Don’t Ever Say It Can’t Get Worse…

My mother–who under no circumstances could be considered an optimist–had a couple of favorite sayings: “Every silver cloud has a black lining,” and “Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.”

Until Donald Trump’s election, I didn’t believe her.

Yesterday we learned that Rex Tillerson had been fired as Secretary of State and that he would be replaced by Mike Pompeo. Tillerson has hardly been a star, but he was one of the few seemingly rational actors in an administration epitomized by appointees like (arguably lobotomized) Betsy DeVos. (As one Facebook post described Tillerson, “He was terrible, but not insane.”) And it didn’t escape notice that he was dismissed immediately after issuing a strong statement in support of Theresa May’s assertion that Russia was behind the poisoning of a British spy and his daughter.

Mike Pompeo is evidently a favorite of our buffoon of a President, which is probably enough to disqualify him without knowing more. But let me share a description of our new Secretary of State from The Nation:

In the Republican wave election of 2010, when Charles and David Koch emerged as defining figures in American politics, the greatest beneficiary of Koch Industries largesse was a political newcomer named Mike Pompeo. After his election to the House eight years ago, Pompeo was referred to as the “Koch Brothers’ Congressman” and “the congressman from Koch.”…

Pompeo’s pattern of deference to his political benefactors is likely to make him a better fit with Trump. Pompeo will bring to the position an edge that Tillerson lacked. He is a foreign-policy hawk who fiercely opposed the Iran nuclear deal, stoked fears about Muslims in the United States and abroad, opposed closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and defended National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance programs as “good and important work.” He has even gone so far as to say that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence.”

Pompeo’s open disregard for privacy rights in particular and civil liberties in general, as well as his penchant for extreme language and more extreme policies are anything but diplomatic. That makes him an even more troublesome Secretary of State than Tillerson, who was relentlessly corporate in his worldview but not generally inclined to pick fights—even when it came to standing up for a State Department that decayed on his watch.

The Nation is a publication with a point of view, but it doesn’t do “fake news.”  If this description is even remotely accurate, my mother was right. Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.


  1. All we need is Bolton as the chosen delegate to work on North Korean crisis and I’m building my bunker!

  2. Pompeo: West Point scholar, Harvard JD, $345,000 net worth. Apparently stooge of Koch brothers. Actually stooge of stooge, AKA #45. Depressing.

  3. Once again, this appointment is appeasing Mike Pence, the primary Koch puppet in Washington.

    I prefer these puppet-sociopaths are out in the open in plain view of everyone versus operating behind closed doors with lights off like cockroaches.

    This is the main reason I applauded Trump’s presidency. It would shine the spotlight on these Libertarian Plutarchs who control Indiana and about 23 other states along with Washington D.C.

    Their actions will speed up the revolution which is coming. It also shines a light on who the Democratic National Party is as well. Will they become a part “of the people for the people”, or will they still kowtow to Wall Street and Intelligentsia?

    So far, I see no efforts of them aligning with the people. They’ve morphed into the Establishment Party while the Republican Party has become the Libertarian anti-establishment party.

    There was an article floating around Twitter yesterday that a large number of current and former intelligentsia are being hand-picked by the DNC to run for office. They’ll only promote the establishment’s wishes.

    Americans are getting a great education of our corrupt systems in this country if they just pay attention and don’t get distracted by the mainstream media/entertainment complex.

    The young people aren’t buying any of the crap tossed our way because they ignore CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. They also see the New York Times and WaPo as state run propaganda just like Spudnik is for the Kremlin. 😉

  4. “Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.”

    While the appointment of Rex Tellerson as Secretary of State was a questionable selection at the outset; he appeared to do no harm and was trying to perform the duties of that vital position with little or no information or assistance from anywhere. His firing is a much worse decision than his appointment because it adds to the ever increasing, roiling chaos in this administration. His “resignation” speech yesterday was a totally anti-Trump monologue without ever mentioning his name; he has left the discovery of the coming full effects of his replacement for us to learn as they happen. A scary situation at best.

    The firing of the long time White House aide (I have forgotten his name) for “serious financial crimes” followed, almost in the same breath, with his appointment to a high position in Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign is more evidence of “Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.” dilemma of this administration. It blatantly appears we will have more questionable financial support in Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign than in 2016. What exactly were/are his “serious financial crimes” and how do we “follow the money” in this instance? A distraction from Russian assistance? Perhaps; or simply more evidence of Trump’s total incompetence seeking those with equal or less incompetence to make him appear more qualified than his chosen underlings?

    Is it only me or did President Obama always appear to be “on duty”; at all times “discharging the Powers and Duties of said Office” while Trump continues running on the exercise wheel and going nowhere fast?

    I was no supporter of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State (comparable to Dick Cheney as Vice President) but I heartily applaud his “retirement” speech yesterday which showed us a side of his knowledge and abilities he was not allowed to effectively use in that position.

  5. The orange hairball has said he now feels unconstrained and will make decisions based on his “instincts”. So, we can expect Mattis and Kelly and McMaster, his generals, to find the exits soon. Trump will than have his “perfect” cabinet of advisors: All ideologues. All beholden to big money. All looking for a war for profit.

    Todd, the negative blogger and DNC hater, does make some good points now and then, but his continued attacks on Democrats and the MSM is mostly wrong, overly cynical and counter-productive to actually developing ideas that will return our government to rational behavior and actual lawmaking that serves the nation’s people. More simply put, you cannot just whine your way to solving problems.

  6. Another of Sheila’s (my grandma’s) favorite quotes of a similar nature is: “It’s always darkest just before it goes completely black.” I expected this to be among the lines.

  7. For years I have complained that the Republicans were too crooked to rule and the Democrats too stupid. Now Todd tells me that Democrats are recruiting the “intelligentsia” to run for office. I applaud that move. It’s a sign at least one party has recognized the problem. I, for one, would be happy to see some really smart people in Congress.

  8. My dad always said, “I’m glad I won’t be around when this whole country goes to hell and nobody notices”. I’m beginning to finally understand Dad.

  9. tillerson had a great idea to partner with russia on a joint contract to drill for oil in the black sea a russia/exxon deal,after taking the sos job,,, poor tollerson had a vision of also doing buisness as sos,,but alas, the magnitsky act put that to rest, maybe a look at why? anyway, though you may feel theres been a fleeing of this mindless ball of sh,t, its probably the con men just returning to work after thier claws have been satisfied,, tell mnunchin, ,his comment after the ucla meeting,maybe we the people are tired of, just listening. and your con,,,

  10. Mixing dark metaphors, I think we are in Plato’s cave. My personal view of what I see on the wall is Bobby D’s ” It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

  11. Let’s hope that Trump and Kim Jong Un never meet face to face. Without Tillerson as a referee the results could be disastrous.

    The chaos continues. The free fall of America is accelerating. If we don’t pull the plug this year we may not have anything worth saving.

    The most ignorant among us elected people of their caliber to run the country and it’s even worse than we thought.

    God help the United States of America.

  12. The Trump administration is no worse than the Bush II administration. We are still reeling form the impacts of his administration. The commenters here act as if the world went to hell within the last 12-14 months—it was going down well before January 2017. Where was all of the indignant opposition? Where was the indignant opposition when the Obama administration and the wave of 06 and 08 made the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent? Why is Todd being hippie punched when the lone Republican commentator Leon Dixon is met with deference?

    Be Careful about what you wish for;Democratic support for former IC operatives running as candidates. If you feel that Pompeo is a threat…..Well,these “candidates” are his brethren running for office. One should be very skeptical of this invasive intrusion upon the political milieu from such a community. A community that manufactures consent as its major mission statement.

    Ignorance isn’t just something inherent within the other side. There’s plenty within the comments of this very forum and within the DNC and DCCC.

  13. trump (with a LITTLE T) is doing everything he can to destabilize this name its infrastructure, its society, its economy, and its freedoms. to tell you the truth – I don’t want to be anywhere where I can get my hands on his throat! and that is fact. I hate the man plain and simple – I believe he and all his ‘lackeys’ should be given quarters in Camp #5 Guantanimo Cuba! He is a disgrace to all of us and what is worse – he represents US to the world: Now think about that. Do you like being called an ignoramus? I surely do not. Yes it can get worse. And dammit, we better do something positive before it REALLY DOES get WORSE. Because it can ya know. And don’t ever doubt that; history is filled with such cases… usually just before an empire fell. I am still saying I see VISIGOTHS on the horizon…
    “trump and pence for Guantanimo in 2018!”

  14. ps. make that ‘nation’ not ‘name’… dancing fingers syndrome don’t ya know… ~8)

  15. Aha! It has suddenly occurred to me I’ve been looking at this situation in the wrong way. It isn’t Fake President Donald Trump who has been doing all the firing. Nobody could be that dumb. It’s more logical that it’s Trump’s boss, Vladimir Putin.

    Trump hires someone who seems reasonably qualified, and Putin immediately comes up with a list of excuses why that person should be fired. I can hardly wait to see what Putin’s next move is.

  16. All you liberal bashers need to find a life boat soon because the BLUE WAVE is coming. A whole new crew of Dems are running and you should probably get your life vest on because we are energized and we outnumber every other group out there. I have to believe this because of the cowards on the right. Their Potus doesn’t even have the nuts to fire anyone. He used twitter to fire the SOS. He’s an embarrassment to our country and everyone around the world are watching this horror show. Look out, here it comes! Blue Wave!

  17. Authoritarians and/or dictators do not like to have strong Number 2’s or people who are not personally loyal to the leader. Periodically, the leadership is purged, in the old Soviet Union this could be a death sentence, or trip to the gulag. Tillerson is lucky, he can go back to corporate AmeriKa.

    Then Rep. Mike Pompeo, in 2014 – Rep. Mike Pompeo doesn’t want Edward Snowden on the schedule at South by Southwest, and he’s taking the event’s planners to task for inviting him in the first place.
    In a letter from Pompeo’s office, he requested the NSA leaker’s invitation to speak via telecast at the annual Texas event be withdrawn, lest it encourage “lawless behavior” among attendees. (So much for Freedom of Speech)
    Perhaps, just as concerning as the Tea Party Neo-Con Mike Pompeo is Trump’s choice for CIA Director – Gina Haspel.

    Comments about Gina from the ACLU >> Gina Haspel was a central figure in one of the most illegal and shameful chapters in modern American history. (Refering to torture)

    From John McCain > The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history. The Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record & involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program.

    When Obama took office, in 2009, he declared that he would not prosecute anyone involved in the C.I.A.’s interrogation programs, not even senior officers, among whom Haspel was one. At the time, Obama said he wanted to look forward and not back. (Crime and Punishment is just for the Proles)

    We know the Republicans played their obstruction games. Will the Democrats have the courage to obstruct these two odious choices or will it be a Tea and Crumpets hearing and let’s not make waves??

  18. 45 has installed another of pence’s (aka Koch’s #1 prostitute) cabinet member choices.

  19. “In Chinese philosophy, yin yang (陰陽 yīnyáng, lit. “dark-bright”, “negative-positive”) describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.”

    William; please continue posting your opposition comments to almost everything and everyone on this blog; we need the interrelation of your negativity to give rise to our positive positions on the issues we face today. We seek solutions while you propose your own “indignant opposition”; your views are as necessary as those of us who learn from Sheila’s daily knowledgeable posts and most of us seek further information and solutions to refute your dismissal of our seeking party unity and strength.

  20. To those who champion DT, please tell me how you would react if your employer acted like him. His handling of dismissals is unprofessional and publicly humiliating. His public disdain for his appointees on a weekly basis, his impulsive statements and the constant need for his aides to walk back almost every statement and tweet, his erratic and chaotic management style are all very apparently a pattern of long standing. My guess is that very few of his ardent supporters would put up with that kind of workplace environment for long.
    Tillerson knew him and understood very well what he would be experiencing. Maybe he thought he could be manipulated and cajoled. Maybe he thought he was smarter than DT (likely). He had to know he was on a fool’s errand after the BSA camp speech last year.

  21. JD, when Tillerson was quoted with his “effing moron” comment, I wondered, how long will it take 45 to fire that guy. Surely Tillerson knew his days were numbered when that nugget was published. I can almost bet that Tillerson was serving our country knowing that any day now, 45 would let him go. Maybe he’s relieved to not have to listen to that moron anymore and can live his life. This new guy though, he’s right out of the Pastor Pence playbook. We’ll be in a war in no time.

  22. JD,

    I DID work for an employer who acted like Trump. He flaunted his power over others, made “instinctive” decisions, under-cut and embarrassed employees and otherwise destroyed morale everywhere. Trump is just this ex-boss on steroids and in a more visible, public place. Trump is shameless in his rants and his abuse.

    You’re right about “ardent supporters”. They couldn’t wait to abandon ship.

  23. Hillary was off on junket to India. She came up with a new excuses why she lost:

    ‘Democrats going back to my husband and even before but just in recent times going back to Bill and our candidates and then President Obama, have been losing the white vote including white women. We do not do well with white men and we don’t do well with married, white women,’ Clinton said.

    ‘And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should,’ she continued. (Ah yes, the husbands, the boss, your son or whoever looked on as White Woman made their choices in voting booth. The conclusion is in the world of Hillary seems to view married White Woman as empty vessels incapable of making their own decisions. )

    What happened in my election is I was on the way to winning white women until former director of the FBI Jim Comey dropped that very ill-advised letter on Oct. the 28th and my numbers just went down… All of a sudden white women who were going to vote for me, and frankly standing up to the men in their lives and the men in their work places were being told, “She’s going to jail, you don’t want to vote for her. It’s going to be terrible you can’t vote for that.” It stopped my momentum and it decreased my vote enough. Because I was ahead and I was winning and I thought I had fought my way back,’ she concluded.
    (Whoa, that is a lot of spin.)
    Well at least Hillary did not blame Ralph Nader.

  24. Republicans appearing in disguise on social media continue the lying that has consumed the party for decades. Ever since the merger of news and entertainment they have found that propaganda works now that there’s an outlet in every purse, pocket and room. It’s expensive but oligarchs are generous.

    One of the lies that they and the Russians specialize in is fomenting derision among Democrats.

    Democrats being independent thinkers fall for it like Republicans fall for authoritarianism.

    We have to learn to treat it like the lies it employs.

    All D’s this year and ‘20 is the only hope for taking the country back from this shitshow.

  25. The good news for the Kochs is that they and/or their heirs and devisees can (via Trump, Pompeo, Ryan et al.) now expand their operations overseas what with one of their own to lead the way via waivers from sanctions, tax treaties and the like. The bad news from their perspective is that today we have a Democrat who is the apparent winner in a district Trump carried by 20 points, perhaps signalling the beginning of the end of corporate thievery and underregulation by the kids we see in the street today.

    Some insist that the Democratic Party must as a human institution be perfect, when no human institution has ever been or ever will be perfect. The question is this > Is change for the better for the most people more likely to come from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party? What environment should we create or sustain so that people-minded initiatives (see Wagner Act, Medicare etc.) can flourish to the benefit of the most?

    Was FDR in this connection a better president than Trump in looking to the benefit of the most people? The answer is as glaringly obvious as a prediction that the sun comes up in the east or that the Pope is a Catholic. We will never achieve political nirvana even in the best of times, but we should strive toward that goal and help create the environment within which we struggle to reach unattainable perfection. To that end, in my opinion, mild rebukes of the Democratic Party are warranted with the understanding that they are made to improve our central purpose – to improve the underpinning of our democracy with changes based on experience rather than ideology.

  26. I’ve felt for a long time that our only hope is that he’ll go so far afield from decency and integrity that most Republicans will no longer be able to hold their noses and allow this to continue, but must grow a conscience and get rid of the bum. Question is: what will it take? If enough of them get voted out in November, there’s a chance.

  27. Pete;”One of the lies that they and the Russians specialize in is fomenting derision among Democrats.”

    Nope. The Democratic Party does enough of that without the help of “Russians”.

    Pete’s use of the tired excuse of “Russians” does more to disparage the party than the constructive criticism from other commenters.

    Unfortunately,the Democratic Party is still stuck at November 2016. There is no platform beyond, OMG RUSSIA! And NeverTrump!
    It’s going to get worse because the Republicans have carte blanche and The Democratic Party will not oppose them because of its impotence. Even with a Democratic majority they will not do a thing for anyone outside of the donor/executive class. There is too much empirical evidence proving the Democrats will not in fact change the course–but they will simply go along with established trends set forth by the Republicans and past DINOS.

    What we are witnessing is the end of the Party for The People while simultaneously the Koch’s have taken over the Republican Party. Instead of forming a powerful coalition against the Koch’s ,et al, the Democratic Party acts as if it needs to court the interests supporting the Republicans and grab some of that action itself. Both organizations are about maintaining power–nothing more. They are not about acting as vehicles for the betterment of the lives of ordinary Americans. The Democratic Party of today is not the party of FDR. This is why so many do not vote and have decided both parties operate to the detriment of their lives.

  28. If Trump plans to work on a whim, watch for him playing with his new collection of nuclear weapons which when dropped judiciously, will turn everything into melted glass.

  29. The important thing for liberals, democrats, intelligentsia etc. to remember is that the November prize is viable democracy, not winning. We already see where that approach to government has taken us. We need a functioning government with shared authority and shared responsibility and voters need to be involved before and after the election.

  30. Actually, William, if you’d been paying attention you’d know that the Democrat’s platform, while somewhat fluid, includes most of the elements of FDR’s Second Bill of Rights, aka Bernie’s platform.

    Bashing Democrats without offering solutions is counterproductive.

  31. Stop being disingenuous Vernon. How convenient his platform is only now being considered as the Democratic platform. Bernie’s platform was rejected by the DNC last election and it will be again. Those of us supporting Bernie and his platform will again be denigrated,alienated and vilified. The DNC would rather have the votes of suburban Republicans than to have the support of the “Bernie Bros”.

    In fact,those of us supporting Bernie and his platform were mocked and denigrated on this very forum. Bashing is ok as long as it’s done with the imprimatur of the DNC toward those against the establishment,no?

  32. Yep,I looked at the link Vernon provided. It just gives an idea as to how the Democrats are going to forego making elections national and more localized. Moreover,as to how the monies will be spent. That’s nice. But there’s not one ounce of of real genuine platform,view or stance as to why someone should get up before work and vote for a Democratic candidate and as to how the Democrats will govern in a manner that will bring one substantive thing to one’s life.

    We know the Republicans will move the entire universe to fulfill the wishes of their donors and constituents. The Democrats? OMG RUSSIA! AND WE ARE NOT TRUMP! And??????

    They’ll borrow Bernie’s platform until it becomes too inconvenient to continue to do so. (Gosh,Bernie is too demanding and simply wants socialism and unicorns. He is such an extremist!! We need moderates!). Just watch. It will be so predictable and we’ll be asked (demanded of) to support his push toward the back of the room by the establishment Democratic Party Royalists and their con$ultant$ . When we refuse,we’ll be assigned the appellative of Morons for not kowtowing to the establishment candidate.

    When they lose,again,the DNC can blame Ralph Nader or the Russians. Instead of where the blame rightfully (no pun intended) belongs.

  33. I think Jane Montgomery with her leadoff commentary regarding certifiable maniac John Bolton is enough for me. He scares the heck out of me and has for many years. He helped draft the plan that was eventually adopted by the Bush 43 administration which was hell bent on converting Iraq into Nebraska. Bolton, Wolfowitz and the whole Hee Haw Gang tried to sell the same plan to Bibi Netanyahu when they were advising him on his 1996 campaign for the Prime Ministership of Israel. Bibi wrote it off is being unrealistic and overly simplistic but that didn’t stop the Bush Administration, particularly that Dick Cheney led super hawks that included Bolton and Wolfowitz and the rest of the whole Hee Haw Gang from once again from adopting it has policy guidelines. The rest is sordid, bloody and very expensive ongoing history.

    I left the Republican Party in 2003 because of the conduct of the war, realizing very early on before the first boot hit the ground or the first cruise missile hit its target that all we were doing was setting in motion what we’re trying to prevent. The blood of hundreds of thousands of people including many of our own are on our hands thanks to the adoption and implementation of an absolutely moronic idea that you could create a beacon of democracy right smack dab in the middle of all the authoritarian states in the Middle East.

    This current Administration, however, and the chaos that exists within it; the abominable character of the Chief Executive, and all the mental baggage that it generates that the American people have to deal with in just trying to get through each day, is far worse than Bush 43 ever was. Bush 43’s Administration was a disaster in many ways but for someone, anyone, to think that there’s parity between the two or that this current one is not as bad as Bush 43’s is just quite simply staggering.

  34. Well Tom,if the Trump administration is so bad,why did the Democrats give his administration expanded spying powers?

    You should not only find that troubling,but perhaps “simply staggering”.

    Then again,it’s all about canards,platitudes and rhetoric, yes?

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