Notes and Comment Blog


Paid great respect to Wall

Jan 22nd, 2017 11:40 am | By

The Daily DonnieOnTwitter:

Just look at that horrible horrible picture. The scowl, the fist – and that’s a picture they choose to highlight, and it’s the picture he chooses to tweet at us. He wants to be seen as a disgusting bully; he likes that image of himself.

Who does that? Hitler did it, Mussolini did it, but besides them?

President Angry Bully. That’s how he chooses to present himself to us. It’s horrifying.

“paid great respect to Wall” – god what a stupid little man he is. He must have seen the news stories about how he stood next to the wall commemorating agents killed on the job and whined about his grievances at the media, and so he chose to say Nuh uh, he “paid great respect to Wall” – which simply disrespects it all over again. It’s sandwiched between two claims about his vast popularity, and it’s empty and offhand – not how one does “respect.”

In other words how dare people protest him. Yes, we know, and you can’t stop us, not unless you do go full-fascist.

Also, “Celebs hurt cause badly” is pretty funny coming from him. If he were not a “celeb” he would still be a failed casino-builder.

Now we get to the important stuff – his tv ratings. They’re awesome, dude! Best ever! Top celeb!

Two hours after the whine about the protests. Someone must have had a word in his shell-like about the troublesome fact that we have rights to speak and gather and protest in this country, the one he presumes to govern. It’s a tad disconcerting that he needs to be reminded.



Trump is no Republican. He’s just a big fat ego.

Jan 21st, 2017 5:43 pm | By

Robert Reich on Facebook today:

I had breakfast recently with a friend who’s a former Republican member of Congress. Here’s what he said:

Him: Trump is no Republican. He’s just a big fat ego.

Me: Then why didn’t you speak out against him during the campaign?

Him: You kidding? I was surrounded by Trump voters. I’d have been shot.

Me: So what now? What are your former Republican colleagues going to do?

Him (smirking): They’ll play along for a while.

Me: A while?

Him: They’ll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he’s such a fool he’ll want to take credit for everything.

Me: And then what?

Him (laughing): They like Pence.

Me: What do you mean?

Him: Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind.

Me: So what?

Him: So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will …

Me: They impeach him?

Him: You bet. They pull the trigger.

They can of course do a lot of damage in that time they “play along.”



A calculated attempt to delegitimize any questioning of Trump by a free press

Jan 21st, 2017 5:11 pm | By

CNN is caustic about Spicer’s rant.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said, contradicting all available data.

Aerial photos have indicated that former president Barack Obama’s first inauguration attracted a much larger crowd. Nielsen ratings show that Obama also had a bigger television audience.

Spicer said, without any evidence, that some photos were “intentionally framed” to downplay Trump’s crowd.

Evidence! Pah! Absolute monarchs don’t bother with evidence.

He also expressed objections to specific Twitter posts from journalists. And he said, “we’re going to hold the press accountable,” partly by reaching the public through social networking sites.

Spicer, at times almost yelling while reading a prepared statement, took no questions. CNNMoney called his cell phone a few minutes later; he did not answer.

Some longtime White House correspondents were stunned by the tirade.

Glenn Thrush of The New York Times wrote on Twitter, “Jaw meet floor.”

“I’ve run out of adjectives,” wrote Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post said Spicer’s assertion about “what you guys should be writing” was “chilling.”

They’re building the resistance.

Ari Fleischer, who had the same job as Spicer during the George W. Bush administration, tweeted, “This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching.”

And Brian Fallon, who was in line to become press secretary if Hillary Clinton had won, wrote, “Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.”

Former Democratic congressman Steve Israel, who recently joined CNN as a commentator, said, “This isn’t a petty attack on the press. It’s a calculated attempt to delegitimize any questioning of @realDonaldTrump by a free press.”

Spicer’s statement came two hours after Trump spoke at CIA headquarters and described his “running war with the media.” Trump spent several minutes of that speech complaining about news coverage.

So I guess Trump will be even more furious tomorrow, because of this coverage we’re reading right now? And Spicer will shout even louder? And the press will report on that?

Close the shutters. Lay in plenty of chocolate and coffee. Make a will.



The biggest crowd ever, period

Jan 21st, 2017 4:59 pm | By

Trump’s press secretary started the new administration by giving the press a damn good scolding, and then lying about the inauguration. They’re not wasting any time steering the ship onto the rocks.

President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, on Saturday used his first media briefing to angrily lambaste the press for its coverage of the new administration, claiming reporters had deliberately sought to minimize the “enormous” crowd at Trump’s swearing-in on Friday.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

Of course, that’s not true, or even close to true.

In a highly unusual move, Spicer left the briefing without taking questions, ignoring reporters who shouted questions at him about the massive crowd in town for the Women’s March on Washington, which was designed to protest Trump’s presidency.

Spicer’s comments on crowd size echoed those of his boss a couple of hours earlier, when Trump appeared at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. Trump said that the “dishonest” media had underreported a crowd that, from the dais, he said “looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

Which of course he knows how to tell. From the dais.

And he said that more people used the Metro system in Washington for Trump’s inaugural than for Obama’s 2013 swearing-in. That conflicted with information released Saturday by Metro.

The agency said 570,557 people took trips in the system between its early 4 a .m. Friday opening through midnight closing. That compared with 1.1 million trips for Obama’s 2009  inaugural and 782,000 in 2013, according to Metro.

But he gets to make up the numbers, because he works for the prezzydent. It’s force majeure, or something. Crème Brûlée. Volte face. One of those things.

Maybe it’s all been a big joke, and he’s going home on Monday.



The sacrifices he talked about were his own

Jan 21st, 2017 4:38 pm | By

A guy with broad experience in intelligence comments on Trump’s visit to the CIA:

President Trump at the CIA was appalling.

The sacrifices he talked about were his own: mistreatment by the “dishonest” media; self-glorification (“Trust me, I’m like a smart person”); the size of his inaugural crowd (“It looked like a million, a million and a half people” on the Mall) (which isn’t true); his narcissistic boasting of being on the cover of Time magazine.

Unfocused, except on himself. Untruthful, except perhaps acknowledging where he was. And completely at sea as to why on earth he was there. Except to fish for compliments, and the kind of admiration he craves like an attention-starved child. And maybe to draw attention away from the massive Women’s March on Washington crowd dominating our nation’s capital.

In short he’s not doing well so far. Impeachment may happen sooner than we think.



God stopped the rain for Donnie from Queens

Jan 21st, 2017 4:12 pm | By

The Post gives us a nice opening paragraph:

On his first full day in office, President Trump visited the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters to express his gratitude for the intelligence community, which he had repeatedly railed against and recently likened to Nazis.

“I’m so grateful to you, you Nazis.” Not entirely convincing, perhaps.

What Trump delivered Saturday was a campaign-style, stream-of-consciousness airing of grievances — at the Senate for delaying confirmation of his nominees; at critics for questioning whether he is smart and vigorous; and at journalists, whom he called “the most dishonest human beings on earth” and accused of lying about the size of his inauguration crowd.

Well at least we know we’re annoying him. That may be our only consolation for awhile, but then again, he may get so annoyed he flounces back to Trump Tower for good.

Trump claimed falsely that the crowd for his swearing-in stretched down the National Mall to the Washington Monument and totaled more than 1 million people. It did not. Trump accused television networks of showing “an empty field” and reporting that he drew just 250,000 people to witness Friday’s ceremony.

“It looked like a million, a million and a half people,” Trump said, falsely claiming that his crowd “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”

He’s stupid, he’s prickly, and he’s a liar.

Trump also misrepresented what happened to the weather during his swearing in. He said he felt a few drops of rain as he started delivering his address, but then, “God looked down and, and he said we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.. . .The truth is it stopped immediately.”

Light rain continued to fall through the first few minutes of the speech — and VIP’s at the dais took out ponchos, including former president George W. Bush — and then quit. Trump said there was a downpour right after he finished, which did not occur.

Jezus what a goon he is.

Speaking from the lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, before a wall of stars honoring intelligence officers who died in service, Trump declared, “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth, right?”

No. No, you piece of shit – you are.

His audience was three to four hundred CIA people who were there because they’d signed up for it, so probably fans of his.

But aspects of his appearance are likely to be unsettling to the broader workforce, including his suggestion that the agency has been losing in the battle against the Islamic State and other terror groups, and his decision to score political points unrelated to the CIA’s mission in front of its most sacred setting — a wall emblazoned with more than 100 carved stars to mark the deaths of agency operatives killed in the line of duty.

It’s what a narcissist does. Trump thinks everyone is as fascinated by him as he is.

“That was one of the more disconcerting speeches I’ve seen,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official who was not present for the Trump speech but watched it by video. “He could have kept it very simple and said, ‘I’m here to build some bridges.’ But he spent 10 seconds on that and the rest was on the crowd size,” the official said, referring to Trump’s repeated complaints that the media had undercounted the turnout for his inauguration.

Nothing about Alec Baldwin?

“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump,” Trump said. “There is nobody.”

He added, “I am so behind you. I know maybe sometimes you haven’t gotten the backing that you’ve wanted and you’re going to get so much backing. Maybe you’re going to say, ‘Please, don’t give us so much backing. Mr. President, please, we don’t need so much backing.’”

See what he did there? He said he’s going to be so generous that they’ll actually beg him to stop. Can he use the language or what.

He talked about Pompeo and Flynn for awhile but then he got back on topic.

From there, Trump delved into a series of personal grievances. He claimed to “know a lot about West Point” and said his uncle was a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I’m a person that very strongly believes in academics,” Trump said. “They say, ‘Is Donald Trump an intellectual?’ Trust me. I’m, like, a smart person.”

Nah, they don’t. They say Trump is thick as two short planks. The fact that he’s not an intellectual is too obvious to discuss.



The deification

Jan 21st, 2017 7:22 am | By

The Sunday Times:

The Times had a wrap around photo of First Lady Melania and Deputy Mike Pence, along with some of Trump’s family

So Trump is God now?

TIME just goes with the full frontal fascist:

Time magazine published this special edition showing Trump punching the air after he finished his inauguration speech

The New Zealand Herald also likes the scowl with the puny fist:

The New Zealand Herald ran an image of Trump punching the air with the headline: “Hello Mr President”



Trump lied about that whole thing

Jan 21st, 2017 6:50 am | By

Trump said he would transfer his companies to a family trust by the 20th. Of course he lied. He hasn’t done it. It wouldn’t be nearly good enough if he had, but he hasn’t even done it. That thing he said he was going to do. Pro Publica looked into it.

To transfer ownership of his biggest companies, Trump has to file a long list of documents in Florida, Delaware and New York. We asked officials in each of those states whether they have received the paperwork. As of 3:15 p.m. today, the officials said they have not.

Trump and his associates “are not doing what they said they would do,” said Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “And even that was completely inadequate.”

ProPublica’s questions to the transition team were referred to an outside public relations firm, Hiltzik Strategies, which declined to comment. The president’s team did not allow reporters to view documents, which they said were legal records separating Trump from his eponymous business empire. Dillon’s law firm, Morgan Lewis, has not released the records and they declined further comment, saying it doesn’t comment on client issues.

None of that is ok. They shouldn’t be using a PR firm for this. The PR firm shouldn’t be refusing to comment. They shouldn’t be hiding what’s in the “documents” (which is probably nothing). Trump’s lawyer’s firm should not be stonewalling.

ProPublica looked at more than a dozen of Trump’s largest companies, which are registered or incorporated in three states. Officials in New York and Delaware said documents are logged as soon as they are received. In Florida, officials told us there is typically a day or two before documents are logged into the system.

Here is what we found:

  • Business filings for Trump Organization LLC, Trump’s primary holding company, had not been changed, according to New York’s Department of State. Wollman Rink Operations LLC, which runs the Wollman Rink in Central Park through an agreement with New York City, hasn’t been updated either. Trump is listed as the sole authorized representative of the company.

Read on.



An abundance of caution

Jan 21st, 2017 6:11 am | By

The selflessness and public spirit of the new administration, along with its dignity and good taste:

Visitors to the newly revamped White House website get more than a simple rundown of first lady Melania Trump’s charitable works and interests — they also get a list of her magazine cover appearances and details on her jewelry line at QVC.

Her biography starts with traditional details, such as her date of birth in her native country of Slovenia and information about her background as a model. That’s when the brief backgrounder takes a promotional turn. The website includes a lengthy list of brands that hired her as a model and several of the magazines in which she appeared, including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

It is not uncommon for the White House to note the accomplishments of the first lady in her official biography, but Trump’s decision to include a detailed list of her media appearances and branded retail goods is unusual.

Well, and let’s get real: being photographed is not an “accomplishment.” It’s just being photographed.

Early on Friday, the website listed the brand names of Trump’s jewelry lines sold on QVC. But the website was updated after the publication of this story to remove any mention of QVC.

The original passage read: “Melania is also a successful entrepreneur. In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, ‘Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,’ on QVC,” the site read.

The updated version of the site now says: “Melania is also a successful entrepreneur. In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection.”

My god they are so stupid – they just cannot get it right. Remember when Ivanka Trump promoted the bracelet she wore in a 60 Minutes interview? When there was an uproar they said it was just some underling at the company. Cue hollow laughter. I suppose in a day or two they’ll be selling their unwashed bed sheets on eBay.

The changes come at a time when questions have been raised by critics about the ethical implications of the family’s business entanglements. A spokesperson for the First Lady said the reference to her jewelry line was intended as a factual statement, not an endorsement and the website was updated out of an abundance of caution.

An abundance? They call that an abundance? They call it an abundance of caution to refrain from advertising jewelry on the White House website?

It’s the empire of sleaze, along with everything else that’s wrong with it.



Hail to the furious sullen bully

Jan 21st, 2017 5:43 am | By

Trump thinks this is a good photo to post on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/822521968465416192

Just look at him – that horrible angry sullen scowling face. His profile photo is also the horrible angry sullen scowling face. Clearly he thinks that’s a good look. What is wrong with him?



The discriminatory intent argument

Jan 21st, 2017 4:44 am | By

Jessica Huseman at Pro Publica tells us what they’re doing about that voting rights case in Texas.

Hours after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Department of Justice filed to postpone a hearing on the Texas Voter ID law. The request was granted. The DOJ had previously argued that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters, but told the court it needed additional time for the new administration to “brief the new leadership of the Department on this case and the issues to be addressed at that hearing before making any representations to the Court.”

Chad Dunn, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, expects Trump’s Department of Justice to reverse course. “I figure the government will spend the next 30 days figuring out how to change its mind,” he said, adding that now he expects the DOJ to argue on behalf of the state of Texas, which has held that there was no intent to discriminate against minorities. “The facts did not change – just the personnel.”

We now have an administration that favors voter suppression. Of course we do. Jeff Sessions will head the DOJ. Make voting hard for those pesky brown people!

The voter law, known as SB 14, sets strict requirements for what ID one must have to vote. While it includes such things as a driver’s license and a passport and a concealed handgun license, it leaves out things like student IDs. It is partially in effect now, and was in effect on Nov. 8.

In July, the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans ruled that the law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it disproportionately affected minorities. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi subsequently approved a compromise that allowed voters without appropriate ID to fill out an affidavit stating why they could not reasonably obtain one, which is how the Nov. 8 elections were carried out. The Court of Appeals remanded the discriminatory intent argument back to Judge Ramos for further review, and this was the argument that was set to happen on Tuesday.

In a previous 147-page ruling in October 2014, Ramos had written, “The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.”

The DOJ had previously argued that the law violated the Voting Rights Act and was intended to directly impact the abilities of minorities to vote, as more than 600,000 of them lacked the ID necessary under state law to vote. Dunn now expects the agency to reverse course.

We now have an openly segregationist federal government.



Guest post: Business people usually don’t understand public goods

Jan 21st, 2017 4:27 am | By

Originally a comment by ctygesen on Check your criteria.

Business people usually don’t understand public goods. Success in public administration can’t be accurately measured solely by cost reductions or (worse) some kind of profit/ROI. Most of them have no idea how interconnected a lot of public spending is, so that “efficiencies” realized in one area usually turn into costs in other.

They’re also usually completely rubbish at the kind of long-horizon thinking necessary for most social programs and infrastructural investment.

And then there’s the absolute worst kind who do understand, for example, that if we gut funding for public education and aggressively prosecute a war against some drugs then our prisons earn a tidy profit for us. These are the kind of people Trump has tapped to run his administration with him.



Check your criteria

Jan 20th, 2017 3:48 pm | By

And another thing. What’s this crap about how Trump has “continually set the standards of business and entrepreneurial excellence, especially with his interests in real estate, sports, and entertainment”? Nonsense.

We don’t think of “entrepreneurial excellence” that way (assuming we think of it at all, but that’s another subject). We think of it in connection with some kind of innovation or improvement, of a kind that benefits a lot of people (or the planet or the environment and the like). Fast food, for instance – however crappy the food is, it’s still been a benefit in convenience and cheapness for a lot of people.

We don’t think of building luxury apartment buildings as “entrepreneurial excellence,” nor do we think of building casinos and golf courses that way. We don’t think of toys for rich people as a benefit for the masses.

Trump has made himself very rich, yes, but that’s not “excellence.” It’s especially not in his case, given how much cheating and stealing took place on the way.

Also putting what reads like heavy-handed advertising copy on the official White House website is toe-curlingly tacky.



If you really want to make a positive impression

Jan 20th, 2017 3:10 pm | By
If you really want to make a positive impression

The Genius of Portland sings again:

Capture

Peter Boghossian

Protesters, if you *really* want to make a positive impression tomorrow, dress well, avoid vandalism, & respect the police.

Also eat everything on your plate, hang up your jacket, do your homework, and kiss the boss’s ass.



The very definition

Jan 20th, 2017 12:20 pm | By

Adam Raymond at New York mag on what’s gone from the White House website.

We know about the climate change section already.

Also gone from the site are the LGBT, civil rights, and health-care sections. Separately, the Labor Department’s report on LGBT workplace rights is no longer online.

If you click on the links you get bounced to a transitional page, with Trump and Pence leering into the distance.

Here is the archived LGBT page. I couldn’t find the other two by adding “obama” and “archive” the same way.

Added is a bio of The Great Man himself.



“From this day forward, it’s only going to be America first”

Jan 20th, 2017 11:32 am | By

Andrew Rosenthal at the Times on Trump’s inaugural address.

There was no soaring rhetoric in his inaugural speech, no real effort to heal the wounds of the 2016 campaign, and really only one real, coherent defining theme for his coming administration – the only thing that counts is America.

On this day, he said, there will be “a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power.”

“From this day forward a new vision will govern our land,” he said. “From this day forward, it’s only going to be America first, America first.”

It’s a hideous slogan, even without the pro-Nazi background. He might as well have shouted, “We need to be more selfish!” It’s a bullies’ battle-cry.

Trump’s vision of America on his Inauguration Day was as it has been throughout his campaign – dark and angry.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said, shouting that the “establishment protected itself” at the expense of “struggling families across our land,” as though he himself were not a representative and beneficiary of that very establishment.

An extreme beneficiary of that very establishment, who benefits largely by cheating. A good many struggling families are struggling partly because he cheated them – out of tuition for his bogus “university,” out of money he owes them for work done or services provided, out of health insurance they will lose under his administration.

But like everything the new president has ever said, the speech was as much about him as about anything else. He declared his Electoral College victory (which was not nearly matched by the popular vote) to have been a movement “the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

Greater, of course, than Christianity, or Islam, or Hinduism. Greater than the Renaissance or the Reformation. More powerful than the revolutions that created and destroyed Communism. Greater, of course, than the establishment of this very nation.

The whole point of all of it was to produce the glory that is Trump.



Pollution

Jan 20th, 2017 10:56 am | By

We (we in the US) now live in a country whose head of state is a very bad man.

It’s a dirty feeling.

It feels dirty having a mean vengeful angry belligerent bully as head of state.

It feels dirty having a corrupt lying cheating fraud as head of state.

It feels dirty having a misogynist racist pussygrabbing monster as head of state.

It feels dirty having an ignorant incurious stupid illiterate as head of state.

It’s a bad day.



Look here upon this picture, and on this

Jan 20th, 2017 10:49 am | By

PBS wondered how the crowds for Trump’s inauguration compared to those for Obama’s, so they compared photos:

A view of the National Mall during Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009 and for Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017. Photos by Reuters and Pool Camera. Image has been updated to include time taken.



The hiding under the blankets solution

Jan 20th, 2017 10:43 am | By

So now it’s reality.

First stop: the erasure of climate change:

All References to Climate Change Have Been Deleted From the White House Website

Cool. That means there no longer is such a thing, and Trump’s children and grandchildren won’t have to deal with it in the next several decades.

At 11:59 am eastern, the official White House website had a lengthy information page about the threat of climate change and the steps the federal government had taken to fight it. At noon, at the instant Donald Trump took office, the page was gone, as well as any mention of climate change or global warming.

It’s customary for www.whitehouse.gov to flip over to the new administration exactly at noon, but the only mention of climate on President Trump’s new website is under his “America First Energy Plan” page, in which he vows to destroy President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which is a government-wide plan to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.

Cool, because climate change is of course 100% political and therefore will respond to political actions. There is no such thing as natural processes that happen independently of what indignant human beings say about them, so all we indignant human beings have to do is erase all mention of climate change and IT WILL GO AWAY.

“President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule,” the site says. A search of the website found no mention of “global warming,” and the only mentions of “climate change” were archived pages that, after clicking on the links, led to scrubbed pages.

The magic is under way, and it will save us all. What a relief.



Trump wants to play with the tanks

Jan 19th, 2017 5:34 pm | By

Of course. Idiot Trump thought the right way to celebrate his inauguration would be with a brutalist display of tanks and missile launchers.

The military “may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told the Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday. “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”

Trump spoke about his vision of military parades in vague terms, suggesting it was something he might oversee in the future. But according to several sources involved in his inaugural preparations, Trump has endeavored to ensure that his first day as commander-in-chief is marked by an unusual display of heavy military equipment.

During the preparation for Friday’s transfer-of-power, a member of Trump’s transition team floated the idea of including tanks and missile launchers in the inaugural parade, a source involved in inaugural planning told The Huffington Post. “They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing.

Kill the arts and humanities, but get those missile launchers out there where people can see them.

If this is our last night on earth – so long, it’s been real.