We are now one month into the presidency of Donald Trump. He told us on Inauguration Day the time for talk was over and now it was time for action. He has kept that promise. He has signed a minimum of twenty-five executive orders to date. There is at least one more that is being talked about being signed today or tomorrow. It is supposed to replace the one a lower court put a stay on and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that lower court’s ruling.
One month has passed and the President’s agenda is coming into focus. So far, I can see four main parts:
1. Reward the Rich (gutting already weak regulations designed to prevent another financial collapse like we had in 2008, Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs employee and former George Soros employee, as Secretary of Treasury, and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State – so much for draining the swamp, eh?)
2. Punish the Poor (repealing Obamacare, reducing block grants to states for Medicaid, and beginning calls of “From Welfare to Work” and appointing Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education)
3. Exploit the Environment (gutting EPA regulations, appointing a man to head the EPA who is opposed to its existence, and pushing through the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines over vehement resistance)
4. Bully the “Bad Guys”
Over the next four weeks I will tackle each of these in reverse order.
One thing before we start. I predicted four weeks ago, part of the new administration’s plan to was to overwhelm the average person by doing so much the work-a-day individual with a job, family, and other obligations couldn’t possibly keep up with it all. This is a tried and proven effective tactic used by many governments, including Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It’s not just for dictators anymore. The administration has proven me correct to this point, but I won’t be patting myself on the back anytime soon. I would have much preferred to be wrong on this point.
Bully the Bad Guys
Candidate Trump made this one crystal clear on the campaign trail. Whether he was advocating torture of prisoners of war, promoting a policy of war crimes such as, “going after the families of terrorists,” or asking military consultants, “why do we have nuclear weapons if we aren’t going to use them?”, he put us and the world on notice:
It would be “Open Season” on bad guys in a Trump administration.
It was funny right up until the moment Hillary Clinton conceded the election to him. Now, we are getting a more precise definition of what he means by “bad guys.”
Mr. Trump’s definition of bad guys includes all the undesirables a reasonable person might expect. Terrorists, drug cartels, criminal gang syndicates, and violent criminals who are also illegal aliens. A good list, so far. It also appears bad guys include refugees from war torn regions, and any media outlet that doesn’t simply regurgitate his preferred propaganda for the day.
President Trump seems intent on pursuing a scorched earth policy with any dissenters. If you call him on clear fabrications and lies, you suddenly become the liar. He doesn’t have to offer any coherent arguments or facts proving you are the liar. He doesn’t have to present any facts proving he’s telling the truth. He simply calls you dishonest over and over again and lets his supporters do the rest.
Whether beating people at his political rallies who disagree with his proposed policies, cancelling subscriptions, or boycotting specific retailers or news organizations, the President and his supporters intend to silence through intimidation and bullying, both around the world and here at home.
This bullying can be seen in how Mr. Trump cancels meetings with heads of state who have signaled they will not be giving him what he wants, such as the President of Mexico. It can be seen in his hanging up on the Prime Minister of Australia. It can be seen in the aggressive, confrontational style of his policy advisor Stephen Miller. It can be seen in the way he constantly pulls unsuspecting individuals off balance when he shakes their hands. (Rabbit trail: for a good laugh, check out the video of his hand shake with Prime Minister Abe of Japan. The Prime Minister's response speaks volumes about how other world leaders experience President Trump.)
One person who is conspicuously not on the list of Bad Guys is a brutal dictator who murders journalists, assassinates or jails political opponents and heads of state, and is hell bent on expansion of his own empire.
You might want to think carefully, however, before questioning the President on this matter. You might find yourself on that Bad Guy list.