Thursday, May 24, 2018

On calling things (esp. bad Trump things) by their name

Josh Marshall is saying the press and TV commentators should stop tiptoeing around the serious of Trump's misdeeds by talking vaguely about how he violating "norms" (Stop Talking about ‘Norms’ TPM 05/23/2018):
The President is trying to obstruct and stymie and hamstring a lawful investigation into his own crimes and those of his associates: by repeatedly lying, firing and threatening to fire people, intervening in law enforcement decisions in his own interest, fabricating fake stories to impede the investigation. The list goes on and on and even those who know better are becoming inured to it. The President is in the midst of a massive, more or less public and months-long effort to cover up his own crimes and the crimes of his associates. That’s really clear-cut. It’s obvious to anyone why that’s not okay. So we need to state that clearly so everyone will know what is at stake. Otherwise, everything becomes a blur. [my emphasis]
He also takes issue with the euphemistic use of "conflicts of interest":
A ‘conflict of interest’ is a case in which the nature of a situation makes it impossible for a person to separate their personal interests from their public responsibilities (or to appear to do so). All previous Presidents put their private wealth into blind trusts. We assume they weren’t going to try to directly make money off the presidency. But they wanted to remove any question of it and avoid situations where there own financial interests would bump up against their public responsibilities. What we’re seeing now are not conflicts of interest. They’re straight-up corruption. It’s like “norms”. Defining “conflicts of interest” is meant to keep relatively honest people on the straight and narrow or create tripwires that allow others to see when people in power crossing the line. Nothing like that is happening here. We have an increasingly open effort to make vast sums of money with the presidency. It’s happening in front of our eyes, albeit not quite as visibly as the coverup. [my emphasis]

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