Friday, September 22, 2017

After Trump - Reconstructing the Republic

Trump's Fevered Fantasy:
Deconstructing the Administrative State
Is it possible to discern a "method" in Trump's "madness?"

MeanMesa has watched with morbid wonder as the President has unleashed a strangely psychotic "roman candle" attack on everything in his sight. In fact, perhaps the most coherent "direction" -- a "direction" which might serve to explain the chaotic lurching in the Oval Office -- is to be found in Trump's obsessive hatred for "all things Obama."

A superficial glimpse at the Trump Presidency reveals a desperate rat-like mentality which compels the rat hosting it to rush head long toward any target which offers even a faint promise of eliminating an Obama era accomplishment. If a list of these "targets" showed a "common thread" -- i.e. obliterating environmental regulations, limited the wild, casino avarice of Wall Street and the hedge funds or even handing over "Putin-style gifts" to oligarchic friends, Trump might not appear so dangerously flippant.

However, such a comforting, coherent conclusion is no where to be found in the domestic media's bouncy, reactive account of what the man has been doing. There is no "easy" model to be constructed which might -- dependably -- predict a target to which Big Daddy might careen next.

Trump considers his penchant for indulging in this reckless mayhem to be "one of his strong points."

Perhaps, we have heard the phrase "desconstructing the administrative state." Perhaps, a clearer understanding of what the meaning of this phrase might be will clear the air as to what Trump's "primary mission" actually is. Have a look at excerpts from this March 2, 2017, article.

The point of this post is to describe what post-Trump reconstruction might be. Establishing the pattern and motivation of the wild destruction occurring during Trump's mad reign will be a necessary place to begin. What elusive pattern might congeal all of these seemingly disconnected rants and tirades into a comprehensible picture? We must understand the priorities which have driven this fevered mind to propel us to our present state. 

Further, we must be prepared to present the new priorities which will be the guiding principles for the reconstruction's efforts.

Why Donald Trump needs the ‘administrative state’ that Steve Bannon wants to destroy
By David Lewis

White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon recently announced that he wanted to deconstruct the administrative state. Bannon believes that the bureaucracy is staffed by liberals and is committed to subverting the president’s plans.

There’s one big problem with Bannon’s goal: Trump actually needs bureaucrats if he wants to accomplish his goals. So Trump’s real challenge isn’t how to deconstruct the bureaucracy. It’s how to secure the bureaucracy’s cooperation. But that may be quite difficult. Here’s why.

What bureaucrats do:

The career executives who staff and run the approximately 250 federal departments and agencies not only formulate and implement executive orders, they also make choices every day that influence large swaths of public policy — from immigration to law enforcement to education to the environment. They use their legal authority to do what all executives do: interpret the power given them by their board of directors (in this case, Congress), set organizational priorities in formal guidance or memorandums and make decisions about where to allocate people and dollars.

1) Determining what an agency can do.
2) Deciding what an agency should prioritize.
3) Choosing how an agency should enforce the law.
4) Allocating people and resources. 

Although it may be hard to "generalize" the direction of the destruction of the early administration or to attach any ideological explanation to the chaotic, moment to moment attacks, we must accept the reality that Trump is not accomplishing all of this exclusively by himself.

An eagerly cooperative right wing of the Congressional GOP has continually pumped a daily flow of "minor" legislation designed to obstruct or remove hundreds or thousands of existing laws, policy priorities, regulations -- especially both rules and laws regulating Wall Street's penchant for unbridled looting.

It has been, frankly, almost impossible to "see through" Trump's myriad of antics and distractions to accurately tabulate the damage being accomplished by these essentially invisible legislative salients. MeanMesa uses the description "invisible" because the "visible" consequences of these quickly signed "laws" will not possibly begin to emerge nearly quickly enough to flash a warning about the literally dozens of equally destructive "laws" being ushered into the process at the same time.

Now, now. Don't get overly dramatic. [image]
The Administration was inebriated at least by the pace of this action if not by the actual policy  accomplishments reflected in these new laws. Trump and his Cabinet explain nothing. The outrage of rational Americans was a "given," and Trump's supporters couldn't comprehend any thread of reality more complex than the President's rambling, television style blather. Even amid the dismal hours when it had already become quite clear that the President was accomplishing nothing, blindly vengeful Trump supporters continued to offer up amazing perceptions that "He is keeping his promises."

This is why we as more rational citizens must be ready to spell out the reconstruction -- and be ready to stand by our plan!

Putting the Nation Back Together
Don't you dare to blankly refer to the "good old days."
It's time for good citizens to "put on their big boy pants" and get to work.

The prospect of electing a majority of Congressional Democrats and commencing to re-establish the vacated "social norms" is a grim one, indeed. These "norms" weren't working well already, and there is painfully little reason to expect that simply regurgitating their Trump digested remnants back to life will be any sort of durable solution.

Nonetheless, with far fewer Republicans around in the Congress following the 2018 mid-term, a few, delectable possibilities jump right out at us. The short lived Republican Congressional hegemony has "turned a hand" at every one of these "priorities." Although most of the perfidy was conducted in the opaque, oligarchic mechanisms of the billionaire party, more than enough of the results of these "putrid efforts" have escaped into the light of day for even the uninterested to see them -- and the Republicans who authored them -- very clearly.

It's not just undoing what Trump has done. While this may be a tempting course for the battle beaten Democrats, MeanMesa suspects that the process would be roughly as chaotic and rashly designed as Trump's Presidency. After all, there is no "inertial center beam" of actual policy -- or even something which might be mistaken for a guiding ideology -- lurking anywhere in the actions of the Trump White House. Why would Democrats respond to reckless confusion as they sought direction for the reconstruction?

The feckless, moribund 2016 policy platform of the Democrats should have served as a "herald of future events." [Take a look. 2016 Democratic Party Platform/DemocraticParty] Worse, already famous for "destroying every political opportunity within seconds of its emergence," the Democrats have now proposed a preview of their equally depressing, "block buster" Party Platform for 2020. [Take a look. 2020 Democratic Platform - The Democrats New Agenda Is Everything Wrong With The Party/Bill Moyers]

American voters may be quite finished with their abusive romance with Trump, but they are clearly not yearning for another plate of traditional, political mush. The Russians are already focused on this fact like a rabbit hunter zeroing in with his rifle. Republicans in the House and Senate are doing absolutely nothing about "hardening elections." They love the results of what happened last time.

Preparing for 2018 and 2020
MeanMesa's Version of a Democratic Party Platform
Don't laugh. It may be better than anything currently surfacing in the Democratic Party.
It's not rocket science.

The Democratic Party platform should include the following items -- and, not many more. We can consider them in three groups: 1. Short Term Concrete Imperatives, 2. Longer Term Concrete Imperatives, and 3. Fundamental, Abstract Imperatives.

Short Term Concrete Imperatives:

a. N. Korea  -- the weakest, poorest dictatorship in the world has the United States quivering in terror. Solve it.

b. Hire enough Federal employees to return the US Federal government to its full staff levels. Especially the State Department and the Justice Department. [Remove the Liberty University "law grads" from the DOJ.]

c. Harden election processes to prevent Russian interference. Eliminate the electoral college. The Civil War needs to end.

d. Make Citizens United illegal political corruption. Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression must also be illegal -- with prison terms for convictions. MeanMesa has posted about this previously. A Mathematician Redistricts Congress/MeanMesa, election courts Election Courts/MeanMesa]

Long Term Concrete Imperatives:

What a coincidence. [chart source]
a. Increase median wages for the middle class. Most Americans are earning at about the same levels as in 1969. Lift restrictions on labor organizing.

b. Fix public education. [Public education produced the voters stupid enough to believe the Russians {and to get targeted by Jared's analytics contractor}]

c. Legislate environmental protection. The 2017 hurricanes should have silenced the fossil fuel funded climate deniers. Drive the blade home. The planet is falling apart.

d. Repair American infrastructure. The US Society of Civil Engineers estimates that this will take $3 Tn. The same bunch states that the current state of US infrastructure is at "D+." Infrastructure plans had better include serious climate change mitigation projects.

e. Fix health care law. After the GOP House launched their draconian "switch Medicaid to tax cuts" health plan, ObamaCare is finally becoming more popular. And, most Americans of all income classes are now prepared to send ALL private health insurance corporations to the wood chipper. Finish it. The current disaster is an embarrassment, and it is killing Americans. 

f.  Solve immigration law. Face reality. The US is moving toward becoming a "minority majority" population. There are a LOT more non-whites than white supremacists.

Long Term Abstract Imperatives:

a. Affirm US loyalty to NATO -- without conditions.

b. Start managing the trade deficit. This includes boosting domestic manufacturing. [Any legislation directed at increasing domestic manufacturing is automatically "proved" to be "utterly unworkable. You get the idea.]

c. Reduce wealth inequality. Obliterate laws which direct Congressional looting to the oligarchs. Make laws which prevent to return to the looting with regulations. Improvements to wealth equality can be empirically obvious if they are accomplished.

d. Fix the tax code so that Americans who make money, pay taxes. Create enforceable tax law, and then enforce it.

There, now. That wasn't so hard, was it?

We have lived so long in an artificial political "reality" in which the billionaires have slowly convinced us that these sorts of social culture and political advancements are impossibly expensive. Well, they are, in fact, "impossibly expensive," but only so long as they contradict the existing plan to create the dream of a permanent oligarchy exclusively existing for the sustenance and benefit of various, perpetual, dynastic fortunes.

The adoption of these highly relevant and attractive, social political goals will either become the over arching ambition of the nation's reconstruction or there simply will not be a reconstruction. Every element of the alternate downward path ahead is already in place. There is no additional construction required for our "final descent" to the enduring depths of the Bannon-Trump nightmare. The oligarchy's scheme didn't begin with Trump's Inauguration. However, every one of its tactical schemes was already totally prepared to proceed through its final lap.

Not a single one of these simple objectives represents any sort of priority for the oligarchs intending to take over the United States.

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