I woke up to a little squib on Book TV this morning, wherein a thoughtful writer, Peter Hayes, speaking on the Impact of Power, contended that power enhances the ideas of those who hold it. Which does not bode well for the future.
The future landed with a thud on January 20th, with (President) DJT referring to our country as a place of carnage and sending the message throughout the land(s) that from now on it would be “America First.”
Ever since the election, the media have been full of “what went wrong” pieces, suggestions about how to reach the white working class, and playing the blame game against everything from identity politics to who’s more authentically left than whom – a game which no one wins because no one’s left.
We’re all in the streets, and that’s not a bad thing, but here’s the other thing. Occupy had a good run too, very impressive turnouts, huuge crowds. But today, there is still a Teaparty Caucus in the U.S. Congress. There is not an Occupy Caucus.
We’re going to have to do something different, but what?
For one, we’re going to have to do what we didn’t do well during the campaign: organize the daily outrages into larger issues, so that we don’t drop yesterday’s in favor of today’s.
Here’s the list so far: Executive actions, etc.
To tell the truth, the only one that really sent shivers up my spine was the first one:
1. Proclamation 9570: National Day of Patriotic Devotion (patriotism/religion?) Perhaps, in the years before we go to nationwide mail-in voting, we could change that to Democracy Day?
Moving on, the rest were pretty much as promised. I’ve categorized them so far thus:
Category I: Healthcare (over all moves to reduce accessibility)
2. Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal – apparently giving states, insurance companies, and consumers the ability to abide by the law as much or as little as they see fit
3. Presidential Memorandum: Mexico City Policy (Global gag rule-abortion)
Category II: Regulations and Protections (Overall moves to defund and disempower those dedicated to keeping us safe (water, air, ethical government, etc.)
4. Presidential Memorandum: Hiring Freeze
5. Executive Order 13766: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects
6. Presidential Memorandum: Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing Not a bad idea if done for the right reasons.
7. Executive Order: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Employees Loopholes
8. Executive Order: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs Again not a *bad* idea if for the right reasons.
Category III: Education (overall moves to defund and disempower public school systems)
9. Proclamation 9571: National School Choice Week, 2017 Baby steps to doing away with public schools?
Category IV: Public Safety (overall moves to fortify police powers and diminish those of citizens) – apparently emboldening some states to criminalize protest)
10. Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements The Build the Wall one.
ADDED 02/09/17: The President has signed three orders to tackle 'public safety' moments after he swore in Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
11. Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States Hitler 101
12. Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States. This one pretty much shut down for now.
Category V: Foreign Relations (moves to detach the country from obligations owed to our allies and brushing aside diplomatic agreements that have held us bound within an international community)
13. National Security Presidential Memorandum 1: Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces
14. National Security Presidential Memorandum 2: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council Major danger signal
15. National Security Presidential Memorandum 3: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (In case his secret plan doesn’t work?)
Category VI: Banks, etc. Number 16 wasn’t included in the above list, but it was one of the first. I couldn’t find a list for this past week, but one of them promises to cut back on Dodd-Frank. (Moves to pave the way for financial institutions to pretty much act more openly in their own interests and against those of consumers).
16. Mortgage Premiums
17. Slashing Dodd-Frank
ADDDED 02/09/17: A memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay implementing an Obama rule requiring financial professionals who are giving advice on retirement, and who charge commissions, to put their client's interests first.
It’s easy to forget #16 – the fact that many people’s mortgages may go up has been overtaken by events. I don’t want yesterday’s outrages to be lost in the dust cloud of today’s. Concentrate on today’s, by all means, but weave it into a narrative of national betrayal. Which is what most of them are.