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BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT

December 14, 2016

BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT

The good news today is that Trump is not yet president and the oligarchs and ideologues he has tentatively appointed to his cabinet are not yet installed, and that some may fail running through the senatorial gauntlet and never be installed. I am having fun watching his apologists on TV and in the press in their attempts to whitewash his candidates for his cabinet as good guys and girls worthy of such high office when the record shows glaring mismatches between what they are bringing to the office and the purpose for which the office even exists.

For instance, Betsy DeVos, billionaire ideologue, is slated to be our next Secretary of Education when she is a long time and ardent foe of public education. Similarly, Rick Parry is slated to be Secretary of Energy when he is on record as having advocated that agency’s abolition.

Rex Tillerson, Exxon-Mobil boss, is slated to be our Secretary of State and the Trump apologists who are whitewashing his record and that of other candidates for such high office tell us that Tillerson has a great interest in boy scouting. The problem is that that was then and now is now as I observe in passing that Adolph Hitler was once an altar boy, too, and we all know his track record as an adult.

What such apologists are neglecting to tell us is that some years ago Exxon (prior to its merger with Mobil) was responsible for a super tanker filled with crude oil in charge of a drunk skipper which ran ashore in Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska, a collision which spread oil all over the Sound causing immense damage to the birds and animals and the fishery there, and then fought tooth and nail to reduce paying damages for such gross negligence in a show of greedy arrogance I will never forget and which resulted in my personal boycott of their products ever since.

I have read where Exxon-Mobil if a state would have the 41st largest economy in world, that Exxon-Mobil has contracts with Russian oil companies in the hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars, and that Tillerson has received a Medal of Friendship from Putin himself as a Friend of Russia. Trump’s apologists point out that Tillerson’s receipt of such a medal is no big deal and cite several Americans who have been recipients of such a medal ranging from athletes to Van Cliburn, the great pianist. However, such apologists have neglected to tell us that none of such recipients have been proposed to be an American Secretary of State that will have influence far beyond such showcase bestowal of a medal or that none of such recipients headed up a huge corporation that had hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in contracts with Russian oil companies headed up by Russian oligarchs. Details! Details! See any potential for conflicts of interest?

There are also some stories coming out just today that Exxon-Mobil while under Tillerson’s tutelage has made investments and engaged in activities in Chad, Kurdish Iraq and other such venues that while greatly profitable for Exxon are contrary to the interests of the United States, but such investigations are in their infancy and I will comment on those later when we know more of the details as they develop.

Trump’s apologists also are trying to explain his appointments of business people as a natural exercise as Trump is a businessman and such appointments are to be expected since the strong inference if not stated rationale for this is that “government should be run like a business,” and that’s how we are going to run it. The people voted for it.

That, of course, is not the case at all and is a mere cover for Trump and his Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs (if confirmed by the Senate) to pick winners and losers as the rich and unregulated are set to enjoy lesser rates of taxation and regulation of their activities while the rest of us pick up the bill. Government should not be run as a business because government is not a business. Businesses are run to make a profit; government is run to provide services. Their goals are completely different, and profit-seeking is not involved in the design of government as it is with business.

The success of government in providing services to its citizens is not measured by the Dow or other such means of determining profitability based upon performance. It is measured by the quality of services rendered to its people; there are no dividends paid or capital gains to be enjoyed because, to reiterate, government is not a business and was never intended to be, contrary to propaganda from Trump’s apologia.

I can already see the outlines in policy making that this “businessman” is going to bring to the table which will continue making the rich richer and the poor poorer under the banner of the meaningless mantra to “make America great again.” We are best advised to watch this upcoming administration like a hawk because we are going to have a rough and bumpy road ahead and may during the ride be more concerned with America’s survival than “making it great again” as Trump’s debilitating policies take effect in our everyday lives.     GERALD      E
 

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