Thursday, February 16, 2017
In Greek mythology, Chaos (or “Chasm”) was the first thing to exist.
The Greek word "chaos" means "yawning" or "gap.” Chaos was also a place, far away, underground and "gloomy.” For the Roman poet, Ovid, Chaos was an ‘unformed mass,’ where all the elements were jumbled up together in a "shapeless heap."
“Synonyms include: disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, upheaval, maelstrom, muddle, mess, shambles, anarchy, lawlessness, train wreck and “all hell broken loose…”
To be fair, it may not be as bad as all that yet in the Trump administration, but give it some time! It’s all going to happen. And just why do I say that? Because Trump strives on it – he creates it. He wallows in it. He uses chaos like he uses everything else – to advance his opportunities for more profit; more wealth. Remember that time way back before the campaign when he referred to chaos in the housing market as a good thing for him?
“Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008 and millions of Americans lost their homes, Donald Trump said he was hoping for a crash.
"I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy," Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about "gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash."
Trump, who has staked his candidacy on his wealth and business acumen, has also been unabashed about prioritizing his business interests above all else -- even when it has involved helping politicians with policy positions antithetical to his own.”
Well, guess what? I wrote a piece about Trump and Chaos back on 6/1/2016, and want to re-present some of what I said then to what is going on now.
“The common belief is that people with a business background are apt to be effective managers in governments. However, it is my contention that business men or women are at a disadvantage in government. They are used to operating a business by Executive order, expecting underlings to carry out their every wish. If managers or workers don’t perform their duties as ordered, they can be fired. In business, that usually works without a problem (given the facts of lower union membership and loss of collective bargaining rights in some states). In a government - especially federal government – firing anybody is not an easy process.
More important, perhaps, is the tendency of departments, offices, commissions, agencies of all kinds to have their own loyalties, their own rules, their own norms and standards, and their own milieu. Often there is a perceived need to ‘protect’ or ‘enhance’ their unit, which leads to resistance and delay in implementing orders from POTUS. It is the nature of the beast and is not necessarily confined to public agencies. A business background (rather than experience with politics) can often be a disadvantage in such a situation that is loaded with political and other-than-business-like operational issues, like having to represent others fairly. “
Comment: Rather interesting that certain members of the Intelligence community, of the National Forest Service, of the EPA, of other departments of the Trump administration (like the interim Attorney General’s Office), and even some Republicans, mainly in the Senate, have begun to show some of this attitude toward Trump. It is likely to increase.
“Of course, there is that labor union thing that the Donald does not take to with great enjoyment. He doesn’t like bargaining with underlings. Unfortunately for the Donald (and other big businessmen who have worked in the White House or in the federal bureaucracy) powerful unions exist, in addition to Civil Service rules and laws which also lay down a good number of job protections for all to obey. One large union is the National Federation of Federal Employees considered "a key player in backing collective bargaining and appeal rights of [federal] employees." As of 2007, NFFE represented about 100,000 federal workers (Wikipedia). But other unions exist on the federal level meaning that different unions represent workers in different departments. The American Federation of Government, the International Association of Machinists, the National Treasury Employees Union and the National Association of Government Employees (a division of the Service Employees International Union) also represent federal employees.
Trump’s modus operandi is related to his particular business background. In some circles, it would be described as a ‘cutthroat’ approach, where allies are used and enemies are abused and often obliterated. In real estate and development, it is important to operate in such a manner – to rise to the top of the heap – because the one who grabs power gets the deals, controls circumstances and produces profit. The latter operating principles are not necessarily the most helpful in the implementation of non-profit programs, policies and guidelines. Nor are they helpful in terms of relationships to other countries and peoples – often described as ‘diplomacy’ which for a developer, is useful only so long as the person being ‘wooed’ is not aware of the sham and is not resistant to ‘charm.’ Otherwise, they are written off as undesirables and are abandoned by the wayside.
Trump’s background in the real estate business, and his political campaign so far, provide us with clues as to what it will be like to have him in the Oval Office. Moreover, the experience of him so far provides clues as to what he will be doing (or NOT doing) for YOU, the voter-citizen.
Trump says that CHAOS will happen under a Clinton administration, but that is a stretch when Clinton has political savvy, legislative experience, diplomacy and executive functioning in her background while Trump has only the dictatorial model of business administration in his. Where will that chaos show itself under Trump?
1) Conflict with… Democrats in the Senate. Trump will alienate and abuse this group if they don’t act as he directs. If any moderate non-Trump-supporter Republicans remain in the Senate, they may give him some trouble as well. If the Speaker of the House remains a non-supporter of Trump, expect some delay on most Trump proposals in that House.
RESULTS for YOU: continued deadlock and delay in any major legislation that affects your life, among these items: minimum wage, public transportation, infrastructure, public education, healthcare coverage including Medicare & Medicaid.
All of this is going to catch up with your daily life, and you will have losses and increased costs that you did not expect, mostly resulting from inattention to your needs. However, there will be some actions and changes that become law, and thus make it into your supposedly isolated life.
One example: Trump wants all states to be able to pass gun carry laws that apply to all public places. How safe will your children be in school once the Donald signs legislation for a countrywide carry bill? Whether teachers carry or children carry or both, your children will be in danger of being shot in their classrooms and school environs.
Example #2: watch out for Trump trying to please Evangelicals by signing legislation that allows religious objections to health care provisions – birth control specifically – you won’t be covered in many cases. Or, if you are a member of the LGBT community, watch out for new laws that allow discrimination against you by using religious exemptions. That ploy could become rather routine, so watch out for religion becoming a pawn in the attempt to curb certain actions that are now legal (like abortion) but won’t last for longer than 50 days in a new Trump administration.
Example 3: Do you like the stability of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Well forget it. No matter what you have heard, none of these systems is in serious funding trouble now, but the chaotic approach of Republicans will reduce each of them to a state of total vulnerability by means of SS personal accounts, Medicare vouchers and contraction of benefits when Medicaid is administered by states that can’t afford current administrative support levels. Add to that the repeal of Obamacare and you are in the worst bind ever in terms of healthcare coverage. You won’t be able to afford anything but the very basic coverage replete with co-pays, limits to overall coverage, no coverage for your young adult children, and lots of minimums and maximums that will have you in limbo financially before you know it.”
Comment: We still have not heard anything about replacement parts for “Obamacare.” And it doesn’t matter to Republicans because they have enough Chaos with which to deal right in their own districts where they are getting ‘heat’ at local public meetings because of Trump Executive Orders that already point the way to complete Chaos in healthcare, immigration, and conflict of interests that serve only to affect negatively our national security and our finances.
2) “Trump for President means even more Chaos in our lives. How about war? Don’t care much for it? But those in the appropriate age group will for certain end up in the Middle East or Asia and Africa fighting people that Donald Trump decides need a lesson in American greatness and might. Given what he has said already about Muslims, eliminating radical Islamist groups, threatening to use atomic weapons, and standing up to China and Iran and Syria and the Caliphate, we will be at war within a year of Trump assuming control. Many will not only be asked to volunteer to risk their young lives, but I believe a draft will be restored to show that America means business because it is so great. Then recall that war spreads its chaos at home as well as overseas. Prices rise, shortages occur, families lose members, over-spending becomes a necessity and as a nation we become more vulnerable to the hate and disgust of other nations. Given the belligerent attitude of Donald Trump, the chaos of War is inevitable.”
Comment: What has happened so far is not encouraging. A botched raid in Libya has brought taunts and jibes from the Al Qaeda leader who was targeted, but absent, from that raid. Such sarcastic barbs aimed at this narcissist president do not make for peaceable relations. Iran has been put “on notice” for what we don’t know. Netanyahu has been given at least a greenish-yellow light to proceed to build more settlements in Gaza and the two-state solution toward peace in the Middle East seems to be in jeopardy sooner than later. And now, we have a notice sent to our NATO allies that their payments better increase or that whole enterprise could be in jeopardy. Need I mention the rotten phone call between Trump and our very close ally, Australia? Chaos in international relations like this has always been a precursor of WAR.
3) “Another inevitable proposition: Donald Trump, if elected President, will savor the moment(s) he gets to nominate a Supreme Court Justice! He has already indicated that he will be looking for someone opposed to abortion, in favor of protecting our borders, and pro-business. Need we say more? His first appointment will restore the conservative majority on the Court and from that base will emanate the chaos of decision after decision that will undo civil rights, long-term voter and consumer protections, equal justice for rich and poor alike, and the separation between church and state. Trump’s first appointment would come right after his inauguration (assuming that President Obama’s nomination is never considered), and then we would experience a series of decisions unseen in the history of the Court.
4) Let us be sure to mention the chaos that will be created when this man of the Big Deal makes decisions based first on what he considers convenient, next on what is provocative, and finally on what is powerful. In other words, Trump changes his mind on policy, principles and actions based on what is right for his image and status at the moment. He can change from pro-life back again to pro-choice, back again to pro-life; or from punishing mothers who have abortions to punishing only doctors who perform them, back to punishing mothers again. And, just to remind you one more time -- one more chaotic action based on a false premise of religious freedom: Abortion will be made illegal, and many people will suffer because of that, not just doctors.
5) But finally, let us not forget the CHAOS that inevitably results from the misuse of power by those who hold government offices, especially the Presidency. Recall, if you will, the enormous chaos caused by Nixon’s use of staff, his Attorney General, White House lawyers, his Watergate “plumbers,” surveillance by government agents, and the accusations of use of the FBI to embarrass and perhaps charge enemies with crimes. Nixon misused the powers of his office to protect himself and to damage his enemies. This is what we shall face if a pathological liar, a narcissist, a man who prefers to obliterate and destroy enemies, and a media-hater who favors muzzling of the press when they seek accountability from him. If Trump gets elected this year, look out for the all-encompassing CHAOS just waiting to devour us.”
Comment: Yes, he was elected, and Yes, we are being devoured by Chaos. But, alongside that chaos is something some call disorder, and which some call reform or re-order. The Resistance Movement in our largest cities and all over this country is active, is enervative, and is bringing people out to get involved, bringing forth their grievances as guaranteed by the Constitution.
This is real democracy in action: voters expressing their displeasure with the dismantling, the destruction, the disorder, the utter baseness and callousness of a lack of caring for our People, and the utter havoc and turmoil being created for society by the “swamp” characters appointed by Trump and approved by a cowardly and uncaring Republican majority in the Congress. These men and women are ill-prepared, ill-suited and ill-usionary in their quest to destroy and abandon values that have been at the core of this government for centuries. They have abandoned the will of the People and favored ideology over the welfare of the People. They have abandoned integrity and fairness; dignity and veracity for a systematic attack on much that is fundamental and foundational in our form of government.
The authoritarian aspect of Trump’s behavior is reason enough to resist his every move lest we end up a right-wing dictatorship bent on domination instead of good will, liberty and justice for all. We must resist Executive orders and actions that do not conform to our values or our laws; we must resist policies that discriminate, that punish, that coerce people because they are a certain class or category. We must oppose the destruction of programs that benefit those in poverty or in special circumstances just because someone says it makes people “dependent.”
If that concept holds for all, we must remove every government support for the rich. Raise their taxes, and put them in jail when they disobey any law. We must remove every privilege that they take from the rest of us – like free medical care for Congress in army or navy hospitals; like tax breaks and tax loopholes that they only can access out of our paid tax money, but we can’t do the same; like being exempt from certain laws; like not having to pay Medicare taxes or Social Security tax beyond a certain level; like being able to buy votes by hefty contributions to individual candidates and special PACs – bribery made legal by the SCOTUS.
It is past time to rid ourselves of the real Chaos – special privilege, inside information, control of elections, inaction on the People’s need for jobs and health care, and lower taxes, infrastructure repair, but more importantly our need for jobs that benefit society not the wealthy, schools that train and educate all for citizenship, not just the privileged and the successful for more greed more privilege and more exploitive success.
We must act to reform, revolutionize, and make relevant the structures of government, so that they can be the channels of equal support, equal pay, equal schooling, equal justice, equal opportunity, equal rights with equal consequences for wrong-doing. Government is not the problem. Ideology-first politicians and bought representatives of special interests are the problem. Non-voters are the problem. Lack of an adequate education is the problem. Uninvolved citizens are the problem. And, finally, the CHAOS of this administration is a problem of deadly significance.
Chaos is not an effective strategy or operational paradigm. Chaos costs money, chaos affects lives adversely and chaos takes stability and tears it to shreds.
WE MUST SPREAD the WORD: It will not be to our benefit or honor, as a just and generous People who constitute and revere this freedom-loving Nation, to have it ravaged by the likes of one man placed in an office for which he is eminently unqualified.
Remind everyone you know that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts (men like Trump) absolutely" (with apologies to Lord Acton).”