From Draining the Swamp to Filling the Cesspool

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It is often said about a Presidential administration that you can garner much of their goals by the people that the President names to different Cabinet positions, organizational heads, and ambassadorial positions. In the second Bush Administration, there was a great deal of concern about A) the number of people from his father’s Administration that he tapped (especially his VP, Dick Cheney, who was Secretary of Defense under his father), and B) those that were involved with the military previously (such as Donald Rumsfeld, who was his Secretary of Defense). That the Bush Administration during its eight years ramped up military action (and, as a result, spending) in hindsight should come as no surprise to anyone.

After the stunning turn of the 2016 General Election, the GOP nominee now has the same issues facing him that 44 other men have had – deciding who would best push forward the agenda of his Administration. After mouthing platitudes about wanting to “unite the people,” why has the GOP nominee done exactly THE OPPOSITE of what he says he wanted to do? A simple look at those he has chosen for the different Cabinet appointments and political seats demonstrates that, instead of “draining the swamp” as he said he would, the GOP nominee is filling the cesspool that his Administration will become.

The problems began with his staffing of those members that DON’T have to go through a Congressional hearing to be able to take their seats. The choice of Steve Bannon, the former editor of the Neo-Nazi news site Breitbart.com, to be his chief strategist – along with former General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser and Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff – rang alarm bells for anyone who could rub two brain cells together. Bannon’s “fiery rhetoric” at Breitbart (which poked at Jews, women, and Democrats, just to name a few) indicated to many that the GOP nominee was going to try to run the country like he ran his campaign – short on facts, long on insults, racist, misogynous, and xenophobic rhetoric. He got Priebus out of the way from his duties as chairman of the Republican National Committee by making him his lapdog “directing” White House operations (you really think that Priebus could direct the GOP nominee to do anything?). Flynn very nearly ended his run with the GOP nominee’s Cabinet by continuing to push conspiracy theories, but his son took the bullet for him earlier this month over “Pizzagate” to effectively quiet many.

Then there South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who wasn’t smart enough to see her gentle execution by the GOP nominee for her opposition stance during the campaign. In taking the position of ambassador to the United Nations, Haley may believe she is “serving” the country, but if she looked up what normally happens in a time of strife, she may not have taken the position. Any time that there is a particularly noteworthy moment at the UN – a critical vote or an important discussion on a dire situation between the member nations, let’s say – the Secretary of State swoops in and takes the reins from the UN ambassador. The reason she was put there? South Carolina Lt. Governor Henry McMaster, a vehement supporter of the GOP nominee, will take over as Governor with Haley subserviently sitting in New York.

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If you thought this was bad, the worst was yet to come. It seemed that the criteria used by the GOP nominee was to identify what the job was of the department that he was choosing the Cabinet secretary for, then put the least qualified person into that position. Billionaire Betsy DeVos, the selection for Secretary of Education, has no qualifying degree from any school in the field of education. What qualifies her to be Education Secretary? The fact that she donated $1.8 million to the GOP nominee’s campaign and that she has advocated (re:  demanded) a shift from the public-school system to “voucher programs,” private and religious institutions. The purpose of the Department of Education is to set standards for ALL schools – to go in with the express purpose of destroying the very thing you’re supposed to be supporting is outlandish. (Add in that she is the brother of the founder of Blackwater, the heinous “mercenary” force that is supposed to be a “military company” that was used by the Bush Administration during the Second Gulf War, and she’s even more despicable.)

It doesn’t get better. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions was unable to get a position on the bench in the federal court system 30 years ago because of his racial statements regarding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other organizations. But now he’s been chosen to be the next Attorney General under the GOP nominee’s Administration.

The GOP nominee tapped on one of his former opponents, much like President Barack Obama did when he picked Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State in 2008, when he pulled Dr. Ben Carson into the mix despite Carson saying he wanted no part of a government position. So, what position do you think would be benefitting of a world-renown brain surgeon? Surgeon General of the U. S.? Nope. How about Secretary of Housing and Urban Development? Despite the efforts to portray Carson as someone who rose “from the projects” he would be now leading, the only relative experience that Carson has with the Housing Department is that he lives in one.

Then there’s Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, that has been nominated to take over the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the factor that he’s currently SUING the EPA for its regulation of power plants, Pruitt is a known climate change denier who proudly touts this fact to anyone who will listen. Pruitt also is a longtime advocate of fossil fuel usage. That you would put someone in charge of an agency that is tasked with PRESERVING the environment whose main raison d’etre is to destroy the very department tasked with that cause, you’re not putting the best personnel into the position.

Pretty much look at any department and you can virtually smell the shit from the cesspool. Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services? A doctor who is looking to destroy the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood and advocated for not labeling food. Former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary? A carrot tossed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, her husband, for support in the Senate?

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Wilbur Ross and Todd Ricketts as Commerce Secretary and Deputy Commerce Secretary, respectively? Billionaires who bailed out the GOP nominee previously or an opportunistic hypocrite who was previously critical of the GOP nominee that owns the Chicago Cubs. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary? Formerly a part of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment firm the GOP nominee railed over through the entirety of the campaign. Toss in former Texas Governor Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy (seriously, does he even have an energy idea beyond “drill here?”) and you have a Confederacy of Dunces that rivals a Marx Brothers movie.

In fact, you could say that there are two paths that the GOP nominee is going down. One is that he is creating the ultimate oligarchy, as six of his nominees to prominent positions in his cabinet have donated $12 million to his campaign. You could also say that the GOP nominee is forming a military junta, as he continues to fill major spots in his organization with people with lifelong military backgrounds, including former Marine Corps generals John Kelly (Homeland Security) and James Mattis (Defense), both positions that have traditionally been put in the hands of civilian oversight (Flynn is also a former general and Bannon has a military background).

And we’re supposed to give this a chance?

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The problem is that, once the process begins for those that require Congressional approval, there’s virtually nothing that can stop it. Due to the stupidity of the Democratic Party back in 2014 when they blew up the procedures to push through lower federal court justices, the GOP now just has to have 51 votes to end filibusters on Presidential appointees (this applies to everything outside of the Supreme Court) and move to a vote. When it was for their own good, the Democratic leadership was all for this change. Now it comes back to bite them in the ass.

If there is to be a check on the GOP nominee’s ignorance of choices, some help is going to have to come from some of the “renegade” members of the GOP itself. Virtually every choice is unqualified to be in the spot they were picked for – quite like their prospective boss – and should receive a negative vote in their respective committees. That’s not going to happen, so the Democrats must pick their battles wisely if they are to enact some changes out of the GOP nominee’s festering cesspool. Otherwise, the symphony of destruction is warming up…

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Why Recount a Foregone Conclusion?

Florida Approves Voting Reform Bill

As if the 2016 General Election couldn’t get any more bizarre, the past couple of weeks have provided more fodder. We are truly beginning to reach the point that, if someone were to write a movie with the plotline of what we’ve seen over the past 18 months, the producers and executives in Hollywood would dismiss the screenplay because it was so implausible. Yet it seems that the cast of characters in this Marx Brothers farce can’t seem to step away from the stage.

Speaking of the stage, that is where the never-ending story of the 2016 Election keeps itself alive. Apparently the GOP nominee for Vice President, when he isn’t advocating for the conversion of gays or forcing women to have funerals for their fetuses following an abortion, is a huge fan of Broadway musicals. In stepping out one night to see the Tony Award-winning  Hamilton:  An American Musical, the GOP VP nominee might have thought he was just enjoying some “theater of the elite.” Instead, the man received a message from the cast of the Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play.

After the evening’s performance was complete and during the curtain call, Hamilton lead actor Brandon Dixon stepped to the fore of the cast and spoke directly with the GOP VP nominee. “We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir,” Dixon stated. “But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.

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In a normal world, this would have not even drawn a flutter on the Twitterverse, but we do not live in normal times. Within hours, the thin-skinned GOP Presidential nominee was demanding a cast retraction of the statement and an apology for the booing from the audience in attendance that evening. First off, it was particularly ironic that the little snowflake of a GOP nominee was demanding a “safe space” free of criticism, it was secondly idiotic due to the very nature of the First Amendment rights of people to speak openly in condemnation (and the Hamilton statement was FAR from condemnation) of the government. After suffering the ridicule of pretty much the entire human race, the GOP nominee shut the hell up…but it wouldn’t be for long. (Amid cries for a boycott of Hamilton from the Ignorati, you know what happened? They broke records…)

Last week, the candidate for President from the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein, decided that she had been ignored long enough (you get barely one million votes when over 130 million are cast…you’re being ignored). Looking at the results in the state of Wisconsin, Stein announced a bid to challenge the results and call for a recount, provided she could get the crowdfunding necessary to pay for the challenge. In what was a more rapid pace than it should have been, Stein had upwards of $5 million in her coffers and filed for that recount, which prior to the recount the GOP nominee won by approximately 22,000 votes. After Stein brought up the issue, the sycophants that surrounded the Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton, “reluctantly” decided to support Stein’s efforts in the recount.

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Now, at this point the GOP nominee could have just sat back, shut his mouth, and continued with the work of transitioning into government (or, in his case, actually learning about what the President actually fucking does). But no…that would have been…presidential of him. Instead, the thin-skinned GOP nominee chose to launch on Twitter a barrage of statements crowned by the lunacy that “he would have won the popular vote if illegals hadn’t been allowed to vote.”

The utter stupidity of that last sentence shouldn’t have been the focus (and it has been the subject of several factchecking sites which have utterly debunked it), however. What should have been the focus was the utter stupidity in even having a recount of the votes in the 2016 General Election.

The numbers are quite clear, even without the state of Michigan coming across on Monday with their results for the GOP nominee. In the Electoral College, he won the vote, 306-232 (not the landslide that his personal Ann Coulter, Kellyanne Conway, and other troglodytes on social media has promoted, but still a victory). He LOST the popular vote by at least 1.5 million votes, meaning that he has absolutely NO MANDATE for pushing his agenda (other than, you know, both houses of the U. S. Congress…this is why the GOP is shitting themselves because they know it is ALL ON THEM now).

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To continue to pick the scab from the 2016 General Election – which the move for the recount by Stein and supported by the Clinton campaign is continuing to do – does nothing to move things forward in the States of America. If the Electoral College were closer – say Wisconsin would change the result of the Presidential race – then the purpose of a recount might be a viable idea. Even with that thought, it would have to be much closer than 22,000 votes to make a recount meaningful. There has never been a recount that suddenly found a bloc of votes that should have been accepted, especially one as large as what would be necessary in this case, without some sort of fraudulent activity taking place on one side or the other.

As it is, the recount is a circle jerk of governmental proportions, one that shouldn’t have been mounted with just numerical reasoning and “computer calculations of voting trends.” Clinton said she would not question the election results (unlike her opponent) and she should have stuck to that mantra. What calling for a recount does is tarnish (if it were possible) the process that has had little to no issues for 240 years. And even if it does change the result, it isn’t enough to change the overall course – unless you want to start looking at other close states and further disembowel our democracy. Besides, even if Clinton could change the result, just how much would she get done with questions of the legitimacy of her election?

Therefore, those that believe the Electoral College riding in like Roy Rogers to save our system come December 19 is a fallacy. Although individual members of the Electoral College will gripe and moan about having to go through with putting their vote in for the GOP nominee (and even resign their positions), the people’s will have been declared. While they can completely break away from those results, in the entire HISTORY of our country, no Electoral College has reversed the results of a general election.

It is up to Congress – yes, that body whose party leader will be sitting in the White House come January 20 – to enforce the rules and the protocols that ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS have been held to. It is up to Congress to make sure the GOP nominee has divested any interests he has in his businesses, no matter how large or small. If his children take them over, then those children don’t get to sit in on meetings with world leaders (or even take those meetings themselves) on a governmental level (they don’t get to do that anyway, you moron). It is up to Congress to make sure that the GOP nominee conducts himself in a PRESIDENTIAL MANNER. And it is up to Congress that, if this prick thinks he’s going to do whatever he wants to do, then he should be investigated and, if necessary, removed from office. The Presidency is not bigger than one man and the reverse is true – one man is not bigger than the Presidency.

One thing that doesn’t need to be done, however, is continuing the Chinese Water Torture that the 2016 General Election has been. If the results are a foregone conclusion, then there is no purpose in recounting one particular state because it happened to be close (and despite what computer scientists are saying, changing over 22K votes is close to impossible). It’s time to move on, but never relent in opposition to the GOP nominee (and his continued ignorance, which he seems to revel in) nor surrender to the face of fascism that will be in the White House come January 20.