Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, September 20, 2019

TWGB: Makes You Wonder

Signs do seem to point to the whistleblower complaint that the acting DNI and the DOJ is currently preventing from being heard by Congress has something to do with The case is persuasive, no matter how relaxed Giuliani seems to appear about it (note: he does not appear relaxed).

But, c'mon, now. In order to think that Trump is definitely involved in this you'd have to believe that he would promise to abuse his office to a world leader in exchange for dirt he could use against a campaign oppon....


UPDATE: FWIW: Ukraine seems to entirely understand the deal:

Geraschenko told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview that “as soon as there is an official request from the Trump administration, we’ll look into it,” but “currently there is no open investigation.”

“Clearly,” said Geraschenko, “Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.” Among the counts on which Manafort was convicted: tax evasion. “We do not investigate Biden in Ukraine, since we have not received a single official request to do so,” said Geraschenko.

I think it is useful to keep in mind that the other party's willingness to go along with a bribe attempt has little bearing on its appropriateness.


To Be or Not to Be?

(We kind of knew this.) Not to be.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What Lewandowski Said

I know that a lot of Democrats (or at least on Twitter) and a handful of Never-Trumpers were hoping that House Dems would just have Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski hauled off for contempt for being non-responsive and belligerent, but I think that would have been counter-productive and theatrical.

I'm not saying that the hearing was a great raving success and riveting viewing. That Lewandowski was directed by the president to say nothing due to "executive privilege" when the man did not work in the White House, and that Lewandowski responded to Democrat inquiries rather like a low-level soldier protecting his capo, says rather enough to me. It's more covering-up and obstruction, and it was draaaaggged out and he admitted to not being truthful and was caught in a few lies.

Lewandowski was performing in part for Trump's benefit as well as to launch a senate campaign. Being snatched for contempt would have given Trump something to endlessly grouse about (there is nothing a chronic belly-acher loves more than something to belly-ache over--the Twitter claims of "Unfair! and WITCH HUNT!" would have been quite something) and the GOP would have adored him the more for it. They love their martyrs. Why, just that morning, there were a few threads on Twitter about Robert Bork.  How terrible that he was rejected (after a thorough hearing, in a bipartisan way, for extreme views on the Constitution).

It's appropriate that the GOP is represented by an elephant; they never forget anything, even if they remember things in ways that suit their grievances.

Admitting that he did not feel it important to be truthful to the media will not stop the media from asking him on their tv shows and having him lie to their viewers. I think House Dems held him to account, in their way. It might have been better if the questions on the Democratic side were left to professional questioners. But it will have to suffice.

For people paying attention, we learned a bit from what Lewandowski refused to say, as much as from what he did--such as refusing to say whether Trump offered him a pardon. Were the answer "no", he wouldn't have had a problem answering that way, would he?

I can understand why he was instructed to claim "executive privilege". This soldier was working for his capo. Yesterday, he was working for Trump, and it showed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Can I Get a Witness?

Damn. I did not realize that Sean Spicer was out there shaking his groove thang as a powerful witness to Christ through the language of dance as opposed to being a discredited lying hack trying to improve his Q score by appearing fuzzy and relatable.

Well, if you can't dance, I wouldn't want to be a part of your culture war, anyway.

(I don't know what's up--I screen-capped because the Tweet wouldn't embed.)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

No Holiday in Cambodia

This is probably deeply ill-advised of me to notice, but I'm a Gen-X blogger who realized a long time ago that I'm not really presidential material (even if the fitness of the current resident makes even me and my tattoos feel a little like, what the hell? Y not?) so let me just say--wow, but by the visibly melting frame of the yet-living Hank Kissinger, are we really going to go through whether the left-liberalism calling itself democratic socialism is kinda Khmer Rougey and not take notice of the entire right-wing foreign policy failure at influencing positive change with respects to....

Why, no. No we are not doing that. Or at least, you go ahead and do that history dissertation if you've a mind, but:  This is actually just my usual warning that conservative rhetoric is inflammatory and that inflammatory rhetoric is really the thing we should worry about regarding genocide, not mere issues of domestic economy. Because conservatives have been doing this thing with inflammatory and violent rhetoric. And sometimes it results in bad things.

Trump Has a Favorite Dictator and Other Tales of the Decline

In what will doubtless be a shock to the other dictators, Trump recently (a couple weeks back) voiced the opinion that he did,  in fact, have a favorite dictator (sorry Kim, Putin, etc.!):

Donald Trump once referred to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as his "favourite dictator" as he awaited a meeting with the world leader, according to a new report.
The comment, detailed in a new Wall Street Journal report, was met with stunned silence from American and Egyptian officials, who had gathered inside the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France for this year's G7 summit.
"Where's my favourite dictator?" Mr Trump is reported to have said in a loud voice, several people who were in the room told the Journal.
Those witnesses said that they believed his comment was made in jest, but was nonetheless met with muted response. It is not clear if Mr Sisi was in the room, or if he heard the comment.
That's certainly sounding like a case of "the quiet bits out loud" but wow! This isn't really on the order of "things Trump usually says which are merely stupid" and vaults into the level of "things Trump says (like wanting to purchase Greenland, remember that?) which are both weird and can screw up international relations."

He is, though. The international relationships--he's messing them up. Things like firing (if he did) John Bolton, who I once characterized as a "bloodthirsty loon", would seem great if Trump was not likely to put someone in his stead who was as bad, if not worse.

But to be fair, he's messing up national security all around, including domestically. Instead of a wall that Mexico is building, it looks like we have a wall (not yet!) that the US military will build, and instead of a brilliant deal with North Korea for them to stop their nuclear program, we've got a North Korea nuclear program that, well, we're building, inadvertently, because Trump doesn't understand why we need to build up our cyber defense.

But he also doesn't understand our intelligence apparatus at all, either, which is definitely worrisome. He doesn't believe our links with foreign intelligence offices (like the Israeli contact he blew to Lavrov and Kislyak back in 2017), but is weirdly prone to dismissing the possibility of foreign countries trying to scope in on us. (Which you'd think he'd be aware is a real interest, all things considered. I guess it's my distrust of Netanyahu that makes me see "security companies" like Psy Group as possible cut-outs, but I could be wrong.)

He also seems to have abandoned steering our good friend Russia away from weird nuclear ideas. But what the hell? One of Trump's big ideas was pulling us out of the Iran nuclear deal with his Fox News-inspired fantasies about pallets of cash to Iran, and his genius negotiating tool to get Iran back to the table (that we had them at, already, and got a deal with, already!) is--pallets-worth of credit--$15 Billion worth.

So, a similar plan, with less trust, that costs the US more? Wow! Mr. Art of the Deal! That is really....

Something. It's not good. None of this is good. We can't expect good from Trump, I'm just saying.

He called Sisi his "favorite dictator." He thinks the way he talks on Twitter is how he can communicate in life, and it doesn't even work that great on Twitter.  MAGA-hats--this is your king?  He's actually pretty stupid. Shouldn't that bother you more?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Man of Impeachable Character

On the occasion of the great honor that is being bestowed by Attorney General William Barr upon the legal team that chauffeured Brett Kavanaugh through the gravelly road that led to the SCOTUS bench, it is only fitting that a bit of a bombshell report from NYT should emerge to remind us that allegations regarding Kavanaugh's behavior at Yale were not rigorously investigated, and that there was more than an inkling at the time that a further look would corroborate the accuser's story. 

Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the F.B.I. a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau — in its supplemental background investigation — interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.
Two F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Ramirez, telling her that they found her “credible.” But the Republican-controlled Senate had imposed strict limits on the investigation. “‘We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else,’” Bill Pittard, one of Ms. Ramirez’s lawyers, recalled the agents saying. “It was almost a little apologetic.”
There was also another story from Kavanaugh's time at Yale where a contemporaneous student observed Kavanaugh with his pants down at a party, with friends pushing Kavanaugh's penis into a female party-goer's hand.

It's deeply distasteful, but just as Kavanaugh allegedly had his penis thrust into someone's hand by besotted and thoughtless comrades, it seems parallel to the besotted (by politics) and thoughtless way the man was leveraged onto the highest bench by so many helpers in the Republican party. I was mad enough to break out of a kind of blogger retirement by the overt shenanigans and the reminder that this is who they are,  and I've maintained that hustling this man's nomination forward to confirmation in the face of his ethical and personal issues should come back to bite the people involved.

I'm just not sure, with the current level of denialism the GOP has with respects to the concept of "enough", this breaking story will seem like "Enough!" to them to see their way clear to finally giving him the investigation that was originally warranted. After all, 83 ethics complaints were, over the interval since his swearing-in, dispatched with, barring congressional oversight.  Likewise, I still think there might be some merit in following the money on this one.

For any number of reasons, it is deeply concerning for a jurist to have masses of dirt swept behind him--it leaves him subject to having it swept out in the open! It calls his opinions into question, as to whether his character is such that he can't be induced to do something inappropriate, rather like a drunken frat boy steered into sexual misconduct when surrounded by his brave and laughing companions. It calls into question his honesty.

I would like to hope the GOP would come help collect their man and undo what has been done via impeachment, but I feel like they are hopeless and incapable of dealing with their own grave moral failure to just do the due diligence, here. It should mean that Graham, Collins, and McConnell are quite over their Senate careers. That is something the people can decide.

Friday, September 13, 2019

So, Sometimes a Gun is Just a Cigar, Eh?

You know, I don't even think this is much of a secret--it's a whole advertising campaign, but Beto O'Rourke threatening to take folks' guns sure seems to have them big-mad.

The reaction doesn't so much feel like a case of people looking to defend themselves, so much as actually seeing their guns as extensions of themselves that also need to be defended, with threats of violence, if required. As if something very personal will be lost.

What witchcraft is that?

UPDATE: Apparently, this Cain dude has been a piece of work for a while.

UPDATE: Erick Erickson lends the theory ammunition:

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Accidental Promos

Sounds good to me!