Tag Archives: Politics

Obscene Paragraphs: Minimize the Moocher Edition

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, Il Douché’s newest hire, and understudy for the part of  Tight-Lips” Louie in the inevitable live action Simpsons musical, made his debutante’s run of the Sunday morning chat shows this morning. It did not go well.

 

 

His appearances did little to assuage the sense that the reason he got the job was his willingness to repeatedly declare his undying loyalty to his Don (twenty times, according to the NYTimes).  Sure, he outed his boss as an anonymous source, first telling Jake Tapper “Somebody said to me yesterday—I won’t tell you who—that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those emails, you would have never seen it, you would have never had any evidence of them.” When pressed by Tapper, he reacted like a cornered bully in a playground fight: “How about it was the president, Jake?” Not exactly a compelling comeback.

But, at heart, he’s just another one of Tr**p’s hedge fund buddies who thinks he knows how to “fix” government without knowing how it actually works. And while having a friendly coffee with the folks over on “Fox News Sunday,” After less then two days on the job, he already knows what the problem. It just happens to be his Don’s biggest concern: leaks. All those illegal leaks on “Fake News.” (Left unasked: if those leaks are illegal, then the information—and the reporting of it—can’t be fake. If someone tells you a fake story, they’re not a leaker—they’re a liar.)

And The Mooch knows just how to stop those “unprofessional” leaks. His solution:

Scaramucci on Sunday said he would “pare down the staff” to stop White House leaks, but made clear… that he wants to start anew. “As far as I’m concerned, there will be a new start for everybody on the team,” said Scaramucci, whose appointment as communications director forced the resignation of Sean Spicer, who had held that post.

 OK, the less people who have access to information, the less chance of it leaking (and it’s easier to find the leak). Only one problem: The Douché Administration is running with a historically small staff. Some of the agencies have only a single Tr**p appointee. And it’s not obstruction, at least not on the Democrat’s part. According to the Washington Post.

President Trump has a major staffing problem. He has been president for five months, and yet his agencies are severely understaffed at the highest levels. And, no, it’s not all Senate Democrats’ fault…Trump is way behind other Presidents in nominating people for the Senate to vote on.

Obscene Paragraphs: Stairway to the Starrett Edition

While the Junior Don is digging himself deeper every time he opens his mouth, apparently believing he can deflect any problems by insisting it was just a casual meeting. It was set up by an “acquaintance,” and he invited Jared and Paul to “stop by.”  Besides, she didn’t have any good dirt on Hillary, so what’s the issue?

While the left hand’s getting slapped, the right one is still out there grifting. Today’s Times has a story about a conflict of interest arising out of Il Douché’s stake in Starrett City, a massive housing development in Brooklyn, and a reminder of a time when governments were actually interested in helping the middle class. As you might expect, the owners get Federal subsidies, to the tune of $490 million since May 2013.

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Tr**p’s stake in small, only 4%, but two Democratic Congressmen, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Hakeem Jeffries of New York, have questions about it. They worry that Il Douché’s representatives, or his good friend Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, could “put a thumb on the scales” regarding rent increases, a possible sale , or refinancing. But that’s not what’s truly obscene. It’s this:

The men added that they also worry that Mr. Trump’s proposed budget would make steep cuts to many housing programs but “would leave the type of federal aid that flows to the owners of Starrett City mostly intact.”

So if you live in Starrett City, you might have to dig deeper in your pocket to pay the rent, but rest assured,  the bank balance of Donald J. Tr**p, 45th President of the United States, and your landlord, will not be adversely affected.


I’ll Take the President For The Block…

So, doing my early afternoon Social Media sweep—a quick scan of Facebook, check out a few stories for Obit, then a look at Twitter, specifically to make sure Il Douché hasn’t used his 140 characters to declare war—and I come across this:

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…and  was surprised. Not that someone is blocked on Twitter; to paraphrase Dean Martin,  everybody blocks somebody sometimes. But that the Commander-In-Chief can block somebody.

If you take Twitter at its word, and accept that the social media network is also a news service (and  its readers “citizen journalists”), does a sitting President of The United States have the right to deny a US Citizen access to his of tweets, even if they are mostly tantrums, whinging, and puffed-up Babbittry?


The Shadow of Grenfell Towers

Today’s New York Times long read on the Grenfell Towers tragedy is heartbreaking, maddening, and frightening.

Heartbreaking because those who lived and died there trusted government to have  their safety as the paramount objective; maddening because both Tory and Labour governments put the profits of business ahead of the safety of their citizens; frightening because Tr**p and his  rapacious Randian Cabinet are gleefully taking a machete to all manner of  regulations.

Nearly every time he opens his mouth—after reminding everyone of his glorious electoral victories and executive order signings—he crows about how many regulations he has manfully stricken from the books. Scott Pruitt has turned the EPA into the “Excessive Polluters Association,” the mentally ill have their inalienable right to buy firearms restored, and every federal agency has been directed to look at regulations with an eye on meeting his campaign promise of cutting 75%.  At the moment, United States housing codes are strict enough that a Grenfell-type tragedy is unlikely here.

But safety rules are already in Tr**p’s sights. He’s already rescinded The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rules put in under President Obama.  As Brian Martin, the top UK civil servant in change of drafting building safety guidelines said, requiring that builders make sure the exterior of a building non-combustible “limits your choice of materials.” And when Il Douché laughed at the size of the scroll charting the rules and regulations he says builders have to follow “just to build a road, “how many of those have to do with safety? I mean, building a highway that can withstand earthquakes, storms, droughts, and the wear and tear of gas guzzling SUVs riding over them also limits your choice of materials.

So it can’t happen here…yet. But in the world that Il Douché and other “free marketers” imagine, Howard Roark wouldn’t have to blow up a housing project to protect the purity of his design; he’d just have to make sure they use the cheapest, most flammable materials  possible, and wait.


The Three Scariest Things We Learned About Tr**p today…

Every story about this White House is frightening, but here are the three scariest things about this Washington Post story on Il Douché’s mulling a White House purge:

1—In the constant, Tudor-like  political roiling of the White House waters, the bloated body of Steve Bannon has floated back to the top. Setting up a “war room” to do battle with the government that Tr**p leads has his fingerprints all over it. What makes Bannon dangerous  is his lust for chaos and disruption. It’s all about “The Fourth Turning,” a potted history that Bannon reveres.  The book argues that history unfolds in 80 year cycles, each made up of four 20-year “turnings.” We are now in the midst of the fourth, or “destruction” turn of the Post-War era. (The book even uses the term “winter is coming,” so you know every time he turns on “Game of Thrones,” he sees confirmation.) But he’s not content with letting the destruction happen. If the times aren’t going to conform to the book, he’s going to make sure they will. Also back is his spirit animal, Kellyanne Conway.

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2—Il Douché is quickly on the road to becoming America’s first Potemkin president. What to do when Tr**p’s not feeling so good about himself? Throwing things at his “enormous” big-screen TV, yelling “Fake News! Fake News!” even when Fox is on?  Why, throw a few rallies. He can take Marine One directly from the White House lawn,  put a cordon around the landing zone, have a friendly crowd on the road, let him grab a few dignitaries’ hands, put him in front of a few thousand of his fans, and it’s all good!

3—They actually use “Godfather” quotes to describe their actions. Two people “close to the [War Room] discussions” said they were “going to the mattresses.”


Is That The Other Shoe I Hear…?

Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

You read that correctly—Russian Ambassador Told Moscow That Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With Moscow. Now, before we start bringing out the Champaign to christen the good ship Impeachment,  let’s take a breath.

This could just be Russia toying with us, throwing yet another pailful of dezinformatsiya  to the mainstream media like so much chum, roiling the water just to show they can. Putin might have tired of Il Douché, and decided to throw a shot across his bow, stepping on the relatively good news of his foreign trip.  Who knew he’d be so high-maintenance? The constant preening, and having to be in the front row of every picture?  (The most Tr**piest part of that shove? The East/west nods and the tug on his jacket as he took his place, a bullying narcissist’s show of importance that wouldn’t look out of place on a mob boss.) And he just won’t shut up. Being an ally of Il Douché is like hooking up with every nightmare relationship you ever had. You couldn’t blame he if  Putin decided he’s not worth the trouble, and cut him loose.

Or it could just be they’re really that stupid. Right now, that option seems the most likely.

According to the story, Kislyak

was reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

 And that sounds like something Tr**p would demand. You can imagine him telling Jared to demand a secret office in the Russian Embassy. It’s the kind of Maxwell-Smart-meets- the-Sopranos style of governing coming from the White House.

Whatever the reason, this takes the story right to the heart of the Tr**p Administration. If true, you can’t imagine that Kushner, the most trusted man in the White House, made that demand without approval from the Boss. And it’s illegal, even if they’re going to claim this was some ninja-styled negotiating move. Can’t wait to hear Jeffrey Lord try to defend this steaming pile of crap.

 


Peggy Noonan Needs A Hug….

Peggy Noonan is the dotty, slightly out-of-touch grandma of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. She shows up on the Sunday morning chat shows, her voice soft and breathy, a little sing-songy, offering conservatives a lap to climb up on, while she coos gauzy, comforting platitudes. Famous for coining the phrases “a kinder, gentler nation,” and calling forth “a thousand points of light,” she also attempted to calm GOP fears during the 2012 election, predicting a Romney win because of the optimism she sensed a rallies and saw more Romney lawn signs while driving through suburban communities. Given the awful track record of other right-leaning pundits, she has kept her job, continuing do dole out optimism scented like home-baked cookies while scary uncles such as Charles Krauthammer darkly warned of Tr**p’s deficiencies and the ranting brats of Breitbart were undisciplined second cousins, running through the halls, gleefully knocking over display cases.

But in Friday’s Journal, she’s concerned. Before the election, she wrote “Imagine A Sane Donald Trump,” a  nostrum as syrupy as patent medicine, and nearly as effective.  Sure, he’s nuts, but look at his good side:

…his broad policy assertions, or impulses, suggested he understood that 2008 and the years just after (the crash and the weak recovery) had changed everything in America, and that the country was going to choose, in coming decades, one of two paths

Those paths: the Yellow Brick Road of moderate populism (Tr**p), or being left in the forest of socialism, where a witch who looked suspiciously like Hilly Clinton would toss you in a caldron of universal healthcare and relative stability.

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Il Douché, she discerned (always a dangerous word in Noonan’s hands) understood what she understood,  that America wanted government

supportive and encouraging of business but willing to harness government to alleviate the distress of the abandoned working class and the anxious middle class; strong on defense but neither aggressive nor dreamy in world affairs; realistic and nonradical on social issues while unmistakably committed to protecting the freedoms of the greatest cohering force in America, its churches; and aware that our nation’s immigration reality was a scandal created by both parties, and must be redressed.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it—except for the church part. While I’m not as dismissive as religion as Bill Maher or the late Christopher Hitchens (I love gospel music too much for that, and the food is usually pretty good, too) the last forty years has shown the power of religion to be divisive.

But he’s disappointed her. Like an indulgent grandma she was willing to overlook his twitter-storms, his lack of politesse,  because he was fundamentally right. It took  the heath-care debate for her to realize this.

And what was it that tipped her off? “He doesn’t understand his base (nevermind that , according to some Republican legislators he met, he didn’t under the bill).

But she doesn’t understand Tr**p’s base either. Because he doesn’t have a base, per se. He has bases, with different desires. The working class voters in West Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the bloc who put him over the top, electorally, saw him as a right-win Roosevelt, a man of wealth (if no taste) who had the common touch, and would work for their interests, regardless of the fact that he was a Reality TV version of a billionaire, a serial scam artist who had not previously shown the slightest understanding of their plight. But the Breitbart true believers have no interest in helping anyone. The site’s stories cheer on the “Freedom” Caucus, and even a short time reading the site’s comment section is enervating. It’s an unkempt nursery where the smell of soiled diapers is overwhelming,  anyone showing even the slightest doubt about Tr**p is booed down as a troll, Alex Jones and Sean Hannity are lauded as truth-telling deep thinkers, Sarah Palin and Louis Gohmert are looked to for political guidance, and the conservative bona fides of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio  are rudely questioned and branded as RINOs.  It’s aroom filled with tinpot revolutionaries,  a mob whose only interest was upending the furniture, tearing the house down, salting the fields,  with no interest in rebuilding. They view themselves to be potential tenants of Galt’s Gulch, but irony is that, in  Randian terms,  Steve Bannon is their Ellsworth Toohey, the mooching architecture critic in The Fountainhead who demands the mob take down the flawed tabloid publisher, Gail Wynand, after his paper supports the hero, Howard Roark, who selfishly blows up a housing project.

But for Noonan, their biggest problem is that…they’re not Peggy Noonan. In speaking to them, she realizes

…(we) brought different experiences to the table. I had worked in a White House. I had personally observed its deeper realities and requirements. Their sense of how a White House works came from news shows and reading, and also from TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Scandal.” Those are dark, cynical shows that more or less suggest anyone can be president. I don’t mean that in the nice way. Those programs don’t convey how a White House is an organism demanding of true depth, of serious people, real professionals.

 She worries that Tr**p, when faced with a real crisis (“Maybe the mad boy-king of North Korea will decide it’s a good day to see if his missiles can hit Los Angeles. Maybe a sleeper cell of terrorists will decide it’s a good day to show it’s woke,” she frets) Trump will react like the spoiled child he is. It’s certainly a real concern,  but she worked for the Bush family, who gave us W. And that administration. W, perhaps even more than Reagan, let people believe that the idiot spoiled children of the powerful can occupy the White House.  Instead of placing wagging her finger at her ignorant children, Noonan might want to look inward.


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