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The Cabinet of Deplorables: Year Two
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The Final Dakar
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Feb 22, 2018, 08:57 PM
 
Late on a fresh thread, but whatever.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...=.07a334b1a417
Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to create a pretext for taxpayers to cover expenses for the secretary’s wife on a 10-day trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general has found.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...ff7_story.html
White House officials have told Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin that his job is safe, according to people familiar with the matter who indicated Tuesday that President Trump decided to “stomach the story” about Shulkin’s alleged misuse of taxpayer money during a 10-day trip to Europe.
I'll probably like him better than his replacement, but WTF?!

---

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.0c3309d60b1d
As he enters his second year in charge of the EPA, Pruitt is distinguishing himself from his predecessors in ways that go beyond policy differences. His travel practices — which tend to be secretive, costly and frequent — are integral to how he approaches his role.

Pruitt tends to bring a larger entourage of political advisers on his trips than past administrators. But while the aides usually fly coach, according to travel vouchers through August obtained by The Washington Post separately from the Environmental Integrity Project, he often sits in first or business class, which previous administrators typically eschewed.

Last year, Pruitt promoted U.S. natural-gas exports in Morocco, sat on a panel about the rule of law in Rome and met with his counterparts from major industrialized countries. This year, he plans to travel to Israel, Australia, Japan, Mexico and possibly Canada, according to officials familiar with his schedule. None of those visits have been officially announced.
“What did American taxpayers get for Pruitt visiting the Vatican and getting photographed with European agency heads?” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, of last year’s Italy trip. “This was all for show.”

The decision to bring seven political aides and his security detail to Rome for two days before the G-7 summit significantly increased the cost of the Italy trip, which included just two career EPA officials. The Rome stop included a routine U.S. Embassy briefing, a meet-and-greet with business executives and a roundtable on the judiciary. But much of the two-day stop was devoted to papal visits, including a meeting with Archbishop Paul Gallagher and private tours of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Bowman declined to comment specifically on the topics discussed at the Vatican, but said in an email, “While in Italy, Administrator Pruitt discussed how the U.S. is leading the world in environmental achievements to remediate toxic land, reduce air pollution, improve water infrastructure, and ensure access to clean drinking water.” She added: “These discussions were broad, and very well-received.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.abc3670f5db0
The Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to release the written waiver that allows Administrator Scott Pruitt to fly regularly in first or business class for security reasons — a practice that sets him apart both from his predecessors and other current Cabinet members.

The agency has not spelled out why any threats against Pruitt warranted such a move, and officials would not disclose on Wednesday who approved the waiver or how long it has been in effect, saying reporters would need to file a Freedom of Information Act request for more details.

The EPA this week told reporters that Pruitt had a “blanket waiver” allowing him to bypass coach class whenever possible. Federal regulations, however, say that “blanket authorization of other than coach-class transportation accommodations is prohibited and shall be authorized on an individual trip-by-trip basis.”
“Pruitt’s explanation is absurd and assumes that it’s easier to protect someone in first class than in economy,” said Chris Lu, who served as White House Cabinet secretary during Barack Obama’s first term. “Members of Congress who routinely fly coach should be offended by his lavish travel habits.”
Pruitt has taken other security measures since assuming office a year ago. He is the first EPA administrator to have a round-the-clock security detail, and he has had a $25,000 soundproof phone booth installed in his office for making secure calls. Biometric locks also were added to its doors.
This guy is acting like a god-damned supervillian.
     
Thorzdad
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Feb 23, 2018, 07:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
This guy is acting like a god-damned supervillian.
Yes, well, when you're in charge of the destruction of the environment on an entire planet, you have to keep up appearances.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Feb 27, 2018, 10:32 PM
 
http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...for-his-office
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spent $31,000 late last year on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The purchase included a custom hardwood table, chairs and a hutch. Officials bought the furniture a short time after a HUD staff member filed a complaint that Carson’s wife, Candy, pushed to redecorate the department’s offices.

Helen Foster, who filed the whistleblower complaint, claimed she was replaced in her role because she refused to fund a redecoration of Carson’s office. She alleged in the complaint that she was told to “find money” for the redecoration, despite it exceeding budgetary limits.

A HUD spokesman told the Times that Carson “didn’t know the table had been purchased” but does not intend to return it.

“In general, the secretary does want to be as fiscally prudent as possible with the taxpayers’ money,” HUD spokesman Raffi Williams told the newspaper.
https://twitter.com/RiegerReport/sta...29918430040064
BEN CARSON in April 2017:

"We’re already putting in place a structure so that we can monitor where every penny goes. ... my goal is to change that perception [of corruption] completely, to be the most honest department in the government."
     
reader50
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Feb 27, 2018, 11:15 PM
 
If the redecoration exceeded budget limits, and the budget is set by Congress - then whoever replaced Helen Foster broke the law. However, if that particular budget was set by the Secretary, then it's just lame. As usual, the whistleblower is the one who gets fired.

As I understand it, Trump appointed billionaires and the occasional millionaire, since he didn't want poor people running government. If Candy Carson wanted new furniture, why didn't she just whip out her credit card?
     
Thorzdad
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
As I understand it, Trump appointed billionaires and the occasional millionaire, since he didn't want poor people running government. If Candy Carson wanted new furniture, why didn't she just whip out her credit card?
One of the keys to becoming, and staying, a billionaire is to be very good at spending other peoples' money.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:08 PM
 
Geez, Mrs. Carson, it's called IKEA
     
subego
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:20 PM
 
They could have bought 129,382 meatballs with that.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:40 PM
 
WWKJD? (What Would Klingon Jesus Do?)
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:43 PM
 
Hicks first seriously considered resigning amid the fallout from the Rob Porter scandal, I’m told. That was one of the few times Trump was ever frustrated with her, because he feels that she put her own priorities ahead of his.
I had forgotten about this, because I'm pretty sure this happened last year and not just this month.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2018, 11:16 PM
 


(Lacks context of other administrations, but jeezus, that's not normal)
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 6, 2018, 05:40 PM
 
Down goes Cohn. He has a meeting scheduled on Thursday to talk Trump out of the tariffs. So much for that, I guess.

(Trump seems really attached to the idea of a trade war. Does he think it'll help in the midterms like a real war?)
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 11, 2018, 10:44 PM
 
I usually don't post video, but Jesus Christ
https://twitter.com/axios/status/972996794757140486
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 11, 2018, 10:51 PM
 
"I have not visited schools that are considered to be underperforming."
"Maybe you should?"
"yes, maybe I should?!" <sh!teating grin>

What a f*****g moron.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 11, 2018, 11:07 PM
 
So many buzzwords and phrases.

"We should be spending money on students not buildings."

Guess where the students congregate to learn, **** nut.

The shit-eating grin is some kind of public speaking training she had. I think she's trying to exude positivity or confidence while she's spouting nonsense or flat-out floundering. Because people won't realize you're an idiot if you smile or something.

It must be nice to be taken seriously because you've got a lot of money and your ideas will let other people make a lot of money.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 11, 2018, 11:11 PM
 
Lesley Stahl: So you've been on the job now over a year. What have you done that you're most proud of?

Betsy DeVos: Yeah. We've begun looking at and rolling back a lot of the overreach of the federal government in education.
Not that I'm complaining, but a year in her biggest accomplishment is looking at regulations to cut? Heavens!
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 12, 2018, 11:16 AM
 
The twisty logic got me:

We should take away money from public schools, because when kids go to charter schools, it shows the public schools do better.

What?
     
subego
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Mar 12, 2018, 01:07 PM
 
This makes sense if education has a poor economy of scale, i.e. lots of small schools are better than a few large ones.

This isn’t a hard concept to generate messaging for, though, so maybe it’s not actually true.
     
Laminar
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Mar 12, 2018, 03:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This makes sense if education has a poor economy of scale, i.e. lots of small schools are better than a few large ones.

This isn’t a hard concept to generate messaging for, though, so maybe it’s not actually true.
What's a good school - one that is effective or one that is inexpensive to run? What's an effective school? One that meets specific standards for test scores, graduates a certain percent, or a percent of students pursue higher education? How do you isolate the school's effectiveness from that of the parents and the surrounding community?

I think it's a scenario where there's enough gray area that you can compose effective messaging either way and the split will be on party lines.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 12, 2018, 03:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This makes sense if education has a poor economy of scale, i.e. lots of small schools are better than a few large ones.

This isn’t a hard concept to generate messaging for, though, so maybe it’s not actually true.
the only part of that which makes sense, is if you stop overcrowding public schools, they will do better. That kind of makes sense, regardless of whether overcrowding is stopped via more teachers, more schools, charter schools, or a dragon that eats half the population. Lower student-teacher ratios are good.

However, to then make the jump that public schools need less money... is just clueless.

Here's a fun satire piece.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2...wzN/story.html
     
subego
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Mar 12, 2018, 04:09 PM
 
It’s a weird way to put it, but if (and that’s a big “if”) the idea is there need to be less students in public schools, then the public schools need less money because they don’t have as many students.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 12, 2018, 04:28 PM
 
Which if the teachers didn't have to use their own money to buy crayons, would be fine logic. If teachers were being paid enough. If school libraries had computers made this decade.

A school going from 2000 to 1000 students doesn't mean the budget goes from 2 million to 1 million.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 12, 2018, 05:33 PM
 


She doesn't realize this is an argument against her approach given that Michigan is where she made all her efforts before reaching the national stage.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 09:29 AM
 
Down goes Tillerson. Replaced by Pompeo, as reported months ago by the print media.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 10:13 AM
 
I'm betting the suicide pact ain't about to happen
     
Thorzdad
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Mar 13, 2018, 10:35 AM
 
Hmmm...
- On Monday, Tillerson condemns Russia for the UK poison attacks
- On Tuesday, Tillerson is sacked by Trump.

Tillerson says he learned of his sacking through Twitter.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 10:54 AM
 
I won't read too much into the timing since he's said things about Russia before.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 11:34 AM
 
     
reader50
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Mar 13, 2018, 12:54 PM
 
Did Trump's bodyguard quit/get fired? He used to be the one who served termination notices.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 01:11 PM
 
Schiller retired a while back. He's now being paid handsomely as an RNC security consultant.
     
subego
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Mar 13, 2018, 01:42 PM
 
I wonder what his security clearance is.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 13, 2018, 04:45 PM
 
Double super secret.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 13, 2018, 10:49 PM
 
     
Laminar
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Mar 14, 2018, 12:41 PM
 
     
subego
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Mar 14, 2018, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
I'm betting the suicide pact ain't about to happen
They died on the inside.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 14, 2018, 01:03 PM
 
Uh huh
     
subego
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Mar 14, 2018, 02:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Which if the teachers didn't have to use their own money to buy crayons, would be fine logic. If teachers were being paid enough. If school libraries had computers made this decade.

A school going from 2000 to 1000 students doesn't mean the budget goes from 2 million to 1 million.
Oh, absolutely.

The thing is, I’ll admit I’m not sure what the argument really is.

Is there actual policy which says or heavily implies “the key to better public schools is to defund them”, or is it critics of the policy who put it that way?
     
subego
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Mar 14, 2018, 03:08 PM
 
It got started in the other thread, but I think conjecture about Kelly leaving fits better here.

Specifically, my instincts tell me if Trump boots Kelly (and Pufnstuf) he’ll replace them with sycophants.

My instincts further tell me that’s worse than what we have now. A lot worse.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 14, 2018, 03:17 PM
 
Mooch was supposed to be that sycophant last year.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 14, 2018, 04:27 PM
 
Kudlow, eh?
     
subego
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Mar 15, 2018, 11:14 PM
 
Down. Goes. Pufnstuf.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 16, 2018, 12:57 AM
 
Guess they want the official ouster to e the Friday news dump.

Second adult expelled in a week?
     
Thorzdad
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Mar 16, 2018, 10:17 AM
 
Guess he shouldn't have called for tougher sanctions against Russia yesterday.
     
subego
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Mar 16, 2018, 01:23 PM
 
Want to believe he knew he was getting cut loose, so chose his “last words” carefully.
     
reader50
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Mar 16, 2018, 01:35 PM
 
Is there a real pattern regarding staff losses vs Russia, or are we just noting coincidence? ie - criticize Russia, get fired by administration. I haven't followed the staff departures closely enough to note the details.

If there's an actual pattern, it would count as de facto evidence for the Russian-influence investigation. And be kind of frightening for us.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 16, 2018, 02:42 PM
 
I think the last two are coincidences. Trump is petty or turbulent in so many ways I don't think this shit registers. If it were true Nikki Haley would be long gone.
     
subego
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Mar 16, 2018, 02:58 PM
 
Well, Nikki Haley looks like Nikki Haley, and Pufnstuf looks like a Lego.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 21, 2018, 08:12 PM
 
     
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Mar 22, 2018, 07:08 PM
 
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 22, 2018, 09:36 PM
 
Christ. I had heard the rumors for weeks but I decided to hold my knee-jerk reaction until it was confirmed.

Allow me to chicken-little as I have not chicken-littled since the Bush days – I suspect we're going to war and I wonder if it isn't partly a calculation by Trump that its good for the GOP ballot.
     
The Final Dakar  (op)
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Mar 22, 2018, 09:40 PM
 
subego, what was your list of adults in the admin? I feel like they're dropping like flies.
     
 
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