Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has remained relatively removed from President Trump’s administration and his own department, a new report by The Washington Post says, adding that many diplomats have yet to meet him and some have been told to avoid eye contact.The Post report reads:Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact.Tillerson has kept a low profile since the inauguration. He has made very few remarks to the press and opted not to travel with a press pool.Earlier this month, Tillerson stood by his decision not to allow reporters to travel with him on his trip to Asia, calling himself “not a big media press access person.”Erin McPike of the right-leaning Independent Journal Review — the only reporter selected by State to travel with Tillerson — pressed the diplomat about his decision in an interview.McPike noted China restricts press access and asked whether he’s concerned about the message he’s sending.Tillerson claimed the decision not to allow more reporters had to do with a desire to save money, saying the plane “flies faster, allows me to be more efficient” with fewer people on it.
Since Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, was named by President Trump as a special adviser on regulatory matters, he has been busy working behind the scenes to try to revamp an obscure Environmental Protection Agency rule that governs the way corn-based ethanol is mixed into gasoline nationwide.
It is a campaign that fits into the charge Mr. Trump gave Mr. Icahn, to help the nation “break free of excessive regulation.” But there is an additional detail that is raising eyebrows in Washington: Mr. Icahn is a majority investor in CVR Energy, an oil refiner based in Sugar Land, Tex., that would have saved $205.9 million last year had the regulatory fix he is pushing been in place.
How’s this for savvy investing? “Carl Icahn’s shares in CVR Energy have doubled since Trump won the election”. Not so savvy you say? Probably because, gee guess what happened with those regulations? Rachel Maddow covered the “menu of scandal” of the T-Rump administration and it is so surreal. I wanted to overwhelm you today with it because it’s almost so much you want to become desensitized. This cannot become the new normal. It cannot.
The Scott Pruitt stuff is so blatantly awful that the Bar of Oklahoma seeks to disbar him. Yet, he still seems to be serving safely in the T-Rump cabinet as yup, the guy in charge of the EPA. And he single handedly took a deadly pesticide off a ban list just because … oh, nothing to do with its neurotoxicity.
Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced late Wednesday that a widely used pesticide will remain available to farmers, despite agency scientists recommending last year that it be banned due to neurotoxicity risks to farm workers and children, it is important to know that as a worker you have rights, I totally suggest to check out workers comp attorneys idaho if you need legal representation.
The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, made by Dow Chemical, is used on tens of thousands of farms in the country to protect dozens of different crops from a variety of insects. However, decades of research following its 1965 debut has found that the pesticide can harm the human respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Animal and human studies have linked exposure to declines in learning and memory. When chlorpyrifos was commonly used in household bug sprays, babies exposed prenatally via cord blood showed structural abnormalities in brain regions linked to attention, memory, language, and impulse control.
Then there’s VIP Pence who refuses to be alone in a room with any woman and who is likely to go down with the Trumptanic. This is Maddow again.
Mike Pence had been the head of the Trump transition. As such, he would have been intimately involved with the selection and vetting process for a job as important as national security adviser. Nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence has professed absolute ignorance of any of the scandals of any of the foreign payments, contacts and all the rest of it surrounding Mike Flynn. Pence was the leader of the transition. As leader of the transition, he was notified in writing by members of Congress about Flynn’s apparent financial ties to the government of Turkey. The transition was also apparently notified twice by Flynn’s own lawyers about his financial relationship with the government of Turkey, but nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence says he has no idea about any of that.
Vice President Mike Pence claims he had absolutely no idea about that despite him being notified about on the record multiple times and it being a matter of considerable public discussion. Mike Pence’s role in the Mike Flynn scandal is flashing like a red beacon for anyone who sees him as the normal Republican in this setting.
Oh, and the not dining alone with women thing is illegal. Why woudn’t it be unless you’re a Taliban and prefer your women buried in burkas as property and you forcibly instituted a theocracy in your country?
“I don’t work with women. If they’re attractive, I’m too tempted. And if they’re not attractive, what’s the point?”
A male partner at a law firm casually made this pronouncement one day at lunch, hardly looking up from his plate. Everyone laughed and went back to eating — in the rough-and-tumble world of DC law, it wasn’t even the most obnoxious thing said that day. But this is no laughing matter for the women whose career opportunities are impeded by men who cavalierly dismiss half of the labor force and insist that they’ve behaved honorably by doing so.
This issue was thrust into the news this week when the Washington Post ran a piece on Karen Pence, the wife of our current vice president, and reminded readers of something Mike Pence said in 2002: He does not eat alone with a woman or attend an event where alcohol is being served unless his wife is present. The Twittersphere lit up like a Christmas tree with jokes and rants about Pence’s wife-rule. It’s not clear whether Pence still adheres to this practice, but there are men who do.
As the Atlantic observes, such arrangements are especially common within marriages between religious conservatives of various stripes. (It need not be only men who follow such strictures, but the emphasis is often on male temptation.) On Capitol Hill, where long days and late nights away from the family are part of the job, some Congressmen will not travel alone in a car with a female staffer, the National Journal has reported. Some politicians set gender-neutral rules that have a side effect of keeping them from being alone with women — such as excluding any staff from the office before 7 am or after 7 pm — but others clearly apply special rules to women.
To be sure, a politician’s declining to dine alone with a woman does not fall in the same category as a law partner refusing to work with women (or at least musing about refusing to work with women). Nonetheless, the practice described by Pence in that 2002 interview is clearly illegal when practiced by a boss in an employment setting, and deeply damaging to women’s employment opportunities.
Title VII, which governs workplace discrimination, does not allow employers to treat people differently on the basis of certain protected characteristics, one of which is sex. This means that an employer cannot set the terms and conditions of employment differently for one gender than for the other. This includes any aspect of the relationship between employer and employees — extending to benefits like equal access to the employer.
Why earth are we fighting ISIS if we accept this kind of behavior from our own elected officials? What’s the difference between this and a Taliban? Oh, and Mike Pence was the tie breaking vote on a law designed to let states defund Planned Parenthood.
The bill erases a regulation imposed by former President Barack Obama that lets states deny family planning funds to an organization only if it is incapable of providing those services.
Meanwhile, we will no longer be learning if T-Rump deploys troops to Iraq or Syria after the second military inquiry is now scheduled to determine how our military told over 200 innocent civilians in Mosul to stay in their homes to be safe just before we bombed them to death.
Even as the U.S. military takes on a greater role in the warfare in Iraq and Syria, the Trump administration has stopped disclosing significant information about the size and nature of the U.S. commitment, including the number of U.S. troops deployed in either country.
Earlier this month, the Pentagon quietly dispatched 400 Marines to northern Syria to operate artillery in support of Syrian militias that are cooperating in the fight against Islamic State, according to U.S. officials. That was the first use of U.S. Marines in that country since its long civil war began.
In Iraq, nearly 300 Army paratroopers were deployed recently to help the Iraqi military in their six-month assault on the city of Mosul, according to U.S. officials.
Neither of those deployments was announced once they had been made, a departure from the practice of the Obama administration, which announced nearly all conventional force deployments.
So, the big news of the day is that the Senate Intell Com has said no to the offer of testimony for immunity by Mike Flynn.
My biggest question is can our country survive anymore #MAGA or T-Rump style winning? Michael Gerson has an Op Ed up at WAPO about the failing Trump presidency and the free fall that characterizes the Republican Party. Basically, these are the Swamp things that have set the nation on fire while having eliminated the Fire Fighters.
Republicans got an administration that is incompetent. The White House policy process has been erratic and disorganized. It has failed to provide expert analysis or assistance to Congress and did little to effectively advocate the president’s policy in ways that could have united the party.
Republicans got an administration that is morally small. Trump’s proposed budget would require massive cuts in disease research, global development and agricultural programs — just as a famine gathers a hideous strength. The proposed budget practices random acts of gratuitous cruelty.
This is a pretty bad combination: empty, easily distracted, vindictive, shallow, impatient, incompetent and morally small. This is not the profile of a governing party.
Some Republicans choose to comfort themselves by repeating the mantra: “Gorsuch, Gorsuch, Gorsuch.” But that does nothing to change Trump’s stunningly high disapproval ratings. Or the stunning rebuke by the FBI director concerning his claim of being wiretapped by President Barack Obama. Or the stunning rejection of his central campaign promise by elements of his own party. Or his stunning ignorance of the basics of policy and leadership.
What we have here is a stunning set of enablers that will basically bring the country down as long as they can push their ChristoFascist and kleptocratic, science denying agenda of hate through. Their black, crusted over souls have been sold for a SCOTUS appointment and the denial of reproductive health care to women, the maintenance of a racist police state and justice system, and bigoted hate-filled interpretation of the rantings of an angry Iron Age Sky Fairy.
Somebody better save this country before there is nothing left of it to save.