This is a copy of the New York Times, which Donald Trump saw fit to annotate, autograph, frame, and send to then-Speaker Pelosi. In all seriousness, with #NancyPelosi trending all day for obvious reasons, has anyone made a big deal out of this gift she got the LAST time that she was voted Speaker if the House? Because it feels like someone REALLY should… pic.twitter.com/sfN0yDjEht — John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) January 4, 2019 Baby, you’re the greatest, was Trump’s pitch to Pelosi back in 2007. Today, he went out of his mind with his faux press conference, done solely because Pelosi was the center of attention in the media and Trump was not. The “press conference” was nothing but a verbal tweet storm, at the White House. No new information was conveyed, but Trump at least got a chance to get some portion of the limelight while all the focus was on Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives. Nice try, Donald. Nice try. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of press once Mr. Mueller is all finished with his report. Not to worry.
The 2016 election was not Paul Manafort’s first time at the rodeo of swaying political elections. He’s an old pro. Bottom line, Manafort was very much in debt. He had to figure out a way to get out of it. So, sell out the United States, why not? TIME Magazine: When the U.S. government put out its latest sanctions list on Dec. 19, the man named at the top did not seem especially important. Described in the document as a former Russian intelligence officer, he was accused of handling money and negotiations on behalf of a powerful Russian oligarch. The document did not mention that the man, Victor Boyarkin, had links to the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump. A months-long investigation by TIME, however, found that Boyarkin, a former arms dealer with a high forehead and a very low profile, was a key link between a senior member of the Trump campaign and a powerful ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his only interview with the media about those connections, Boyarkin told TIME this fall that he was in touch with Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in the heat of the presidential race on behalf of the Russian oligarch. “He owed us a lot of money,” Boyarkin says. “And he was offering ways to pay it back.” Victor Boyarkin is an interesting character. The outlines of Boyarkin’s career suggest a life spent at the intersection of Russian espionage, diplomacy and the arms trade. Having served at the Russian embassies in the U.S. and Mexico in the 1990s, dealing primarily in military affairs, he says he turned his focus to the arms trade in the early 2000s. His specialty was the export of small and medium-sized warships and other naval vessels that were produced in Soviet-era shipyards across Russia. Read the entire article and it will begin to make sense to you why Donald Trump panders so much not only to Vladimir Putin, but to the other mega-buyer of arms in the world, Mohammad bin Salman. It’s all about debt and not being able to handle money. Donald Trump and Paul Manafort are birds of a feather — ostrich, perhaps. To receive articles of mine not published elsewhere become a patron on Patreon. Please follow me on Twitter @ursulafaw56
Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib asked to be sworn into the House of Representatives using a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson in lieu of a Bible and the proverbial s*it hit the fan. To add a comic spin to the proceeding, none other than evangelical wingnut Vice President Mike Pence conducted the swearing in where this (undoubtedly to his mind) heretical request was made. These people don’t have a long memory, apparently. Twelve years ago, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) used the same Koran for his swearing in ceremony as Congress’ first Muslim member. People were freaking out then as well, arguing that only the Bible was suitable. People also don’t seem to remember that virtually every ethnic group immigrating to the United States has been the victim of prejudice at one time or other, Jews, Italians, Poles, you name it. My ancestors used to see signs in the windows “No Irish Need Apply.” We live in interesting times, to say the very least.
Chicago Alderman and tax attorney to Donald Trump, Ed Burke, has been charged with one count of attempted extortion for allegedly trying to use his political position to solicit business for his private law firm. His offices were raided by the FBI recently. Chicago Sun Times: Burke was dropped by a member of his security detail at his lawyer’s office late Thursday morning but after spending time inside exited and took a cab to the FBI’s Chicago headquarters on the West Side. It has been five weeks since the FBI’s high-profile raid on Burke’s City Hall and ward offices. Federal agents showed up unannounced at City Hall the morning of Nov. 29, kicked everyone out and papered over the windows. They spent about seven hours there, leaving via a back staircase to avoid waiting reporters. Ever since, speculation has been rampant about a likely end to Burke’s nearly 50-year tenure on the City Council, whether through federal charges, an election loss, or both. Burke has been targeted for political defeat in part because he has done property tax appeal work for President Donald Trump. Some wondered after the raid whether he would even stay in the race. Burke did tax work for the Trump Organization for twelve years and publicly severed that relationship six months ago. Chicago Sun Times June 9, 2018 The powerful Chicago alderman’s small law firm had worked for Trump for 12 years, persuading Cook County officials to cut the property taxes on the president’s namesake downtown skyscraper by a total of more than $14 million. But Burke announced his breakup with Trump in letters filed last month with the Cook County courts and the Illinois State Property Tax Appeal Board. He wrote that “irreconcilable differences” have led his firm to stop representing Trump’s company and step aside in five current cases that seek refunds of millions of dollars in property taxes the president’s company has paid. Those letters came two months after the alderman’s brother, state Rep. Dan Burke, narrowly lost a Democratic primary battle amid Hispanic voters’ outrage that the alderman was doing work for a president who wants to build a wall to thwart illegal immigration from Mexico. Apparently it’s true, everything Trump touches, dies. Interesting pattern, how Trump’s attorneys end up getting raided by the FBI.
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 79, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May and isn’t expected to live much longer. In his own words, “As soon as you discover you have something on your pancreas, you’re dead.” Reid was always known for being a blunt pragmatist and that hasn’t changed. He held forth with his views on present day Washington and Donald Trump. New York Times: “You can’t legislate when you have a chief executive who’s weird, for lack of a better description,” he told me. He said he could never understand how his former Senate colleague Jeff Sessions allowed himself to be so abused and humiliated by the president. “Why in the hell didn’t Sessions leave?” he said. “Same with Kelly,” referring to the departing chief of staff, John Kelly. “I’d say, ‘Go screw yourself.’ I could not look my children in the eye.” Reid prides himself on being a pessimist, but doesn’t identify Trump as a pessimist at all. In some ways, Washington, under Trump, has devolved into the feral state that Reid, in his misanthropic heart, always knew it could become under the right conditions. Politicians are always claiming to be eternal optimists; Reid is no optimist. “I figure, if you’re pessimistic, you’re never disappointed,” he told me. I asked him if he could identify at all with Trump’s dark worldview. “I disagree that Trump is a pessimist,” Reid said, as if to allow him that mantle would be paying him an undeserved compliment. “I think he’s a person who is oblivious to the real world.” Some of the plot for the movie “Casino” was based on Reid’s experiences. “Organized crime is a business,” he told me, “and they are really good with what they do. But they are better off when things are predictable. In my opinion, they do not do well with chaos. And that’s what we have going with Trump.” Still, Reid added: “Trump is an interesting person. He is not immoral but is amoral. Amoral is when you shoot someone in the head, it doesn’t make a difference. No conscience.” There was a hint of grudging respect in Reid’s tone, which he seemed to catch and correct. “I think he is without question the worst president we’ve ever had,” he said. “We’ve had some bad ones, and there’s not even a close second to him.” He added: “He’ll lie. He’ll cheat. You can’t reason with him.” Once more, a hint of wonder crept into his voice, as if he was describing a rogue beast on the loose in a jungle that Reid knows well. Reid’s legacy is the elimination of the filibuster with respect to judicial appointments, about which he remains unrepentant. “They can say what they want,” he told me. “We had over 100 judges that we couldn’t get approved, so I had no choice. Either Obama’s presidency would be a joke or Obama’s presidency would be one of fruition.”
Another battle in the War on Truth, this one involving the Washington Examiner, always known for it’s right-leaning tendencies, but never known heretofore to be merely stenographers of government generated propaganda. It’s “true” because it came straight from Trump, did not pass go, did not collect two hundred dollars, just went straight to the presses. This is precisely how Trump sees the role of the press, to take his propaganda and publish it as fact. Trump and his cronies will create the propaganda, they only need Fox News and now, apparently, the Washington Examiner, to give them credence — that is, assuming that those outlets have any credence to begin with. The Washington Examiner used to lean right, but they didn’t used to just publish a press release and call it news — which makes this development rather alarming. This is just like Russia, where the head of state merely hands off his doctrine for the day to the state owned and controlled media, and they publish it, unthinking. But then again, what else was Trump going to do, with the National Enquirer off his bench for the time being? And what’s next, insightful commentary and analysis from David Dennison and John Barron? It’s enough to make one want to take the Journalism degree out of the frame and set fire to it. Maybe we should start drafting the prequel to “1984” and explain how the Ministry of Truth came to be. It looks like that’s just where we are, right now. Trump’s whack a mole followers don’t know the difference between a fact and an opinion any more than he does, but the same cannot be said of the Washington Examiner. They need to be held accountable for this.
We can all speculate why the happy couple doesn’t want to ring in the New Year together, and I’m sure we will. Melania flew up Christmas Eve to hold Donnie’s hand, while he talked to children on the phone about Santa, and you remember how that turned out. Apparently she got tired babysitting and decided to have some fun, so she’s back down in Florida doing her thing. Maybe Sean Hannity can come over to the White House and play parcheesi or something. Or maybe Trump can visit Mike and Mother Pence. Or Jared and Ivanka. Is the Sci Fi Channel still running the Twilight Zone marathon on New Year’s Eve? There’s a particular irony to Trump spending the last day of 2018 alone, because 2019 is going to be the most challenging year of his life — so far. 2020 will probably be worse, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Big Ball falls at midnight, representing the beginning of 2019. Just think if it was filled with Trump’s lies. If they were the size of a gumball, they would weigh the flimsy ball down. If they were the size of a softball, they wouldn’t fit, there are so many thousands of them. The Washington Post has a Fact Checker’s database which keeps a catalog of all Trump’s lies. For example, in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the current occupant made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day. That’s pretty good. Assuming he was awake 16 hours, that’s one every thirty minutes. Here’s a lie from this morning. The inference is clear. He wants the base to know that their *resident is working hard for them, not even taking off New Year’s Eve. No, Sir, he’s on the job. Except that he’s not. Maybe the Marines are screwing up and that’s why the guard isn’t at his post. Or, maybe Mick Mulvaney has decided to change security protocols. Or, maybe Trump is just telling a bald-faced self serving lie. Again. Think of how life in Washington would change dramatically if Trump had only one New Year’s resolution, not to lie anymore. But I don’t think he even knows he’s lying. Fabricating reality comes so easily to him, like breathing to the rest of us. It’s now becoming an old saw around Washington, first there was Washington who could not tell a lie, then there was Nixon who could not tell the truth, now there is Trump, who cannot tell the difference. This much is certain — Trump spends an awful lot of time thinking about his wall. Or, his metaphor, if you want to use Lindsey Graham’s formulation. 2019 is the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar, but in Trump’s lexicon, it is the Year of the Wall. And a fascinating year it’s going to be. To receive articles of mine not published elsewhere become a patron on Patreon. Please follow me on Twitter @ursulafaw56
The world will be a better place in 2019, if for no other reason than Laura Ingraham has lost one of her platforms for hatemongering, her radio show previously syndicated by Courtside Entertainment Group, due to loss of advertising revenue. But before you get too excited, she’ll be replacing it with a podcast and she’s still a fixture on Fox News. Media Matters did a lengthy article on the lowlights of Ingraham’s show. If you find yourself wondering for even a moment why the RWNJs think like they do, here is the mother lode of their dogma, 17 years of it. Ingraham fawned over Donald Trump’s bigoted rhetoric on immigration; she defended his calls for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and even argued that the ban was “not broad enough,” claiming that she would “go farther” and be “even worse than Trump.” She asserted that “Middle Eastern countries have got to be told… we’re cutting you off,” questioned why the U.S. should allow Muslim immigration ”knowing that we can’t tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized.” She fearmongered about Muslim immigrants as “people who have dual loyalties … whether it’s the Quran, or the Quranic way of thinking, versus the loyalties to the United States.” Ingraham claimed that Trump’s assertion that Mexico is “sending rapists” is true, and stated that Mexicans “have come here to murder and rape our people.” She parroted Trump in claiming that “nobody has a right to be here except the people who are born here,” and said the United States should shoot deported immigrants if they try to re-enter the country. She hyped fears of terrorism about Muslim refugee women, asking: “What’s underneath that burqa, baby? After the October 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival, she suggested that photos of the gunman’s room were staged and that he was in too “poor health” to have acted alone. Before the 2016 election, Ingraham implied that Hillary Clinton may try to kill then-FBI Director James Comey if she won. Ingraham pushed a discredited conspiracy theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered for leaking the hacked 2016 DNC emails. After Christine Blasey Ford accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Ingraham argued that “George Soros is involved” because Ford’s “social media was scrubbed.” She also claimed — without offering any evidence — that Ford’s accusations were “a left-wing conspiracy.” The boycott of sponsors of the radio show was a direct result of the efforts of David Hogg and other student activists in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Ingraham’s TV show was substantially affected as well. Politico: It’s not unusual for advertisers to flee temporarily when controversy strikes a television program. But the sustained loss of advertising minutes and big, nationally recognized brands from “The Ingraham Angle” shows the power of activist-led boycotts and the depth of major corporations’ concerns about offending would-be consumers in the hyperpoliticized era of President Donald Trump. Early this year, Ingraham’s show averaged nearly 15 minutes of advertisements per hour, in line with those of her Fox News prime-time colleagues Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, according to an analysis for POLITICO by Kantar Media. That number plummeted after the boycott campaign, and it still hasn’t recovered: Last month, “The Ingraham Angle” averaged 10 minutes and 50 seconds of ads per hour, Kantar Media found. It’s not an all encompassing victory, but it is a victory none the less. This is how it starts. If the golden adage is […]
With apologies to T.S. Eliot: “The naming of walls is a difficult matter, It’s isn’t just one of your political games, You will think me mad as Trump on the crapper, When I tell you a wall needs at least three different names. First of all, there’s the name that Trump dreamt up at first, “Big Beautiful Wall” from the Mexicans’ purse, Then “artistically designed slats” was his next elocution, But “beaded curtain” was Ms. Nancy’s fine solution. A delusion like Trump’s needs a name that’s much more, A word that is up from a ledge or a door, A word that describes this fantastical chore, So came St. Lindsey Graham to dub it — “Metaphor.” Yes, friends, Metaphor is Lindsey Graham’s newest footnote in political history. He seems to be on one of his pro-Trump, perhaps Prozac mood swings, because it has been duly noted for some time that Senator Graham demonstrates a peculiar bi-polarity when it comes to Donald Trump. Graham loudly declaimed that “there’d be hell to pay” if Trump bopped Sessions. Then they went golfing and Graham sweetly mewed that Trump deserved an attorney general that he could get along with. Then Graham disapproved of the withdrawal of troops from Syria, which he called “a disaster in the making” but now, the pendulum is back and it’s pro-Trump, and Trump’s Metaphor. I can hear the chants now. Build that Metaphor! Build that Metaphor! And whooooos gonna pay for the Metaphor? Mexico!!! Corrupt government and following Trump off a cliff — sounds like Lindsey Graham is the new Devin Nunes, Lapdog in Chief.