I’ve been reading a lot lately about important issues like the imminent repeal of the ACA, the dismantling of Medicare, the reconfig of Social Security, the relentless parading of extremist potentials for cabinet positions… but that’s all noise. The real problem with the Trump transition is that the string of events over the past few weeks, while we were focused on this or that, has showed us his expertise in distraction.
Let me be clear: Trump is an idiot. He’s unread, anti-intellectual, and uncouth. But there is one area where he is a master: Simultaneously funneling all the attention in the room to himself, and not allowing you a straight line vision to what he’s really doing. I’m certain that it’s the cornerstone of his “success” in business, and he took that into the political realm during this election cycle. But at its core it’s a scam – Trump’s entire life and career has been a giant shell game. A street hustler is about to become our 45th president.
Hustlers are primarily out for themselves. Their livelihood depends on the ability to pull one over on their mark. They’re known by other names – con men, grifters, swindlers… but the thing that sets Trump apart from the minor characters of the past is the fact that he ran for president. And enough marks chose the empty shell.
While we were busy looking over there, Trump’s been working on a cabinet that will significantly alter our country’s relationship with the world. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that no less than three retired generals have been offered major roles within the Trump administration: John F. Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security, James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Defense Secretary, and, perhaps most concerning, Michael Flynn as White House National Security Adviser (Confirmation not required by congress).
This military influence will no doubt affect the Trump administration in a lot of negative ways, due to the fact that Trump is an idiot. But what’s more concerning to me is the combination of this military influence and his most likely choice for Secretary of State, the ultimate shell game: while you were worried about the repeal of Obamacare, let me present Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil. Yeah. Exxon. As in gas stations, etc. Did you know that ExxonMobile made $16.2 billion IN PROFIT last year? And that was in a low price-per-barrel environment.
Put that all together – heavy military presence in the cabinet alongside an oil and gas capitalist as our top diplomat – not just a corporatist, but an environment raping opportunist – in charge of our relationships with other countries. A Secretary of State who just happens to have interests in the most profitable commodity in the world. Ever wonder why it’s a bad thing when oil prices drop? We have a tendency to get excited when we hear that, because it means that our bill at the gas pump will be lower. But our lower gas prices are bad for Big Oil and the folks who invest in it. And apparently, now it’s bad for the presidential administration.
I wonder what possibly could happen. No worries though… I’m sure most of us will be looking the other way when it does.