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Has the Swamp Been Drained Yet?

[ 140 ] April 21, 2017 |

Trump_HardHat_620_AP-1

Finally, a president willing to take on Wall Street:

Friday afternoon, Donald Trump traveled to the US Treasury Department where he’s expected to sign a new executive order. The order aims at making life easier for American companies that want to avoid corporate income taxes, relax regulation on some large financial institutions, and make it harder for federal regulators to wind down big banks that fail during a financial crisis.

[…]

Paired with the Trump-era surge in immigration arrests, potential deportation of a DREAMer, and broad attacks on judicial review the financial services executive order is meaningful primarily for clarifying what the exact meaning of the rising clout of “globalists” inside the White House is.

National Economic Council chair Gary Cohn comes to the White House from a job as the number two official at Goldman Sachs. His version of globalism isn’t the high-minded humane cosmopolitanism that would, say, forestall massive cuts in the foreign aide budget or militate in favor of generous treatment of Central American families seeking refuge from gang violence. It’s the globalism of Goldman Sachs which wants light-touch regulation of the financial sector, plenty of room for multinational corporations to engage in tax chicanery, and no major trade wars that would threaten US-based financial services companies ability to compete for market share internationally.

A little protectionism here and there for the steel industry is fine as long as things don’t get out of hand.

But there’s no real economic populism here. Trump’s alternative to technocratic liberal bank regulation is bank regulation pursued in the interests of the banking industry. Formally repealing bank rules through legislation will be difficult, and even rolling back regulations through executive action could be hard. But Trump can and will appoint like-minded business friendly officials to key regulatory posts, and they can simply regulate the industry laxly.

Still, Obama once rode on a yacht after leaving office, so the lesson is that Both Sides Do It but the Democrats are worse.

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  1. Cervantes says:

    You forgot that Hillary gave speeches to investment bankers, so that’s even worse.

  2. C.V. Danes says:

    I remember waking up every day during the Bush Administration shaking my head at the fact that this country elected him (twice). Little did I know that I would later be inhabiting a reality in which Donald Fucking Trump would be president.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      Yeah, Dubya’s reelection changed my understanding of conservatism. Tr45 taking the GOP nom changed my understanding of politics.

      • JonH says:

        Trump taking the GOP nom and the presidency changed my understanding of America. And it wasn’t seen through rose-colored glasses to begin with.

        • Nobdy says:

          My country and especially it’s citizenry.

          To some degree I feel like my whole life has been learning that nope, there are no mature, smart, adults in charge and I have overestimated the competence and intelligence of the people around me. Obama was, of course, a respite from that, but it turns out he was just setting me up for a gut punch.

          Voting for Trump was such a monumentally stupid, destructivr, irresponsible thing to do that I cannot view my fellow citizens the same ever again.

          I cannot conceive of a Trump voter who is not at least one of: stupid, bigoted, incredibly selfish, or so naive as to be functionally stupid. Knowing so many people around me have those flaws is very scary.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      Is Trump really worse than GWB though? I guess the GWB admin was less racist, and he did manage to get some bills passed BUT those bills were crap I didn’t want and the Iraq War was one of the worst foreign policy decisions in our nation’s history. Maybe the worst. Plus the response to Hurricane Katrina. I mean, I get that Trump is trashy and a deeply stupid man, even dumber than GWB, but it’s not impossible to me that history will look at the two presidencies as a Buchanan/Pierce kind of draw. Then again, it’s early. Man I hate that this is a question.

      • Nobdy says:

        In terms of governance it is way too easy to judge Trump but the open racism of Trump’s campaign, and his misogyny, damaged the country irrespective of policy.

        George Bush was bad on race, misogynist, and a horrible manager of the country, but he did not set back the country in the same fundamental way.

        • SatanicPanic says:

          I want to agree with you, but man that is a lot of death GWB caused and continues to cause in the Middle East.

        • George W. Bush was not openly racist and openly misogynist in the same way the shitgibbon is. He stuck to dog-whistles, while Cheeto Caligula uses an air-raid siren. And indeed, Bush actually spoke out against some of his party’s Islamophobia and racism against Latinxs/Hispanics. Can’t see Dolt 45 ever doing that.

          • I don’t know, though. Someday he might have a ten minute conversation with a Muslim or a Hispanic and come away saying that nobody ever knew that they’re not so bad as people.

            • Chetsky says:

              “and some of them, the 19-year-olds, are 9s, 9 1/2s”

            • los says:

              come away saying that nobody ever knew that they’re not so bad as people.

              Which he wouldn’t say about an oligarch, because he’d never have to allow any exception to his earlier generalization, “They’re sending us their worst bankers, fund managers, mafia bosses…”

          • Karen24 says:

            When he was governor W was pretty good at keeping the Texas Republicans from diving head first into the racist crap that California indulged in at the time, and he was really good at appointing and promoting women. (See Myers, Harriet, for one example.) He was in his personal life comfortable with women and people of color. Trump, by contrast, apparently detests anyone who isn’t white and male and his advisors are even worse on this issue.

            • BigHank53 says:

              W also put a great deal of time and effort into getting western drug companies to give HIV meds to African nations at or below cost. Nobody in the GOP would have blinked if he hadn’t bothered, and he didn’t trumpet the accomplishment at every turn, so one is forced to conclude that he did it because he thought it was the right thing to do.

              • Karen24 says:

                Exactly.

                Bush exemplified all the failings of trust-fund old money frat boys, but he also had some of their good points as well. Trump distills all the faults of inherited wealth AND new money. He never worked in his life but he also has no sense of noblesse oblige.

          • TVTray says:

            He killed over a million people!

        • CP says:

          In terms of governance it is way too easy to judge Trump but the open racism of Trump’s campaign, and his misogyny, damaged the country irrespective of policy.

          This. He’s given an “it’s okay to be racist now” signal of a degree that the racists hadn’t seen from the White House in seventy years. The amount of damage from that alone is incalculable.

      • C.V. Danes says:

        Then again, it’s early. Man I hate that this is a question.

        Exactly. We haven’t even reach 100 days yet.

      • efgoldman says:

        Is Trump really worse than GWB though?

        Yes, absolutely.
        W appointed a lot of hacks and ideologues. BUT HE HAD A FUCKING STATE DEPARTMENT AND A FUCKING DEFENSE DEPARTMENT AND A FUCKING DIPLOMATIC CORPS THAT WERE FUNCTIONAL.
        Persimmon Pustule has purposely left literally hundreds of jobs, in many layers, unfilled. No service secretaries, no undersecretaries, no assistant secretaries, no ambassadors, no staffs, literally between the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State and whatever mid-level civil service people are left – which isn’t many.
        These would be the people who communicate daily with their counterparts in other governments, who provide routine facts and analysis up the line to the cabinet and the WH, who keep the gears greased and the wheels turning. This is the great untold story of this maladministration. Some CPO in the Navy can pinpoint the Vinson’s location every minute, but nobody between him/her and the Secretary of Defense can pass the info on.

        • CP says:

          Yeah, it’s really really hard to communicate just how utterly incompetent, beyond anything we’ve seen in living memory, the guy is. I’m having trouble even thinking of freaking comic book villains or parody villains to compare him to. Nobody would even write a person who was this shockingly inept at everything.

          • Lex Luthor divested himself of his corporate holdings when he was elected president.

            The Giant Orange Toddler with Nukes literally has lower ethical standards than a comic book villain.

          • NonyNony says:

            More corrupt than Lex Luthor.

            Less competent than Paste-Pot Pete.

            This is what we has for our president.

            I need a drink.

            • Sev says:

              Also, Trump’s few appointees are actively destroying all of the actually useful parts of the government, obliterating data that has taken generations to collect and impressing all honorable, competent people that only a fool would ever work for the federal gov.

              • efgoldman says:

                Trump’s few appointees are actively destroying all of the actually useful parts of the government

                True, although with him, it’s impossible to tell if he’s doing it purposely or just out of ignorance and stupidity.
                I believe, except for Evil Leprechaun at “Justice”, he didn’t know any of the appointees – like with Gorsuch, somebody just handed him a list with names on it.

              • Morse Code for J says:

                I’m more than halfway to my pension, ergo I stay.

                I would imagine you will see even more pushback from within if this furlough happens next week with no end in sight. Be a real shame if someone at IRS were to get so mad about not being paid on time that he found and dumped El Heifer’s tax returns at Wikileaks.

                • guthrie says:

                  Don’t use wikileaks, it’s working for the russians since all the ethical folk left. So nothing like that would get leaked.

        • SatanicPanic says:

          He had a functionally evil state department though. Again, it’s early and I don’t put it past him, but Trump hasn’t started a massive new war that we’ll be involved in 15 years later… yet. I’m not defending Trump, I’m just saying that we shouldn’t gloss over the Bush admin’s real crimes because they were, on the whole, more competent than the Trump admin.

          • efgoldman says:

            He had a functionally evil state department though.

            Yes, and at first he listened to Darth and Rummy instead of the experts. But the experts were there, and the ambassadors, and all the others that are now missing. The departments were functional. The information flowed. It wasn’t some goddamned mentally deficient toddler acting on… what? Vibrations in the ether? The “shows”?

        • efgoldman says:

          To continue on this non-cabinet cabinet theme (I have no idea if this is real or fake. But that’s the problem now, isn’t it?)

        • randy khan says:

          The failure to appoint people is having some odd effects.

          One of the functioning agencies is the FCC, which currently is operating with 3 of its 5 commissioners. There’s a story going around that the Democratic commissioner, whose term ends on June 30 but for strange reasons actually could keep serving until December 2018 if she’s not replaced, is considering stepping down at the official end of her term instead of hanging around because she’s concerned about some things the 2 Republicans would do. If she did step down, the FCC no longer would have a quorum and would be unable to adopt any new rules or repeal any old rules until at least one new commissioner is confirmed, but the President, naturally, hasn’t nominated anybody for any of the vacancies. So, literally, if Commissioner Clyburn steps down, it might be impossible for the FCC to undo network neutrality, which is one of the Republican Party’s top priorities.

          • Incidentally, the FCC’s website has been a lot less reliable since the short-fingered vulgarian took office, which is inconvenient for me since I actually rely on it at work. I’m not sure if it’s just coincidence or not.

            I will laugh so hard if the shitgibbon’s incompetence makes another part of his agenda impossible to implement, though.

            • randy khan says:

              That seems unlikely – it’s run by career people at the agency.

              FWIW, I use it every day for work, too, and haven’t had any problems.

              • IIRC, only parts of it go down. The part with detailed TV station info (call signs, latitude/longitude, etc.) was down about four times within Feb-March. Of course, that’s the part my work most relies on.

                • randy khan says:

                  That’s a part of the site that I don’t use, so that would explain why I haven’t had the same experience. (Other people in my office use it, but I’m more a telephone-Internet-cable guy.)

          • efgoldman says:

            If she did step down, the FCC no longer would have a quorum and would be unable to adopt any new rules or repeal any old rules until at least one new commissioner is confirmed

            That’s essentially what the NLRB went thru when Yertle McTurtle refused to consider Obama’s nominees; which led to the recess appointments decision by SCOTUS, which in effect obliterated yet another black letter clause in the constitution.

        • los says:

          efgoldman says:

          Some CPO in the Navy can pinpoint the Vinson’s location every minute, but nobody between him/her and the Secretary of Defense can pass the info on.

          Yes, but I’m still not hoping that Putin drops by and takes over the administrative branch in one executive order.

          /Humorously “framed” – I hope.

      • ap77 says:

        Oh yes. So much worse. Bigly worse.

        Don’t get me wrong, Bush was terrible. But he didn’t unleash a deportation force or try to ban Muslims from entering the country. He didn’t, as far as I can recall, openly incite violence against political opponents. I never got the sense that Bush was going to start a war with North Korea over twitter. And so on.

        • Colin Day says:

          I never got the sense that Bush was going to start a war with North Korea over twitter.

          Twitter

          Twitter was only launched in March of 2006. Maybe W never really had the chance. Also, W was less narcissistic than Trump.

      • sibusisodan says:

        GWB caused damage by being bad at Presidenting. This damaged his party, as well as sections of his country. But it didn’t – broadly – do long term damage to US global status. Much of the developed world was itching to give the US another chance, hence Obama’s special lifetime achievement award for Not Being His Predecessor given in Oslo.

        Trump can cause all of that damage, plus another level: his ‘government by nihilist Dunning Kreuger’ approach moth-eats the fabric of the idea of governance.

        It rots support for basic good governance within the US (what Republican needs to have a better approach on policy and long term planning than Trump if Trump is electable?); it dramatically erodes US soft power abroad.

        • liberalrob says:

          GWB caused damage by being bad at Presidenting. This damaged his party, as well as sections of his country. But it didn’t – broadly – do long term damage to US global status.

          Oh, yes it did. The Iraq debacle was catastrophic, throwing away all the goodwill secured in reaction to 9/11. It was so bad that Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize just for talking about setting a new course. Don’t let the colossal damage Trump is doing to our image overshadow the very real damage GWB caused with his bungling and feckless mismanagement.

          • SatanicPanic says:

            Plus when Donald gets around to re-instating torture it’ll be because GWB laid the groundwork.

          • sibusisodan says:

            Yes, entirely correct. Perhaps I would have been less wrong to say that GWB’s catastrophes – damaging though they were to world opinion – were not sufficiently bad to exhaust a reservoir of goodwill towards the US in the developed world?

            I am not as confident about Trump.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

              The mere fact that Trump was even the nominee, much less elected, is proof that a fair portion of the US population is nucking futs. This is obvious both to the rest of the US and to other countries.

              And there’s no real fix. We may get rid of Trump, but the idiots will still be here, and they’re not going to learn from this experience.

              • The only way to fix it is by killing off the right-wing puke funnel, but unfortunately that would fail on First Amendment grounds. On the other hand, if they were shown to be actively advancing Russian causes at our nation’s expense, that would qualify as treason, wouldn’t it? So I guess that’s really our only hope.

      • so-in-so says:

        tRump may ask you to hold his beer (except he doesn’t drink, nor did Bush). Bush gave the speech about Islam not being the problem after 9/11, Chump bombs Syria because he saw a photo of gassed children, but photos of drowned children don’t change the calculus of banning refugees. I don’t see him giving a similar speech, so that alone is a point toward Bush. Bush staffed agencies with hacks and idiots, Chump only staffs the top level (and most of those are worse idiots).

        My money is on Chump being worst, if we survive to actually compare.

      • One thing I feel hasn’t been mentioned in any of the discussions above is that Manhattan Mugabe’s administration is just actively malevolent in a manner I don’t think Bush 43 can be accused of being. Say what you will about Bill Maher (he’s frequently a dick himself), but this monologue about the Shitgibbon Administration pretty much sums up how I feel about some of it. There are no explainable reasons for these policies to be passed other than “pissing off liberals”; there are no benefits to be had to anyone unless you consider spite to be a benefit. Cleek’s Law now governs the country to an historically unprecedented extent, basically.

      • wengler says:

        Well, Bush enacted steel tariffs just like Trump is maybe doing, so it looks like a well-worn Republican playbook now. By September we’ll have a devastating terrorist attack, a forever war during which we will triumph dear leader, lots of torture(if the torture chambers aren’t being utilized already), and a devastated economy and wrecked political culture at the end of it.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      Bill James’ distinction is useful here.

      Are we talking peak awful, or career awful?

      • randy khan says:

        Bush’s career Harm Above Replacement probably is higher than Trump’s right now, but that’s kind of like comparing (with apologies to the players involved) Mike Trout’s career WAR to, oh, Rusty Staub’s. Staub’s is higher, but he had a lot more time to get there.

        This has me pondering who would qualify as a 0 HAR President. Coolidge? Maybe Harrison? I’m not sure.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      W was what the Republican Party shat out before there was an African-American President.

      Tr45 is the pus-filled sac that discharges from an infection that was never properly treated.

  3. Brad Nailer says:

    Still, Obama once rode on a yacht after leaving office, so the lesson is that Both Sides Do It but the Democrats are worse.

    Did you hear?? Bernie “man of the people” Sanders just bought a vacation home! Fuckin’ liberals.

  4. daves09 says:

    OT, but concerning reptilian swamp creature.
    With all the hooing and hawing about the latest repeal and replace, international man of seriousity P. Ryan has been off in London advising legislators how to legislate instead of in Washington you know, legislating.
    Can anyone remember when the Speaker has essentially bailed on a major piece of legislation? God forbid that the media shoul,d even mention this when there’s Hillary and her awful, terrible, absolutely the worst campaign to talk about.
    Perhaps Paulie realizes his totally undeserved rep. can’t take too much more of the stink of failure.

    • so-in-so says:

      Maybe he hid the latest bill in the Tower of London, to keep Rand Paul from finding it…

    • efgoldman says:

      Perhaps Paulie realizes his totally undeserved rep. can’t take too much more of the stink of failure.

      Well, since word is he’s working with Nancy SMASH to produce enough of a “budget” to keep the eebil gummint from shutting down – again – and we know what happened to the last “speaker” who did that, maybe he decided to travel on congress’ dime for one last time.

    • daves09 says:

      This just in; Trump-no hurry on health care.
      Repeal and replace must be well and truly fucked.
      Also Trump-I never said I was going to get anything done in the first hundred days.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      There is no GOP policy shop. Right now they have the best of all worlds — they have a black guy to blame for “Obamacare” and no capacity to offer a replacement. A few more kabuki passes and they’ll declare victory.

  5. Nobdy says:

    Drain the Swamp was always just a catch phrase Trump used because it focus tested well. He didn’t even like it. Unlike some other broken promises (like the wall) I don’t think he ever even intended to make any attempts at this.

  6. Hogan says:

    “Traveled to the US Treasury Department”? It’s literally one block away. Did he take Marine Corps One?

  7. StillWithHer says:

    Still, Obama once rode on a yacht after leaving office, so the lesson is that Both Sides Do It but the Democrats are worse.

    The self pity on this blog has reached Chernobyl-like meltdown levels.

    • Davebo says:

      Fascinating observation. OK, not really but it must have taken guts! OK, not really but here it is.

    • McAllen says:

      Equivocation between Republicans and Democrats helped lead to the worst political disaster in a generation. You can deal with some airing of grievances.

    • sharculese says:

      THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE

    • Chetsky says:

      Listen, honey. I don’t give two flying fncks what your game is. Truly I do not. You had one of two choices in this election:

      (a) vote for the preservation of our Republic

      (b) vote for the White Supremacist Fascist (oh, but I repeat myself)

      Did you do your patriotic duty? B/c yaknow, that’s the only question that matters. It wouldn’t have mattered if the alternative to Dampnut was a ham sandwich — I’d have STILL voted for the sandwich. What about you? Eh?

      That’s #1. And what’s #2? White-boy, White-boy, don’t you EVER go trying to accuse our first African-American president of kow-towing to the money power, you piece of SH*T. WHAT EXACTLY WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF HE’D GONE ALL STOKELY CARMICHAEL? You really think he’d have LIVED? REALLY? REALLY?

      STFU, honky.

      • Chetsky says:

        Honkey p.o.s. has no idea what the rule of law is. No idea what it means for -any- pol to get to the point where s/he can actually be considered for presidency.

        Go back to raping your relatives, honky.

      • PunditusMaximus says:

        Let’s stop even trying because the oligarchs will murder us if we do.

          • PunditusMaximus says:

            The Medicare Expansion was the beginning, middle, and end of these charts, and I agree that it was important, good policy. But as one of those insane #SinglePayerNow purists, I would say something socialist and hateful like that.

            • Chetsky says:

              Uh, no, that’d be single-neuron-disease victim #SinglePayerNow purists. B/c completely unaware of just how many people are gonna stand in the way of passing single-payer. Fools thinking it’s as simple as “everybody wants it” so it’s gonna pass.

              No shit I want single-payer too. I remember working in France and being covered by their health system. It was great. But the *idea* that all those companies, all those unions, and esp. all those -people- with their retirement portfolios, 401ks and pension plans, invested in health care stocks, are going to sit still for that …. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

              Tell us another one, gramps.

              • PunditusMaximus says:

                I’m well aware that it is Democratic Party orthodoxy that the oligarchy cannot be challenged successfully.

                • Chetsky says:

                  OK. Do you know the meaning of the phrase “loss aversion”? Oh and let’s note that -regardless- of what the vast mass of Americans think, the simple fact is that even in the Dem party, reps responnd more to voters with money. You know, the ones with 401ks. I’m not talking about the 1%. I’m talking about the top 20%. There are enough people there, that when they figure out their retirement plans are going south, will be very, very angry.

                  But really, that’s not the point. Let us suppose that it was even *possible*. Are you saying that Obama should have tried? Because he’d have been assassinated — you know that, right?

                • bobloblaw57 says:

                  Obama would have been assassinated if he had tried to push single payer is a new one

              • efgoldman says:

                You were doing fine until you got to the point where Obama even mentioning single payer gets him assassinated.
                In fact, there was no constituency, EVEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, for it. All the green lanterns in the world wouldn’t have got it thru. But that’s politics, and actual vote counting, and the Bros and purity ponies and their hero don’t DO politics, they do fantasy.

                • Chetsky says:

                  I was pointing out that in a world where he -could- have done it (i.e. his Dem congresscritters would have voted for it) he’d have been assassinated. Why do I believe this? B/c too many sacred cows getting gored.

                  No, I don’t believe his congresscritters would have voted for it — as has been endlessly debated here, the critical votes were guys like Nelson and Lieberman. But EVEN IF they could have been convinced, enormous monied interests would have have stood still for it.

                • TVTray says:

                  “In fact, there was no constituency, EVEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, for it.”

                  Very strange, considering that Medicare for All is a very popular idea. What’s the deal with these Democrats?

              • TVTray says:

                “Tell us another one, gramps.”

                How old are you, Chet?

                • Chetsky says:

                  Sure as hell not old enough to remember that golden age when congresscritters accurately reflected the will of the citizenry, that’s for sure. Back in those good old days, a rich man couldn’t get a favor from a Dem congresscritter, b/c he only had one vote. Yepper, them were the days, gramps.

      • StillWithHer says:

        You must be legitimately mentally ill.

  8. Lot_49 says:

    One thing’s for sure: Trump won’t renege on his promise to eliminate the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers.

    Hahahahaha….

  9. DrDick says:

    The Trumpian kleptocratic agenda moves forward.

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