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The Trump Administration in One Cabinet Appointment

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As Paul recently noted, Ben Carson initially turned down a cabinet appointment because he was massively unqualified. (His obvious inability to run even a second-tier cabinet department didn’t stop him from running for president, of course.) But now he’s changed his mind, and why not?

Ben Carson has demonstrated the ability to do two things at a world-class level: perform surgical operations, and run lucrative scams. By his own admission, he is patently unqualified to run a federal agency. Nonetheless, he is apparently on the verge of accepting a job as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a policy field in which he has no experience or expertise. One might think that this background makes Carson uniquely unsuited for the role of HUD secretary. But from another, more cynical perspective, he is absolutely perfect for the job.

If you’ve ever wonder what it would be like if the executive branch of the federal government was run by people with Michael Brown’s competence and Jeffrey Skilling’s ethics, you’re finally going to find out! But, it must be acknowledged that Hillary Clinton did use a private email server.

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  • Derelict

    America survived the not-so-benign ignorance of Ronald Reagan.

    We survived the malevolence and incompetence of Dubya.

    I’m don’t know if we’ll make it through the Trump Tri-Fecta of ignorance, incompetence, and indifference. Especially since nearly half the electorate decided that manifest dishonesty was actually a BFOQ for the president.

    • efgoldman

      I’m don’t know if we’ll make it through the Trump Tri-Fecta of ignorance, incompetence, and indifference

      I said elsewhere that I was alternately terrified and disgusted by Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus’ cabinet appointments in 1980.
      Compared to this bunch, 1980 was the very model of competent government and administration.
      I wonder if some of these picks, once they’re made official (none has, so far) will actually be bad enough to cause the senate to rebel. I think probably not – Yertle McTurtle and Granny Starver think they’re going to run things anyway, with Tangerine McRapey Circus Peanut a useful (or useless) idiot.

      • DrDick

        Indeed. This is a level of horrible and incompetent that I have never witnessed.

    • ema

      I’m don’t know if we’ll make it through the Trump Tri-Fecta of ignorance, incompetence, and indifference.

      11/9 was an extinction level event. The country will endure but the change for the worst will render it unrecognizable.

    • TopsyJane

      Incompetence could be a plus.

      Beyond all that, however, are the multiplying signs that Trump is going to be allowed to profiteer off the presidency in the most blatant manner possible. The tax returns are looking like small beer in comparison to what’s coming.

    • Simple Desultory Philip

      it has to be pointed out that, although america survived, there were quite a few americans who *didn’t* survive. this is gonna be a pretty shitty several years, if not decades, for a whole lot of people.

  • Ask Me Gently

    Diversity!!

    • Ask Me Gently

      And whattaya mean “unqualied”? Carson must have lived in a dwelling in a city at least once in his life.

      • Marlowe

        And unlike Sarah Palin, whose foreign policy expertise required a clear day to see Russia, I bet Carson can see housing every time he looks out his window!

        • Nobdy

          Hell, Carson is technically looking at housing even if he’s just staring at the wall (which is, conveniently, where his picture of him being caressed by Klingon Jesus is located, so it’s a great place to look!)

        • DAS

          Mrs. DAS pointed out that your comment assumes Carson lives in a location where he can see his neighbor’s house from his window. He might live on a huge plot of land so that his nearest neighbor’s house might be too far away to see. Or his property might be surrounded by high fences so he can’t see his neighbors.

      • mikeSchilling

        And, who knows, he might have watched the movie Hud.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Hudsucker Proxy seems more appropriate.

    • Nobdy

      One of the primary reasons Carson is being appointed is because HUD will likely cease all anti-segregation and anti-discrimination activities as soon as the Trumpists assume control. Carson being black will be used to provide cover for this as not being about promoting racism but rather about freedom of association and governmental non-interference. Actual Nazis will celebrate, David Duke will make triumphant announcements, and the media will scold the Democrats for being partisan and divisive.

      • Derelict

        Sadly, yes.

  • Nobdy

    In defense of the Carson appointment, how difficult is it to implement a policy of “funnel money to Trump’s political allies and screw over the poor?”

    That’s the beauty of the Republican project. Building a fair and functional public policy with complex policy goals like Democrats prefer is quite difficult requires both expertise and openness to new ideas. Corrupt incompetence is comparatively easy.

    Republicans perceive HUD as essentially illegitimate. They don’t need it to be lead by someone brilliant and dedicated. And, in a sort of twisted defense of this as servicing Republican constituents, most Republican voters are opposed to HUD and its institutional goals as well.

    Is this all extremely evil and horrible? Yes. But the Republicans are now an openly evil and horrible party. The decimation of HUD is part of what the evil people who voted for Donald Trump were voting FOR.

    • (((Hogan)))

      As Roy Blount Jr. once said, if the Republican Party were a refrigerator, it would say its job was to let ice melt.

      • Nobdy

        Part of the horror of the Trump election was that none of this was hidden. They are who they said they were. When Trump excused his self-dealing by saying “People knew this was going to happen when they voted for me!” he wasn’t wrong.

        He ran on racism and hurting minorities and now he’s implementing that agenda.

        • Mike G

          The Trump Assministration —
          “We won’t make your life better. We’ll make life worse for people you hate, and we’ll let you watch.”

          • Nobdy

            Oh he’s going to make life much worse for the people who voted for him. Repealed environmental and workplace protections, reduced transfer payments from the federal government to rural communities that often rely on that income economically, a slower overall economy, worse health care, worse education…

            It’s like you’re sitting on the bus right next to someone you hate and hoping that someone throws a pot of boiling water in their face. Sure it’ll be much worse for them, but it won’t be a day at the beach for you either.

            People who care more about black people not being able to afford the occasional shrimp at the supermarket than they do about their own grandmother (or themselves!) having access to medical care are people I will never understand.

            • Derelict

              People who care more about black people not being able to afford the occasional shrimp at the supermarket than they do about their own grandmother (or themselves!) having access to medical care are people I will never understand.

              People of my parents’ generation–mid to late Depression/WWII–would look at their neighbor with his union job and his pension and health benefits, and they’d think “How do I get those things?” But we now have three full generations raised since Reagan was president, and those people have been convinced that all of life is a zero-sum game. So they look at their neighbor with his union job and pension, and they think “I don’t have those things, so neither should he! How do I take those away from him?”

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            More like, “We’ll make your life worse, but we’ll make the lives of those you hate worser.”

    • heckblazer

      Sure HUD will be used to funnel money to cronies. But why couldn’t Trump, himself an urban developer, find someone with even tangential experience to stick in the post?

      • Nobdy

        As I said above, Carson being black will be used to provide cover for the fact that HUD is going to go from fighting segregation and discrimination to actively encouraging it. The press won’t be able to call Carson racist. It also adds diversity to the cabinet.

        Why didn’t Trump find a black developer to put in the post? Carson is one of the like 3 black people Trump knows, and the other two are Don King and Mike Tyson. Even today when Jeff Sessions is being defended as an okay pick those two guys would be tough to confirm.

        I actually think Tyson would be better than Carson. He has shown a capacity for empathy, and his “a pigeon coop on every roof!” program would provide a bit of economic stimulus to a lot of communities.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Hey, Carson has a “grain silo in every Trump pyramid” scheme. What more does America need?

          • Ask Me Gently

            The Rust Belt Pyramid Construction Essential Infrastructure Act of 2017 will be Carson’s signature achievement.

        • NeonTrotsky

          I wouldn’t put it past Trump to put a convicted Rapist in his cabinet.

          • efgoldman

            I wouldn’t put it past Trump to put a convicted Rapist in his cabinet.

            Speaking of which, whatever happened to that lawsuit?
            No, not that one. The other one.

            • DocAmazing

              Too many death threats. The plaintiff dropped the suit.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          Even today when Jeff Sessions is being defended as an okay pick those two guys would be tough to confirm.

          I see no reason to think that.

      • JonH

        The relevant experience will likely be “Willing to sell HUD properties in valuable locations to Trump at prices well below market, for demolition and replacement with new Trump properties.”

    • Brad Nailer

      FEMA under Michael Brown had its Hurricane Katrina. What’s HUD under Ben Carson going to get?

      • Ahuitzotl

        The San Andreas fault lets go?

  • keta

    Carson’s just the transparent laundry storefront. The real grifting will be done in back, led by Armstrong Williams.

    This is all setting up to be the most Public Fucking of America, Ever. Starting in the Oval Office, this administration is going to be nothing short of amazing in its obvious agenda of stuffing its own pockets. And the natural brakes built into the system will be totally useless, because it will be a frenzied orgy of self-enrichment and enacting of right-wing policy. Who cares about public scrutiny when you’re balls-deep in getting everything you ever wanted?

    It’s going to be truly amazing.

    • Derelict

      As I’ve noted elsewhere, there essentially are no checks on Trump. There is nothing–absolutely nothing including him crushing a kitten on live TV while buggering a toddler–that will even provoke hearings in Congress. Trump is a Republican with a solidly Republican House. They will never impeach one of their own. Indeed, they will never even make mild inquiries.

    • Brad Nailer

      Interesting that Armstrong Williams is still around.

  • Crusty

    Trump thinks HUD secretary is Secretary of the Blacks. Carson is black. A perfect fit. What have you got to lose?

    • (((Hogan)))

      We’ll soon find out.

    • Joe Bob the III

      Yep. That pretty much sums it up. Of course, Trump loves the blacks. After all, what do they have to lose?

  • Jackson87

    It would not surprise if a housing developer were now named as Surgeon General. Probably, I guess, a Jewish housing developer.

    • Joe Bob the III

      You heard it here first: Trump will nominate Dr. Oz for Surgeon General.

      • DocAmazing

        I was thinking Dr. Phil, but I wouldn’t be surprised by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

      • Colin Day

        Nah, say what you will about him, but Dr. Oz is a physician. Way too qualified.

  • ASV

    Ext. Project Mayhem house.

    DONALD TRUMP emerges from front door wearing a bathrobe to find RUDY GIULIANI and BEN CARSON standing on the porch.

    TRUMP: (to GIULIANI) Hey baldy, you got all the relevant foreign policy expertise, three profit streams, and ten million in personal litigation defense?

    GIULIANI: Got it, sir.

    TRUMP: Go inside. (to CARSON) You, you’re too patently unqualified, dumb-dumb. Get the fuck off my porch.

    CARSON picks up his briefcase and begins to walk away, but TRUMP steps after him.

    TRUMP: Ben, Ben, wait, let me explain this to you. You just gotta wait three days. Show me you want it, make it look good.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Lucy FisherVerified account
    ‏@LOS_Fisher
    EXCL: Nigel Farage plans to move to the US with his wife, say friends, adding Ukip chief will feel “freer” abroad

    Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

    • Karen24

      Worse for us, better for England.

    • Ahuitzotl

      Well UN Ambassador is locked up, but Secretary Farage of Labour might work?

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    One good thing about Ben Carson running HUD is it means that he’s not running HHS with the largest/ second largest share of the federal budget, as well as dodging the “I’m a physician, med school taught me everything there is to know about health care” bullet to the nth power.

    On the minus side, it means there’s one less person standing between Avik “reform a Con/s” Roy and the top job at HHS.

  • Brien Jackson
    • nemdam

      Oh my.

      Greenwald’s claim to fame has asylum in Russia to escape the US, and Greenwald also advocates US foreign policy that just happens to benefit Russia? And he spent more time during the campaign criticizing the candidate who was better on civil liberties and foreign policy, his pet issues, while her opponent just happens to be pro Russia? And he responds to critics that have questions about this with name calling, smears, and innuendo? NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS!

      • LeeEsq

        The useful idiot of our times.

    • Phil Perspective

      You obviously didn’t read the story. You do know the PropOrNot website was only created 3 months ago, right? And that the apparent creator is a fan of Ukrainian Neo-Nazis.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        I’d be more inclined to believe that argument if I hadnt seen “but but but… affiliated with Ukrainian Neo-Nazis!!!” pushed by every Putin dezinformatsiya troll on God’s Earth a few years back…

  • DrDick

    what it would be like if the executive branch of the federal government was run by people with Michael Brown’s competence and Jeffrey Skilling’s ethics

    I do not think you give Trump enough credit here. I think he may well beat that lofty standard.

  • LeeEsq

    A relevant article from the Atlantic on Trump reviving the idea of honest graft. Using public office as a means to enrich yourself and help kith and kin is one of the oldest forms of small-r republican politics. It goes back to Ancient Rome. Many people accept it as the way of the world and have no problem with it.

    • Brad Nailer

      By the way, The Atlantic has joined The New York Times as “pfft, liberal media” among the Drudge Report set. That may be old news.

  • Cheerful

    I noted that on Hotair there was a post expressing some puzzlement about Carson’s selection but ending with “to the victors belong the spoils” So I guess the 19th Century really is their happy place.

  • cpinva

    skilling wasn’t particularly all that competent either. it doesn’t require massive business smarts to conduct insider trading activities, just massive ego. oh, and the willing cooperation of the supposedly independent cpa firm doing the required annual audit. it also reqires an SEC blind to the red flags being waved in its face (see: madoff, Bernie), by insiders privy to the simple machinations being used to fluff the numbers.

    with Enron, those year-end sales/receivables should have been red flagged by the auditors, to determine whether or not they met economic performance, they were not. they were then backed out the subsequent year, as prior period adjustments, directly through retained earnings, not the income statements. the average investor/creditor isn’t going to notice this, but those canny cpa’s of Arthur Anderson should have been right on top of it, I know I sure as hell would have seen it, and wondered what the hell was going on there? if you do it at an amount just below “material”, you escape the requirement to restate the prior period financials. when you’re dealing with billions, “material” becomes a very large number, easily gotten under. Skilling had zip to do with any of this, he was a glorified salesman, with zero technical expertise.

    edit: as an auditor, one of the first things I ask for is a complete list of year-end entries: closing/correcting/adjusting.

  • Richard Gadsden

    Every time I see the way the US cabinet works, I’m more convinced that the British system, with a “permanent” secretary from the full-time civil service alongside the cabinet secretary (and the cabinet secretary can’t sack the perm sec) is much harder to break.

    It can get in the way of a major expert as cabinet secretary bringing in extensive reforms, but I think I’ll live with that as insurance against a useless cabinet secretary – and it means that they can be appointed based on their political skills rather than their technical skills, which means they’re generally much more useful as surrogates, and at politically spearheading the case for any reform you’re pushing through in their department.

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