Abnormal Is the New Normal?

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Bad Hair, Congress

I was busy doing other things and missed all the fireworks. So I’m still catching up on the dossier scandal. What fun! And then there was Trump’s bizarre “press conference,” in which he pretty much dashed anyone’s lingering hopes that he’d drop out of Asshole Mode once elected.

Trump is going to turn his companies over to his sons, he said. PBS Newshour did a segment on this yesterday that’s very much worth watching.

See also Remarks of Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

The only thing this has in common with a blind trust is the label, “trust.” His sons are still running the businesses, and, of course, he knows what he owns. His own attorney said today that he can’t “un-know” that he owns Trump tower. The same is true of his other holdings. The idea of limiting direct communication about the business is wholly inadequate. That’s not how a blind trust works. There’s not supposed to be any information at all.

Here too, his attorney said something important today. She said he’ll know about a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees in on TV. That wouldn’t happen with a blind trust. In addition, the notion that there won’t be new deals doesn’t solve the problem of all the existing deals and businesses. The enormous stack of documents on the stage when he spoke shows just how many deals and businesses there are.

I was especially troubled by the statement that the incoming administration is going to demand that OGE approve a diversified portfolio of assets. No one has ever talked to us about that idea, and there’s no legal mechanism to do that. Instead, Congress set up OGE’s blind trust program under the Ethics in Government Act. Under that law anyone who wants a blind trust has to work with OGE from the start, but OGE has been left out of this process. We would have told them that this arrangement fails to meet the statutory requirements.

Republicans will do their best to keep Trump’s butt covered on this matter, but it’s also the case that if, someday, they decide he’s a liability to the party and their careers, and they want to get rid of him, the guy comes with a built-in impeachable offense. So that’s something.

With everything else going on, you might not have noticed that yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that could cripple the ability of government to regulate private industry. Also yesterday, as predicted, the Senate — at 1:30 a.m., no less — approved a budget procedure that will allow them to gut the Affordable Care Act through a simple majority vote. The actual repeal legislation is supposed to be ready to go by January 27.

Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing yesterday went badly enough that Charles Pierce thinks he could nixed for the Secretary of State position.

Our journey into the Twilight Zone continued today, with the Justice Department announcing an investigation of the FBI.

Dr. Ben Carson was grilled by the Senate as the nominee for heading Housing and Urban Development. As expected, Carson barely knew where he was, but the hearing went smoothly enough. He could not promise that the Trump family would not profit from HUD decisions.

And then this happened:

C-SPAN confirmed Thursday afternoon that its online feed had been temporarily interrupted by the Kremlin-backed news outfit RT, formerly known as Russia Today.

Of course.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 12, 2017 @10:51 pm

    With a 50+ year head start since Goldwater, and with the diabolical “help” of conservatives like Nixon, Reagan, “Papa Doc” & “Baby Doc” Bush, and their evil minions, it won’t take long to bring this nation back to the Pre-Progressive Era – aka: abolishing any progress made in the 20th Century.
    Months, not years.
    But if years, not many…

  2. Swami  •  Jan 13, 2017 @12:22 pm

    Trump is fucking mentally ill! He claims he passed on a 2 billion dollar deal.. and he did it all for us? Dude! How magnanimous. He’s so far gone that it’s really really scary. To call him a pathological liar would be a kindness and an understatement.. And to think this is what the American public chose for a leader. I think we are in big trouble.
    It’s nice to think that he’ll come to office with pre-loaded impeachable offences, but that lovely bit of knowledge is voided by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be enough moral rectitude in the halls of Congress to stand against his dominating ego.
    From the outset it looks like Trump is going to knock down any opposition to his overblown ego like bowling pins.

  3. JDM  •  Jan 13, 2017 @1:14 pm

    Impeach Trump, get Pence. It’s a win for the GOP. Trade insane and evil for merely evil. They only need enough on Trump to prevent a backlash from their voters, which would probably have to be a considerable amount on him. Not to mention that the Republicans in national government are demonstrated cowards.

  4. Ed  •  Jan 13, 2017 @4:49 pm

    Soon enough he will do something (perhaps a Tweet during a time of crisis) which will hurt a significant number of white people. That will be the day he becomes toast.

  5. csm  •  Jan 13, 2017 @5:51 pm

    “Impeach Trump, get Pence. It’s a win for the GOP. Trade insane and evil for merely evil.”

    At this point I’d take evil over insane and evil. What a sad state of affairs.

    At least with Pence we won’t have to be worried about him sending late night tweets or calling for the nuke codes because he didn’t like what someone said about his excellence.

  6. Doug  •  Jan 13, 2017 @6:49 pm

    IMO, They can’t impeach Trump until Trump is discredited with a LOT of his followers. So we won’t see Pence in charge for a while. And Pence has to put on a pretense of loyalty which all comes back to haunt him later. Bad as things are for the GOP, this is as good as it gets. We’re going to take a lot of hits – ACA and tax breaks for the rich plus the USSC appointment, but having control of everything means they get the blame. The voters who expect a magic pony or whatever from the GOP and Trump will get ugly when it doesn’t happen, medical insurance gets MORE expensive and a trade war causes a depression.

  7. bernie  •  Jan 13, 2017 @6:56 pm

    Tease
    “On the day after the vote, Oberlin College held a symposium called, “Making Sense of the 2016 Election.” A few days later, 2,400 students, staff and former employees called for Oberlin to be made a “Sanctuary Campus,” a kind of “safe space” for the illegal immigrants that the incoming Trump administration has said it wants to deport.
    A few days after that, news of the vote breakdown in Oberlin came in: 4,575 votes for Hillary Clinton against 412 for Donald Trump. They now want to find those Trump voters. And confront them.”
    Link
    Warming Not for closed minds.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/overwrought-political-correctness-helped-trump-win-a-1125725.html

  8. maha  •  Jan 14, 2017 @2:38 pm

    bernie — Re the Spiegel article — so, the theory is, university students at the more elite institutions tend to be intolerant of opposing views, and for this reason much of the country — in particular people who never come into direct contact with said university students — feels oppressed and is opposing Donald Trump? Maybe because I’m old enough to remember racial segregation, not to mention comedians on television telling jokes about stupid women drivers and wife beating, this seems like rather weak tea to complain about. Trump voters must be emotionally fragile, indeed.

  9. Dan  •  Jan 13, 2017 @9:39 pm

    And yet…

    …the only difference between today and the past 50 years or so is the degree of the insanity that is the Republican Party. The substance is the same.

    People keep voting back in the people who screwed everything up, hoping it will be different this time (AKA half the voters are insane).

    It would be fun to go 20 years without having to SURVIVE the latest imperial rulers. I think I’m too old to hope for that…

  10. Billikin  •  Jan 13, 2017 @11:51 pm

    Bernie, thanks for the link. 🙂

    I made a “Freudian” slip. I read the last sentence of this paragraph wrong.

    “A few days after that, news of the vote breakdown in Oberlin came in: 4,575 votes for Hillary Clinton against 412 for Donald Trump. They now want to find those Trump voters. And confront them.”

    I read this: “And comfort them.” 😉

  11. Bonnie  •  Jan 14, 2017 @2:18 pm

    Trump is now picking a fight with John Lewis. I think this is one he may lose.

  12. bernie  •  Jan 14, 2017 @3:46 pm

    I do not know exactly what point the author was trying to make.  To have a perspective from abroad might lend objectivity.  Marginal sanity at best at both political extremes I thought was well communicated.  One of my friends the other day stated he did not know what era we were in, but it sure wasn’t the age of reason or enlightenment.  The abnormal era perhaps it is.  The age of animal instincts and tribal intolerance fits for some.  I wish we had at least some indication of the emergence of an age of sanity. 



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