Trump’s Confederacy Of Dunces

It’s something new–and depressing–every day.

Just last week, Trump fired both Andrew McCabe and Secretary of State Tillerson in the most humiliating manner possible; one of his close aides was escorted out of the White House without even being given time to gather his belongings (he was under investigation for “financial crimes” of an unspecified nature); and multiple rumors surfaced about the imminent replacement of National Security Advisor McMasters with crazy-as-a-loon chickenhawk John Bolton.

Now, we learn that an advisor to Ben Carson–he of the $31,000 dining room set and the repeated admonitions to America’s poor about “personal responsibility”–has quit among questions of fraud and the inflation of his biography.

He said he was a multimillionaire – an international property developer with a plan to fix America’s cities through radical privatization. He felt that Donald Trump’s administration was where he was meant to work.

“It was a natural fit,” Naved Jafry said in an interview. Citing connections across the military, business and academia, he said: “I bring, and draw on, experiences from different areas of knowledge, like a polymath.”

Jafry was contracted to work for Trump’s housing and urban development department (Hud). His government email signature said his title was senior adviser. Jafry said he used his role to advocate for “microcities”, where managers privately set their own laws and taxes away from central government control.

Among other things, Jafry had claimed control over a multimillion-dollar trust fund; a claim inconsistent with court records showing that he struggled to pay rent and bills.

Wasn’t a major part of Trump’s “attraction” that he was rich? Trump voters drew two (unwarranted) conclusions from that wealth– that rich people must be smart and that they would be less incentivized to (mis)use tax dollars for personal gratification. Those same claims were made about the cabinet of wealthy white guys he’s assembled.

Um…not so much….

It turns out that HUD had agreed to spend $165,000 on “lounge furniture” in addition to the $31,000 dining set that–it also turns out–had been personally selected by Carson and his wife for his office. The news followed an administration proposal to cut $6.8 billion, or 14%, of HUD’s annual budget.

Then there’s treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, a former Wall Street executive purportedly worth as much as $35 million, who managed to run up bills in excess of $800,000 in his first six months in office for travel on military jets, (and whose wife made news by bragging about her pricey designer clothes on social media).

Scott Pruitt may not believe in science (or, apparently, the importance of clean air and water), but he evidently believes in using tax dollars to avoid those pesky citizen types who do. The environment secretary has said he has to travel first-class because of threats from members of the public who object to his climate-change-denying, regulation-slashing approach to government.

He also spent as much as $43,000 on a soundproof “privacy booth” inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls and $9,000 for biometric locks and to have his office swept for listening devices. Earlier this month it was reported that he used $6,500 in public money to hire a private media firm with strong Republican ties to help produce a report promoting his accomplishments.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, was the subject of a blistering report detailing ethical violations in a trip to Denmark and Britain that mixed business with pleasure, including a trip to Wimbledon and a cruise down the Thames.

When Interior secretary Ryan Zinke wanted to go horseback riding with Mike Pence, he took a government-funded helicopter – one of three such journeys in 2017 that cost a total of $53,000 of public money. In addition, Zinke, who favors oil, gas, coal and uranium mining on public lands out west, has been rebuked by the department watchdog for failing to keep proper records of his travel expenses and to disclose who paid for his wife to accompany him on work trips.

Health and human services secretary Tom Price was forced to resign last September after it was revealed that he used at least $400,000 and probably more than $1m in taxpayer funds on private and military flights for himself and his staff.

This Administration has clearly demonstrated that wealth doesn’t guarantee competence. As these examples show, neither does it promote ethical behavior.

But it sure seems to translate into a sense of entitlement.

 

37 thoughts on “Trump’s Confederacy Of Dunces

  1. monday 7:30 pm,, Bernie will discus the rich and poor,inequality issues, with others,on a live stream, face,you tube,etc,since mass corprate media has decided these issues dont exist…

  2. “But it sure seems to translate into a sense of entitlement.”

    Now you know why these dunces have heartburn over what they consider the “entitlements” which benefit the poor. As was previously discussed here, in psychological terms, it’s called projection.

    It’s why we have a multi-leveled justice system in this country. Look at all the fraud committed by Banksters which go unpunished while Trump talks about the death penalty for drug dealers. Who do you think we’ll be killing off?

    Also, most of these dunces are second and third generation money… “silver spoons” … “trust babies.”

    They are spoiled, little rich kids. Longtime Hoosiers have told me that Pence used to frequent gay bars in Ft. Wayne. But then he found “Jesus”. It would certainly explain his rigid way of living today along with his animus toward gays. They always say former smokers become smoking Nazis. 😉

    One other truism is that of leadership theory. Weak leaders surround themselves with people who they feel superior to. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the strongest leader and 1 being weak, I’d say Trump might be a 2. Probably a 1.

    So, guess who he will surround himself with?

    A strong leader will surround himself with people who will challenge them to grow. If your Ego is so large that you need constant affirmation by those around you (weak leaders), you’ll surround yourself with “yes” men.

    Personally, I’m more intrigued about Pence and how he is being treated by Trump. Pence is the only original cast member of this show because he can’t be fired by Trump.

    As Les Moonves (CEO of CBS) said, “Trump may be bad for America, but he’s great for CBS.”

  3. Ho hum…..here’s the BIGGEST problem with this bunch, though……all this stuff, bad as it most definitely is, now just seems commonplace, and results in boredom and a yawn when seeing it and more of the same day after day. That’s actually pretty dangerous for the country.

  4. “This Administration has clearly demonstrated that wealth doesn’t guarantee competence. As these examples show, neither does it promote ethical behavior.”

    We have always read “money can’t buy love”; it obviously can buy lust, a poor substitute but probably the only option for unloveables such as Trump. Wealth also cannot buy intelligence, doesn’t guarantee competence or promote ethical behavior as we are witnessing more and more examples of daily – almost hourly some days. I have read “ethics” defined as “doing the right thing when no one is watching”; “Trump’s Confederacy Of Dunces” exemplifies the fact that, contrary to their vast wealth, they are not intelligent enough or ethical enough to do the right thing with the world watching.

    The fact that they are all morally bankrupt and living “higher on the hog” using our tax dollars makes me wonder if this country will be bankrupt before the end of Trump’s first term? It has been awhile since we have seen any accounting for the amount of money being transferred to his private accounts as we pay for his “ego trips” to his privately owned hotels, restaurants, golf courses, etc., to expound on his wonderfulness as he campaigns for reelection and all of those golf cart rentals? We mustn’t let Carson’s $31,000 dining room suite distract us from those issues any more than we should allow Stormy Daniels’ law suit situation to distract us from the Mueller investigation. It appears to me that on some level, all of Trump’s roads lead to Russia. Will the pressure increase or decrease for this country now that Putin is assured another 6 years…a fact which will put him in an even higher level of esteem in Trump’s world? Trump has ramped up his “witch hunt” accusations again. How much help has the Trump/Russia situation here helped reelect Putin and what happened to his opposition after he was arrested?

  5. Todd says

    ” Longtime Hoosiers have told me that Pence used to frequent gay bars in Ft. Wayne”

    Oh please tell me more of this. It would explain SO VERY MUCH.

  6. Just in case Mr. Carson is interested, GSA has a warehouse filled with high quality used executive furniture. That’s where I got my boss’s cherry oval conference table. Cost = $-0-.

  7. Why is it that people forget what he told everybody when he won… “THIS ONE IS FOR REVENGE!” he said it openly – he told the people that voted for him – “I DON’T NEED YOU ANY MORE!”… don’t people listen to what is being said? It is just like his hateful “HIT THE SON OF A BITCH! GET HIM OUT OF HERE!” When the crowd took to hitting and kicking protesters in his ‘rallies’… What happened to American Awareness of Citizenship? Vigilance? – I have seen the Visi-Goths, AND THEY ARE US!

  8. Peggy; interesting information. After Goldsmith was inaugurated as Mayor of Indy; his appointees and new hires just pilfered all City offices for whatever they wanted. I returned from lunch one day and my entire computer system and all bookcases were gone. The computer system didn’t belong to the City; it was property of Circle Centre Mall and Melvin Simon Associates; entrusted to me by the Mall CFO. Everything from my bookshelves was piled on my desk, in my chair and on the floor. An annual inventory was required by the City; in the 2 years, 3 months and 11 days I lasted under Goldsmith, there was never an inventory. I sometimes wonder if Goldsmith’s administration was a testing ground for the Republican party…I see so many of the same actions under Trump. Including the lack of qualifications and experience with their appointees and hires. We had our share of a “…Confederacy Of Dunces” to survive; Goldsmith’s first order was to destroy all files and paperwork from the Hudnut administration. Huge trash bins were wheeled into all offices for us to accomplish this.

  9. Here is a good example of the Class War. The Golden Parachute in AmeriKan Capitalism at work:

    Dec. 5, 2017 BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — The judge overseeing the Toys R Us bankruptcy case ruled Tuesday that the insolvent retailer can pay its 17 top executives $14 million in incentive bonuses.

    Toys R Us, which is based in Wayne, N.J., agreed to trim its original $16 million bonus proposal by $2 million, and to make $5 million of the bonus payout contingent on the company creating a business plan that allows it to emerge from bankruptcy.The company said the bonuses are necessary because they motivate executives to boost sales during the critical holiday shopping season.

    After filing for bankruptcy, Toys “R” Us had sought approval to pay millions in incentive bonuses to its top executives. While those bonuses drew opposition from the government’s bankruptcy watchdog, a judge approved the incentive payments in December.
    ==============================================
    Now for Flip Side of Golden Parachute – Screw the Proles. March 16, 2018 31,000 Toys ‘R’ Us employees: No job and NO severance!!! Mass layoffs are usually softened with a severance package, but Toys “R” Us employees won’t get any because of bankruptcy laws. Toys “R” Us was also struggling to attract the workers it needed, at least in part because it was paying wages at or near minimum wage.

    Chief Executive David Brandon of Toys “R”, Mr. Brandon has said Toys “R” Us was unable to invest in store improvements due to its heavy debt load, a legacy of a 2005 leveraged buyout. Private-equity firms Bain Capital and KKR & Co., along with real-estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust , took Toys “R” Us private for $6.6 billion, which included $5.3 billion in debt, secured in large part by the company’s assets.

    Basically, the trio took an imperfect-but-functioning company and cannibalized it for cash.

    Frustratingly, the story of Toys ‘R’ Us’ debt burden has been a footnote in news coverage, buried under musings on how the company failed to compete with the likes of Amazon. And when the debt is covered, it’s often devoid of context: Toys ‘R’ Us just happened to borrow money, it proved to be a bad decision, and now the retailer is suffering the fate of imprudent borrowers everywhere. Rarely does anyone point out that debt was a deliberate Wall Street strategy. http://theweek.com/articles/761124/how-vulture-capitalists-ate-toys-r

    You will not find any in depth reporting on Toys R Us by CNN, MSDNC or FOX on this story of Vulture Capitalism. 60 minutes will have a show featuring Stormy Daniels though. So here we have it the story of America in the early 21st Century, never ending wars over seas and an economic bombing campaign by Steroid Capitalism on the home front.

  10. Not only is Carson a savant (Brain surgeon), but he and his wife have terrible taste in furniture.

    Frankly, I don’t think Carson has the wits to understand corruption and hypocrisy. He should have stuck with medicine, because he is an utter fool as someone in government. That’s why Trump picked him.

    For once I agree completely with Todd.

  11. Monotonous; as ridiculous, horrible and WRONG as this is, the payoff of sports coaches in colleges who are fired is even more unconscionable. It took a few years for Indiana University to fully pay off Bobby Knight’s contract. There have been others in the news at times; I don’t know if it is the same in pro sports but the fact that 30% of the Indianapolis CIB budget goes to support the Colts who are paid millions in salaries makes no sense at all.

  12. The cabinet didn’t become the unethical bastards they are since their approval by congress; they have been accepting bribes and graft for a long time – apparently those are the keys to financial and political success. Our congress is exactly the same. The whole world is starting to look like a collection of banana republic dictatorships. And while Trump has taken the US to the back of the pack in economics, science, healthcare and social and climate improvements, we are closer to the front of the group in corruption and oligarchy with Russia and other dictatorships.

  13. daleb,

    “And while Trump has taken the US to the back of the pack in economics, science, healthcare and social and climate improvements, we are closer to the front of the group in corruption and oligarchy with Russia and other dictatorships.”

    Many thanks. As an American it is important to know how we stand. No one could say it better in fewer words. USA! USA! USA!

  14. JoAnn, I read once upon a time, the highest paid employees in major colleges and universities are the coaches not the professors.

    January 10, 2018: A new round of layoffs is taking effect this week at the Carrier Corp. factory in Indianapolis a little more than a year after President Donald Trump touted a deal that staved off the plant’s closure and saved some of its jobs. About 215 people are being let go starting Thursday, leaving about 1,100 workers at the plant, according to the company. That’s down from the some 1,600 factory, office and engineering jobs at the facility when Carrier announced plans in early 2016 to move production to Mexico.

    The latest Carrier job cuts follow the final closing in November of a 350-worker Rexnord Corp. industrial bearings factory in Indianapolis. Milwaukee-based Rexnord didn’t change its decision to shift much of the factory’s work to Mexico despite a tweet from Trump blasting Rexnord for “rather viciously firing” its workers. https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/new-layoffs-at-indiana-carrier-factory-year-after-trump-deal

    Our local McMega-Media will not provide any coverage of how these workers are coping that have lost their jobs. We will get hours on TV and Radio, and pages and pages in the Star concerning Andrew Lucks sore shoulder.

    At the risk I sound like I am wearing a tin foil cap, the last thing in the world the Plutocracy wants us to know is the abject failure of Steroid Crony-Capitalism, better to keep our focus on a professional athlete’s sore shoulder or Stormy Daniels.

  15. The term dunce doesn’t really explain this criminal an unethical behavior. These people are accomplished at enriching themselves at the expense of others, whether it be investors in the private sector or donors and taxpayers in the public sector. Their ignorance lies in the fact that they are unfamiliar with poverty and feel that honesty and integrity are signs of weakness. They will never make any attempt to educate themselves about the problems of the less fortunate and prefer to blame poverty on the poor. At the same time, they will take credit for things that have been accomplished through no effort on their part. To refer to them as dunces relieves them of responsibility for their actions. They are educated men with no excuse for behaving as they do.

  16. Stream of Consciousness Posting.

    Don’t forget,it’s much better to keep shaking our fingers at people for not supporting Blue Dogs. The greater sin is not voting for Democrats who vote with McConnell,et al. You are the bad guy,not the Blue Dog. They’re entitled to vote along the efforts of the GOP–even along with Mr Turtle and Ryan, et al–and you will be shamed into submission. You,have no such entitlement but allegiance to party and branding! That mentality is a bit like blaming the victim. Moving along ,stories of sore shoulders and porn stars keep our minds off of the 15th anniversary of SHOCK N AWE in Iraq. Was that a hell of a production or what? It should have received an Oscar for best action melodrama! The only thing missing was an appearance by Jennifer Lawrence. Plus,it also helps to ease our minds not only from the aforementioned production….but the following production..

    Homeless in California.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Z3Rd0rD_I&t=438s

    Btw, gotta love the golden parachutes for the executive class. Talk about a true definition of obscenity. Perhaps back in the 80’s we should’ve been more concerned in greatly diminishing such efforts by the executive class to give themselves bonuses during a midst of failure, instead of being outraged by cuss words within Rock Music albums? But then again,this is a country that agreed with Ronald Reagan that free college was a racist idea. And, of course,that trees cause air pollution. Those G’Damned Republicans have always had their heads stuck up their ass for decades. Back to workers, sure,we can blame the victims (workers) much like we’ve blamed the homeowners for the bundled mortgage tsunami. How dare those homeowners seek homeownership–even if they were set up to fail! What is important is that the bankers were bailed out and remained comfortable and safe from the pitchforks. That’s Democracy I tells ya!! It would have been so deplorable to inconvenience just one banker via a lengthy prison term. We live in the age of Wall St And to hell with Main St. Moreover, without the aid of golden parachutes, can you imagine the humiliation of no longer being able to afford a membership to the expensive and exclusive country-club because one cannot afford the fees? That is a fate much worse than hearing the news that your child has died in Iraq or Afghanistan. Hell,how can one afford a mistress or two without such a bailout—or parachute— being in the six and seven digit range? Can you imagine the horror among our betters if their efforts were just a wee bit constrained?!

    In the meantime,continue voting for the same cretins that have created this toxic environment– because if you don’t,you’re a moron!

    Now, back to our scheduled moments of outrage and ephemera!

  17. I have written incessantly for the crying need to (honestly) reform the internal revenue code and the bankruptcy act. When bankruptcy judges are empowered to void labor contract and pension plans for corporate workers while approving bonuses for the executives of such corporations it becomes clear to a fault that the statute which allows such wrongdoing is in need of serious repair. What we are seeing in this particular Toys r Us foray into Chapter 11 is seen all too often > Hedge funds buy the company, load it up with debt while running away with the accounting “profits,” then run off to bankruptcy court with a Chapter 11 petition upon which the court typically takes away negotiated rights of its workers in (among other) vain attempts to keep the company in business, which fail, after which vulture corporations such as the one Romney retired from come in and cannibalize the company’s assets or, in some instances, come up with a plan to continue in business which the court will approve – and the beat goes on, and on, and on, as the financialization of commerce and industry and privatization of government continue. It’s almost enough to make one consider becoming a socialist.

  18. Monotonous @8:56am-
    Thanks for detailed info on Toys-R-Us. Now please give us a similar report on Marsh grocery stores.
    What has happened since Marsh long-suffering gasping? What are the rumors for the future of the real properties, some of which seem to be ideal locations for forward-looking management, intelligent pricing, and competent buyers who will stock the shelves with in-demand merchandize. Little wonder that past Marsh policies and management doomed them. They depended too much on the word “Fresh” but didn’t live up to it.

  19. I would have to say about all of the details that get endlessly rehashed here every day, no surprises. We have to hang on to the memory of waking up to the election news and the absolute certitude that we had fallen into a rabbit hole and nothing ever would be right again. We expected massive incompetence and got it. We expected the wealthy to plunder what workers create and we got it. We expected the rein of ignorance and the pillorying of knowledge and we got it. We expected the need for a Special Prosecutor and we go it. It is every bit as threatening to everything we hold to as we thought it would be.

    Now what? What do we do, not what do we think.

    We have seven months left for phase 1. If we are unsuccessful in phase 1, I predict game over.

  20. The biggest problem with Steroid Crony-Capitalism is that it has the unbridled support of BOTH major political organizations.

    So,what to do?

    * Keep on doing what hasn’t worked in the past.

    That’s just to placate us during the election process-get us to go along with their (brand loyalty) program. Once the election has ended,it’s back to ignoring the issues that concern us for the next two years. We’re just consumers don’tcha know!

    *According to the Party Operatives. Which is a bit like the management of a company telling the workers that the owner of the factory loves you,supports you,respects you and values you–but we gotta keep your wages down and frozen for the forthcoming year or two, whilst said management receive a 5% bonus and the owner has just received a 210% rise in his/her income.

    Severance pay for the hoi polloi vs Exit Bonus for the executive class; Who wins?

    Homeowners vs BankFraudsters; Who won?

    And,since there’s been a lot of pom poms for the FBI on this site as of late,why was the FBI working with Monsanto (the chemical company) wrt Black Lives Matter?

    https://theintercept.com/2018/03/19/black-lives-matter-fbi-surveillance/

    Talk about support for organizations against one’s interest. That’s not exactly exclusive to the “deplorables”.

  21. This is but one facet of a massive train wreck that is overwhelming all the establish norms of conduct in Washington, DC. The very thought that Donald Trump now feels empowered to do and say whatever he wants since he thinks he’s gained the necessary familiarity with his job is just terrifying. He very likely presides over the biggest collection of grifters to ever infest the Cabinet of the President of United States and the various departments of the national government. As bad as it looks from our vantage point one can only imagine how bad it looks through the eyes of our longstanding trade partners and allies and just how weak we also look to our adversaries.

    As Trump races headlong toward an inevitable confrontation with Special Counsel Mueller and his team with even more salacious details no doubt coming forth we’re headed for a constitutional crisis that will make the one that will make Watergate look in comparison like a tiff between local zoning committee members. The American people are still mostly asleep at the switch regarding all of this and the impact of a lawless President on the immediate future of this country and the resulting damage that will hinder us for many years to come. This President is so far beyond the bounds of what is normally acceptable that it puts this country in mortal danger. While the majority of the American people act like they’re just along for the ride they will be gobbled up by this just like the rest of us if something isn’t done to stop this.

    The American people must finally get to the point that they insist on having him removed from office regardless of what the Congress may or may not do. If we cannot find some way to get this to happen we face a calamity not only here at home but where the rest of the world will fall victim to the vile machinations of Vladimir Putin and possibly others of his ilk. What we have all experienced as normalcy, peace and tranquility for our entire lives will be ripped asunder, the future we cannot allow to happen, period.

  22. People often attain wealth status by using and leveraging “other people’s resources”…..so use of tax payer money by these wealthy appointees, and elected officials, does not seem to be contrary to their usual way or living in the world.

    Get ready for tax assessments and increases for the rest of us.

  23. Toys, first. All their donations to Planned Parenthood killed off their customer base. As for Carrier, “…read the Indianpolis Star with more care so as not to miss this letter to the editor which appeared in it. As it stands, the allegations are but that. But, they are credible. As far as Carrier goes, neither the Star nor the “academics” have ever thought that there were two sides to that mighty thin pancake. People like Donald Trump and Mike Pence were easily gulled into doing dumb things (which may have been “politically” correct but which there would be no public support were the public informed AND the allegations were accurate. Read for yourself.
    “I retired from this plant in 2013. I had 44 yrs 6 months and 11 days. I’m sorry but no one in that plant should be shocked at the news of its closing. We have been warned over and over of its closing and moving to Mexico. This is no shock. The corporation has warned out plant to clean its act up. Over 90% of the people was on FMLA and abusing the system. This plant had to carry over 300 extra people to just cover the people that didn’t come to work. The waste in the plant was well over the limits. In all my 44 I never made over $70,000 and I had one the high paid jobs and 5th on the Senior list. If any employee is making over $70,000 then their rapping the company in overtime. I feel sorry for the people like myself that worked our buts off the early days so this person can have what they had today. But no, everyone waa warned that if things didn’t get better in this plant corporate was going to close it. The union was very aware and did nothing over the years to help save these jobs.
    There’s much more to this story and people with 10 or so years don’t have a clue.
    Fred Taylir” Notice, duh Star had no interviews with any managers or any shareholders or any suppliers, or any customers. Duh Star doesn’t do journalism?” If this fellow is accurate then “workers” didn’t take a hit. They defended the 300 plus and the parasite behavior of others in their plant. Why not report facts?” You may have missed this letter to the Star editors. I don’t recall ANY Star reporters checking out his allegations. I expect normal people would barf at either the Carrier or Rexnord “labor agreements”. Dunces who think they know more than they do are….dunces.

  24. Republican politicians like to blame unions for our competitive position but an equal contributor is our 2X everyone else in the world health care costs that they refuse to rein in because big medicine can easily afford gigantic campaign donations.

  25. I’m inclined to believe the Impeach Trump campaign is really coming from a trinity of Clinton Inc.,The Bush Crime Family and The ProPence GOP Intelligentsia–nevermind the pundit-class. I hate to say it,Pence would be worse. Also,if one wanted to foment a civil war,that would be the most effective method to make it come to fruition. There would be a heavy price to be paid by everyone if the PTB remove Trump and install Pence. Especially when removal of Trump would say very overtly to a large percentage of the American population that voted for him “Your vote doesn’t matter.” That would also render the Democratic Party even more impotent in the oncoming years–Decades (which is I believe a feature and not a bug). A surreptitious taking over of the Democratic Party by former Republicans. They need a vehicle to continue the economic policies of Republicans and support only a few social policies from the Democratic Party. Plus,having the history of the brand name without doing any actual heavy lifting that the old Democratic Party was known for will be the norm–as it has been. That’s why it is described as being impotent by so many current and former Democrats. Again,that’s a feature and not a bug.

    Speaking of Putin. Putin didn’t deregulate the US banking system. Putin is not the root of stagnant wages. Putin didn’t bring forth a monopoly of media ownership in the US. Putin did not cause any of the homelessness in America or in the video in a previous post. Putin didn’t repeal Glass-Steagall. Putin Did not bailout Wall St. Putin didn’t poison the water in Flint Michigan. Putin didn’t bundle lots of bad mortgages and sell them to be invested by brokers/pensioners. Putin has not destroyed our schools. Putin hasn’t developed charter schools in the US. Putin has no influence upon the bankruptcy courts in the US. Putin has enacted no legislation that has allowed golden parachutes for executives to the detriment of workers. Putin is not gutting our forests. Putin is not the cause of uber gentrification in US cities. Putin isn’t causing prescription drug prices to run amok. Putin is not influencing the hardship upon seniors in the U.S. Putin isn’t blocking universal healthcare in the US. Putin isn’t prosecuting US whistleblowers. Putin isn’t militarizing US law enforcement agencies. Putin has no influence of the FDA and didn’t gut FEMA as Bush II had done. Putin has no influence in providing subsidies for billionaire sports team owners in the US to the detriment of the city/town’s schools. Putin isn’t keeping lots of immigrants in Detention Camps.

    https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/opinions/reyes-immigration-detention/index.html

    Putin is the nice shiny object de rigueur at the moment. If we concentrate on Putin and the impossible wrt impeachment….Then all pertinent subjects fall by the wayside. Straight down to the rabbit hole of “We Done Forgot”(sic). We don’t even have to think about those homeless people. Perhaps a luminary such as Henry Kissinger will suggest the homeless could simply be shot as they do in Guatemala? He does have cachet,yes? Plus,as Americans,it’s always about aesthetics over substance,no?

    Which reminds me of a line from the song The Last Resort by the Eagles; Somebody laid the mountains low while the town got high. Yep,Putin and all of this Trump,Trump,Trump 24/7/365 is a method of laying those mountains down.

    Is the oncoming election a game over if it doesn’t swing Democratic? Nope. Game Over came to fruition 4+ decades ago.

  26. I’m pretty sure that we’ll read frequently this year that the status quo is terrible but the best we can do. I can’t imagine anything else Republicans have to run on.

    I personally don’t buy that for a second. I don’t think that it’s possible to do worse but even random choices for replacement of the entire group now would achieve some improvement.

    Much to gain and nothing to lose. How many times in life do odds of success get that good?

  27. Can Trump actually fire Mueller? and what all illegal and unethical actions are being covered up by current events? If they told him he was going to have to be examined for competence, what would he do? Go golfing? He’s gotten rid of anyone who could modify his behavior. I prefer to read. You learn a lot more. TV garbles my brain. It hops around and makes it hard to think. I miss Moyers. He wasn’t rude or loud and he had interesting speakers. I have to hold it all at arm’s length so I won’t get hysterical, what with assault weapons, box bombs, and Trump twitting at 3 a.m with notions that have global consequences. He needs to be locked up.
    Well, that winds it up. Pizza time.

  28. If William and leon are right, we may as well move to a new colony and start the whole democratic process over. Create a new constitution and laws to deal with our current political problems and see how long it lasts – 200 years??

    I have another idea. Let’s raise the salaries of all elected officials to say $1MM per year; limit political donations to say $5000 from any source, publicly fund political campaigns at 80-90% level and engage the Ethics offices and committees to fire anyone who cheats, with due process. I think it could work.

  29. William, thank you for reminding us of Gulf War 2. Gulf War 2 and the War in Afghanistan are now like long running Broadway plays, the lines have changed a bit over the years, the actors over the years have changed Bush 2, Obama and now Trump as the president, the play (wars) goes on but you get the picture.

    The Golden Parachute works in government too. Given the disaster of 9/11, the total failure of our intelligence agencies, you might think someone in the High Command would have been sacked or cashiered. Not even Bush 2, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell and the Pentagon Gangsters moved on so to speak to Gulf War 2.

    General after General has been sent to “fight” these wars. The Generals do not fight, they are probably in a Hitler like bunker exposed only to paper cuts. These Generals all have some strategy that fails, but not to worry they can get a guest spot on FOX, CNN or MSDNC, write a book or get a job with a defense contractor.

    Some of the grunts may come in a box or shattered in mind or body. Millions of people in the Middle East killed, wounded, missing and refugees because of our War Machine but we do not see them. Just so those of us on the Home Front can feel good about all the carnage, we have the Warriors on Parade at the Stupor Bowl with lots of flags and fly over.

    How They Sold the Iraq War https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/20/how-they-sold-the-iraq-war/

  30. daleb:”Let’s raise the salaries of all elected officials to say $1MM per year.”

    I hope you’re being flippant,because most of our reps are multimillionaires. By giving them an extra million you believe they’re suddenly going to start looking out for the ordinary citizen? How much is Feinstein worth? One more million in her account will make all of the difference and she will suddenly and consequently just do the right thing,eh?

  31. Tom Lund @ 12:52 yesterday-
    Perfect timely post, Tom, but how do we send toxic sh!t-ass-queer Pence packing too?
    Maybe his wife will take him by his free hand?

  32. Dear OMG,

    I’ve always thought myself that it has to be a package deal with Pence going out the door. Way too risky to leave such a consummate minor leaguer in charge of anything. She seems like a good person given the work she’s done for Riley Hospital, my home away from home for a long time, so perhaps she’ll see the need to do exactly that. If you have any other ideas on this please pass them on!!

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