Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Proles Have Taken the White House

Apparently this picture has lots of people in an uproar.



T-Rump hasn't replaced the Oval Office furniture, so no need to care for what was the Obamas.

I don't know which would be worse: having to sit on a couch that Kellyanne Conway had her feet on (with her shoes, by the way), or one that Dick Cheney had his ass on.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Enemy of the People

“I didn’t say the media is the enemy—I said the ‘fake media’,” Trump told Breitbart in an exclusive interview on Monday.

“There’s a difference. The fake media is the opposition party. The fake media is the enemy of the American people. There’s tremendous fake media out there. Tremendous fake stories. The problem is the people that aren’t involved in the story don’t know that.”

[...]

“I don’t want to comment on any specific deal, but I do believe there has to be competition in the marketplace and maybe even more so with the media because it would be awfully bad after years if we ended up having one voice out there. You have to have competition in the marketplace and you have to have competition among the media,” the president said.

  RT
Which is why he barred several organizations from a press briefing?
He spoke of his intent to “increase military spending significantly” to soon “have the finest military that the United States has ever had by far.”

Trump also once again stressed the need to put up the wall on the border with Mexico, which he said is already ahead of schedule.

“We’re going to have a wall and it will be a great wall and it will stop the drugs from pouring in and destroying our youth.
Sure, because the only way to get from Mexico to the US is over land. Jesus Christ.

Why do we need significantly increased military spending if he's going to stop "racing to topple foreign regimes"?

Back to the media:  the problem with saying he only means the "fake news" is the enemy of the people is that he labels pretty much any organization that covers him negatively as fake news, including the New York Times.
"A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people, and they are — they are the enemy of the people," Trump told the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

While praising some reporters as honest, and pledging fealty to the First Amendment, Trump claimed that "the fake news media doesn't tell the truth." He said reporters should not be allowed to use anonymous sources, and "we're going to do something about it."

The president did not elaborate on what that "something" might be, beyond general criticism.

[...]

Less than two hours before Trump criticized the use of anonymous sources and said all sources should be named, an administration official provided a briefing on condition he not be identified.

[...]

In assailing anonymous sources and so-called "fake news," Trump discussed specific stories and news organizations in general terms, at one point describing CNN as the "Clinton News Network."

  USA Today
By using the phrase ["enemy of the people"] and placing himself in such infamous company [as Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong], at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, [Nina Khrushcheva, the great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev] said, that the language of “autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.” She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the “formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.”

[...]

The phrase was too toxic even for [Mr.] Khrushchev, a war-hardened veteran communist not known for squeamishness. As leader of the Soviet Union, he demanded an end to the use of the term “enemy of the people” because “it eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight.”

[...]

“In essence, it was a label that meant death. It meant you were subhuman and entirely expendable,” said Mitchell A. Orenstein, professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is the connotation for anyone who lived in the Soviet Union or knows anything about the Soviet Union..."

[...]

“Politicians normally use phrases that resonate with their own people,” [Philip Short, a British author who has written biographies of Mao and Cambodia’s genocidal leader Pol Pot] said. “Mao and Pol Pot did not just regurgitate Stalinist terms. What is extraordinary about Trump is that he has taken up a Stalinist phrase that is entirely alien to American political culture.”

  NYT
It will be ours now. Whether it results in Stalinist punishments remains to be seen.

Wittingly or not, he continues to give people ammunition for claiming he's in league with the Russians.  Big league.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Petty, Nasty Man






"Trump era."

But I thought NBC was supposed to be fake news.  Were they even allowed in the last press briefing?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Germany, You're Next

This should take his mind off Paris.



The floats at Karneval parades across southern and western Germany are known for their biting satire. This year the main target of their derision was only ever going to be one man.

  The Local
Continue reading.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

In Answer to Your Question...

No, you won't be getting good health care at a reasonable cost.




...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

An Interesting Twist

China announced that Washington and Seoul will face “consequences” over a land swap deal which will allow the US to host its THAAD missile defense system on South Korean soil – a move which Beijing claims will undermine its own ballistic capabilities.

The agreement, which involves a land swap between Seoul and retail giant Lotte, was approved on Monday.

[...]

THAAD is an advanced system designed to intercept short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their terminal flight phase. Equipped with long-range radar, it is believed to be capable of intercepting North Korea’s intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Both Seoul and Washington claim the system is a defensive measure against Pyongyang, while Moscow has urged those involved to consider the escalated tensions it will inevitably cause.

The agreement, announced by the South Korean Defense Ministry on Monday, will allow for THAAD to be deployed to land which is currently part of a golf course owned by Lotte in the Seongju region, south-east of Seoul. In exchange, the retail giant will receive a parcel of military-owned land near the capital.

  RT
Why is the US putting military infrastructure on private corporate land?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

UPDATE 3/7/2017:
According to US Pacific Command, the first elements of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system arrived at Osan airbase in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Tuesday.

  RT

His Friend Jim

In a bombastic address to a conservative rally outside Washington on Friday, Trump criticised longtime US allies France, Sweden and Germany, and defended his crackdown on immigrants.

Singling out the French capital, which has been the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic militants in recent years, he quoted a friend “Jim”, who he claimed refuses to visit the city, saying “Paris is no longer Paris”.

  The Guardian
That sounds like something every two-bit hick would say about something he knows nothing about: "My buddy syas..."

Besides, we all know T-Rump has no friends. Could "Jim" be the alter ego of "John Miller" (aka "John Barron") - T-Rump's imaginary publicist? Perhaps "Jim" could make a phone call to some reporter to vouch for his existence.
“They are unfriendly comments,” [Paris mayor Anne] Hidalgo said on Monday during a visit to Tokyo. “As the president of France said, this is not something big countries say to each other.

“No one points out that a lot of crime in big US cities linked to the open sale of guns is a plague that takes many lives.”
Well, perhaps they should.

If you have never read the interview that "John Miller" gave to a Post reporter, it's a hoot.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Breathe Easy



...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Can I Get an Amen


No Joy for the Press

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday defended President Trump’s announcement that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, saying the president was not elected to spend time with celebrities and reporters.

  The Hill
I bet that comes back to bite.
“One of the things we say in the South,” she told host George Stephanopoulos. “If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario.”

  Towleroad
Come again?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Spot Checks

Last week, after Spicer became aware that information had leaked out of a planning meeting with about a dozen of his communications staffers, he reconvened the group in his office to express his frustration over the number of private conversations and meetings that were showing up in unflattering news stories, according to sources in the room.

Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check," to prove they had nothing to hide.

  Politico
And presumably nobody refused, as you might if you actually cared about freedom or privacy.
Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide -- an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent -- and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.
Since when does the Federal Records Act apply to staffers' personal phones?
Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media.
Ooops. Somebody didn't appreciate the intrusion.

Maybe the White House is going to have to sequester staff in a basement for the duration.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

The Cruelty of Donald J Trump

web17-CBPatBorder-1160x768.jpg CBP at Border Two memos signed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday are a grim blueprint for President Trump's promised mass deportations.

[...]

The memos abandon any genuine attempt to prioritize immigration enforcement. Virtually every immigrant eligible for deportation — including almost all of the 11 million people in the United States without authorization — is now a target for detention and aggressive removal proceedings.

[...]

Trump and Kelly threaten a massive expansion of shortcuts to deportation like expedited removal, which allows an ICE or CBP official, rather than an impartial judge, to have the only say on an immigrant’s future.

[...]

The Trump-Kelly memos encourage state and local police, including those with records of racial profiling and brutality, to become immigration agents.

[...]

The memos resurrect illegal and unwise programs like Secure Communities, which courts have held flouts the Fourth Amendment by detaining individuals without a judge’s probable cause determination, and 287(g), which deputizes state and local police as immigration agents.

  ACLU
The brewing battle between the city of Los Angeles and Trump Administration over immigration policies took a new turn Thursday when City Attorney Mike Feuer called on immigration agents “in the strongest possible terms" to stop identifying themselves as police.

In a letter to the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, Feuer said the practice “undermines” public confidence in the LAPD.

  SCPR
And they can't afford to lose what little they have.
For years, immigration agents in Southern California initially have identified themselves simply as “police” when knocking on doors looking for people living in the country illegally, according to ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

[...]

But that practice is coming under more scrutiny as the Trump Administration moves forward with plans to deport more people. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest populations of people living in the U.S. illegally in the country. Feuer argued if ICE agents in the city continue to use the word police to identify themselves – even if only initially – public safety will suffer.

“The city we serve will be less safe if any member of our large and diverse immigrant population is driven underground, dissuaded from providing valuable information and cooperation because they fear contact with our own police force,” Feuer said.
Good luck then.
The debate over ICE agents using the word police comes amid threats by President Trump that he will cut off federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities where police departments refuse to assist immigration authorities.
So maybe they could go back to being regular police instead of militarized goon squads if that happens.



...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

The Leak Memo Got Leaked

An internal State Department document explaining the rationale for clamping down on government agency leaks, a stated priority for Donald Trump’s administration, has ironically itself been leaked.

[...]

“SBU” in the document title stands for “Sensitive But Unclassified,” meaning that the document should have only been shared with State Department insiders. Instead, Josh Rogin at the Washington Post says that the document was leaked personally to him “promptly.”

[...]

Rogin reported from his sources that Tillerson is also attempting to tighten control at his department, by reducing the number of officials present at key meetings, and cutting down access to minutes of his meetings with foreign diplomats.

Instead, public servants are being encouraged to use the Dissent Channel, a mechanism that has operated since the 1970s, which allows staff with policy disagreements to voice their opinion internally without reprisal.

[...]

The Dissent Channel received its biggest delivery last month, when about 1,000 civil servants signed a cable protesting the implementation of Executive Order 13769, which barred nationals from seven states from entering the US for 90 days. Predictably, that Dissent Channel cable, intended for internal consideration, was also immediately leaked.

  RT
Not to mention, ignored.

Pretty soon, there'll be nobody in government but T-Rump and a handful of hand-picked, alt-right ass-kissers.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Remember When Everyone Wanted to Come Here?

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, is facing growing political pressure to address the steady stream of asylum seekers who have been braving freezing temperatures, fields of waist-deep snow and icy ditches to cross into Canada from the US by foot.

[...]

“One of the reasons why Canada remains an open country is Canadians trust our immigration system and the integrity of our borders and the help we provide people who are looking for safety,” Trudeau told parliament. “We will continue to strike that balance between a rigorous system and accepting people who need help.”

Amid concerns that the number of people attempting the crossing could spike as the weather warms, the opposition Conservatives have called on Trudeau and his government to do more to halt the flow of irregular migrants.

  Guardian
Maybe they could just move to the US.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

White House Correspondents Association Responds to T-Rump Diss

In a statement on Saturday, Mason said the WHCA “looks forward to having its annual dinner” and added: “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the first amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.

  Guardian
Wrong!

That dinner was never a celebration of the first amendment - or at least not in the time I've been aware of it. It's a self-congratulatory, celebrity-studded affair that celebrates the ass-kissing role of modern media to the White House. Maybe if they start kissing more regularly, and make promises to only praise him at the roast, the Publicity Hound in Chief will change his mind by the April 19th date.
“We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.”
So their spotlight is going outside the MSM? Not likely. But, even their own don't want to be a part of it any more.
This week Bloomberg followed Vanity Fair and the New Yorker in saying it would not host a party tied to the dinner. The New York Times has not attended the event since 2008; the Guardian will not attend this year. This week, Buzzfeed reported that another favourite target of Trump’s, CNN, was considering pulling out as well.
The Inflatable Rooster must really be a chicken if he's not willing to take advantage of a widely-publicized event at which he would have a green light to rip into gathered press royalty.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Nasty Man




It's Sunday

Saturday, February 25, 2017

CHICKEN!


Fake News. Sad!






...


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Cartooning the Presidency


Baby Needs Attention

The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.

[...]

Staff members had one advantage as they aimed to manage candidate Trump’s media diet: He rarely reads anything online, instead preferring print newspapers — especially his go-to, The New York Times — and reading material his staff brought to his desk. Indeed, his media consumption habits were on full display during his roller-coaster news conference this past Thursday, when he continually remarked on what the media would write “tomorrow,” even as print outlets’ websites already had posted stories about his remarks.

[...]

Trump is also, however, a near-nonstop consumer of cable news, and his staff’s efforts were not always enough to keep Trump from tweeting on topics that were far from his campaign’s core message. Throughout the campaign, whatever messaging the candidate’s staff had planned was continually accompanied — and often overshadowed — by a string of feuds that played out both on and off Twitter.

[...]

During another damage-control mission, when former Miss Universe Alicia Machado took to the airwaves to call out Trump for calling her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping," the communications team scrambled to place a story in conservative-friendly outlets like Fox News, the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller and Breitbart.

[...]

And once they got the stories published, campaign officials with large numbers of Twitter followers would tweet them out.

[...]

While Trump still couldn't contain his Twitter-rage with Machado, and ended up tweeting about a mystery sex-tape of the Hillary Clinton surrogate, aides say they dialed back even more posts.

"He saw there was activity, so he didn't feel like he had to respond," the former campaign official said. "He sends out these tweets when he feels like people aren't responding enough for him."

[...]

A former senior campaign official said Nunberg and his successor, former communications director Jason Miller, were particularly skilled at using alternative media like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, Infowars and the Daily Caller to show Trump positive coverage.

  Politico
Maybe that's why he sounds like Breitbart and Alex Jones and has faulty information.
And if Trump becomes obsessed with a grudge, aides need to try and change the subject, friends say. Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House.

[...]

Asked whether aides and advisers liked [a particular Trump] tweet, one White House official said sarcastically: "What do you think?"

....but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

So Now, We're a Dictatorship


The subject was raised at an event hosted by Politico in December, before Spicer had been named as President Trump’s press secretary. Politico’s Jake Sherman raised the question of how a Trump White House might deal with outlets it didn’t like, given that some had been blocked from attending Trump campaign events.

“One of the things that the Trump campaign gained notoriety for, and was criticized for, was banning reporters and banning outlets,” Sherman said, noting that Politico was one of those outlets. “You’ve said, I think, that that’s not going to happen . . . ?”

“Look, there’s a big difference between a campaign where it is a private venue using private funds and a government entity,” Spicer replied. “I think we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government. That is something you can’t ban an entity from.”

“Conservative, liberal or otherwise,” he continued, “that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship. I think there is a vastly different model when it comes to government and what should be expected, and that’s on both sides.”

  WaPo
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

How Long Will WE Last?




Click graphics for stories.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

How Long Will He Last?

President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers.

[...]

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

[...]

“This is very much a repudiation of his new boss’s lexicon and worldview,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse.”

[...]

But Mr. McCants and others cautioned that General McMaster’s views would not necessarily be the final word in a White House where Mr. Trump and several of his top advisers view Islam in deeply xenophobic terms. Some aides, including the president’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, have warned of a looming existential clash between Islam and the Judeo-Christian world.

  NYT
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Ooops

Ignorance is not always bliss.




I wonder which staffer was savvy enough to recognize that.
Activists who distributed hundreds of Russian flags to Donald Trump's supporters during a conference speech on Friday have said they wanted to use the stunt to point out that Americans "should not have foreign powers picking [their] president”.

Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton said they had nearly 1000 custom-made Russian flags printed with the President’s name, which they handed out to Mr Trump's supporters during his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

[...]

Mr Chater told Talking Points Memo that the prank went better than expected because no one in the crowd at CPAC recognized the Russian Federation’s flag.

  Independent
Mssrs Charter and Clayton might want to change their names and move far away.
The activists are now selling the “Traitor Trump Flags” they distributed at the conference online.

In a Facebook post, Mr Charter said all profits from the flags would be used to “fund the Resistance”.

[...]

He added that they were members of the protest group Americans Take Action.
Which will now go on the terrorist watch list if it isn't already.

...but, do what you want...you will anyway.

No Muslims Allowed

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials at a Florida airport, a family friend told the Courier-Journal.

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.

[...]

>Mancini said he and the Ali family are contemplating filing a federal lawsuit and are currently trying to find out how many other people have been subjected to the same treatment as Ali Jr.

"Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion," he said. "This is classic customs profiling."

  
Fascist and unconstitutional?





...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Stirring Up the Fascists and Xenophobes

Donald Trump revelled in his capture of America’s conservative movement on Friday with a speech that carried all the anger, nativism and rampant populism of his election campaign.

  Guardian
One of these things is not like the other, to coin an old Sesame Street phrase: anger, nativism, populism. The Guardian is taking its place amongst right wing publications.
“We are Americans,” the US president said to rapturous applause, “and the future belongs to us.”
Sieg heil!
Trump told the country’s biggest annual gathering of conservative activists that he would crush the Islamic State, deport criminals, crack down on welfare, overhaul healthcare and put miners back to work.
A president for the twentieth century. Maybe the 19th.
He also lashed out again and at length at “the dishonest media” and promised ominously: “We’re going to do something about it.”
First they came for the journalists.
[H]e came to CPAC on a victory lap garlanded by attendees who shouted “Build the wall!”, referring to Trump’s planned wall on the Mexican border, which he promised would come “way, way ahead of schedule”. Chants of “Lock her up” also greeted his mention of defeated election rival Hillary Clinton.

[...]

Indeed, the raucous atmosphere resembled a Trump election rally, right down to his entry to the sound of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA and exit to the strains of the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
That's the one I don't understand. Seems a little ambiguous. Is that why we have him? Is that why his supporters are not getting what he promised? Why are they playing that Stones song? And why aren't the Stones telling him to cease and desist?
“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name.

“A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being, let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”
Is that a warning?
Yet he spoke just hours after members of his own staff held a press briefing in which they refused to attach their names to the information. Briefings are given reguarly with an instruction that they should be attributed to unnamed “senior administration officials”.

[...]

“It’s time for all Americans to get off welfare and get back to work,” he said. “You’re going to love it.”
Arbeit macht frei.
In a fierce defence of his “America first” vision, Trump declared: “There is no such thing as a global flag, a global anthem, or a global flag. This is the United States of America that I’m representing. I’m not representing the globe. I’m representing your country.”

Members of the audience – some wearing red “Make America great again” baseball caps – stood to clap, cheer and chant: “USA! USA!” Trump gave his trademark thumbs up sign.
Perhaps that will be the New Nazi salute.
The former Ukip leader and Trump cheerleader Nigel Farage was the next speaker, claiming that Brexit and Trump’s election win were “the beginning of a great global revolution” that would now continue across the rest of the west.

[...]

“Our real friends in the world speak English, have common law, and stand by us in times of crisis.”

He also claimed: “We’re not against anybody based on religion or ethnicity,” although he has a record of inflammatory claims about Muslims.
Our real friends speak English.

Thanks, Obama.
A US man has been charged with murder after opening fire in a crowded bar in Kansas, killing an Indian man and wounding two other men in an attack some witnesses said was racially motivated.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died at a hospital while Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, were in a stable condition after the attack on Wednesday night in Olathe, Kansas.

Witnesses said the gunman shouted "get out of my country" before he opened fire.

[...]

Hate crimes against Muslims in the US shot up 67 percent in 2015 to their highest levels since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to FBI statistics released in 2016.

  alJazeera
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Shut Down the Press and the Protesters

Freedom of speech has been under attack in this country for decades. The attacks are growing more earnest.
From Virginia to Washington state, legislators have introduced bills that would increase punishments for blocking highways, ban the use of masks during protests, indemnify drivers who strike protesters with their cars and, in at least once case, seize the assets of people involved in protests that later turn violent. The proposals come after a string of mass protest movements in the past few years, covering everything from police shootings of unarmed black men to the Dakota Access Pipeline to the inauguration of Trump.

  WaPo
Need I say, and after T-Rump is installed in the White House and the myriad anti-Trump protests taking place.
None of the proposed legislation has yet been passed into law, and several bills have already been shelved in committee.

Critics doubt whether many of the laws would pass Constitutional muster.
I should hope not. But T-Rump hasn't put a ninth justice on the bench yet.

A list of the states' various proposals is included in the article. Continue reading.



...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Friday, February 24, 2017

America's New Fascism

The White House blocked reporters from The New York Times, CNN and Politico from a press briefing on Friday, February 24, though representatives from conservative outlets were allowed in.

According to reporting from all three outlets, among others, staffers allowed in a handpicked number of journalists from outlets including Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, which all have conservative leanings. More mainstream outlets like ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Fox News were also allowed in. (The Los Angeles Times was also barred, according to KTLA.)

[...]

Reporters from the Associated Press and Time magazine, who were allowed into the briefing, opted not to take part in the event in a show of solidarity for the snubbed outlets.

  US Magazine


Shut down the press and the protesters.  Next: throw out the intellectuals?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

UPDATE:  In December, press secretary Spicer said that banning certain media access is the mark of a dictatorship.

FURTHER UPDATE:  Al Jazeera was also one of the media organizations barred from the briefing.

The Reason Is Now Clear

Those anti-FBI tweets this morning had to come from something that displeased Himself. And, here it is...
The FBI rejected a recent request by the White House to dispute media reports that Trump campaign officials had regular contacts with Russian intelligence officials before the election, CNN reported.

[...]

[Reince] Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that a story in The New York Times about alleged connections “was total baloney.”

But CNN reported Thursday, citing “multiple U.S. officials briefed on the matter,” that the FBI declined to publicly corroborate Priebus, despite a rare request from the White House to do so.

  The Hill
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Jobs Without Benefits

A T-Rump trade-off?
Workers went on strike at Momentive [Performance Materials factory in Waterford] last November hoping to fight off a new contract that would have slashed their healthcare and retirement benefits. The industrial action started in the white-hot heat of the election, and many of Momentive’s workers voted for Donald Trump, whose appeal to blue-collar workers helped Trump comfortably beat Hillary Clinton in Saratoga County, Waterford’s district.

The plant has another tie to Trump. Since it was sold by General Electric in 2006, one of its major investors has been Blackstone, the private equity firm run by Stephen Schwarzman, Donald Trump’s billionaire “jobs czar”. He is one of six billionaires – including the largest shareholder, Leon Black of Apollo Global – listed as Momentive backers. Between them they have a personal fortune of $24.6bn.

“I would pray to God that Donald Trump would reconsider what he is doing and have a talk with some of these people, especially Mr Schwarzman, about what is going on here in Waterford,” Dominick Patrignani, president of the IUE/CWA Local 81359 union, told the Times Union as negotiations unfolded.

  Guardian
To quote Bon Jovi: And the savior has just left town.
Now, after 105 days on strike“I was naive to this. I didn’t realise they were doing this all across the country,” said Robert Hohn, a Momentive employee for 16 years. The new deal leaves Hohn with an uncertain future as he attempts to cope with already outsized medical bills for his disabled wife. “We are not looking to own boats and yachts and stuff like that. We are looking to pay our mortgage. We are looking to send our kids and our grandkids to college. That’s all we are looking for it’s just something basic, simple, the everyday American dream needs.” and a tense, highly public battle, the billionaires have won. Momentive’s workers returned to the factory last week following a few days of “sensitivity training” to help them work with “scab” labour brought in to cover during the strike. The deal they struck has left many of them unhappy and worried about not just their futures but those of the many workers in similar situations across the US who contacted them during the strike.

[...]

In 2008, Momentive slashed production workers’ wages by 25%-50%. In 2013 the company froze pensions for workers younger than 50. This time they came after healthcare, especially retiree healthcare.

[...]

“Given the situation to make the right decision, the correct moral decision, they refused to do it. I mean, it’s plain and simple. We work in a hazardous environment and here we are fighting for healthcare.”

[...]

In the meantime, the fortunes of Momentive’s owners and senior management have grown. The current CEO, the aptly named John Boss, took home $5.4m in salary and other compensation in 2015. His 2016 salary will be disclosed shortly; no one is expecting him to take a pay cut.

[...]

Ignoring minor bumps and dips, it’s fair to say that a quarter of the US workforce (those with no more than high school education) have seen their wages barely keep up with inflation for more than 40 years – a period that enjoyed decades of spectacular economic growth, particularly for the top 1%.

The capitalist's dream.
This is dirty, dangerous work. Workers talk about high rates of cancer among their colleagues, past and present. One wrong move could spell catastrophe not just for the plant but for upstate New York. As with miners, steelworkers and other blue-collar workers, the quid pro quo used to be higher wages and better benefits. Not any more.
So....what happens if the screwed over, resentful, distracted workers don't take such good care on the job?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

The Trump Doctrine at Work

Say what's on the top of your head and "see what happens."
After months of turbulence and uncertainty between the world’s two biggest economies, relations appeared to settle two weeks ago after the US president and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, held their first phone conversation since the billionaire’s inauguration.

However, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that also saw Trump reiterate his desire for American nuclear supremacy, the US president, who has attacked China over trade, Taiwan, North Korea and the South China Sea, threatened to undermine the tentative rapprochement with a fresh verbal assault.

“I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said.

The president’s comments were reported just hours after the incoming treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, made apparently contradictory remarks signalling that the White House had no immediate plans to label China a currency manipulator – something Trump had pledged to do on his first day in office.

[...]

Chinese scholars expressed frustration at the president’s allegation. “He has such a big mouth. What can we do about it? Let him talk,” said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University.

Economists in and outside China reject Trump’s claim – repeatedly aired during his campaign – that China is guilty of purposefully forcing down the value of its currency, the yuan, in order to boost its own exporters and hamstring US manufacturers.

  Guardian
And why wouldn't they? Unless...
Christopher Balding, a Peking University finance professor, said: “China is clearly manipulating its currency, there’s no two ways about it. But at this point they are essentially propping up the value of their currency rather than manipulating it lower to gain an unfair trade advantage.

[...]

"[W]e need to very clearly distinguish between manipulating a currency to gain an unfair trade advantage – which they were pretty clearly doing maybe a decade to five years ago but they are clearly not doing that these days – and propping up the currency.”
...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Who Needs Air and Water?







Several people familiar with the move told the newspaper that the language was axed from an earlier draft of the order after Ivanka and Kushner intervened.

Trump is expected to sign at least two orders within days aimed at unraveling former President Barack Obama's environmental and climate regulations, according to the newspaper.

[...]

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday declined to say whether Trump plans to withdraw from the accord, deferring to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who the Journal noted backed the Paris deal while serving as CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.

  The Hill
Which will be okay, as long as he doesn't sign his name to something that says there's no climate change.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Now He's Going to Piss Off the FBI

What IS his ultimate game?





 

Sad!

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

UPDATE:  Aha!  This is the reason for those anti-FBI tweets this morning.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Putin As Nemesis

As Adam Johnson detailed in the Los Angeles Times last week, the constant effort to attribute Trump to foreign dynamics is devoted to avoiding the reality that U.S. policy and culture is what gave rise to him. Nothing achieves that goal better than continually attributing Trump – and every other negative outcome – to the secret work of Kremlin leaders.

[...]

The U.S. political, media, military and intelligence classes are still full of people seeking confrontation with Russia; included among them are military officials whom Trump has appointed to key positions.

[...]

And you can only propagate demonization rhetoric about a foreign adversary for so long before triggering, wittingly or otherwise, very dangerous confrontations between the two.

  Glenn Greenwald


Not a day goes by without a big new article on “Putin’s Revenge”, “The Secret Source of Putin’s Evil”, or “10 Reasons Why Vladimir Putin Is a Terrible Human Being”.

Putin’s recent ubiquity has brought great prominence to the practice of Putinology. This enterprise – the production of commentary and analysis about Putin and his motivations, based on necessarily partial, incomplete and sometimes entirely false information – has existed as a distinct intellectual industry for over a decade. It kicked into high gear after the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, but in the past few months, as allegations of Russian meddling in the election of President Donald Trump have come to dominate the news, Putinology has outdone itself. At no time in history have more people with less knowledge, and greater outrage, opined on the subject of Russia’s president.

[...]

And what does Putinology tell us? It turns out that it has produced seven distinct hypotheses about Putin. None of them is entirely wrong, but then none of them is entirely right (apart from No 7). Taken together, they tell us as much about ourselves as about Putin. They paint a portrait of an intellectual class – our own – on the brink of a nervous breakdown. But let’s take them in order.

  Guardian
Continue reading.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

What's the Matter with Arizona?!

Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.

SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.

[...]

By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events.

[...]

The 17-13 party-line vote sends the bill to the House.

  Arizona Capitol Times
I assume the ACLU is waiting in the wings.

Here Comes CPAC

Trump will appear as the Republican president at the conservative confab that mixes policy, paranoia and partying in equal measures.

By day, it draws college students and ardent activists to speeches from elected officials and panels on topics such as If Heaven Has a Gate, a Wall and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?

By night, the college kids, many of whom at past conferences have been passionate libertarian supporters of Ron and Rand Paul, start drinking and can go to parties where top Republican operative Grover Norquist tends bar, or a disgraced congressman can be spotted lounging in a hot tub.

[...]

Despite the controversy surrounding the revoked invitation of former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannipoulos to speak, the site’s former editor and current senior White House aide, Steve Bannon, has a prime speaking slot.

[...]

Seven Breitbart employees will appear either as panelists or as interviewers. And, of course, the biggest speaker is Trump.

  Guardian
Literally, I'm sure.

Here's the schedule of speakers and hilarious topics such as:

If heaven has a gate, a wall, and extreme vetting, why can’t America?
When Did WWIII Begin? Part A: Threats at Home (Part B is "threats abroad")
Repealing Obama’s banking monstrosity and making money work again: making money great again


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Fake Terrorism

Yet another in the long list of "terror" attacks foiled by the FBI, who created it in the first place.  (Maybe the Donald isn't up yet.  It's not mentioned in his tweets this morning.)
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE proudly announced the first FBI terror arrest of the the Trump administration on Tuesday: An elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb — and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family.

Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, didn’t have the $20 he needed to buy the 9-volt batteries, duct tape, and roofing nails his new FBI friends wanted him to get, so they gave him the money. The agents noted in a criminal complaint that Hester, who at one point brought his two small children to a meeting because he didn’t have child care, continued smoking marijuana despite professing to be a devout Muslim.

  Intercept
Continue reading

If you're interested in previous similar plots, click the "phony terror plots" link in the labels section below.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The T-Rump Wall

Mexico will host its first high-profile Donald Trump envoys this week with at least one consolation: the proposed border wall is itself walled in, for now, by Washington bureaucracy.

Federal agencies are reportedly resisting the idea and Congress is hesitant to fund it, leaving the president fighting a lonely battle to keep his campaign promise.

Instead of a 2,000-mile “big, beautiful wall”, Trump may emerge from Washington’s policy labyrinth with a fence covering a few hundred miles.

  Guardian
A perfect metaphor for T-Rump himself.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Consider This

[Milo] Yiannopoulos has been a longtime advocate for Donald Trump, whom he calls “daddy”.

  Guardian
And he doesn't call any of Trump's female partners "mommy", does he?

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Better Than Bush Is Nothing to Brag About

Translators are having a tough go of it.
A “readability analysis” of presidential campaign speeches by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute (LTI) revealed last March that Trump’s lexical richness was the lowest — at seventh-grade level — of his rival candidates and past U.S. presidents.

The study also described his grammatical level as grade 5.7, the second-worst after George W. Bush, who barely topped the fifth-grade level.

[...]

But when he speaks off-the-cuff [...] interpreters are most likely to find themselves scratching their heads, with Trump frequently jumping from one topic to another and gravitating toward insults and vulgarities.

[...]

“If Trump is not making sense, you don’t get to make sense, either. If his language is coarse, that’s the way you translate him,” she said.

Now a professor emeritus at Tokyo’s Rikkyo University, Torikai said she was loath to imagine herself interpreting for the new president, whose sexist and nationalistic attitudes are anathema to her.

“There is nothing he says that I can agree with. Frankly, I think he is a very dangerous person who never should’ve become the U.S. president in the first place. It would be absolutely intolerable for me to lend my own voice to disseminate his views,” Torikai said.

[...]

Miwako Hibi, a broadcast interpreter of more than 20 years, said it was “very hard” to follow Trump’s logic — or lack thereof — particularly his tendency to mention proper nouns out of context.

[...]

“I mistranslated [when he mentioned Secretariat],” Hibi said. “It didn’t even occur to me that he was talking about a race horse. … It’s really hard to follow his train of thought.”

  Japan Times
Because it's not a train. It's just the caboose.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

But It's OK Now


Monday, February 20, 2017

Maverick McCain

John McCain—the original Maverick, ol’ Walnuts, the brave teller of truths—is somehow once again positioning himself, to credulous journalists, as a renegade Republican who isn’t afraid to buck his party, despite his three-decade record of not ever actually bucking his party in any meaningful way.

[...]

McCain has supported every one of Trump’s nominees besides one: budget director Mick Mulvaney, who lost McCain’s support because he has supported defense budget cuts. McCain’s sole inviolable principle is that we must spend an unlimited amount of money on war with everyone forever.

[...]

[T]he sum total of McCain’s record of brave or maverick-y actions consists of “giving good quote to reporters.” That’s it.

[...]

McCain was and always had been a mostly unremarkable party-line Republican, whose obvious discomfort with the far-right was not actually supported by the backbone necessary to challenge the far-right. Now, with a deranged Republican president and a wholly Republican Congress, McCain will once again try to paint himself as a voice of reason and a courageous truth-teller, while not actually doing anything.

[...]

McCain is not going to “fight” Trump. He’s going to say various anti-Trump things, on TV and to reporters, while never using his very real power as a senior Republican senator to interrupt the implementation of Trump’s, and his party’s, eschatological agenda.

  Alex Pareene @ The Concourse

The title of this article is:



...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Welcome to America

Did I say welcome? I meant, we don't want your kind here.
A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the United States.

Juhel Miah and a group of children and other teachers were about to take off from Iceland on 16 February on their way to the US when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik. The previous week, on the 10 February, a US appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The trip proceeded as planned but pupils and colleagues from Llangatwg comprehensive in Aberdulais were left shocked and distressed after the maths teacher, who had valid visa documentation, was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.

[...]

A council spokesman said Miah was left feeling belittled at what it described as “an unjustified act of discrimination”. The council said the teacher is a British citizen and does not have dual nationality.

[...]

“We are appalled by the treatment of Mr Miah and are demanding an explanation. The matter has also been raised with our local MP.

“No satisfactory reason has been provided for refusing entry to the United States – either at the airport in Iceland or subsequently at the US embassy in Reykjavik. Mr Miah attempted to visit the embassy but was denied access to the building."

  Guardian

Think of the Queen

The US president was compared to a “petulant child” and had his intelligence questioned by [British] MPs during a three-hour debate triggered after more than 1.8m people signed a petition urging Theresa May to cancel her invitation.

So many politicians packed into Westminster Hall for the debate that they had to have their speeches limited to five minutes each.

[...]

Labour’s Paul Flynn said that only two US presidents had been accorded a state visit to Britain in more than half a century and it was “completely unprecedented” that Trump had been issued his within seven days of his presidency.

Flynn – who started the debate because he is on the petitions committee – said Trump would hardly be silenced by the invitation being rescinded, accusing him of a “ceaseless incontinence of free speech”.

[...]

Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, warned against sneering at the 61 million Americans who voted for the president, describing them as “the forgotten people”.

  Guardian
But definitely not forgettable.
Crispin Blunt, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, said the Queen would be embarrassed if the invitation was now withdrawn.

Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough, told colleagues that he was going to make a “difficult argument” and then claimed that Trump’s racism and misogyny had been overstated. “Which one of us has not made some ridiculous sexual comment at some point in his past,” he said, prompting an angry response from female MPs.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Going Rogue: Twitter Anonymity

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS Donald Trump did when he took office was temporarily gag several federal agencies, forbidding them from tweeting.

In response, self-described government workers created a wave of rogue Twitter accounts that share real facts (not to be confused with “alternative facts,” otherwise known as “lies”) about climate change and science. As a rule, the people running these accounts chose to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation — but, depending on how they created and use their accounts, they are not necessarily anonymous to Twitter itself, or to anyone Twitter shares data with.

[...]

The FBI, a domestic intelligence agency that claims the power to spy on anyone based on suspicions that don’t come close to probable cause, has a long, dark history of violating the rights of Americans. And now it reports directly to President Trump, who is a petty, revenge-obsessed authoritarian with utter disrespect for the courts and the rule of law.

[...]

If you plan on following these steps [to maintain your anonymity on Twitter] you should make sure you understand the purpose of them, in case you need to improvise. I also can’t guarantee that these techniques will protect your anonymity — there are countless ways that things can go wrong, many of them social rather than technical. But I hope you’ll at least have a fighting chance at keeping your real identity private.

  The Intercept
Continue reading.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

President of All the People

By the way, the White House Spanish site is still not functioning.

Can't wait to see what it looks like if they ever decide to put it back up.  Perhaps it will have a self-reporting form and nothing else.

...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fake News!


That's a good question:  "Who would believe this?"  Trump Turds.  That's who.  The people at that "rally".  He's gone back to rallies because that's the only place he gets adulation and applause.

Waiting for T-Rump to Take Credit


So, How's It Going?

Some of the malaise can be attributed to the growing pains that plague any new administration. Some is said to be down to the factional struggles, imported to the White House from Trump’s businesses. And much is believed to be on the shoulders of the capricious, egocentric, volatile president, the first in US history to have been elected with no political or military experience.

Yet both Trump and his supporters deny the dysfunction, pointing to executive orders, a supreme court nomination and the scrapping of a Pacific trade deal at breakneck speed.

“Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”

Sleeping just four or five hours a night, Trump’s manic pace has made the world’s head spin. He had an angry phone call with the prime minister of Australia, a Twitter spat that convinced the president of Mexico to cancel a meeting, and consulted the prime minister of Japan about a North Korean missile launch in full view of dinner guests at his Florida country club, Mar-a-Lago. He approved, over dinner, a commando raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of a Navy Seal and an eight-year-old girl.

At home, he was caught on live television making a false claim about his electoral victory, press releases have been littered with spelling mistakes, and the president has fought Twitter battles with everyone from senators to Arnold Schwarzenegger to a department store that dropped his daughter’s products.

Then there were the White House contradictions around the abrupt departure of Flynn, who misled the vice-president over his conversations with the Russian ambassador. Then Trump’s pick for labour secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after facing questions over his personal background and business record.

Not even in his fourth week, there was the president’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, an order widely denounced and sowing disarray and demonstrations at airports. Trump sacked his acting attorney general for refusing to defend the ban, attacked the courts for pausing it to weigh its lawfulness, and insisted this week that it was “a very smooth rollout”.

“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” he said at a rambling, impromptu press conference.

[...]

But operations have also been hampered by competing interests and seething mutual suspicion. Media reports describe paranoid staff using a secret chat app that erases messages as soon as they are read.

[...]

Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president in 2008, told reporters this week that “whole environment is one of dysfunction in the Trump administration”.

  Guardian
Sure. But he got himself captured. So...

So That's How It's Going to Be

A top aide to President Trump’s housing secretary nominee, Ben Carson, was fired and led out of the department’s headquarters by security on Wednesday after writings critical of Mr. Trump surfaced in his vetting, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Shermichael Singleton, who was one of the few black conservatives in the Trump administration, had been working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development since Jan. 23 as a senior adviser.

[...]

“My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,” he wrote in The Hill in October 2016.

The firing was reminiscent of the decision by the White House to block a senior Republican foreign policy adviser, Elliott Abrams, from becoming deputy secretary of state. The move came after Mr. Abrams’s anti-Trump writings came to the president’s attention.

[...]

A person close to Mr. Singleton said an initial vetting of the 26-year-old by HUD and White House personnel had come up with his criticism. He answered a number of questions regarding the article and expressed remorse for the piece and support for Mr. Trump.

  NYT
Yeah, that was his first mistake.
On Wednesday, Mr. Singleton was presented again with the piece and told it was the reason for his termination.
Now how stupid does he feel? Black man groveling, then whacked anyway.
Mr. Singleton plans to return to a previous job he held as a vice president with Howard Stirk Holdings, a media company run by Armstrong Williams, a conservative media personality and close friend of Mr. Carson’s.
It's hard for me to understand why a black man would be a Republican in the first place. Hard to feel sorry when someone who won't stand up for himself gets canned. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the reason here is abhorrent and disturbing.

You must not criticize the T-Rump.

When he can get his Supreme Court nominee in, perhaps he can sign an EO firing all journalists who do not speak glowingly of him. He'll start with the prize-winning journalist - black man with some dignity - who wrote this:
Dear Mr. So-Called President:

So let me explain to you how this works.

[...]

The bottom line is, you were elected.

And this does entitle you to certain things. You get your own airplane. You get free public housing. You get greeted with snappy salutes. And a band plays when you walk into the room.

But there is one thing to which your election does not entitle you. It does not entitle you to do whatever pops into your furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked. You and other members of the Fourth Reich seem to be having difficulty understanding this.

[...]

Three weeks ago, your chief strategist, Steve Bannon, infamously declared that news media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

[...]

Just last Sunday, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that “our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

What you do “will not be questioned?” Lord, have mercy.

[...]

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Meaning you and all the other trolls you have brought clambering up from under their bridges. Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is the United States of America. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Nation of laws, not of individuals? First Amendment? Freedom of the press? Any of that ringing a bell?

Let’s be brutally clear here. If you were a smart guy with unimpeachable integrity and a good heart who was enacting wise policies for the betterment of all humankind, you’d still be subject to sharp scrutiny from news media, oversight from Congress, restraint by the judiciary — and public opinion.

And you, of course, are none of those things.

[...]

I know, too, that you’re accustomed to being emperor of your own fiefdom. Must be nice. Your name on the wall, the paychecks, the side of the building. You tell people to make something happen, and it does. You yell at a problem, and it goes away. Nobody talks back. I can see how it would be hard to give that up.

But you did. You see, you’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses.

[...]

Yet you and your coterie of cartoon autocrats think you’re going to cow them into silence and compliance by ordering them to shut up and obey? Well, as a freeborn American, I can answer that in two syllables flat.

Hell no.

  Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Hell yeah.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Business with Russians vs. Business in Russia

At a raucous press conference on Thursday, President Trump faced a volley of questions about his and his inner circle’s ties to Russia. At one point, he declared: “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia.”

And he’s right. Trump has a long history of trying to do business in Russia, but despite many efforts and plenty of boasting and angling, he hasn’t managed to land a single major real estate deal there.

[...]

"Five separate times Trump attempted Russian projects, hotels, apartments, and retail on the grandest scale.

[...]

But that’s only part of the picture. He has partnered with Russian financiers on major projects elsewhere around the world. Russian investors have been instrumental in helping him cope with all the credit problems he has thanks to his serial bankruptcies. And a number of Trump’s former and current advisers have had financial ties to Russia.

As of now, there isn’t any kind of evidence that suggests Trump has some spectacular financial prize to gain by warming to Russia. There’s no particular reason to think that getting friendly with Vladimir Putin ensures something for his real estate empire that couldn’t be gained by cozying up to, say, the president of Argentina.

Still, Trump’s business ties to Russia are striking nonetheless. Without venturing into conjecture about hidden business interests, it’s clear that Trump has an affinity for doing deals with Russians. Furthermore, it’s clear that his affinity for doing business with them is intertwined with how he perceives them politically; as Franklin Foer points out in Slate, Trump’s public affection for Vladimir Putin corresponds with his dependence on Russian investors.

[...]

[I]t’s clear that Trump’s attempts at making deals in Russia have gone beyond business.

[...]

In his essay for Slate, Foer recalls how Trump planted fabricated stories in the tabloid press about how Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was going to make a stop by Trump Tower during a visit to New York in 1988. But in a bizarre turn of events, a Gorbachev impersonator did show up at his hotel, and Trump enthusiastically greeted him, thinking he was the real deal.

  MSNBC
Flim-flam fool.
That being said, Trump did have a few modest victories in Russia. He has made a little bit of cash from allowing Drinks Americas Holdings to use his name to sell 8,000 cases of vodka in Russia.

More notably, he brought the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow in 2013, in partnership with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov.


[...]

In 2008, Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million. On the campaign trail, Trump at one point claimed it was his only dealing with Russia, but that’s not accurate.
Do you mean "it's a lie"?
"And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There's indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble."

Money from Russia was particularly important to Trump’s business interests because his many bankruptcies had taken a toll on his creditworthiness. Bankers on Wall Street became unwilling to lend him money due to what they termed “the Donald risk.”
Read more