Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Omarosa out

I'm somewhat interested in hearing Omarosa Manigault Newman's side of her "firingnation" or possibly "resiring" (I'm not sure which portmanteau better describes the condition of signing a resignation with the unspoken understanding that one's posterior has the qualities of a ruminant's primary sustenance), but deactivating her access card definitely implies that she will receive her office personal effects by post. I don't think her job, as publically undefined as it was, could be easy; being ostensibly charged with African-American outreach for the Trump Administration, she was in a position not unlike Hell's outreach to snowballs.

But despite reports that suggest her departure was untidy and possibly vulgar, there is a part of me that wonders with what abrupt dispatch her orders to get herself hence were made in the wake of the loss of the Trump-endorsed Republican Senatorial candidate when I am genuinely unsure what intervention could even be made to detoxify the image of a whirling jackass, who indicated that the "good old days" were back when we had slavery, in the eyes of black people. I also doubt that Chief of Staff John Kelly "let her down gently" from what I can glean of his style and their working relationship. Maybe what is being described as a "tantrum" was exacerbated the way she was treated--although I do think it interesting that she felt that her friend Donald Trump (not the POTUS Trump, but possibly her friend) could be called upon to intervene on her behalf.

I don't pretend I have any insight about this. But as with previous White House firingnations, it's sort of hard to tell what is just a matter of unsuitability between office-holder and job (a failure to appoint "the best people") and some kind of reality-show political drama.

This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me miss "No-Drama Obama" a little more. His White House was not for the gossip-sheets or reality TV.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trump can Only Be Failed

This is exactly the Tweet I was expecting. 

Alabama Dougies, Moore is Nay Nay

I was on pins and needles with this one, folks, and felt fully resigned to the idea that maybe, there were people who were just great with voting for a potential pedo, but a really good guy who will work hard for the people of Alabama has apparently won in that special senate election, and Roy Moore, who is a terrible person, hasn't conceded because Jesus hasn't told him he lost yet, or something. Anyway, I think that a day when the prosecutor of the Birmingham church bombers and the Olympic Park bomber wins over a person who seemed to be backed by people who might have been pro-segregation and pro-abortion clinic bombing, is a good day.

See, I have thought that Yo'anti-Semite-y Sam was a weird cartoon of conservatism, and not actually a qualified candidate, since well before this sub-genius ever ran for the Senate. I don't get how Steve Bannon decided this wanker was his wanker, but mostly because I am "anti-having wankers for candidates" in the first damn place. How Donald Trump threw himself into supporting Moore at the last gasp should actually be embarrassing for him. He supported Strange in the primary, who was at the very least, a not-screwed-up individual that certainly never grandstanded about the Decalogue whilst being about adolescent upskirts. He went in for Moore well after the damaging sexual assault allegations. And the whole special election never would have taken place if he had not tapped the already-compromised during the campaign Sen. Jeff Sessions for his Attorney General. 

Trump is all over how a loss of a Senate seat for Republicans became possible. But the voter turnout of POC voters, especially women, is what made it happen.  And this despite ongoing attempts to deny the franchise to POC voters in Alabama. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Oh Look, Trump's Awake...

Maybe it's not too much to ask that the president somehow not describe a US Senator who is critical of "Trump" (love that Tweeting in third person!) due to his sexual harassment  history as "begging", willing to "do anything", and "USED"? Because those kind of sound sexist and creepy in context. Or even out of context.

Roy Moore the Eyesore

I've taken a few blog posts in the past couple of months to point out what a scoundrel I think Roy Moore is, but I think the subject deserves just one more before the election.

President Trump has thrown his strong support Moore's way, and the feeling is apparently mutual. And it looks like Vladimir Putin has thrown some support to Roy Moore, and it sounds like the feeling is mutual, there, too. (Maybe this explains why Nigel Farage is about; I can hardly keep straight all Vlad's puppets anymore. If you were interested in talking about the opinions of carpetbaggers.)  The RNC has renewed their financial support of him, even if this move angers and alienates some Republicans who find Moore repugnant.  But I find the most recent campaign events to be very fascinating--

A pro-Trump superPAC has had the candidate sit down with an unlikely interviewer--a 12-year old girl. I'm not sure what the optics were supposed to be--here's a nice young lady that Moore doesn't perv on? (Not likely he would be pervy on camera, anyway, right?) 

At this evening's campaign rally, supporter and former Trump aide Steve Bannon said that there was "a special place in hell" for Republicans who didn't support Moore. He was consciously mimicking Ivanka Trump's comment that there was a special place in Hell for people who prey on children. One could possibly derive an opinion from that that Steve Bannon doesn't give a damn about the well-being of children when the agenda of the party is at stake, but the enhanced quote reveals he could give a fuck about the establishment GOP as well. I really have no idea what Steve Bannon gives a fuck about and find I give a vanishing amount of fucks about that. 

In response to claims that Roy Moore is anti-Semitic over comments he had made regarding George Soros,  Moore's spouse Kayla has come up with a fascinating rejoinder: One of their attorneys is a Jew.  Oh. Well. Enough said.

And as an amusing anecdote that shows Roy Moore's colorful side, an old military buddy recounted the time that they "accidentally" happened by a brothel in Vietnam that had very young prostitutes, sex slaves, really, and stranded some guy there overnight to do whatever...

Which is exactly the story one does tell on a person accused of groping teenagers. 

It's a shitshow, but to be exact, if this rancid bigoted weird creature is elected to the Senate, this eyesore will be Alabama's monument--and no one should really want to see that. 

UPDATE: And then there's his respect for the Constitution, as in, except for the modern bits, and some of the old bits, he nearly thinks it should be upheld. Things like ending slavery (such as we had in what Moore consideres "the good old days") and women voting are what he would consider "problems".  I think he is a problem.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

There Wasn't a Goddamn War on Xmas, Until NOW!

Finally as in all the Presidents before Trump, too? Honest to Goodness, I just can't--

Barack Obama was saying "Merry Christmas" all the time. He was. There was never a War on Christmas. Atheists even like Christmas--family and presents and eating too many cookies is nice! There were only ever people who kind of thought maybe people who don't celebrate Christmas should also be acknowledged because of a thing called "not being an asshole". We have radio stations and retail store Musak that start Christmas carols in November. Dollar stores start carrying Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper in October. And then Fox News has to be like some reverse Suess character: "The Grinch that Shoved Christmas Down Everyone's Throat in a Bizarre Culture War Narrative that Truly Stupid People Pretended was a Real Thing."

I'm seriously loading catapults with flaming figgy pudding. EAT XMAS CHEER! JINGLE THIS!

Actually, I'm not that exercised about this, but why is it a thing?

EDIT: No, no, I truly get that it's a conversation about who is a Real Christian (TM) and who is not. I just don't see why it's treated as realer than caribou aeronautics when surely, everyone must get the joke by now. Why not just get all point blank Iowa's Steve King about it and say diversity makes the Baby Jesus cry?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

This Would be an Awkward Office Situation

The news that Rep. Trent Franks, an anti-abortion "family values" warrior, was resigning because of sexual harassment didn't strike me as too shocking: holier-than-thou sorts are often bearers of disappointing personal morals because their pecksniffery is solely for other folks. But, peculiar as the actual details are, when I read that he had actually awkwardly approached female staffers about being a gestational surrogate to increase his family, it was like hearing a puzzle piece snap into place. 

He didn't do anything creepy and lewd. Gosh! He just wanted to see if there was anyone close to hand who had reproductive organs they weren't using at the moment. Since having babies was what they were for. Not in a weird, lusting in his heart way. Just in a using a woman's body according to Biblical precedent sort of way. 

Now, to get a little technical, as Franks is staunchly pro-life, in vitro is obviously not an option for his family, because not all embryos implant successfully. This leaves traditional surrogacy, in which the surrogate provides the egg and the patriarch provides the rest. This intrauterine insemination is a bit cheaper than in vitro, and can be done without sexual, um, congress. (Although, you know! It could be done the old-fashioned way, too.) But the whole upshot is that his message to some female employees was "You are female and I would like to put my sperm in you because this is what females are for, and it would be doing me a big old favor."  Not too different from how horny men just want to borrow their workplace subordinates' reproductive organs for a bit after all, is it?

And it is just as coercive. After all, it's just doing a favor. People donate kidneys and bone marrow to people they work with don't they? Except this is about making a child. That creates bonds. In a power imbalance situation like employer/employee, that can create bondage.

It's hard for me to fathom not seeing this as a wholly inappropriate thing to bring up with one's staffers, but what I know of Franks' worldview oddly put the "how" of his awkwardness into perspective. But it is really, deeply inappropriate. 

The Example

Today, Sen. Al Franken announced he would be resigning shortly in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations and the voiced opinion of several of his Senate colleagues that he should resign. Some supporters of Franken feel like this is a bum's rush, that there are certainly other political figures (Trump, Moore, Fahrenthold) who have done worse and should also be gone.

This thing of it is, it's right for Franken to resign at the point because it is. Sure, his replacement will be selected by a Democratic governor, but this really isn't a partisan game. If the principle we're following is that certain behavior is unacceptable, would Franken staying be a helpful way of showing our values? It isn't about what the "other side" is up to in deciding to strongly back an alleged child molester, or continuing to support a president who openly boasted about the sexual liberties he felt he could take.

Franken has been, no doubt, sharp and effective, and people might feel strongly invested in his seat, especially after the narrow victory that gave it to him in 2008. But there is no good reason for the drama to be prolonged just because one loves the character.

It would be great if the worst actors were the first to go, but saying "You first" is ceding the high ground. I am not interested in being as hypocritical as the other side. It means more to be right. It is also appropriate to still say Trump and Moore are unfit for office and should not serve. But I don't know that saying so affects their supporters in any way. We can say it aloud to feel good, but you can't put shame into a shameless partisan. All you can do is the right thing.

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag Seems Smart

There's a thought we should all bear in mind regarding conspiracy theories in general--the likelihood that a truly large and pervasive conspiracy could persist undetected for any great period of time is small, because the result of collective action is peculiar enough to attract attention, and the individual people making up the collective action are diverse and self-motivated enough to eventually fuck up and unravel it. Writing these TrumpWorld Grab-Bags is about watching things fall apart. There has been a few recent developments that strike me as interesting, but it's the fails that fascinate me.

You know who always looks like a smooth character? Paul Manafort. It could be wigs and plastic surgery, but I don't know. He has the Teflon look of the prepaid funeral and self inscribed epitaph that you see on folks who know how they made their bones and have already been temperamentally pre-embalmed because they know where this timeline goes.  They don't get the wrinkles one gets from regular emotive wear and tear on the face because they have one expression in this world--over it.  Anyhow, he almost had a nice bail deal for the holidays and oops, he had to write an editorial with a Russian contact about how whatever he did, it was great. This was not his smartest moment.

But this story has been full of not-smart moments, take Michael Flynn. He texted, allegedly, a friend to tell them that now that Donald Trump was in office, sanctions against Russia were basically ripped up.  Those sanctions keep coming up, you know? Natalia Veselnitskaya says she was asked point-blank by Donald Trump Jr. about the dirt she was supposed to have on Hillary Clinton, and Don Jr. is also supposed to have brought up sanctions in the same meeting. 

But Don Jr. is getting excellent advice about everything. He cited attorney-client privilege to try to avoid talking about a conversation with his dad. Sure, neither of them are lawyers....but they were lawyer-adjacent.

It looks like Manafort partner Rick Gates could be in more trouble. But Jared Kushner, who might have directed at least one of Flynn's contacts to the Russians?  Yeah--he has nothing  to hide, he's just very forgetful.

All in all, um. Yeah. This is some kind of TrumpWorld Grab-Bag, all right.