.

(FWIW, Bill Gates was seen normalizing Herr Hair also. But ONLY Russian oligarchs fail to make the ranks of cute and cuddly CEO captains of capitalism.)

John Puma

At 5:31 AM, Blogger MER Frazer said...

Stein and a Johnson voters did not have any effect on this election at all. Talk sense.

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't Stein. It was the DNC and $hillbillary. If they wanted a winner, they should have let Bernie run in a fair primary.

But winning is of no importance next to pleasing the big money who own the DNC.

You want to affix blame, start where it belongs. DWS and the DNC and $hillbillary.

If your principles are malleable enough to cast a vote for the DNC monster of the year, I hope **YOU** are happy.

YOU should have voted for Stein like I did.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good reality check, GP.

Nope, the democraps not only won't "fight" much of anything -- if we're lucky they'll pick one good fight and play 4-corners until 2020.
But they will most likely become bipartisan (though bitchy about it) when the money tells them to and they'll just make a show of resistance before folding like an old lawn chair on the rest.

Remember, the Democraps think they can still run neolib russophobic warmongering money whores dressed as Truman democrats and their voters will be stupid enough to believe in them.

While voters ARE unimaginably stupid, they showed that they won't fall for anyone as odious as $hillbillary. The Ds are going to have to hork up some new fresh face without any CV for that to work. And they are anathema to that since someone without any CV is likely to turn on them and actually, you know, represent people in the bottom 99.99%.

This is shaping up like your "pre-revolutionary" state might be sparked into full-on bloodbath revolution. Pence is THE MOST RADICAL and evangelical ideologue, and it looks like he's going to be the de-facto prez. Drumpf is looking like another bushbaby -- incurious and disinterested. The billionaire cabinet is shaping up to be BY LIGHTYEARS, the most radically regressive and misanthropic bunch in history.

And thanks to the past 4 admins and 8 servile congresses and moron voters and corruption, they'll all be inheriting greater powers than any others in history... and a congress and populace who haven't seemed interested (at all) in rule of law.

So an evangelical radical regressive ideologue can do any damn thing he wants to anyone he wants at any time using any method that amuses him... and nobody will do dick about it.

The Democraps certainly aren't going to.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Good summary GP, ick.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people feel they have to malign either party with stupid name-calling and accusations? Calling someone a Pe-pube or Democrap doesn't make your posts more credible. There is only one really bad thing to talk/consider/worry about and that is the danger that is Donald Trump, his lies and promises (same thing), his terribly wrong "fox guarding the henhouse picks, and his disregard for women, minorities, immigrants,the poor and even his advisors!! I hope the next 3 yrs, 10 mos and 5 days prove me wrong, but I think even those who voted for him will end up being disappointed.


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