I'm a fair weather cyclist and not a very good one at that. My routes are chosen for the following key attributes: little traffic and mostly flat. But they still have hills -- mind you, not hills better riders would even acknowledge -- that loom over my riding experience and that I struggle to climb, usually in the lowest possible gear. In fact, I'm barely moving at all in that gear, working extra hard just to keep the bike from falling over.

As sweat oozes from my pores pedaling up my little hills, I am often conscious of activity over my
head. The vultures begin to circle above, just waiting for me to drop dead in the road so they can swoop in and extract my intestines and whatever else vultures find delicious.

Those vultures have been on my mind as I watch the circus at 725 Fifth Avenue. The parade of supplicants seeking jobs from the most incompetent president-elect in our history would be entertaining on an issue of the Apprentice, but is deadly serious when the world is at stake. For the most part, I see vultures circling our key institutions, just waiting for the chance to begin disemboweling them on January 21st.

Here's an update on the government infrastructure slaughter we're about to witness.

Betsy DeVos, Education Disemboweler: The billionaire who doesn't believe in public schools and presided over Michigan's dismantling of public schools and the transfer of public education funds to for-profit schools. Since then, Michigan's test scores have plummeted and children suffer.

We can picture her circling our public schools, waiting for the chance to swoop in and hand them (and our tax dollars) to education corporations as she did in Michigan. DeVos' family owns Amway -- the quintessential pyramid scheme -- and Blackwater -- the mercenary for-profit military enriched by our failed invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tom Price, Health Care Disemboweler: The Georgia Congressman who wants the Affordable Care Act repealed and opposes both Medicaid and Medicare. Price is a member of AAPS, a right-wing fringe medical organization that spreads fears about vaccines and urges physicians to refuse to see patients on Medicaid or Medicare. As Price swoops in on our healthcare system, expect a gutting of the programs that serve a majority of Americans.

Mike Flynn, Intelligence Agency Disemboweler: Everything we know about Mike Flynn suggests the man is unstable. He has released top secret information several times and is on record simply fabricating "Flynn Facts" from thin air. Just some of his recent tweets and public statements:

"Sharia law is spreading in the US" 
“Cnn implicated. ‘The USSR is to blame!’ … Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore."
“Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

Sarah Chayes worked with Flynn for two years when he ran military intelligence in Afghanistan. "His thinking process is not sufficiently analytical to test some streams against others and make sense of it, or draw consistent conclusions. If you listen to him, in 10 minutes you’ll hear him contradict himself two or three times,” she said. Flynn has also been paid by Putin's media arm for appearances in Moscow.

Our intelligence agencies are charged not just with collecting information, but prudently interpreting and packaging it for the president. With Flynn as their spokesperson, facts and discretion go out the door and crazy conspiracy theories are what reaches the ear of the man who we already know is intellectually and behaviorally unfit for the responsibility entrusted to him.

Jeff Sessions, Equal Justice Disemboweler: The man Republicans found unsuitable for a federal judgeship because of his racism. The man who believes such gems as:
“I thought those guys [the Ku Klux Klan] were OK until I learned they smoked pot.”
Organizations like the NAACP “force civil rights down the throats of people.”
“You know the NAACP hates white people; they are out to get them. That is why they bring these lawsuits, and they are a commie group and a pinko organization as well.” 
Sessions seems particularly poised to dismantle "equal justice for all under the law", the pillar of our Constitutional system. Will he squelch investigations of Trump and white supremacists while conjuring crimes assignable to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP and others fighting for equal justice?

Steven Mnuchin, Bank Regulation Disemboweler: The hedge fund, Goldman Sachs guy in the Treasury Department will decimate what few bank regulations we have in place to prevent another Wall Street-created planetary disaster like 2008. He is anti-regulation and, though the only one of the above who appears to have a brain and intact mental health, known for being self-serving and ambitious, not ideological.

Trump and Pence aren't finished with their choices. We know they've put generals in charge of Defense and Security and may also put one in charge of State, gutting our long-standing principle of civilian control. We know they're considering a man convicted of giving confidential military information to his girlfriend. The circus goes on.

So far, I've survived every hill to the disappointment of the local vultures. To do that, I make sure to eat a good breakfast and take my blood pressure medicine. But on really cold days, it's iffy. I'd like to think that our government will survive these vultures too, but I worry that it's been weakened by decades of Republican unraveling, whether from Congress or the White House. I do hope though that each of these departments has talented professionals with exemplary courage. That may help us crest this hill and catch our collective breath for the next one.


  1. People wanted change. At least people in the GOP primary want change and the current GOP majorities in the House and Senate are more afraid of those voters than they are of Democrats. Trump will make some changes which will hurt poor women and help rich white guys like me. It will cause pain and disruption but voters knew that and they didn't care, so change will happen. It is Trump's turn--empowered by voters. In a couple of years voters will decide whether they actually like what they thought they wanted. My guess is they will resent the idea that guys like me get a really sweet deal and that other people have problems. My guess is that they will not want their Medicare and Social Security and schools messed with. Trump may keep a bit of support by finding a foreign enemy to distract the voters with but long term peace and justice and prosperity are more popular than war and discord. The cure to Trump is the fact that Trump will have the power of governance rather than the privilege of criticism from the outside. He convinced Republicans the Iran deal was terrible and he will break it unilaterally. Let's see what he can do. Replace Obamacare with something great? Ok, do it. Trump won't last long. The risk is that we will have total war. The world is dangerous. If we avoid nuclear war, Trump will be unpopular soon enough. If we have nuclear war--well, I am using some of my tax savings to store food and water and radiation shielding in a remote location, just in case I survive the first launches.


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