Emoluments

Is this just going to become “normalized?” (Story here.)

Trump Famil Ribbon Cutting

Click the image to read the Washington Post article by Zephyr Teachout. The President of the United States is on the take. He could have set up a blind trust. He could have begun selling off his companies. He could have NOT RUN FOR PRESIDENT if he didn’t want to comply with the Constitution.

Republicans Not Concerned About Flynn

For those who were scratching their heads in December,

Devin Nunes: “MUST track down leaks!”

…wondering why Vladimir Putin did not respond in kind to President Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats as part of the sanctions leveled for Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, here’s your answer: Mike Flynn.

In his illegal phone conversations with Russian officials he apparently let them know that they need not worry about those sanctions, once Donald Trump was sworn in. Wink, wink.

Flynn was forced to resign over this but, as I predicted last night, Republicans in Congress are not the least bit interested in investigating this scandal, or making any effort to answer the question “What did Donald Trump know and when did he know it?”

Out Like Flynn

The Associated Press and New York Times are reporting that General Michael Flynn has resigned as National Security Adviser. (Story here.)

This comes just a couple of hours after he had “the full confidence of the president.” Given his obvious criminal and unethical behavior both before and Michael Flynnafter he (and Trump) took office, this turn of events was inevitable, and I’m sure he was ordered to resign. Trump’s inner circle is no doubt hoping that, now that he’s gone, there will be no investigation, as that would surely implicate others in the new administration. They’ll be saying “It’s over, nothing to see here, let’s move on, the nation has more important problems, blah, blah, blah.”

But can you imagine how this would go down had Hillary Clinton been president? Every committee in Congress would open investigations, and they would continue for eight years. Of course, Republicans control both houses of congress, and run all the committees, so there won’t be any investigations of the Flynn scandal.

It’s time for the mainstream press to hitch up their big girl pants and look into this, no matter how long it takes or where it leads.

Product Placement

I’m not going to pretend that this pisses me off any more than everything else Donald Trump and the gang are up to.

The Trump Administration is looking less like the second coming of the German Nazi Party every day, and more like a Keystone Kops comedy. Their barrage of Executive Action signings are mostly just photo ops, and the one they really got behind — the Muslim Ban — has now been stayed by a federal judge and the stay has been upheld by a panel of the 9th Circuit. This is not to say that they won’t hurt a lot of people before it’s over, but at least there is hope that they won’t bring down the Republic.

But Donald Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his businesses, create a blind trust and stop hiding his financial dealings from the American people remains the most serious of his betrayals. While the president gets some legal leeway in this matter, there is a reason all previous presidents have taken steps to separate themselves from business activities while in office. Doing a good job at being president should be the only thing on Trump’s agenda. Instead, he remains the owner of his company, and stands to benefit WHILE IN OFFICE from income generated from it.

He has tweeted in support of his daughter’s clothing line. Ivanka herself has advertised jewelry she is selling as having been worn on a 60 Minutes interview. Melania has recently admitted in court that she plans to enhance her own wealth as a result of being First Lady. The whole family, not to mention Trump’s sycophantic staff (see Kellyanne Conway article), is trying to cash in.

Trump has serious ethical and criminal issues. He must address them now. We need a president focused on the nation, not on getting richer. If he wanted to remain in the business world he should not have run for president.

Separation

Trump wants to do away with the so-called “Johnson Amendment.”

This is an IRS rule that prohibits churches and non-profits from politicking from the pulpit. The current batch of radical Republicans think that is an infringement on their freedom of speech.

Fair enough. Let them exercise their First Amendment right. Cancel the rule and let them tell their parishioners how God wants them to vote. But they must disclose their donors (*cough* Koch Bros. *cough*), and NO TAX EXEMPTION FOR YOU!!!!

Donald Trump’s Conflicts of Interest

Donald Trump is planning to loot the United States Treasury.

This has always been the plan: to enrich himself and his family at the expense of the taxpayers. To gain more for himself he is likely to compromise the security of the country. Yes, he’s an incompetent, narcissistic sociopath, but THIS IS SERIOUS.
He is hiding his financial dealings, but now it comes out that “The president is the sole beneficiary of the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust, which is tied to his social security number as the taxpayer identification number, according to documents published online by the investigative nonprofit ProPublica.”

Read the article at The Guardian.

Negotiator-in-Chief

Kevin Drum notes that Donald Trump is a lay-down* at the negotiating table:

Donald Trump, two weeks ago: “Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”
Donald Trump, today, after meeting with Pharma lobbyists: “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening.”

*car dealer talk for a pushover

Celebrity Apprentice

Apprentice-Prez
Welcome to Celebrity Apprentice President!
Our contestant is billionaire real estate mogul Donald J. Trump, and he’ll be gunning for the title of Best President Ever! Unlike all previous contestants, Donald has no prior experience in government, foreign policy or domestic policy, although he says “I’m, like, a smart guy.” Even so we’d say he’s got quite a job ahead of him. Let’s see how his first 10 days went, shall we?
  • Inaugural Speech: Whoa, what a downer! In a surprise move, Donald broke the tradition of new contestants trying to say something uplifting and unifying, at least for his very first public speech as Apprentice President. Instead he painted a bleak picture of a nation in decline, rampant with starvation and misery, and overrun by drugs, gangs, terrorists and immigrant rapists. And carnage! Interesting strategy, Donald!
  • Inaugural Crowd Size: Donald was mad the whole first weekend after he was inaugurated because it turned out that more people had attended previous inaugurations than his own. Heck, the Women’s March that was held the very next day was bigger than his inauguration — and Donald suspected that the March may have secretly been a protest against him, which made him even more crabby. He figuratively stamped his foot for three days, but the numbers didn’t change. So not much presidentin’ got done for a while, but the Trump administration did at least create a new category of lies, called Alternative Facts. These are facts that are not true in this universe, but may be true if you enter a parallel universe. Score one for Team Trump!
  • To make up for looking foolish, Trump then decided to issue a whole bunch of “Executive Orders,” based on his belief that he is elected King and whatever he says goes: He’s restarted the dead oil pipelines across U.S. land that is sensitive ecologically and culturally; fixed it so safe legal abortions around the world will be harder for women to get; raised the price of mortgage insurance for working class home buyers; signed an order “repealing” the Affordable Care Act (this doesn’t actually repeal anything, but it signals that he wants to take health care away from millions of Americans); cut off funding to American cities that won’t let their cops hassle immigrants, or otherwise do the job of federal immigration authorities; reduced the rigor of environmental impact reports so as to fast track construction projects; instructed the EPA to scrub talk of climate change from its website.
  • TV Face Time: Trump has finally made it clear that he intends to continue to hide his tax returns from the American people, but it’s not because he’s shy: he always makes sure television cameras are in the Oval Office to record his many signing sessions. Nice move, Donald, letting your base know you’re keeping those vindictive campaign promises!
  • Banning Muslims: Just kidding — it’s not a Muslim ban! Still, if his blizzard of Executive Orders weren’t enough to show the world who’s boss, he slipped another one in on Day 7 that we’re still trying to understand. But the main thrust seems to be that we don’t want any Muslims trying to sneak into the United States and blow stuff up. To ensure that he received maximum TV coverage on this one, he made sure not to tell the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Legal Counsel or anybody at the State Department what he was doing, instead turning to new National Security Council member and white supremacist Steve Bannon to draft the order. So it basically didn’t make any sense, and — you guessed it — chaos ensued! At airports all over the world! Team Trump scores again!
Looks like Donald is on his way to the Presidentin’ Hall of Fame, if he can keep up this pace. But there are challenges ahead that will test his mettle: a Senate filibuster of his Supreme Court appointment, law suits against some of his more unconstitutional actions, and protests across the country and and around the world.
Stay tuned to Celebrity Apprentice President to find out!

Wake Me When It’s Over

Holy shit, what a crazy dream I was having.
There was a TV game show host running for president against 16 nincompoops. The game show host was like, the head nincompoop: loud, obnoxious, insulting, racist, misogynistic, vindictive, and ignorant. Of course, in my dream, he gets the nomination, and ends up running against a really accomplished candidate from the other party.

Dream-Trump-2Nobody, including the game show host, thinks he’s going to win, but he’s so needy for attention that he plows ahead, improvising his campaign and preening before his supporters. Somewhere along the way it comes out that Russian computer hackers are helping him get elected by humiliating his more qualified rival for the job. Totally not believable, right? And then — you know how the weirdest things happen in dreams? — the game show guy — get this — wins the election! Nuts, huh?

Of course he has no idea how the government works, but he’s shot off his mouth for months about all the outrageous and hurtful things he’ll do when he’s the prez, so he has to go through the motions of “transitioning.” He spends the first month letting everybody know that he’s planning to renege on every single one of his campaign pledges except one: he’s going to take away everybody’s medical coverage! And his fans, for some reason, love it! Then he blows off daily presidential briefings because, he says, they’re too boring. “Oh oh,” I think in my dream, “he’s going to improvise his presidency, too!” I mean, I told you it was a crazy dream, right?

After a while he starts picking who he wants in his cabinet. He likes this part, because on TV he played a “boss,” who was powerful and smart and fired people on every episode. Here’s his chance to do it for realz! But remember, this is just a nutty dream — for each department he chooses somebody who’s made a career of destroying the very department they are now in charge of! If I were not sleeping, I could never make this stuff up!

Anyway, my dream starts to feel more like a nightmare as the game show host goes on Twitter day after day — and sometimes in the middle of the night — to attack people he hates for one reason or another, or to take credit for things that are happening around him that he had nothing to do with. It’s beginning to look like I’m about to descend into some kind of bizarre political hell for at least four years. I mean, a revenge-minded, petty, narcissistic sociopath is about to be handed the nuclear codes! Seriously, I must need psychiatric counseling or something, to be dreaming shit like this, right? This nightmare seems to last all freakin’ night, and finally, just as the obnoxious game show host is about to be inaugurated, I cry out and wake up in a cold sweat.

Thank God it’s only a dream.