Good grief, what a week
I have tried, truly I have, to rant with discretion, to resist the urge to sarcasm, invective, cheap shots, and general snarkiness, and to aim for an elevated level of discourse, maybe even gravitas, with the blog. Yes, I have on occasion dubbed individuals blockheads, an insult of which Samuel Johnson was fond, and otherwise laid abuse on powerful creatures of the public sphere. I hope that has not become a distinguishing feature of this space. The times make it a challenge. My heart is not in it this evening.
It was quite the week for the tyrant Trump and his running-dog lackeys even with the cowboy-clown Roy Moore's ignominious defeat in Alabama. The tyrant brushed it off and moved on, explaining that he supported Luther Strange in the primary because he knew Moore could not win the general election. Moore has not moved on, refusing to concede and squawking about voter fraud. Not even the state's attorney general, a Moore supporter, seems to take this seriously. Even so, I think it is not unreasonable to wonder what shenanigans might lie ahead.
Meantime, congressional Republicans blithely rejected all economic analysis and gave the tyrant his tax bill. Let's not dignify this abomination by calling it reform. I suppose we should credit these small minds with a certain foolish consistency. The dismissal of economic analysis that ran contrary to dogmatically held beliefs is right in line with rejection of climate science and the findings of the intelligence community on everything from nefarious Russian involvement in the 2016 election to Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement.
The tyrant boasted of the regime's wholesale roll back of financial, environmental, health care, and other regulations. Net neutrality got the headlines, but it had plenty of company on the chopping block. Twenty-two regulations eliminated for every new regulation. Now I am all in for regular, systematic, serious review of existing regulations to address unintended consequences and revise or eliminate regulations where appropriate. Reports from the EPA alone and the conspicuous disdain for evidence-based decision making that is the hallmark of the administration give ample reason to look askance at the process and the outcome. This is sophomore-level laissez-faire economics and government. Cut the robber barons loose to pillage and plunder.
Speaking of evidence-based stuff, how about the list of forbidden words and terms handed down to the Centers for Disease Control? "Evidence-based," "science-based," "diversity," "transgender," "vulnerable," "entitlement," and "fetus" are banned from use in official documents for next year's budget. Another proud moment in the era of ignorance-based government.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke fired four senior officials at the Department of Interior for misconduct that included intimidation, discrimination, and sexual harassment. My limited digging did not turn up anything more specific about the charges. Surveys of department staff indicate widespread and serious problems at Interior. Maybe the dismissed officials are guilty, guilty, guilty. But given the tenor of the regime, I have to wonder if allegations of sexual misconduct will be used by cabinet members to to purge dissent within their departments. After all, the regime has not been notable for its concern about this sort of thing up until now. Maybe I am being unfair. Maybe Zinke did the right thing and should be given credit for it. But I have to wonder.
The autocrat Putin heaped praise on the tyrant and dismissed talk of Russian meddling in the election. The tyrant acknowledged the praise and thanked his counterpart. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the tyrant is more at ease with authoritarian strongmen than with leaders of the country's traditional allies in the West who, whatever their faults and flaws, tend to be in principle democratic and amenable to ideals of human rights and civil liberties.
Finally, the tyrant and his running-dog lackeys came off like a bunch of flaming leftists as they heaped scorn on the FBI and CIA in the latest moves to delegitimize Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation. It looks like they are greasing the skids to oust Mueller and put an end to all investigations into the tyrant and Russia while laying the groundwork for a purge and rank politicization of the FBI and CIA. We are moving into tyrant territory. The situation is genuinely frightening.