This nonsense is from an Associated Press interview Friday with the so-called “president.” More gibberish is below the fold, but you should really read the whole transcript here. It’s an astonishing document.
TRUMP: Number One, there’s great responsibility. When it came time to, as an example, send out the 59 missiles, the Tomahawks in Syria. I’m saying to myself, “You know, this is more than just like, 79 (sic) missiles. This is death that’s involved,” because people could have been killed. This is risk that’s involved, because if the missile goes off and goes in a city or goes in a civilian area — you know, the boats were hundreds of miles away — and if this missile goes off and lands in the middle of a town or a hamlet .... every decision is much harder than you’d normally make. (unintelligible) ... This is involving death and life and so many things. ... So it’s far more responsibility. (unintelligible) ....The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list…
So the Republican Party has various groups, all great people. They’re great people. But some are moderate, some are very conservative. The Democrats don’t seem to have that nearly as much. You know the Democrats have, they don’t have that. The Republicans do have that. And I think it’s fine. But you know there’s a pretty vast area in there. And I have a great relationship with all of them. Now, we have government not closing. I think we’ll be in great shape on that. It’s going very well. Obviously, that takes precedent…
From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:
The New York City Health Department said it cannot complete an investigation into who infected four infants with herpes through a circumcision rite because the boys’ fervently Orthodox families will not identify the mohels…
According to DNAinfo, six families in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have seen children contract herpes since 2015 from metzitzah b’peh, which involves the ritual circumciser, or mohel, cleaning the circumcision wound by oral suction. Among the six families, only two have provided the names of their mohels, Miller said. In March, the city ordered those two mohels to stop performing metzitzah b’peh. A herpes infection in a newborn baby can cause brain damage and death…
However, an unnamed source said the community is skeptical about the allegations against the two named mohels because it believes the city wants to make all metzitzah b’peh illegal.
“That’s why we’re not willing to give out the mohels. We know the city is going to ban them without giving them due process,” the source said. “There is not proof that they actually infected the baby.”
Public Health and Welfare | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare | Religion and Society
From the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s parent company fired Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable television news’ most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years.This on the heels of the private sector’s overruling of the North Carolina legislature’s recent attempt to make transgender students use the bathrooms for which Mother Nature, in His wisdom, intended them.
O’Reilly lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.
The downfall of Fox’s most popular — and most lucrative — personality began with an April 2 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing. Dozens of his show’s advertisers fled within days, even though O’Reilly’s viewership increased…
Who could have foreseen that corporate advertisers and professional sports franchises would be the ones to drag our so-called “lawmakers” kicking and screaming into the 21st century? We saw something similar from the health industry, too, when the so-called “president” tried to gut the Affordable Care Act. Apparently that’s what happens when you try to drown government in a bathtub. Big business remembers that voters are customers.
From the New York Times of today, April 17, 2017:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Talks between the United States and Afghanistan wrapped up here on Sunday, as the Trump administration reviews its options in the 15-year American presence in Afghanistan in the face of a resurgent Taliban.From Counterpunch, dated January 15, 1998:
Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, met with Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, in talks that came days after the United States dropped a huge bomb on a honeycomb of Islamic State caves in eastern Afghanistan.
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention…From Rudyard Kipling, in 1895:
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?
When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Fear not, brothers and sisters, for in these dark days of Trumpism, of unrestrained corporate power, of environmental ruin and possible nuclear war, there is a ray of hope. The Democratic party, led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, is riding to the rescue:
Democrats are beginning to craft an economic message for 2018 that goes beyond the tempting, single-minded strategy of demonizing Donald Trump.I don’t know about you, but when Chuck Schumer promises a “strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” I get a tingle up my leg. It’s almost as inspiring as Nancy Pelosi saying, “We’re all capitalists.”
Licking their wounds after an embarrassing showing in November, Democrats vowed to charge into next year’s midterms with a proactive sales pitch to voters. While many, including party leaders, have fallen right back into the same anti-Trump pattern they say cost them 2016 in the first place, top Democrats now say they’re working on “a strong, sharp-edged, bold economic message,” as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it Tuesday.
But let’s be fair. After leading us to a string of humiliating defeats since 2010, culminating in the slaughter of 2016 and the victory of Donald Trump, the Democratic party is acting decisively to craft a broad economic agenda that will “unite both caucuses” of the Party. It’s “expected to emerge by early summer.”
“We’re spending a lot of time on this,” says Chuck Schumer.
Just when you need the cavalry the most, six months after the battle’s been lost.
At issue is a deep philosophical divide: One branch of the Democratic party wants to do more of the same plus family leave, while the other branch wants to do absolutely nothing at all. One branch wants to throw some populist window dressing around, kinda, sorta, by the dark of the moon; the other wants to sit on their thumbs and wait for Trump to fail, because that strategy worked so well in 2016.
“We have no message right now,” says one House Democrat, “and we don’t need one.”
The trouble is, the Democrats don’t know how to pack “more of the same plus family leave” and “do absolutely nothing” into an inspiring, easily digestible soundbite. But don’t worry, they’ll try, and fail. Chuck Schumer promises that they’re going to “hammer” this agenda leading up to the midterms. I hope they’ve hired John Podesta, Robby Mook and Bob Shrum to help them iron out the details.…Read on
From The Hartford Courant:
…Officers waited for an officer trained in crisis intervention to go to the apartment with them, police said. When they did, they brought a protective shield and special guns that shoot bean bags. When they arrived, they heard noises coming from inside. Concerned the suspect might be injured, they opened the door but didn’t go inside, police said.See? Now was that so hard?
Van suddenly emerged from a hallway with a large butcher knife in his right hand and brass knuckles in his left, they said. Crisis intervention officers tried to calm him by talking to him, but Van ignored them, police said. He also ignored police commands to drop the weapons.
He then advanced toward the officers with the knife and knuckles, and an officer fired a bean bag round at him, police said. Van eventually dropped the weapons and was placed in handcuffs, they said. Deputy Chief Brian Foley attributed the officers’ calm, thought-out response to their training.
One nice thing about living in Connecticut is that you don’t have to go to the trouble of bugging your senators with complaints. Blumenthal and Murphy already have their feces assembled. Take, for example, this from Chris Murphy:
The question Syria experts have been asking themselves this week is this: Why did Assad return to chemical weapons use, risking the ire of the global community, when he is, by all accounts, in a stronger position in Syria than at any time since 2013? The answer likely lies in the green light that the Trump administration gave Assad just a few days before the chemical weapons attack was launched. As my colleague Marco Rubio noted this week, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that U.S. policy was now to allow Assad’s future to “be decided by the Syrian people” (a regular Russian talking point on Syria policy) he seemed to telegraph that Assad was free to act without repercussions from the United States. Rubio’s point is hard to argue — once Assad realized U.S. policy was no longer tied to his removal, there was nothing to hold him back.…Read on
Second, the check on Syria’s use of chemical weapons since 2013 had largely been Russia. The threat of U.S. military action in Syria in 2013 prompted the Russians to step in and help remove chemical weapons stocks from Syria. Obviously, they didn’t finish the job. But why? The answer here could lie in the newfound impunity with which Russia now operates globally. Since Trump was inaugurated, Russia has violated a long-standing missile treaty, accelerated the pace of military activity in Ukraine, dramatically ramped up its influence in the Balkans, and effectively taken control of the political process in Syria. Russia has acted this way since January because it no longer fears any reprisals from the United States. Their inability to finish the disposal of chemical weapons, or their unwillingness to veto the chemical attack, can be explained by the perceived permission slip they have been granted by the Trump Administration…
Trump is in the Oval Office talking to Bill O’Reilly on speakerphone. Ivanka is seated in front of his desk, totally engrossed in texting and not paying a bit of attention to their conversation. Bill is facing multiple sexual harassment suits and advertisers are leaving his show in droves. He sounds tipsy. Trump has just ordered airstrikes on Syria, but Bill’s problems are more interesting.
Trump: I gotta be honest with you, Bill. I would have moved in on her like a bitch too. I gotta be honest. We’re grown men here, amirite? You didn’t do anything wrong, Bill. It’s political correctness. It’s nothing but political correctness run amok. It’s fake news.
O’Reilly: It’s like I always say, Donny, if you don’t like where you work, get another job. It ain’t rocket surgery. Go to human resources. Go to a different department. Get another job.
Trump: It’s outrageous, Bill, it really is.
O’Reilly: I got no problem with women in the work place. I’m an equal rights kinda guy. It’s just that this affirmative action has them all believing they’re entitled to any job they want, even if they can’t hack it.
Trump: I agree with you a hundred percent, Bill, a hundred percent. It’s political correctness run amok. It’s ruining our country, it really is. I mean that, Bill, I really do. It’s absolutely ruining our country.
O’Reilly is starting to slur his words. As his drunkenness increases, he affects an exaggerated working-class New York accent, as he often does when browbeating elitist liberals on his show. You’d almost think he was a longshoreman from Brooklyn and not what he actually is, a guy from a comfortable, lily-white suburb on Long Island who attended private school.
O’Reilly: All guys, awwwl guys get a little ribbing in their rookie year, am I right, Donny? That’s all it was. Just a little harmless ribbing. What’s a little slap and tickle among friends? It’s no different than guys snappin’ towels at each other in the locker room. They been doin’ it since Rowman times. It’s like a, uh, whaddya call it … a rite of passage. If women can’t handle that, maybe they don’t belong in the work place.
Trump: I know exactly what you’re saying, Bill, why do you think I keep Melania in New York?
O’Reilly, now thoroughly inebriated: And now you got the politically correct crowd scaring my advertisers away, effecting my ability to make a living. You don’t mess with a man’s livelihood. It ain’t right! [Yells] It ain’t right!
Trump: I gotta say it again, Bill, I agree a hundred percent. This is amazing, because I normally don’t agree a hundred percent with people because I think it’s good to disagree. I mean, you gotta disagree sometime because nobody’s right one hundred percent of the time, not even me. Well, almost me, but not always, but I gotta be honest, I agree with you a hundred percent.
O’Reilly [sobbing]: I never should have left Inside Edition. Not even Access Hollywood will return my calls now. Where’s my … falafel thing. I need my … loofah thing……Read on
David Brooks on the so-called “president”:
He mistakes his catastrophes for successes and so accelerates his pace toward oblivion. Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it.
Donald Trump has a brilliant plan to defeat ISIS: Put Jared Kushner in charge and they will all die from laughing:
…anyway, they've got each other's backs. From the New York Times:
Few have spoken out publicly in support of the Fox star. The president had no qualms.
“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Mr. Trump told Times reporters in a wide-ranging interview. “Because you should have taken it all the way; I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
“I think he’s a person I know well,” Mr. Trump said. “He is a good person.”
Did the so-called “President” have Barron vaccinated?
From the New York Times:
Mr. Trump has suggested possible links between childhood vaccines and the development of autism. Dr. Gottlieb described this as “one of the most exhaustively studied questions in scientific history,” and he said the studies show “there is no causal link between vaccination and autism.”
From the New York Times:
For a children’s audience, the mandate is to provide unbiased facts with a dusting of the context required to maintain accuracy, said Joanne Mattern, a freelance writer of children’s nonfiction with 250 titles on her résumé…
In her new book, “Donald Trump: Outspoken Personality and President,” the author Jill Sherman packed in details about Mr. Trump’s family. But Ms. Sherman, who has written children’s books about the Komodo dragon and the Irish potato famine, said biographical details about Mr. Trump were being denied and debated by some of his supporters. “Everything has its unique challenges, but I would say the Donald Trump biography was overwhelming,” she said.
From the New York Times:
A country whose electorate allows this kind of shit to happen is a country too stupid to live:
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a drug to treat people with a serious form of eczema, a potential breakthrough for people who have suffered for years without relief. But it will not come cheap.
The drug, to be called Dupixent, will carry a list price of $37,000 a year, a hefty price tag for patients who are increasingly being asked to pay a larger share of the drugs they take. Still, its price is a bit lower than many other commonly used biologic drugs, such as Humira and Enbrel, that treat other skin diseases…
The best-selling products Humira and Enbrel, which treat the skin disease psoriasis and other conditions, carry annual list prices of about $50,000.
America is Doomed | Idiots | Regulation for the Benefit of Public Health, Safety and Welfare
All of the inside baseball, D.C. Beltway pundit types are once again proclaiming the end of Trump, just as they’ve been doing since August, 2015. I hope they’re right, I really do, even though the prospect of President Pence is almost as horrifying as Trump himself: It all boils down to which era you prefer to live in, the Gilded Age plus nukes (Trump) or the twelfth century plus credit default swaps (Pence). But I don’t think they’re right, and here’s why:
The day after the flaming out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative, his supporters across America were lashing out - at conservatives, at Democrats, at leaders of his Republican Party in Congress.
Only Trump himself was spared their wrath.
Many voters who elected him appeared largely willing to give him a pass on the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, stressing his short time in office.
Inside the Beltway, Trump’s defeat signals the end of his agenda. Outside the Beltway, Trump’s lumpenproles shout: “I blame the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress! They are a bunch of bastards. I’m just fed up.” Some, demonstrating a patient wisdom they mysteriously lacked in the Obama years, tell us Trump “can’t just wave a magic wand.” Others are just fine with the outcome because they like Obamacare and Trump’s racism both. Where is written that you can’t get government healthcare and hate wetbacks?
Either way, it’s somebody else’s fault: Ryan, the Democrats, the RINOS, the media, whatever.
These are the diehards. These are the bitter-enders who will be down in the bunker with Bannon and The Donald, cursing the libtards and fake news while Jared and Ivanka pass out the cyanide. They will always blame others and make excuses for their fuhrer. Always.The big brains of the Beltway, using the most sophisticated polling techniques and marshaling all the hottest gossip from the Hill have been predicting Trump’s demise for a year and a half, and they’ve been wrong every time. They simply don’t appreciate the depth of his appeal or the depth of the Trumpite’s loathing towards all things establishment, including the Washington press corps.
I’m just as giddy with schadenfruede as every other civilized human being at King Deal Maker’s delicious face plant, but I won’t believe he’s toast until he’s toast.
From the New York Times:
On Friday evening, a somewhat shellshocked president retreated to the White House residence to grieve and assign blame. In a search for scapegoats, he asked his advisers repeatedly: Whose fault was this?
Increasingly, that blame has fallen on Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, who coordinated initial legislative strategy on the health care bill with Mr. Ryan, his close friend and a fellow Wisconsinite, according to three people briefed on the president’s recent discussions…
After it was all over, the president dutifully blamed the Democrats, a party out of power and largely leaderless, after turning his back on their offers to negotiate on a bipartisan package that would have addressed shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act while preserving its core protections for poor and working-class patients.
I haven’t read Politico regularly enough over the past few years to be entirely certain, but it seems to me those “gotta win the morning” folks have become since the last election a bit less the stenographers of power and somewhat more often the critical observers; does that fit your experience?
Witness Harold Pollack’s politely titled piece today, “Paul Ryan Failed Because His Bill Was a Dumpster Fire”. Pollack doesn’t fail to point out all the ways Paul Ryan and his allies might have tried to improve their bill’s chances, both process issues such as working with moderates to lure a few Democrats rather than expecting the Freedom Caucus to come round, and policy issues like the explicit transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from the poor and sick to the top 1%. Consider that under the Ryan bill the richest 400 households in the US would have seen a tax cut greater than the total expenditures for premium tax credits under Obamacare for the twenty smallest states plus the District of Columbia.
A shrewd legislator would have found a way to make this less obvious. Ryan’s reputation for intelligence seems in this case to have overshot his actual capacities.
But it’s not simple legislative tactics or even longer-term strategy that’s at issue here, as Pollack notes.
So why did Republicans fail? In a word: insincerity. Republicans had seven years to do their own hard work, to coalesce around a credible conservative alternative to the ACA. They might have used this time to work with Republican governors, to explore which conservative policy ideas seem to stick, which aspects of ACA needed to be retained. They might have crafted a more moderate bill along the lines of the Cassidy-Collins bill, which would have given liberal states and Republican governors who adopted Medicaid expansion much greater leeway. Or they might have refined another conservative model, such as Avik Roy’s modifications to ACA exchanges, to turn ACA’s exchanges in a more conservative direction. They might have prepared the American public for whatever plan they chose.
They didn’t do any of this, perhaps because they believed they would never have to. Secure in the knowledge that they would face President Obama’s veto, Republicans rammed through a succession of extreme repeal-and-replace bills that resembled AHCA’s original draft. These bills excited the Republican base, but would have horrified most other Americans if they ever found sufficient reason to look. Then Congressional Republicans suffered what George W. Bush might call a “catastrophic success” with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory. They had nothing real to deliver.
Much has been made of Republicans’ hypocrisy in trying to ram the AHCA through Congress after complaining so vociferously about the legislative process that produced Obamacare. This hurt House Republicans less than the shoddy content of their actual bill, and the glaring mismatch between their political rhetoric and what their actual policy proposals were designed to do.
Yet another example of young Americans doing us all proud, by way of No More Mr. Nice Blog:
What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall”chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.
This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.
Swedish kids don’t act that way, neither do Japanese kids, or Germans, Danes, Indians, Canadians, Poles or Ecuadoreans.
I wonder if they know the Wall Street type who thought it would be cute to get drunk and dry hump a statue of a little girl? You know, this guy:
To hell with it. Slap these punks in the army and send them to Syria. If not, they’re gonna wind up running Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. They’re gonna be your next representative or maybe even a supreme court justice, a CEO, an attorney or an advertising executive. They’re going to preside over Fourth of July parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies and shareholder’s meetings at which they breathlessly announce the next wave of layoffs and sleazy stock buy-back schemes. They’re going to be in the Kiwanis club and coach your kid’s soccer team. In short, they’re going to evolve into good solid bourgeois Americans who will dutifully keep our best traditions alive, including xenophobia and racism.
After they’ve matured a bit, they’ll learn to keep it discreetly in the closet (as some of them have no doubt already learned to do with their more unseemly sexual urges). They’ll go to their graves insisting they aren’t racist, but every time a foreign brown person yells “boo!” they’ll be leading the charge for sanctions, drone strikes and boots on the ground. These brave, potbellied burgomasters will man up and tell us war is hell as they urge roundups and mass deportations. And not only will they not suffer from it. it will make their careers.
In a comment on my last post, Rocky D says he has been a reader since 1996. I didn’t think it had been that long, and the Bad Attitudes archives seems to have become mostly inaccessible. In the process of poking around, though, I found the following. It reinforces my vague memory that the CIA was getting a raw deal these days. The so-called president says the agency can’t be trusted because they were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction that tricked the Idiot Son into invading Iraq. But consider this entry, from October of 2002:
Paul D. Wolfowitz is one of George W. Bush’s bits of rough trade over at the Pentagon, another being Donald H. Rumsfeld. Lately both have been sulking over the CIA’s insubordinate refusal to believe that Saddam is about to drop an atom bomb on the Mall.
So now they want to set up a special Pentagon intelligence unit that will squeeze the CIA’s facts in such a way as to produce the truth for a change.
Yesterday Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz explained to the New York Times just how those poor souls over at the CIA had managed to go so wrong.
Firstly, the fierce chickenhawk said, “They are not making independent intelligence assessments.” Readers of Orwell will understand this sentence at once. Independence is disobedience.
And secondly, there exists “a phenomenon in intelligence work, that people who are pursuing a certain hypothesis will see certain facts that others won’t, and not see other facts that others will. The lens through which you’re looking for facts affects what you look for.”
Note Mr. Wolfowitz’s use of the second person plural. He would find the first person singular to be, in this context, literally unimaginable.
Trump is not an anomaly. He is not an aberration. He is not an unfortunate stumbling block on our road to perfect democracy.
Trump IS our destiny. He is the pitch perfect embodiment of the contemporary American soul. He is the zeitgeist. He is us. He is the ugly id brain of the ugly American, come to claim his birthright.
There is not one flaw in Donald Trump that doesn't apply to American culture generally.
Trump is a narcissist? So are we.
Trump is a bully? So are we.
Trump is an ignoramus who thinks the findings of science are a hoax? Welcome to America.
Trump is a crass con man who would walk over your mother's corpse to make a buck? So would the rest of us.
I’ve expected the coming of Donald Trump for years. I knew that a right wing despot was in our future since Reagan told us ketchup was a vegetable and Margaret Thatcher, echoing Ayn Rand, told us there was no such thing as society, only individuals. A right wing plutocracy was baked in the cake at that point. I always thought he would be a Bible thumper, but he was a reality TV star instead. How did I miss that? It's so obvious now.
Donald Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single vote. That’s the truest thing he ever said. If you want to know what this country is about, stop reading EJ Dionne and Paul Krugman. Watch FOX News and listen to Limbaugh instead. That is who this country is, and Trump is their boy. They will love him forever. They will drag their asses over hot coals for him.
And when he fails to deliver those 30 dollar an hour manufacturing jobs, he will start bombing Muslims, and his adoring fans will love him for it.
Fox America will hoist the flag and start calling out traitors. It’s going to happen. Wait for it.
A third of this country loves him, and they are stupid and mean. They never doubt the wisdom of their prejudices and they will beat you up.
This is what fascism looks like.
And the country will go along with it.
The country will go along with it because we have no alternative.
I dunno, we just couldn't think of one. We fancy ourselves as swell folks, but, you know, all we could muster is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. It was the best we could do. We just can’t imagine anything more. Maybe Chelsea Clinton and Corey Booker will come along and make America safe for free trade again?
Christ, it’s enough to make you long for Warren Harding.
All that is necessary for fascism to triumph is an inept liberal class.
Anyway, I refuse to spend too much time on Trump. He is a vampire and I won't waste another minute of my one and only life thinking about him. He is sickening and evil. He's not worth the paper I wipe my ass on.
And we can’t beat him.
He has the full throated support of of one of our major political parties. Forget about the day-to-day gossip about Bannon hating Ryan, and Ryan hating Trump, and Trump hating Ryan. And forget about the fact that Mitch McConnell has a visage so loathsome it cracks mirrors and causes spontaneous abortions in cows. When push comes to shove, they band together, and they always will. They are the party of money and you are poor. They will win, you will lose.
How is it that America, circa 2017, can do no better than these slimy reptiles? We have no one to blame but ourselves.
Don’t like Trump? Look in the mirror.
Don’t like Ryan? Look in the mirror. He always wins, doesn’t he?
Don’t like McConnell? Look in the mirror.
Why do these slimy reptiles keep making economic and education policy for us? Why?
Because we keep voting them into power.
They have constituencies. Their constituency is called America.
It's time to wake up and realize that this is a dumb, vicious country.
We elect dumb and vicious people because we are a dumb and vicious people. It really is that simple.
If we’re such great people, why do we have such shitty leaders?
Trump and the Republicans are our baby. We made them and we must own them.
Day before yesterday the hospital cut me loose (having twice cut me up) following the last of three stays since mid-December. Bowel obstructions, which now seem to be removed. This, plus a certain natural laziness, accounts for the nearly nonexistent blogging of these last few months. My plan is to ease back into things slowly, starting tomorrow.
See you then.
Once again Thomas Frank cuts to the chase. He starts by praising the Womens’ March, the town hall meetings, and the furious energy directed against our current President.
But opportunism never sleeps, and with the rage and the resistance of recent weeks some far less noble characters have seen a chance to develop a new con. They’re up on the resistance bandwagon right now, rending their garments, shaking their fists and praying that no one holds them responsible for the dead end into which they’ve steered us over the years. Inveighing loudly against Trump has become, for the people I am describing, a means of rescuing an ideology that has proven a disaster.
Applying the now familiar Tea Party comparison, Frank recalls that Partiers called for new leadership but essentially rebranded stale old GOP platitudes with a non-George W. label. Frank suspects something similar will happen with the Democrats this time around, as the section of the party which outside observers might say has been passed by struggles to maintain its hold on power despite the center of energy having clearly passed to the party’s left wing. This doesn’t have to be a fight to the finish, he seems to be saying, but we’re not going down that ole neoliberal road again.
As the often hilarous insights in One Market Under God demonstrated, given his interests and background he’s well positioned to catch the marketing angles political consultants will be looking to monetize.
After all, Donald Trump is a singularly ridiculous person. Every comedian in the world knows how easy it is to mock him. He is the most unpopular new president since polling began, and right now that fact must be flashing the thousand-watt word “opportunity” at anyone familiar with modern marketing techniques. Standing up in pseudo-defiance against this comb-over mountebank is a perfect way to position your brand as a radical sexy youth-rebel freespirit.
Harbingers of this approach are already visible. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has written a nonspecific but distinctly anti-Trump manifesto. Budweiser is running commercials perceived to be critical of Trumpism, as is Coca-Cola. Starbucks has made its antipathy clear. A bunch of tech companies have declared their undying hostility to Trump’s immigration policies. Before long, no doubt, Nike or Reebok will be encouraging you to make a stand against fascism with a specially branded line of resistance sneakers.
What will of course disappear in the thrilling waves of corporate resistance to come, I expect, is that many American companies have a lot to answer for themselves. One possible reason so many corporate types are against immigration reform, for example, is because of corporate America’s epidemic of H-1B visa abuse. It’s not freedom they care for, really, it’s profit squeezed out of desperate human beings.
The entire article is worth your time, I daresay, but in brief he recommends that the Democrats return from their white-collar professionals and Wall Street types to the original base of the party, working people of every gender, skin color, ethnic background, and sexual orientation; everybody, in other words, except those whose income arises from rents of various kinds imposed on workers. Totally doable, but it requires action, not just clicktivism, and that is hard.
From Mother Jones comes the most pathetic attempt yet to rationalize a vote for the most amoral, immoral, obscene, cruel, selfish, vengeful, untruthful and greedy specimen ever to run for the presidency — a subhuman who is in every respect the polar opposite of Mr. Lanting’s Lord Jesus Christ.
Lanting is a warm and generous host who’s eager to point out his favorite Bible verse, painted right there on his wall: “‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth’ (3 John 4).” He and Betsy DeVos were both raised in the tradition of the Christian Reformed Church — a little-known, conservative Dutch Calvinist denomination whose roots reach back to the city’s founders. They went to the same grade school in the city’s private school system, the Holland Christian Schools, which was established by members of the church. Like many people I met, Lanting wasn’t a Trump supporter initially — he voted for Ben Carson in the primaries — but he couldn’t bring himself to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton, whom he calls “a professional spin doctor.” “Trump is much more likely,” Lanting says, “to bring Christ into the world.”
When the boss values loyalty above all, one should not expect widespread competence among the staff. Still, it does seem reasonable to expect that a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency would be aware that the Russian ambassador's phone is tapped and act accordingly. And it doesn't seem too much to ask that the presidential press secretary would be at least as sophisticated as the average middle school teacher with respect to communication tools. Or that the attorney general, as a former prosecutor, be aware of how important it is to answer fully and completely when testifying under oath.
Josh Marshall at TPM today continued his exploration of just what, exactly, is going on with the whole cohort of folks including Cohen, Sater, Artimenko, and the apparently now deceased Orlov. That's only one piece of the whole apparent Russian attempt to compromise the man now in the White House; then there's all the meetings that might have been legitimate but keep being lied about. Of course it's impossible to know for sure given the information that is currently public. But as Josh put it:
Now, are all these moving parts connected together in some dark puzzle? I have no idea. But look at it through the prism of the Mailer Standard. Trump did put Manafort in charge of his campaign and foreign policy operation as they started to congeal in the spring of 2016. Let's assume you're Donald Trump and your hands are clean, as far as it goes. Or let's assume you're someone with half a brain and you're charged with protecting Donald Trump. How confident are you that a thorough look at that skein of Putin-aligned oligarchs, deposed strongmen, billion dollar real estate deals, Russian organized crime and mysterious peace deals wouldn't turn up something at least awkward and possibly quite bad?
There is, indeed, the possibility that basically everyone Trump allows into his inner circle, his Cabinet, and his employ is so loyal and so mediocre as to remain blissfully unaware when they are being manipulated, till the press begins to point it out to them. In that situation you would certainly expect them to become defensive. I think this is the possibility Josh is raising (though I don't think he's committed to defending every aspect of it). Another possibility is that Trump et al. fancy themselves such transcendant deal-makers that they can't imagine themselves as anything but the manipulators. And finally there is the horrific but unfortunately no longer outlandish possibility that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russian agents to use illegal means to influence the last election, a possibility for which little proof seems to exist yet around which a web of lies is being constructed. If nothing happened, why wouldn't you welcome an investigation? That, I think, is the question Josh addressed, but to my mind his type of innocent answer founders on the shoal of lies with which the principals defend themselves.
He also seemed to express surprise at the complexity of the reform process. “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Trump said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
This from Politico:
After paying $41 million for the place in November 2004, Trump called it “the finest piece of land in Florida, and probably the U.S.”
In the summer of 2008, Trump found a solution to his problem in the form of one of the world’s hundred richest men: a 41-year-old Russian billionaire named Dmitry Rybolovlev. Then with a net worth that Forbes estimated at $13 billion, Rybolovlev had made his fortune in the wild west of 1990s post-Soviet Russia. He’d spent a year in prison on murder charges (he was later cleared) and wore a bulletproof vest when his own life was threatened. He would pay Trump $95 million for Maison L’Amitie in what was widely described as the most expensive U.S. residential property sale ever…
Some thought his asking price ludicrous. Lambiet, a former Palm Beach Post reporter who now publishes the local blog GossipExtra, noticed flaws and shortcuts during a personal tour Trump gave of the property in 2007. Trump, for instance, boasted that he’d installed gold fixtures in the bathrooms. But when Lambiet scratched a faucet, he found gold paint under his fingernails.
From the New York Times:
“There’s an opportunity right now for the Labor Department to redefine its role, to help people stop thinking about the relationship between companies and workers as always win-lose,” said Eric Liu, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton and author of the forthcoming “You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen.”And if I had wings, I’d start flying.
“If Trump is smart, he’ll start stealing ideas from the right and left,” Mr. Liu added.
At The Guardian yesterday Arwa Mahdawi explained her theory of populist correctness which, in contrast to political correctness seen across the political spectrum, comes pretty much exclusively from the alt-right.
From the gender-neutral ashes of political correctness a new sort of PC culture has risen. You could call it populist correctness: a virulent policing of language and stifling of debate that is rapidly and perniciously insinuating itself into daily life in Trump’s America and Brexit Britain.
Stifling debate has sometimes worked to bring down a society, though one could argue that both the US and the UK have traditions of public debate that are old and deep enough to withstand some pushing from the authoritarian right. The so-called alt-right, a name chosen to obscure the white supremacy and racism, is thankfully not the entirety of the right wing; there are many on that side of the spectrum who sincerely believe in small government and big corporations as representing the salvation of us all. At the moment, though, it’s the alt-right that has the floor, and they’re not the type to relinquish the floor voluntarily. But far more of us are repelled than attracted by their presentation, and I predict that what might look solid right now will come crashing down around the players, who after all are carrying toolboxes bereft of anything other than their own egos. They are fragile and threaten unexpectedly to explode.
As well as silencing opposing opinions by branding them elitist, populist correctness works to rebrand ideas, creating a new vocabulary for a new world order. The right prides itself on being straight-talking, on calling a spade a spade, but when it comes to calling a Nazi a Nazi or a racist a racist — well then, things are more vague. They are the “alt-right”, please. Use unacceptable terminology and they will get very angry indeed.
But what’s this? I thought an easily triggered outrage button was the preserve of politically correct liberals? From the vitriol the right heaps on “sensitive snowflakes”, you’d think they have skins as thick as elephants. Far from it: nobody is offended by quite such a wide range of banal things as conservatives. Everything from insufficiently Christmassy Starbucks coffee cups to Budweiser ads to Kermit the Frog’s lack of trousers seems to cause an outpouring of outrage. And, while jokes about minorities or women may be considered just banter, don’t even try joking about white people — that’s reverse-racism! Indeed, many triggered rightwingers recently deleted their Netflix accounts in protest against a new comedy show called Dear White People.
These folks seem to need a safe space.
Read this whole story from The Guardian, and tell me how the so-called president can possibly avoid impeachment with Russian, German and American bloodhounds nipping at his heels.
What is it about Iran with us? A national schizophrenia? A disinterest in looking farther back into our national past than Mork and Mindy? What? For example, an article titled “Ayatollah Calls Trump ‘True Face’ Of the U.S.” appeared New York Times. Thomas Erdbrink, reporting from Tehran on what the Ayatollah actually said, did what a reporter for the indispensable Times is supposed to do — and on site! So far, so good.
But then (read carefully now) Erdbrink segued into some context, beginning with “The history of animosity between both countries is long and deep,” followed by what we think of Iran – four words: sponsor of terrorist organizations. “Iran has also been held responsible by the United States for several terror attacks, most decades ago. One of them, of course [?!], was the seizure of 54 members of the American Embassy staff in Tehran for 444 days during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Iran has also been accused of involvement in a 1983 bomb attack at a Marine barracks in Lebanon, where 241 service personnel died…. Iran denies the accusations.
“Iran has pressed several claims against the United States. Iran holds the United States responsible for having supported Saddam Hussein with intelligence, funds and weapons after he attacked Iran [Note: Iraq attacked Iran.] in 1980, dragging both countries into a [sic] eight-year war where thousands of Iranians and Iraqis died. [Deaths as would be typical in eight-year wars.]
“In 1988, an American naval vessel, the Vincennes, shot down an Iran Air commercial plane, flying over the Persian Gulf [yes, Persian Gulf] to Dubai, in the united Arab Emirates. All 290 people aboard died. Iran called the attack deliberate and the United States called it a mistake. Under a settlement … the United States offered no apologies and was order to pay around $60 million in damages to families of the victims.” That’s it on the Times’s “history of animosity.”
Really, that’s it? ……Read on