A Demolition Derby In Washington

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

In a sense, the damage is already done and who can doubt that what follows will be a demolition derby -- with an exception almost too obvious to mention. In the pre-inaugural period, one simple fact of the Trumpian accession stood out boldly: just about every one of his appointees to a non-national-security post was prepared to rip his or her agency (or its mission) to shreds. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry essentially had to apologize for once claiming that he'd like to abolish the Energy Department, which he is now to head. Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, historically in the pay of big energy, is to take over the Environmental Protection Agency, which he sued 14 times in his home state and challenged fiercely about its desire to protect the environment. Betsy DeVos, prospective head of the Department of Education, would like to tear up those "failing government schools" and turn "public" education into a voucher-driven phenomenon. Tom Price, the soon-to-be head of Health and Human Services, not only wants to rip out Obamacare at the roots, but essentially cripple Medicaid and Medicare, too. And though we have no details yet on labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder's plans, given his record and his views (he'd like to replace workers with machines that don't take vacations), it's easy enough to guess that he will prove another dismantler.

And so it's likely to go in Donald Trump's version of America. The first news from his administration's budget front, for instance, indicates that an axe will soon be taken to the departments of commerce, energy, justice, transportation, and state. In addition, the Hill reports, "The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely."

As I mentioned, however, there is a major exception to all of this that fits well with essential Republicanism in these years -- a "small government" philosophy until you reach the oppressive powers of the state and then "big" doesn't even cover it. So the major exceptions to all this will be the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security (that wall!). At the inaugural concert, Donald Trump once again emphasized that money will indeed flow in ever-increasing amounts into reversing the supposed "very sad depletion of our military." ("We're going to build up our great military. We're going to build it up. We're going to strengthen our borders.") In other words: for the civilian side of the government, no, but for the Defense Department, it's thumb's up all the way.

If you thought Washington had a military-first policy in these last years, just wait. In essence, there may not be much left but the military to make policy with. Keep that in mind as John Feffer, author of the unforgettable new dystopian novel Splinterlands, the latest Dispatch Book, explores how Donald Trump plans to blow up the present world order, backed by that "great military" and that "big, fat, beautiful wall," and give birth to a new internationalism led by a global confederacy of oligarchs. His "Donald Trump Against the World" offers a daunting vision on an increasingly daunting planet.