Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Trump's real agenda is being implemented

by digby

I wrote about the parts of Trump's administration that are working successfully to implement his agenda today for Salon. Unsurprisingly, they are all clustered around the military and the police:

It’s understandable that the chaos of the Trump administration and the dysfunctional House Republican caucus takes up all the political oxygen these days. But it’s important to not overlook the areas of the executive branch that are actually carrying out Donald Trump’s agenda.

Some departments, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, are still getting up to speed, but signs are that they’re going to do some serious damage. Others, like Dr. Ben Carson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, are missing in action altogether so perhaps they’ll just die of benign neglect. The State Department still seems to be a mess, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson so out of it that he’s now releasing press releases that might as well say “Do Not Disturb.” (After North Korea launched another intermediate-range missile Tillerson, simply said, “The U.S. has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”)

On the other hand, there are some departments that are up and running with all cylinders firing. Department of Homeland Security staffers are working feverishly to seal the border and harass immigrants. They’re even starting to go after tourists, requiring them to hand over electronic devices and social-media passwords before being granted the privilege of coming here to spend their money. If all goes well, DHS should be able to completely destroy the travel industry within a year or so and ensure that foreign students and workers will go anywhere but the U.S. in the future.

The Pentagon is also going great guns (so to speak), getting its war on with renewed vigor. Defense officials insist that all the recent civilian carnage in Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere is not a result of new official rules of engagement. But people who study such things recognize that the attitude toward such behavior always flows from the top, and the president has made it clear that he wants to take the gloves off. He couldn’t even take a moment, during two public appearances on Tuesday, to condemn the gas attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians, instead releasing a boorish statement blaming the administration of former President Barack Obama. But then, Trump has long believed that the use of such weapons was something “strong” leaders sometimes have to do.

Recall this startling comment from last July:

Saddam Hussein throws a little gas, everyone goes crazy, “Oh, he’s using gas!” They go back, forth, it’s the same. And they were stabilized.

The U.S. hasn’t resorted to chemical attacks on children but you can imagine that the battlefield commanders assume they have a wide berth when their commander in chief is on record endorsing war crimes like torture, killing of families and mass summary execution.

And as I predicted would happen when Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general, his Department of Justice is the one agency that seems to be functioning smoothly. As it’s turned out, his recusing himself from the Russia investigation has opened the political space for Sessions to concentrate on implementing the “law and order” agenda that had Trump’s crowds cheering at all those campaign rallies last year. Sessions isn’t wasting any time.

As The Washington Post reported on Monday, Sessions announced that prior agreements between local law enforcement agencies and the Justice Department are all under review so as to ensure that “these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.” Protecting he civil rights of citizens is way down the list of his concerns.

Session has long been a critic of DOJ consent decrees and is skeptical that systemic racism in law enforcement exists at all. According to The Washington Post’s Sarah Posner, in a visit to St. Louis last week to speak before a police gathering, Sessions said:

Unfortunately, in recent years law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the crime and unacceptable deeds of a few in their ranks. Amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, morale has gone down, while the number in their ranks killed in the line of duty has gone up.

At another meeting in recent days, he told a group of police officers, “When you fight crime you have to fight it where it is, and you may have at some point an impact of a racial nature that we hate to see. But if it’s done properly it’s the right thing.”

An “impact of a racial nature” is an interesting way of describing the epidemic of unarmed African-Americans being gunned down by police officers.

It’s clear that Sessions’ intention is to do at the Justice Department what the president has already endorsed at the Department of Homeland Security: He’s going to let the police “take off the shackles.” Considering Sessions’ long history of racism it’s entirely predictable that he would take this action, but you might have thought he would wait longer than a month just to keep up appearances.

Next up is likely to be the overhaul of the civil rights division that a group of far-right vote-suppression activists, led by Trump transition team member and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, requested in a letter sent to Sessions just last week. They see the division as rife with “ideological rot” from leftover Obama administration officials who have “jettisoned precepts like equal enforcement in favor of political and racialized dogmas.” These activists are basically arguing that Sessions must get rid of the career attorneys in the division and replace them with ideologues who believe that white people are the true victims of discrimination.

ABC News reported last month that Trump is expected to name his trusted lieutenant George Conway, husband of presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, to head the civil rights division. He’s a corporate lawyer who has little experience with civil rights issues, but he’s a hard-core right-wing ideologue so these “law and order” Republicans should be pleased with the choice.

It’s interesting to note that the executive branch agencies that are working efficiently to enact the president’s agenda are all the police and military departments. Trump may not know what he’s doing in any larger sense, but by putting two generals and a hanging judge in charge of those departments, he has insured that his authoritarian nationalist agenda is being enacted with ruthless efficiency.