Hey, anyone remember “Travelgate,” the nothingburger Clinton-era “controversy” over Bill Clinton’s firing of seven people in the White House travel office? There was a special prosecutor assigned to the case and a House investigation. Travel Office Director Billy Dale was indicted for embezzlement but acquitted. The Clintons were cleared of wrongdoing, but it was the first big smear against the Clinton Administration and Hillary Clinton.

This was about firing people in the travel office. The fucking travel office. Fast forward to today and we have Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey who is investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia and all we hear from Republicans is that they are “concerned.”



I wonder what that means:

I wonder which definition of “concerned” applies to Congressional Republicans? I’m starting to think it’s #3.

Look, I keep hearing from people that our institutions are strong enough to survive a Trump regime. With each day unleashing a fresh new hell on our democratic institutions — Twitter threats, cancelling press briefings, a new voter suppression scheme — it seems I must remind Republicans in Congress that you are the institution!

If you are an elected member of Congress, YOU’RE THE DANG INSTITUTION. Stop acting like our “institutions” are some building somewhere that you have no connection to. The U.S. Senate is an institution. The House of Representatives is an institution.

Stop sitting around with your finger in the air waiting to see which way the wind will blow. The wind is going to blow your ass out of office if you don’t step up and do something.


Filed under Congress, Donald Trump

31 responses to “Institutions

  1. democommie

    I know it will “ruin” a family event or other get-together (I have both a family reunion and my 50th HS reunion on the same day, in Omaha, next month) but it’s very difficult and may prove impossible to just call people out for the lying hypocrites that they are if I’m sucked into some discussion re:Trumplegate.

    It’s not just hypocrisy, it’s not just cognitive dissonance. People who were on the never ending Carousel-O-Criticism during the period from 1990–2017 and have now decided that there is nothing to what Trumpligubannon and company are lying, complicit collaborationists. Fucking bastards.

    • Speaking of Nebraska, Demo: did you see this “to scale” electoral map of the presidential election? It compiles election results by precinct across the country. There are four “circles” that are almost completely red, meaning the states voted for Trump almost 100%. Guess which states they are: Kansas, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska.

      All four states are SO dead to me.

      • democommie

        Just looked at it and couldn’t get it to resolve enough to tell, so I went to other sources.

        The state of Nebraska has sent its fair share of batshittery proponents to Washington. Otoh, both Douglas County (Omaha, basically) and Lancaster County (Lincoln, basically) went for Hilz although not by a lot.

        I left Omaha in 1968 for the USAF and after a year spent there when I got out of the USAF in late 1972 moved to the Boston area. I have spent less than a year in the city since then.

        Except for my family (most of them, anyway) and a few friends (damn few) there’s not a lot about Omaha that I would miss if I never saw it again.

        I’ll be there in a few weeks, we’ll all have a great time and we’ll all go back to doing what we were doing the week before. I am always a little sad at the end of such a trip as I know it will be the last time some of us might see each other but, life is about change. I just wish that the “change” in November hadn’t left me feeling like the universe had slipped a cog.

  2. democommie

    “company are DOING”

  3. democommie

    On reflection I realize that I have overlooked WhiteFostergateBrownGHAZe-mailz!! So, yeah, both sides DO IT!! I mean other than the fact that shit like Cheney meeting with Energy CEO’s to set energy policy and his having financial interests with defense contractors, etc., were never deemed to warrant much looking into.

  4. Bob Fischer

    I remember it well. I wouldn’t have chosen it as an example though. It was a mistake and a major P.R. blunder on the part of the Clinton administration. It was no where on the level of the shit that was going on, but it greatly affected the divide that took over Washington and subsequently the United States.

    • democommie

      Because, and entirely because, of the irresponsble blithering of the Reichwing Noise Machine. That’s where the blame lies.

      • Bob Fischer

        Actually, no. There was a set hierarchy in D.C. and the Clintons showed complete disregard for that non-partisan hierarchy and civil service when they got rid of those travel jobs. They introduced the concept of fear to the civil service positions and fell into disfavor with career bureaucrats. It was an error on the Clinton’s part and it introduced partisanship to area of government function that had previously been nonpartisan. They introduced a new way of doing government business and many didn’t care for it, both Republican and Democrat. Trump is taking this concept to an entirely different level. There was nothing inherently corrupt about what the Clinton’s did.They just ignored tradition. Trump is using this tactic to rig government from top to bottom with corrupt officials.

  5. Kathleen

    Nice to meet a fellow “Omahan” (just invented that). I was born there in 1949 when my Dad worked at KOWH and attended Creighton night school courtesy of the VA. We moved to Wichita around 1956 so I didn’t graduate high school there.

    I agree with everything you said. The deck seems so stacked against Dems in the media. We need our own media outlet. Remember when Rethuglicans were outraged when Michelle Obama suggested eating vegetables might be good for children and the media dutifully reported it like it was a real “issue”? Good times. Sigh.

    • As I recall there were allegations of wrong-doing and corruption in the travel office, borne out by the ultimate indictment of Dale for embezzlement. Govt. ultimately wasn’t able to make its case and Dale was acquitted. But it’s just another case of the Clintons being blamed for the very thing they were trying to avoid.

      • Bob Fischer

        It was over petty cash. The guy in charge of the travel operation would front officials petty cash when they ran short. In the end, the was a big hullabaloo and the story died because there was no intent to profiteer. It was simply a service he provided when officials ran short of cash. There was no intent to defraud anyone, and as best the records would indicate, the money was all accounted for. The practice had been in place for years and only came into question when the Clintons needed an excuse to justify their actions. The Clintons weren’t worried about this practice until they needed justification for what they were doing. They were outsiders and wanted their own people in certain positions in the White House. This move just happened to be a mistake.

      • I can only go by Wikipedia at this point because it was a long time ago and I was just a young kid, but the guy was charged with stealing $68,000 and the travel office had been investigated for improprieties under Reagan, too. And the best the GOP could do was claim Clinton wanted to give the business to some Arkansas crony. Oh yeah, and that he bumped off Vince Foster.

        The one thing I remember about the Clinton years was how outraged the GOP and uptight Beltway establishment were that some hicks from Arkansas would come in and sully their Republican Camelot. The whole “Bubba who ate Big Macs” thing just frosted the hell out of them. This wasthe first of many attempts to undermine the Clintons, and we still see it today with attacks on Chelsea.

      • Bob Fischer

        Actually Dale was found not guilty of his charged crime after such notable conservatives (snark) as Sam Donaldson testified in his behalf. That is correct. The press was eye-witness to the whole thing. I will go back to my original point. I don’t think the comparison holds up well. The Clintons were outsiders when they arrived in 93 and, as a result, made some mistakes. I know the arguments degenerated into everyone’s nefarious motives, but I tend to think they were mistakes due to inexperience. They were a big deal to the people involved and they sent shock waves through the D.C. career culture, but in the end they were normal misjudgments that people weren’t used to. Contrast that mistake with Trump’s firing of Comey. Equating a poor, legal personnel mistake with a firing that occurred to obstruct justice just doesn’t translate well. Frankly, often the Clintons don’t translate well into comparison in the political arena. They easily lend themselves to false comparisons.

    • Katydid

      @Michelle; yup, the very idea that people might think about what food they were shoveling down their maws–preposterous! An uppity black woman suggesting schools offer lunches made of proteins, starches, fruits, and vegetables–that’s treason! Hang the witch!

  6. Martin Burns

    The wind isn’t blowing anyone out of office. The head of the Census Bureau just left. I guess that insures more Republican gerrymandering. Nationally, Democrats were given more votes in the House and Senate races than Republicans, but remain the minority party. It was not just Trump who lost the popular vote.

    • Bob Fischer

      Geez Democommie, you claim that civil service isn’t a sacred cow, yet you have to go back to Woodrow Wilson to make your point? WTF? You know, I suppose those separate but equal bathrooms would also be a great factoid to juxtapose into a current argument as well. I mean really? The travel gate affair was considered acceptable in terms of it’s time because Wilson favored resegregation? I suppose Andrew Jackson was in favor of firing the booking agents as well.

      Look, my step-dad had command at the Old Guard, direct relatives of mine work in the capitol, and my mother owned a defense contracting company at this time.The Clinton’s inexperience and initial mistakes that were being made was a large part of the conversation. Most lifers did not and do not have the option of partisanship. Their jobs depend on competency and honesty, regardless of who is in power. You can try to make travel gate partisan all you want, but it wasn’t. It was a non-partisan mistake due to the Clintons inexperience. I speak from first hand sources. This being said, the Clintons made enemies early that have stuck with them. Leaders change with the wind, but hard feelings within the bureaucracy stay with you.

  7. democommie

    ” Actually, no. There was a set hierarchy in D.C. and the Clintons showed complete disregard for that non-partisan hierarchy and civil service when they got rid of those travel jobs.”

    Did you ever hear of Woodrow Wilson?

    Get back to me when you’ve educated yourself on that.

    • Bob Fischer

      The travel agent firing and Teapot Dome are hardly parallel events.

      • Bob Fischer

        correction, resegregation of civil service positions, not Teapot Dome

      • democommie

        Well, geez, Bob; you say that civil service is a sacred cow, but it’s not? Okay, so wtf is your actual point.
        You’re rehashing of something that happened back in the 90’s as if it were something like what’s going on in Washington, under Trumpligula is just plain disingenuous.

        So, is it that you think that Wilson’s horrid fucking racism wasn’t that big a deal or that, gosh, it happened so long and HILZ dissed BernJillGar?

        I mean you seem to have a really serious hard-on for the DNC but no idea what to do going forward, NONE.

  8. Democommie


    Hi, sorry I got sidetracked there. I grew up about a mile from the original administration building and had family who went there. I never got that far–13 years of Cath-O-Lick edumikayshun was more than enough. Every time I go back to “The Big ‘O'” as the boosters would have it, the city is bigger and I am shorter.

  9. The EPA has been taken over by the bad guys. We are not exactly surviving. If they mean we will survive for the next 50 to 60 years, I’m not sure that is good enough for me.

    • democommie

      I was actually talking to a couple of factory guys last night. They’re both not Hilzvolk by any means.

      They have grown children and one of them has an adolescent still around the house.

      They’re watching their world get shredded by offshoring, Q-Q profit taking and now a gummint that seems to WANT to hurt them.

      If these guys are pissed, maybe there’s hope.

      The AGW thing is like an aircraft carrier that’s got no one at the helm and is cruising towards the oil refinery in the Persian Gulf, It’s hard to turn and virtually impossible to stop.

      • You’re right, my idea of the amount of time that humans and other top predators may have left to rule over the earth is in grave danger of being severely cut short has mostly to do with warming. You’d think that more people could easily understand. The delicate balance of ice caps, glaciers, seasons, oceans, sun radiation, precipitation, winds, jet streams, water and land temperatures, mountains, forests and life in the seas and on the land and in the fresh waters can be easily upset. Although we have been killing off species and poisoning our water, land and air since the beginning of time, nothing has threatened to change life as we know it as quickly as AGW. Once the poles begin to melt, the sea levels rise and glaciers shrink and calf at ever more alarming rates, there won’t be anything to re-freeze them again any time soon. So the climate change denier in his air-conditioned SUV doesn’t think that climate change can really effect him and his loved ones. Maybe it will get a little bit too hot in the city for poor people who can’t afford to vacation in Switzerland or Scotland.

        No. Life as we know it could easily be irrevocably changed. Perhaps even sounding the death knell for top species from the wolf to the big cats, to the apes and the bears. Human food production could fall drastically creating global shortages and hunger. Eventually, people would be left to die. Maybe even the sharks will become extinct. Only the vermin, the flies, cockroaches, mice and carrion-eaters will be left to pick through the detritus of what was once the only planet in all the star systems to support life.

        I was actually on about that monster, Scott Pruitt settling the lawsuit between the Pebble Mine interests and the Federal EPA. regarding wholesale gold and copper mining in the headwaters of the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, home to the noble Sockeye Salmon.

  10. democommie

    ” Only the vermin, the flies, cockroaches, mice and carrion-eaters will be left to pick through the detritus of what was once the only planet in all the star systems to support life.”

    You forgot the politicians in your catalogue of vermin.

  11. democommie

    @ Flying Junior:

    I actually think that George Carlin and Robin Williams got it about right in their various takes on global ecology.

    The difference between us and the other species is that the dinosaurs, for instance, didn’t BLAME the meteor and try to kill every other animal because those animals were meteorists.

  12. Bob Fischer

    And DEMO, one more thing. I’ll say what I have to say. You don’t have the power or apparently the background to change my words to fit your meaning. If you’ve got a point to make, make it. Twisting my words into something they didn’t say doesn’t make you right, it makes you pointless.

    As to what the DNC needs to do to win? Clean house, adopt a progressive agenda, work on allowing as many people and voices into the party as possible, and quit working behind the scenes and in smoke-filled rooms to fix the primary. Recruit and listen to voters. It’s pretty basic stuff really.

  13. democommie

    Bob, buddy; here’s a e bit of information for you. I don’t give a rat’s what you write or think. I will definitely call you out for the sort of bullshit that you seem prone to spewing about the DNC, Hilary Clinton and their TONE DEAFNESS.

    I’ve been watching the working man, single mom, college student and the educated youngs in with their shiny new diplomas and shit-paying jobs voting FOR the people who fucked them at every opportunity since at least 1932.
    What fucking bubble do you live in where you don’t see this? What fucking bubble do you live in where Civil Service–which the WH Travel Office employees were NOT*, btw–is not a political tool. Anyone who thinks that the people who are in civil service cannot be shitcanned with or without cause is naive. It is not something that most pols want to get into as it makes succession planning difficult. It also creates lot of bad feelings and mistrust in other labor management relationships in government.

    What Trumpligula is doing is unprecedented in modern times. It’s one thing to can some lowly proles for reasons good or bad or, for no reason at all. Canning the head of the FBI, The Acting AG and a sitting U.S. Atty who had been ASKED to stay on is orders of magnitude more fucked up than the WHTO situation. I understand that you don’t want to see that, but facts are facts.

    Bill Clinton couldn’t keep his dick in his pants and that weakness cost this country immensely. Al Gore has the charisma of a log, as does John Kerry and Hilary Clinton. You know who has GREAT, YUUUUUUGE charisma, BIGLY? Yeah, that motherfucker.

    Populism really only works with morons, racists, xenophobes and others who vote their hatred. It’s how we came to have dictatorships in Russia, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and dozens of other countries–in the last 150 years. Boring policy will lose to roaring populists as long as something like 40% of those eligible to vote refuse to become involved to even that extent

    Let me see if I’ve got this right, based on YOUR comments from the last couple of threads you’ve been on.

    You like fracking for what reasons? It’s not a clean or even less dirty technology than drilling big ass holes or blowing the tops off of mountains–it just isn’t as obvious to the public–so what’s to like? .

    You don’t like Obamacare which would be replaced by Berniecare–as if that fucking pipe dream would stand a chance in any of the last 15 or so Congressional terms. Hilz is evil, Bernz is dreamy. Anything else?

    Your dad was military, your mom OWNED a defense contracting company and you’ve got family who work in D.C.? Well gosh, I’ve got family who work/worked in D.C. @ the federal level. I was in the military, I’ve got family who were in management positions at major defense contracting firms. You know what? they were all political as fuck, every single one of them. Most of them loved Nixon, Reagan, B41 and if they were still working then, B43. They would’ve liked some more B41, Dole, McCain and Romney–and they almost all LOVE Trumpligula. Why, pray tell? Because they like authoritarian dickheads running their gummint–as long as they are WCAD’s. They would have voted for a dead man before casting a vote for anyone like Obama or either of the Clintons. Of course they would NEVER let anyone who might be in a position of authority over them–and who disagreed with their political views–know that but none the less…

    Tell me your family is not like that and then excuse me for laughing at you, out loud. We are ALL political animals–even those who are not vocal about it. I ocassionally forget that–as I did, just yesterday–and say something to someone that sets them off, because, “That BITCH shouldn’t be in jail, they should HANG her!”; sad, but true.

    You obviously don’t like the Clinton’s–well, gosh, neither do I. But I would vote for either of them over anybody that they ran against. You may find them too cozy with the corporatists but, golly, TRUMP!

    Purity is great for vodka and it works great for making sure your candidate embraces YOUR values. It’s completely fucking useless as a means for getting the best people in government–see November 9, 2016.

    * “The White House also contends that the office could have been run more efficiently and said it will hire only three people to replace the seven being fired.
    Like other White House employees, the fired workers do not have Civil Service protection, although some have worked for the government for 30 years or more.
    One of the seven is eligible to take early retirement. The others will receive two weeks’ severance pay and four weeks’ administrative leave, Myers said.”


  14. “Concerned” means about as much as their empty “thoughts and prayers” after school shootings – NADA!