Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Reckoning is Never Gentle

This year has brought about a kind of collective reckoning about how people, men, mostly, have abused their power relationships with other people sexually. We're listening to women and men come out about how egregious behavior by others who should have certainly known better have hurt them and impacted their lives. I think this is a good thing. It's past time we collectively as a society wanted accountability for how people treat one another, and for the real damage done by gross, selfish, unethical and deliberately or negligently harmful behaviors to get the discussion that is due. 

And that means sometimes saying that some individuals who did really good work that you appreciated just need to get cut off--like Bill Cosby. As I relentlessly bore youse with, I am from Philadelphia, and Cosby could have gone anywhere, but he was a native son here and he went to Temple. I grew up with Fat Albert. I watched The Cosby Show and Picture Pages.   (Although A Different World, a spin-off from The Cosby Show, was definitely more my favorite show--because the original kind of has some Brady Bunch vibes, but I just liked where A Different World was coming from. Debbie Allen was the creative mind influencing later episodes of that show, and of course, I loved her since Fame.)  Like, every comedian I came across for years had to have a Cosby impression going on. His HBO specials where he discussed fatherhood and his life were great decent material.  He was a major influence on culture, and some comics today can still talk about him with reverence because he did do some great work--

But he also did so many shitty things. And eventually, that is what people will remember, because that's how it goes. And it's sad. I won't think less of his work product, necessarily, but I will have to reckon with the damage that went into it. And that is ugly. 

Same thing with Kevin Spacey--if I were to go back in time and tell 1999 me, just getting out of a theater having taken a half-day from work because I just thought I wanted to take in a movie in a mostly-empty theater and really appreciate American Beauty, that in my timeline, Kevin Spacey came out in 2017.  I loved that movie so hard

1999 Me: Hey, that is really great. I'm glad he's finally able to live his truth. I know it's hard to come out in his business and there's a danger of being typecast, but with his talent... 
          2017 Me: He came out to deflect from being a serial abuser and rapist of young men and boys

          1999 Me: Fuck everything he even thinks about into tiny little pieces and set them on fire. 

And I would have meant it then. And I mean it now--sometimes the truth hurts but you have to take it--even someone whose work you really like. It's true if the artist is someone you know, the way Sarah Silverman talks about Louis CK :

“One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C.K., masturbated in front of women,” she continued. “He wielded his power with women in -—ed up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is, but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is. It’s a real mindf—, because I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true. So I just keep asking myself, ‘Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?’ I can mull that over later certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims and they are victims because of something he did. So I hope it’s OK that I am, at once, very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t -—ing wait to be better.”

What she said. So, taking in that Al Franken, who has been a solid liberal voice, and a capable US Senator, has behaved in ways that are inappropriate with respect to female coworkers in any setting, my instinct is to believe the accuser, to look at the picture without trying to deflect that he seems to be miming groping only, or that he touched her for the sake of "comedy", as if that made autonomy and personal choice about being touched less important.

Of course what he did was wrong. The thing with being a real feminist or ally is owning up to the failures of people to be who we need them to be regardless of how they mostly represent themselves as. I don't need an 80% anti harassment ally. I need a 100% ally, because that 20% is what keeps sexism and inequality going strong. I think people should acknowledge their bullshit and understand why their bullshit was wrong, and promise to never go back on their bullshit. I think Franken did a good ego-check based on his statement of apology and contrition, and called for his own senate investigation. He isn't deflecting. He's here to do the work. I can support that kind of accountability. I can also pick apart why it is stupid to carry out a mime-groping of a sleeping individual and sympathize with her dismay about what people saw fit to do around her while she was unconscious and incapable of consent and mourn how that was not transparently beyond the pale for them.

It's a reckoning. I like Al Franken and think he does good work, and am proud of him for calling for his own investigation. I don't think he's probably abusive as a general rule, and recognize that comedy can be about exploring edges, and might sometimes encroach on shibboleths, so I don't hold his comedic speculations against him as "proofs" of eventual poor behavior. I truly think proportionality is an essential part of justice.

But yeah. I also have to check in that what Franken did was sexist bullshit that took no input regarding the woman he was working with. That is wrong.

But like the vicious partisan I am, I need to also remark on this:

Yeah. Trump is still also an abuser, and has done worse than Franken as far as we have heard alleged. So I don't think Mr. Glasshouse should be using his slingshot like that right now.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I'm Not Saying Roy Moore's Attorney is a Scoundrel, But...

I think the amazing thing about this is I'm trying to imagine the POV of a person who thinks it is OK to reference someone's apparent nationality of origin to presuppose they are capable of understanding the moral relativity of perving on underage girls, because, you know. Like arranged child marriages n' shit. It is possible this individual has really failed to ever leave the bubble of his own culture this hard? I almost want to see how this spectacular televised bigot-fail even made it into production from a somewhat-educated individual's head, and I just can't.

Look, deep down, I try to not be the liberal coastal elitist queer working-class anti-racist commuter-college BA having atheist that red state folk might have difficulty understanding. And yet, such is my life. I get I'm not accessible on all levels to all readers. 

But this guy is amazeballs opaque to me. Here's an actual site his lawfirm owns-- It's different. He claims to care about female-bodied people's abortion experiences and admits that the harm from the procedure is rare, but is stating:

If you, a friend or loved one has been the victim of a botched abortion, we are here to help. Our firm has extensive experience in preparing and litigating cases on behalf of injured victims. We will evaluate your claim free of charge and there will be no fee unless we collect compensation on your behalf.

Often times the mother who consented to the abortion is not even aware that her unborn child may have had a heartbeat, could feel pain or even had brainwave activity at the time the doctor ended the child’s life. Despite many state’s requiring a sonogram be done and/or a waiting period complied with, often times the abortion clinic staff and medical doctor are more concerned with performing the abortion rather than informing the mother or ensuring that the conditions are sanitary and to the appropriate standard of care. Others viewed sonogram pictures of their child which were nearly unreadable and others were subject to unsanitary conditions such as unclean rooms following prior procedures, often times against numerous state law.

Look at this. "State's" with an unnecessary apostrophe, and "numerous state law" not being plural? How do people alleging to be professionals at law, making their living from words, not try harder at advertising themselves as familiar with the language they are supposedly arguing cases in? It seems like the specificity of the URL "botched abortion lawyer" indicates that they have a specialty in weird and rare Kermit Gosnell-like conditions, but these are in fact exactly that. Weird and rare. Also, I have to wonder about the "heartbeat" and "sonogram" language, because I do not believe that any woman has ever not known what she wanted an abortion for, or failed to understand what that fetus was, or would be persuaded that the presence of a heartbeat or a picture of the fetus would necessarily be more than an annoyance. This is the fake abortion clinic level of concern about women's choice and health.

So--he's defending a person alleged to have sexually harassed or assaulted six or so people as a person who would sort of whaambulance-chase mostly non-existent abortion regretters? Yeah, this is the right guy, alright. I do not understand how this is the attorney of someone trying to establish they have their shit sufficiently together to be a US Senator.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This TrumpWorld Grab-Bag is Just a Box of Money

Now, you might think I was paying extra-special attention to Keebler Hate-Elf Jeff Sessions' testimony today regarding what he knows about stuff and whether he remembers any stuff, but he can basically get double-stuffed. (I still love the good people at Keebler and their products and approve in general of any cookie having Double Stuffing. But I am building on a metaphor about a certain bad cookie, and oh Gosh, I think Jeff has not been a good elf at all. I do not believe he would be allowed near a cookie-making facility in all truth.)  But I did not do that, because Sessions can't remember shit. 

Now, CRS (Can't Recall Shit) affects us all, and as I get older, I sometimes dotter into a room and realize I don't entirely know what I was looking for, or absently strike a few keys, and not realize why I'm looking at some computer conversation. But I think Jeff Sessions wants us to believe he can't remember entire meetings with people he knows, or forgets entire people he should very well remember. If he recalls them conveniently after he's been, well, "busted", I tend to think his selective amnesia is bogus. While I think this is obviously BS and some ass-covering self-lawyering, I think the pattern of what he prefers not to reveal until he bloody well has to says more than what he might independently reveal. 

I know this is a little controversial, but Jeff Sessions probably is useless and unable to do the AG thing, recused as he is from Trump-Russia and having in his confirmation hearing recused himself from any of the Clinton investigations Trump (because of course) has pressured the DOJ into.  I know this means an AG who might could fire Mueller, but having an AG this compromised (and kind of bigoted and all) is a bummer. I despise Trump for making me want this asshole to stay on. I just can't with these things. I hope federal prosecutors assigned to this conspiracy theory bullshit, like Uranium One (described ably here by the one missionary among the FOX savages, Shep Smith, who has been dodging the cookpot for I know not how long) just throw down a massive press conference and announce "Stop Believing Bullshit!" after the bare minimum debunking any of it should require.

But I have had it with Trump & Co's dumb retaliatory squid-inking nonsense distractions.  So let me just lower my dumb ass onto what has to be a journalistic claymore: electronic funds from Russia, marked "To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”

No. Seriously. Like, a box of money just sitting out there of rubles that could have been paid for Facebook ads and all that providing a direct link from the Russian government to a disinformation campaign aimed at destabilizing various centers of shit worldwide? Like, what dumbfuck would mark this money for doing the thing it was supposed to be surreptitiously doing out loud where the people would find out? That kind of thing would be so stupid!

But I've been doing this TrumpWorld thing for a while, you see?  I don't necessarily think anything is too stupid to be all that credible anymore. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Roy Moore is Still a Scoundrel

The RNC has pulled its support from Moore, and once-dedicated backer Steve Bannon now supposedly has qualms about the controversial candidate.  I don't know what the next poll numbers are going to look like when they drop, but the local news media have gotten mighty nostalgic over Moore's "back-when". Kayla Moore was apparently a classmate of one of Moore's accusers according to Twitter. That's...something. She has also tried to spread false information --

Which has been debunked.

Also the Moore campaign seems to have fished out the canine ocarina with a somewhat anti-Semitic robo-call purporting to be a "Bernie Bernstein" from WaPo offering 1000$ for dirt, and Moore's own amusing rhetoric about "creating new rights in 1965" . (Why are all these dogs barking?*)

If he's going down, it's going to be ugly. If he's staying up, man, that's ugly, too. There's supposedly a letter from a lawyer suing local AL media on the Moore family and their charity's behalf, but it looks almost too absurd to be real. (Unless it isn't--threatening to sue WaPo but then going after small fry with no money is a tactic I wouldn't put past these bozos. But no professional would write legal demands while coming down from peyote buttons and that thing their veterinarian friend said would get a caribou off. But then again, Trenton Garmon, the lawyer in question, did go on TV and call CNN's Don Lemon "Don Lemon Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy" so I don't even know. Maybe he's just foolish.)

Which isn't even to say Moore is a dead cert to lose. But what I am looking at is not something the national Republican party should want tied to them like a creepy, Bible-beating albatross, either.


I think this is awful but relevant, this is Trenton Garmon rambling about why talking about hating on gays is okay.

He's got some issues, there. If it isn't politically incorrect to say so, I hope he gets the hell over his glaring problems. It might be a mote, and it mote not. But I sense a need for serious ocular lumber removal.

*UPDATE: A good argument circulating on Twitter is that he was referring to Griswold v. Connecticut, which makes more sense. So, not civil rights, just birth control and abortion.

The Sins of the TrumpWorld Grab-Bags

One of the things I do kind of love about the Trump family is their enthusiasm and loyalty. I would. And for what it is worth, while much is made of the puzzling pair of Javanka and the weird nepotism of their even being White House advisers, and having security clearances (especially Jared, amirite?), it's the contributions to our culture made by Donald Jr. that truly fascinate me.  

It looks like Don Jr. is once again the focus of the collusion question, because WikiLeaks definitely decided that the way to the father was through the son.  (Not sure where Assange got that idea.) The messages in Jr's DM's, while not necessarily responded to, did apparently result in Trump Sr. pushing WikiLeaks info. 

The thing with Don Jr's involvement in coordinating with WikiLeaks is that no one can just decide that he was a low-level volunteer. Unlike George Papadopoulos, who definitely conveyed to WH Senior Advisor Stephen Miller that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton. His position, being the person currently charged with running his father's business, should be clearly seen as important. 

But what does this mean, besides the links between the Trump campaign and various Russian cut-outs becoming more obvious? Well, it might mean statements that make no sense and are, whether intentionally or unintentionally, degrading to our intelligence community coming from the White House and POTUS himself. Or it could mean poor national security decisions

It does not mean anything good. As I keep saying--it looks bad because it is bad. 

It also will not mean Julian Assange is Ambassador from Australia. WTF? No, this silly boy is staying at the Ecuadoran Embassy until they get sick of his pasty ass and put his bunk out on the street with him in it. Which will be a day.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roy Moore is a Scoundrel 2

After news of a fifth accuser came out today, we got to see and hear directly the statement of a woman who was clearly deeply affected by what she experienced and remains hurt to this day. I found the statement of Beverly Young Nelson to be credible and harrowing, but what strikes me is that she was told by him that she would not be believed because he was a DA and she was a child. The combination of abuse of his position and her vulnerability just sickens me. Well, she isn't a child anymore and I don't know what he is, but I will stick to the word "scoundrel". And I'm for every scoundrel getting their due.

The portrait that is being uncovered of Moore, as evidenced by the women speaking in the CNN clip, is not flattering to Moore, but it also shows that people knew. A recent story finds that Moore had been banned from cruising the local mall and YMCA. With this kind of information, it becomes a lot harder for him (or his backers) to sell the idea that he's being torn down by either leftists or the GOP establishment. I don't think it makes him look any better to blame anyone else for what's coming out now, and he might even do himself and his party a favor by stepping aside. Although I don't know where that takes the AL GOP from here--current Sen. Luther Strange has said he won't run a write-in campaign, and I can see where he has a couple points--for one thing, the voters had their say on him, and Moore is the guy they went with. And for another, an official Republican candidate and a write-in could just split the conservative vote based on the current poll numbers, leaving AL with a Democratic Senator anyway.

The recent revelations of a history of predation upon underage girls aside, Roy Moore's other history can't really be glossed over. The man was removed from a position as Chief Justice twice for not holding with current Supreme Court rulings on the display of the Decalogue on public property (which I've always held to be as poor an understanding of the First Amendment as it is of the First Commandment for several values of "no establishment" and "graven image") and for disrespecting the Windsor decision. He has shown himself to be indifferent to ethical concerns regarding his charity, paying himself from it without claiming the salary thereof, not filing returns, and paying a salary to his oft-jailed son, for reasons no one can quite understand.

This kind of thing makes me goggle at the letter signed by just over 50 pastors in favor of Moore's senate bid despite his infidelity to the law of the land and the Lord. I would like to think after all the recent newly revealed information, they might think better of what they signed their names to. And I will say I admire the position of GOP Senator Jeff Flake in that matter. He made it very clear that he would support a Democrat over Roy Moore:

And I think that has to be sticking point for a person of conscience--do you identify as a Republican first, or as a decent person? Would I call this a modern litmus test in politics? It literally makes me feel a little hurt and astonished that anyone even needs to do a moral calculation before deciding after all, they would not prefer to support a child predator. I feel like this one should be easy.

Judge Roy Moore Is Fixing to Sue

For some reason, Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore thinks he might like to sue the newspaper of record that broke a story about women who have accused him of pursuing a "romantic" relationship with them back in the bygone era of the 1970's while they were underage.  This newspaper followed several leads to find four separate women who did not know one another, and had 30 sources. There is no way at all that cases could come together swiftly enough for actual court decisions to play a part in the outcome of the AL Senate race. But you know what could?

More credibly-sourced stories about other young ladies who might have been propositioned. Which, based on at least some of what Moore has been saying, might be some number--see, he hasn't denied chatting up girls in their teens while he was an established adult. He's admitted he's gone around with them, kissed them, and asked their mammas if it was okay.  And if a girl is young enough that you have to ask her mamma if it's okay (not to mention daddies, because he seems to have been cruising family court to see which lil' ol' gals was daddy-free) maybe that girl is too young.  But what we know about predators of the young is that they keep trying. They usually have any number of contacts. "Not generally"--the phrase used by Moore regarding his "dates" with underage girls, means "occasionally". He might not be the best "judge" of how often he offended. 

I don't know if this is a good look. He thinks it is, though, which probably just adds to the argument against him. His reasoning leaves a lot to be desired.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

This is a Real Picture in the World

Based on his expression, I believe that Trump was advised that if he pulled Duterte's arm off, he got to make a wish. And all things considered, I might have told him to do that, myself to see if he would fall for it.


Trump did not get his wish? I think this was actually the before the first picture, when he did not understand how the chain was made. If he had more proper foreign policy advisors, this would have been more smooth, but as we know, the Trump State Department is basically a fire sale.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

So, This is Trump's Twitter Right Now

This is what the current POTUS decides he needs to tell his followers (and the world, when you come to think of it). He needs to bring up Hillary Clinton, he needs to compare himself to President Obama, he needs to say something about the North Korean leader he has actually referred to as "Little Rocket Man" and he has to justify why, for some reason I haven't been writing about for over a year now, he just keeps accepting what he says Putin tells him about Russian interference in US elections.

This more "Boom Goes the Dynamite"--from a person I just think is too volatile and self-owning. He just responds to whatever gets in his craw. And sometimes that isn't just undiplomatic; it's dumb.