There used to a subtle art to corruption

What kind of upside down society are we living in these days? Sure, there’s always been bribery and corruption, but scumlord public servants had the common decency to try and hide it. And when they were caught with their grubby mitts in the honeypot, an example was made of them, like what happened with Rod Blagojevich. Ah, sweet memories of a better time…

Because we live in the too-firm-handshake, open corruption days of King Donald, things have changed hugely. Kellyanne Conway’s husband George T. Conway III represented a group that basically hand-delivered bribes to members of Congress. Like, literally all of them.

The presidential campaign choices that seemed so weird are proving to be 100% Russian infiltration. Let’s try a thought experiment and assume every one of Trump/Bannon’s cabinet picks is complicit.

From that perspective, it’s easy to see why Paul Ryan isn’t doing or saying anything that doesn’t involve taking away your insurance. All he has to do is hold on for dear life and he may very well be the next president. But what is the Senate Oversight Committee doing? Investigating leaks? You have to think that the light treason should be the more pressing matter. Unless more of these guys are bought.

Condottiero Erik Prince is definitely advising Trump. Erik has a sister, Betsy, who married a man named Dick DeVos with a net worth of 5.5 billion dollars. Betsy used their substantial fortune to influence the Senate. Tons of senators got payments to swing their confirmation votes in her direction.  Here’s a list of sitting U.S. Senators who have received money from DeVos:

Of the list, only Senator Murkowski voted no on Betsy Devos’s confirmation. I don’t see how the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee wouldn’t want to ask maybe a couple of questions about that, so at the least Chaffetz is implicated now.  I wouldn’t be shocked if McConnell is too. Everyone who took money from DeVos is tainted.

Andrew Puzder may have been a salty-burger-slinging wife-beater but I bet if we tug on the leftover threads from his aborted confirmation hard enough we will find out more about his Russian business connections.

What about so-called “Russian business connections”? Is it suddenly so evil to do business with citizens of our rival superpower? Why does every story about Trump’s Russian ties have the feeling of the first 15 minutes of a Tom Clancy movie? You would think in a global economy that it would be inevitable that the richest companies from the US and Russia would be happily doing business with each other all the time, so why is everyone lying about it? Why are the ranking members of Donald Trump’s administration acting like teenagers who are trying to hide their high from their parents? Cut the shit, boys – we know you’re on drugs.

People are worried about a purge of the intelligence community, but if the outer government ever tries to lean on them it will be tragic for whomever brings that order. You can’t fire the guy with all your illegal dirty secrets and the proof to back it up. You would have to be desperate to fuck over your own intelligence agencies. That, or you would have to know you could beat them. I don’t want to imagine the latter proposition.

The thing that the inaction of these actors has made clear is that the political purge that needs to happen is in the House and Senate.

 

 

The Fate Of Obama’s Tepid Reforms

In the halcyon days of 2010, passage of the Dodd-Frank Act seemed to reassure the Democrats and independents who voted Barack Obama into office that concrete steps had been taken to safeguard the market against the flagrant chicanery that led to The Great Recession. The “Too Big To Fail” stress test provision in particular was to be the balm to still-lingering economic uncertainty that troubled the lower classes. The reforms typified the Obama approach: capitulatory and decidedly tepid. Dodd-Frank never quite worked out as promised, but as neoliberal policy it performed its function of maintaining Wall Street’s primacy with minor modifications.

Also typical of Obama’s half-measures to serious structural problems: The protracted struggle for moderate change against intransigent foes seems like a cosmic joke now that Donald Trump is taking a scythe to every piece of paper the last president signed off on. The coke-addled psychopaths at the stock exchange welcomed Trump’s proclamation that Dodd-Frank will be dismantled. The act’s provisions have placed such an undue burden on the financial sector that commercial lending is at a 70-year-high. It must be a coincidence that it rose steadily starting in 2010. It will also be a coincidence that the president unfettered the wealthy to plunder what little the rest of us are holding on to the next time the economic comes shuddering to a halt.

(Year Zero/Day Fifteen)

Donny Gives Us The Pipe

“I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist, I believe in it, but it’s out of control…”

It really is out of control. If it’s not having chemicals dumped into it somewhere, or getting dried up and desolate, or raging and trying to kill us off with weather,  the environment is drunk texting me pictures of its dick at 3:00 a.m. And in general the environment’s dicks are weird. Have you even seen echidna dicks? Four heads.

But that’s not what the President was talking about.

…and we’re going to make it a very short process. And we’re going to either give you your permits, or we’re not going to give you your permits. But you’re going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we’re going to be giving you your permits.”
– President Trump

The call to the trough.

I suppose we could take the optimist view and say that the Keystone XL will bring back some of those jobs the President campaigned on but the reality of real, permanent jobs is grim. And I suppose you could get upset about the impact on the environment but at best that impact will be no worse than it is anyway. The spice must flow after all.

It looks bleak if you lived in a town where the drinking water has been polluted or the wells have run dry. It certainly looks bleak if you stood in the cold Dakota air while being sprayed with a fire hose.  And if you make a living from the boom of renewable energy ushered in by the previous administration, you’re probably feeling the same dread  the battered rust belt automatons disenfranchised by NAFTA that elected the President have felt since Bush 2: Electric Boogaloo.

And you have to have sympathy for the beleaguered middle American worker, as well as those besieged by corporate interests in polluting their homes. The President’s executive orders on pipelines are merely a signal. A subtle wink and nod to his friends in corporate America that things like environmental regulations shouldn’t get in the way of their dreams of profit. A knowing, orange tinted smile to reassure them that the long night of federal oversight and public concern is finally giving way to dawn.

Where green energy is quickly outpacing traditional energy sources and the majority of Americans concerned about the effect of man-made climate change, it’s hard to see this as anything more than a thinly veiled handout to the President’s billionaire class cronies. One that leaves us sitting in a poisoned wasteland, beholden to the very interests that destroyed it. We’re about to get fucked by corporate America’s hydra-like echidna dick.