Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Inherent Corruption on a Global Scale

Remember when Herr Drumpf (kudos to Kevin Drum) said he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his followers wouldn't care?

Political Animal:

(Tuesday), president-elect Trump said, “The president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
If the fascist tangelo ordered the summary execution of unarmed, peaceful protesters because they called him rude names, do you think Attorney General Jeff Sessions would tell the Justice Department to stop him?

Even "above the law" doesn't cover it.

Josh Marshall at TPM says to stop calling it "conflict of interest." It's far, far worse.
 At a minimum, we use this construct on the assumption that people are acting in good faith and not advancing their private interests with the powers of their office. That's the problem. The concept simply doesn't apply well when you are talking is a public official who is by design using their public office for profit. Everything we've seen from President-Elect Trump so far suggests this all comes so naturally to him that at some level he doesn't even see anything wrong with it. Indeed, this shouldn't be surprising since it matches with his entire career, in which he has used every angle on offer - publicity, stardom, connections with government officials, etc. - to make money or as tools he can leverage to make money for his private businesses. 

This is so obvious, so clear right in front of our faces, that it seems hard to see. These aren't conflicts of interest. The construct doesn't work for what we're dealing with. There is no conflict. Everything is working as planned. He's leveraging the office like one might leverage a business. When you have your hotel pitch foreign diplomatic delegations on bringing their business to your hotel, that's not a conflict. That's a revenue stream tied to owning the presidency. Same with expanding your business in countries where the US has critical diplomatic, economic and military relationships. 


That whole package is inherently corrupt. The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world. Everyone wants his favor. The sprawling Trump organization provides a ready path for virtually anyone to seek to buy it. Even if Trump didn't want this to be so it would still be so. He doesn't have to pursue it. It will come on its own like gravity forcing objects toward the ground. And yet he is actively soliciting it - seemingly across the board. Again, Trump and his children has some mix of indifference and obliviousness to this central fact. 

Note what I flagged this morning. The only reason we know about the meeting with the Indian business partners about expanding operations in India is because it bubbled up in the Indian press. The only reason we know about this phone call with the Argentine president is because an Editor at TPM who knows Spanish and knows Argentina happened to find it. How many other instances like this do you think are out there that the US press hasn't noticed yet simply because of language proficiency in Russian, Chinese, Malay, Polish, Arabic and dozens of other languages where Trump has or wants to build new business ventures? 

Here's a question. Do you think the Trump Organization's overseas and domestic licensing and construction business, managed by Trump's children, will expand over the next four years or contract? The answer is obvious. Money always wants to seek out power. And we've never had a case where the most powerful man in the world had some many active tentacles in so many parts of the world to facilitate that process. 

Just as the US campaign press really wasn't prepared or able to deal with the novelty of Trump's campaign, they seem unable to grapple with the scope of Trump's corruption.

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