The clash is formally over who has authority to choose an acting director until a permanent replacement can be nominated and confirmed, which could take months. But, the context is more fraught. In designing the CFPB, Congress deliberately stretched, and some experts say broke, the limits of its power to create a truly independent regulator, free from direction of the president, and outside accountability to the purses strings and oversight of Congress.
Setting up Monday’s clash was an extra bit of president-repellent: In the event of a vacancy in the director position, rather than a traditional nomination of an acting director pending confirmation of the replacement, the Dodd Frank Act provides that the deputy director becomes the acting director.
We all know at this point that, during a ceremony to honor World War II veterans who also happened to be Indians, Donald Trump referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas.’
On Elizabeth Warren – Her genealogy has been extensively researched by Cherokee and there is no Cherokee there – none. That is not the issue – no one debates if she is Cherokee or not or even if she is of Cherokee descent – the issue is that she falsely claimed to be Cherokee and took benefits reserved for actual Indians in order to advance her education and career. The issue is that she stole someone else’s future.
That being said – this event exposes the limitations of Donald Trump as President. Let me explain why this has exposed his limitations:
The net effect of the statement that Trump made in that room with the Navajo warriors is that it makes the efforts by his own administration to help Indians more difficult. It makes helping Indians more difficult because it is Trump adding fuel to a fire that he lit long ago. It is almost impossible to argue at this point that Trump does not view Indians as political props rather than as Americans with legal and constitutional rights. From his long ago comment that “they don’t look like Indians to me” to his mention of termination to his signing the approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline while the tribal leadership of Standing Rock was on an airplane to fulfill a commitment to meet Trump in order to discuss DAPL – Trump has long shown a disdain for Indians and the obligations he has as President in regard to Indians. Just the truth.
I get it – we do not electorally matter in Trump’s political equation so we make the ideal political prop.
From an electoral point of view what Trump does makes sense. We are 2.8% of the population and using us as political props plays to his base. It helps him get to 51%. Unfortunately it also forsakes his ability to do his job as President at the same time. I know Indians that work in the Federal government on Indian matters and who work for the White House as part of the administration. Trump is making their jobs horrifically difficult. Indian country is beset by countless problems and the overwhelming majority of those countless problems root to government policy. There are Indians who directly or indirectly work for Trump who are trying very hard to change those policies and fix those problems, or at least remove the Federally imposed obstacles to fixing those problems.
But it takes trust. It takes trust that the government will not screw us in the end as they have done every single time previous to this. That is the reality if you wish to acknowledge it or not. Trump has destroyed the trust necessary to fix these problems while simultaneously sending out people who work for him to solve these problems. Yes it is that thoughtless. Scoring political points matters more than actually getting the job done. That is the conclusion being drawn in Indian Country.
These Indians working for Trump who are attempting to solve these problems are smart, sincere and want to fix these issues. All too often they must start their conversations with statements such as “He didn’t mean it that way”, “He doesn’t have the power to do that”, “That won’t happen” – etc etc etc. Far too often these people are treated terribly by their own nations for simply being a part of Trump – though they are just trying to solve problems. No one who is sent on a business mission wants to start the conversation out by effectively saying, “Ignore my boss” but that is the reality.
You may not like Indians, you may care less about Indians – Trump may not like Indians, he may care less about Indians – but he took a job that has constitutional, treaty and legislative responsibilities to Indians. If he did not want to fulfill those obligations then he should not have taken the job. His need to play reality TV politics in order to rile up his base interferes with his administration fulfilling its’ constitutional, legal and treaty obligations and that is an issue regardless of his personal views – or yours.
It is beyond absurd that the same people who went ballistic when Obama said ‘clinging to their guns and religion’ tell Indians to grow ‘thicker skins’ in regard to Trump – who has openly spoken of violating the constitution in regard to Indians in the not-too-distant past. It demonstrates the degree of hypocrisy and obtuseness in a political system that is now centered in winning social media arguments rather than actually fulfilling constitutional duties or passing actual legislation. Obamacare anyone?
At some point we must decide if we want to actually fix our problems and have a government that fulfills it constitutional duties or if we simply want to be entertained. I understand that 90% of the people in this country have no knowledge of Indian issues. I do not blame them for not knowing – why would they? Beyond even knowing the issues, the politics internal to Indian nations are byzantine, often corrupt and typically based in a cultural and historical context that is difficult to grasp outside of that particular nation. I get it. However this is the environment as it is and that environment does not exempt Donald Trump from fulfilling his constitutional, legal and treaty duties in regard to Indians. “It was too hard, they didn’t vote for me and so I made them a political prop” is the not the correct answer to “Why did you not fulfill your constitutional, legal and treaty obligations?” It is beyond sad that many people on social media seem to believe that should be the correct answer.
It is increasingly obvious that Trump is betting that we just want to be entertained – why else would you torpedo your own people trying to execute your own policies in favor of gaining cheap political points?
Are you not entertained?
Rather than exploring the theoretical or ideological fallacies of socialism let us look at the practical application of socialism everywhere it has been adopted for the last one hundred years.
The most common refrain I hear from the so-called ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that they are not proposing the abuses of the Soviet Union or these other socialist countries. As side notes, they all deny that Nazi Germany was socialist though Nazi is an acronym for National Socialist Workers Party and they often deny that the Soviet Union was socialist though USSR was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There is a degree of self-deception required in order to advocate for socialism.
That is not to say that there is not a degree of self-deception used in advocating for other systems, there often is. However other systems did not murder 150 million people in the 20th century, socialism did. The primary self-deception of the ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that what they are advocating for is different than what resulted in Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot – you get the picture.
Let me be abundantly clear with the blatant truth that ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today avoid like the plague: the people who advocated for Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, and Pol Pot and those socialist systems did not advocate for those abuses anymore than Bernie Sanders supporters do – yet mass murder is what they got. If gulags and concentration camps and the Red Terror and mass murder on an unimaginable scale is not what the initial supporters of these dictators advocated for when they chose socialism – then why is that exactly what the results were? ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today simply cannot answer that question in an honest manner – they must obfuscate, dissemble and pretend.
The answer to why socialism always results in poverty, misery and death is quite simple – socialism is force. Socialism is unmitigated force wielded by the few with the promise of social and economic equality as the result of this force. At the end of the day that is all that socialism is, be it the ‘Democratic Socialist’ version of today or otherwise. There are inherent problems with that model – that power corrupts is part of the issue but the much bigger issue is that power attracts those we least wish to have wielding power. This is why many legitimate studies show that psychopaths are attracted to political and government employment and in fact psychopaths are vastly over-represented in government and politics in comparison to the general population. Socialism provides the means to power for psychopaths to wield that power in an unmitigated, unchecked manner. It is not a mystery that socialist governments always wish to disarm the general population – a universal trait of socialism. Psychopaths want compliant people who cannot defend themselves. One goes hand in hand with the other.
The common folks who supported Lenin in the fall of 1917 or Hitler in the late 1920’s or Ho Chi Minh in the late ’40’s or Castro in the late ’50’s or the Sandinista’s in the ’70’s were not wishing for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide – but that is what they received. The ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today do not wish for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide in the least – but they are advocating to put extraordinary power inevitably into the hands of psychopaths. Their argument is the same argument that Hitler and Castro and Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot and Ortega and countless others made – “it is different this time, we aren’t ‘those’ people!”
However – it is never different because the power that socialism concentrates into the hands of the few attracts psychopaths in the same manner that apple pies attract ants at a picnic. Socialism, even the current ‘Democratic Socialist’ version, removes the checks and balances put into place to limit the power – and damage – of psychopaths.
The virtue and attraction of a limited republican form of government and a free market is to make government so powerless as to render the psychopaths impotent.
Often the ‘Democratic Socialist’ attempt to argue that the private sector is a much greater threat to them than a socialist government is – so let us look at that claim for a moment. In a free market, a truly free market and not what we have today, you can simply choose to stop doing business with a firm that you do not wish to do business with. The private sector is empowered to make you do nothing in a free market. The private sector cannot send you to a gulag, to a concentration camp, cannot send armed men to make you do as they wish, or imprison, kill or maim you without the complicity of government. A free market is the removal of all complicity of government in these matters – in other words a free market is freedom from violence, compulsion, coercion and force. Socialism is mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force – because socialism IS force and violence and the threat of violence is the only means they have of exercising that force.
Inevitably the mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force of socialism will be concentrated in the hands of psychopaths – inevitably. Unlike limited republican government, socialism contains no checks and balances to prevent that – in fact it invites that abuse. No one in Russia thought they were supporting gulags. No one in Germany thought they were supporting the utter destruction of Europe. No one in Cuba thought they were supporting going from the 5th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere when Castro took over to the 126th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere after 57 years of socialism. No one in Viet Nam thought they were supporting the murder of the eldest person in 15,000 hamlets for no other reason than they were the eldest person in the hamlet. No one in Venezuela thought they were supporting mass starvation.
But that is what they got.
Now ‘Democratic Socialist’ say that they do not support any of that and I believe them, they do not. However they do support Bernie Sanders who thirty years ago refused to condemn the Sandinista genocide of the Miskito Indians, saying it was ‘necessary to advance socialism.’ Let that sink in good and deep before you try to convince us that you would never support the historical abuses of socialism because to be frank – we do not believe you. We do believe, as with all of the other versions of socialism, that the fellow willing to slice the most throats will rise to the top and that all of the socialist who claim to believe in justice, equity and fairness will simply stand aside trembling when that happens and do nothing.
We believe that because it is always true.
It appears that the lefty paper the Guardian is shocked that Trump is trying to move the federal judiciary in a conservative direction.
And that’s only a bit of this week in absurdity.