We will miss your badassedness, Mr. Shaub

Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, finally had his fill of Donald Trump, the Trump family, Donald Trump's shady excuses for ethics, Trump's shady businesses, the Trump family businesses, or pretty much anything with a T and ending with an ump, and has submitted his resignation effective goddamn immediately July 19. Shaub, who has been trying to get Trump to conform to even the most rudimentary of ethical standards since Trump arrived in Washington, finally got tired of being the canary in the ethics coal mine, so he cheeped one last time and keeled right over:

That was a pretty nice letter, considering all he could have said. Hell, he's been saying it all along, for all the good it's done. He called -- repeatedly -- for Trump to divest himself from his businesses and place his non-Trump-branded assets in a truly blind trust. He pointed out that, no, it's really not the job of White House advisers to plug Ivanka's crap clothing line. He is apparently going to spend at least the first few days after leaving the Office of Government Ethics at a dermatology clinic, having the imprints of a brick wall smoothed out of his forehead.

Shaub told the Washington Post that he had not left under any pressure from the White House or the Trump administration, and if there's anyone whose word on that we'd trust, he just resigned. As the Washington Post put it (rather delicately, we'd say),

But the ethics chief said he felt that he had reached the limit of what he could achieve in this administration, within the current ethics framework.

“It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish,” he said.

Ever the gentleman, Shaub apparently got through the interview without using the word "weasels" even once. He'll be taking a job as senior director of ethics at a good-government nonprofit, the Campaign Legal Center, where he can work with people who don't hiss and spit ichor at the mention of the word "ethics." He said his goal in the new job will be to seek "bipartisan solutions" in state and federal government ethics programs.

“In working with the current administration, it has become clear that we need to strengthen the ethics program,” he said.

It's sort of a fun exercise to read the WaPo story on Shaub's resignation aloud and follow each paragraph with, "Yeah, ya THINK?"

Shaub resigned with six months left in his term; the acting director of the OGE is likely to be the office's chief of staff, Shelley Finlayson, unless President Trump appoints an interim director while he chooses a permanent replacement. Maybe Jared could do it.

It's not clear who's on Trump's short list to be the next director of Government Ethics; top candidates so far include Jack Abramoff, Bernie Madoff, former BP CEO Tony "I Just Want My Life Back" Heyward, Jim Bakker, Niccolo Machiavelli, Vlad the Impaler, and Actual Josef Mengele. (We left Chris Christie off the list, because who'd even believe that?)

Asked for comment on the resignation, White House staff had no immediate comment, or if they did, it couldn't be heard over the sounds of loud lounge music, exhilarated whoops, and champagne corks popping.

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.

In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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