Trump’s cabinet of generals

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Filling His Cabinet With Former Military Is a DISASTER

6 December 2016

President-elect Donald Trump is appointing a concerning number of military leaders to his cabinet, including retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for Defense Secretary, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor and possibly Marine Gen. John Kelly for Homeland Security Secretary and Army Gen. David Petraeus for Secretary of State.

By Eric London in the USA:

A cabinet of generals: Trump appoints John Kelly to lead Department of Homeland Security

8 December 2016

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced yesterday it will nominate retired Marine General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Kelly is the third ex-military general slated for a top cabinet position. His nomination follows those of James Mattis for Secretary of Defense and Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor.

The unprecedented prominence of the military in the incoming cabinet is a sign that the American ruling class is preparing for war abroad and domestic repression at home.

Kelly is a 40-year veteran of the Marine Corps whose career and personality embody the brutal and deeply reactionary American political culture in a period of permanent war. In a speech delivered in 2014 on the ongoing wars, Kelly said: “If you think this war against our way of life is over because some of the self-appointed opinion-makers and chattering class grow ‘war weary,’ because they want to be out of Iraq or Afghanistan, you are mistaken. This enemy is dedicated to our destruction. He will fight us for generations, and the conflict will move through various phases as it has since 9/11.”

The Department of Homeland Security is a massive bureaucracy of state violence and repression. Its new director will command 240,000 employees comprising an army of border guards, police, detectives, investigators, deportation administrators, trial attorneys and judges who catch, process and deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers each year.

Created in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, DHS has served as a Petri dish for a police state. It was founded one year before the Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and the two semi-parallel institutions are aimed at preparing the Armed Forces and police for military activities within the United States.

Kelly will be the first military general to lead DHS. With an extensive history [of] leading US military forces in South America, he will combine “border security” with the expanded involvement of American imperialism throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Kelly’s speeches are filled with attacks on the “chattering class” and “all those who doubt America’s intentions.” He rants against the Washington “bureaucracy” and “materialist” youth who “can’t understand the price paid so they and their families can sleep safe and free at night.”

Kelly is an open defender of torture who vocally opposed calls to close Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. He told the US Senate in 2015 that “the only people not treated humanely or having their human rights protected [at Guantanamo] are the guards,” and that the prisoners have “better healthcare down there than probably the veterans in our country have.”

Kelly commanded troops during the invasion and occupation of Iraq, in which up to 1 million civilians were killed. He helped lead the brutal offensive against the ancient city of Baghdad and told a reporter: “Baghdad ain’t s**t.”

Following Obama’s 2012 reelection, Kelly was selected to command US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the military organization responsible for Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Kelly is, to use the phrase of Smedley Butler, “a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.” In 2015 Senate testimony, he criticized the Obama administration for cutting funding for the military, noting in Senate testimony that SOUTHCOM was “just barely” able to keep the “pilot light of US military engagement” on in the border region.

He called for the US to detach fair labor and human rights standards to arms sales in Central and South America and explained that “homeland defense does not begin at the ‘one yard line’ of our Southwest border, but instead extends forward, throughout the hemisphere, to keep threats far from our nation’s shores.”

He praised “private-sector economic dynamism” as the “greatest element of our national power,” and said he is “hopeful American businesses will help advance our President’s goal of a stable, prosperous, and secure Central America.”

Kelly was selected over Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who “some conservatives found … insufficiently tough on border security,” according to the Washington Post. McCaul wrote an op-ed on last week in which he said, “We are going to build the [border] wall. Period…We are talking about a historic, multi-layered defense system…”

That this was the program of the candidate who was passed over for being “insufficiently tough on border security” shows the urgent danger posed by the incoming administration.

In addition to Kelly, Mattis and Flynn, Trump is reportedly considering retired General David Petraeus as Secretary of State. The prominence of such figures in the government is the product of a long-term process in which the military-intelligence apparatus has exercised an ever more dominant role in the state. After 25 years of unending war, under both Democrats and Republicans, the United States is taking on the character of a garrison state.

The ex-generals in Trump’s cabinet will join the corporate executives and extreme right-wing figures who have been selected for every cabinet position. On Monday, the media reported that Trump is selecting Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, a close ally of the oil industry and a denier of climate change science, has declared war on virtually all environmental regulations.

The extreme character of the incoming administration makes all the more glaring the efforts by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration to minimize and cover up the dangers that it represents.

On Trump’s DHS appointment, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said: “We hope that General Kelly is willing to stand up for facts, families and the Constitution.”

Leon Panetta, Obama’s Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013, said Kelly was an “excellent choice,” while the New York Times called him “blunt-spoken and popular with military personnel.”

The corporate press has sought to build sympathy for Kelly, whose own son was killed during the war in Iraq. The Washington Post wrote that Kelly is “known inside the Pentagon as a thoughtful man who continued serving his country even after his son was killed in combat.” The Post passes no judgment on the fact that the young man died fighting a war his father helped launch.

The selection Wednesday of Marine Gen. John Kelly, the former head of US Southern Command, to head the Department of Homeland Security brings to three the number of recently retired generals tapped by president-elect Donald Trump for his incoming cabinet: here.

The Trump transition team confirmed yesterday that Iowa’s Republican governor Terry Branstad has been selected as the next US ambassador to China. Throughout his election campaign Trump adopted a belligerent anti-China stance. But, in picking Bradstad, he is installing a trusted go-between with top-level connections in Beijing. … In reality, Branstad is a long-running Iowa politician who has little foreign policy experience and whose knowledge of China stems from his efforts to leverage his acquaintance with top Chinese leaders to press for better trade deals for his state. On trade, he has been a vocal supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump has pledged to axe on his first day in office. Branstad’s difference with Trump over the TPP, as well as his lack of familiarity with key issues such [as] North Korea, rising tensions over the South China Sea and the US military build-up throughout Asia against China, suggests he will not play a significant role in determining policy or strategy toward Beijing: here.

MEET DONALD TRUMP’S LABOR SECRETARY PICK Andrew Putzer, a fast-food executive in charge of the company that owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., is an outspoken opponent of significantly raising the minimum wage. And here’s why the president-elect’s cabinet means the advent of deregulation. [Dave Jamieson, HuffPost]

Donald Trump has nominated Andrew Puzder, millionaire CEO of CKE Restaurants, as Secretary of Labor. Puzder, who runs the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains, is a well-known opponent of minimum wage increases and of mandatory overtime pay for salaried employees. As Secretary of Labor, Puzder will be positioned to advance policies on minimum wages, wage equality, unemployment benefits and occupational safety: here.

Donald Trump Picks Fossil Fuel-Friendly Oklahoma Attorney General To Head EPA. Scott Pruitt has a history of working with the oil and gas industry: here.

It’s Been A Year Since Trump Proposed His Muslim Ban. The Fate Of Muslims Is Still Unknown: here.

Japanese-Americans Imprisoned For Ethnicity Speak Out In Defense Of Muslims. “It was all based on race hysteria, xenophobia in the past, and you don’t want that to repeat again”: here.

Donald Trump — who has said in the past he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the ruling on marriage equality — and Mike Pence — who has pushed through anti-LGBTQ legislation — were elected president and vice president, respectively, on the promise of making America “Great Again.” Since the election, the number of hate crimes against immigrants, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community have skyrocketed, particularly by self-described Trump supporters. All this has emboldened those marginalized groups, including the queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming folks among them, to explore a variety of self-defense measures as a means of keeping themselves and their communities safe over the next four years: here.

The Republican National Committee will host its Christmas Party this year at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the newest property of its newfound leader. The event, which two GOP sources confirmed to The Huffington Post, is said to be a more exclusive and celebratory affair this year owing to the unexpected election victories enjoyed by the party this November. But in moving the proceedings to Donald Trump’s downtown D.C. hotel, which only opened this past fall, the committee risks furthering the perception that the president-elect is leveraging his newfound political power for private gains: here.

TRUMP REPORTEDLY TRYING TO KEEP A STAKE IN HIS BUSINESS “President-elect Donald J. Trump is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest, according to several people briefed on the discussions.” [NYT]

35 thoughts on “Trump’s cabinet of generals

  1. An Enemy of the E.P.A. to Head It

    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD DEC. 7, 2016 – The New York Times

    Had Donald Trump spent an entire year scouring the country for someone to weaken clean air and clean water laws and repudiate America’s leadership role in the global battle against climate change, he could not have found a more suitable candidate than Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, whom he picked on Wednesday to run the Environmental Protection Agency .

    This is an aggressively bad choice, a poke in the eye to a long history of bipartisan cooperation on environmental issues, to a nation that has come to depend on the agency for healthy air and drinkable water, and to 195 countries that agreed in Paris last year to reduce their emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in the belief that the United States would show the way. A meeting Monday between Mr. Trump and Al Gore had raised hope among some that the president-elect might reverse his campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord. The Pruitt appointment says otherwise.

    Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Mr. Pruitt has been a bitter opponent of the E.P.A., joining in one lawsuit after another to kill off federal environmental regulations. He has challenged standards for reducing soot and smog pollution that cross state lines. He has fought protections against mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollutants from power plants. He has sued to overturn an E.P.A. rule modestly enlarging the scope of the Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands vital to the nation’s water supply.

    More recently — and of greater interest to the world community — he has joined with other states in a coordinated effort to overturn the E.P.A.’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s regulatory efforts to reduce carbon pollution. If approved by a federal court, the plan could transform the electricity sector, close down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and encourage the growth of cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.

    The plan is crucial to Mr. Obama’s commitment in Paris to reduce America’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, as part of a global effort to keep atmospheric warming from exceeding a level beyond which, scientists believe, the world could be locked into a future of rising sea levels, extended droughts and other devastating consequences. Should a Trump administration step back from that commitment, other nations could follow suit, rendering the Paris agreement irrelevant and driving the world toward irreversible climate change.

    Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly suggested that the science of climate change is far from settled, when in fact it is, and says that scientists continue to disagree about whether there is a relationship between human activity and rising atmospheric temperatures, which they don’t. With each successive report, the thousands of scientists charged with monitoring global warming and its causes for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have reaffirmed and indeed strengthened that connection.

    In much of what he has done, Mr. Pruitt has tended to the interests of the oil and gas industries, no surprise in Oklahoma, where oil and gas are important. But he has gone far beyond that. An investigation by T he Times in 2014 found that Mr. Pruitt had helped organize an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” between Republican attorneys general and large energy companies to attack the E.P.A. — and one of the letters he sent complaining to the agency had in fact been written by industry lawyers.

    Mr. Pruitt is the wrong person to lead an agency charged with custody of the nation’s environment. If the Senate cares about the public good, it needs to send his nomination to the dustbin.


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