Trump-Russia Ties Confirmed.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

FBI Director James Comey opened Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with a big reveal: The FBI is, in fact, investigating Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, including links between the Trump campaign and Russian government and any coordination between the two.

Naturally, this led to the appearance of a rabid Mr. Tweet again. The multiple tweets can be seen at Think Progress and Raw Story. A certain sense of weariness sets in when I once again glance at the manic ravings of Mr. Tweet, but I can’t help but notice just how stuck the Tiny Tyrant is, like a skipping needle on a glaring scratch. Without fail, he always regresses back to the election, the one moment where he felt competent. He continues to bring up Ms. Clinton, like a superannuated revivalist preacher, terrified of letting go of one thing he knows will whip up a froth among his faithful. In the same manner, he drags back the old bone of the electoral college, desperately trying to remind people of his big “win”.

Then, of course, there’s the old “Fake! Fake I say!”, this time over a CNN poll, which points to plummeting approval ratings. Mr. Tweet scorns CNN, while patting the head of FOX, seeming to be blissfully unaware of a FOX poll which also showed a tremendously decreasing amount of confidence and approval in the Tiny Tyrant. Oops. The Tiny Tyrant demonstrates his own lack of relevance, by continually parroting the recent past, unable to move on, and unwilling to face the realities of being a despot who does something other than tweet and continually take 3 million dollar weekends.

This directly contradicts statements made both by President Trump himself as well as his administration. Monday morning — likely in anticipation of Comey’s hearing — Trump tweeted that any insinuation of collusion between him and Russia is “FAKE NEWS” and that Democrats simply invented the scandal. He nevertheless insisted that the leakers responsible for that information getting out should be investigated.

Oh yes, that too. What is becoming yet another old, old song, “Leaker!” Perhaps, given the rumours about the Tiny Tyrant’s obsession with having people leak on the beds of his enemies, he should attempt to find a different word. Unfortunately for him, people will talk, that’s one of those things people do.

In the wake of Comey’s confirmation of the investigation, it remains to be seen if the congressional Republicans defending Trump will continue to insist that the FBI should be investigating the leaks of the classified information that raise these concerns, but not the concerns themselves.

Think Progress has the full story. For a quick rundown:

 

“Palace Intrigue.” “Loyalists.”

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MarketWatch photo illustration/Shutterstock.

Palace intrigue. Loyalists. What country is this again? From the sound of it, we took a wrong turn at Albuquerque or something. Politico has in-depth look at the paranoia-infused administration regime, where people admit to being paranoid, while paranoia is also dismissed. The whole thing is a dismantled mess, more resembling Bedlam of yore than any type of government. Splintered, running on mistrust, paranoia, and lies, all on a wobbly base of fake news fueled insanity.  And of course, the gold-plated unpresident, who can’t seem to find time for anything, um, presidential, but once again resorts to Mr. Tweet, going after Snoop Dogg, who does not seem to have bothered noticing the gold menace.

A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government.

In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.

Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.

Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cellphones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to try to identify leakers on his team.

It’s an environment of fear that has hamstrung the routine functioning of the executive branch. Senior advisers are spending much of their time trying to protect turf, key positions have remained vacant due to a reluctance to hire people deemed insufficiently loyal, and Trump’s ambitious agenda has been eclipsed by headlines surrounding his unproven claim that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone lines at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

One senior administration aide, who like most others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the degree of suspicion had created a toxicity that is unsustainable.

“People are scared,” he said, adding that the Trump White House had become “a pretty hostile environment to work in.”

[…]

One senior aide said staffers have become almost obsessed by daily news accounts of palace intrigue and spend hours in the office dissecting them in hopes of deciphering who is dishing — and who is trying to hurt whom.

Another Republican who is close to the White House said junior-level staffers are simply “mimicking what they’re seeing at the top … Everyone at the top is so suspicious that it trickles down the org chart, so everyone has become paranoid and suspicious.”

The distrust, some contend, isn’t unfounded.

“I wouldn’t call it paranoia under the circumstances,” said a Republican who communicates with many administration aides through encrypted apps. “It’s not paranoia if people really are out to get you, and everybody actually is out to get everyone else.”

Many staffers say they don’t like the idea that supervisors — or anyone else — could have access to their emails. Some have taken to using secure messengers like Confide and Signal in order to communicate on their personal phones. One program gaining popularity within the administration is Wickr, which allows users to set an expiration time on how long an unread message can remain in a recipient’s inbox before it self-destructs.

The encryption programs can’t be accessed from White House-issued phones, which prevent users from downloading most apps. There are no restrictions on employees using encrypted apps on their personal phones, the White House official said, as long as they’re not being used to conduct official business.

The most stress, however, may be outside the West Wing, in executive branch agencies, where staffers worry about career bureaucrats who are hostile to Trump.

The whole article is excellent, and quite disturbing. Recommended reading.

In keeping with all the palace paranoia, there’s been a showdown between Mattis and the palace:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly told the White House he would resign unless a Trump campaign loyalist was removed from her job.

DefenseNews reported on Wednesday that supporters of Mattis were expecting the White House to reassign Mira Ricardel from her job at the Office of Presidential Personnel.

According to the report, Ricardel is a former member of Trump’s campaign who is seen as “a loyal soldier who is looking out for the interests of the President.”

Sources told DefenseNews that Ricardel was “a roadblock for nominees,” making it difficult for Mattis to fill top-level positions at the Pentagon.

Ricardel has allegedly imposed an ideological purity test that blocked many potential nominees. Sources said that the White House has blacklisted all candidates who signed “never Trump” letters during the election.

A source within the administration said that Ricardel’s opposition to “politically unacceptable” candidates was seen as a “badge of honor” in the White House.

“Mattis told the White House either Mira goes, or he walks,” one Pentagon source explained to Defense News. “They blinked.”

That full story is here. I have no doubt there will be more intrigue oozing out of Bedlam, and no doubt, Mr. Tweet will be back once again.

Sunday Facepalm.

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Today, we have the Compleat Batshit Sweepstakes! Who will win? Will it be Rick Wiles, Cindy Jacobs, Wayne Allen Root, or Lance Wallnau? This is also the S word alliteration contest: pick the winner: from Wallnau, we have sabotaging, sniping and snarling enemies, and from Wiles, we have a slithering cabal of seditious snakes. I think, on pure word performance, Wiles has to take the trophy on S alliteration. The overall winner in the Batshit stakes I will leave up to the reader.

We’ll start with the master of hyperbolic bullshit, Rick Wiles, who is on quite the tear over the Satanistic Cabal of Pedophile Baby Sacrificers. (Why Lucifer comes into this, I don’t know. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. – Psalms 137.9).

Rick Wiles dedicated his radio program yesterday to warning that a secretive pedophile ring is working to destroy President Trump before he can expose their murderous global network.

Wiles said that Trump is “besieged by a slithering cabal of seditious snakes” who are attempting to carry out a coup against him at the behest of the “perpetual war and pedophilia party that has ruled America since they assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963.”

Huh. I really think someone is confused, because conservatives have always been the ones in favour of war. Pedophilia too, actually. I did not listen to the broadcast, that’s simply asking too much, so I don’t know if he expounded on this “perpetual war and pedophilia party” business, or how they managed to assassinate Kennedy. It really is true, isn’t it, that conspiracies never die. They just get twisted about now and again.

They’re fighting like cornered animals to prevent their pedophile network from being exposed. … It’s about the darkest, most disgusting, vilest corruption you can imagine. And if the American people ever find out the truth about their politicians and their celebrities in Hollywood and their TV idols and their favorite TV anchormen and women, and they find out all these great famous people and they find out that they’re just child molesters—not only molesters, but child murderers, sacrificing children to Satan. When they find out, they will drag their bloody carcasses down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., with meat hooks! They’ll have meat hooks in their carcasses.

Bloody carcasses! Meat hooks! Meat hooks in their carcasses! Jesus Fuck, the bloodthirstiness of some christians is truly frightening. At least you know where all the projection is coming from, although that’s not at all comforting. Honestly, I’d think that if such a cabal existed, and were descended from the amazing perpetual war and pedophilia party, they’d just quietly carry out another assassination, rather than attempt to ‘destroy’ the Tiny Tyrant, which I read here as discredit. No one at all has to work at discrediting the Tiny Tyrant or his regime, they are bumbling about, doing a fine job of that themselves. The full story is here, complete with soundcloud.

Up next, in the Seriously Eeeuuuuw! category, is Wayne Allen Root, with his praise of just how very much Trump loves business…

[Read more…]

The Dynamics of the Regime.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Trump administration’s agenda has started to solidify a month and a half after his inauguration. ThinkProgress checked in with scholars on authoritarianism to see how that agenda it’s taking shape. For people who have devoted their lives to studying anti-democratic movements, recent White House actions are more disturbing than ever.

[…] Trump’s language has spread not just to the media, but to supporters in politics. Take a recent tweet from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) where he claimed leakers needed to be ‘purged’:

@RealDonaldTrump needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist acts sink us.

Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and author of Populism, A Very Short Introduction: This is a great example of how the U.S. far right has become emboldened and more visible. Steve King has been a radical right voice in the U.S. House of Representatives for years and years. He started normalizing radical right politicians from Europe years ago, with Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann, meeting, among others, with [Dutch right-wing nationalist] Geert Wilders in 2015 and 2016, with [French right-wing nationalist] Marine Le Pen in 2016 and 2017, and with [German right-wing nationalist] Frauke Petry in 2016.

While the meetings were public, King seemed aware he was part of a fringe within the GOP that supported these parties. Now, as one can see in this tweet, King clearly feels Trump is on the same page. Like David Duke and other long-standing U.S. far right activists and politicians, they believe their time is now, and they call upon Trump to do what they have only dreamed off in the past decades. It again shows that Trump is not “alien” to the GOP. Not only does the majority of the GOP base support him, and most of his “controversial” policies, but many GOP members of Congress, particularly in the House, were always closer to him than to Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell.

This goes for all the Religious Reich, right wing pundits, and far right conspiracy theorists, too. They finally have the audience they have craved, with a power to back it up. There might be a minor disagreement here or there, but they will continue to back the Regime in order to get things they have dreamed about for decades.

Berman: It’s one thing to say leakers are bad or government employees shouldn’t be leaking classified information, but these kinds of terms or concepts — purging, enemies — are very dangerous. Again it’s a sign of no longer seeing yourself as a national community engaged with fellow citizens, but in a zero sum struggle going on here — and people opposed to you are not just different politically but enemies. It makes democracy impossible to function and a social consensus impossible to achieve.

Trump’s power is in his rhetoric — and not just policy — which is incredibly divisive. He’s creating problems, and the rhetoric itself makes it impossible to do what democracy requires: compromise and consensus.

Ben Ghiat: The tone of King’s Tweet — get them before they can wreck us — conveys this cornered feeling — and what might transpire.

Trump’s policies are messages aimed at the people of the United States. They say what kind of country, society, and culture his administration wants.

This one sentence ^ is one that apologists for Trump supporters need to take on board, stat. Most Trump supporters are not dismayed, they are happy with the way things are going. They are filled with bile and rage, bloated with a sense of entitlement, and they want other people to suffer.

Berman: The revised ban … claims to be something that keeps terrorists out of the U.S., even though there is empirically no evidence that it does that. But it speaks to his base and says, “Look, I did what I promised.”

[On undocumented immigrants] Trump is saying, “I’m enforcing the law.” Which is technically true, but he’s doing it in a way that is speaking to his base and breaking up families, which is very, very cruel. He’s doubling down, and it’s very attractive to a lot of people. It’s very powerful for lots of people who think politicians make promises they don’t keep.

Yes. Yes, it is. Anyone who takes 10 minutes here or there to read comments following the slightest criticism of the Regime will see just how much Trump supporters are in love with this.

I think what’s most worrying to me is the divisiveness that Trump is using to whip up his base and solidify support among true believers. He’s not winning anybody on the other side, and this is really problematic. Rolling back Obamacare is bad and banning people is a bad thing. It’s not entirely different from what we expected from other conservatives, but it’s really proven to be way, way, way different than with other candidates. And way more dangerous for democracy is this rhetoric, alternative facts, and inability to reach compromises with the other side of aisle. It’s truly pernicious, and what he’s managed in a couple months is really frightening.

Ben Ghiat: The separation of families and the further empowerment of ICE are unnecessary, cruel, and intimidating — and that is exactly their point. Causing human suffering and demoralization was built into this administration and emphasized in Trump’s dark inaugural address. They also show allies their commitment to the agenda of state racism. I see the setting up of immigrants as targets to be deported as part of a racist population management scheme which has [Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon as its mastermind, but plenty of help from the GOP.

We really aren’t all that far from concentration camps. A lot of people on the left insist this is hyperbole, no, it wouldn’t ever get that bad, checks and balances, all that. Well, all that hasn’t worked at all so far, has it? A lot people on the left said it could never reach the point it has, insisting on their rose-coloured glasses. “It won’t come to that.” It has come to that, and it’s going to get worse.

Mudde: As should have been clear to anyone watching President Trump’s joint session speech, he hasn’t changed. Yes, he read a speech from the teleprompter without going on rants, but every time he talked about the need to come together and not divide the nation, he pointed his hand in the direction of the Democrats. Moreover, despite the pandering to congressional Republicans — in terms of deregulation and overturning Obama legislation, particularly Obamacare — let there be no mistake that this was a Bannon-[Stephen] Miller speech.

The only topic of discussion after the speech, at least for liberals, should have been VOICE, i.e. the new federal program for Victims of Immigrant Crime Enforcement that he announced. This is an incredible example of nativist politics, distinguishing victims not on the basis of the crime or damage they have suffered, but the ethnicity/legal status of the perpetrator. It obviously serves the purpose to identify “immigrants” — not just undocumented ones — with crime and crime with immigrants.

The fact that self-appointed liberal spokesmen like Van Jones and Bill Maher hailed this speech for its presidentialism shows just how shallow and self-centered their opposition is. He didn’t go after “us,” so it was a good speech. In other words, for me, the main story of the last week was not anything Trump did, but the deep desire among conservatives and liberals to normalize Trump.

The sheer amount of people intent on normalising Trump and the Regime is terrifying in and of itself. I understand the desire, the constant onslaught of corruption and evil is difficult to deal with. Heads get filled with anxiety and depression, shoulders hunched and knotted with the weight of stress. There comes a point where the desire to just sink into denial is overwhelmingly welcome. Regardless, we can’t afford ourselves the narcotic of normalisation, we must all stand, as firm and bright torches blazing in the dark, lighting the way we must go.

Full story at Think Progress.

President Jekyll and Mr. Tweet.

Screen-Shot-2016-12-01-at-11.03.04-PM

Whoever was keeping Mr. Tweet locked up tight lost the battle, and unhinged tweets are once again littered about, this time mashing up Pres. Obama, wire taps, McCarthyism, and Watergate. I’m just going to include one here:

How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

No, Teeny Tyrant, this isn’t Watergate, and you aren’t Nixon. You’re a corrupt fucking idiot, who has his very own massive scandal to worry about. I wonder, does he think this twittershit actually makes a difference? Apparently, this latest appearance of Mr. Tweet was triggered by an article in Breitbart. You can read about that here. You can read some of the responses here.

I just want to focus on one thing: the very sacred election process. Right. Would you be talking about all the voter suppression which took place? Pretty sure you’d consider that bit sacred, seeing as it was illegal, unethical, and well into evil territory. Or is it the travesty of the electoral college that’s sacred? One thing is for certain, you don’t consider the votes of millions of people to be shit, let alone sacred. I expect the Idiot-in-Chief meant sacrosanct, but that word is a bit big.

Well, that so-called grand and normal moment, oh so presidential and all that, it didn’t last long, did it? What amazes me is that anyone fell for that shit in the first place. Just because Trump can manage, with enough wrangling, to be President Jekyll for a moment, does not mean Mr. Tweet has gone away.

Also see this response:

A California Congressman took to Twitter on Saturday morning to warn President Donald Trump that — if he is correct that his Trump Tower phones were tapped — he is “in deep sh*t.”

Think Progress is also covering this story.