Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump's Big CON: 'I'm an Environmentalist'

UPDATE:  "From the start of his short, truculent and unabashedly populist inaugural address, President Trump called out the Washington establishment . . .

He painted a dystopian picture of the United States and promised: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

Trump is about to discover that he can’t simply order up the change he wants. In his first two days in office, Trump has appalled the CIA’s professionals and declared open war on the media. His inauguration sparked some of the largest women’s demonstrations ever in the nation’s capital and across the world. Only two of his Cabinet appointees joined him in office, the rest struggling to overcome questions about financial conflicts of interest, ideological extremism and simple competence. . .

Trump’s Cabinet is composed of various establishments. A large portion is drawn from the Davos class, the international bankers and chief executives who gather each year in Switzerland to celebrate the global system that has been rigged so effectively to their benefit. Six of Trump’s leading economic aides come from Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that previously supplied the treasury secretaries under Presidents Clinton (Robert Rubin) and George W. Bush (Henry Paulson), architects of the corporate trade system that Trump promises to upend.

Trump has shown himself a master at populist stunts — such as cowing Carrier to save 700 or so jobs — and at populist rhetoric. Nationalist posturing and racial signaling — on immigrants, on African Americans, on Muslims — can provide red meat to his movement. But the jobs aren’t coming back. Coal won’t revive without massive subsidy. His Republican Congress and Davos Cabinet aren’t going to embrace a robust industrial policy or a plan to rebuild America. Tax cuts and deregulation will shaft the very people Trump promises to help. Real billionaires in both parties — George Soros and Michael Bloomberg — have called Trump a con man. But even a good con can’t last forever. It won’t be long before working people catch on to Trump’s game and we start seeing lawn signs saying 'Dishonest Donald.'

Read the Washington Post, Why Trump’s con can’t last forever.

"'I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment. I have received awards on the environment.'
— President Trump, remarks during a meeting with business leaders, Jan. 23 . . .

Are there any facts to support this claim to environmental fame?

The Facts

The short answer is: No. Media outlets and environmental groups have tried to find evidence of this claim since 2011 but have come up short. We could not readily find references to Trump’s environmental awards in news coverage over the past 10 years. We checked with the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club, and none had any record of Trump’s environmental awards.

In fact, environmentalists have criticized many of Trump’s projects." 

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s unsupported claim he has ‘received awards on the environment’.

The more he talks, the sooner people will realize that Trump is a con man.

The Republi-CON Ethics CON

UPDATE III:  "While all eyes were focused on failed House efforts to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics — the only independent watchdog with jurisdiction over House members — Republican congressmen led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) quietly succeeded on another dubious ethical front: They adopted a rule designating records created, generated or received by a member’s congressional office 'exclusively the personal property' of that member and granting members 'control over such records.'

Making congressional records the personal property of members seems tailor-made for the next lawmaker who, like former congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), hopes to evade criminal responsibility by barring access to material allegedly showing how he misspent public funds."

Read the Washington Post, A new House rule is a gift to lawmakers trying to hide criminal acts.

UPDATE II:  "Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.

Price bought between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares last March in Zimmer Biomet, according to House records reviewed by CNN.

Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented."

Read CNN, Trump's Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it.

UPDATE:  "For two weeks now, the majority leadership in the new Congress and the incoming Trump administration have been conducting a war on ethics. This has ranged from the effort to cripple the Office of Congressional Ethics to the Senate’s rush to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees before their financial conflicts disclosures were complete to Trump’s own inadequate plan to address his ethical problems.

The latest front involves the Office of Government Ethics and its director, Walter Shaub Jr., who has had the temerity to speak up against Trump’s plan to deal with his conflicts of interest as 'meaningless.'

Both of us, former ethics counsels for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, have worked with Shaub, a career public servant who, in our experience, provided nonpartisan and wise advice. Now, Shaub is being pilloried — and may be at risk of losing his job — for doing just that, and asserting correctly that Trump’s approach 'doesn’t meet the standards .?.?. that every president in the last four decades has met.'"

Read the Washington Post, Just when you thought the Trump ethics disaster couldn’t get worse, it did.

"House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday, when Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that the House Republican Conference had approved the change. There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.

The surprising vote came on the eve of the start of a new session of Congress, where emboldened Republicans are ready to push an ambitious agenda on everything from health care to infrastructure, issues that will be the subject of intense lobbying from corporate interests. The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

It also came on the eve of a historic shift in power in Washington, where Republicans control both houses of Congress and where a wealthy businessman with myriad potential conflicts of interest is preparing to move into the White House."

Read The New York Times, With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office.

Notwithstanding his comments, I'm betting Trump had something to do with this.