Dr. Sebastian Gorka, chief strategist for the MAGA Coalition and former deputy assistant to President Trump, told SiriusXM hosts Steve Bannon and Raheem Kassam on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily that Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama Senate primary “changed American politics.”
.. For me it’s a reassertion of sovereignty and a reassertion of democracy, where the wishes of the people are actually expressed in a way that the money and the influence of the establishment totally fails.”
.. “When you look at, what’s the latest count? $30 million spent by the Swamp. For the local people’s voices just to reject that attempt by the establishment to hijack that primary, I think it really, truly is a revolutionary moment in American politics.”
.. “If you think that the Swamp is going to give back our nation without a fight, then you’re sorely mistaken.”
.. this isn’t just about the lobbyists. It’s not just about the people on Capitol Hill. The Swamp – I don’t like the phrase ‘Deep State’; I like the phrase ‘the permanent state’ – is also largely about the bureaucrats who just think they know better than anybody else,” Gorka said.
.. When you’ve got somebody who’s a GS-14 who thinks, ‘Nope, I’ve been here for 20 years, I’m going to be here after the president leaves, and I know better, and I’m just going to do my own thing,’ that’s what we have to fight as well – the idea that there’s this entrenched political elite that’s not just politicians, but also bureaucrats that think they know better,” he said.
.. Gorka agreed with Bannon’s critique that too much of the Republican consultant class thinks big campaign money is the only necessary ingredient for political victory.
“They think the politics of personal assassination, of political assassination and triangulation, is it,” Gorka said. “They’re just going to throw more money at it. They don’t need to convince you of anything. They don’t need to argue their policies. They just wish to destroy you. They just don’t get it.”
.. “As long as they don’t understand that, we are going to win every single time because you cannot buy Americans.”
as insurers themselves have been explaining, the problem is the uncertainty created by Trump and company, especially the failure to make clear whether crucial subsidies will be maintained. In North Carolina, for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield has filed for a 23 percent rise in premiums, but declared that it would have asked for only 9 percent if it were sure that cost-sharing subsidies would continue.
.. So why hasn’t it received that assurance? Is it because Trump believes his own assertions that he can cause Obamacare to collapse, then get voters to blame Democrats? Or is it because he’s too busy rage-tweeting and golfing to deal with the issue?
..Or take the remarkable decision to take Saudi Arabia’s side in its dispute with Qatar .. there are no good guys in this quarrel, but every reason for the U.S. to stay out of the middle.
.. So what was Trump doing? There’s no hint of a strategic vision; some sources suggest that he may not even have known about the large U.S. base in Qatar and its crucial role.
.. The most likely explanation of his actions .. is that the Saudis flattered him — the Ritz-Carlton projected a five-story image of his face on the side of its Riyadh property — and their lobbyists spent large sums at the Trump Washington hotel.
.. it’s worth considering that Trump apparently ranted to European Union leaders about the difficulty of setting up golf courses in their nations. So maybe it was sheer petulance.
President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.
.. In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.
Michael Catanzaro .. was working as a lobbyist for major industry clients such as Devon Energy of Oklahoma, an oil and gas company, and Talen Energy of Pennsylvania, a coal-burning electric utility, as they fought Obama-era environmental regulations, including the landmark Clean Power Plan.
.. Chad Wolf, who spent the past several years lobbying to secure funding for the Transportation Security Administration to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new carry-on luggage screening device.
two officials joined the agency from the K Street lobbying corridor .. where they fought some of the Obama administration’s signature labor rules, including a policy requiring financial advisers to act in a client’s best interest
.. the president eliminated an ethics provision that prohibits lobbyists from joining agencies they lobbied in the prior two years.
.. Mr. Trump’s appointees are also far wealthier and have more complex financial holdings and private-sector ties
.. comply with federal ethics laws, such as a prohibition on using a government post to personally profit.
.. made it easier for former lobbyists in the government to get waivers that would let them take up matters that could benefit former clients.
.. sharing them is no longer required.
.. D. J. Gribbin, the council’s infrastructure specialist, previously worked for Macquarie, a bank that specializes in infrastructure deals
.. Shakira Knight .. as a lobbyist for Fidelity
.. she was registered to work on retirement issues, including the so-called fiduciary rule
.. under Mr. Trump’s executive order, Ms. Knight should probably be barred for two years from participating in decisions that would affect the fiduciary rule.
Geoffrey Burr .. who was a lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors, which pressed the agency on its overtime pay rule, wage requirements for government contracts and an additional half-dozen or so other regulations
.. Mr. Burr would probably not have been able to join the Labor Department.
.. Such potential conflicts are showing up across the federal government.
.. Executives at Anagogic Corp .. CT scans, which are already used broadly in the medical field and on checked baggage. The company now wants the T.S.A. to use them in the nation’s 2,400 airport checkpoint security lanes, a move that could be worth at least $500 million in equipment sales.
.. Mr. Wolf’s Twitter account on Friday still identified him as a lobbyist and displayed posts from last year urging the T.S.A. to buy the devices.
.. A T.S.A. spokesman agreed to arrange an interview with Mr. Wolf — who worked at the agency during the Bush administration before becoming a lobbyist — but canceled it when told about the topic in detail.
.. Lance Leggitt, who serves as chief of staff to Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, worked last year as a lobbyist for 10 different health care companies
treatments .. carry list prices of more than $250,000 a year.
.. We know people coming in who have conflicts, and we cannot see what restrictions they are under, if any.”
.. Even if the rules are enforced, so many senior officials will be required to recuse themselves that “they will have a hard time getting their job done.”
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that “at least a half dozen major Washington lobbyists and three top fundraisers for Mr. Trump’s campaign have been tasked with heading key portions of Mr. Trump’s transition team. . . . In many cases, the lobbyists are selecting administration officials for departments that will affect the interests of firms they represent.”
.. The denizens of K Street, Washington’s notorious lobbying corridor, have charitably agreed to help Trump “drain the swamp,” as he has put it. Trent Lott, the former Republican Senate Majority Leader, who resigned from the Senate in 2007 and set up shop as a lobbyist representing big corporations, including foreign ones, offered up perhaps the quote of the week in an interview with the Times’ Eric Lipton. “Trump has pledged to change things in Washington—about draining the swamp,” Lott, whose clients have included Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, and Gazprombank, a big Russian bank, said. “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp—how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.”
.. Imagine the outcry if Hillary Clinton had won the election and then appointed Chelsea Clinton and Donna Shalala, a board member and the president of the Clinton Foundation, to her transition team.
.. A populist but semi-engaged President who is less interested in governing than in soaking up adulation at big rallies.
.. Meanwhile, his cronies and members of the permanent establishment make many of the actual decisions, which will largely benefit the already rich, including the ruling family. Debt mushrooms as El Presidente approves prestige construction projects but not the taxes needed to pay for them. And skilled propagandists, like Bannon, whip up nationalist fervor to keep the masses diverted from what is really going on.