I get that we're all tied up in discussing the scrap of tax forms that were leaked by someone who is totally not Donald Trump (wink), the Republican health care plan that is like Stupidity fucked Cruelty who then gave birth to it, the skeevy as hell China deals being done by, apparently, everybody associated with Family Trump, and, just today, the president's promise to, and I think this is a quote, "Fuck the climate like it's the asshole of a hundred-ruble whore in Moscow." But one other thing has gone down this week that perhaps bears a word or two.
Like a gathering of albino weasels, Trump had his first cabinet meeting on Monday. He made some fairly incoherent remarks that were filled with the now-expected array of lies, like that Democrats are holding up the confirmation of the final four cabinet posts when, you know, they're not. But if Trump has a chance to be a complete dickhead, he will unzip: "We're in the midst of getting going, Wilbur, and they won’t approve somebody who is highly qualified, and everybody understands that. The main victim of this very partisan obstruction is the American public."
There was the usual begging for praise, as when he bragged about his utterly useless hike in military spending, saying to Secretary Mattis, "And I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them. He’s very happy with me."
And, after shitting on Obamacare for the hell of it, there was the typical Barnum-style promotion. This wasn't just gonna be a cabinet meeting. This was a motherfuckin' Cabinet Meeting: "I hope this is going to be a historic cabinet meeting -- historic in the sense that we're going to do a fantastic job for the American people, for our country, and for the future of our country."
But the main business of the day was something that Trump brought up briefly. It's a new executive order that he signed on a "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch." Now that sounds innocuous enough. That's the way Trump described it: "Right after this meeting, we’ll be signing a new executive order to begin the process of reorganizing the executive branch to make it less wasteful and more productive." No muss, no fuss. Just a little housecleaning, right?
Except no. Here is the purpose of the EO, which goes a little further than dusting the ceiling fan blades: "This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies (as defined in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code), components of agencies, and agency programs." That means that Trump wants to know what agencies and programs he can eliminate. Maybe that's why Trump nominated people to head agencies they wanted destroyed.
It all sounds innocuous enough. In six months, the agency heads need to justify their existence and let Jared or Steve know if they can be streamlined. Then, after six more months of public comment and other "input" that Jared and Steve won't give two shits about, Trump can sign another executive order saying, "Adios, Department of Education. Heckuva job, Betsy." That's not reading into it. That's exactly what it says:
"Within 180 days after the closing date for the submission of suggestions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the Director shall submit to the President a proposed plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies. The proposed plan shall include, as appropriate, recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions." And if they can palm it off on a state or local government, even better.
A few crazed and wise bloggers have picked up on this, but it deserves a deeper dive and some context. Why is this being done? What is the goal? Are there agencies or programs that they have in mind for cutting or merging?
And, most importantly, what actual fuckery is this just a cover for? As the budget is slashed for the State Department and the EPA, with more to come, yeah, Mr. Donald President, the American people will be the victims.