Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Trump Plans To Make Government As Mean and Corrupt As He Is

Why do ordinary people do cruel things? Fear? Possibly fear of losing their jobs. Trump has people calculating it's safer to do something bad than to have it done to you. This is how it begins. This is where tyranny starts, when ordinary people go along out of fear, habit, learned obedience, a kind of secondhand malice.

Here's a story from the Baltimore Sun about the ordinary Customs and Border Patrol workers who did Trump's dirty work for him. You ask why, first learn how.

The civil service today is very professional and honest and uncorrupted. This was not always so. It used to be where politicians paid people for favors. The home of graft and corruption and political retribution. That gradually changed during the era following the two Roosevelts, especially under FDR.

The Daily Beast has this story about how Trump is planning to change it back to corruption and graft. Turning it back into a weapon a president can use against opponents. Nixon tried this, which was one reason he was run out of office. Cheney turned the CIA into a political tool by manipulating its analysis to start a war the experts said was uncalled-for and unwise. (The CIA resisted this.) That war turned Cheney’s former company from near bankruptcy into a massively profitable war machine. (An examination of that story by Juan Cole.)

The civil service may not always be civil. They may be overworked and the long degradation of government systems by Republicans in Congress has made their work much harder to do well. Still they are remarkably diligent and honest and helpful. They see their jobs as important work for society, for us, because whether we like it or not we need the government to do many things. Without civil servants those things would not be done.

It's the honesty and the public service part that Trump wants to undo. He wants the government to be his baseball bat for beating his enemies foreign and domestic. He wants the government to be his shovel for putting millions into his businesses and the businesses of friends. He wants the government and all its workers to be his personal tool.

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