Friday, August 18, 2017

The Washington Post points out that Donald Trump is just successful version of Sarah Palin.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

From the moment Palin entered the national scene, the praise for her on the right was heavily tied to her image. After the 2008 vice-presidential debate, National Review editor Rich Lowry described her as “so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing, [sending] little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.” In one of the earliest conservative critiques of Palin, written in September 2008, Post columnist Kathleen Parker said of her initial interest in Palin: “She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.” Nowhere in the piece were Palin’s conservative viewpoints referenced; her views on, say, health care or school choice, or even abortion, went unmentioned. Palin’s problem, in Parker’s view, wasn’t her beliefs but her tendency to ramble. What mattered about the governor was what she could reflect back to a hungry Republican base: an “attractive, earnest [and] confident” woman in a position of power.

And Palin said what the base was thinking. She accused Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” She praised those willing to “screw the political correctness.” She cheered the birther movement promoted by one Donald Trump. As the keynote speaker at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, she taunted Democrats, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out?” In turn, she was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of “Run, Sarah, run!”

The Post points out that Palin also attracted much criticism from Hollywood and the Left, which seemed to only make her more popular with her base.

Then of course her star faded after a number of years filled with failed reality shows, poorly selling books, and of course family brawls and brushes with the law.

But then:

Trump campaigned on the Palin model. In fact, he improved upon it. His identity was his trademark, rendering the constant shifts in policy goals and promises almost meaningless. His base saw in Trump what they wanted to see. Some saw a fighter who would stand up for them, others saw a vaunted truth-teller, and a few, truth be told, likely saw a potential white-nationalist hero. And he gave it to them: the image, the veneer, the blank slate upon which their deeply held dreams — for themselves as much as their country — could be written. His fans weren’t dissuaded by his past support for Democrats (including his 2016 opponent), or his lies, or his personal liberalism, or his crudeness, or his long history of mistreating small-business owners of the kind he claimed to champion, because his fans weren’t voting for Trump. They were voting for what Trump meant to them personally. 

In turn, his base will not leave him, because to abandon Trump would not be to abandon the current president but to leave behind deeply held beliefs of their own. His popularity is cultural, not political, resilient to the notions of truth and fiction and to Trump’s own failures. Even after his presidency, regardless of whether it ends in impeachment or in two consecutive terms in office, the image will remain undaunted.

In essence the Palin base never went away, they were just adrift waiting for the next completely unqualified politician to dog whistle in their direction and make them feel they are not the sad, pathetic human rejects that nobody wants to associate with at parties, or claim as a relative or friend.

But of course they are.

These people wanted to be heard, and Donald Trump pretended that he could hear them.

And now, well now they bear witness to the presidency that they, in their abject stupidity, helped to create.  To walk away from Donald Trump would be to admit that they were fooled, not once, but twice, by demonstrably ignorant morons who used them only for their vote.

Apparently admitting that is a choice even worse than the total destruction of the country, or perhaps even the world.

Trump Foundation suspected of being giant political slush fund for The Donald. Well duh!

Courtesy of The Daily Beast:  

The Trump Foundation, Donald Trump’s nonprofit organization, is under fire for allegedly operating as more of a political slush fund than a charity. The foundation is accused of violating rules prohibiting it from engaging in politics—prompting ethics watchdogs to call for public investigations. 

On numerous occasions this year, Trump’s campaign work and his foundation work have overlapped—putting himself at risk for penalties and his charity at risk of being shut down.

Trump is listed as the president of the foundation in the charity’s annual disclosures, and his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all listed as directors. Foundations like theirs are exempt from paying taxes, and as such are barred from engaging in political causes.

But in key early primary states this year, Trump handed out Foundation checks to charities at campaign rallies. This also calls into question “whether the foundation provided the campaign with an illegal in-kind contribution by providing services for what was a campaign event. Under the campaign finance laws… providing anything of value to a campaign for free or at less than fair market value is a contribution to the campaign,” said Larry Noble, the general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. 

And in 2013, the Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to a political organization supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi—an action the foundation is prohibited from taking, and which it failed to report on its disclosures.

Of course, of COURSE, Trump is using his bullshit "charity" foundation, how would anybody suspect otherwise?

Simply put Trump does NOT follow the rules, or obey laws, unless he it forced to do so by the courts.

New covers for The Economist and The New Yorker.

Anybody else sensing a theme here?

Fox news talking head breaks down while trying to defend Donald Trump.

I am trying very hard to feel sympathy for this blonde airhead.

Yep, I've got nothing.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Editor called to testify in Sarah Palin defamation lawsuit says that article wanted to illustrate charged political rhetoric's connection to violence, not accuse Palin of directly influencing the shooting of Gabby Giffords.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

The editor of The New York Times editorial page testified on Wednesday that he did not intend in an editorial to blame the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin for a 2011 mass shooting, but was instead trying to make a point about the heated political environment. The editorial is the focus of a defamation lawsuit brought by Ms. Palin against the news organization. 

The editor, James Bennet, said he had wanted to draw a link between charged political rhetoric and an atmosphere of political incitement after a gunman opened fired in June on a baseball field where Republican congressmen were practicing, injuring several people including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana. But Mr. Bennet said he was not trying to make a direct connection between a map of targeted electoral districts that Ms. Palin’s political action committee had circulated and the 2011 shooting in Arizona by Jared Loughner that severely injured Representative Gabby Giffords. 

“I did not intend and was not thinking of it as a causal link to the crime,” Mr. Bennet said. During cross-examination, he said he did not know if Mr. Loughner had seen the map and “did not know if the map incited him to his conduct.”

I think that what Mr. Bennet wrote is a valid observation on the effects that violent rhetoric has on the behaviors of certain individuals.

We just saw that same thing take place in Charlottesville, where people reading White Supremacist postings online showed up ready to incite violence and kick ass.

We have seen this happen time and time again, what SarahPAC did with that map is nothing new, but it DID help to create an atmosphere of hostility that could be tapped into by people with certain violent tendencies.

The judge is still considering the idea of throwing this whole thing out, and if he does I really hope the Times counter sues Palin for everything she still has left.

Donald Trump gets the sads about losing all of those "beautiful statues and monuments" to the traitors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Yeah those statues must seem really beautiful, unless of course you happen to be a black person whose ancestors were slaves in this country, or even a white person whose ancestor gave their life to defend this country against an army that rose up to battle for the right to keep human beings as property.

But to others who are not among those clearly prejudice folks, I am sure the statues and monuments must seem awesome.

I have been hearing for months now that Steve Bannon was the representative of the Alt-Right racists in the White House, but based on the interview that I posted earlier, and these tweets, I am beginning to firmly believe that the head Nazi in the White House is Trump himself.

Remember this:  

Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed.

I guess this was Hitler's long game.

Sure he lost the 2nd World War, but now after more than 70 years one of his followers is finally in charge of America. 

And the Republicans helped him do it. 

Steve Bannon drunk dials reporter for liberal rag to apparently slam his boss by mocking his chest thumping about North Korea and the constant infighting in the White House.

I know that some of this is going to read like an SNL skit gone bad but apparently Bannon called this reporter, Robert Kuttner, from the American Prospect right out of the blue.

This is a portion of what he had to say: 

Contrary to Trump’s threat of fire and fury, Bannon said: “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.” 

Actually that's not really crazy, not even a little bit.

But then the topic turned to Gyna. (No I did not misspell China, that is how these idiots pronounce it.): 

“To me,” Bannon said, “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that. If we continue to lose it, we're five years away, I think, ten years at the most, of hitting an inflection point from which we'll never be able to recover.” 

Bannon’s plan of attack includes: a complaint under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act against Chinese coercion of technology transfers from American corporations doing business there, and follow-up complaints against steel and aluminum dumping. “We’re going to run the tables on these guys. We’ve come to the conclusion that they’re in an economic war and they’re crushing us.”

But what about the folks in the State Department who are not on board with these aggressive tactics against Gyna?

Funny you should ask:

“Oh, they’re wetting themselves,” he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence. 

“I’m changing out people at East Asian Defense; I’m getting hawks in. I’m getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State.” 

But can Bannon really win that fight internally? 

"That's a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.” 

“We gotta do this. The president’s default position is to do it, but the apparatus is going crazy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s like, every day.”

So much for Trump's assertion that everything is running smoothly in the White House.

And why is Bannon talking like HE'S the president? Wait, is HE the president?

To give Bannon a little credit he certainly came out harder against the protesters in Charlottesville than his boss ever did:

He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.” 

“These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added. 

Cannot argue with that last part. But then Bannon switched gears and went after the Democrats:   

“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

That sounds a little more like the Steve Bannon that we know, and loathe. 

Well this should make for some awkward cabinet meetings in the White House for the next couple of days.

And didn't Bannon just essentially out himself as a White House leaker?

When the Mooch called up a reporter and started talking smack he was out the door in less than 24 hours.

Let's see how much longer Bannon holds onto his job.

Investigators now have their first still living witness to the Russian hacking.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

It is the first known instance of a living witness emerging from the arid mass of technical detail that has so far shaped the investigation into the election hacking and the heated debate it has stirred. The Ukrainian police declined to divulge the man’s name or other details, other than that he is living in Ukraine and has not been arrested. 

There is no evidence that Profexer worked, at least knowingly, for Russia’s intelligence services, but his malware apparently did. 

That a hacking operation that Washington is convinced was orchestrated by Moscow would obtain malware from a source in Ukraine — perhaps the Kremlin’s most bitter enemy — sheds considerable light on the Russian security services’ modus operandi in what Western intelligence agencies say is their clandestine cyberwar against the United States and Europe. 

It does not suggest a compact team of government employees who write all their own code and carry out attacks during office hours in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but rather a far looser enterprise that draws on talent and hacking tools wherever they can be found. 

Also emerging from Ukraine is a sharper picture of what the United States believes is a Russian government hacking group known as Advanced Persistent Threat 28 or Fancy Bear. It is this group, which American intelligence agencies believe is operated by Russian military intelligence, that has been blamed, along with a second Russian outfit known as Cozy Bear, for the D.N.C. intrusion. 

Rather than training, arming and deploying hackers to carry out a specific mission like just another military unit, Fancy Bear and its twin Cozy Bear have operated more as centers for organization and financing; much of the hard work like coding is outsourced to private and often crime-tainted vendors.

This more or less explains why security experts originally thought Ukraine was involved in the hacking of the DNC.

This Profexer has turned himself into the police in Ukraine and is cooperating fully.

His information is important because he is perhaps the only person who has had direct contact with the Russian hackers who is not either imprisoned or dead.

Donald Trump appoints longtime sycophant Hope Hicks as his new communications director.

Courtesy of CNN Politics:  

Longtime Trump loyalist Hope Hicks has been promoted to interim communications director in the White House, a reflection that as the walls continue to close in on this president he is shrinking his inner circle to only his most trusted allies. 

Hicks, who came into Trump's orbit via work she did for his daughter, Ivanka, has been with him since the first day of his presidential campaign. She, along with then-campaign-manager Corey Lewandowski and social media guru Dan Scavino -- as well as the Trump family -- have always been on the innermost branches of the Trump trust tree.


If anything, Hicks is even more of a Trump devotee than Scaramucci; while he would occasionally acknowledge that the president, who he routinely said he "loved," might have done something less than perfectly, Hicks is not willing to do even that. She is for Trump: First, last and always. 

That's who Trump wants around him. He wants to shoot the bull with his aides. But, at the end of the day, he wants them to say "Yes, boss, you're right." That's the way you stay in Trump's good graces. And Hicks has never been out of those good graces.

By choosing Hicks Trump is essentially declaring that he will be serving as his own communications director.

Just another mindless minion declaring that the king is resplendent in his colorful attire, while the rest of the world can plainly see his orange tinted penal area due to his obvious and disgusting nudity.

I look forward to her abject failure to corral her boss, and her ultimately dismissal for being unable to do an impossible job.

Hillary knew, and she tried to warn us.

Transcript courtesy of International Business Times:  

"From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous. 

"A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military. 

"When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn't do it. Only later, again under mounting pressure, did he backtrack. 

"So no one should have any illusions about what's really going on here. The names may have changed. Racists now call themselves "racialists." White supremacists now call themselves "white nationalists." The paranoid fringe now calls itself "alt-right." But the hate burns just as bright. 

"And this isn't just about one election. It's about who we are as a nation. It's about the kind of example we want to set for our children and grandchildren. 

"Next time you see Trump rant on television, think about all the children listening across America. Kids hear a lot more than we think."

Intelligent, well spoken, a role model, just imagine what could have been if the Russians had not helped the racists elect Doanld Trump. 

When racism met post racism.

Yeah I know, all that talk about electing a black man meaning racism was over was clearly inaccurate.

But still it did show that America COULD be a better country.

We just need to remember the pride we felt when President Obama led this country toward hope and change, and try to recapture that when next we visit the polls in 2018.

This is not who we are, we are much, much better.