The Fire Hose Theory of Information: too much information to follow at once.

There is something known as the firehose theory of information, the idea that you can’t drink from a firehose, and when too much information is coming at you, you can’t really grasp any of it.

That is the same theory by which Senate Republicans seem to have been operating last week.

As detailed in a story in the New Yorker, in which the author, Evan Osnos, wrote the following:

A little more than a week after congressional Republicans tried to dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics—they relented only after the public swamped the switchboard to such a degree that even Donald Trump joined the criticism—the Party is back with a related gambit. On Tuesday, over the objections of government-ethics officials and Democrats, Senate Republicans will convene the first of a rapid-fire series of eight confirmation hearings in five days, with four of those in a single day. The strategy appears to be intended to speed the approval of Trump’s Cabinet with as little scrutiny as possible—and it will succeed, unless the public objects again.

McConnell’s schedule insures that reporters will be spread thin, details will go unexamined, and a share of the public already addled by a Presidential transition marred by Trump’s denigration of the intelligence community will be overwhelmed with noise. Most important, McConnell and the Trump transition team have ignored the complaints of the Office of Government Ethics, which is tasked with overseeing ethics and potential conflicts in the federal government. The Trump transition has largely deflected the office’s attempts to get in touch. In an astonishing public statement, ethics-office director Walter Shaub e-mailed Trump aides in November to say that “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.” Shaub warned the transition that, by not producing enough materials with which to review the candidate’s financial information beforehand, they could end up breaking the law on conflicts of interest. “They run the risk of having inadvertently violated the criminal conflicts of interest restriction at 18 USC 208,” Shaub wrote to the Trump transition aide Sean Doocey.

Then, in a letter to Senate Democrats released on Saturday, Shaub wrote that his staff was unable to do its work in time for the hearings, which “left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues.” He added, “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

McConnell’s actions look especially brazen when one considers his own past statements. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a letter signed by McConnell, in 2009, in which he demanded that “financial disclosures must be complete” before any Obama Administration nominees could receive a hearing. Pressed about that, McConnell dispensed with the usual decorous wind of nonsense about procedure and declared a blunt belief in zero-sum politics. “What this is about, the Democrats are really frustrated that they lost the election,” McConnell said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We need to sort of grow up here and get past that,” he said.

But the most remarkable thing about McConnell’s desire to “get past” the process of vetting before the vetting has happened is not what it says about his commitment to political tribalism above all other values. That was already well-established, after all. No, the truly remarkable story it reveals involves the sheer recklessness of the incoming Administration. The vetting process is not, as some of Trump’s neophyte advisers might suspect, just a ritual performed for weak-kneed “goo-goos,” the good-government types in comfortable shoes. On the contrary, it is meant to be a cold-eyed political demolition derby: a controlled explosion that can protect an Administration by preventing a problem appointee from getting inside the inner sanctum.[1]

Trump is making an astonishing bet that he will be the first President in a quarter century to manage not to have a single nominee disqualified. And he is betting that the American people, having just elected the first modern President to refuse to release his tax returns, are, in effect, done with ethics. He is betting that, like his oft-cited prediction that he could shoot someone and not lose votes, virtually nothing that could come out after a nominee is confirmed will undermine his Presidency. He is betting, in effect, that we’re too dumb or too demoralized to care.

On Tuesday of this week, Donald Trump, in his first press conference in more than six months, announced (once again but this time more formally) that he would not be putting his holdings in a blind trust. No, he will be turning his businesses over to his two sons to run. And you know there will be a firewall between them and their father.

Proving once again that the Donald, who – as we already know, never expected or wanted to be president – loves his business empire much more than he loves this country.

The country he could give up. But not his business empire.

But fear not, my friends.

Instead, rejoice!

Rejoice, because the Obergropenführer is sowing the seeds of his own demise. He and his cabinet are going to be involved in so many scandals, we’re not going to be able to keep up. From the scandal-free President Obama we’re heading straight for the scandal-rich Trump administration, an administration that will bring us a bounty of scandals like never before.

We have to go through the Valley of Darkness before we can see the light again. And the journey is about to begin.

[1] For the past twenty-five years, every President, Democrat and Republican, has lost one or more Cabinet choices because of vetting before they entered the Administration. In 1989, the Senate rejected President George H. W. Bush’s pick to head the Defense Department, former Senator John Tower, of Texas, after he was accused of heavy drinking and womanizing. Bill Clinton lost two picks for Attorney General-Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood-over discoveries about the immigration status of their household employees. Two of President George W. Bush’s proposed appointments-Bernard Kerik, for Secretary of Homeland Security, and Linda Chavez, for Secretary of Labor-had to drop out for similar reasons. And Barack Obama lost former Senator Tom Daschle, his first choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services (he had failed to pay income taxes on a car and driver), and Governor Bill Richardson, of New Mexico (allegations, later disproved, of improper political financing), a would-be Commerce Secretary.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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