Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump's cabinet: 'unconventional'

(Ed. note: after various manipulations, Brains' new look is going to be viewed best in Mozilla Firefox at 125%.  Give me feedback in the comments).

Donald Trump's transition is being marked by sharp internal disagreements over key cabinet appointments and direction, both for internal West Wing positions and key national security posts, sources involved in the transition team tell CNN.

One source with knowledge of the transition described it as a "knife fight."

The split has put traditional Republican operatives such as Reince Priebus -- named Trump's chief of staff Sunday -- against more non-traditional influences such as Steve Bannon -- the alt-right leader of Breitbart News -- who will be Trump's chief strategist. A particular challenge is lack of clarity about the division of power among Priebus, Bannon and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also has a key role in transition decisions. Another source tied to the transition described the resulting confusion as "buffoonery."

There's going to be a lot of things worth protesting in the coming years, which is why I think some people have picked the wrong battle by going into the streets over the election result, as well as those who think they can petition the Electoral College to not elect the president chosen by the people at the ballot box.  Or to be tossed, as with a wave of the hand.

Fool's errands (but remember, many of these people voted for Hillary Clinton because she is female.  And because she could win).

The divisions are being played out as Trump considers key appointments in the national security and diplomatic sectors, including secretary of state, with mainstream conservatives supporting John Bolton against Rudy Giuliani, who is seen as a loyalist to Trump.

On other key national security appointments, there is more agreement. Sen. Jeff Sessions is now the leading contender for attorney general, and is in the mix for secretary of defense as well, say multiple sources with knowledge of the transition.

Retired Lt. General Ron Burgess, former director of the DIA, is a leading contender for director of national intelligence. Retired General Michael Flynn is leading candidate for national security adviser.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the juniah Senatah from the Greht Steht of AlaGodDamnbama.

He's no Scaliawag!

No matter who gets what job, one description seems to fit the makeup of the short list: unconventional. And it highlights the dilemma faced by Trump, who is now torn between a campaign promise to shake up Washington and a need to build a national security team with policy experience.

The presence of so many political backers could signal that Trump values loyalty over experience and is keen to have people on board who share his worldview and are willing to depart from conventional wisdom.

The names conjure the fondest of memories of Walker Bush's rejects.

While more conventional picks had initially been rumored for State and Defense such as the head of the Council of Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, and George W. Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, most analysts are beginning to believe that the odds favor a more conventional choice.

One of the reasons for the non-traditional short-list is that many of the Republican Party's most senior national security experts denounced their presidential candidate during the campaign as too reckless to lead the nation safely, somewhat limiting the pool from which to draw.

But some foreign policy luminaries have suggested that Republican experts should put aside their differences and Brent Scowcroft, George H.W. Bush's national security adviser national security adviser and who backed Hillary Clinton for president, told attendees as a ceremony at the Aspen Strategy Group Monday that "If you're asked to serve, please do. This man needs help."

Don't we all.

Update: Here's what Benjamin in the comments is referring to.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance ruefully observes that Giant Meteor 2016 really did win the election, and has some trepidation about the fallout for the next four years.
Off the Kuff reminds us again that climate change is not going to be kind to Houston.

Socratic Gadfly analyzes the election and offers up a Clinton post-mortem, along with one for the Democratic Party. (He'll have a Green Party post-mortem later this week.)

South Texas Chisme passes along the news that a Border Patrol agent has been caught lying about narcotics confiscation. The war on drugs leads to public corruption.

A post-election to-do-list was posted on Election Day by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, and one item on it -- stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- has already been checked off.

Neil at All People Have Value points out the distinctions between Trump's voters and Trump with respect to racism. AHPV is a part of NeilAquino.com.

The Lewisville Texan Journal editorialized against the Electoral College.

jobsanger says that the onus to fix the US economy is now squarely on the GOP.

And John Coby at Bay Area Houston is still a little sore at people who voted for Trump, and Egberto Willies is only slightly recovered from an election result nobody saw coming.


More Texas news for columnists and bloggers from around the state!

The Dallas News notes Trump's stated intent to overturn the Supreme Court's long-established precedent on a woman's right to choose, and the Austin American Statesman sees the widening rural/urban divide exposed by the 2016 election.

The San Antonio Express-News finds a bright spot: after years of flux, the city's statehouse delegation is finally set for 2017's legislative session.

Better Texas Blog wonders what's next for Obamacare.

Texans for Public Justice has a new report (.pdf) about the Texas Railroad Commissioners and candidates who are awash in cash from the oil and gas industry.

Grits for Breakfast also shares a fresh synopsis from the Texas Public Policy Foundation abut more reforms still needed in the grand jury system.

The Texas Observer went to a rally for Austin's immigrant rights activists, and the message was "Don't Mess with Texas' families."

The Digital Heretic finds that liberals slamming evangelical support of Trump are exercising another shameful and myopic attempt to set themselves above those who elected him.

The Somervell County Salon found her county's election results and noted that she was one of 23 who voted for Jill Stein.  And DBC Green has some interesting statistics that compare TXRRC candidate Martina Salinas' votes with Stein's from various Texas counties.

Zachery Taylor thought Donna Brazile's lapses in ethics and integrity were problematic, but trivial in the grand scheme.

And in a show of post-election bipartisan magnanimity, CultureMap Houston was on the scene as Vice President Joe Biden spoke at MD Anderson's glittering 75th anniversary fete, and warmly praised former president George HW Bush.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Something we can expect from President Trump: the unexpected

"Oh shit; we won.  Now what?"  The dog chasing the car has caught it.

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, President-elect Donald Trump offered an interesting answer about one of the most significant promises he made during his presidential campaign.

After stating that he might end up amending the Affordable Care Act instead of repealing and replacing it, Trump was asked about numerous issues and developments tied to his campaign platform. One thing that came up was that the question of whether Trump would follow through with his second debate promise and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton over her private email server.

This shifting with the winds is likely to continue.  You might recall I suggested his having Her prosecuted was something he would have to follow through on.  He could still change his mind back, but I'm out of the forecasting business w/r/t our new leader.

After Trump won on Election Night, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway seemed noticeably ambiguous on whether Trump would do what he promised throughout the last months of his campaign. When asked about the matter himself, Trump only said this:

“It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform.”

Trump was also asked about his incendiary campaign rhetoric, which has now prompted protests of his victory across the country over the last few days. “I want a country that loves each other,” Trump said, but, when asked if he thinks he might have taken his campaign rhetoric too far, Trump answered with "No. I won."

Nobody's certain what he's going to say or do next.  But he sure tells it like it is.

Trump has already contradicted himself while addressing the protests. Trump first dismissed the demonstrators as professionals “incited by the media,” only to later praise them for their “passion.”

What he's thinking on any topic is based on the last person he talked to.  It appears that 25.5% of Americans has chosen a spoiled brat without much in the way of actual conviction to lead us.

(I'm not arguing against the Electoral College; I believe it should be revised to count states' votes as proportional to the winner in each Congressional district rather than winner-take-all.  And for the record, I do not support those who are petitioning and protesting for Electors to deny their oath on December 19th, when the College convenes in each state to elect the president.)

Yes, Trump is almost certainly going to be guided by the lousier angels of our country's nature in the GOP to their ends.  But if he keeps dropping campaign promises this quickly, he's bound to upset those who have installed him in the White House.  I suppose we'll have to wait for them to figure out that the joke's on them.  Unfortunately, we might be waiting a very long time for that to occur.

In the middle of composing this post, I found Echidne had said it all better, so go read her.  Also, Trump has chosen RNC head Rinse Penis as White House chief of staff and Breitbart scumbag Steve Bannon as counselor and chief strategist, calling them "equal partners".  I see Preibus as being of heavier import, which means steadying Congressional relations with the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will be more important than extremist ideology and throwing red meat to the goons.

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