Tag:New York Times

NYT’s Brooks Has a New Vision for the Post-Trump GOP: Same As It Ever Was

Anyone who knows the right-wing pundits knows David Brooks is the King of Smarm. He sniffs and pontificates from his perch as the Principled Conservative for the New York Times‘s op-ed page, pretending to be one of the “good conservatives” who loftily disapproves (more or less) of racism, immigrant-bashing and the like. He doesn’t much […]

McConnells’ Plan Much More Dangerous Now as NYT Story Sets-In

Reports are already flooding in about the aftershocks of this morning’s NYT report concerning Ukraine and the infighting that permeated the White House, the witnesses involved, and the clarity of the issue over the summer, all of which I have already covered in this morning’s column. The NYT story so clearly shows why these insider witnesses are needed, that serious pressure – pressure not previously applied – will increasingly put McConnell in a much more difficult position. The WaPo is already reporting about the consequences: The Kentucky Republican is hoping to make the trial as swift and painless as possible for Trump and Republicans, and but new evidence uncovered by the New York Times could complicate his efforts — or potentially doom the GOP if he pulls off the sham trial, reported the Washington Post. You can be sure that “the GOP” is on notice that their entire legitimacy is riding on whether the sham trial plays out well. Senators that previously were wholly on board with following McConnell’s “get out of jail free card” for Trump might now reconsider whether they can survive supporting that effort. Some of them might also consider whether doing the right thing matters. Please note that Greg Sargent of the WaPo is saying the exact same things that I analyzed earlier: “What makes all this new information really damning, however, is that many of these officials who were directly involved with Trump’s freezing of aid are the same ones Trump blocked from appearing before the House impeachment inquiry,” wrote the Post‘s Greg Sargent. Yeah, that looks bad, and how something “looks” really matters when the entire nation knows what happened and who was involved. Previously, when the infighting had been kept from the public, and the identity of the most important witnesses had been kept from the public, it was much easier for McConnell to go along with the “no witnesses” plan. It is much harder now, and that’s a problem. Sargent does note something that I had not covered this morning, and that’s the likelihood of ever-more bad evidence emerging after a potential sham trial in which it was all covered-up. “That could come after Senate Republicans ran a sham trial and acquitted Trump,” Sargent wrote. “Do they really want to be on the hook for having suppressed such evidence, even in the face of a whole new round of deeply incriminating revelations?” Such worries do not seem to have bothered Republicans to this point. But the stakes haven’t been this high before. It really does change the entire dynamic for McConnell. As I have said before, in the end, McConnell’s decision might come down to the fact that he would vastly prefer to be the majority leader under a new Democratic president, over the minority leader in a Trump second term. McConnell is going to err on the side of protecting his majority, not Trump, if it gets right down to a choice. For now, at least since this morning, McConnell is still betting on a sham trial. McConnell has succeeded in ramming through transparently partisan and illegal bullshit in the past. But he has never had to do so with stakes this high, where there might be some evidence that McConnell himself has a few Russian connections, where McConnell’s perfect plan […]

Trump Deepens Feud With Pentagon

Yesterday my Twitter feed contained four pictures taken from the evidence at Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s trial. It showed a sick sick guy grinning over the body of a dead 14 year old boy. It also showed other boots on the ground around him, witnesses, from his squad. It sent waves of disgust down my spine and rid me of whatever last remaining “tolerance” I might have been able to find for Trump and his apologists on the Right. Today, the New York Times published a long report on the entire matter, including the murder: Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher and other Navy SEALs gave the young captive medical aid that day in Iraq in 2017, sedating him and cutting an airway in his throat to help him breathe. Then, without warning, according to colleagues, Chief Gallagher pulled a small hunting knife from a sheath and stabbed the sedated captive in the neck. The Fox News hero stabbed a prisoner, one who was sedated already, and fourteen years old. There are signs out there that pardoning Gallagher may end up hurting Trump far more than his attempt to extort Ukraine. Trump’s inability to understand morality, ethics and law, coupled with his willingness to reach in and micro-manage any organization as the one who “knows better,” has put Trump into an acute showdown with “his” own military brass according to story in the Times: “The case of the president and a commando accused of war crimes offers a lesson in how Mr. Trump presides over the armed forces three years after taking office. While he boasts of supporting the military, he has come to distrust the generals and admirals who run it. Rather than accept information from his own government, he responds to television reports that grab his interest. Warned against crossing lines, he bulldozes past precedent and norms.” “Distrust the generals and admirals who run it.” That is because the admirals and generals who run the Pentagon are more like Jim Comey in their approach to government than say … Lindsey Graham. These admirals and generals are the most loyal people on Earth. The problem for Trump is that the Pentagon’s loyalty is to the constitution and nation, not Trump personally. So, the fact that Trump would come to “distrust” the military is the most predictable aspect of the Trump presidency. Trump cannot handle  any dynamic where there exists a loyalty to anything above him personally. Said one expert: “As a result, the president finds himself more removed than ever from a disenchanted military command, adding the armed forces to the institutions under his authority that he has feuded with, along with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic corps.” Note that list. The intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, and diplomatic corps, all agencies with which Trump is “feuding.” Each agency has a “higher calling” that transcends the political aspirations of any president that may come along. These are the areas of government most impervious to a strict “loyalty test” of the type that Comey failed. Thus, rather than be less “political” with them, or accept that these agencies must operate differently, Trump chooses to feud with them. In the end, Trump must have his loyalty or the person or agency will feel his wrath. So why might this matter so much? […]

Brace Yourself: New Book Exposes Trump’s Ruthless, Insane, Lawlessness on Border

On those occasions when you imagined what meetings within Trump’s White House must entail, and all the disjointed hell, the panic, the cringe-worthy insanity, all of it, whatever awfulness you conjured up? You fell short. Or, at least I did. Honestly, there is nothing that could have prepared me to read the latest New York Times article, excerpting portions of a new book, “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration,” by  Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Zoomers, we engage in just the right amount of hyperbole around here, and sometimes we laugh because the alternative is to cry or scream in rage. But right now I want to say something with clinical clarity, and understate it. Our president, is mentally ill. Not only is he mentally ill, he is exhibiting symptoms that ought to be apparent to the steward in the room serving coffee. Our president is so mentally ill, that the head of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, having just accompanied Trump while Trump spoke to a room full of agents, having just heard Trump tell the agents to turn away every asylum seeker at the border, all of them, McAleenan – a patriot – made clear that the agents could not do what the president just ordered. After the president left the room, Mr. McAleenan told the agents to ignore the president. You absolutely do not have the authority to stop processing migrants altogether, he warned. That is chilling, because it was the exact right thing to do, and it was the right thing to do precisely because the nation doesn’t have a sane leader right now. Let us be perfectly clear on this, no one knows who is actually in charge. We only know that the man who thinks he is in charge is not mentally competent to execute the duties of the office. As is a recurring theme, the people within the White House not only ignore the law, but openly hate the idea of being under laws: Mr. Miller, meanwhile, saw an opportunity. It was his view that the president needed to completely overhaul the Homeland Security Department and get rid of senior officials who he believed were thwarting efforts to block immigrants. Although many were the president’s handpicked aides, Mr. Miller told him they had become part of the problem by constantly citing legal hurdles. “Constantly citing legal hurdles” translates as “people who repeatedly note that something cannot be done because it is illegal.” Miller and Trump don’t seek to change the law, they wonder why they can’t do what they want without regard to the “law.” When you merge reckless hatred for the idea of “laws” with abject insanity, you get meetings in which our “leader” advocates the unthinkable. Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him. No more of my smug […]

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