AuthorTopic: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 41227 times)

Offline Surly1

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #975 on: July 30, 2017, 12:41:09 AM »
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-28/fbi-general-counsel-comeys-right-hand-man-reportedly-under-investigation-leaks-mains
FBI General Counsel Reportedly Under Investigation For Leaks To Mainstream Media
Sara Carter via Circa.com
Jul 28, 2017

FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media, according to multiple government officials close to the probe who spoke with Circa on the condition of anonymity.

Right wing agitprop. Circa is the seemingly normal appearing news portal owned and operated by the Sinclair broadcast group, the same people that are attempting to acquire the Tribune broadcast group, and and bring their special brand of right wing lunacy to your local station. They are also the same people who provide"must carry" propaganda segments featuring such luminaries as Boris Epshtyn for their group station's newscasts.

So now we have zero hedge quoting circa, in a perfect right-wing circle jerk. This is akin to Breitbart quoting Drudge on a news item.
Meanwhile, a search for, "James a baker DOJ investigation" yields no mainstream reportage, and only stories originated by circa, zero hedge, Fox, Breritbart, in the usual list of right-wing suspects, including the Epoch Times.

MAYBE the report is true, but what is certain is that this report is just the right wing media doing its part to help Trump win each and every day's news cycle, which is a matter of existential importance to the junta attempting to remain in power.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Online agelbert

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #976 on: July 30, 2017, 01:26:42 PM »


Trump v. Sessions: Who Do You Root For? The Truth

Saturday, July 29, 2017

By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

JUICY SNIPPET:   


Forget?   Hell!

Quote
... Jeff Sessions has not reached this high station in political life without knowing how to nurse, and properly repay, a grudge. Unless I am completely mistaken about everything I've ever known regarding human nature, politics and Southern gentlemen -- the attorney general and I both have Alabama red clay under our fingernails ; I've had my eye on him since George Wallace's last term as governor --  I can tell you this for certain sure: Jeff Sessions now despises Donald Trump, and will wait in the tall grass for the proper moment to fully express his displeasure. He may be giving meek interviews to Fox News, but when the time is right, Sessions will spring at Trump's throat like a leopard and say "Bless his heart" when he does.


Where is that tall grass? The office of the attorney general of the United States. Trump wants Sessions to resign so he can nominate a replacement who won't recuse themselves from involvement in the Russia investigations. That person would then arrange the dismissal of Robert Mueller and the termination of his investigation. As long as Sessions is in the office, with Senate Republicans and the base of the party rallying to his banner, with the president unwilling to fire him, Mueller is safe to continue his investigation. If that investigation bears prosecutable fruit, Jeff Sessions will have his vengeance.

Oh what a tangled web, right? Rooting for one over the other is akin to choosing between explosive diarrhea and persistent constipation. Either way, you're dealing with a lot of shit. Mueller is no prize either, his ongoing investigation notwithstanding.

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41439-trump-v-sessions-who-do-you-root-for-the-truth
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 01:30:04 PM by agelbert »
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #977 on: July 30, 2017, 01:27:57 PM »
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-28/fbi-general-counsel-comeys-right-hand-man-reportedly-under-investigation-leaks-mains
FBI General Counsel Reportedly Under Investigation For Leaks To Mainstream Media
Sara Carter via Circa.com
Jul 28, 2017

FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media, according to multiple government officials close to the probe who spoke with Circa on the condition of anonymity.

Right wing agitprop. Circa is the seemingly normal appearing news portal owned and operated by the Sinclair broadcast group, the same people that are attempting to acquire the Tribune broadcast group, and and bring their special brand of right wing lunacy to your local station. They are also the same people who provide"must carry" propaganda segments featuring such luminaries as Boris Epshtyn for their group station's newscasts.

So now we have zero hedge quoting circa, in a perfect right-wing circle jerk. This is akin to Breitbart quoting Drudge on a news item.
Meanwhile, a search for, "James a baker DOJ investigation" yields no mainstream reportage, and only stories originated by circa, zero hedge, Fox, Breritbart, in the usual list of right-wing suspects, including the Epoch Times.

MAYBE the report is true, but what is certain is that this report is just the right wing media doing its part to help Trump win each and every day's news cycle, which is a matter of existential importance to the junta attempting to remain in power.



Where is the leak?  There is no 'MAYBE' because if there was a leak something would be getting wet which means we could find what the hell Baker is accused of.  We can't, so there is no leak.

Can't do the time if you don't do the crime.  Ooops, I take that back.

Good job sleuthing out the Sinclair broadcast group!



Sara Carter is quite prolific.

https://muckrack.com/sara-carter/articles
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 01:33:03 PM by K-Dog »

Online agelbert

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #978 on: July 30, 2017, 01:54:09 PM »
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-28/fbi-general-counsel-comeys-right-hand-man-reportedly-under-investigation-leaks-mains
FBI General Counsel Reportedly Under Investigation For Leaks To Mainstream Media
Sara Carter via Circa.com
Jul 28, 2017

FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media, according to multiple government officials close to the probe who spoke with Circa on the condition of anonymity.

Right wing agitprop. Circa is the seemingly normal appearing news portal owned and operated by the Sinclair broadcast group, the same people that are attempting to acquire the Tribune broadcast group, and and bring their special brand of right wing lunacy to your local station. They are also the same people who provide"must carry" propaganda segments featuring such luminaries as Boris Epshtyn for their group station's newscasts.

So now we have zero hedge quoting circa, in a perfect right-wing circle jerk. This is akin to Breitbart quoting Drudge on a news item.
Meanwhile, a search for, "James a baker DOJ investigation" yields no mainstream reportage, and only stories originated by circa, zero hedge, Fox, Breritbart, in the usual list of right-wing suspects, including the Epoch Times.

MAYBE the report is true, but what is certain is that this report is just the right wing media doing its part to help Trump win each and every day's news cycle, which is a matter of existential importance to the junta attempting to remain in power.



Where is the leak?  There is no 'MAYBE' because if there was a leak something would be getting wet which means we could find what the hell Baker is accused of.  We can't, so there is no leak.

Can't do the time if you don't do the crime.  Ooops, I take that back.

Good job sleuthing out the Sinclair broadcast group!



Sara Carter is quite prolific.

https://muckrack.com/sara-carter/articles


K-Dog, you are a Trumper.  :evil4: You are also a loyal defender of Sessions.  :evil4: Why don't you admit that you wish they would kiss and make up instead of posting irrelevant arm waving about reactions to right wing (as in 24/7 LIES) media?

Right wing media just does what it does. Anyone that takes absolutely anything they say seriously is critical thinking challenged, if not hopelessly brain damaged.

Right wing media says this and says that and the other sensationalist mendacious baloney every single day.

THIS is the story that is important now, though you don't want to deal with it:



Trump v. Sessions: Who Do You Root For? The Truth
Saturday, July 29, 2017
By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Snippet:

I never thought we'd all live this long. My assumption after November was that Donald Trump would have figured out a way by now to blow the mantle off the planet and scatter our collective component elements into the farthest reaches of space. As we are somehow still here, let's take a moment to enjoy the ridiculous steel cage match unfolding between Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. There is so much wrong baked into this situation, so much error and ego and straight-up birdbrained ignorance, that we're left with a simple question.

Gadzooks, who do you root for?

Trump is a known quantity at this point. While his ultimate capacity for the demolition of all things moral, ethical, legal, intelligent or proper has yet to be established, he has done more than enough for us to cobble together a fair measure of the man, and it's pretty straightforward stuff. The president of the United States is, in no particular order, a boor, an oaf, a braggart, a bully, unlettered, inexplicably vain, immoral, amoral, orange for some reason, an unskilled congenital liar, a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a cheat, a fraud, a terrible public speaker, a comprehensive embarrassment every single day and the purveyor of notoriously bad steaks.

We know this. We also know that Trump, the self-crowned king of social media, has unfriended Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the most OMG WTF LOL way history has ever seen. He says it's because Sessions hasn't been tough enough on Hillary Clinton and White House leakers, but again, he's a terrible liar. The reason Trump is going Donkey Kong on the attorney general has everything to do with a guy named Brian Benczkowski.

Benczkowski is a lawyer who came to work for the Department of Justice (DoJ) during the time of George W. Bush. He led Trump's DoJ transition team after the 2016 election. Last Tuesday, he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee because he's been nominated to run the DoJ's criminal division, which is a damned big deal. During that testimony, Benczkowski informed the committee that he once represented a Russian-owned financial institution named Alfa Bank.

"Questions about the bank's activity first arose last year," reports CNN, "when a group of computer scientists raised concerns about internet records that showed that Alfa Bank servers repeatedly looked up the unique internet address of a Trump Organization computer server in the United States." Both the Trump for President campaign and Alfa Bank denied any relationship or wrongdoing. The whole matter was investigated by a team supervised by Brian Benczkowski from his partnership perch at Kirkland & Ellis, the world's second-highest-grossing law firm.

Brian Benczkowski, along with every other person on the planet who knows something about Trump's relationship with Russia, or thinks they know something, or might know something, is why Trump wants Jeff Sessions gone. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his ongoing Trump/Russia investigation are very interested in speaking to the Brian Benczkowskis of the world. This terrifies Trump, who wants Mueller's investigation stopped. Sessions could have done that, if he hadn't recused himself from all things Russia. Hilariously, Sessions is one of the people who knows something about Trump and the Russian government's electoral meddling, and is himself an established serial liar and perjurer on the topic. That's why Sessions recused himself from any part of any investigation. He didn't want to; he had to, after all those undisclosed, lied-about meetings.

Ah yes, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,
son of Alabama, named after the president of the Confederate States of America and the general who opened fire on Fort Sumter. Once deemed too racist for a federal judgeship by his fellow Republicans, Sessions has managed over the years to establish himself as a stalwart ally of the religious right, the coal industry and of course, the war weapons manufacturers.

His overt racism, you see, is not Mr. Sessions' only selling point for the far right. In 2002, Sessions voted to authorize the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and in 2003 approved spending $86 billion on the endeavor. In 2005, he voted against paying for the war "on-budget," meaning on the books, and that same year voted against investigating outside contracts awarded to companies like Blackwater for work in Iraq and Afghanistan. At every opportunity afterward, he voted against withdrawing US troops from Iraq.

With that, the tale is told: Vote for an illegal war, fund it lavishly, invite your friends to the trough, hide the funding from prying eyes and the public, and keep the money machine going by refusing to end the war no matter how many die in the process.

The tension surrounding whether Trump will actually fire his attorney general has been ratcheting up for days, but as of this writing, that shoe has not yet dropped. Those who name the president a coward point to this situation as proof: The man lacks the sand to back up his bluster. The big question for the media has been "Will Sessions resign?" The answer is utterly obvious: Hell no. Sessions has a lot of friends on the Republican side of the Senate, several of whom have forbidden Trump from firing him while promising terrible consequences if he does. This is unprecedented.

FULL ARTICLE AT LINK:

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41439-trump-v-sessions-who-do-you-root-for-the-truth



« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 02:25:08 PM by agelbert »
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Online agelbert

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #979 on: July 30, 2017, 02:20:21 PM »

Good job sleuthing out the Sinclair broadcast group!



Sara Carter is quite prolific.


https://muckrack.com/sara-carter/articles


K-Dog, you bad, bad doggie! You just exposed yourself as a defender of right wing propagandist LIARS! Yes, I know you consider them "truth telling" pundists, but Snopes begs to differ:

Quote
We were unsuccessful in obtaining confirmation from the Syracuse affiliate that the segment Dafoe described in fact aired on that station in May, but the commentator she named, Sara Carter , is indeed a conservative pundit who appears regularly on the Fox News Channel in addition to working as a national security correspondent for Sinclair-owned Circa News.

Mark Hyman, a former Sinclair executive who delivers the “Behind the Headlines” op-ed segments SGB pushed out to affiliates, is a contributor to The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, American Spectator, Human Events, and other conservative publications. And former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn was hired in April 2017 to serve as Sinclair’s chief political analyst, a job which so far seems to entail defending the president and castigating the mainstream media, according to a report by the Washington Post:

Epshteyn’s segments have added yet another pro-Trump shading to news and commentary offered by Sinclair, a Baltimore-area company with a long history of favoring conservative causes and candidates on its stations’ newscasts.

http://www.snopes.com/2017/07/11/sinclair-broadcast-group-propaganda/


GOTCHA, right winger!
 

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Offline RE

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Bye, Bye Moochy
« Reply #980 on: August 01, 2017, 08:07:09 AM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/01/goodbye-mooch-late-night-hosts-bid-farewell-to-anthony-scaramucci/?utm_term=.917093d0c362

‘Goodbye, Mooch’: Late-night comedians bid farewell to Anthony Scaramucci
By Samantha Schmidt August 1 at 5:11 AM


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Late-night laughs: Scaramucci ousted
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Anthony Scaramucci resigned as White House communications director on July 31. Late-night comedians Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and others made jokes about his quick departure. (The Washington Post)

“The Mooch” was a character — and a name — made for late-night comedy.

In the days after Anthony Scaramucci’s appointment as White House communications director, late-night hosts introduced their mobster-like imitations of the fast-talking, brash New Yorker. They came up with a slew of puns, comparisons and words that rhymed with “mooch.”

Stephen Colbert said he looked like a “lawyer whose ad is above the urinal.” Seth Meyers called him the “human embodiment of a double-parked BMW.”

“I could go on and on … you know what, let’s! He definitely calls waitresses, ‘Sweetheart,'” Meyers said last week on NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”

Indeed, late-night hosts could have gone on with the quips much longer. But their one-liners had a short shelf life. On Monday, after only 10 days with Scaramucci in the White House, President Trump fired him at the urging of new White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

So naturally, late-night hosts were in mourning. Sort of.

‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’

“I come to you tonight as a broken man,” Stephen Colbert said on CBS’s “Late Show.” “Because just this afternoon I was shocked by this breaking nooch.”

The show staff had just finished creating a cartoon version of Scaramucci, Colbert said. (It was unclear if he was joking or not).

Just days earlier, Colbert welcomed Scaramucci to his post, singing a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, can you do the fandango?”).

But on Monday, Colbert night switched to the more somber part of Queen’s song, changing the lyrics to “Mama, I just got canned … barely got to the White House, said some dumb stuff now I’m out … Mama, my job had just begun, and now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.”

“Now I guess it’s time to say goodbye,” Colbert said. “We hardly knewcci.”

He joked that it was time for him to get rid of all of his mooch memorabilia — his “moochandise.”

“Ten days,” Colbert said in reference to Scaramucci’s brief tenure, “That’s not even a whole pay period! His going away party can serve what’s left of his welcome cake.”

Colbert staged a going-away party for the exiting communications director, complete with repurposed decorations from a welcome party. The word “Congratulations” on balloons was changed to the word “Congratulater.”

“He said he was gonna fire everybody,” Colbert said, “And I gotta admit, he delivered.”

‘The Daily Show’

On Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,”  Trevor Noah also took a sarcastically melancholy approach to bidding the Trump-like New Yorker farewell, featuring an “in memoriam” tribute similar to those broadcast at the Academy Awards.

“The guy got fired before the job began!” Noah said, in reference to the fact that Scaramucci’s communications job was not supposed to start until Aug. 15.

“It’s like the song of the summer,” Noah said. “Scaramucci came into our lives, made everyone obsessed with him for like a week, and then left us with nothing but memories and a bunch of weird moves.” He showed a video clip of Scaramucci blowing a kiss during a news conference last week.

Noah discussed the decision to replace Reince Priebus with Kelly, a retired Marine general, comparing it to Trump sending himself to boarding school to get disciplined.

“Why do they keep bringing in new people as if we don’t all know what the real problem is?” Noah said. “It’s like Donald Trump is a tornado and the White House keeps hiring new maids” to clean up the mess, he said.

‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’

On “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” the host noted that Scaramucci’s tenure was as long as his last name. He joked that Trump has fired so many members of his White House staff that “at this point getting fired is part of orientation.”

He talked about how Priebus was ousted shortly after Scaramucci’s public, vicious feud with Priebus.

“Scaramucci got Priebus fired, and then he got fired two days later,” Meyers said. “That’s like telling someone ‘See you in hell’ and then literally showing up in hell the next day.”

‘The Tonight Show’

Jimmy Fallon, in recounting the news of the day, he added a make-believe twist: “This was a little awkward. When Scaramucci called an Uber to pick him up at the White House, Sean Spicer was driving. Imagine the odds of that happening.”

Spicer, of course, resigned as the White House press secretary on the day of Scaramucci’s hiring.

Fallon also mentioned the news last week that Scaramucci missed the birth of his son last week, when he was in West Virginia with Trump. Scaramucci reportedly sent his wife a text reading, “Congratulations, I’ll pray for our child.”

“Trump was like, you don’t text your wife after she has your baby,” Fallon quipped. “You tweet her.”

A lawyer representing Scaramucci’s wife told the New York Times Sunday the reports about the text message were false.

‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

Jimmy Kimmel, meanwhile, joked he landed the first “exclusive interview” with Scaramucci after his firing which, of course, wasn’t true. The fake audio played was almost entirely bleeped out due to profanity — spoofing Scaramucci’s vulgar rants in a New Yorker interview.


With all the shake-ups in the White House, Kimmel said, it’s only a matter of time before Trump replaced Ivanka Trump, his daughter and a White House adviser, with his other daughter, Tiffany.

Then, Kimmel summed up the night: “How did we lose the Mooch already?”
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Weekend Update: Anthony Scaramucci FaceTimes the Show (Bill Hader) - SNL
« Reply #981 on: August 11, 2017, 02:12:53 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/W-Q671j1MO4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/W-Q671j1MO4</a>
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Offline K-Dog

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Film at 1, the Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #982 on: August 13, 2017, 04:54:32 PM »
Film at 11!
A day after the Charlottesville waconutball went off on his murderous self indulgence, two protest groups, a pro-Trump rally and an anti-rally against hate are having their planned protests in downtown Seattle.  Live footage is showing battles with police.

http://www.kiro7.com/news/local/real-time-updates-freedom-rally-met-by-counter-protest-in-seattle/590508325

Update:



SEATTLE — Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country on Sunday, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia.

The gatherings spanned from a planned march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York to a candlelight vigil in Florida. In Seattle, police made arrests and confiscated weapons as Trump supporters and counter-protesters converged downtown.

Some focused on showing support for the people whom white supremacists’ condemn. Other demonstrations were pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments, the issue that initially prompted white nationalists to gather in anger this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Still other gatherings aimed to denounce fascism and a presidential administration that organizers feel has let white supremacists feel empowered.

‘‘People need to wake up, recognize that and resist it as fearlessly as it needs to be done,’’ said Carl Dix, a leader of the Refuse Fascism group organizing demonstrations in New York, San Francisco and other cities. ‘‘This can’t be allowed to fester and to grow because we’ve seen what happened in the past when that was allowed.’’

‘‘It has to be confronted,’’ said Dix, a New Yorker who spoke by phone from Charlottesville Sunday afternoon. He’d gone there to witness and deplore the white nationalist rally on a Saturday that spiraled into bloodshed.

In Seattle, hundreds of demonstrators and counter-protesters converged downtown. Police say they have made arrests and confiscated weapons. Police also ordered crowds at one downtown intersection to disperse.

Blocks away, a conservative pro-Trump group was rallying at Westlake Park in downtown. The rally organized by the conservative pro-Trump group known as Patriot Prayer — and a counter protest aimed at standing against hate — were previously planned for Sunday. Patriot Prayer has held similar events throughout the Pacific Northwest and they have been met by counter protests.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/08/13/arrests-made-seattle-trump-supporters-counter-protesters-collide/EC0fZJ2fKL9MGtKzVUXKFI/amp.html

From local news:



Chants of 'cops and clan hand in hand' peppered the audio in the news where I got this picture.

The United Sgainst Hate group was trying to get at the Trump supporters to kick their asses. The police were keeping the two groups apart.  Much pepper spray.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 10:47:06 PM by K-Dog »

Offline RE

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Steve Bannon’s Crystal Ball: A Split in the GOP
« Reply #983 on: September 16, 2017, 02:20:38 AM »
Somehow, I don't think things will go well for Repugnants in 2018.  That of course does NOT mean anything will get any better for J6P.  ::)

RE

https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/09/steve-bannons-crystal-ball-a-split-in-the-gop/

Steve Bannon’s Crystal Ball: A Split in the GOP


by Binoy Kampmark / September 13th, 2017

Rarely does the virus speak so formidably to the condition he is a product of.  The soiling, devastating strategist Steve Bannon, despite exiting the Trump administration, remains within it (symbolically at least), moving about with effect and influence. But it is a legacy of mixed curses that bodes ill for the Republican Party.

The one call he repeats with truncheon carrying persistence is one of division. This is not a man who believes, let alone tolerates, unified fronts.  Disunity is his bread, butter and caviar.  Where a front of consensus appears, his shock methods seek to disrupt it. And nothing, for Bannon, would be more reflective of failure than a united GOP, lips moving in synchronous agreement, all on that one vast page of political thought.  Unless, of course, they agreed with him.

His performance on the 60 Minutes show was nothing short than pure in its protest. In his discussion with Charlie Rose, the familiar terms were deployed with weaponized zeal.  Targets were identified, elites excoriated.  There were those troublesome individuals, the “swamp”, the establishment.  All were given a generous verbal lashing.

The personal targets were predictable enough: old stalwarts such as Speaker Paul Ryan and the human personification of the detested swamp, that veteran insider Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. They supply the stifling set, keen to submit Trumpism, or Trumpism envisaged by Bannon, to gradual strangulation.  “They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented.”

The theme of frustrated revolution proves constant in the interview, and here, the revolutionary was speaking as a combatant in exile, gazing over a world that refused to change.  “In the 48 hours after we won, there’s a fundamental decision that was made… We embraced the establishment.”

Everything else followed: the stuttering, the plodding, the meandering of the Republicans.  “I think their choice,” he predicts of the GOP functionaries in response to such instruments as the Affordable Care Act, “is going to be you’re not going to be able to totally repeal it.”  As, indeed, it is proving to be.

For Bannon, purity, despite being in a country of the energetic melting pot, is a genuine concept, the very product of a form of archaic Americanism.   Amnesty for the undocumented, he blustered, was non-negotiable.  “Economic nationalism” was indispensable to the American character. But the impure are in the ranks, laying out the pillboxes and road blocks. “The Republican establishment,” he shot at Rose with conspiratorial suggestiveness, “is trying to nullify the 2016 election.”

Of course, nothing would be Bannon without the crystal ball, the gloomy prediction with its rich wafting of apocalypse.  The GOP, he surmises, will duly be divided, and will suffer come the 2018 elections.  He expressed particular worry about how the Republicans will fall on their sword regarding the matter of immigration and undocumented labour, the great poisoned chalice of US politics.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, introduced by President Barack Obama in 2012, is a point of considerable demurral. President Donald Trump promised on September 5 to repeal the measure, which allows applicants who arrived in the US before the age of 16, subject to various conditions (continuous residence, study, lack of a criminal record), the chance to receive work permits.  There was one softening concession: a six month grace period before the program joints the ranks of history.

For Bannon, any approach to such programs should be unequivocal and swift, necessarily brutal and decisive.  Opponents, such as the Catholic Church, were merely keen to fill the pews with the faithful. (The church, as an economic liberal entity, is a curious Bannonism indeed.)

DACA, however, risks being the bomb that goes off within GOP ranks, with its ticking device set. Leaving it linger will have lethal results: “if this goes all the way down to its logical conclusion, in February and March, it will be a civil war inside the Republican Party.”

When the ashes settled, the interview concluded, the fumes could still be seen.  Bannonism remains furious and unbowed, and most of all, angrily unrepentant.  But his one persistent illusion remains: Trump is not a Bannonist, an ideologue, a person who will sport his own variant of Mao’s Little Red Book to wave with dedication.  (The Art of the Deal hardly counts.)

The current US president remains an opportunistic misfit, never one to play by the code of any specific philosophy, any credo that is not a self-interested one. It is for that very reason that Bannon had to go, to assume the visage of the indignant, philosophical monk, where he will continue to rail and pontificate about race, the undrained swamp of Washington, economic irrationalism and “the pearl-clutching mainstream media.”


Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at: bkampmark@gmail.com. Read other articles by Binoy.

This article was posted on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 7:52pm and is filed under Children/Youth, Culture, Discrimination, Donald Trump, Media, Nationalism, Opinion, Racism, Right Wing Jerks, United States.

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Offline RE

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Russia probes leave Trump associates struggling with huge legal bills
« Reply #984 on: September 16, 2017, 04:23:36 PM »
I feel really bad for these guys.  Really, I do.  ::)

Finally, the Legal System is WORKING!  :icon_sunny:

RE

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/russia-probes-leave-trump-associates-struggling-with-huge-legal-bills/article/2634655

Russia probes leave Trump associates struggling with huge legal bills
by Sarah Westwood | Sep 16, 2017, 12:01 AM


An expanding special counsel probe into the Trump campaign's alleged Russian ties has saddled many of President Trump's current and former associates with hefty legal fees and few options for footing the bill. (AP Photos)

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An expanding special counsel probe into the Trump campaign's alleged Russian ties has saddled many of President Trump's current and former associates with hefty legal fees and left them few options for footing the bill.

More than a dozen people, including the president and vice president, are known to have hired attorneys to help them navigate special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and several additional probes in Congress. Some have complained about the burden of paying for their legal bills without assistance from the wealthy president whose campaign is in the crosshairs of federal investigators.

"It's very expensive and nobody's called me and offered to help," Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser who has been contacted by congressional investigators, told the Washington Examiner.
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"The problem is, it's very specialized representation, so it takes a certain type of attorney, and they're quite competent. And you'll pay for competency," Caputo said.

The former Trump communications adviser said he has hired a New York-based attorney near his hometown of East Aurora, N.Y., which has helped him save moderately on costs by allowing him to confer locally rather than travel back and forth to Washington, D.C.

But Caputo said he still had to liquidate his children's college fund to pay the tab for his lawyer.

And his mounting legal fees, which could grow larger depending on whether Mueller's team reaches out to him, are not the only sources of financial strain Caputo said the Russia investigation has imposed on him.

"I have the associate costs of being in the spotlight of a bogus investigation, so I have security costs now," Caputo said, noting that his family has received "death threats" as a result of his media exposure. "We've had to install security. I've had to take security precautions at both my home and at my office, and with my children, so these all add up very quickly."

Caputo described the Russia probe as politically motivated and argued Trump's opponents will not stop until "there's a smoking crater where he once stood."

"This can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for people, and that's where destroying people comes in," Caputo said.

Another former campaign hand said Trump "has hung us out to dry" by leaving associates to drown in their attorneys' fees.

"Multibillionaire Donald Trump has a moral obligation to pay the mounting legal bills of his advisers who are facing four-, five- and six-figure costs just for doing their jobs," said a former Trump adviser who had to pay thousands of dollars of his own money for legal representation.

"After all, the reason Trump advisers have any legal bills at all is because Trump and key spokespersons like Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway repeatedly misled the public over Russia contacts, no matter how benign," the former adviser told the Washington Examiner. "Such lies gave congressional and federal investigators, let alone the media, probable cause to destroy our lives at will. Some reward for loyal service to President Trump."

The former adviser, who declined to be named to speak candidly about finances and his involvement in the investigation, said he hired an attorney after multiple congressional committees contacted him about his time on the Trump campaign. The lawyer cost him $500 an hour, the adviser said, and quickly racked up thousands of dollars in costs after helping him prepare documents to turn over to Congress and accompanying him to two lengthy interviews with congressional committees.

"I entertained the idea of billing the re-election campaign for my legal bills," the former adviser said. "But then, I don't want to incur the wrath of the White House."

A spokesman for Trump's re-election campaign did not respond to a request for comment about whether the campaign has helped pay for the lawyers of former Trump associates. The Republican National Committee, which has faced pressure to help current and former Trump aides with their legal bills, declined to comment.

A source familiar with the situation said staffers who have left the White House, such as former chief of staff Reince Priebus, are "on their own" when it comes to representation in the special counsel probe. Trump has hired several attorneys to shepherd him through the investigation, and one — Ty Cobb — has even moved into the West Wing to oversee his response to the probe.

Priebus is among several aides who Mueller has requested to interview over his involvement in crafting a misleading statement about a meeting Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, took with a Russian lawyer who claimed during the campaign to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Although all participants in the meeting — which Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, also attended — say the lawyer offered no dirt on Trump's Democrat rival, the statement Trump Jr. initially released in July falsely suggested the meeting had always been intended to focus on Russian adoptions.

Priebus has hired an attorney to guide him through the investigation, Law360 reported this week. Trump's former chief of staff did not respond to a request for comment.

Donald McGahn, White House counsel, hired the same lawyer this week to advise his own interactions with Mueller's team.

The two are just the latest figures in Trump's orbit to hire attorneys as the Russia investigation has broadened.

Kushner, communications director Hope Hicks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence are among the growing group of Trump associates to lawyer up in recent weeks, and each could incur thousands of dollars in legal fees that their government salaries and conflict of interest restrictions could make difficult to pay.

However, the administration's top watchdog recently tweaked its guidelines in a way that may help the aides who don't have pre-existing deep pockets to reach into if their legal bills become burdensome.

The Office of Government Ethics now allows lobbyists to contribute anonymously to the legal defense funds of White House staffers, a practice that the federal watchdog previously discouraged. While the OGE did not officially change its rules on such donations, it clarified them to make plain that aides can accept anonymous help from lobbyists who want to assist administration officials with their bills.

Legal defense funds could be of little use to former aides and those who don't have the profile to attract donations, however. And it's unclear whether Trump, the RNC, or the campaign could use the funds to help White House staff afford their legal bills.

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment about whether it had offered to help pay the legal fees for anyone caught up in the investigation.
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Russia probes leave Trump associates struggling with huge legal bills
« Reply #985 on: September 17, 2017, 02:56:39 AM »
I feel really bad for these guys.  Really, I do.  ::)

Finally, the Legal System is WORKING!  :icon_sunny:

RE

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/russia-probes-leave-trump-associates-struggling-with-huge-legal-bills/article/2634655

So sad.

Treason can be expensive.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Trump to replace travel ban with restrictions on more countries
« Reply #986 on: September 24, 2017, 05:54:56 PM »
Where's the Ban on Terrorist Central, Saudi Arabia? ???  :icon_scratch:

RE

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/24/trump-travel-ban-iran-korea-syria-243078

Trump to replace travel ban with restrictions on more countries


A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Monday, June 26 in Seattle. | AP Photo

By JOSH GERSTEIN and TED HESSON

09/24/2017 07:35 PM EDT

Updated 09/24/2017 07:57 PM EDT


President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban will morph into a new set of restrictions on travelers from an expanded set of countries, U.S. officials announced Sunday night as major parts of the order were close to expiring.

The current policy, which denies visas to citizens of six majority Muslim countries, will be replaced by a new set of travel limits on eight countries, including all but one of those on the previous list. The nations facing travel restrictions under the new policy are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, officials said Sunday. Existing visa-holders are exempt, and waivers will remain available for travelers with U.S. ties.

One country on the current list, Sudan, was dropped from the new restrictions, which will take effect Oct. 18.

"Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet," Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, as he prepared to return from his New Jersey golf club to the White House, Trump was asked what provisions he wanted to see in the latest set of travel restrictions.

“The tougher the better,” Trump said, without elaborating.

While the new proclamation restricts some travel from two non-Muslim countries — North Korea and Venezuela — those limits will have little practical impact. Few North Koreans travel to the United States. The new restrictions on Venezuela apply only to government officials, not to the broader population.

A Trump administration official who briefed reporters Sunday evening said the changes were not aimed at making the policy appear less like the “Muslim Ban” Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

“The restrictions, whether previously or now, were never ever, ever based on race, religion or creed,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke sent the president a report on Sept. 15 detailing her suggestions for how to deal with countries not perceived to be cooperating or complying with U.S. requests for data on the identities of and terrorism risks posed by potential travelers.

Senior administration officials met with Trump on Friday to discuss the issue, but there was no announcement as the expiration of the six-country ban drew closer. The ban was set to expire Sunday night.

The announcement comes at a sensitive time for litigation over the travel ban order Trump issued in March. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 10 on the legality of the measure, but the justices have already suggested that the dispute may be moot due to the temporary nature of the directive.

A senior administration official said the Justice Department will file a notice Sunday night with the Supreme Court informing the justices about the new directive.

Trump issued his first travel ban order one week after he took office in January, banning travel to the United States by nationals of seven majority Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Announced with immediate effect, it triggered widespread protests at U.S. airports and significant confusion about its application, particularly to green card holders.

Many critics said the measure was a thinly veiled version of the Muslim ban Trump championed during the presidential campaign. After courts blocked key parts of the first directive, Trump issued a new order in March dropping Iraq from the list of targeted countries and removing other language that courts suggested indicated religious animus. He also excluded existing visa and green cardholders from the impact of the suspension.

The revised order still encountered quick resistance from the courts, which issued injunctions against aspects of the ban.

The Supreme Court cut those injunctions back somewhat in June when it agreed to take up the question of whether Trump's order was legal. Under the high court's interim order, close family members of U.S. citizens or residents are exempt from the visa ban and another portion of Trump's directive halting refugee admissions. The justices also exempted people with bona fide ties to U.S. companies, schools or organizations.
Jared Kushner is pictuered here. | AP Photo

White House
Kushner used private email to conduct White House business

By JOSH DAWSEY

However, Trump has continued to complain publicly that the existing ban is too weak.

"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!" he wrote on Twitter earlier this month after a terrorist attack in London.

The tweet continued Trump’s pattern of complicating the work of his administration’s lawyers by undercutting their arguments.

While the Justice Department has argued that none of the restrictions target any particular religion, Trump’s public call for a “more specific” and less “politically correct” ban suggests his desire may, in fact, be to limit travel by Muslims.

In addition, while government lawyers repeatedly called his March order a “temporary pause” — language that came directly from the executive order he signed — the president has dismissed that kind of construction as sophistry.

“The lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” he tweeted in June.
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Poll: Majority of voters say Trump isn't fit to be president
« Reply #987 on: September 30, 2017, 12:24:40 AM »
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/27/trump-poll-fit-to-be-president-243219


More Democrats than Republicans say President Donald Trump is not fit for the office. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo
Poll: Majority of voters say Trump isn't fit to be president

By EMILY GOLDBERG

09/27/2017 03:30 PM EDT

A majority of American voters say Donald Trump is not "fit to serve as president," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, with 51 percent of respondents saying they are embarrassed to have Trump serve as president.

The poll reports that 59 percent say Trump is not honest, 60 percent say he does not have good leadership skills and 61 percent say he does not share their values.

Notably, voters say — 69 percent to 26 percent — that Trump should stop tweeting.

The survey highlighted deep divisions along racial lines. Fifty percent of white voters say Trump is fit to serve, while 94 percent of black voters say he is not fit for the role; Hispanic voters are split 60 percent to 40 percent. Overall, 62 percent of voters disapprove of the way the president has handled race relations. Sixty percent of voters say Trump is doing more to divide the country than unite it.

The poll also revealed divisions among men and women. Men are divided 49 percent to 49 percent, while 63 percent of women say Trump is not fit.

More Democrats than Republicans disapprove of Trump’s fitness for office. Ninety-four percent of Democrats say Trump is not fit to be president, while 84 percent of Republicans responded that he is fit for the job. Independent voters are split, with 57 saying he is fit and 40 percent saying he isn’t.

Forty-nine percent of voters in the poll are in favor of Democrats winning control of the Senate in 2018.

The poll was conducted Sept. 21-26 by phone, among 1,412 voters nationwide.
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Offline RE

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Should Rex Tillerson Resign?
« Reply #988 on: October 01, 2017, 01:05:56 PM »


Should Rex Tillerson Resign?

The president has yet again humiliated his secretary of state. Here’s why it probably doesn’t matter whether he stays or goes.

By AARON DAVID MILLER and RICHARD SOKOLSKY

October 01, 2017


In our combined 50-plus years at the State Department, neither of us ever witnessed as profound a humiliation as a sitting president handed his secretary of state Sunday morning.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” the president tweeted. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

Even if they’re playing good cop-bad cop, this is a shocker: Donald Trump is basically announcing that any negotiations with North Korea are worthless. This not only undercut Tillerson personally, but also undermines U.S. interests and the secretary of state’s sensible decision to talk to the North Korean regime. To make matters worse, all of this is occurring while Tillerson is in Beijing to prepare for the president’s trip to China next month—so the president kneecapped his own top diplomat in front of America’s chief rival in Asia.

Is this the final straw for Tillerson? The secretary of state clearly has not helped himself. Through his budget cuts, his focus on departmental reorganization at the expense of appointing assistant secretaries, his reliance on a tiny inner circle of outsiders and his maladroit use of the press, Tillerson has isolated himself within his own department. The Beltway foreign policy blob has already written him off as the worst secretary of state in history, and clearly others are hovering (U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley says she doesn’t want the job, but if you believe that, or if John Bolton make similar protestations, we have an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal to sell you).

But in all fairness, the former ExxonMobil chief has never been empowered by his president. He’s been undercut repeatedly by this White House—see Kushner, Jared—and by Trump personally, even (especially) when he’s making the right diplomatic moves. And there’s no sign that any one of the vultures circling around Tillerson would be able to change or transcend this dynamic.

So for those of you calling for Tillerson to resign after Trump’s latest humiliation, we suggest you lie down and wait quietly until the feeling passes. Sunday’s tweets—and the past nine months, frankly—are exhibits A-Z that in Trump land, it might not matter whether Tillerson resigns or who replaces him. Here’s why:

Who speaks for America?
There are many peculiarities about how foreign policy is made (or not) in the Trump administration. Trump is the first president in our memory who has not at least gone through the motions of making it clear that his secretary of state is the sole repository of authority and the administration’s public voice on foreign policy. Not every secretary of state carries the same influence with the president. But never have the world and Washington faced a situation where there was no single go-to address (below the president, of course) to understand what U.S. foreign policy is, who’s articulating it and who to turn to for guidance or direction in trying to interpret it.

In Trump land, either by design or default, a cacophony of multiple voices are not just competing for the president’s time, attention and favor in private (which is very normal)—they’re actually carrying out the policy and shaping it publicly (which is not so normal). Kushner, for instance, grabbed or was given the primary lead on the Arab-Israeli issue and has played a major role in shaping U.S. interactions with China and Saudi Arabia. Gary Cohn seems to have the lead on Trump’s climate policy, such as it is. Wilbur Ross is playing an unusually substantive diplomatic role for a commerce secretary. Foreign capitals listen closely to Pentagon chief James Mattis, whose pronouncements are often interpreted as brushbacks of the president. And over at the U.N., the hawkish Haley has emerged as the nation’s loudest voice on foreign policy, largely by speaking unscripted about everything from Syria to Iran to North Korea.

And then of course there’s Trump, the ultimate blooming flower who in tweets, phone calls and speeches makes his own foreign policy on the fly, frustrating and confounding his top advisers. On issues from Qatar to North Korea to Iran, Trump contradicts his own secretary of state or ignores what is almost always his sound advice—for example: urging the United States to stay in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accord, taking a hard line on Russia, advocating negotiations and dialogue to defuse the mounting crisis with North Korea, advocating for continued U.S. adherence to the Iran nuclear deal, taking a neutral position in the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and reassuring jittery allies, from South Korea and Japan to our NATO partners, that America still has their back.

The painful reality is that should Tillerson depart, his successor would likely confront the same series of problems, and a president who is unwilling to send a clear signal on where his secretary of state stands in the foreign policy pecking order. There are three keys to success for a secretary of state: opportunities abroad to exploit; the negotiating and political skills to do it; and, most important, the backing of the president. Sure, Tillerson has made some rookie mistakes and unforced errors in running the State Department. But his credibility and effectiveness have largely been undermined by his treatment by Trump.

A world in chaos
No matter how capable a secretary of state may be, success also turns on a cooperative world. Without the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, there would have been no opportunity for Henry Kissinger to demonstrate his formidable mediation skills and to produce three disengagement agreements within 18 months. Had Iraq not invaded Kuwait, James Baker would have been deprived of the opportunity to pull off the Madrid peace conference. Sure, secretaries of state can make some of their own luck. But the truly big diplomatic breakthroughs really do require consequential changes in the neighborhood first; then, a talented negotiator backed by a willful president can exploit them.


In a number of instances, President Donald Trump has contradicted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (right). | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Sadly, the world in which America operates today has many serious problems, but almost none that offer opportunities for transformative or heroic outcomes. Even successful transactional outcomes, such as managing the Iranian nuclear issue, seem improbable. The cruel reality is that Tillerson has inherited a set of extraordinarily difficult problems that can only be managed and not solved. Just as Tillerson has reportedly come to hate his job, his successor would come to see going to the office—or the White House—the same way most people feel about a trip to the dentist.

Take a look around: From North Korea, where only somebody completely unhinged from reality would be talking about military options and denuclearization of Kim Jong Un’s regime; to managing an aggressive and crafty Vladimir Putin with a president who either has a blind spot for or is beholden to Russia; to an Israeli-Palestinian conflict trapped between a two-state solution too important to abandon but too hard to implement and a clueless president who likens a deal to buying and selling real estate in New York City; to a divided Europe that finds Trump mercurial, erratic and incomprehensible (and that’s on a good day); to an Iran that is expanding its influence in the Middle East and sitting atop a potential nuclear program one screwdriver’s turn away from a weapon while the president seems bent on making this problem infinitely worse.

These are forbidding challenges. Even if you had a secretary of state in a class of a Kissinger or a Baker, we’re far from certain the outcomes of any of these problems could be shaped in a way that were determinative, let alone favorable to the United States. We don’t have a secretary of state of this caliber, and we’re not going to get one if Tillerson leaves. What we do have is a president who has compounded the degree of difficulty of even managing these issues and created longer odds for whoever sits on the seventh floor at Foggy Bottom.

A hollowed-out Foggy Bottom
Those who are calling for Tillerson’s scalp miss another important point: The State Department, institutionally, is only a shell of its former self, and it’s not just because a few good men and women have bolted over the secretary’s reform and reorganization plans. The problems run much deeper than what the department’s org chart looks like. Over the past couple of decades, dozens of missions and authorities have steadily migrated from State to other agencies of the federal government, or disbanded altogether; at one time, the department housed the U.S. Information Agency, the foreign agricultural service and the foreign commercial service. More recently, the Defense Department has been given increased authorities—to go along with its massive resources, which State cannot match—to run its own security assistance programs, seriously encroaching on State’s statutory authorities for controlling the allocation of resources to help other countries train and equip their forces. Adding to the loss of the department’s clout has been the Balkanization of U.S. foreign assistance, as more and more domestic agencies run their own boutique foreign aid programs. Whether Tillerson stays or goes, these missions, authorities and programs are long gone—and they ain’t coming back.

Even more importantly, the State Department is no longer primus inter pares in the foreign policy and national security cosmos, and it has been this way for some time. No matter who is in the Oval Office, the National Security Council staff and the president’s national security adviser now run all the most sensitive foreign policy issues out of the White House. Foreign economic and foreign trade policy, though larded with foreign policy implications, are also managed either out of the White House, in the Treasury Department or elsewhere. Mattis and the Pentagon are the big dog on the block, running three major wars and a host of lesser military operations with a budget that makes State’s puny appropriations look like chump change. The war on terror, the preoccupation with homeland security and keeping out what the White House considers undesirables, and the need for actionable intelligence to prosecute all these enterprises has moved DHS and the intelligence community toward the top of the national security food chain. And above all this sits a president who has shown nothing but contempt and lack of understanding for the State Department, its mission and the dedicated men and women who work there.

***

So, belittle poor Secretary Tillerson if you must; close your eyes and make a wish that after T. Rex we’ll get another secretary who has the vision of Dean Acheson, the toughness of George Shultz, the diplomatic panache of Kissinger or the political and tactical instincts of Baker. But it’s magical thinking to believe that Tillerson’s successor could fundamentally alter the downward trajectory of the State Department or do much more to fix the world’s problems. As long as Donald Trump is president, more likely than not, the Department of State is going to remain closed for the season.
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Aaron David Miller is vice president for new initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Wilson Center, and the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.

Richard Sokolsky is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former member of the Secretary of State's Office of Policy Planning.
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Offline Randy C

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #989 on: October 14, 2017, 06:50:00 AM »
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/10/donald-trump-is-unraveling-white-house-advisers

At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.
Video: The Stakes are Too High for the Trump Presidency to be Funny

One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior.

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reported on Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.

The White House denies these accounts. “The President’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive,” an official said.

West Wing aides have also worried about Trump’s public appearances, one Trump adviser told me. The adviser said aides were relieved when Trump declined to agree to appear on the season premiere of 60 Minutes last month. “He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews,” the adviser explained. Instead, Trump has sat down for friendly conversations with Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, whose daughter is Trump’s press secretary. (The White House official says the 60 Minutes interview is being rescheduled.)

Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.

This post has been updated to clarify the details of the negotiation with 60 Minutes.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 07:00:05 AM by Randy C »

 

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