Current Events Write-Up: Maverick Cabinet Picks, School Choice, Hillary Visited Working Class States, George Orwell, Etc.

Time for another week of news stories and opinion pieces!

The Trump Cabinet

Stephen Chapman’s column appears on Townhall, and he is usually a critic of Trump.  He is praising Trump’s selection of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and Andrew Puzder for Secretary Labor.  According to Chapman, Puzder has actually expressed openness to some minimum wage increase, as well as “a path to legal status—-short of citizenship—-for illegal immigrants” (Puzder’s words, as quoted by Chapman).

According to this Boston Globe article, current Secretary of State John Kerry “praised as thoughtful some of Trump’s nominees, including defense secretary nominee James Mattis and Rex Tillerson, who Trump has selected to be Kerry’s successor.”

POLITICO: Mattis: Trump Cabinet’s Lone Green Hope?: James Mattis Believes Climate Change Is a Security Threat and Catalyzed the Military’s Fuel Efficiency Efforts, by Eric Wolff.

James Mattis is President-elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense.  Mattis believes climate change is real, he helped move the military towards fuel efficiency, and he’s unafraid to speak his mind!

Townhall: Is Trump’s Pick for Budget Director a David Stockman Redux?, by Veronique de Rugy.

According to Veronique de Rugy, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s selection for Office of Management and Budget, is a budget cutter.  But he’s for fiscal restraint when it comes to the defense budget and corporate cronyism, too, and the former may not endear him to Republicans!  I am concerned about possible Republican cuts in social programs for the needy.  At the same time, I respect Mulvaney for challenging budgetary bloatedness in the programs many Republicans love.

More on Trump

Townhall: Will Trump Be the ‘Transformative’ President Obama Wanted to Be?, by Jonah Goldberg.

Barack Obama in 2008 presented himself as someone who wanted to transcend ideology and listen to ideas from the other side.  Donald Trump, similarly, is behaving in ways that may indicate that he, too, wants to transcend ideology.  I loved this part in Goldberg’s column: “Going into the GOP primaries, the conventional wisdom held that the winner of the contest would be the candidate who displayed the most ideological purity. Instead the brass ring went to the contender with the least.”

I was a conservative in 2008, and, while I voted for the McCain/Palin ticket, I respected and admired Barack Obama for transcending ideology.  Now, in 2016, my political stances are more on the liberal side, and I like that Trump is transcending ideology.

Townhall: Trump’s First 100 Days for Black America, by Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Jackson advocates “regulatory reform,” vouchers for school choice, and sentencing reform as measures that can help African-Americans.  This article stood out to me because Jackson addressed an argument against school choice: “Critics typically recycle two tired arguments against allowing poorer parents the right to choose where their children are educated. The first is that school choice pulls money away from public schools. It does not. This accusation is at odds with actual public data that demonstrates per-pupil spending in public schools increases after school choice programs are implemented. (For example, per-pupil spending in Milwaukee public schools rose 58 percent in the years following the implementation of its voucher program.)”  You can read the column to see what the other argument is.  On a related note, see here for a similar argument for school choice, and here for anti-school choice arguments.

The 2016 Election

Washington Examiner: Faithless Electors Less Faithful to Clinton Than Trump, by Salena Zito.

I thought that was ironic!  Not exactly the narrative people were expecting!

Ori Weisberg on Facebook: “Many of us have been operating with the assumption that the Clinton campaign neglected rust-belt communities, and this is the chief reason she lost the election. This is certainly what Trump’s supporters want us to believe, because it reinforces their depiction of the left as out of touch, echo-chamber dwelling, bubble-inhabiting, smug elitists. But it comes from the left as well. There was a recent article on Sanders staffers who claim they weren’t listened to and knew this was coming that seems to corroborate this, and has some credible claims (http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/team-bernie-hillary-fucking-…). But one metric contradicts it. Clinton certainly DID show up where she needed to. Here is her number of appearances per state in October: FL 33, OH 30, NC 28, PA 26, MI 19, NV 17, IA 16, WI 11, NH 9, NY 8, CA 6, MA 6, CO 5, MN 4, AZ 3, DC 3, IL 3, TX 3, ME 2, VA 2, GA 1, MD 1, MO 1, NJ 1 (https://hillaryspeeches.com/speech-arc…/2016-2/october-2016/).”

I am tempted to believe that stereotype about some on the left, perhaps on account of my own experiences and prejudices.  Yet, I am not surprised that Hillary Clinton showed up in those states.  But she obviously failed to make the connection with enough voters in those states to win, and her neoliberal positions and ties to the establishment probably did not help her.

On ABC This Week last Sunday, Democratic National Committee chairperson Donna Brazile was interviewed, and she was complaining about the hackings.  Yet, she acknowledged that the Democratic Party still has work to do: “You know, I’m not going to sugarcoat what happened on Election Day. We, the Democratic Party has a lot of things that we have to do. Donald Trump cracked the blue wall, OK? He cracked the blue wall. We had a blue wall. We should’ve maintained it. We should’ve kept it.”

Historical Interest

George Orwell Was a Reactionary Snitch Who Made a Blacklist of Leftists for the British Government, by Ben Norton.

“Apologists insist Orwell simply ‘sold out’ later in life and became a cranky conservative, yet the story is more complex. Orwell had a consistent political thread throughout his life. This explains how he could go from fighting alongside a Spanish Trostkyist militia in a multi-tendency war against fascism to demonizing the Soviet Union as The Real Enemy — before returning home to imperial Britain, where he became a social democratic traitor who castigated capitalism while collaborating with the capitalist state against revolutionaries trying to create socialism.”

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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