Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I have steadfastly endeavored  not to get on board the "Trump is Going Down!" train that has been rumbling around since...well, since before the election.  The very fact that Trump won gave the lie to that misbegotten wish.  How many of us were convicted, on the evening of November 8, 2016:  guilty of inhabiting a media bubble of our personal political choosing?  It was every bit as real (or unreal, as the case may be) as the bubble that burst on election night 2012; the one that had Carl Rove going ballistic on national TV when it became apparent that Obama had handily, and early on, achieved re-election.

Fool me once--shame on you; fool me twice--shame on me.  I have not been able to allow myself to hope in the direction of a Trump failure; could not deal with the prospect of experiencing that election night shock and heartbreak over and over again, every time an administration faux pas is tweeted into submission, or a plausible avenue to impeachment  is ignored by the Trump-enthralled Republican Congress.

But things have gone from bad to worse to undeniable in the first four weeks of the reign of SCROTUS (So Called Ruler Of The United States.)  As of this writing, we have seen the judicial branch step up and properly perform its Constitutional duty of holding a despotic executive in check, followed closely by the demise of SCROTUS' "Russian Connection" NSA chief, and this morning, the withdrawal of his pick for Labor Secretary.  And who can ignore the contributions of this woman to the tragi-comic unraveling of the Trump Administration?

From the day of the inauguration, Kellyanne Conway set the tone of the public face of  the Trump Whitehouse:  a bizarre alliance of sycophantic yes-men and financial allies wrapped in a gaudy veneer of red, white and blue. 

Conway appears on camera over and over again, each time spouting more flagrant nonsense than the time before.  A scant three days after the inauguration, there was the birth of the concept of  "alternative facts," on live TV, in front of god and everybody.  A week and a half later,  it was the obviously NOT spur-of-the-moment concoction of a massacre that did not happen, presented as just cause for SCROTUS' Muslim travel ban.  But institutional incompetence in the SCROTUS White House is as steadfastly ignored and thus hard to eradicate as bedbugs in a flop-house mattress.    

Either  of these heretofore unimaginable missteps, along with any one of the string of smaller fabrications and outrages emanating from Conway during the first weeks of the SCROTUS administration, would have frog-marched the offending advisor unceremoniously OUT of the West Wing and the public eye, under any other administration.  But, no.  We Americans who possess the ability to witness and judge these happenings as unworthy of the office of President of the United States, have been forced to watch with chagrin, then disbelief, then horror, as deliberate fabrication has become the accepted standard of communication for our vainglorious Chief Executive and his minions. 

We all knew Trump traditionally demonstrated no love nor use for the truth.  Possibly we held on to some vain hope that he might magically step up to the solemn duties of leader of the free world once that mantle was draped upon his shoulders.  But, again, no.  All the energy of the Trump transition team has been concentrated into dragging the position down to Trump's level, rather than helping  him rise to it.  

But last week, Kellyanne Conway crossed a line.  She went on TV and unapologetically promoted the line of products bearing the name of the SCROTUS' daughter.  Because retail stores were "unfairly" (as dictated by a SCROTUS tweet) dropping the line, at least in part due to customer dissatisfaction with the familial/political associations of its creator.      

According to Politico, Conway had this to say during a February 9 appearance on "Fox and Friends"--arguably Conway's favorite platform from which to disseminate her apparently limitless volumes of base-targeted misinformation.  

"It's a wonderful line.  I own some of it.  I fully--I'm going to give a free commercial here.  Go buy it today, everybody.  You can find it online."

This was not an ambiguous utterance pounced upon and spun by hopeful left-wing Trump detractors.  It was an unadulterated and pure, obvious and in-your-face, confidently defiant promotion of the first daughter's products.  On national television. 

And it was also a flagrant violation of ethics rules governing the conduct of employees of the executive branch of government. 

From the Office of Government Ethics website , the exact section which deals with government employees using their offices to promote products or services:      

Subpart G contains...provisions designed to ensure that employees do not misuse their official positions. These include:

·         A prohibition against employees using public office for their own private gain, for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom they are affiliated in a non-Government capacity, or for the endorsement or any product, service, or enterprise...
Conway was confident that she could appear on the air and say anything and not be held accountable.  Certainly the experience of her first nineteen days as the administration's personal fake news generator had indicated as much.  But she might just have underestimated the tolerance of the American people; might have dipped her toe just a little too far into the waters of unchallenged deceit.  She evidently failed to consider an episode that had transpired a little more than month prior to her on-air Ivanka plug, even before her illustrious boss had ascended to the throne. 

That would be the early January high jinks of the Republican Congress, to wit, their attempt at an under-the-radar assault to render powerless their own ethics watchdog.  Which, wonder of wonders,  bore some unintended consequences.  When the Congressional plan was uncovered,  public outcry  caused Congress to quietly sweep the proposal under the rug, as if it had never happened.  We The People demonstrated there are things up with which we shall not put; and, mystifyingly, the official annihilation of at least an appearance of an ethical code for our elected officials is one of those things.  Even the SCROTUS-elect accurately sniffed the direction of the winds of public opinion on that one, and managed to churn out a disapproving tweet directed toward Congress.   

It would seem that ethics violations are a sticky wicket for the American people.  And yet, though Conway has not been able to spin and dance away from the Ivanka promo, the wheels of discipline are painfully slow.  It took OGE director Walter Shaub four days to churn out a weak non-threat to the White House Defense Counsel:

 "Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted." 

Oh, please!  "Reason to believe"?   What is ambiguous about this violation?  What's not to understand about Conway's meaning?   It was a commercial.  She SAID it was a commercial.  Were we not listening?  Are the rules vague and difficult to understand?  Hell, no!  It's right there in black and white, on the Ethics Office's very own website.  If I can look it up, anyone can.  The rules were broken.  Big time.  Discipline her.  Now.     

And where are our new and improved Trump-bitten mainstream media on this one? You know-- the outlets that have claimed to have "redoubled" their efforts into investigative journalism, for the sake of a well-informed electorate?  I suppose redoubling zero still amounts to zero.  Where is the outrage, the "off with her head!" that should be reverberating across the media bandwidth?   Does that still only apply to manufactured scandals nefariously churned out and endlessly prolonged in the interests of the 1% (who by some estimates, own 90% of American media outlets)?

It does seem that the tide could be turning against Conway and her blatant Faux-news persona.  Coverage of  the administration's eroding trust in Conway's performance is slowly creeping onto the pages of  "impartial" media outlets, like the Washington Post and the New York Times.  She may indeed have put her foot in it once and for all.  Is she on her way out?  I wouldn't bet the farm on it, yet. 

As I was formulating this essay in my mind, trying to puzzle out the madness behind the stubborn persistence of Conway and her normalization of deliberate untruth, all I could think was, "Why in the hell are we still seeing this woman on TV?"  Witness the Sunday morning talk show circuit as recently as this past weekend, where she was booked on every program as the administration's spin doctor regarding the Flynn debacle.  Really?  What fascination do the media--particularly video media--have with this lying sack of crap?
And then,  I came across the following video.  It explains so much about Conway and her slimy ability to change any question by any interviewer to fit her own narrative--a talent obviously prized by the SCROTUS administration.  The video is quite instructive, but the golden nugget is in the last seconds of Ezra Klein's narration:   

“Just remember,” he says.  “She’s just doing her job.  It’s the news shows that keep booking her that are letting you down.”

THAT is the understatement of the century.

Well, I guess they couldn't say it was because she is a clueless, lying sack of crap...

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