Thursday, April 26, 2018

Breaking News: Trump Doesn't Wake Up In The Morning And Say "How Can We Drain The Swamp Today?"


Ronny's gone-- is Mulvaney next? Pruitt? Kushner-in-law?

Historians tend to agree that the most corrupt adminstrations-- at least before Trump's-- were those put together by Warren "Teapot Dome" Harding, who had the first cabinet secretary in history to go to prison for corruption, Andrew Jackson, who was proud to have started the "spoiler system," James Buchanan, who had a cabinet that helped the Confederacy as the Civil War began and, pdf course, Richard Nixon. Trump is worse than all 4 put together.

Last week, Washington Post ventured that Trump is on track to becoming the most corrupt in U.S. history. Half a year earlier Newsweek asserted that he already was there, a real first-class kleptocracy.
On October 17, 2016, the Trump-Pence campaign released a five-point plan for ethics reform that featured lobbying restrictions that would insulate Trump and his administration from corporate and interests. The plan was called “drain the swamp.”... “We’re going to end the government corruption,” Trump vowed, “and we’re going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C.”

...“Drain the swamp” fit perfectly with Trump’s constant complaints about the “rigged system,” thereby excusing what some said was going to be a historic defeat. As the campaign concluded, Trump turned himself into a martyr for the cause of American democracy, waging a principled but doomed campaign.

...Now, a year after the election-- and more than a year after Trump first made that pledge to the American people-- many observers believe the swamp has grown into a sinkhole that threatens to swallow the entire Trump administration. The number of White House officials currently facing questions, lawsuits or investigation is astonishing: Trump, being sued for violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Paul J. Manafort, the second Trump campaign manager, indicted on money laundering charges in late October; Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government; son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company; and at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details or business dealings.

...Trump friend Christopher Ruddy, the publisher of conservative outlet Newsmax, laughed off the suggestion that Trump would enter public service to enrich himself, as critics have suggested. At the same time, he added, "I don't think it's like they wake up in the morning and say, 'How can we drain the swamp today?'"

Ruddy thinks Trump can only do so much to fulfill his promise on ethics. "At the end of the day, the swamp rules," he told me, referencing the enormous class of unelected technocrats that will outlast Trump's presidency, as well as all the ones that come after.

But according to the presidential historian Robert Dallek, no American leader has acted with more unadulterated self-interest as Trump. Dallek says that in terms of outright corruption, Trump is worse than both Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding, presidents who oversaw the most flagrant instances of graft in American political history. Grant’s stellar reputation as a Civil War general is tarnished in part by the Whiskey Ring scandal, in which Treasury Department officials stole taxes from alcohol distillers; members of Harding’s administration plundered oil reserves in Teapot Dome, a rock outcropping in Wyoming that has lent its name to the most notorious example of government corruption in American political history. In both cases, the fault of the president was in his lack of oversight. As far as Dallek is concerned, something more nefarious is at work in the White House of Donald Trump.

“What makes this different,” Dallek says, “is that the president can’t seem to speak the truth about a host of things.” Trump isn’t just allowing corruption, in Dallek’s view, but encouraging it. "The fish rots from the head," he reminds.
So, here we are, less than half a year later, and the corruption has ramped up... a lot. Jonathan Chait had a perfect example for New York Magazine this week: Mick Mulvaney Tells Bankers to Pay Up If They Want Favors From Trump. "Trump," he wrote, "ran for the presidency as an economic populist who promised to implement stringent new reforms to limit the power of money in government. Not only has he ignored these promises, he’s likewise failed to observe even the old norms, which called for some pretense of good government. For instance, people in government might have always given their donors more influence over their decisions, but they at least pretended that was not the case in public. The Trump administration is not even bothering to put up a façade.
Mick Mulvaney, the budget director and director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has gutted the latter agency’s role in preventing consumer fraud. Tuesday, he met with lobbyists and executives from the banking industry, promising further steps to gut regulations to prevent them from cheating customers. That’s not even the scandalous part! The scandalous part is that Mulvaney asked the executives and lobbyists to donate more money, and told them the more they donated, the more influence they would have. Mulvaney didn’t offer this as a sad concession to reality but an actual principle of governance he had personally abided:
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
The levels of corruption in this administration are simply staggering, and they range from open self-enrichment to openly selling policy to the highest bidder. The completely accurate sense that Trump and his party are out to get themselves and their friends rich is the administration’s gaping vulnerability. What’s especially odd is that nobody in the administration seems to have taken even cursory steps to address or paper over this weakness. They’re all just grabbing as much cash for themselves and their allies as they can, while they can.

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At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we get that Trump is a crook. Those who are in position with the power to DO something about him are the ones holding up the process to rid the nation of him and his slime.

We've heard many times now, usually anonymously, that Republicans are fed up with him. If so, why do they still vote to support his agenda? Why did they allow him to be their nominee in the first place? As much as I complain about the DxCC, they would have driven Trump off the ballot for not being their kind of candidate, compliant, and submissive to the will of corrupt party elites.

We keep hearing opinions about how Mueller is going to derail the Trump Express. Godot will arrive long before that happens, as I'm becoming convinced that Mueller is defending GOP prospects in the midterms before he releases his findings on Trump's urophilia and other corruptions.

Back in the day (ask Great-Granny, kiddies!), what passed at the time as independent media would have by now made Trump a laughingstock and run him off figuratively tarred and feathered. However, the corrupt corporatists who now own the media use it to defend him by focusing only on the stories which make Trump look good while promoting their desires (see: tax breaks, Muslim travel bans) at the expense of the nation he took an oath to serve and protect. He seems to think that only HE is a citizen of such a nation.

Lastly, with some 66 million morons who voted to crash the system because they were too lazy to become part of the modern world, the prospects of repairing the damage don't look good. Certain parallels to the demise of the Roman Republic are showing.

My apologies to the Millennials who rightfully bash us Boomers for really screwing things up and leaving the mess to them.

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:45, your last sentence mirrors my own regrets.

But, really, how fucking stupid does one have to be to believe trump when he promises anything at all?

In effect, 62 million trump voters fall in 2 main categories:
1) Nazis who hate everyone not white, male AND "Christian".
2) people, including an 'awful' lot of women, who couldn't spike an EEG with a defibrillator.


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