Friday, March 23, 2018

Could Be Worse. Could Be Raining

[Dr. Frankenstein and Igor are digging up a body from a graveyard]
Dr. Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
Igor: Could be worse.
Dr. Frankenstein: How?
Igor: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour]
-- Young Frankenstein
Last year, the unthinkable happened and choose your epithet -- a malevolent orange shit gibbon, vulgar talking yam, fucking moron, mentally deranged U.S. dotard -- became the President of these United States. The way he has brazenly violated well-established norms and degraded the office (not to mention high crimes and misdemeanors), and demonstrated his utter lack of intellectual, psychological and moral fitness for office, has been far worse and far more frightening than most of us living in the rational world could have imagined.

He is seemingly incapable of telling the truth and, according to a Washington Post tally, averages about a half-a-dozen falsehoods a day.  He and his family continue to enrich themselves by commingling their business interests with the White House, not merely ignoring conflicts of interests but affirmatively benefitting from them. But it could be worse.  Could be raining.

He has stocked his administration with a remarkable collection of venal, ethically-challenged men and Betsy DeVos, who are systematically destroying the agencies in their charge with enormous ramifications for the environment, education, energy policy and criminal justice. He withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement and is pushing fossil fuel production that will exacerbate global warming.  But it could be worse.  Could be raining.

He continues his relentless attacks on democratic institutions, from judges to U.S. intelligence agencies to the press -- and most recently, on the Special Counsel investigating his and his administration's involvement in Russia's interference with the 2016 election.  He has already fired the FBI director to thwart this investigation and there are rising fears that he will take steps to remove the Special Counsel too. And he has refused to take meaningful steps to stop Russia from interfering again.  But it could be worse.  Could be raining.

His racist and xenophobic rhetoric has energized Nazis and white supremacists.  The hastily crafted Muslim ban and unilateral rescission of the DACA program, as well as the unleashing of his Justice Department on undocumented immigrants, has been needlessly cruel and destructive, heartlessly breaking up families and sweeping up hard-working, law-abiding, long-standing residents.  But it could be worse.  Could be raining.

His nomination of extreme right wing judges to fill vacancies left open due to Republican obstruction during the Obama presidency (including, of course, the Supreme Court), most of whom are that are anti-LGBT, anti-choice, anti-civil rights, anti-regulation, anti-labor, will very likely transform the federal judiciary for a generation or more.  But it could be worse.  Could be raining.

He has just chosen John Bolton to be his National Security Advisor who, together with Mike Pompeo, nominated for Secretary of State, creates, as the New York Times describes "the most radically aggressive foreign policy team around the American president in modern memory."  As a Times editorial states, Bolton's views are simplistic and wrong-headed, he disdains diplomacy and arms control, and "there are few people more likely to lead us into war."

It's raining.

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