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Meanwhile, under the radar

It may very well be that Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party from within. He is apparenlty (whether intentionally or not, who can say?) fomenting a civil war in the party, and he is certainly setting the stage for an electoral turnaround that even the Democrats may not be able to blow. So, things may be looking somewhat good for the long term, (The Democrats do have a track record, after all) but lets not forget about the short term.

Donald Trump is widely acknowledged to have accomplished absolutely nothing, but that’s not the case for his cabinet. Since Trump doesn’t care about policy, the odds are that he ceded the choices for cabinet positions to Pence and his ilk. The result is, that apart from the dunderhead Rick Perry and the empty headed Ben Carson (who has permanently ended the use of the cliche “you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to…” thereby ceding that terrain to rocket scientists), the cabinet is full of fairly competent, albeit evil, people. While Trump distracts, they operate as unobtrusively as they can and have been quietly screwing the people of this country, in service to corporate interests.

Case in point in today’s Times:

The Trump administration is pushing to scrap a rule that would have made it easier for nursing home residents to sue nursing homes for injuries caused by substandard care, abuse or neglect, bringing its campaign to relax federal regulations to the delicate business of care for older Americans.

The push would undo a rule issued by the Obama administration that would have prevented nursing homes from requiring that consumers agree to resolve any disputes through arbitration rather than litigation. Nursing homes routinely require consumers to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of admission to the home.

via The New York Times

Bravo for the Times for bringing this up, though it’s far from the front page. But we’re not likely to hear about it again until the rule becomes final. As with all the other evil done by Trump’s cabinet, it flies mostly beneath the radar.

Arbitration actually makes some sense in the context in which it originally arose: dispute settlement between business interests. The arbitrators were paid by both sides and they had no incentive to be biased in favor of either side. Not so with business vs. consumer arbitration. The arbitrator knows precisely who is paying his or her salary, and who has the power to see that he or she never arbitrates again should the decision go the wrong way. It just doesn’t pay to rule for the consumer. This type of mandated arbitration makes Kafka’s The Trial look like due process. The fix is in from the start. It’s true, as the Trump folks claim, that arbitration “allow[s] for the expeditious resolution of claims without the costs and expense of litigation”, but they forgot to add that it also relieves the business interest from ever being held responsible for its negligence or malfeasance.

This is just one example of what is happening in this country. I’m overjoyed that the people of Boston beat back the Nazis, but while we concentrate on that very real threat, our country is being silently destroyed from within.

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