Vol. 11    No. 25
DECEMBER 8, 2016
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                 The Gathering Storm
It’s been hard, but I have started to duck my head out of the emotional covering that I placed over myself with the election of Donald Trump as the
next U.S. president. There is a part of me that still can’t believe it. There is a part of me that is still holding out hope that somehow the recount of
votes will show that Trump won’t even be elected by the Electoral College this coming week when the official tabulations are certified and the
electors cast their votes according to the laws that regulate them in their particular states. One to two electors have stated that they won’t vote
for Trump, but that isn’t going to influence the outcome.

And it doesn’t seem that the recount in Wisconsin will do anything except to prove, once again, that Donald Trump is a liar, that he talked about
voter fraud and that the election was rigged — if he lost — just to give him a way out, to pretend that he won even when he lost because, in his
own words, “Donald Trump never loses. He is a winner.” He’s been silent about the rigged election ever since he realized that he won.

Now it is interesting that a group of Republican and Democratic Senators have called for an investigation into Russian meddling in our elections,
which I do feel happened when someone — Russian hackers — gave WikiLeaks emails of Democratic strategist John Podesta and conveniently
started leaking them to the press as an October surprise, a surprise that Hillary Clinton didn’t have time to recover from and combat. Why didn’t
WikiLeaks start leaking the emails to the press back in July, let’s say, 3-4 months after they first surfaced? It was part of the deal, a deal that
Trump campaign surrogates may have been involved in when they visited Russian government officials. I wonder what they promised them in
return. Someday we will find out because the truth always comes to light.

Anyway, come January 20th, we will have a Trump administration to deal with. Now Trump has been all over the map as far as his political views
and associations are concerned. Trump, as a capitalist businessman, will say anything and fund anyone as long as it furthers his business
interests. There is not a place for truth in business dealings. Trump has associated with and contributed to Republicans and Democrats throughout
the past few decades. Contributing money had bought him access to policy makers and he still has to conduct business whether Republicans or
Democrats are in power.

But perhaps Trump is now showing his true political feelings now that he has taken the pinnacle of power — which I am sure he will ensure that it
doesn’t negatively impact his business interests — and people will now be contributing to him regardless if he is a Republican or a Democrat.

There are storm clouds on the horizon if Trumps publicized cabinet picks are any indication. For instance, his pick for the Secretary of Labor is
Andrew Puzder, the CEO of the corporation that owns the Hardee’s and Carl Jr.’s fast food restaurants. Now we all know that fast-food restaurants
depend on cheap labor who receive few — if any —fringe benefits like sick leave, maternity leave, health insurance and so on, not to speak of a
living wage. One of the most visible labor movements of the last 10 years has been to set the minimum wage at $15 per hour. Traditionally, the
mission of the Department of Labor has been to look out for working people, especially as it relates to occupational safety.

Now here comes Andrew Puzder, a CEO of a major U.S. corporation who made $4.485 billion in 2012, taking control of a U.S. governmental
department and will be paid approximately $205,000 per year. But let’s say that half of the 75,000 employees of Puzder’s company, the folks
working in Hardee’s, make $11 per hour. And then the minimum wage is raised to $15 per hour and let’s say that those 37,500 people work only
30 hours per week so there is no payment of overtime or other benefits. Well that would save Puzder’s company about $340 million per year. And I
wonder how much Puzder would benefit from that? Perhaps he has stock options or owns company stock. He would stand to gain big time from
his actions as secretary of Labor even if he puts his holdings into a blind trust. In my view, this is a huge conflict of interest and Puzder would be
willing to take on the position of secretary of Labor because he would stand to make millions of dollars from his own decisions.

And with OSHA and other worker safety and protection efforts under his control, Puzder would be like the overseer taking control of the slave
plantation. Low-income workers would become totally subservient to the owners of the businesses that they are stuck at because they are stuck
in the job and the American Dream will be been removed by the incoming secretary of Education.

Betsey DeVos is a big-time donor to Republican political campaigns in Michigan and is and advocate for school choice and a free market for
charter schools has not worked for Michigan kids,” according to CNN.

The Department of Education is in charge of public education, in many ways, and so this advocating agency for public education will now be
placed under the control of someone who wants to get rid of public education, to free up the billions of dollars of money spent on public education
for the perusal of capitalists who want to make a buck off the education of our children.

The people whom Trump is appointing are the wolves who will be taking care of the hen house. If they are any indication where a Trump
administration is headed, the federal government will be operated for the pleasure and interests of Corporate America to the detriment of the 99
percent of the rest of us. May God have mercy on us.