Theodore Sturgeon's 1971 short story Occam's Scalpel now appears to be an eerily prescient depiction of our periapocalyptic political reality. I don't give much away when I tell you the premise. A billionaire industrialist whose holdings account for a huge portion of global pollution--sort of a one-man Koch Brothers-- has died at an advanced age. Just before he's fed, Mr. Burns-like, into one of his subterranean furnaces, his lieutenant and successor is summoned by the late tycoon's personal physician. The latter wants to conduct an autopsy. The two stand over the corpse. The doctor gentle draws a shallow incision down the midline of the deceased magnate's wrinkled mug. Gently he tugs at either side. The skin slides away like Martin Landau's in the initial run of Mission Impossible, revealing that the billionaire is actually a nonhuman. As the postmortem progresses it becomes clearer and clearer that he's a representative of a species evolved to thrive on exactly what his industries have been pumping into the environment: hydrocarbons and sulfites. The horrifying conclusion eventually dawns that he is the advance guard of an alien invasion, tasked to terraform--or more accurately, xenoform--Earth into something hospitable to his race through largescale pollution.
The story doesn't end there. But its premise is chillingly consistent with the incoming chief executive's bizarre and unreasoning affinity for the Kremlin Kleptocracy.
Despite his strangely nonhuman mitts, equipped with digits better called handtoes than fingers, Donald Trump is probably from Earth. (I say "probably" only because his fellow GOP chieftain Mitch McConnell is either a failed effort at human-turtle hybridization escaped from a lab or simply not of terrestrial origin.) Yet he does appear to be xenoforming the United States into an environment suited to his kind. That is, plutocrats. Which explains his attachment to Putin's Russia--a borderline failed state whose economy is now the size of Italy's and whose life expectancy steadily declines--otherwise comprehensible only if our new President is the ultimate mole.
So why does Trump love Russia so? Easy--it's paradise for rich bullies. Putin has effectively extinguished any vestige of political or intellectual freedom so that a couple of dozen kazillionaires can rape their one-product petroeconomy and pipe the profits to shell-company-owned real estate in Manhattan or London or Vancouver where they can lounge with their oiled-up Balkan whores without any semblance of journalistic scrutiny. (Trump has made it clear that America's libel laws need to be "loosened" so he can pursue his "many enemies," and of course he's encouraged the toothless methheads at his rallies to menace reporters.) And of course in Putin's Russia whatever remains of public opinion is easily manipulated by a kind of fake news that must leave even Breitbart breathless with admiration, for the state can actually manufacture facts to support false news--e.g., the security services blowing up a Moscow apartment building to justify a war in Chechnya and a convenient state of permanent xenophobia and Islamophobia. (Sound familiar?)
What Trump is driving us towards is the Russification of America, including an economy dominated by fossil fuel extraction, controlled by a cabinet composed of military-industrial oligarchs: Exxon executives (State), Goldman Sachs alumni (Treasury), generals (Defense, National Security); climate change deniers (EPA, Energy) and conspiracy theorists (National Security.) And it doesn't end there--American life expectancy, like the Russian, is declining, a process that will only accelerate as Obamacare is "replaced" and Medicare and Social Security are "modernized." Little wonder that the American opiate epidemic will soon rival Russian alcoholism as the killer of middle-aged men. But Trump, unlike Putin, need not establish a stranglehold on the media; he's already far along in the process of rendering it irrelevant by ignoring it outright--Reince Priebus has already said Presidential daily briefings are a thing of the past--or drowning it out in his daily twitter tantrums.
Trump is well on the way to rebuilding America into an alien environment friendly to his own kind. And he hasn't even been sworn in yet.