Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Donald Trump’s Second, Perplexing Week as President-Elect

The second week of the Trump transition brought several new appointments, the first specific policy pronouncements, and the most alarming statement about Presidential power since Richard Nixon declared, in 1977, “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

First, the appointments. Trump announced that General Mike Flynn would serve as his national-security adviser. There are three ways to judge any head of the National Security Council: experience, ideology, and independence. Given that the President-elect has no foreign-policy experience and still struggles with the most basic facts about world affairs, it’s crucial for his N.S.C. adviser to have experience both as a high-level strategist and as a manager of the bureaucracy. N.S.C. adviser is a staff job. He or she is charged with coördinating policy among the State Department, the Pentagon, the intelligence agencies, and the other key entities in the national-security apparatus. Flynn was a well-respected intelligence analyst, and he has been praised for his work in Afghanistan, especially in understanding the enemy. But when he was elevated to a managerial position running the Defense Intelligence Agency, he failed and was sacked. This is not disqualifying, but it is concerning. A bad manager at the head of the N.S.C. can compensate by hiring a strong deputy national-security adviser who can take on the organizational duties, and one hopes Flynn finds someone who can fill that role.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Big-Donor Education Secretary

After choosing for his cabinet a series of political outsiders who are loyal to him personally, Donald Trump has broken with this pattern to name Betsy DeVos his Secretary of Education. DeVos, whose father-in-law is a co-founder of Amway, the multi-level marketing empire, comes from the very heart of the small circle of conservative billionaires who have long funded the Republican Party.