Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, January 24, 2020

To Discourage the Others

I think we can imagine a competent White House swooping in with a plausible denial that anything like "Vote against this president, and your head will be on a pike" we ever utter except in hyperbole or jest. And of course, a literal beheading, the likely tarring of the severed head (to preserve it), and the affixing of said head to a pike is not the type of revenge that the president, resplendent in all the powers we are supposed to believe by Republican arguments that he wouldn't, nope, not ever abuse, would engage in.

But I think we could imagine some form of vengeance, and it would be no surprise at all. Revenge is his politics.

Revenge against just who in that Tweet? The opposition party? Renegade GOP Senators thinking of making a bid for a little independence? The journalists who are reporting on Trump's political fortunes? All of the above?

What does it say, then, about the Republican senators who keep faith with the president, after the evidence we already do have, and who seem dead-set against getting anything more? Are they so placid and incurious--or are they scared, and why this scared, and why not more concerned for their country than their offices? If removed, what then could the big bad man even do? Tweet mean things? Why allow him the latitude to do anything more?

If speeches heard during the trial, made by Schiff and others seem as if they were intended to rub Republican noses in their complicity, and shame them in how they are responding to Trump's bullying and threats...well, maybe they are. Maybe they need to be shocked from learned apathy. I do not know.

I also do not sympathize with them, much.

What is this Nonsense?

I feel like this was just a weird attempt to make some kind of insider/outsider beef happen and isn't that redundant already? But no, I really doubt Obama is doing any such thing because he could just go ahead and endorse somebody else if he felt that way. It just feels like the old fuckery is at work again. I would be really awesome with not biting on this sort of thing this year.

That's the whole blog post. Thanks! Great talk!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Abandonment Issues

It's one thing that GOP Senators have gotten miffed that they have been accused of a cover up for having rejected requests for additional information during the Senate impeachment trial, but it's quite another thing for them to fairly openly show contempt for the process by not even sitting for the process.  Per the rules drafted between Sens. McConnell and Schumer, the Senators were expected to remain in their seats.  It would help if Senators showed some interest in the presentation they are receiving.

But you know what really steams me?  When the Republican Senators say they aren't hearing anything new, when they voted down getting....anything new. 

I get it, I get it. The Republicans aren't big democracy fans anymore and the system is broken. But do they have to be so damn obvious about it?


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Are We Sure About This?

I don't want to give Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's defamation suit against Hillary Clinton more space than it deserves (although I think I just have) but if what Clinton said against Gabbard was way out of bounds, then oh lordy, let me tell you about all the other politicians out there since....history? I'm just saying, it feels overwrought to be intended as a real legal case, and would have a really messed-up effect on political speech if it somehow was treated as one. Also--"damages estimated to exceed $50 million" seems hard to establish. It doesn't seem to reflect future fundraising based on prior campaign figures, does it? Does it reflect potential earnings in other endeavors outside of political office? (I don't know that having a beef with Hillary Clinton has necessarily lost anyone money. It would be as bassackwards as bankrupting a series of casinos. Indeed, many people seem to have profited from hating the Clintons.)

Now, I may be wrong about this, but I noticed grumblings on Twitter about who is even paying for such a lawsuit (after the fashion of: "Who is paying for Rep. Devin Nunes to sue an internet cow and others?"). I think FEC allows for legal costs to be paid for with campaign funds if they relate to the campaign itself so maybe she's going to fundraise on sticking it to the establishment via Hillary Clinton?

I guess we'll see if any fundraising emails mentioning the lawsuit are put out.

Anyhow, just as an aside--while I like tea just as much as the next person, Hillary Unbound, even if she is a private figure now, so to speak, is never going to be, strictly speaking, a private figure. I think she skirts the line on this one, because she's saying something I don't think other people didn't previously think or even say out loud. But there is still a timing issue here--we're in the middle of a serious election! And even if talking at liberty is her way of demonstrating she is 100% not running for office, nope, not even one little bit, the things she says have weight. Tons.

So, I guess what I'm saying is--are we sure about all this? Because we need a smart election, and I'm just seeing the stupid flying around. It is like a haboob. It gets everywhere.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Who Do They Think is On Trial?

With every 53-47 vote taken with respects to requesting additional witnesses or documents, a pattern begins to emerge: the Republicans in the Senate really, truly, do not want to have any pertinent information at this impeachment trial. I don't think this should be news, even though many very hopeful people called Senate offices thinking: "We only need four honest Senators and true." (Who are not afraid to discover things like, what, when, how, why, where and with who?)

But the exercise of making separate motions and demonstrating a case for each motion isn't a pointless bit of drudgery intended to wear out Senators making an awfully late night of it. (How ever they would have managed the two nights into the wee hours that McConnell originally suggested, I do not know.) They are breaking down the very case that was made in the House with the peripheral information that would be illuminated by the additional information and getting the Senate GOP on record as having rejected each thoroughly articulated case.

Getting them on record for what they are willing to defend or support from this President has a certain value. Republicans are treating President Trump like he might be a floatation device going in to the 2020 elections, but there is a solid probability that he could be a rotting albatross tied to an anchor.

I think Jennifer Rubin is right, here:

In his calm and methodical presentation, Schiff scored a victory: Democrats have effectively built the case that the Senate would be guilty of a coverup if it allows Trump to continue to conceal witnesses and documents. (Since the public already believes by huge margins that witnesses should be allowed, Schiff has the wind of public opinion at his back.)

People don't innately trust Trump, the Senate, and sure as heck not McConnell. A substantial number of people believe we need to know what is going on, but here the GOP are, trying to make sure people don't hear everything. That really does look like a cover-up.

And we know that can be more damaging than the crime. But insofar as we have abuse of power and use of government resources for basically his own campaign, the underlying crimes (like, violation of the Impound Control Act and extortion and basically using government personnel to be his oppo research team?) are also really bad.

And so far, no Republicans can even show an interest. Sad!

Also, and not for nothing, Trump's defense? He is not getting the best people.

UPDATE: It's like this--

what gnaws at me is that there is a certain optimism in the strategy--it's all very well to tell people outright that you have the eyes of the world upon you and are being judged, but I suspect the GOP side is depending upon apathy, confusion, and tribal loyalty. I want to believe people still know what a rat smells like when Senator McConnell is being one.

That said, Hugh Hewitt can get bent. Just entirely practice self-origami. And press down hard at the creases.

Monday, January 20, 2020

McConnell's Speedo Trial

Far be it for me to place any unexpected images in your head, but when I look at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to dramatically shorten the period of time allotted to make statements and present the case, as well as placing certain hurdles on getting new information accepted into the process, I can't help but think that what, in McConnell's mind is a "speedy" trial, is a little bit more like a "Speedo" trial.

You know. it might look all very well and good in his mind, but I don't think there will be enough material there to cover Trump's ass. And if the appearances don't fit, did you really acquit?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Stay Bull Jean Yuss 5: He Isn't, Though

So, the President was just Tweeting about this book, right here, available on Amazon and just about wherever many fine books are sold, and it reminded me that I did four posts last year about Trump being a stable genius by his very own reckoning. Because if you are explaining, you are losing, and apparently, Trump has had to explain that he's a very stable genius more than once.

You know, and I know, that just like Wile E. Coyote is a Supergenius, Donald J. Trump is a stable genius.  It's a pretense, an act, a reality show persona.  Trump's appearance of competency comes at a high price. That price has, so far, been damage to our European alliances, our diplomatic successes in the Middle East, our credibility, our readiness to face the future technologically, and support for labor, especially the working poor by elevating wages and shoring up the social safety net. Trump is a silver spoon dumbfuck who earned a degree by having a rich daddy and went out of his way to hide his school records.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

An Historical Mistake

The US National Archives has apologized for a mistake that seems of timely importance--they prominently featured a licensed display that blurred out the messages of signs carried during the 2017 Women's March. In the messages being blurred out in a selective way that eliminated the name "Trump" and blurred out "controversial" references to female anatomy, these amendments significantly lost the meanings those signs very much intended to convey:

One of the photos of the Washington march, taken by Mario Tama, a photographer for Getty Images, showed a sea of protesters holding signs criticizing Trump, The Post reported.

The National Archives, which featured the photo in its exhibit, blurred Mr. Trump’s name on a sign that originally read “God Hates Trump.” Another sign “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women” also has the word Trump blurred out, The Post reported.

A sign with the word “vagina” was also blurred and the word “pussy” was erased from another sign. The references to the female anatomy were a rebuke of Mr. Trump’s comments about women in a 2005 recording that captured him boasting how he used his celebrity status to force himself on women, even groping their private parts.

Those words were altered because the museum has many young visitors and there was concern they might be inappropriate, Ms. Kleiman told The Post.

The Women's March came about as a reaction to Trump's election as a multiply-accused and self-described sexual assaulter, and as a politician who was certain to appoint judges who would rule against necessary women's healthcare and other legislation that protects our bodies, our self-determination, our access to equal opportunities and compensation. The words that were supposed to be potentially inappropriate for young museum-goers are either correct anatomical terms or vernacular words used by the president himself, for organs roughly 51% of people happen to have, which should make them commonplace enough not to offend anyone in a rational society.

Many people marched in many parts of the world that day because they wanted to establish that the voices of women mattered--a very good reason for a display depicting those demonstrators to render those words accurately, not blur them, because those words were what the march was about! It simply is not possible to divorce that march, or the following marches, from the politics of our time, and doing so seems like the exact opposite of what history should be for. A faithful archive of the conflicts of moments in time.

I don't want to assume that the Archive's act of "forgetting" was at political direction (is a FOIA pending, though?) because I think sometimes, institutions can be guilty of shying away from controversy in the vague idea of being inclusive, and inadvertently excluding people whose truths are uncomfortable in a way that reinforces a dominant narrative. This isn't a case, necessarily, of the US National Archive silencing a minority voice to support a dominant narrative though--it really seems to me like they messed up and muted a dominant voice (the diverse and multicultural Women's March contingent) to pacify the minority narrative of people who would complain loudest at the idea that "Trump" is a dirty word for some, and "vagina" is not.

The Trump government will not have the last word on our history. The US National Archive should reflect that. Censorship is a kind of lie.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Three-Way Privilege

Look, before tonight, I just thought of "three-way privilege" as a thing some couples engage in to keep things interesting when toys won't suffice. But this has always been a very fascinating part of the plot, to me--it's like somebody came up with the idea after discovering what attorney-client privilege was and said "what if you were going to do crimes, but all of the people you did crimes with....were your lawyers?"

I know this is probably a serious reach, and I didn't even take first-year law. I took first-season "Law and Order". So, was this just the kind of "shit that won't stick" argument thrown up to keep the patsies shtum up until they got banged up?   Sounds like it to me, and apparently, sounds like it to Parnas, too.

I'm not actually going to be able to contribute anything non-snarky about this. Sorry.