It is not a good time to be a mole in the Trump swamp. The dull, plodding, sluggard nesting in the Oval Office is furious with the treachery of his aides, who, once again, have reported him for being a dull, plodding, sluggard, who spends up to nine hours a day watching cable news and chatting on the phone. And now the sluggard is out for blood. Politico: In the latest, [tell all book] former White House communications aide Cliff Sims recounts the president calling to demand the names of White House leakers. “‘Give me their names,’ he said, his eyes narrowing,” Sims writes. “‘I want these people out of here. I’m going to take care of this. We’re going to get rid of all the snakes, even the bottom-feeders.’” Last October, the phrase “Executive Time” entered the daily lexicon. It’s a term cobbled together by former chief of staff John Kelly, and it sounds better than goofing off, because how else would one characterize Trump’s dysfunctional pattern of showing up in the Oval Office at 11:30 a.m., phoning his cronies, having lunch, and then watching TV all afternoon — after his usual morning session, of course, of arising in the wee hours to blast his unique melange of policy and piffle into cyberspace? The October report was followed up by a report Sunday by Axios, publishing three months worth of Trump’s private schedules, which revealed that 60% of Trump’s time is spent doing euphemistic “executive time” tasks — and this is separate and apart from all the vacations and golf outings. Trump reportedly hit the roof and now the search for the White House mole is on. West Wing officials managing the hunt have enlisted the help of the White House IT office, and believe they are making progress in narrowing the search for potential suspects. One Trump official said the culprit is likely a career government employee who works in the White House, not a person appointed by Trump himself, but did not offer specific evidence. The search has been approved by the office of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Trump himself — who has been infuriated by leaks from within his White House — is aware of the mole hunt and supports the effort, according to one of the officials. […] “You take the list of who the schedule was sent to and you take who was on that list and who has access to certain things and it’s not that difficult to find out who the person is,” said one of the officials. “The government tracks everything on [employees’] computers.” Bear in mind that the author of the now-famous New York Times op-ed, ”I Am Part Of the Resistance Inside The Trump Administration,” who only identified him/herself as a “senior official,” dedicated to “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” has never been found. Could the op-ed author and the mole be one and the same person? And what might the mole have in mind to do next? Stay tuned, same bat-time, same bat-channel. To receive articles of mine not published elsewhere become a patron on Patreon. Please follow me on Twitter @ursulafaw56
Combing over high school and college yearbooks of politicians, looking for incriminating photos, is apparently turning into a cottage industry. Now, photographs of Republican Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ college fraternity dressed as confederate soldiers have surfaced, as well as a story of a racist party in 1994 where everyone wore Afro wigs and shouted the N-word — apparently what passes for youthful hijinx down south. The Hill: Reeves was a member of Kappa Alpha at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., when the fraternity hosted a party in 1994 that included Afro wigs and pledges wearing Confederate flags around their necks, according to USA Today. Fraternity members allegedly shouted the N-word at the party, USA Today reported, citing the school’s newspaper, and the school’s Black Student Association later requested the fraternity be suspended, according to the student newspaper. Laura Hipp, a spokeswoman for Reeves, told USA Today: “As a quick Google search will show, Lt. Gov. Reeves was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. Like every other college student, he did attend costume formals and other parties, and across America, Kappa Alpha’s costume formal is traditionally called Old South in honor of the Civil War veteran who founded the fraternity in the 1800s.” Reeves, who is the GOP front-runner in this year’s gubernatorial race, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. The Republican primary for this year’s gubernatorial race is slated for Aug. 6, when Reeves will face off against state Rep. Robert Foster. They loves them their Old South formals, with all the women decked out like Scarlett O’Hara, dancing the Virginia reel. George Wallace’s ghost must be floating around enjoying all of this, coinciding with the start of Black History Month. Wallace’s ghost is undoubtedly up there with Robert E. Lee’s. Lee founded the Kappa Alpha order back in 1865, and it’s apparently flourishing just fine, true to his white supremacist precepts. To receive articles of mine not published elsewhere become a patron on Patreon. Please follow me on Twitter @ursulafaw56
Rick Wilson does his usual colorful savaging of Trump’s SOTU address, before getting to Trump channeling his inner Nixon, possibly the only moment of color in a predictably boring speech, certainly the only moment worth revisiting, let alone contemplating. Daily Beast: Because Trump is bleeding politically, and under rising legal pressure from every quarter, last night’s State of the Union speech contained his usual pastiche of Trumpian paranoia about the border, dick-waving braggadocio, outright lies, and movie-script ideas passed off as intelligence reports. Coyotes! Duct tape! Mad Max caravans! Then to the Nixon channeling, the moment Trump “set the Wayback Machine to 1974.” That was the year that Richard Nixon stood in the same spot Donald Trump stood on Tuesday night and made a last gamble to save his presidency. Nixon, a man orders of magnitude smarter and more astute than Trump could ever dream of being, rolled the dice that night and lost. Pinned down by Watergate, Nixon used what would turn out to be his final State of the Union in a failed attempt to leverage the majesty of the moment to pry off political peril… “I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough.” […] “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous, partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way,” said Trump, consciously or unconsciously echoing Nixon’s fateful remarks. “Nice country we’ve got going here. Either Mueller gets it, or the economy does.” Trump can tout economic miracles, but the plain fact of the matter is that his followers are going to be either receiving less income tax back in their refund checks, or having to pay more to the government. That’s the event that they’re going to recall in a concrete and personal way, not Trump spinning fables of infrastructure and job creation, that have as much tangible reality as his wall. At the rate that Trump’s going, he may be seen not only as Nixon redux, but as a combination of Nixon and Hoover. Bottom line, Trump’s ticky tacky administration barely functions at all, and while he’s busy touting an age of economic miracles, (which presumably he has wrought) there’s nothing to say that a new economic crisis isn’t on the horizon, and it may not devolve along the same lines as the 2008 crisis; in which case that playbook won’t do us a damn bit of good. Financial News: But what if the next crisis is completely different, resulting from say, a severe cyberattack, or an unexpectedly rapid rise in global real interest rates, which rocks fragile markets for high-risk debt? Can anyone honestly say that US President Donald Trump’s administration has the skill and experience to deal with a major collapse? It is hard to know, because the only real crisis the United States has experienced so far during Trump’s presidency is, well, Trump’s presidency. US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell and his team are first-rate, but who will be the other adults in the room if an externally generated financial crisis threatens? The Fed cannot begin to do […]
How democracy ended up leaving the rails one election year, cursing us with this bizarre permutation of a presidency, is a topic that will be debated and written about for decades to come. First of all, it brings to mind the intriguing question of where would Donald and all the other Trumps be, if they were not where they are? In other words, what would they be capable of doing if Fred Trump hadn’t been a wealthy brothel-owner-turned-realtor, and bestowed his largesse upon son Donald, and he in turn upon his own spawn? This is not a group that does well when the rules default to merit over money. Jared Kushner, for example, didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into Harvard based on grades and test scores, until his father bestowed $2.5Mil upon that august institution, which bought Jared a place in the graduating class of 2003. Here are a few thoughts on what an un-wealthy Trump family could realistically expect to accomplish on their own merits. I found these ideas particularly interesting in the wake of the bland un-compelling SOTU address Tuesday. This is a succinct commentary on who they are. If Donalds Dad wasn’t Rich Donald Trump would be a registered Sex Offender & in Prison Don Jr would be a used Mattress Salesman👨🏻💼 Eric Would be a failed youth pastor b/c he possesses His daddy’s genes 🧬 the gene of pussy grabbing Ivanka would sell Avon Melania, a Porn Star — Bash 2 (@BoomalayBoom) February 5, 2019 The line “between gridlock and greatness” is a portion from a sentence in Trump’s State of the Union speech. The entire speech was clumsily inarticulate, largely because the concepts that the speech writer was attempting to illuminate are fuzzy and ill conceived to begin with — not to mention intellectually dishonest. The SOTU speech was not so much the endeavor at unity, which it was billed as, as the usual rehash of talking points and the opportunity to gin up the base once again with talk of a non-existent “crisis” at the southern border. But, be that as it may, using alliteration to sound literary, once again the Trump administration endeavored to make itself seem normal, if failing to sound the least bit original and certainly not credible for even a moment. ”We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution,” Trump intoned, to a Congress that didn’t buy it for a minute, Democrat or Republican. Trump has the most divisive agenda in the history of American politics, so it’s not likely that he’ll be able to cloak it in non-partisan terms and actually sell it to anybody. Moreover, Trump wouldn’t have even been at the podium delivering the address, but for the fact that his entire existence in politics is predicated upon tearing down all norms of both government and common decency. That’s the red meat that the base loves, that’s what Trump endeavors to deliver. In Trumpworld, money and television are the great equalizers. Between the two of them, Donald Trump managed to cobble together a public image which he rode all the way down the Trump Tower escalator and into the Oval Office. The SOTU address is once a year, and at this time, it behooves us to pause for a moment and contemplate who exactly […]
Stop shaking your head and rubbing your eyes, you’re not on The Onion website, you’re still here. First Lady Melania Trump, by her own description, “One of the most bullied people on [sic] the world,” is bringing another victim of bullying to the State of the Union address, a 6th grader from Delaware, named Joshua Trump. Washington Post: Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Del., who is not related to the president, drew headlines last year after his parents went public to share stories of the abuse they said he had suffered because of his last name. “They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” his mother, Megan Trump Berto, told ABC affiliate WPVI at the time. The issue has been ongoing for years, his parents said. They had even pulled the boy out of school for homeschooling at one point, but decided to enroll him in middle school with the hope that the bullying would decrease. It didn’t. “He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time, and he doesn’t want to live feeling like that anymore, and as a parent that’s scary,” Trump Berto said. Young Joshua could probably go talk to Mike Pence or Franklin Graham or one of the other evangelical wingnuts and they could explain to him how just as Donald Trump has been chosen by God to serve, he, Joshua, has been chosen to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous namesake — or something. Common sense says this appearance at the SOTU is only going to make things worse for the lad. To receive articles of mine not published elsewhere become a patron on Patreon. Please follow me on Twitter @ursulafaw56
Donald Trump’s hair is a “flowey, inescapable flouf of tousled blondness,” in the words of Canadian journalist Daniel Dale, and his equally-vaunted orange crush skin tone is — the result of good genes? Seriously, that’s what they’re saying in the New York Times: Mr. Trump has adhered to one constant: a conspicuously sun-kissed glow, one that has shone like a stoplight against Washington’s graying backdrop. Much like Warhol’s shock of white hair or Big Bird’s saffron plumage, the president’s vibrant hue is so consistently present and meticulously maintained that it was a culturally embedded representation of him long before he entered politics. […] The official line from the White House, as with other matters surrounding the president’s physical health and appearance, is that Mr. Trump’s glow is the result of “good genes,” according to a senior administration official who would speak only on the condition of anonymity. And, O.K., a little powder — a translucent one, not a bronzer — which the president applies himself before television appearances, the official said. They would have you believe that he’s just a regular dude, absentmindedly running a comb through his voluminous (natural?) hair and carelessly dabbing a bit of powder on his genetically perfect cheeks, because a real guy isn’t all that worried about sissy stuff like make up. Except we’re not talking about a real guy, we’re talking about Donald Trump, to whom style triumphs over substance any time, any day, in any scenario. How he looks is vastly more important than what he has to say. He has been known to obsess on “terrible lighting” and it’s been opined that Bill Shine was hired as communications director, so Trump could have an in-house producer to indulge his every diva whim. Axios: Shine toyed with the lights, [prior to the Kavanaugh announcement] adjusted the podium and the microphone, moved objects in the backdrop, and conferred with the camera operator. He seemed oblivious to the other conversations happening around him. Hours before the announcement, Shine had gone to the East Room to test the lighting, according to a source familiar with the situation. He showed the president three different lighting options and Trump selected his favorite. What we’re hearing: Trump has been frustrated that some of his previous appearances on camera have not had the production values of the prime time TV shows he spends so much time watching. Trump frequently complains to aides about the “terrible lighting,” sources who’ve been in the room for his outbursts have told me. John Kelly was useless, he never gave Trump a choice of lighting designs. Trump’s annual physical examination is Friday, and his superior genetic makeup will probably assure that he’s a trim 239 pounds at 6’3” — unless he’s grown an inch, which was reported last year. In any event, he’ll be ready for his close up, Mr. DeMille. Because appearances are all that matters.
Finally. The wingnuts are already churning and crying about the end of the Second Amendment, but in fact, we may be seeing the dawn of sane gun ownership in this country. 🚨🚨Breaking News: The House will hold the first hearing on gun violence prevention in eight years! Stay tuned next Wednesday, February 6 at 10am ET because the House is finally taking action to prevent gun violence. pic.twitter.com/eXPcJC6snw — Mike Thompson (@RepThompson) January 31, 2019 The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and this is a step that we have needed to take for a very very long time.
“Unprecedented” is an overworked and worn out word in Trumpworld. Most recently, it has been used to describe Melania Trump’s unique relationship with the press. It’s a rule of thumb that First Ladies don’t go suing publications that have portrayed them in less than a flattering light, but Melania just this week obtained a public apology and damages settlement from yet a third media outlet she has sued in as many years. British publication, the Telegraph, printed the following apology for a recent story on Trump, stating that they would pay her “substantial damages” as well. The Telegraph: Following last Saturday’s (Jan 19) Telegraph magazine cover story “The mystery of Melania”, we have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published. Mrs Trump’s father was not a fearsome presence and did not control the family. Mrs Trump did not leave her Design and Architecture course at University relating to the completion of an exam, as alleged in the article, but rather because she wanted to pursue a successful career as a professional model. Mrs Trump was not struggling in her modelling career before she met Mr Trump, and she did not advance in her career due to the assistance of Mr Trump. We accept that Mrs Trump was a successful professional model in her own right before she met her husband and obtained her own modelling work without his assistance. Mrs Trump met Mr Trump in 1998, not in 1996 as stated in the article. The article also wrongly claimed that Mrs Trump’s mother, father and sister relocated to New York in 2005 to live in buildings owned by Mr Trump. They did not. The claim that Mrs Trump cried on election night is also false. We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs. The story at issue was based on excerpts from the book, “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women,” by Nina Burleigh and published by Simon & Schuster. Now here’s what’s interesting: Neither Burleigh nor Simon & Schuster were sued. Plus, Burleigh wrote the Telegraph, disagreeing with their retraction, stating that her book, and consequent article thereon, were “well-sourced,” “fact checked,” and “benign.” Washington Post: “The book was published in October and has been widely excerpted and reported on in American publications . . . The book was lawyered for months in advance of publication,” Burleigh said. “Furthermore, the points they objected to include facts that have been previously reported by other writers.” She criticized the Telegraph for apologizing for “accurate reporting” and called the apology “regrettable.” A Telegraph editor told her that the paper does not have the resources to back-check her reporting in Slovenia, the first lady’s home country, she said. “They defamed me by calling my work ‘false,’” Burleigh told The Washington Post Monday, adding that the Telegraph failed to also publish her responses to Trump’s lawyers who had challenged the story. Burleigh also suggested that the retraction was over fears of California lawyer Charles Harder, who represented the first lady in a defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail, another British publication, and is representing the president in lawsuits against […]
Oh, for the languid days of the No-Drama Obama era, where Fox News was so desperate for meat that they were forced to resort to discussions of Obama’s ill advised sartorial choices (the infamous tan suit) or his elitist attitudes as expressed by his choice of condiments. (The day he had a burger with Joe Biden and asked for Dijon mustard.) Sean Hannity made a banner story, “President Poupon” out of that one. We’ve gone from that dull-as-a-door-knob calm, to a surreal mad roller coaster ride, where lightning-bolt-driven cars threaten to derail, as they spew unsteadily through the tortured landscape of a theme park out of Dante’s inferno; all the while the pounding pulses and sweaty brows of its riders are reminiscent more of victims of a cocaine overdose moments before cardiac arrest, than of people having a good time. Welcome to Trumpworld, Hellraiser Pinhead will validate your parking. Today was yet another Big News Day in Trumpworld, given that both the indictment of Roger Stone broke in the morning, and then the end of the longest government shutdown in history was finally settled this afternoon — ironically with the exact same compromise measure that Trump refused to sign into law a month ago, preferring, naturally, to plunge everybody into chaos. So it stands to reason that there was no room anywhere for a story that would have, in any remotely normal administration, been headline news all over the country: to wit, Paul Manafort went to court today to discuss the possibility that he may be required to serve an additional ten years in prison for allegedly lying to Mueller’s team. Ten years is no small amount of time in anyone’s life and at Manafort’s age and with his health problems, this is no small news squib, this is the sitting president’s former campaign manager possibly spending the rest of his life in prison. Don’t look for it on the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post, but Rachel Maddow did post on it, using the story to establish the context of what is the new normal in the Trump administration. Paul Manafort is in a bad way and doing everything he can to keep his situation from worsening. His hair is white now and he leans heavily on a cane. His age and health make it literally a matter of life and death that he not spend an additional ten years in prison, on top of the sentence already contemplated of 7 to 10 years. A final adjudication of this issue is set to take place in a closed door hearing February 4. Point being, Maddow makes it clear that when she went to sleep last night, this was the story with all the drama. Manafort’s hearing will generate a transcript, albeit a redacted one, due to the sensitivity of the subject matter which Manafort discussed with Mueller in his 9 hours of hearings. Yet despite the obvious high profile of the Manafort case in adjudicating the Trump Russia matter as whole, it was eclipsed today by another development in that case, the indictment of Roger Stone. And both issues took a back seat to the government shutdown, yet another destructive issue to which the tag “unprecedented” has been attached. This adminstration is so out of […]
Political columnist Charles P. Pierce recently opined that somebody should get Donald Trump a Civics coloring book so that he can learn the basics of government. Trump was huffing and puffing about doing the State of the Union address “on location” until Wednesday night, when he finally folded. What most probably happened is that he didn’t understand that there are three branches of government, and that Nancy Pelosi is a co-equal in one of the branches, and as Speaker she has the say about who speaks in the House. I’m quite sure that fact came as complete revelation to Trump. As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019 ….alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019 The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel said that despite tradition, delivering the State of the Union as an address didn’t begin until Woodrow Wilson, but even so the decision rested with the House Speaker. “Undergirding all of this is that it’s up to the Speaker of the House and up to both chambers to pass a resolution inviting the other branch of government to come into Congress,” Weigel said. “The president can’t just walk in. You have to kinda wonder how much the White House understands this.” He added that Trump “often assumes he has power which he does not constitutionally have.” It must have been some night in the White House before Trump capitulated to Pelosi on Twitter, and the blow back began. Folding like the cheapest of suits. https://t.co/oYuImojjwG — Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) January 24, 2019 Donald Trump basically just cried Uncle!https://t.co/4u0MVkZ3kn — Ryan Hill (@RyanHillMI) January 24, 2019 Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told CNN’s Don Lemon, “It’s shocking. This [Trump’s tweet] sounds like something that maybe Ivanka wrote or Jared Kushner. It really doesn’t sound like Donald Trump’s language. This is a fellow who has troubles stringing three words together in the right order.” Plus, prerogative is spelled correctly. That’s the dead giveaway that it wasn’t authored by Trump. The base isn’t going to like this. Not one bit. They think Trump is some muscle man who’s going to do an end run around the professional politicians. Wrong.