Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mueller has Made You this TrumpWorld Grab-bag



It might not seem significant to everybody, but Donald Trump was pretty clearly signaling that he was thinking about running for president well before he actually announced in 2015. His birther nonsense announced his real political ambitions. This is why his Tweet in response to the indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals and 3 organizations is a little sickly:


If by "anti-US campaign", Trump means any scheme that makes himself president, he is on to something. He was thinking about running for president out loud in 2014,


and doubtless, he was even heard in Russia. And very probably even before 2014.

This indictment isn't really about disproving collusion or whether the outcome of the election was affected by the Russian interference, it was about validating that Russia certainly did interfere. Deputy Rod Rosenstein's press conference regarding the indictments had a few words that might also comfort Trump and his supporters, but this seems to have been the point. No collusion with witting US persons was indicated by these indictments.  Today.

But that doesn't mean that the US persons Trump had surrounded himself with during the campaign and even now, aren't pretty damn dodgy. 

Donald and Melania Trump Visited A Hospital

Trump and his First Lady made a quick visit to see Parkland shooting victims at a local hospital and I just wanted everyone to note that Melania is dressed like she's Cherry Ames, Student Nurse, or something. Which is basically how one would do things for a photo op. Donald Trump has his waist-high thumbs-up. They have successfully made sympathetic rounds and can go to Mar-a-Lago.

This might sound incredibly cynical, but I am just pointing out that this is kind of a photo op thing. He will not do anything about violence or "American carnage" because the NRA is a significant shareholder in Trump White House, Inc. Because Trump is not a person who knows a lot about politics, he believes this looks good.

I think it looks like a politician made a necessary tour of a place where government policies failed hard, and thought that would pacify someone. But that is a dumb thing for the politician to do if he has no actual plan.

I still don't even know what this clown is doing in response to his promises to the survivors and loved ones of the fallen at the Orlando shooting, when he promised us he would protect LGBT folks.  He fails at this. (Pence remains his VP, the plight of gay folks and POC, especially Latinx, remains a concern.) No one is safer. What in the world has he done but lift up evangelicals who hate gays and encourage bigotry?

He likes to show up places and promise things to people who desperately want something better. But he doesn't know that violence is facilitated when people feel like violence is a great way to get things done because they see that in their world and read that in their media (and feel like their president encourages it), and they do violence better and harder when someone ensures they have access to the right killing tools.

It isn't just that I see Trump as singularly bad at empathy and being the one to comfort the wounded and shattered and in need of hope. It's that he is, as near as I can tell, the worst human to even ask to do one good thing about all the bad things.

He thinks being physically somewhere is enough. But he doesn't know how to stand in the place of someone who has lost anything, feel that loss, and come up with the way to make it better or righter.

It just isn't in him.

Friday, February 16, 2018

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag Tries to Keep Up

Sometimes, I think the dumbest thing about the "collusion/no collusion" argument regarding the 2016 presidential campaign is that what Trump's campaign relied on never was all that low-key. Trump was pretty openly loving the Wikileaks' release of carefully curated DNC emails. Russian bots retweeted Trump and WikiLeaks material very heavily in the final push of the campaign. (And, for what it's worth, Russian bots are still giving Trump's agenda a digital assist.) This wasn't subtext--it was text! Trump was briefed on the intel about Russian hacking, and publically continued to deny it was even a thing. Everything, he contended, was rigged against him. Even though, you know...her emails. 

It turns out that WikiLeaks, for their part, really were trying to help Trump! Who knew? (Everyone.)  And Assange seems sympathetic to Russia, and in addition is misogynistic and anti-Semitic. Which probably should make him more of a Pepe peep (I am still kind of salty about people on The Left who have a soft space for this fail-souled Bond villain.) The things you learn, and from The Intercept, at that. Huh.

In other news, a couple days back, it was revealed in a Senate Intelligence Committee sit-down with the IC agency heads that the Trump Administration didn't order the least little thing to do with stopping Russia from interfering with future elections, even though Russia is so totally going to interfere, because that is their thing. This would be kind of shocking, except it isn't because Trump's still pretending he can shout "No collusion" and then on the other hand not enact sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly passed against Russia. For the election interference. Which Trump still denies

You might think that sort of thing would disturb more people. Because once again--it isn't even in hiding but plain sight. Trump does not give a shit about whether Russia interfered because it benefits him, and America First is a neat slogan with a racist past, but it essentially does not mean Trump is putting America First. He puts himself first.

You know who else puts Trump first though? The NRA. They gave a record amount to the Trump and other Republican campaigns in 2016,  but it appears they also received some money from Russia. Could that have been some money laundering right into the Trump Campaign?  That would be a great avenue of inquiry.  (Needless to say, I'm feeling some kind of way about the NRA right now and after every horrifying mass shooting event.)

Now, money laundering--that comes up a lot when I do these TrumpWorld Grab-Bag things. That seems to have been a Paul Manafort specialty,  but there is a interesting thing that has happened in that corner of Bob Mueller's investigation--Manafort's partner Rick Gates looks to be cooperating, and he was active with the campaign even after Manafort was out.  That seems significant. It also strikes me as damn fascinating that Steve Bannon has given about 20 hours of his precious time to Mueller's team (and 4 hours to the Congressional Committee, which might be saying something about the respect accorded to the different investigative bodies). He is sticking with an "executive privilege" line with the Congress critters, but I don't know what he might have given Mueller and his team. I wonder if Trump has any idea?

Lastly, the Rob Porter situation has laid bare a pretty shocking White House story--130 or so White House staffers have not got permanent security clearances for some reason or other.  Maybe because they could be easily subject to blackmail, or, as they say, the Kompromat! I don't pretend I know, but my word, if anyone says "but her emails" ever again  I surely will think about skull-thumping that person with great vigor. Because, like Rob Porter's wife-beating or Jared Kushner's astonishing debt problems, this represents national security problems that feel deliberate, and, with this Administration, are probably not fixable for the foreseeable. Because this Administration is lead by careless jerks who have always been compromised--for reference, see the entirety of the TrumpWorld Grab-Bag page!

Cheers!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This Looks Crooked from Every Angle

The thing that bothers me about Michael Cohen's statement that he is the guy who paid Stormy Daniels for no particular reason whatsoever is that the fact that he paid her at all is really amazingly coincidental with his client, one Donald J. Trump, having been implicated in an affair with this woman, and in the throes of an election where the most recent scuttlebutt alleged that he was a womanizer, when this pay-off happened. He can try to pretend-separate this from the campaign, but there is no more obvious reason for this payoff than that the Trump campaign would prefer to not have another woman talk about his extra-marital sex bidness.

I think this right there is stupid, because we know now, after the election, that Trump's philandering was never a problem for his voters. He was accused of sexual harassment and rape during the election. I'm not sure how Stormy Daniels' story was going to be some kind of "too much". Coming on the heels of the several kinds of harassment and assault allegations happening just then, which Trump had no problem denying, I don't know why her story would have represented a damaging bit of pile-on that needed to be monetarily hushed.

Cohen alleges that his financial facilitation of a payment (through the creation of an LLC to sort of, shall we say, launder that monetary "gift") was done entirely without any coordination with the Trump Campaign or the Trump Foundation.

Yah right--and he isn't also suing Buzzfeed because of the Steele Dossier.  Cohen is a fixer, and he does shit for Trump whether it is really good shit to do or not. I kind of wonder whether he has significantly fuxxored himself by admitting he has paid for Stormy Daniels in lots of ways--he should not be offering his financial assistance to some client who is not indigent to influence any potential case--and Trump should seriously be staking his own bribes, right?  This is basic lack of lawyering ethics.

Also, this is either a bribe or a material boost to the Trump campaign because it pretend-refutes damaging info for the Trump Campaign.  Totally an in-kind donation, you might think?

I don't even know. Cohen strikes me as a bad actor anyway. I definitely don't give credence to his story.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

But We Do Accept This




Fuck violence.

Fuck "thoughts and prayers" platitudes.

Fuck the NRA.

Fuck "toxic masculinity".

Fuck images of school children jogging from their school with their hands up becoming something we could become immune to.

Fuck every politician that takes NRA money.

Fuck the Trump Administration for calling off a press briefing because a school shooting happened to change the subject for them.

Fuck a world where kids don't worry about passing pop quizzes but hide in closets worrying they will be popped.

Fuck a world where parents' phones buzz an alert that their child's school is a fucking kill zone.  Or they hear their own child's fear-stricken voice trying to explain what is happening and wonder if this is the last time they will talk to their baby.

Fuck a world where we put kids through active shooter drills telling them this will keep them safe when, well, this.

You can ask me if it feels better to curse this out and what the hell am I doing about it and all I have to give is explain I see this great unnecessary scene of horror and want to throat punch every smirking douche who ever makes jokes about "safe spaces".  Because violence ideation can be a very real emotional reaction to stressors but it is inappropriate and I actually won't throat punch anyone at all; but there's safety (an experience of feeling okay talking about things or just even showing up somewhere without feeling threatened or harassed, which doesn't seem like too much to ask) and then there's safety (not getting yourself or a loved one murdered because somebody took their emotional violence ideation all the way through, with the assistance of a very purposefully created murder tool).  And there are people who will on one hand wear you out with talk about how they love "law'n'order" and then display exactly no fucks about whether folks are even safe.

President Obama shed tears for the dead of Sandy Hook Elementary, and was mocked for having human feelings. Fake news shitheads tried to pretend it was a hoax. A hoax. Imagine the inhuman shitbag cruelty that tries to deny real human beings their grieving because it just doesn't sit right with their ideology?

Other folks can offer up their thoughts and prayers. I am throwing in all my fucks. This should not be acceptable. But whenever and wherever we shrug off investigating the problems that make the US so murder-happy, we are accepting it. It isn't just mass shootings, and school shootings. It's drive-by's and shoot-outs and that toddlers and dogs even end up killing people with guns. It's that the CDC can't study the damage guns do. It's that we look at shooters as insane as if to write off the society they came up in. It that people will literally say "It's too soon" to talk about the reasons why it happens, and trying to address it gets called out as "politicizing the tragedy" as if "politics" isn't just another word for people trying to make government work.

Thoughts and prayers--sure. But faith without works is dead, and I want to see politicians try to work on this for a change.

UPDATE: And here's Alex Jones chewing the "false flag" rag again.  And this guy was given legitimacy by Trump. And I will never forget or forgive that shit.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The White House Porter Timeline Wasn't Right




Because I am at the point where I just disregard anything Sarah Huckabee Sanders says because she is as bad a liar as Sean Spicer ever was and possibly even shows more contempt for the truth and for the media, and for the public that she, the media and the truth should serve, I am going to just accept that the timeline given by Trump's appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray indicates that key White House staff should have known this Porter fellow wasn't going to get that solid clearance, and was in fact, a perpetual liability as a serial woman-beater. People knew this, and they did not mind. One take is that they did not care because this White House is steeped in misogyny, which is the point I took up last time I visited the idea. But another, also ghastly point, is that Rob Porter, for all his obvious flaws, was competent enough to serve, in a White House staffing crisis where that particular grace did not befall all potential applicants.

This points to, what was also described today, as a White House clearance system that is broken. Sanders points to the internal White House personnel security office. I surely bet office politics has embargoed their free and open response to her throwing them under the bus. But I suspect the career folks that staff that office have a particularly rugged backstory to relate regarding clearing anybody from Jared Kushner on down.  This White House does not have the best people. This is a particular process barrier to letting them do shit, because the system is rigged to prevent grifters, posers and security threats from participating. This was set up not to be unfair to weirdo outsider dark horse sonsofbitches that Trumpists want to romanticize Trump et als as, but to actually not have grossly unfit and potentially dangerous people handling top level clearance intelligence. Because it is specifically harmful to national security to have randos who have proved themselves to be unaccountable suddenly be accounting for matters of state.

The Trump Administration can't get the best people, despite his boasting that he would. This is not an example of "deep state" fuckery. This is just the Trump Administration having shitty people in positions they can not be qualified for.

Everyone Needs to Learn "No"



I don't know if this is a common happenstance with youth Valentine's Day dances, but a recent story that has been making the rounds has me seeing red--and not the nice, Valentine's Day heart sort of red, either. It's this story where an elementary school dance for eleven and twelve year olds has a particular instruction for girls: "Be polite, and don't say no to boys who ask you to dance."

I, predictably, think this is a terrible idea. Kids at this age are kind of weird, right? They aren't adults by a long stretch, but are aware of what romance is. Some may be ready to participate in this "adult" exercise. But kids this age generally do self-segregate by gender, somewhat. It is awkward to arrange a dance and have boys hanging on one side and girls hanging on the other without a lot of interaction--but these are kids. Maybe some kids will dance, and that's great. But telling specifically girls that they have to say "yes" to boys is on a different level of awkward.

Girls should not be told that it is nicer to do things they don't want to do because...boys. It might be nicer to study hard if you don't want to because learning is cool and helps you in life, and it might be nicer to learn the value of work and earning money for yourself. It might be nice to learn to pay for things, to cook for yourself, to value the convenience of a neat workspace or appreciate what it feels like to complete a task where you've worked with your hands--but little girls and women don't exist to make boys or men feel good about themselves, and it is more than mere politeness to ask them to just say yes to any old boy who asks them to dance.

I have a personal reason I think this is important--I developed really early, and for me at that age, I was interesting to the opposite sex, and not in a kind way. Almost as a curiosity. The compulsion for a young girl to be kind to a boy by consenting to dance despite her inclination not to, is teaching her to override what might be a very real and keen instinct to avoid being pawed at or made a spectacle of in a public place by someone whose maturity isn't what it should be. A girl needs this instinct and it shouldn't be turned aside.

It doesn't teach a great lesson for later on, either. It tells girls they are expected to "keep sweet" in other areas of their lives, because boys and men expect that behavior of them. It is the behavior expected of child brides, submissive spouses, put-upon subordinate employees, and women who just all-around expect less and say "yes" when they want to say "no". That's infuriating by itself, but what does it also tell boys and men? That women should say "yes", or they are being rude, stand-offish, bitchy or insulting? The attitude that women owe men a "yes" has had fatal consequences.

I guess this is a pretty heteronormative take in general, and among the other reasons I see problems with Valentine's Day Dances and the like in general is that they seem to be part of an imposition of a very specific type of romantic behavior that just might not be any kind of fit for the young people it's being taught to. Some traditions of school-age Valentine-related nonsense involve counting Valentines and making less-popular kids feel like trash if they haven't got as many. It's nonsense to place so much value among developing tweens on their "likeability" when it would be so much better to encourage their independence, creativity, and ability to make decisions like when to say "yes" or "no".

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Trump Responds to Porter News




I don't know if we could have expected anything better from Trump than wishing the best of luck to outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Porter amid allegations from three women that he is guilty of domestic assault. Trump is sure to remind us that we should not forget that Porter himself says that he is innocent, which is something we could also say of Trump with respect to the twenty or so women who allege he has harassed or assaulted them. I will also remember that Porter said that Colbie Holderness and he were arguing over a vase, and she received a black eye because the vase somehow hit her. Vases are sneaky like that.

In his public statement, it can be noted that he doesn't mention Porter's accusers, which is just as well, because in private, he apparently thinks they are lying.  This is, after all, a man who has said that women should be treated like shit. He's defended serial sexual harassers and assaulters like Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.  There is nothing breath-taking or shocking about Trump matter-of-factly hoping that the man who beats women goes on to have a successful career because he has given us no indication by anything ever said that he thinks any other way. When it was revealed that Steve Bannon might have been violent to his former spouse, he nicknamed him "Bam Bam".

Because it's a joke. Sometimes, in his mind, men just keep women in line like that. So maybe his staffer will just go on to better things, and maybe someday find a woman he won't have to beat on. Maybe Hope Hicks can be that woman--after all, he allegedly described her (according to Fire and Fury) as the best "piece of tail" Corey Lewandowski would ever have, which is both revolting and somehow what I believe Trump actually would try to bestow on someone as a compliment).  But in the meanwhile, he is a little miffed at Hicks for not, in all this, managing to craft a message that also makes Trump look good. (Rob Porter who actually abused his wives and a girlfriend?--Great guy worked hard, really sad situation. John Kelly who seems to have known all about it and covered it up-well, you know full confidence. Woman in an awkward relationship with a man accused of being violent towards intimate partners? Totally responsible for figuring out how to not have made this into a "thing", you know? Jennie Willoughby is worried about Hicks, and frankly, so am I. )

This White House is basically soaking in misogyny. Another person working there, a speechwriter, has resigned for domestic violence allegations as well.   But this is reflective of the man at the top. These are the people he has around him for reasons. They are not good reasons.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Look Who Shut Down the Government




Did Rand son of Ron Paul also vote for the tax cut bill that promised to increase the almighty fuck out of the deficit (and thereby, the debt?).  He sure the hell did. Doesn't this mean he's just being self-aggrandizing right here? Yeppers.

Unless he's pretty much decided a shutdown was going to happen one way or another, so he might as well get weird and put his name on it. But this technically makes this a Republican shutdown.  After Trump went out of his way to insist he was cool with a shutdown it is really great to see his fellow Republican pitch in this way. Of course, this has nothing to do with DACA.

Nancy Pelosi had some things to say about DACA, but of course, she has no power to make a shut down happen. She just thought it would be great to talk about some fine undocumented but totally American folks for a handful of hours in her four inch heels.

Now, some kind of budget will get passed, and DACA might get shut out--but Dems stood for them and will remain there. It's Republican self-owning that keeps the CR a thing and the regular bickering over what should be easy choices alive. The GOP majority looks like "Rand Pauls" all the way down to us libs, anyway.

UPDATE: We've got six more weeks of government!