}

Monday, December 18, 2017

Arthur Answers 2017, Part 4: About the regime in DC

It’s been a busy weekend, but now it’s time to get back into full blogging mode. Today, Roger Green asks about the current regime in the White House.

Here’s Roger’s first question:

Who are the 3-5 (or more most reprehensible people in the Cabinet or a dept head (EPA, OMB, Census, FCC) and why? Feel free to select those now out of office (Tom Price, e.g.)

I had two problems with this question. First, I couldn't remember who, precisely, is in the Cabinet (thanks, Wikipedia!). The problem was that there have been so many people in the regime who left, and so many non-entities still there, people that no one has ever heard of before, that it was really hard to remember more than a couple names.

Once I looked at the list, it occurred to me is that it would be far easier to list the LEAST reprehensible person on the list because the only well-known one who isn’t utterly without any redeeming quality whatsoever (so far!) is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He SEEMS to be the real deal, and he SEEMS like he COULD be the sort of decent fellow who would stand up to the current occupant of the White House if the guy, say, ordered a nuclear strike against North Korea. I doubt John Kelly would do that.

So, then the question becomes, who makes the list of the worst of the worst? Does it matter? Nearly every single one of them is either a leader and driver of the regime’s agenda, active and eager participants, or at least they’re willing toadies, in the dismantling of every regulation and law to protect the American people from corporate greed, and/or to transfer most of the USA’s wealth to the top 0.5%.

Among the most vile, in my sincerely held opinion, the most exuberant at extremism, greed, graft, corruption, and/or theft from the people are: Betsy DeVos, Steve Mnuchin, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke (Price would have made the list if he hadn’t been fired).

While I’ve long been a critic of Ben Carson and Rick Perry, mostly because of their idiotic political ideologies and theocratic tendencies (especially Carson who often veers well into christofascist territory), they don’t make my list because they’ve been mostly useless in their cabinet jobs so far—they’d be among the willing toadies, not among the true drivers of the corruption, since neither is smart enough to destroy America without explicit instructions, preferably written at an 8-year-old’s reading level.

There are also some who are pretty awful, in my sincerely held opinion, mostly because of their politics, but sometimes because of their personalities or personal agendas (or a combination). That list includes: Elaine Chao, Dan Coats, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo (all of the people on the vile list would make this list, too).

But how about some not truly awful ones? In addition (maybe) to Mattis might be Alexander Acosta, Robert Lighthizer, Kirstjen Nielsen, and David Shulkin, none of whom have done anything truly awful—yet. Anyone not listed anywhere else is instead on my “watch list” because they’ve done good and bad or because the evidence is just too unclear and/or contradictory.

Among agencies, in addition to the ones I already mentioned, the Census chief is clearly awful because they’re planning on rigging the census to help Republicans stay in power and to advance a radical Republican political agenda, and also the chair of the FCC not just because he’s a raging idiot, but also because he’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporations who has nothing but contempt for the American people—and their intelligence. Others are awful, too, for a variety of reasons, but those two are the worst not already mentioned.

Those are my sincerely held opinions, not any sort of declaration about the people as people or as political appointees. Whether my opinions are valid is up to other people—or maybe a court of law—to decide.

In a relayed question, Roger asked:

Who are the 2-3 most reprehensible members of the WH staff? (Kellyanne, Sarah Huck, Pence, Stephen Miller). Feel free to select those now out of office (Spicey, Bannon).

Again, I had to look this up (thanks again, Wikipedia!) because the current White House has had a revolving door. Time was, in one of the innumerable earlier iterations of the current regime, I would have put Bannon and Miller on the list, with Pence at the top. But Bannon is gone and Miller pushed mostly to the side. Pence was there because he’s a charlatan, trying to pretend he’s Oh! So virtuous! (that whole never being along with a woman who is not his wife is a great gag, though…) He is as corrupt as anyone else in the current regime and a christofascist to the core (that is, he wants an authoritarian “Christian” theocratic government). He is more dangerous than the current occupant of the White House because, unlike him, Mikey hasn’t shown narcissistic personality traits, and he’s of at least average intelligence. So, remove the Moron in Chief, and you get a smarter theocratic extremist in his place, someone who would know how to use government to advance his extremist radical rightwing religious agenda.

So, Pence is still top of both my Awful lists for both the White House and Cabinet. However, it you limit it to ONLY those on the White House Staff, then Conway (because she knows better and does evil anyway), Sarah Huckabee Sanders (ditto—well, one assumes: Her father may have taught her how to be evil and pretend to be a saint), and Mr. and Mrs. Kushner because of their untoward influence over the current occupant of the White House (and Jared’s obvious financial conflicts of interest and role in the Russian collusion).

But, again: Those are just my sincerely held opinions, not any sort of declaration about the people as people or as political appointees. As before, hether my opinions are valid is up to other people—or maybe a court of law—to decide.

Thanks to Roger for these questions—more to come!

It’s still not too late to ask a question! Simply leave a comment on this post (anonymous comments are allowed). Or, you can also email me your question (and you can even tell me to keep your name secret, although, why not pick a nom du question?). You can also ask questions on the AmeriNZ Facebook page, though some people may want to keep in mind that all Facebook Pages are public, just like this blog. If you’re on Facebook, you can send me a private message through the AmeriNZ Page.

All posts in this series are tagged “AAA-17”. All previous posts from every “Ask Arthur” series are tagged, appropriately enough, ”Ask Arthur”.

Previously:
Let the 2017 asking begin The first post in this series
Arthur Answers 2017, Part One: NZ Example
Arthur Answers 2017, Part Two: Addiction and song
Arthur Answers 2017, Part 3: Easy answers

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