Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Drain the swamp?  Lol.

by digby

I wrote about corruption, Pruitt,Mulvaney, Trump etc etc --- for Salon this morning:

Donald Trump has a habit of stealing slogans and then insisting he made them up.The most obvious is "Make American Great Again" which he blatantly stole from the 1980 Reagan campaign. (He claims he came up with it independently.) When he called himself the "law and order" candidate, he probably didn't realize that he was lifting the slogan from Richard Nixon, who used it as one of the all-time effective racist dog whistles. Trump just knows one when he hears it. "America First" goes all the way back to the late 1930s and referred to the isolationist movement that protested any American involvement in the European war against Hitler.

Trump's not the most original guy in the world. But he does have a knack for picking up slogans that have a certain political resonance even if he's completely clueless about why. All of those make sense for a conservative candidate. But he may have gone too far when he chose "drain the swamp." That one has been in the political lexicon for centuries, most recently deployed by Nancy Pelosi back in 2006 when the Democrats ran their successful "culture of corruption" campaign. And it may very well be the one old slogan he should have left on the shelf.

When Trump started using the phrase, journalists just assumed he meant that he was saying he would root out all the lobbying and revolving door forms of legalized corruption because that's traditionally what the phrase has meant. And truthfully, when he introduced the slogan in October of 2016, he also introduced a set of ethics reforms:
Reinstate a five-year ban to prevent executive branch officials from lobbying after they leave office and prevent an executive action from lifting it.

Introduce a similar five-year ban on former members of Congress from lobbying after ending government service.

Expand the definition of lobbyists and close loopholes that allow former government officials to label themselves as consultants and advisers.

Lifetime ban on senior executive branch officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

Campaign finance reform that prevents registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in American elections and politics.
I'm going to guess you didn't remember any of that and that's because it's pretty much the last you ever heard of them. But he didn't ever stop saying he was going to "drain the swamp" and his voters never stopped chanting it and cheering for it. And that's because it came to mean something quite different and I suspect it's what he meant all along: he was promising to drain the government swamp of political opposition, not corruption. In fact, you can say "lock her up" and "drain the swamp" in the same breath.

Congressional Republicans have never had the slightest appetite for cleaning up corruption. In recent years they pretty much institutionalized it. This Sunlight Foundation website which tracks Trump's overwhelming personal conflicts of interest show that since he took office it has now become a free-for-all of graft and corruption at the highest level. And his administration isn't even trying to hide it.

The White House Budget Director and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Mick Mulvaney gave a speech to a group of bankers and basically told them they had to pay to play, right out in the open. According to the Washington Post he said:
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” said Mulvaney, who was a leading conservative in the House until President Trump tapped him to be the White House budget director, a job he still holds. “If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

He did add that he would always talk to constituents too which is nice.

Mulvaney was basically laying out the terms of a bribe. If you want favorable banking legislation, you're going to need to put up some cash. It doesn't get any starker than that. The fact that this is the man in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which he loathes and wants to shut down) is just too perfect.

That's just the latest in a string of such stories in the Trump administration and it's only bee 15 months since the inauguration. Setting aside those pertaining to the president and his family, the cabinet is setting records for corruption scandals. Starting with Trump's first HHS secretary Tom Price who spent more than $1 million of taxpayer funds on his own travel in private jet in the first few months, to Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin who tried to commandeer government aircraft for his honeymoon and is still spending vast sums on travel and expenses and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who is also dinging taxpyers for expensive travel and wanted to spend $139,000 on a couple of office doors and HUD secretary Ben Carson who is completely asleep at the wheel but nonetheless found the energy to order a $39,000 table, blame it on his wife and then belatedly admit that he was involved after all.

But for all that, there is one cabinet member who puts all the others to shame when it comes to corrupt practices. That would be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. From his bizarre requirement for a vast security detail and first class travel ostensibly for his protection and an expensive sound proof booth in his office to sweetheart deals with lobbyists and donors and excessive pay raises for his favored underlings it seems there's a new scandal every day. But his agency is efficiently deploying a wrecking ball to the environmental regulatory apparatus so he's had some protection from the GOP's wealthy owners, at least up until now.

But the word is that the bad news is starting to look like a liability even to these brazen Republicans. According to the Washington Post, a number of elected officials are starting to get uncomfortable with him. He's scheduled to appear before two House Committees today and the word is that some members of the White House are hoping he flames out:
Inside the White House, the EPA chief has lost the backing of many senior aides, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, and communications officials, lawyers and Cabinet affairs officials, whose calls he ignores. He is not interested in “turning the page,” as one senior administration official put it Wednesday.
The New York Times reports that Pruitt has a strategy all worked out. He's obviously learned from the master. He plans to blame everyone but himself. That's exactly what President Trump would do. And then he'd brag about his grand success at draining the swamp.

“We haven’t seen anything like this—anything like this,” says Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “If you lined [Trump’s cabinet] all up and just took a random poke, you’d be far more likely than not to hit somebody who has engaged in some corrupt practices, or practices that have violated every norm that we have about how you use taxpayer dollars.”