Donald Trump’s billionaires’ cabinet

This 2012 video from the USA is called No One Tells ExxonMobil What To Do.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Trump picks oil mogul as secretary of state

14 December 2016

The selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state is a political milestone. For the first time in US history, a corporate boss—and not just any executive, but the CEO of one of the world’s largest and most profitable corporations—is being put in charge of foreign policy for the US government. Nothing could more clearly define the central goal of the Trump administration: to increase the profits and wealth of the American plutocracy.

Significantly, the Democratic Party has responded to the nomination by denouncing Tillerson’s links to Russia, not his role as ExxonMobil CEO. Just as subservient to the billionaires as the Republicans, the Democrats have seized on Tillerson’s myriad business dealings with Russia, the world’s largest oil-producing nation, to push their campaign over Trump’s alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This campaign revolves around bogus claims that “Russian hacking” dominated the US presidential election and contributed to Trump’s narrow victory in the Electoral College. As the World Socialist Web Site has explained, the claims of undue Russian influence on the election are the product of a vicious conflict over foreign policy with[in] the US ruling elite, driven by the strategic defeat US imperialism has suffered in Syria and divisions over whether Washington’s global military buildup should target Russia or China first. …

More telling are the aspects of the Tillerson nomination on which the Democrats and the liberal editorialists chose not to focus, including glaring conflicts of interest. Secretary of State Tillerson would play a critical role in a range of areas where ExxonMobil has huge profit interests:

* The Keystone pipeline, which would connect Canada’s oil sands to US refineries, allowing Imperial Oil of Calgary (majority-owned by Exxon) to reach the world market.

* Iraq, where Exxon has lucrative contracts with the Kurdish regional government to develop oilfields in the northern part of the country, in defiance of the US-backed central government in Baghdad.

* Venezuela, which has been targeted by ExxonMobil for suits before international tribunals to the tune of billions of dollars.

* The Persian Gulf, where ExxonMobil has some of its biggest deals, particularly with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

* Mexico, which has just opened its huge oil industry to foreign investment, under heavy US government pressure. ExxonMobil is a major player.

In the Trump administration, these are considered not conflicts, but pluses. Tillerson’s experience in bullying countries and buying presidents and prime ministers is exactly what is wanted in the Department of State. Hence his endorsement by such figures in the national security establishment (with close connections to the oil industry) as former secretaries of state James Baker and Condoleezza Rice, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The Tillerson nomination is a milestone in another sense. It puts the finishing touches on a Trump administration that is dominated by multi-millionaires and billionaires. The billionaires begin with Trump himself, joined by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (with a $3 billion fortune amassed from buying and closing coal mines, steel mills and auto parts plants), Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (of the $5 billion Amway fortune), and Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon (the billionaire co-owner of World Wrestling Entertainment). Ross’s deputy at the Department of Commerce is also a billionaire, Todd Ricketts, heir to the TD Ameritrade fortune and owner of the Chicago Cubs.

The billionaires are joined by only slightly less wealthy bankers and CEOs: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ($50–$100 million) and Gary Cohn ($300 million), who will head the National Economic Council, both from Goldman Sachs; Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder (at least $30 million in stock in his Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurant chains); and now Tillerson, whose personal fortune is well over $300 million, including $238 million in ExxonMobil shares and a pension valued at more than $70 million.

There is no precedent for a US president selecting a cabinet with such a concentration of wealth. It demonstrates that the Trump administration is not an historical accident, but rather the culmination of a protracted political process in which a narrow, parasitic financial aristocracy has come to dominate every American institution. American society is smothering in the grip of the super-rich.

Along with the billionaires, Trump has brought in right-wing political figures identified with the dismantling of the social programs and regulatory agencies they will oversee. These include Representative Tom Price, an enemy of Medicare and Medicaid, to head the Department of Health and Human Services; ultra-right former presidential candidate Ben Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development; former Texas Governor Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy; and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is currently suing the Environmental Protection Agency to block anti-pollution rules, to run the EPA.

For the three top national security positions, Trump has selected retired generals: Michael Flynn as national security adviser, James Mattis to run the Department of Defense, and Robert Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security.

There is nothing accidental here. The Trump administration represents the coming together of billionaire oligarchs, ultra-right ideologues and the military brass. It is, in the full sense of the terms, the most reactionary and anti-democratic government in the history of the United States.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rick Perry as Energy Secretary: a Match That’ll Ignite DAPL Fire

13 December 2016

TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton reported on former Texas Governor being announced as President-Elect Trump’s nominee to run the Energy Department—even though he is currently on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company for Dakota Access Pipeline.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Former Texas governor who called for abolition of Energy Department to be Trump’s energy secretary

14 December 2016

In nominating former Texas Governor Rick Perry as secretary of energy, President-elect Donald Trump is continuing the pattern of selecting enemies of consumer protection and regulation of business to run the federal agencies charged with these responsibilities.

Perry is on record as a supporter of the complete elimination of the Department of Energy. It was the third of three federal departments he called for abolishing during a Republican presidential debate in 2011, the one whose name he forgot, leading to the widely ridiculed “Oops” moment that helped torpedo his campaign for the 2012 nomination.

The Department of Energy has two major functions: regulatory oversight of energy industries, including fossil fuel, wind, solar and nuclear; and production, storage and replenishment of the US nuclear weapons stockpile. The latter function, including massive cleanup costs involved in disposing of nuclear waste, accounts for two-thirds of the department’s budget.

When Perry and other right-wing Republicans and think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation call for the abolition of the Department of Energy, they have in mind its regulatory functions and programs for promoting non-fossil-fuel energy sources such as wind and solar, not its nuclear weapons operations, which would be transferred to the Pentagon.

The direction that Trump intends for the Department of Energy was indicated by a questionnaire sent by Trump’s transition team to the agency, which sought, among other things, “a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended” certain meetings related to climate change. Energy Department officials declined to provide such a list, but the request led to widespread complaints from workers in the agency that the incoming administration was preparing a witch-hunt against those who upheld the scientific case for the dangers of global warming.

Perry’s signing on with the government of Donald Trump is a remarkable act of political cynicism on both sides. During the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Perry made some of the most scathing comments as Trump began to emerge as the frontrunner. Perry described Trump as a “cancer on conservatism” whose campaign was “a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”

Now this cancerous demagogue has offered Perry a position of considerable power, commanding a department with 100,000 employees and contractors and a $30 billion budget, with influence over policies critical to the business interests Perry has long represented politically, and Perry has leapt at the chance.

As the governor for 14 years of the state with the highest oil and gas production, Perry has the closest ties to the industry, invariably taking its side on issues such as antipollution regulation, legally required cleanup efforts and workers’ safety.

After the BP oil spill polluted much of the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the worst environmental disaster in US history, the Texas governor alibied for the giant corporation even as tar balls were washing up on Texas beaches. He called the explosion on the Deep Horizon oil platform an “act of God.”

BP was also responsible for one of the worst industrial disasters on land, which occurred during Perry’s governorship. This was the May 2005 Texas City refinery explosion, which killed 15 workers and injured 170 others.

After leaving office, Perry immediately signed on as a shill for the oil and gas industry. He is currently on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners, the company that is building the Dakota Access Pipeline, the target of mass protests by Native Americans and environmentalists near the Standing Rock Reservation.

Perry is an adamant opponent of climate science, going even beyond Trump. While the president-elect has alternately denounced climate change as a “hoax” perpetrated by China and declared that he has an “open mind” on the subject, the former Texas governor has claimed that climate change is a scam by “a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”

As energy secretary, Perry will be in charge of major nuclear weapons facilities, including Hanford, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Savannah, Georgia. At all of these facilities there are pressing issues of worker safety and the safety of the populations living near the sites.

One of the most important issues for the next energy secretary will be the ongoing preparations for a permanent storage site for nuclear waste generated by the military and the civilian nuclear power industry. The facility is to be built at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Its completion was long blocked by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

RICK PERRY TAPPED TO LEAD ENERGY DEPARTMENT A department he vowed to cut in the 2012 primaries.

“President-elect Trump is creating a government of, by, and for the oil and gas industry,” one advocate said: here.

IN DEFENDING THE WEALTH OF HIS CABINET, TRUMP GOES OFF THE CUFF “These are people that are great, brilliant business minds, and that’s what we need, that’s what we have to have so the world doesn’t take advantages of us,” Trump told the crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We can’t have the world taking advantage of us anymore. And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense? Does that make sense?” [HuffPost]

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