One Day of Trump Administration Corruption

Monopoly Chance card: You have been elected chairman of the board.

How corrupt is the Trump Administration? To answer that, one could start by digging into a topic such as foreign emoluments or regulatory capture. Or one could just follow the news of the day. For example, let's take the news of just yesterday, March 13, 2018:

CIA Director nominee oversaw, covered-up torture.

Today President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, moved CIA Director Mike Pompeo to secretary of state, and bumped up Deputy Director Gina Haspel to CIA director. On Haspel's resume is the overseeing of torture during interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand, and destroying the video evidence of it.

Trump assistant under investigation for financial crimes.

In another firing today, Trump ousted his personal assistant, John McEntee. Because he is under investigation for financial crimes, McEntee cannot get a full security clearance.

VA chief hands ethics ammo to department foes.

Trump is considering yet another firing, that of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. The only holdover from the Obama Administration, Shulkin thought he had weathered an ouster attempt by administration officials, who were unhappy with his lack of enthusiasm for privatizing the VA. But Trump, at a signing ceremony of a VA-related bill in June, may have given Shulkin the "kiss of death." The New York Times reported:

Mr. Trump said his secretary did not have to worry about hearing the president’s old reality-show catchphrase, “You’re fired.”

“We’ll never have to use those words on our David,” Mr. Trump said, pointing his finger at the secretary like a pistol. “We will never use those words on you, that’s for sure.”

But Skulkin has given foes an excuse for firing him, by apparently taking a nice sightseeing trip with his wife to Wimbledon and Denmark, and passing it off as VA business. The department's Inspector General found "serious derelictions" with that trip.

ICE spokesman, under pressure to support officials' false statements, resigns.

"I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that," said ICE spokesman James Schwab. After Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf caught wind of a planned ICE sweep through California and warned the public, administration officials exaggerated the impact of that warning. The exaggerations, by ICE Director Thomas Homan, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and President Trump, were widely reported. Said Schwab:

We were never going to pick up that many people. To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong.

He also said:

It’s the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for. I felt like we weren’t doing that. I’ve never been in a situation when I’ve been asked to ignore the facts because it was more convenient. It was my first time being asked to do that.

Hat Tip

All of the above news items were taken from the March 13 issue of the "What The Fuck Just Happened Today" blog by Matt Kiser. He started out to chronicle the Trump Administration's first 100 days, but is now at Day #418, and working at it full time. So, he has credited Trump with creating one new job.

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(From The Paragraph.) [Sources & Notes]

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By Quinn Hungeski, TheParagraph.com, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2018

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hungeski's picture

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"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

Amanda Matthews's picture

@hungeski

point.

Welcome to the club.

Great essay.

Just think. Our choices, of all the millions of people in America, were the orange hickey-on-a-hemorrhoid and The Clinton Creature. Greedy, ethically and morally bankrupt clowns who could have been identical twins. Only the one that falls down all the time would have already turned the freaking planet into a charrred radioactive chunk of rock.

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

hungeski's picture

@Amanda Matthews Yes, I was disappointed to find no "delete" button for the empty comment.

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7 users have voted.

"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

Amanda Matthews's picture

@hungeski

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

thanatokephaloides's picture

@hungeski

Thanks. Yes, I was disappointed to find no "delete" button for the empty comment.

Where that Comment was located, you could have edited it and changed the subject line to "Tip Jar"....

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

hungeski's picture

@thanatokephaloides Next time.

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"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

@Amanda Matthews @Amanda Matthews

Just interrupting to say FSM bless you for your gift with words. "Orange hickey-on-a-hemorrhoid" will live forever in the annals of great descriptive phrases in literature. And made my face sore from laughing.

Edit: however, the Russians made a letter-typo in that brief comment when I wasn't looking. Sneaky devils!

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Meteor Man's picture

Corruption is like an addictive drug that puts the opiod crisis to shame. And thx for the link to WTF Just Happened Today too.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

hungeski's picture

@Meteor Man You're welcome. I like that blog because it's plain, brief and sourced.

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"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

You certainly managed to get an awful lot of corruption into a small area; think you could fit that government into a bathtub? (And thanks for the site, too!)

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4 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

hungeski's picture

@Ellen North I just want to wring it out ... or something like that.:-)

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"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

@hungeski @hungeski

since they've been putting virtually everyone else through the wringer until they're mostly so dry their pockets are hanging out.

Edit: Hah! They even stole an 'l' out of one of my words, so I had to replace the darned thing...

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2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

gulfgal98's picture

This is more indicative of the level of corruption within our government than just within the Trump administration alone. It points a very strong finger at how broken our system of government is. Good essay.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

Anja Geitz's picture

@gulfgal98

That has infected our media, Glenn Greenwald made an excellent point of how that entire narrative serves to give those who believe it a false sense of the Trump Presidency as a horrible anomaly rather than what it actually is. The product of the systematic income inequality policies the Corporatocracy have inflicted on our economy to benefit themselves.

Those in power do NOT want a national reckoning of what they have done to our politics and which policies they have enacted that have skewed the wealth so much in their favor. What they want us to firmly believe is that the answer to our problems is getting rid of Trump, the person, so that America can go back representing the shiny city on the hill it was before he was elected.

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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

hungeski's picture

@gulfgal98 Yes, I think the legalized bribery system underlies the corruption. But, I think the Trumpies have pushed it to a higher level.

Thanks.

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"We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows." - Robert Frost

Anja Geitz's picture

@hungeski

when President Obama signed away our right to habeas corpus? Or when President Obama appointed the Department of Homeland Security to oversee our entire electoral system?

Yeah, me neither.

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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Amanda Matthews's picture

@Anja Geitz

a lot of stuff that, when you really think about it, is downright mind boggling. He could look in a camera and lie even better than Slick could, and he was a master manipulator.

But I notice other than his secret speech (hahaha) at MIT, he’s been kerping a pretty low profile.

Maybe his and the wife are working on their new careers. With Netflix.

The Obamas Might Be Headed to Netflix: What Kind of Shows Will They Make?

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/03/barack-obama-netflix-deal-p...

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I'm tired of this back-slapping "Isn't humanity neat?" bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are. - Bill Hicks

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

Anja Geitz's picture

@Amanda Matthews

Boy, am I really sorry to hear that. Since I don't have a TV and I'm no longer on social media, I have thus far been able to protect myself from the pervasive narrative our overlords are maniacally trying to shove down our throats. Netflix was the last refuge I frequented that seemed impervious to their reach.

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3 users have voted.

If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke