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Curating the catastrophe


My friend Steve the Weather Guy remains on the case:

There have been like four more scandals in the last three days.

Trump and Giuliani threatening Ukraine to come up with dirt on Biden.

There’s a report that the US had to extricate a spy based on Trump blabbing secrets to Russia.

The Air Force propping up a Trump resort in Scotland and the nearby Trump-associated airport. Pence staying at Trump property hundreds of miles from Dublin.

Wilbur Ross threatening to fire NOAA employees if they didn’t lie about Sharpiegate. (National Weather Service is part of NOAA which is under Commerce.)

And in the not illegal but definitely gross: denying Bahamian refugees access to Florida without “full documentation” (exactly what people whose lives were destroyed in a major hurricane have) because there might be drug dealers among them.

It’s just a cascade of corruption. An assault on the senses. A series of questions I’d like to ask McConnell and every Republican who supports this administration, whether wholeheartedly or with the occasional “transactional” tut-tut:

1. Imagine a situation where you basically support a president’s policies, but he is so transparently unfit and corrupt that you would support his removal. Is that situation even a theoretical possibility?

2. If your answer to 1 is yes, but that Trump is not that president, then your answer is practically no.

3. Why is your answer no? Isn’t that unconscionable?

Obviously this is just a courtroom fantasy of nailing Colonel Jessup, but man.

There are no imaginable conditions to which a man cannot accustom himself, especially if he sees that all those who surround him are living in the same way.

Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

. . . Related:

None of these stories by itself has the singular drama of a Teapot Dome or a Watergate. Indeed, the mere fact that there is so much corruption prevents any single episode from capturing the imagination of the media and the public. But it is the totality of dynamic that matters. A corrupt miasma has slowly enveloped Washington. For generations, both parties generally upheld an assumption that the government would abide rules and norms dividing its proper functioning from the president’s personal and political interests.

The norm of bureaucratic professionalism and fairness is a pillar of the political legitimacy and economic strength of the American system, the thing that separates countries like the U.S. from countries like Russia. The decay of that culture is difficult to quantify, but the signs are everywhere. Trump’s stench is slowly seeping into every corner of government.

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