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Op-Ed Columnist: From Ice Cube to Black Cube

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WASHINGTON — Once I would have rolled my eyes at a “Homeland” season in which the Russians deftly maneuvered to control whether a Democratic woman, an increasingly paranoid former junior senator from New York, would occupy the Oval Office.

Last year, I shook my head at the “Billions” plotline showing a top New York law enforcement official fighting corruption by day and engaging in sadomasochism by night.

There was a time I would have considered it off the wall if Kanye West said he shared dragon energy with Donald Trump.

Now I don’t blink. Everything is plausible.

We have crossed into a surreal dimension where we are limited only by our imaginations. The American identity and American values are fungible at the moment. The guardrails are off.

Our brains are so scrambled that it’s starting to make sense that none of it makes sense.

For example, it’s dissonant that cybercop Melania strides into the Rose Garden to introduce her “Be Best” plan to help at-risk children at the same time her cyberbully husband unleashes his cruel Be Worst plot to slash the popular children’s health benefits program.

But in the Trump era, sure, why not? Everything is plausible.

Consider how the president lavished praise on Gina Haspel, the evidence-destroying torture queen, tweeting, “There is nobody even close to run the CIA!” At the same time, White House aide Kelly Sadler shrugged off qualms about Haspel from torture survivor John McCain, blithely noting, “He’s dying anyway.”

White House most foul. Everything is plausible — even the jackbooted Dick Cheney rearing his poisonous head to call for the reboot of Torture Inc.

Trump’s renovation of the Wollman Rink is nothing compared with his breathtaking expansion of the capital swamp. He has ushered in a bold new breed of swamp creatures, from Scott Pruitt to Ryan Zinke to Steve Mnuchin to the incomparable Michael “I’m Crushing It” Cohen.

Cohen, who once had to beg Trump to drop by his son’s bar mitzvah, elbowed into the swamp by pretending he had the president’s ear. He made up a job selling access to a White House where he could not even get a job.

Holding out a tin cup as the president’s “personal attorney,” he racked up over $2 million from a law firm and corporations, including AT&T, even though it quickly became clear that, while he swanned around like a character out of “The Sopranos,” he was not connected.

Incredibly, the two things he did manage to

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/12/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-presidency-maureen-dowd.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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