Competency and conscience

I want to highlight two events from yesterday.  First James Joyner’s response to the mass resignation of the membership of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

 

And secondly, the decision by Admiral Harward to turn down the National Security Advisor position because he could not bring in his own staff:

Both of these moves in isolation make perfect sense. One is because the admiral thought he would not be able to do a job to his personal perception of acceptable competence without his ability to choose his own staff and the other is because clear moral lines were passed.

And the downside is exactly what James outlines. Acts of either professional competence or personal competence where integrity requires disassociation and resignation means the replacement will be far worse. Personal integrity of the competent and well meaning leads to governance by the Brietbart comment section, third raters and grifters.  We are getting the Provisional Coalition Authority on the Potomac where Heritage interns are overqualified compared to the other applicants who actively want the job.

For the career civil service folks as well as political appointees who are more conservative than my preference but are fundamentally competent, this is a nasty acid test of their personal beliefs.  Are their beliefs better served by remaining for fear of who replaces them, or to leave once a red line is crossed.  I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone, I just know that it is an acid test for integrity.

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177 replies
  1. 1
    JMG says:

    It’s a given those in less exalted positions than NSA will be given orders at some point which will force them to resign if they have any integrity or conscience. Better to never have joined the administration in the first place It’s not going to buff up anyone’s resume 5 years from now.
    I understand the argument you’re posing, but as the old New England saying goes, you can’t shine shit.

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  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Are their beliefs better served by remaining for fear of who replaces them, or to leave once a red line is crossed. I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone, I just know that it is an acid test for integrity.

    I, for one, has always felt the “fight them from the inside” tack is misguided. People kept trying to lay some version of this on Colin Powell during GWB but what we really saw was that he was a man with no integrity, period.
    It’s easy to say from here, but basically, they are going to overwhelm the people who just want to be competent and professional. And then they will be associated with all their evil anyway.

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  3. 3

    @JMG: I don’t think I am advancing an argument. I am describing a turd

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  4. 4
    Doug R says:

    So we’re not enjoying Susan Sarandon’s ☆GLORIOUS REVOLUTION! ☆?

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  5. 5

    I don’t get the love many FPers have for OTB bloggers. They are bog standard Republicans with slightly better manners than the ones who go for rallies of you know who. They are the David Brookses and Susan Collinses of the bloggy world. Fuck them and their faux reasonable schtick.

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  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I just don’t know. I can see the point of view of “someone has to do it, it should be someone with competency” vs. “shit, I just can’t do this for a cheeto-faced shitgibbon”. At some point, one has to decide if following orders is the right thing or the wrong thing to do.

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  7. 7
    germy says:

    Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    Some of the aides were “walked out of the building by security” on Wednesday after not passing the SF86, a Questionnaire for National Security Positions for security clearance.

    Among those who won’t be working at the White House was President Donald Trump’s director of scheduling, Caroline Wiles, the daughter of Susan Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign director and former campaign manager for Governor Rick Scott. Wiles, who resigned Friday before the background check was completed, was appointed deputy assistant secretary before the inauguration in January. Two sources close to Wiles said she will get another job in Treasury.

    She’s among others who failed to pass the intensive background check, which includes questions on the applicant’s credit score, substance use and other personal subjects.

    A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

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  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone: Colin Powell threw his integrity away for his career back in ‘Nam.

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  9. 9
    Wjs says:

    Why prop up a failing regime? This is not an ‘administration.’ It is a deeply unpopular regime and it must fail. If Trump succeeds, there is too great a chance that the Democrats will nominate a terrible candidate who will get rolled in 2020. Making Trump the most hated man in America is a noble endeavour.

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  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    I think refusing to accept an appointment is the right call. Once a person of integrity is inside the Trump regime, they’re going to be facing constant pressure to give in and get with the Trump program. They may be able to stick up for their principles for a little while, but before very long they’re going to have to give, resign, or be fired. I don’t think we’re particularly well served by that happening, especially because those people will help to give the Trump regime legitimacy that it lacks.

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  11. 11
    ruemara says:

    I’m sorry, but fuck this. Do you want competent people handling the fascist agenda or the people who have revealed they’re only the master race if they’re compared to the intellect of tree fungus? Let decent, competent folks make their choices because resisting from the inside while still responsible for carrying out unconscionable acts is only easy in movies, where they get to cut out the day to day of it.

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  12. 12
    germy says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Fuck them and their faux reasonable schtick.

    Agreed.

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  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy: They should have escorted the shitgibbon out too. He’s got financial alarm sirens going off all over the place for any normal peasant seeking SECRET access, let alone TS.

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  14. 14
    germy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: He ain’t going anywhere. He can sign whatever they put in front of him.

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  15. 15
    divF says:

    @germy: I’ve been filling out SF86’s (successfully) for 40+ years (most recently last year), and the bar is not all that high. They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they are getting large numbers of bounces.

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  16. 16
    quakerinabasement says:

    Harward. Not Hayward.

    Or Ol’ Shit Sandwich, if you prefer.

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  17. 17
    germy says:

    @divF:

    They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel

    But who else would agree to apply?

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  18. 18
    RoonieRoo says:

    Frum wrote an article on this not that long ago. The short take is to remember that when things go wrong and people go to prison, it will be you going to prison and not them.

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  19. 19

    @schrodingers_cat: A couple of reasons.

    1) I learn something when I read Steve Taylor and James is thoughtful (Mataconis is utterly uninteresting and Verndon is actively negative information)
    2) James will present an argument that I otherwise would not see
    3) I’m trying to avoid epistemological closure so I need to be aware of what other arguments are out there.

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  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I can see the point of view of “someone has to do it, it should be someone with competency”

    That sounds great until you remember that a lot of what they’re going to be asked to do is evil. I’d much rather have incompetent people doing that.

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  21. 21
    lollipopguild says:

    @Wjs: If trump is “successful’ we may not have a country by 2020.

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  22. 22
    quakerinabasement says:

    They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel

    I think it has already been exhaustively proven that there is no bottom to this barrel. There’s always someone nuttier and scummier.

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  23. 23
    🌷 Martin says:

    Here’s my advice to people facing that situation, as I have in the past.

    Fixing the system from the inside requires a realistic expectation that it’s possible. The structural elements need to be there. The likelihood of success can be low, and you have to be willing to weather that situation – accepting failure, but taking pride in the attempt. In that case, it’s a noble effort that I support (and have tried).

    However, if the structural elements aren’t there, and there is no realistic expectation, then everyone is actually best served by stepping back, letting the construct collapse so that it can be rebuilt properly.

    The stated calculus for Hayward is the wrong calculus. He may have understood the correct calculus and not been willing to state it – I trust everyone’s assessment that he’s a smart, capable guy. The correct calculus for Hayward was to take the job in order to speed the WH to either impeachment or Article 25. That’s the only possible route because the structural elements are lacking – 45 is incompetent and unfit and you cannot work with that any more than you can defy physics. If his calculus was working with the NSC elements toward a rational policy and proper advisement of the President, that’s impossible. So the only service he could provide would be to take down the President. Whether you view that as a noble thing or not is pretty personal, so I wouldn’t judge someone on how they make that decision, but that’s the real decision here – ‘can I provide utility in removing this person from office’. Everything else is noise.

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  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Completely. But we all agreed to forget all about that part of it and come together to unanimously accord him “Great Man” status.
    You see, that is why it was so, so agonizing that he just couldn’t use his greatness and persuasion powers to authoritatively derail the W/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal’s push for war in Iraq. So heartbreaking.

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  25. 25
    encephalopath says:

    Alternatively, competent people executing the agenda of terrible people lends credibility to that agenda. When they leave and are replaced by agents of the terrible people, the actions of that office are automatically suspect in a way they would not be if the competent people had stayed.

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  26. 26
    hovercraft says:

    . Acts of either professional competence or personal competence where integrity requires disassociation and resignation means the replacement will be far worse.

    This is the dilemma competent people face, I know that I’d be conflicted, not wanting to endorse him by my mere presence, while on the other hand how do you allow a deplorable to be appointed in your stead.

    Adam L Silverman
    says:

    February 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    @hovercraft: I know one of the NSC Directors. Not sure if he’s a holdover at this point. Have known him for years. He previously held the same position under the Bush 41 Administration (if I’m remembering correctly). My guess is he took the position because he’d done it before and he’s a professional who didn’t want a hack filling it if he said no.

    hovercraft
    says:

    February 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I get it, that’s the dillema facing every professional, do I stay and try to limit/mitigate the damage, or leave on principle. I can see both sides, but in the end, I don’t know that there is a way to limit/mitigate, this crew is so ignorant that they don’t realize the damage they are doing, and they don’t believe anyone not in the inner circle who tries to explain it to them. Think about the Bush administration and 9/11, that was a group of people with real knowledge and supposed expertise, and they ignored the Clinton warnings about Al Qaeda, they discounted everything they were warned about and look how that turned out. This lot, there’s no telling how bad they’ll mess up.

    @Adam L Silverman
    says:

    February 16, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    @hovercraft: In this case I know what he’s the director of and we’re damned lucky he’s in that position right now.

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  27. 27
    JPL says:

    We have a President that can be blackmailed by both a foreign and domestic government. The Republicans don’t care what damage he causes, as long as he signs the legislation they want passed.
    They have the power of impeachment, and will use it, unless he rids us of medicare, medicaid, social security and ACA. They want tax cuts for the one percent, and they want it now.
    The only government workers with a guaranteed pension and health care are going to be representatives and senators.
    Yeah, I wouldn’t work for Trump and his cronies. Mattis might think he can make a difference, but that’s unlikely.

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  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    @divF:

    I’ve been filling out SF86’s (successfully) for 40+ years

    Geez, you must burn really easy.

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  29. 29
    sukabi says:

    @Roger Moore: not to mention that they will be the sacrificial lamb when the shit hits the fan.

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  30. 30
    Timurid says:

    @RoonieRoo: There’s an adage from the academic job market: “When something goes wrong, it’s always the fault of the person who doesn’t have a job when it’s over.”

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  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    @JMG:

    Totally agree. I would not consider it worth it to stay on because I would, probably sooner rather than later, be asked to do something beyond the pale and have to resign. Fuck that. Just get out while I could.

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  32. 32
    Weaselone says:

    Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen.

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  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    On another dilemma of note, I am unable to understand how anyone can sit beside (fmr) Rep Nan Hayworth-R and not punch her in the face, repeatedly.

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  34. 34
    Wapiti says:

    @divF: I don’t think it’s that they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. I think the Trump organization selects based on personal interaction/grifting opportunities, not on competence or experience. Anyone with competence and experience will likely already have prior government service, so have passed the SF86 hurdle.

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  35. 35
    Calouste says:

    @divF: The bar that is too high for applicants to the regime is “don’t lie on security clearance forms”. These people are fundamentally incapable of not lying.

    I’ve seen that quite a bit with recruiters. They would lie even if speaking the truth would be better advance their case. They have just internalized that speaking the truth is for losers, so lying is always better to them.

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  36. 36
    charon says:

    @David Anderson:

    I usually skip the actual posts, but I find the commenters at OTB pretty interesting.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37

    @David Anderson: BS dressed up in pretty words is still BS. At this pt, anyone who is making excuses for Republicans is no friend of mine.

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  38. 38
    🌷 Martin says:

    Well, this is a cheery above the fold article.

    Ahmed Bedier, former executive director of CAIR’s Tampa chapter, said ACT distorts Islam and works to present it as a belief that doesn’t deserve religious protection in the United States. He considers that a very dangerous proposition for the American Muslim population.

    “These guys are the fringe of the fringe, and now they have people on the inside of the most powerful government in the world,” said Bedier, who has frequently sparred publicly with ACT. “They’re fascists. They don’t want any presence of Muslims in America. And the only Muslim that is acceptable to them is a former Muslim.”

    ACT, based in Virginia Beach, has nearly 17,500 volunteers and 17 staff members, according to tax records. Gabriel says ACT has 500,000 “relentless grass-roots warriors,” such as White, who are “ready to do whatever it takes to achieve our goal of a safer America.”

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  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    Several White House staffers were dismissed Thursday morning after failing FBI background checks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    Trump’s smooth running machine needs a little maintenance.

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  40. 40
    germy says:

    @Brachiator:

    Trump’s smooth running machine needs a little maintenance.

    Sneakers in a dryer.

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  41. 41

    It isn’t necessarily only an integrity question for someone like Harward. It’s a professional one. Would his long term career options be hurt by working for a crazy, treasonous nutbag like Herr Gropenfuhrer? That’s an easy question to answer.

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  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @sukabi:

    not to mention that they will be the sacrificial lamb when the shit hits the fan.

    I don’t think that’s much of an issue in the big picture. It sucks to take the blame, but if you have personal integrity and know in your heart it won’t be your fault, you can have some confidence you’ll be vindicated by history. I’d be a lot more worried by the constant pressure to sacrifice my integrity, the knowledge I couldn’t stay long if I weren’t willing to do so, and the worry that I’d be giving Trump undeserved credibility in the process.

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  43. 43
    TenguPhule says:

    Acts of either professional competence or personal competence where integrity requires disassociation and resignation means the replacement will be far worse.

    On the plus side, it means there will be no innocents in the Halls of Power when the mob is out for their blood.

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  44. 44
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌷 Martin: 17,500 brownshirts in need of a firing squad. Cheerful thought, isn’t it?

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  45. 45
    hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I would ask why you are still watching, but sigh, I have my own bad habits that I can’t seem to break. I just went over to the GOS, and look at what I found on the Rec. List:

    Rachel Maddow… Please stop calling us democrats!

    Friday Feb 17, 2017

    …………Democratic candidates may benefit from our passion, our conviction, our energy. This we can only hope. But, beneficiaries be warned: You better freakin’ represent! That positive outcome, however, does not justify the assumption that this very essential, extremely important resistance is, in any way shape or form, a faction of the Democratic Party or a movement for which the party can take any credit whatsoever. (I will restrain myself from discussing how that pack of lamebrains are directly responsible for the quagmire in which we find ourselves today.)

    This much is true, my dear Rachel. We are citizens. We are individuals. Many of us are Independents, some are Greens or Libertarians. Regardless, it is imperative that this coalition remain united in our conscientious resistance to bigotry, fear, and willful ignorance and in our commitment to progressive ideals.

    And by labeling us Democrats, you, along with the media at large, run the risk of alienating, fragmenting the many who refuse to or simply cannot identify with major party labels because of what our dysfunctional, two-party, us-against-them, always-blame-the-other side system has wrought.

    _______________________________________________

    So please can we stop giving a shit about who these precious snow flakes want to be the next leader of the democratic party, can we craft our rules so that they have no say in who our nominee is. Since the find being called democrats alienating, can we make sure that they are not tainted by being able to participate in any party activities.

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  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    I want to highlight two events from yesterday. First James Joyner’s response to the mass resignation of the membership of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

    That’ll teach him. Now he’ll have to pack the commission with people hand-picked by Steve Bannon. https://t.co/1jGxMx780u

    — James Joyner (@DrJJoyner) February 17, 2017

    I can’t decide for anyone else if they’re going to be a slave catcher.

    I can only decide for MYSELF if I’m going to be a slave catcher.

    And, I view any non-White person who works with this Administration to be a Slave Catcher.
    Period.

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  47. 47
    Spanky says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    The correct calculus for Hayward was to take the job in order to speed the WH to either impeachment or Article 25. That’s the only possible route because the structural elements are lacking – 45 is incompetent and unfit and you cannot work with that any more than you can defy physics. If his calculus was working with the NSC elements toward a rational policy and proper advisement of the President, that’s impossible. So the only service he could provide would be to take down the President. Whether you view that as a noble thing or not is pretty personal, so I wouldn’t judge someone on how they make that decision, but that’s the real decision here – ‘can I provide utility in removing this person from office’. Everything else is noise.

    Agree elebenty jillion percent. And frankly, this is what is going on at lower levels. Do the job you were doing pre-1/20/17, and if new orders come down … do what you were doing pre-1/20/17. At the worst, you’re gumming up the works.

    ReplyReply
  48. 48
    hovercraft says:

    @Brachiator: @germy:

    So smooth is his machine that even our clueless masses are noticing:

    Trump Disapproval Reaches New Heights In Gallup Poll

    Just four weeks into his term, 56 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President, according to a Gallup’s daily poll released Friday.

    It’s the highest disapproval for Trump to date in the Gallup survey.

    Gallup averages survey results from the previous three days. Through Thursday, the most recent numbers available, 56 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump’s performance, while just 38 percent approved.

    That’s an 18 percent net drop since the poll started tracking the new President’s numbers. Trump started, on Jan. 22, with his approval and disapproval numbers tied at 45 percent, according to Gallup.

    I know, I know, FAKE NEWS !!!!</strong>

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  49. 49
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    For the career civil service folks as well as political appointees who are more conservative than my preference but are fundamentally competent…

    You’re assuming that a) such people actually exist, and b) they can be found…

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  50. 50
    Nora says:

    @Corner Stone: Agree 100%. She used to be my Representative and I was SO glad when my city got gerrymandered out of her district.

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  51. 51
    jacy says:

    1) Everything Trump is associated with crashes and burns eventually — why buy a ticket on the Hindenburg? Everyone who gets close to these yahoos is going to end up smelling like shit.
    2) It seems like changing things or ameliorating damage from the inside is a fool’s errand, when the whole system is so corrupted and shoddily run by people who don’t have even the most basic understanding of how things work, and no interest in making things work, and are often set on making things NOT work on purpose.
    3) Life is too short to put yourself into a pressure cooker, where you realize that your integrity will be compromised on a daily basis, when you’re going to have to constantly fight to keep your soul intact, when every day is going to be series of defeats and disgraces.

    In short, why would anybody with any sense, honor, or intelligence want to be involved with this on any level? I can’t see a realistic upside.

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  52. 52
    Chip Daniels says:

    Its always romantic and easy to envision some brave soul monkeywrenching things from the inside, or boldly standing up in a meeting to declare, “NO, Mr. President I do NOT agree!”.

    But for anyone whose worked in a large firm, we know how difficult it is to see moral clarity on a day to day basis.
    Where exactly is our dividing line, which minor insignificant order is the straw that breaks us, which step is the one that crosses the line?
    We are social creatures, its in our nature to go along to get along.

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  53. 53
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Spanky:

    45 is incompetent and unfit and you cannot work with that any more than you can defy physics

    But… but… FAKE SCIENCE!!! SAD!!!

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  54. 54
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Even the “competent” ones suck. Reports out of Munich are that Mattis spoke for 5 minutes, said nothing of substance and sat down, pretty much stunning those in attendance.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    Spanky says:

    Trump isn’t the only delusional one in this country.

    But the reason consumers and CEOs are so excited is because they expect Trump to get going on his “pro-growth agenda.” Business leaders — big and small — want tax cuts, not lengthy press conferences hammering the press and his former rival Hillary Clinton.

    As a Trump supporter in Kentucky told CNNMoney recently, “He already won the election. Just shut up about the votes.”

    Business CEOs have been clear: They want lower taxes, infrastructure spending and some regulations scaled back (or just not as strictly enforced).

    Trump voters have also been clear: They want jobs, jobs, jobs that pay more than minimum wage.

    The question is whether Trump can get back on track to focus on these issues with Congress. If he does that, a lot of the “chaos” of his first weeks in office will likely fade.

    “The bullish scenario is that Trump comes to realize quickly that he must use most of his political capital to fast-track tax cuts, tax reform, repatriated earnings, and deregulation,” wrote economist Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research in a note this week.

    The crazies are everywhere. They’re like zombies.

    ETA: Yes, he said “Trump” and “political capital” in the same sentence.

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  56. 56
    🌷 Martin says:

    @hovercraft: Look, it’ll pick up, He’s still in the honeymoon period, and you know how awful honeymoons are.

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  57. 57
    Yarrow says:

    @Spanky:

    Business CEOs have been clear: They want lower taxes, infrastructure spending and some regulations scaled back (or just not as strictly enforced).

    The sooner we quit worshiping CEOs the better off we’ll be. Maybe the disastrous Republican Trump CEO presidency will begin to change opinions about how great they are at everything.

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  58. 58
    hovercraft says:

    House Science Chair Renews Fight With NY, Mass. AGs Over Exxon Probes

    House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) on Thursday issued new subpoenas to the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts seeking documents related to their probes into ExxonMobil, reinvigorating the panel’s investigation into those states’ efforts.

    But it looks like the stalemate between Smith and the attorneys general will continue, as both officials plan to ignore the chairman’s demands for information on their efforts to determine whether Exxon misled investors regarding climate change………………

    ………”With Exxon’s former CEO — a key figure in Attorney General Schneiderman’s fraud investigation — now serving as President Trump’s Secretary of State, we’re not surprised that Exxon’s lobbyists were able to buy another flimsy House subpoena,” Scheiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said Friday in a statement to TPM. “Lamar Smith’s only interest is protecting his donors at Exxon from multiple federal and state fraud investigations. Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation will not be deterred.”………………

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  59. 59
    Davebo says:

    And yet Joyner is still a Republican because…. reasons.

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @Wjs:

    Why prop up a failing regime? This is not an ‘administration.’ It is a deeply unpopular regime and it must fail. If Trump succeeds, there is too great a chance that the Democrats will nominate a terrible candidate who will get rolled in 2020. Making Trump the most hated man in America is a noble endeavour.

    Horse shit. It IS an administration. It IS the goddam government, no matter how shitty it is.

    It ain’t gonna fall, like a “regime” in another country. If Trump resigns or is impeached, Pence will become president and life goes on. And we don’t yet know what will happen with legislation, judges, etc.

    There is no fucking connection between what happens to Trump and the quality of a Democratic nominee in 2020.

    There is work to do, now, looking towards the midterms and hopefully 2020. But put down the crack pipe.

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  61. 61
    hovercraft says:

    @Spanky:
    Could you let them know I have a 58/68 story gold building I’d like to sell them, it’s located in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue at 57 th Street.
    How the hell do these people tie their own shoelaces in the morning? Morans.

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  62. 62
    elm says:

    It is good that competent and capable people will not work for this administration. One thing that enabled fascists in Europe was “good” administrators worked for fascist leadership and facilitated their evil work.

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  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    One other thing to think of is how much good somebody with a high profile can do by standing up and saying no to Trump’s face. Turning down a job as NSA is one thing; saying the reason you’re doing it is because the job would be a shit sandwich is the kind of public rebuke that can actually hurt badly with persuadable people. If everyone with a hit of competence and integrity is publicly standing up and saying they won’t touch Trump with a 10 foot pole, it could have a real effect.

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  64. 64
    Downpuppy says:

    Jeet Heer changed his mind on this yesterday. He now figures there’s no hope of mitigation; taking a job just means helping the insanity to continue for as long as you keep your mouth shut & do the job.

    I get where he’s coming from. Having respectable names on a few doors normalizes their appearance without doing anything to stop the horrorshow.

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  65. 65
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @hovercraft:

    How the hell do these people tie their own shoelaces in the morning? Morans.

    Velcro…

    If I were you, I’d invest in edible paste futures… might as well make some money while you can…

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: Insert contrarian comment to your insufferably contrarian bent.

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  67. 67
    ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Thing is that you know all too well, in the military they teach you from day one that you can’t follow an unlawful order. The other people in government may not have the luxury.

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  68. 68
    Spanky says:

    Ah! An enemies list from a poor, put-upon snowflake:

    In her first full week as U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos wasted no time in getting to work to try to explain her vision for education and the U.S. Education Department — and to go after her critics, saying they want to make her life “a living hell.” She also said she has identified people in the department who want her to fail, but vowed not to let them.

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  69. 69
    GrandJury says:

    At this point everything is a cluster f u k anyways. I don’t think I am being anarchist or rebellious or fatalist when I say that I want things to go from bad to worse. it will need to hit bottom one way or another before Repubs are forced to impeach is his sorry a$$. So the quicker that happens the better.

    Besides, his replacement is VP Dense which is definitely not an improvement.

    ReplyReply
  70. 70
    Mary G says:

    Another old saying comes to mind – lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

    ReplyReply
  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @Downpuppy: I don’t see how it’s even an argument to be put forward, really.
    If you are not a Dept Sec, CoS or Bannon then you have absolutely no way to defer or deflect the evil shit that’s here and the shit to come. You can’t be competent and also not do your day job. It’s like an assistant slow walking paperwork to the copier that the CEO wants distributed to the office. It’s still going to be put on everyone’s desk.

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  72. 72
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’ve been filling out SF86’s (successfully) for 40+ years (most recently last year), and the bar is not all that high. They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they are getting large numbers of bounces.

    @divF: This. Going on 20 years, and it’s not just me but my fellow employees. Had one guy in that entire time bounce, and it was because he literally went insane. So yeah, if you were honest (that is the key) you had to have a serious criminal record (not just a DUI or four, or DV, because that passes!) or, you lied to them. Which they will not put up with.

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  73. 73
    Mary G says:

    Hilarious alternate facts by Israel’s PM (I wish we could embed photos, but click for a laugh):

    In which @WallaNews exposes Benjamin Netanyahu's self-aggrandizing (literally) photoshop pic.twitter.com/XoT5E1zaQg— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) February 17, 2017

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  74. 74

    @Corner Stone: I stopped reading OTB when they were making excuses for W. Excuse makers for Republican BS are not really reasonable by any definition.

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  75. 75
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    I would think with Hayward the idea of ended up like Flyn would be enough to say no. I certainly wouldn’t want to end a respected career as being seen as an incompetent traitor.

    ReplyReply
  76. 76
    ruckus says:

    @jacy:
    I can see someone at a lower level,who needs a job staying. Yes it will most likely suck, but if you leave, will you be able to eat?

    ReplyReply
  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    How the Opposition Can Wound Trump
    by John Stoehr
    February 17, 2017 11:44 AM

    ………………………………..

    The reason I’m going into the weeds like this is to get readers of the Washington Monthly and anyone who believes Donald Trump is a singular threat to democracy to understand how and why his supporters very much like what the president is doing, even though it makes no sense to the readers of the Washington Monthly and anyone who believes Donald Trump is a singular threat to democracy. In understanding how and why these people very much like what the president is doing, we can devise an effective strategy for the battles ahead.

    There’s a reason why Donald Trump is reportedly fond of watching himself on TV with the sound turned off. It’s not only because he’s a narcissist, though narcissism surely plays a part. It’s also because he is trying to experience what most normal people experience when they watch the president on TV, and that means a majority of people since most still get their news about what’s happening in Washington from TV, despite the ubiquity of digital. Remember, they don’t know enough to know he’s lying. What they can see is Trump’s performance: the expressions of strength, the wit and charm (which are evident), and the braggadocio.

    Yesterday’s press conference was in fact a hot mess, but imagine watching it with the sound turned off so you don’t know what the president is saying. Imagine watching the president’s gestures, his expression, his sparring with the press. That’s probably a close approximation of what his supporters experience when they watch the president on TV. That’s the extent to which most people assess the president’s policy views. It is style’s mastery over substance.

    Which brings me back to character. That is something people can judge, because they trust their ability to size up the president. That trust, of course, is misplaced, because Trump is in fact a serial liar, but remember, most people, especially Trump supporters, don’t know enough about politics or care enough to know much about politics, so they don’t know he’s lying.

    What they can see is how he looks. And this is key.

    I really want you to understand the connection between Trump’s appearance and the trust his supporters place in him. What the Democratic opposition needs to do is undermine that trust. Part of doing that is pointing out every time Trump lies. (The Washington press corps is doing that.) But the opposition must also attack the president where it really hurts him—by appealing to logic and reason, but not only logic and reason. The opposition must wound the president by focusing on his weakness.

    Fact is, the president is weak. We saw that yesterday. When confronted with the fact that he did not win a bigger electoral victory than anyone since Reagan, he immediately backed down, spluttering something about how he had been given that information so it’s not his fault. Some have implied he will never accept the truth, so don’t bother. But that’s an argument of logic and reason. What happened in that brief exchange needs to happen a million times over in order to reveal that the president is weak and that in that weakness his supporters have misplaced their trust.

    So, say it with me: The president is weak.

    Say it again. Over and over. Then when the president really does demonstrate weakness, as he did when confronted by the reporter about his fake electoral landslide, the president will have substantiated the opposition’s charge of weakness.

    That will hurt.

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  78. 78
    hovercraft says:

    @ Martin:
    Tee heh, keep fuckin’ that chicken, it gets better.

    ReplyReply
  79. 79
    elm says:

    @Corner Stone: Collaborating enables them.

    ReplyReply
  80. 80
    debbie says:

    @Mary G:

    Horrid little worm, that Bibi is.

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Downpuppy: To me it’s not about normalizing or not. It about whether the job you seek to do is even possible or not. The NSAs job is to advise the President so the president can make good decisions. That is actually impossible. It’s not that one NSA advisor or another would be better or worse, Trump will listen to InfoWars and watch Fox and Friends and make decisions on whatever irrational bullshit he sees regardless of what the NSA tells him. If anyone could convince me that Trump could change, then I’d argue that they should try, but after decades of experiencing Trump, I can say straight up that he is incapable of change. This is the best he will ever be.

    The only way therefore to get to a rational, manageable state is to remove Trump. And that’s the only qualification we should value in an NSA right now. Pence is an entirely different beast. I hate his policies, but he’s rational. He’ll listen. The qualification should Pence become President should not be to remove him from office – Pence we deal with in 2020. Trump we need to deal with sooner.

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  82. 82
    The Moar You Know says:

    I can see someone at a lower level,who needs a job staying. Yes it will most likely suck, but if you leave, will you be able to eat?

    @ruckus: More importantly, you lose your pension. That’s a huge club to hold over someone’s head. I have the right to destroy my own future. I don’t have the right to destroy my wife and family’s.

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  83. 83
    JGabriel says:

    David Anderson @ Top:

    For the career civil service folks as well as political appointees who are more conservative than my preference but are fundamentally competent, this is a nasty acid test of their personal beliefs. Are their beliefs better served by remaining for fear of who replaces them, or to leave once a red line is crossed. I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone, I just know that it is an acid test for integrity.

    I don’t know the right answer either, but I guess I’ll be presumptuous enough to opine on it anyway.

    Trump hadn’t contacted, met with, and was probably never going to meet with, the Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. So I see their mass resignation as probably the best thing they could do under the circumstances. No point in sticking around just so the President can point to them as “my Asians” and use them as justification for policies they actually opposed.

    Harwood’s choice was a little more difficult because there’s no doubt that, as National Security Adviser, he would have had face-time with the President. But I’d argue that once the Putin-Bannon-Trump team made it clear to Harwood that he would not be able to do his own staffing, it also became clear that his role would be relegated to either yes-man or ignored-man. It appears that even if Harwood was present, he would have had little sway, and an unreliable staff – so the choice to turn down the position looks like both the most ethical, and most self-preserving, choice he could make.

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  84. 84

    Are their beliefs better served by remaining for fear of who replaces them, or to leave once a red line is crossed. I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone, I just know that it is an acid test for integrity.

    Masha Gessen had a piece after the election about her family history:

    But what if the Jews had refused to cooperate? Was Arendt right that fewer people might have died? Was Trunk right that Judenrat activities had no effect on the final outcome? Or would mass murder of Jews have occurred earlier if Jews had refused to manage their own existence in the ghetto? We cannot know for certain, any more than we can know now whether a scorched-earth strategy or the strategy of compromise would more effectively mitigate Trumpism. But that does not mean that a choice—the right choice—is impossible. It only means that we are asking the wrong question.
    […]
    We cannot know what political strategy, if any, can be effective in containing, rather than abetting, the threat that a Trump administration now poses to some of our most fundamental democratic principles. But we can know what is right. What separates Americans in 2016 from Europeans in the 1940s and 1950s is a little bit of historical time but a whole lot of historical knowledge. We know what my great-grandfather did not know: that the people who wanted to keep the people fed ended up compiling lists of their neighbors to be killed. That they had a rationale for doing so. And also, that one of the greatest thinkers of their age judged their actions as harshly as they could be judged.

    @hovercraft: Everybody knows that Rasmussen is the only real pollster and they have his approval at 55%.

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  85. 85
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    This is my analysis too. But how do we get them to remove him?

    ReplyReply
  86. 86
    rikyrah says:

    Trump’s latest cabinet nominee has a controversial record of his own
    02/17/17 12:49 PM
    By Steve Benen

    On Tuesday, the “fine-tuned machine” that is Donald Trump’s White House had yet another breakdown. Andy Puzder, the president’s choice to lead the Labor Department, was forced to withdraw in the face of multiple scandals and bipartisan opposition.

    The Trump administration did not, however, wait long to name his successor. The president announced yesterday that Alex Acosta, the dean of Florida International University’s law school in Miami, is Trump’s choice to be the next secretary of labor. His nomination – Trump’s first and only Latino for his cabinet – has generally been greeted by a collective shrug by much of the political world, which makes his confirmation more likely.

    But there are some aspects of Acosta’s background that should make for interesting questions during his confirmation hearings.

    I published an item for my old, old blog 10 years ago about Acosta’s role in a voter-suppression scheme in Ohio. McClatchy reported at the time:

    ………………

    What’s more, The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer reported yesterday on another key aspect of Acosta’s DOJ background.

    R. Alexander Acosta … was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. That scandal raises questions about Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a much larger federal agency in an administration that has already shown a tendency to skirt ethics rules.

    “That period, all hell broke in the civil rights division,” said William Yeomans, a professor of law at American University and a former deputy section chief in the division under Acosta. “That was all under Acosta, he presided over the politicization of the civil-rights division.”

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  87. 87
    zhena gogolia says:

    Why is it so hard to spell Harward?

    ReplyReply
  88. 88
    hovercraft says:

    @Spanky:

    She also said she has identified people in the department who want her to fail, but vowed not to let them.

    Um she does realize that she is just passing through, and no matter how much of a living hell she tries to make it, they know she will not outlast them? Right?
    Also too she doesn’t need their help to make her fail, she can do it all on her own. They can make sure she steps on every landmine out there, and they can make sure that it happens out in public, but she’s already off to a spectacular start. These snowflakes have spent their lives taking potshots at public figures, how is it they think they can take their place and not be subject to the same rules? @Thru the Looking Glass…: Not even Velcro explains this.
    Hey MORONS, you are not in fucking Kansas anymore, you wanted to run things, now guess what, we get to call you the

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  89. 89
    debbie says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    How about removing Bannon first?

    ReplyReply
  90. 90
    rikyrah says:

    Ignoring Trump, Chaffetz seeks charges related to Clinton emails
    02/17/17 10:14 AM
    By Steve Benen

    On Nov. 9, literally the day after the election, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said his pre-election plans had not changed: he remained focused on Hillary Clinton and her email server management. In December, he said it again. In January, he said it again.

    Yesterday, as the Associated Press reported, the Republican congressman took the next ridiculous step.

    The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has refused Democratic requests to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving President Donald Trump, is seeking criminal charges against a former State Department employee who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state.

    So let me get this straight. There’s evidence that Russia launched an illegal espionage operation to help put Donald Trump in the Oval Office. There’s evidence that Team Trump was in communications with officials in Vladimir Putin’s government at the time. There’s evidence that leading members of Team Trump lied about these contacts. There’s evidence that the communications continued during the presidential transition process, which Trump administration officials lied about, and which led to the White House National Security Advisor resigning.

    There’s evidence that this entire scandal, possibly the most serious since Watergate, is part of an ongoing U.S. counter-espionage investigation.

    It’s against this backdrop that Jason Chaffetz, just yesterday, contacted the Justice Department seeking criminal charges related to … wait for it … Hillary Clinton’s email server.

    Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a deeply stupid nightmare?

    Political scientist Norm Ornstein said this week, “When the history of this dark period is written, Jason Chaffetz will go down as one of the real villains.” That’s hardly an unreasonable assessment under the circumstances.

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  91. 91
    Brachiator says:

    @hovercraft:

    So smooth is his machine that even our clueless masses are noticing:

    Trump Disapproval Reaches New Heights In Gallup Poll

    Unfortunately, approval ratings don’t mean much, unless maybe the Republicans see future loss of votes.

    I see that Scott Pruitt was just confirmed to lead the EPA, The GOP is going to get what they can for as long as they can.

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  92. 92
    jl says:

    If you have no control over your own staff, and the people who will fill that staff are toxic fools who will fill the staff with toxic fools, what are the chances you can get anything done in a responsible way?

    I don’t believe that putting good people in impossible situations and then holding them responsible is a good way to get things done.

    Frump (Typo there, but I like the sound of it so I will call him Frump for a while) was perfectly free not to go in this direction after his election. He repeated said during the campaign that, being a world historical shape shifting genius, he had the will and ability the remake himself as he deigned most fit to get the job done. As president, he would, very quickly, very very quickly, do that, you could take that to the bank, believe him.

    But we still have the unspeakably egregious and foul campaign Frump as president. It’s on him, 100 percent.
    If Joyner is so concerned about the situation, he can go volunteer his own sorry ass for a position in the Frump administration. From reading his wiki bio, he has some military skills. I don’t see him jumping into the breach.

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  93. 93
    artem1s says:

    the executive and legislative branches are being eaten alive by an aggressive virus. It might be time to admit that letting the host die is the only way to protect the uninfected. Ryan and the rest of those cowards are rushing thru because they recognize there is narrow window of time they can operate in. I personally hope that whatever metric people are using to make their Sophie’s Choice is based on shortening the lifespan of this virus, not in trying to resuscitate something that is already dead.

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  94. 94
    rikyrah says:

    Beyond Russia, Trump’s Business Ties in China Raise Questions
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    February 17, 2017 12:51 PM

    While most of us have been focused on Trump’s ties to Russia, there was an interesting development with his business interests in China.

    The government of China awarded U.S. President Donald Trump valuable rights to his own name this week, in the form of a 10-year trademark for construction services.

    The registration became official on Feb. 14 and was published in a trademark registration announcement on the website of China’s Trademark Office on Wednesday…

    The registration this week came as a surprise win for Trump after a decade of trying — and failing — to wrest the rights to his name back from a man named Dong Wei. The abrupt turn in Trump’s bureaucratic fortunes once he declared his candidacy has raised questions about the extent to which his political status may be helping his family business.

    Trump’s relationship with China raises a lot of questions. While he spent much of his campaign attacking the country for their trading practices and his chief strategist assumes we will go to war in the South China Sea, the Trump Organization makes a lot of its apparel and home products in that country.

    But even more important are the questions raised by this statement from the Steele dossier.

    Commenting on the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election campaign in support of Trump, Source E said he understood that the Republican candidate and his team were relatively relaxed about this because it deflected media and the Democrats’ attention away from Trump’s business dealings in China and other emerging markets. Unlike in Russia, these were substantial and involved the payment of large bribes and kickbacks which, were they to become public, would be potentially very damaging to their campaign.

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  95. 95
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Wjs:

    Why prop up a failing regime? This is not an ‘administration.’ It is a deeply unpopular regime and it must fail. If Trump succeeds,

    A Trump success is an ethnically cleansed, isolationist and economically devastated America were law means nothing.

    ReplyReply
  96. 96
    MJS says:

    Didn’t read through all the comments, so someone may have pointed this out, but there’s this:

    “For the career civil service folks as well as political appointees who are more conservative than my preference but are fundamentally competent, this is a nasty acid test of their personal beliefs.” is conflating two completely different types of employees. Political appointees know what they’re in for, either because Trump appointed them or, if they’re holdovers, they can see that his policies are going to be very different than the previous administration’s. “Career civil service folks” are very different. They are engaged in work that should be free from political interference (I know that it isn’t – I said “should”). They have the Merit Systems Protection Board to turn to if they are forced to do something illegal or unethical (e.g., falsify data, or author reports unsupported by the data). The career civil servants should most definitely stay. They are needed to be the eyes and ears of the sane, and they will be needed when the curtain falls on this particular shit show.

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    hovercraft says:

    Maybe the well oiled machine is not running so smoothly after all. Since the spokes cobra has been benched they are bringing in a new ringer?

    Reports: Mike Dubke To Be Named White House Communications Director

    Mike Dubke has been tapped to be White House communications director, several outlets reported Friday.

    Dubke is the founder of Crossroads Media, which was partly founded by Karl Rove and touts itself as the “premier Republican media services firm.” The decision angered some on the Trump team because of Crossroads’ history of trying to take down Trump, CNN reported, citing unnamed sources.

    “Dubke and his Crossroads friends did everything they could to kill the Trump movement and failed,” one “loyalist” told CNN.

    “How does this help serve the president’s interests?” an unnamed “insider” told The Washington Post. “It serves the interests of Reince (Priebus) and Sean (Spicer), but I don’t see how it serves the president’s interests.”

    The announcement is expected as early as Friday, according to CNN and is expected to take some heat off of White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who has had a tumultuous tenure.

    The communications director position has been vacant since former Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller stepped down before Inauguration Day to spend more time with his family.

    __________________________________________________________________________________

    The leaks, oh these illegal leaks, boy those Obama people sure did worm their way deep into this new administration.

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  98. 98
    Yarrow says:

    @ruckus: I think there’s a difference between taking a job and staying in the job you already have. People at Harward’s level deciding not to take the job is one thing. They’re setting a standard and don’t want to get mixed up in things. Lower level staffers have a different decision to make. I can see that going either way, depending on other family responsibilities, what other job options are out there, etc.

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  99. 99
    TriassicSands says:

    @JMG:

    It’s not going to buff up anyone’s resume 5 years from now.

    Yeah, but just think of the book deals. “Security in the Age of Insanity.” “All the President’s Lunatics.” “Present at Armageddon.” “The Warhead in the White House.” “Donnie and Vlad — A Love Story.”

    Best sellers all.

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  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone: Oh, get over yourself.

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  101. 101
    The Moar You Know says:

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state.

    @rikyrah: I said it after the election and will say it again; the Clintons have pull, power and money. They need to leave the country and make an arrangement with a friendly government that will prevent extradition. Because the GOP is coming for them. They have said so many times. As with everything else with this crew, they are honest at least once. I take them at their word. They will “lock her up” unless they make arrangements for their own survival.

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  102. 102
    jl says:

    @Brachiator:

    ” Unfortunately, approval ratings don’t mean much, unless maybe the Republicans see future loss of votes. ”

    Well, the speculation made by an anonymous Frump aide that the lunatic Frump presser would play outside the beltway seems to have been wrong. The fact is that most of the US population does not approve of an ignorant, vengeful, and toxic bigot and con person doing a lousy job as president is a good thing, it’s better than the alternative.

    You are right that if we had an election today it might not mean much. Frump has been too incompetent to do much of anything yet. But his unpopularity will become more important when he, or the GOP Congress, commit an undeniable total FUBAR, which I am very unhappily confident confident is coming sooner rather than later.

    Edit: to get through this without too much irreparable damage, we don’t need to get a margin of 20 seats in the House and Senate. We just need the GOPer Congress scared enough to do some oversight and put limits on the toxic goofballs who inhabit Frumpland.

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  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rikyrah:

    Interesting article from the Reagan years by Oliver Sacks about what his patients who couldn’t understand words thought of one of Reagan’s speeches.

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  104. 104
    PK says:

    I had an uncle who faced a similar situation. He was in an organization where there was a lot of bribery and corruption. He was not corrupt but he had to sign off on stuff he knew was dishonest. If he complained to higher authorities nothing would have been done or best case scenario court cases would have gone on for years. This was in another country where jobs were exceedingly hard to come by so he could not leave. He spent his entire career getting transferred from one place to another (at his own request) when things became unbearable. It’s tempting to recommend to do the right thing as good people are needed. But when you’re surrounded by evil it’s soul destroying. I would not recommend that anyone to knowingly walk into evil.

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  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: Horse shit. All the things you said were not in line with my reality. Therefore, I reject your reality and replace it with mine. It’s a reality where I have a major league stick stuck right up my ass and I am the only truth teller on this here web blog.
    90% of your posts are some form of contrarian bullshit where only you get what the *real* truth of the matter is. You get down to bedrock. All others? Horse shit or some variant.

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  106. 106
    Peale says:

    @rikyrah: The success metric for the administration based on campaign promises are:
    1) Hillary Clinton in Jail
    2) 8 million fewer immigrants, legal or illegal
    3) ISIS Destroyed in 30 day
    4) Police shoot civilians and never get investigated
    5) Huge wall, Mexico on its knees

    As long as Trump is working towards those goals, there’s no point in thinking that he’s going to lose voters.

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  107. 107
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Trying to work from the inside sounds like a better idea than it is. You end up either breaking your heart over the people you couldn’t protect and quitting anyway with great damage to your own conscience and mental health or standing in a court room muttering “I was only following orders.”

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  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    the Clintons have pull, power and money. They need to leave the country and make an arrangement with a friendly government that will prevent extradition. Because the GOP is coming for them.

    Easy for me to say, but no way. That would hand the GOP the biggest talking point coup possible. Crooked Hillary and Rapist Bill scampered out of the country ahead of facing their legal punishment in a court of law.
    See how corrupt the DemoRats are?! They all need to be exterminated!

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  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Masha Gessen had a piece after the election about her family history:

    But what if the Jews had refused to cooperate? Was Arendt right that fewer people might have died? Was Trunk right that Judenrat activities had no effect on the final outcome? Or would mass murder of Jews have occurred earlier if Jews had refused to manage their own existence in the ghetto? We cannot know for certain, any more than we can know now whether a scorched-earth strategy or the strategy of compromise would more effectively mitigate Trumpism. But that does not mean that a choice—the right choice—is impossible. It only means that we are asking the wrong question.

    The Jews, by themselves, could not have done much of anything. Once they were singled out and herded into ghettoes or sent to camps, their fates were sealed.

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  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @hovercraft:

    The establishment Republicans are going to try and take control. We need to try and prevent them from doing that.

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  111. 111
    Peale says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yep. The Republicans have to lock her up or explain to their base why a woman who kept sex slaves in a pizza parlor is walking free.

    ETA: Not just sex slaves. 8 year old sex slaves. Gotta be accurate.

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  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You see, that is why it was so, so agonizing that he just couldn’t use his greatness and persuasion powers to authoritatively derail the W/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal’s push for war in Iraq. So heartbreaking.

    The thing that enrages me about Colin Powell was that while the man didn’t lift a finger over My Lai, Iran-contra, or the Iraq War, he’s also the same guy who took on his own commander-in-chief in a media battle over gays in the military during the early 1990s. He’s the perfect little Republican, happy to ignore massive loss of life and crimes against the constitution, but deeply concerned about which two consenting adults are fucking in their spare time.

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  113. 113

    @Brachiator: The article goes into to what extent that’s true in some depth.

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  114. 114
    Yarrow says:

    @Peale: I just had a thought—is Republican president Trump going to pack the Not State of the Union address with “fans” who will cheer whenever he does his greatest hits from the campaign? How’s that going to look with the gallery chanting “Lock her up!” when he mentions how much better he did than Hillary? Holy shit. It’s going to be an epic trainwreck.

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  115. 115

    Hopeful sign: In Panera today, two white, middle aged men in shirt and tie were talking business near me. Apparently they were financial planners. After a while, they started talking about the rule that says financial planners have to serve their clients. One of them said, “as if we didn’t anyway.” And the other said, “Yeah, but the Republicans want to repeal it and say they’re doing it for people’s own good. Give me a break.”

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  116. 116
    Peale says:

    @The Moar You Know: If they were smart and wanted to do the deed in a way that would destroy the Democratic party for good, arrest her for conspiring with Donna Brazille to “fix the primaries” against Bernie. About 3/4s of the Democrats would rally to her and the remainder would cheer the arrest on, making it impossible to rebuild.

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  117. 117
    Chris says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    One of the scary things about Flynn is that he was a member of this group, IIRC. I really can’t stress how happy I am that he’s out.

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  118. 118
    hovercraft says:

    Trump says he runs a ‘fine-tuned machine.’ Here are the ways that’s not true.

    By Paul Waldman

    February 17 at 12:39 PM

    Somehow, the assembled reporters and other onlookers restrained themselves from breaking out into gales of laughter. While it might eventually get its act together, at least at this early stage, this is the most disorganized and chaotic administration in memory.

    It’s particularly disturbing that the president and those who work for him seem to be in a state somewhere between denial and delusion, wherein they insist that everything this White House does turns out splendidly. Let’s review some examples of this “fine-tuned machine” in action:

    Trump spends the first few days of his presidency insisting against all evidence that his was the best-attended inauguration in history; no one on his staff seems to be able to stop him.

    In White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s first briefing, he berates reporters, lies to them, then stalks off without taking questions, a performance so bizarre that it becomes the topic of two separate “Saturday Night Live” skits. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway later asserts that Spicer was not actually lying but deploying “alternative facts.”

    After Conway takes to cable news to endorse Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, the Office of Government Ethics urges the White House to open an investigation of her obvious violation of ethics rules.

    A torrent of leaks floods from the White House, many portraying the president as ignorant, impulsive and erratic.

    The first military action authorized by Trump, a raid on an al-Qaeda compound in Yemen, goes disastrously wrong, resulting in the death of a Navy SEAL, multiple civilians killed and the loss of a $70 million aircraft.

    In phone calls with foreign leaders, Trump regales them with tales of his spectacular election victory before turning hostile. Details of the calls are promptly leaked to the media.

    Trump signs an executive order placing his political adviser Steve Bannon on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council, an unprecedented move. Trump is apparently unaware that he had done so, later becoming angry at aides who had failed to explain it to him.

    Trump signs an executive order banning all refugees and nationals of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. The White House fails to consult the relevant agencies and legal advisers in writing the order. The result is chaos in airports across the country and hurried changes in the implementation of the order, and before long it is struck down by the courts.

    When the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, decides that the order cannot be defended in court, Trump fires her.

    Trump’s choice to be secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, abruptly withdraws from consideration.

    Rex Tillerson’s choice to be his No. 2 at the State Department, Iran-contra figure and convicted criminal Elliott Abrams, is vetoed by Trump after he learns that Abrams said unkind things about him during the campaign.

    While dining at his Mar-a-Lago club with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump is told that North Korea has just conducted a provocative missile launch. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to move to a secure and private location to discuss it, so Abe, Trump and his aides examine documents and strategize over their response in full view of club members snapping photos of the scene to put up on their social media pages.

    Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is forced to resign after it is revealed that he misled members of the administration about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. A new report says that Flynn also misled the FBI when he was questioned about them.

    Trump’s choice to replace Flynn, retired vice admiral Robert Harward, turns down the job. According to CNN, “A friend of Harward’s said he was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems so chaotic. Harward called the offer a ‘s––– sandwich,’ the friend said.”

    The president’s choice for labor secretary withdraws at the last moment amid allegations of domestic abuse and the employment of an undocumented immigrant.

    Six White House aides are fired and escorted from the building after they fail FBI background checks.

    It takes nearly a month into Trump’s tenure before the White House finally finds a communications director willing to take the job.

    Of the 696 government positions that require Senate confirmation, Trump has nominated 34 people, 13 of whom have been confirmed, leaving 662 positions where no one has even been nominated.

    But while this spectacular goat rodeo is going on behind the scenes, in public the president and his aides insist that all is well. Spicer says that the Yemen raid was “absolutely a success.” Trump says that “we had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban” and that Michael Flynn is a fantastic person who was maligned by the media.

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  119. 119
    joel hanes says:

    Imagine if they gave a Trump Administration and nobody came.

    He who must not be named already has more than 600 open, high-level positions that require Senate confirmatino for which he has yet to nominate anyone. He’s nominated what, maybe 60 ? And there’s another 3500+ mid-level openings that need nominations. Do you think he’ll ever get around to it ?

    So the people who are quitting may, in fact, never be replaced until we have an actual President.

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  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    And yet three electors in the year 2016 voted for him in the Electoral College rather than Hillary Clinton.

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The establishment Republicans are going to try and take control. We need to try and prevent them from doing that.

    Agreed. Right now the establishment has Priebus and they’re fighting with Bannon and the alt-righters for control. It’s a dynamic that probably works for Republican President Trump because he gets to be “in charge” and be the final arbiter of who wins each argument. But it also leads to chaos and lack of confidence in the administration as a whole. They don’t know who’s in charge and it probably changes day to day.

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  122. 122

    @Mnemosyne: They were Democrats, too! God, we’re stupid.

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  123. 123
    rikyrah says:

    @hovercraft:

    The communications director position has been vacant since former Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller stepped down before Inauguration Day to spend more time with his family.

    His entire family…including his new child from outside his marriage..LOL

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  124. 124
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    This idea that somehow the good guys must be willing to sacrifice and dig in and serve in order to preserve the Union sounds good, but I have to wonder if we’re just making it easier for them to last longer in power than they would without our doing all this first aid. Maybe, just maybe, we should not really try to mitigate the full effects of these people’s reign of greed and terror.

    We can hasten the Great Republican Unveiling and Implosion if we just go ahead and let Trump–well, let the goons he’s being manipulated into hiring–and the Republicans in Congress have everything they want, and now. Then sit back and watch while fate let the terrible effects slap Americans who voted for them into full awareness of just how bad these people are and how they totally and completely played them.

    Certainly we still need to make our ideas and our beliefs well known, so that people know that we offered an alternative. But short of say, a really bad Supreme Court nominee, maybe we should keep our powder dry for a while and let them do their thing when it comes to staffing the Executive Branch and passing ridiculous laws that hurt people.

    These people are so fucking arrogant and power hungry and greedy that they are already overstepping their supporters mandates–that is, the voters who were conned into putting them there, not the REAL backers who are of course the corporations and industries that want their bidding done. No, they conned their voters who will soon see that it was all to help the fucking Robber Barons, not middle-class people thinking they’d lower taxes and create jobs.

    As most of us now know, apparently NOTHING is permanent. If we do this right, pretty much EVERYTHING they do–again, short of a Supreme Court nominee–we can overturn if we take back Congress and the White House over the next 2-4 years. Maybe our efforts should be to scream into the ears of the DSCC, DCCC, and the Democratic Party in general that we need to challenge pretty much every single race in every single district right now with a serious candidate.

    Don’t get me wrong, the media on our behalf and we need the people to keep speaking up, keep marching in the streets and demanding investigations, getting Trump and the R’s in Congress to keep stepping on their dicks and making themselves look incompetent. I also think it will be totally cool to find ways to bring some of these jerks down with “scandals” that force them to resign, a la Flynn in the meantime. Creates bad tastes in the mouths of the R voters.

    I’m just wondering if we can at the same time let people feel the natural, logical consequences of their decisions which will lead enough of them to think twice next time around and not vote for these con artists.

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  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yarrow:

    And it makes me feel a little guilty to say we need to make sure the establishment Republicans can’t fix things, because it means that a lot of people who aren’t me are going to get hurt, but this isn’t “heighten the contradictions.” It’s “make sure the Nazis are fighting each other rather than letting them unite against us.”

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  126. 126
    MP says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: You’d be surprised – there is actually a good bit of support within the industry for the fiduciary rule, which requires those offering financial advice to act in the best interests of their clients. Deep pocketed institutions, mostly from Wall Street, aren’t real keen on the rule though. Guess who has the ear of the Republicans?

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  127. 127
    Aleta says:

    Some workers may not see the choice as between those two options (remaining for fear of who replaces them, or leaving after a line is crossed). Some may be evaluating on what time scale they can be most effective. Resisting from inside by trying to alter and postpone. Or using their knowledge in a legal fight from the outside. Or running for office in two years.

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  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I felt really sorry for the poor lady from the pipeline protests that some Democratic moron voted for. She seemed to be thinking that she would have been much better off with Hillary as the actual president than with some jackass making a vanity vote for her.

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  129. 129
    jl says:

    @Peale:

    ” As long as Trump is working towards those goals, there’s no point in thinking that he’s going to lose voters. ”

    I disagree with your bottom line. Frump doesn’t need to just work towards those goals, he needs to have a success, and not completely mess up on others. I don’t think the chances of either are high.

    And, perhaps by accident, I think HRC had guestimated about right, that half of Frump voters where ignorant vengeful bigots and half were people so frustrated and dissatisfied with the direction of the country that they were willing to take a desperate chance for a big change. I am not so charitable about the latter group and I call them ‘knuckleheads’. Those were the low info saps who that that Frump was saying nasty and nutty shit just to get elected, despite the fact that he was obsessively repeating nutty shit and obsessively making nasry shit up and acting foul every day for the whole campaign.

    Signs are that Frump is losing the knucklehead vote, while perhaps solidifying his vengeful bigot base. Frump LOST the popular vote by a wide margin, and was put into office by less than 100,000 knuckleheads in three rustbelt states. We don’t need Trump to lose votes from his base, we need to encourage and mobilize people who never approved of him, and the soft part of his voter base who are very probably jumping off the crazy train.

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  130. 130
    Chris says:

    @rikyrah:

    FIU! I got my master’s from there. Just one year ago.

    No, I don’t know anything about Acosta. Being head of CRD in the Bush administration is not encouraging. As I recall, the bulk of the work they did then was to change their mission from protecting the civil rights of minorities to protecting the evangelizing efforts of the religious right.

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  131. 131
    TenguPhule says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    As most of us now know, apparently NOTHING is permanent.

    Please remember that this includes being able to vote. And being able to trust that your vote is counted correctly.

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  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MP:

    I don’t always explain this right, but decent companies actually like regulations even if they like bitching about them. They know that it prevents other companies from acting like assholes in ways that make it harder to compete.

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  133. 133
    hovercraft says:

    @Brachiator: Yes and no, I think that is generally true, they get away with almost everything, by blaming the democrats, and the media let them. What I think is different here is that they own everything, the democrats cannot stop them, they own it. In 2006, they tried the tried and true national security, and all the other scare tactics, but they didn’t work. Twitlers ability to command attention is a double edged sword, if was great for him during the campaign because it starved everyone else of oxygen, but now that he’s president it is a hindrance, everything he does attracts maximum attention, all his fuckups are breaking through. The average American may not know the specifics of this shit the way we do, but they hear that he keeps fucking up, and what was that about a fight with the president of Australia, (real question from an a-political neighbor), there is a general sense of unease among even people who do not follow politics. They need to get their shit together or beginning in 2018, things will get ugly for them. Twitler is not your normal republican who can hide who and what he is, his ego won’t let him. 2 to 4 years of daily exposure to this clown will not wear well on the public.

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  134. 134
    permafrost says:

    I’m sort of holding out hope that if sane people refuse to participate the Trump/Republican machine will simply fail to operate at all. I know from my own working experience that participating in an organization with horrible management is crushingly unpleasant and would not tolerate it myself.

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  135. 135
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Stupid is as stupid does.

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  136. 136
    MP says:

    @Mnemosyne: Not only that, but actually establishing a standard with teeth would increase the trust the public places in advisors. There was a study done a few years back that showed that public trust in advisors was somewhere between trust in Congress and trust in car salesmen. The industry as a whole (with some notable exceptions) fought hard to earn that ranking over years by selling products a PhD couldn’t understand – but which did pay wonderfully high commissions.

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  137. 137
    jacy says:

    @ruckus:

    I was in a bad work situation once, a long time ago — nothing like this, to be sure, but same principle. Those of us who were good at our jobs and doing it for the right reasons eventually became basket cases. We became close to non-functional. Throwing up before work, self-medicating. Our personal lives suffered, our health suffered. Eventually we quit. Up to that point, we had convinced ourselves we were either doing it for the right reasons, or doing it because we needed to have a job, or a combination of both. But it became untenable and we got out. I would never make the same mistake again.

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  138. 138
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne: I agree with you. I don’t think Bannon and his crew are going to give up easily, though. Like Harward not wanting the job because he couldn’t put his own people in. Flynn’s people, who are probably also in Bannon’s orbit, are still there and would stay there. So they’ve got a foothold. Bringing in more establishment people to back up Priebus and piss off Bannon’s contingent may increase the chaos.

    I think Trump likes his people fighting among themselves because it makes him the king who decides. I don’t think he wants that dynamic to change.

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  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    Yeah, but I’m pretty fucking tired of the stupid on OUR side. We don’t have time for that shit

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  140. 140
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: So they are to be our martyrs? Wow. The final sacrifice.

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  141. 141
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Yarrow:

    They don’t know who’s in charge and it probably changes day to day.

    Day to day?

    Ha! More like hour to hour w/ this bunch of weapons-grade fools…

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  142. 142
    Wjs says:

    @Brachiator: oh so they’re legitimate now. Enjoy sitting at the feet of your masters. We are no longer a republic. Enjoy following orders.

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  143. 143
    hovercraft says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    If they want to go that root, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Most people who bought the bullshit about the server and E-MAILS, have no idea that the previous two Sec o State also used private e-mail, the lawyers defending the Clinton’s would subpoena every member of the current administration who is currently violating federal law by using that disappearing messaging system, they would subpoena whoever told Twitler that shouldn’t be using his old phone. Right now people know something, something, e-mails, if there was a trail it would be the trail of the century, the most watched trail since OJ. I say bring it, just remember that Obama gave the Bush Crime Syndicate a pass, imagine how much we’ll have to investigate when this crew leaves. It’s barely been a month and if we had proper oversight there could easily already be a dozen legitimate investigations.
    Nah they will make a lot of noise but from the congressional side they know that what goes around comes around. Shockingly for once democrats are not in the mood to just roll over and give them a pass, they are making everything hurt right now.

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  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: Yes! They will shed their patriotic blood on the steps of our sacred memorial statues. They will parade themselves before a crowd of a mob gone wild, screaming, pleading for their final release! Whether tis to be firing squad, merciful blade or hanging, they must soak the earth with their life’s blood so that we, as a country, can be renewed!

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  145. 145
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: Stop it. I know you like to play the crusty sarcastic contrarian, but it comes across as being a jerk. It makes us ignore the important things you try to get across.

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  146. 146
    Corner Stone says:

    @Wjs: Forget it, Jake. It’s Brachiator-town.

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  147. 147
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: Fuck you.

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  148. 148
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: AAAAAND you prove my point. Oh well.

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  149. 149
    hovercraft says:

    This is bullshit because Raygun is ranked 9 th, but still compared to where republican think he should be…

    Obama Ranks 12th Best In C-SPAN Survey Of Presidential Historians

    Former President Barack Obama was ranked 12th best among 43 former presidents in in C-SPAN’s third-ever survey of dozens of presidential historians.

    The network asked 91 presidential historians to rank every former president on 10 leadership attributes. C-SPAN also performed the survey in 2000 and 2009.

    Obama ranked favorably compared to his immediate predecessors: George W. Bush ranked at No. 33 (up from 36 in 2009), George H.W. Bush was No. 20 (down from 18), and Bill Clinton held steady at No. 15.

    Ronald Reagan was judged the ninth best president of all time, up from No. 10 in 2009.

    In a press release accompanying the results, historian Richard Norton Smith, an academic adviser for the project, noted that five of the top 10 judged presidents in the American pantheon served between 1933 and 1969.

    “It reinforces Franklin Roosevelt’s claim to be not only the first modern president but the man who, in reinventing the office, also established the criteria by which we judge our leaders,” he said.

    C-SPAN asked historians to rate each president, on a scale of 1-10, on 10 difference leadership attributes: “Public Persuasion,” “Crisis Leadership,” “Economic Management,” “Moral Authority,” “International Relations,” “Administrative Skills,” “Relations with Congress,” “Vision/Setting An Agenda,” “Pursued Equal Justice for All,” and “Performance Within the Context of His Times.”

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  150. 150
    Gravenstone says:

    Speaking of competencies (or lack thereof), looks like Tillerson is purging folks from the State Department.

    Fun times, they are a comin’

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  151. 151
    Yarrow says:

    @jacy: Oh…that brings back some bad memories. I had a job like that too. At any given time probably half the people who worked there were clinically depressed due to the miserable work situation. The job itself and the other people were great but the boss made it a living hell. Hard to know what to do because we kept hoping his boss would figure out what a trainwreck he was and then we could go back to enjoying our jobs. So I sympathize with the government employees. They’re watching this mess just like we are and trying to figure out what to do.

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  152. 152
    Brachiator says:

    @hovercraft:

    Yes and no, I think that is generally true, they get away with almost everything, by blaming the democrats, and the media let them. What I think is different here is that they own everything, the democrats cannot stop them, they own it. In 2006, they tried the tried and true national security, and all the other scare tactics, but they didn’t work….

    The average American may not know the specifics of this shit the way we do, but they hear that he keeps fucking up, and what was that about a fight with the president of Australia, (real question from an a-political neighbor), there is a general sense of unease among even people who do not follow politics.

    Good points. But much depends on what the Republicans in Congress do, and what that outcome might be. Taxes and jobs are obviously the big issues. What we have seen so far is just the opening act of the side show.

    Also, just based on what I see around me, people really don’t care about Australia or Canada or Israel even.

    Also, we have something new at play here. Trump himself doesn’t care about approval ratings, or rather he will lie and bluster that everything is awesome and insist that his staff sell the lie as hard as they can. And he will convince himself that any negative polls are fake polls. A good chunk of the public will buy into this as long as their lives are going good. And obviously he is fighting hard to discredit the press, and strangely, even the idea that people need to anything other than wait for his next Twitter outburst to know what is going on.

    Lastly, any negative feelings about Trump has got to turn into midterm and 2020 election strategy.

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  153. 153
    Chris says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Elliot Abrams, Tillerson’s top choice to be his deputy, was rejected by Trump after the President learned that the former deputy national security adviser had criticized him during the campaign. No replacement has yet been named.

    Meanwhile, Obama took the person who’d opposed him in a very acrimonious primary and made her secretary of state, and kept the secretary of defense of the same president whose policies he’d criticized all through the general and whose party he’d just unseated from the White House.

    (And, of course, Republicans attacked him as a narcissist who couldn’t stand contrary opinions).

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  154. 154
    Paula says:

    You don’t voluntarily go to work for this regime because, as others have noted, doing so is “validation”.

    If you are a careerist, you quit if you can, otherwise you obstruct as much as you can and keep your head down. And maybe leak if you can.

    Competency provides life support. We want this regime to explode/collapse asap.

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  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @Wjs:

    oh so they’re legitimate now. Enjoy sitting at the feet of your masters. We are no longer a republic. Enjoy following orders.

    What in the world are you talking about?

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  156. 156
    Wjs says:

    @Corner Stone: Ha! Yes, but it’S fun to see the bees spill out of the bonnet.

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  157. 157
    Roger Moore says:

    @Peale:

    If they were smart and wanted to do the deed in a way that would destroy the Democratic party for good, arrest her for conspiring with Donna Brazille to “fix the primaries” against Bernie.

    The problem with that is that they’d need to find an actual law that was broken in the process. With the emails thing, they can make some remotely plausible claim that she did something that was illegal. I’m sure they’d lose in any remotely fair court, and they haven’t had a chance to pack the courts to the point they can guarantee a sufficiently unfair one. With charges of conspiring to fix the primaries, there’s not even enough there there to get through arraignment.

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  158. 158
    jl says:

    @hovercraft: Yeah, it’s irritating to see Reagan ranked so highly, if you put a lot of emphasis on working for the welfare of the people. But as long as political skills are considered, Reagan has to get points in that area, like it or not. Would be interesting to see the rankings for each category. I don’t have time now to see if they are available.

    Sad fact for bigots is that Obama gets ranked consistently high, between 18 and 12 in surveys of historians.
    I think Obama’s ranking will rise as history goes by and things are considered in better perspective, just as I think Carter’s will rise. And I think Big Dawg’s will fall. Can take a while. Took over 100 years to get US Grant out of the basement, mainly because he was far ahead of his time on race and ethnicity so was smeared by historians with an ax to grind about that, IMHO.

    Historical rankings of presidents of the United States
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States

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  159. 159
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @hovercraft:

    Just four weeks into his term, 56 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President, according to a Gallup’s daily poll released Friday.

    Democrats better take advantage of Trump’s unpopularity and milk it to the max. They should tie him like an albatross around the neck of each and every Republican Congress Critter and potential Republican Congress Critter. Trump is gold for our side. We need to make Republicans pay a steep price for electing him.

    I’m glad to see that the DNC leadership race will be ended shortly. The DNC needs to get cracking. Lots of work to do.

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  160. 160
    Roger Moore says:

    @MP:

    You’d be surprised – there is actually a good bit of support within the industry for the fiduciary rule, which requires those offering financial advice to act in the best interests of their clients.

    I’m not that surprised. It makes sense that honest advisers would want a rule to shut down dishonest ones.

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  161. 161
    Wjs says:

    @Brachiator: nothing. Just buzzing around.

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  162. 162
    Brachiator says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Speaking of competencies (or lack thereof), looks like Tillerson is purging folks from the State Department.

    This Trump decision may come back to bite him in the ass:

    President Donald Trump signed an executive order in his first days of office freezing federal hiring, so any vacant positions would be filled by existing employees.

    But this may suggest where these moves are headed:

    The career officials voiced concern that Tillerson, a former CEO of ExxonMobil who has no previous government experience, either doesn’t understand or appreciate the work of the State Department and won’t be a forceful advocate for the agency with the White House.

    There are conservatives who believe that diplomacy and foreign relations is effete “namby pamby” stuff. For Trump, everything can be reduced to a deal to be made. It looks as though he wants to turn the State Department into a broker for American corporations.

    Who was it who once said that “the business of America is business?”

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  163. 163
    TenguPhule says:

    28 Days Later…..

    Republican Rage Zombies Infest America.

    Someone call in an Airstrike.

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  164. 164
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: Financial advisers are free to adopt the fiduciary rule if they want. Some organizations do. Other’s go for suitability rule, and slide a lot of flim-flam under that, which I think is practically and operationally almost meaningless. It’s kind of like slapping ‘natural’ on a food package.

    Some Wall St. hack pundit was saying that the fiduciary rule was harming freedom of choice since it was like demanding that restaurants only put healthy food on the menu. I think that gives the game away for Wall St. and other shady operators. And, if the rule is applied for retirement product, I would respond, well, for certain types of restaurants, like say in a hospital, well, yeah, duh!, they should only put healthy food on the menu.

    I think the public interest demands he fiduciary rule for retirement and products with a large savings and insurance function. Frump is damned liar and a fool, and betraying a good chunk of the people who voted for him. I hope it catches up with him and the GOP soon. The other half of Frump supporters don’t care, if they get fleeced out of their savings and retirement funds, it is all good as long as a toxic bigot is running things.

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  165. 165
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @hovercraft: While I would have liked to see him ranked higher, 12th is not bad given some of President Obama’s competition. He ranks #1 for me with Bill Clinton coming a close #2. By far the Obamas rank #1 for me on a personal level when it comes to First Families. Love them madly including Bo and Sunnie.

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  166. 166
    Mike in NC says:

    @Brachiator: “The business of America is business” was Calvin Coolidge, one of the architects of the Great Depression. Trump may yet rise to the occasion and deliver us another one.

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  167. 167
    jl says:

    @Mike in NC: If you set the goal, a lot can be achieved. When Dub came in to office, I think he put on a little PR campaign about how Silent Cal was his favorite president, and even a sad sack like Dub could get the job done.

    I think Rove told Dub to do that. Not sure Dub’s the sort of person who would know who people like Harding and Coolidge were.

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  168. 168
    danielx says:

    Acts of either professional competence or personal competence where integrity requires disassociation and resignation means the replacement will be far worse. Personal integrity of the competent and well meaning leads to governance by the Brietbart comment section, third raters and grifters.

    I rather suspect that acts of both professional and personal competence, other than in his personal spectacular coterie, pose a threat to the shitgibbon’s self image and ego, especially if said acts attain media coverage. Any positive attention on anybody but himself is intolerable.

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  169. 169
    tobie says:

    @Brachiator: this is a purge at state. Putin wants his goodies and Tillerson will oblige. WASF.

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  170. 170
    ruemara says:

    @Corner Stone: They are going to say this any way. Mark my words.

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  171. 171
    Roger Moore says:

    @Yarrow:

    I think Trump likes his people fighting among themselves because it makes him the king who decides.

    It also keeps them from focusing their attempts to move up on him. I’ve said before that this is classic authoritarian divide and rule strategy.

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  172. 172
    Roger Moore says:

    @jl:

    Financial advisers are free to adopt the fiduciary rule if they want.

    Sure, but it means a lot more with the force of law behind it.

    Some Wall St. hack pundit was saying that the fiduciary rule was harming freedom of choice since it was like demanding that restaurants only put healthy food on the menu.

    It seems to me more like a rule requiring restaurants to put only safe food on the menu. Interestingly enough, we have rules that require exactly that, and a whole corps of health inspectors to enforce them.

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  173. 173
    Brachiator says:

    @tobie:

    this is a purge at state. Putin wants his goodies and Tillerson will oblige

    I agree that there is a purge on, but I don’t see Putin as the architect. Trump is overseeing the installation of a plutocracy.

    @Mike in NC:

    “The business of America is business” was Calvin Coolidge, one of the architects of the Great Depression.

    Yes!

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  174. 174
    J R in WV says:

    @jacy:

    It is as if were one to take a high-level job working for Trump requiring Senate confirmation, you would have to carry an undated but signed letter of resignation in your inside breast pocket at all times. Then you could excuse yourself, take it out, calmly date it and hand it to someone as you leave the meeting.

    I couldn’t accept even a minor administrative job with this administration. Think of the interviews/interrogations with 3 or 4 LEOs, trying to be consistent, worrying that any inconsistency would be used to put your ass away.

    No thanks.

    Just stay retired, enjoying life, NOT watching much news, mostly visiting old friends abroad.

    ReplyReply
  175. 175
    Brachiator says:

    @hovercraft:

    Trump says he runs a ‘fine-tuned machine.’ Here are the ways that’s not true.

    Damn. That’s an impressive list of stumbling incompetence.

    About this one:

    While dining at his Mar-a-Lago club with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump is told that North Korea has just conducted a provocative missile launch. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to move to a secure and private location to discuss it, so Abe, Trump and his aides examine documents and strategize over their response in full view of club members snapping photos of the scene to put up on their social media pages.

    I wonder if Trump did this deliberately, to impress his guests and let them watch him do presidential stuff.

    I remember when Clinton got all kinds of shit for supposedly selling what, the Lincoln bedroom access to celebrities. Trump is selling ring side seats to his preening and posturing antics. And none of the Republicans have a thing to say about it.

    ReplyReply
  176. 176
    JGabriel says:

    via Spanky:

    [DeVos] also said she has identified people in the department who want her to fail …

    I’m guessing that’s “all of them”.

    ReplyReply
  177. 177
    JGabriel says:

    Brachiator:

    I wonder if Trump did this deliberately, to impress his guests and let them watch him do presidential stuff.

    I’m sure of it.

    ReplyReply

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