See the same link for a sense of the budget requests overall — it suggests some comparatively impressive ax-wielding, but with the savings then squandered on the public security establishment.
When Bannon listed the administration’s central purposes, the first two were unsurprising: “national security and sovereignty” and “economic nationalism.” But then came the third: the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Bannon explained that officials who seem to hate what their agencies do — one thinks especially of Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has sued it repeatedly to the benefit of oil and gas companies — were “selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction.” […] Thus did Bannon invoke the trendy lefty term “deconstruct” as a synonym for “destroy.” […] This is a huge deal. It reflects a long-standing critique on the right not just of the Obama and Clinton years but of the entire thrust of U.S. government since the Progressive Era and the New Deal. …
It’s getting extremely hard for libertarian-types to simply dislike this regime.
ADDED: On regime media-strategy technology guru Robert Mercer — “… his basic politics, I think, was that he’s a rightwing libertarian, he wants the government out of things.”
Scott Alexander (already linked below):
I would say these picks raise my previously abysmal opinion of Trump, except that they all show the obvious hand of Peter Thiel. And I’m not sure it’s possible to raise my opinion of Thiel at this point without me doing something awkward like starting a cult.
Mother Jones on the other America, that’s poking back through:
Although the DeVoses have rarely commented on how their religious views affect their philanthropy and political activism, their spending speaks volumes. Mother Jones has analyzed the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation’s tax filings from 2000 to 2014, as well as the 2001 to 2014 filings from her parents’ charitable organization, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation. (Betsy DeVos was vice president of the Prince Foundation during those years.) During that period, the DeVoses spent nearly $100 million in philanthropic giving, and the Princes spent $70 million. While Dick and Betsy DeVos have donated large amounts to hospitals, health research, and arts organizations, these records show an overwhelming emphasis on funding Christian schools and evangelical missions and conservative, free-market think tanks, like the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center, that want to shrink the public sector in every sphere, including education.
It mostly seems to be looking shockingly good for libertarians. On that:
Trump’s FCC transition team is doing great work narrowing the remit of an agency that probably shouldn’t exist at all. https://t.co/mhduTbW1XV
— Eli Dourado (@elidourado) January 18, 2017
The NYT talks to Thiel:
His critics demanded to know how someone who immigrated from Frankfurt to Cleveland as a child could support a campaign so bristling with intolerance. How could a gay man back someone who will probably nominate Supreme Court justices inclined to limit rights for gays and women? How could a futurist support a cave man who champions fossil fuels, puts profits over environmental protection and insists that we can turn back the clock on the effects of globalization on American workers?
“There are reduced expectations for the younger generation, and this is the first time this has happened in American history,” Mr. Thiel says. “Even if there are aspects of Trump that are retro and that seem to be going back to the past, I think a lot of people want to go back to a past that was futuristic …
That “a past that was futuristic” thought could go somewhere — all we need is a name for it.
More on Thiel’s Girardian machinations at the Business Insider:
On a deeper level, perhaps Trump fit into Thiel’s grand historical plans. Here was a man who would disrupt the runaway mimesis caused by globalization, which encouraged people around the world to compare their lives to everyone else’s.
The thesis is certainly neat.
Previous (extended) ruminations on the topic linked here.
Calm realism from Shadi Hamid:
I could try to explain what I think our nation is, but I can no longer be sure if tens of millions of my fellow citizens would agree. But I cannot simply take solace in the fact that soon there will be more non-whites and therefore more people who share my ideology. This is a recipe for more conflict, not less. […] Well before Brexit and the rise of Trump, Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev wrote that “threatened majorities — those who have everything and who fear everything — have emerged as the major force in European politics.” They feel threatened in the United States as well; the only difference, perhaps, is that they do not have everything but still fear everything. Yet as demographics inexorably shift, both the perception and reality of this “threat” will only grow. Unless something changes, American politics will continue to collapse along ethnic lines.