The Shambling Mound's First Week

It's hard to keep up with the chaos that's happening in the United States' government at the moment, which has led me to start tracking, on a weekly basis, the shambolic chaos that is the Trump presidency. To be honest, I am not surprised by the policies being proposed by the Trump administration, they're exactly what was expected. Likewise as expected is the utter incompetence and toadying to the billionaire class as it is being carried out. It is hard to thing of any other monster more appropriate than the Shambling Mound to describe the new administration.

It all started on the day of the inauguration of all things. What really set the tone was the significantly lower turnout to Obama's 2009 event, but rather that the White House press secretary constantly claiming wildly false numbers. When pulled up on the issue, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway immortalised herself by claiming that Spicer wasn't giving falsehoods but rather, "alternative facts". Trump's war on the media is certainly going to be a fascinating mess. In another set of "alternative facts", Trump started a campaign claiming that he actually won the popular vote as well, making claims that there was widespread voter fraud against him. One wonders what alternative facts will be introduced as investigations increase in the emoluments case develops.

There was the executive order to minimise the effects of the Affordable Care Act, until it is repealed which is potentially dramatic but is more symbolic at this stage, even if some are showing some now hilarious and tragic confusion. Also in the field of further impoverishing working people there was denying mortgage relief which increase the mortgage of some 700,000 families by about $500 per annum, and a freeze on hiring federal workforce. The poor in America will not be the only ones to suffer of course, as Trump - surrounded by men of course - reinstated bans on overseas funding to groups that provide abortion information. A different sort of gag has been placed with directives inside various Federal agencies limiting social media postings; alternative social media accounts have been established for park rangers and even for NASA.

As expected but feared by many, the cabinet appointed was notably a group of offbeat elitists; Rex Tillerson, a billionaire and CEO of Exxon Mobil with close Russian ties as Secretary of State, an ultraconservative Mick Mulvaney as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Wilbur Ross, who encourages a trade war with China, as commerce secretary. Former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin has been nominated for Treasury, a person famous for somehow forgetting $95 million in real estate holdings from his financial disclosures. Oh, and Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price traded medical stocks while pushing medical legislation that would surprisingly would benefit his portfolio. Rick Perry has taken up the role of Energy Secretary, famously proposed to abolish the Energy Department. It must have been a rude shock to discover that the Department had something to do with the US nuclear arsenal. Tillerson's appointment was particularly dramatic - the entire senior management of the State Department resigned.

In attempt to keep America oily and white, a memorandum undoing Obama's prevention of the Keystone XL pipeline in Dakota was signed. Initial steps to start the border wall against Mexico were started with a hilarious twitter claim that the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto should cancel his meeting if he didn't intend to pay for the wall - which is exactly what he did. The response of the Trump administration? A 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods - that will go well for U.S. families wanting Mexican goods. Ironically the executive order ending the TPP might even be beneficial as that contained too many components promoting monopolies, rather than supporting free trade. More creepy is the creation of a new bureaucracy Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. Watch this space.

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