$100 Million and Ethically Questionable.

Ivanka Trump participates in a presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal to President Donald Trump at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Oh, palace intrigue, it never ends. Once again, a deal struck now reverberates back to the Tiny Tyrant condemning something done by others, but it’s okely dokely for him and his family. Y’know, Donny has to absolutely love it there, in spite of that little curtsy gaffe, look at all that gilt! Is it too much to hope he’ll stay?

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged $100 million to the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an initiative proposed by first daughter and senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump. The fund, which was first announced in April, has already raised serious legal and ethical questions about how a White House adviser can both shape foreign policy and actively solicit donations from foreign countries for the fund.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the initiative would provide technical assistance and investments for projects that support the economic empowerment of women around the globe. Ivanka Trump does not control the money, though she first pitched the idea to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and has discussed the idea with leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Sunday, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim praised “Ivanka’s leadership” in spearheading the fund, and called it “a stunning achievement.”

Getting people to shovel money your way is a handy talent, no doubt. A stunning achievement, though? Oh, I don’t think so. Could the bar for this family possibly be lower?

President Donald Trump was extremely critical of Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation while campaigning against Hillary Clinton, going so far as to call for Clinton to return all the money given to the foundation, both in speeches on the campaign trail and during the October presidential debate.

Credit: Facebook.

Donald J. Trump: Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries.

“You talk about women and women’s rights. These are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly, and yet you take their money,” Trump said during the debate. “So I’d like to ask you right now. Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money. I think it would be a great gesture.”

The Clinton Foundation received between 10 and 25 million from Saudi Arabia. Gosh, that’s barely a peach pit next to 100 million, isn’t it? Naturally, Trump has not brought up receiving that amount of money from Saudia Arabia, because now that sort of thing is just fine. Great, in fact.

Think Progress has the full story.

Catering to the Tiny Tantrum Tyrant.

Trump. AP News.

Oh dear. The Unprez’s trip is looming, and world leaders are all busy lining up favourite foods, padding playpens, and doing power point slides on how to handle the Tiny Tyrant. The mocking by the Twitterati has been merciless, and deservedly so. These are obviously not preparations for a visit by an adult, let alone the supposed president of a company country.  [My Freudian Slip is showing.] These are preparations for a cranky toddler, ever on the verge of a full meltdown tantrum. AP and NYT have stories about these preparations, if you feel like being gobsmacked this day, with a side helping of near-fatal eyerolls.

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favorite meal – steak with a side of ketchup – will be offered alongside the traditional local cuisine.

At NATO and the Group of 7 summits, foreign delegations have gotten word that the new U.S. president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids. And at all of Trump’s five stops on his first overseas trip, his team has spent weeks trying to build daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule.

It’s all part of a worldwide effort to accommodate America’s homebody president on a voyage with increasingly raised stakes given the ballooning controversy involving his campaign’s possible ties to Russia. For a former international businessman, Trump simply doesn’t have an affinity for much international.

Even before Trump’s trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies. Two officials said they feared that a difficult trip might even lead the president to hand off future traveling duties to Vice President Mike Pence.

From the AP article.

After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.

“If you were prepping people for Donald Trump, the two or three points would be: one, bear in mind this is still a guy who focuses on wins,” Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States, said. “He likes to have wins for America and wins for himself from bilateral meetings.”

“Secondly,” he continued, “he is a deal maker, a pragmatist. Third, this is a guy with a limited attention span. He absolutely won’t want to listen to visitors droning on for a half-hour — or longer if they need an interpreter.”

From the NYT.

“I don’t mean to belabor this comparison but these are literally tips for managing toddlers.”

“@AP @POTUS brings the world together in an international babysitting effort.”

Raw Story has some of the choice tweets on the issue.

A High-Tech Lynching! A Crucifixion! A Tsunami! An Earthquake! The Gates of Hell!

It’s customary for the Religious Reich and Uber-Conservatives to employ purple hyperbole, but Wayne Allen Root takes this habit to a whole new level. To say his latest screed is hyperbole overkill is something of an understatement. I’m rather surprised he omitted witch hunt and purge. Well, perhaps he felt the lynching and crucifixion were enough to get on with, along with the triune of Trump, William Wallace, and Jesus Christ. There’s a trinity for you.

Root says that Trump, like William Wallace and Jesus Christ, is a champion of the people and is now “facing one of the most intense, over-the-top, attacks ever seen in world history,” orchestrated by the “deep state,” the media, and “disgusting, disgraced people” like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“They have to stop him at all costs,” Root said. “Not just stop him, destroy him. Lynch him. Crucify him. They need to send a clear message, so no one ever tries to educate, enlighten, or empower the people ever again. That’s why the gates of hell have been opened on President Trump. That’s why Trump is facing a tsunami, earthquake, tornado, hailstorm all in one.”

Okay, perhaps I’m simply easy to amuse, but I got a good laugh out of the notion that Trump, in any way, educates, enlightens, or empowers anyone. (Empowering himself and family, yes. Everyone and everything else? No.) As for the weather hyperbole, if we don’t get busy on the whole climate change is coming to get you, Barbara, that might happen to lots of us.

“They need to kill Trump,” he said, “whether it be character assassination or the real thing, aka murder.”

“Never in all my years in politics have I ever [seen?] anything like the way the gates of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump,” Root said. “This isn’t just an old-fashioned attack, it isn’t random. This is a coordinated conspiracy to destroy Trump. This is a high-tech lynching. This is a crucifixion!”

How does one go about a high-tech lynching? Is that the same as a cyber-lynching, or just better tools? It never ceases to amaze just how much privileged white people love to invoke the very real terror of lynching, as if it were remotely applicable to themselves.

“And that’s why we must all support President Trump,” Root warned. “If we don’t back Trump now, if you don’t back Trump now, it’s all lost forever. It’s time to fight like a cornered wolverine. It’s time to fight like it’s the end of America, because it is. We can’t go back in time and save Sir William Wallace. We can’t go back and save Jesus Christ from being nailed to that cross. But we can change the future course of history today. There is still time to stand with Donald Trump against the forces of evil.”

I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go back in time to save your buddy Jesus. If you did that, you wouldn’t have your seriously twisted religion, would you? Well, actually, I’d be fine with that, make it so, okay? And stop besmirching the reputation of Wallace with your awful comparisons. Trump is no William Wallace. George, maybe. Anyone else getting the “I just found out about Wallace, I must use it!” vibe in this rant?

Via RWW.

Sheriff David Clarke Gets His Trump Appointment.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.

I’m sure that Dave Clarke is just giddy over being appointed to homeland security. For the rest of us, it’s a walking, talking, nightmare. No one could possibly be less qualified than Clarke, whose hatred knows no bounds. Many times over, this man should have been tried for his crimes, and if there was any justice, he’d be sitting in a prison cell for the rest of his life.  He’s in the midst of a prison deaths scandal right now, but apparently, that doesn’t matter, anymore than his previous crimes. This is just the tip of the Clarke iceberg:

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “pitchforks and torches,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Via RWW, click on over for the full story.

Also see: Why Sheriff Clarke will be a disaster in his new job, according to his predecessor: ‘Just plain awful’.

Fear! They Must Fear!

Tucker Viemeister.

Conservative allies are now poking and pushing the Tiny Tyrant to indulge in more firings, because naturally, the fault of the current mess lies with them! And them! Oh, and them too! One GOP operative even managed to blurt out a tiny bit of conservatruth, the importance of fear, because what good is a regime without that?

President Trump’s allies are pushing him to make drastic changes as the White House deals with persistent leaks and a communications strategy they believe has spun out of control.

There is a broad sense among Trump’s media boosters and early supporters that his staff is failing him, beginning with chief of staff Reince Priebus and extending to press secretary Sean Spicer, whose job security has been the subject of endless speculation.

Now, some of the most influential figures in conservative media are openly auditioning for Spicer’s job, calling for the ouster of communications director Mike Dubke or pushing the White House to fight back against the media by ending press briefings altogether.

Some of those measures — in particular the measure to freeze out the press — are catching on among Trump’s conservative base.

“I have always been against the White House doing daily press briefings and agree that an overhaul of how the communications team deals with the media is in order,” said Mark Meckler, cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots. “We are dealing with a media that is, by and large, hostile to conservatives, hostile to Republicans, hostile to ideas of limited government, fiscal responsibility and constitutionalism, and certainly hostile to this president. So the president and his staff should act accordingly.”

Why yes, of course, people being generally hostile to such ideas, that has nothing at all to do with ideas, no. Instead, stomping all over media and attempting to restrict information, that’s the ticket, yeah!

Hannity accused reporters of seeking publicity for themselves through public combat with the White House.

He said the White House should strike back by having reporters submit questions in writing, “giving the White House time to respond with clarity and specificity.” Following that, Spicer or deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could then take a handful of questions from reporters on prearranged topics, Hannity said.

“If the White House follows this plan, I think the destroy-Trump propaganda media will have a much harder time misrepresenting the Trump administration positions and you, the American people, will be better served,” he said.

Oh my, just look at that radiating pile of wrong. We certainly wouldn’t want a president and spokespeople who were capable of actually thinking before talking, no, that would be bad. Instead, we’ll quash media by treating them like naughty kindergartners. Trump administration positions are not being misrepresented. They are being represented, which is why you’re all in such a stew. Can you imagine the reaction if anyone suggested such a plan with an earlier president? The cries of “Unamerican!” would roll like thunder across the land. As for being better served, count me out on being an American people.

Trump’s allies blame the uproar on a failure of Trump’s chief of staff to assert authority inside a White House bitten by daily leaks to the press that paint a chaotic and unflattering picture of the president.

“It all comes back to the chief of staff,” said one GOP operative with close ties to the White House.

“Nobody respects him; nobody is afraid of him,” the operative said of Priebus. “You need someone in there who makes people feel their career in Washington would be ruined by running afoul of the president.”

Ah, and there we have it, the core attitude of the Plutocrat Party™.  Fear! Fear is the key. Sounds Regime to me.

The Hill has the full story.

Satanists. Again.

Curtis Ellis, screengrab.

The Tiny Tyrant is more than a little too fond of Curtis Ellis, a former writer for that bastion of batshit, WorldNetDaily. Ellis is now being considered to head up the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs. [Bloomberg].

“The little-known deputy undersecretary position at ILAB is considered an essential piece of the White House push to restore U.S. manufacturing jobs by cracking down on labor abuses overseas,” Penn writes. “Ellis is currently part of the Labor Department’s beachhead team and is overseeing the department’s trade policy. He has already been attending ILAB meetings and representing the bureau to foreign governments as a temporary political appointee.”

This is a serious problem for all the regular reasons, but in the case of Ellis, there’s so much more. He is convinced that multinational elites are out to run the world, installing a small, hidden, anonymous cabal of elites. All these nefarious elites, of course, are in turn run by … Lucifer! This is just so old anymore. They need a new villain.

Elite.

noun

1. (often used with a plural verb) the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.

2. (used with a plural verb) persons of the highest class: Only the elite were there.

3. a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group: the power elite of a major political party.

It’s beyond me, the constant talk of elites among the religious reich, and uber-conservatives. How do they manage to forget they have the major share of wealth and power? They are the elite, alright, the elite baddies.

Along with WorldNetDaily, Ellis also has ties to Breitbart, the outlet formerly run by Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

In an interview last year with “Trunews” host Rick Wiles, Ellis reflected many of Bannon’s ultranationalist views and Trump’s love of Vladimir Putin, and expressed his view that a group of satanic elites is intent on gaining world domination.

Multinational elites, Ellis said, want to create “global tyranny where a small cabal of anonymous, hidden elites rule the world.”

Ellis added that this secret global cabal is a “Luciferian” and “satanic” group that elevates materialism over the spiritual world, pointing to the installation of a replica of the Arch of Baal, which was destroyed by ISIS, in New York.

“ISIS, they did destroy the archway to the temple of Baal,” Wiles said. “I guess if there’s any redeeming value to ISIS, I guess you can credit them for bringing down the Temple of Baal.”

Oh yes, Baal, the godthorn in the side of the psychopathic Yahweh. Lots of people in the bible died because they preferred Baal, God of Ekron, over Yahweh, and that bloodthirsty shit didn’t like competition, no. So not only does this idiot believe in one god of the bible, he believes in one of the other ones, too. Great.

RWW has the full story.

Like A Cat Covering Shit.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

By now, most people are aware that the Tiny Tyrant divulged classified information to the visiting Russians, and Mr. Tweet has had a whirlwind of justifications over it all, he can do whatever the fuck he wants because president! Yeah. The whole mess, and the tweets, are detailed at Think Progress, along with the standard problems in what passes for thought in Trump. The Fucking Idiot not only undercut all his aides by admitting to leaking all over the place, he’s been bragging about it, even to the point of referring to said leakage as humanitarian. Trump wouldn’t know humanitarian if it jumped up and gnawed his face off.  Why on earth anyone would be surprised by this, I don’t know. It’s all too standard behaviour on the Tiny Tyrant’s part. Nathan also has a good piece on the leaking of classified material.

Of more concern, I would say, is the journalistic rush to report that rethuglicans are pulling away from the wannabe dictator now, but unfortunately, that is not so, and this is no time to become complacent, and think they are going to kick his plush arse to the curb.

Source: NYT.

“Questions and concerns” do not mean jack shit when it comes to rethuglicans. It’s a handy, shopworn phrase tossed out to make them sound like they have the same concerns as all us peons, but they don’t. They are interested in two things: covering their asses, and more importantly, protecting their wallet and the various things which feed it. Think Progress has a breakdown of the actual sentiment right now.

And, Politico reports on the shambolic mess that is Trump House, where people are running about like chickens with heads cut off, not having the slightest idea of what is going to happen. Also per usual, Trump is like a cat jumping in a box, furiously digging in an attempt to cover up stinking shit, spraying sand and shit particles all over the place. There will be a shake up! There will be a reorganization! Oh hey, we have a trip coming up, and everyone will forget about Comey and leakage, you betcha!

Republicans Never Change.

In fairness, most political parties change reluctantly, the the republican track record in that regard is particularly dismal. In the midst of common repub refrains, such as “no one ever died from not having access to healthcare” and the more recent “health care systems shouldn’t help someone who “sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes.”

Mulvaney said he agreed with the idea in principle, but with one a very specific caveat: taxpayers shouldn’t help people who fall ill because of, ostensibly, their own actions.

“That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes,” Mulvaney said. “Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.”

Mulvaney was attempting to defend the AHCA, which was narrowly approved by House of Representatives this month without a single Democratic vote. In its current form, the bill would essentially allow insurance companies to price people with pre-existing conditions out of the health insurance marketplace. Meanwhile, so-called “Trumpcare” includes a $880 billion cut to Medicaid, which stands to result in roughly 24 million Americans losing their health insurance because of premium increases.

There’s simply so much fucking wrong there. It’s all wrong. Naturally, republicans don’t give a shit about human nature, or the problems of poverty and a dirty marketplace, which allows for high food prices, food deserts, and the lure of cheap food which is not all that good for you. Republicans have never been fans of the big picture, nor do they care about indulging in such “bad” behaviour themselves, they always have a fucktonne of excuses for any hypocrisy on their part. It’s gosh darn wonderful all these aging, white, wealthy rethugs are so glowingly healthy. I expect that has a great deal to do with privilege, money, and of course, health care coverage. But you won’t find a rethug admitting to that.

There’s been this sense of nagging familiarity with the current effort to kill off a good portion of the uStates population (what a good way to kill off all those irresponsible poor people!), and it finally dawned on me: the righteousness of prohibition and the chemist’s war, in which the federal government spent a great deal of time coming up with ways to murder all those citizens who just wouldn’t stop drinking. They deserved it, oh yes they did! Naturally, those who had money weren’t as likely to be served up the poison concoctions, and there was more than a great deal of hypocrisy to go around. Herbert Hoover, who ran successfully at the time for office of president, had been pro-prohibition on his platform, even though it had been shown to be a mess, not only increasing the amount of people dead from alcohol, but successfully creating alcoholics out of novice drinkers, who prior to prohibition, may have simply had a beer or glass of wine. In prohibition, the only option was for the hard stuff. (Unless you were brewing beer at home, of course.) Hoover called prohibition a noble experiment. He didn’t believe in it though, as he often managed to wander into the Belgian Embassy on his way home, which, being foreign territory, he could enjoy fine, safe liquor.

The New York papers – those wet publications so despised by the Anti-Saloon League – promptly embraced Norris’s report as evidence of a government policy gone haywire. “Prohibition in this area is a complete failure,” the Herald Tribune’s editorial page declared, “enforcement a travesty, the public a victim of poisonous liquor.” Columnist Heywood Broun wrote in the New York World, “The Eighteenth is the only amendment which carries the death penalty.” And the Evening World described the federal government as a mass poisoner, noting that no administration had been more successful in “undermining the health of its own people.

I think we’re there again, with the stripping of healthcare.

The impact of Norris’s report ripped outward beyond his city. U.S. Senator James Reed of Missouri told the St. Louis Post that the New York medical examiner had convinced him that Prohibition supporters were uncivilized: “Only one possessing the instincts of a wild beast would desire to kill or make blind the man who takes a drink of liquor, even if he purchased it from one violating Prohibition statutes.” The St. Paul Pioneer Press called the government “an accessory to murder when it uses deadly denaturants.” Even the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which had supported the Eighteenth Amendment, said that sympathy for the cause did not mean “we wish to inflict punishment upon those who persist in violating Prohibition laws.”

And the Chicago Tribune put it like this:

Normally, no American government would engage in such business. It would not and does not set a trap gun loaded with nails to catch a counterfeiter. It would put “Rough on Rats” on a cheese sandwich even to catch a mail robber. It would not poison postage stamps to get a citizen known to be misusing the mails. It is only in the curious fanaticism of Prohibition that any means, however barbarous, are considered justified.

Dry newspapers found Norris less persuasive. Alcohol killed thousands of people long before Prohibition was enacted, they pointed out. “Must Uncle Sam guarantee safety first for souses?” asked Nebraska’s Omaha Bee. The Springfield Republican of Southern Illinois dismissed the whole outcry as “wet propaganda.” And the Pittsburgh Gazette Times pointedly raised a question that puzzled even opponents of the law: why would people persist in drinking white mule and Smoke, paint shop hooch and bathtub gin, when they must know that it could kill them? Didn’t the obstinate guzzler bear some responsibility? Wasn’t it possible that “the drinker himself is to blame for the ills that befall him as a result of his libations?” the Pittsburgh editors wrote plaintively.

The endless quest to point a finger at every person who does not manage to conduct themselves in the purest and most saintly manner. Again, human nature. We are there again, too. Not only is there a drive to remove access to health care, but with the rollback of anti-pollution regulations, people will, once again, become sicker, many of them with dangerous, chronic diseases, such as asthma, with children being most vulnerable. Then we have Sessions, who is determined to fuel the slavery industry of private prisons, and put even more people in prison for minor drug offenses. There was move towards sanity, with lightening of marijuana laws, and along with that, an increase in the economy, but Sessions doesn’t like that, oh no. Much better to be draconian assholes, yes. I wouldn’t be surprised if paraquat was brought back.

In early 1927, wet legislators in Congress tried to pass a law to halt the extra poisoning of industrial alcohol. They had failed, overwhelmed by dry legislators’ declarations that no one would be dead if people simply obeyed the law and tried to live in a morally upright fashion.

Why, doesn’t that sound familiar?

Norris, in response, argued that this imposition of one group’s personal beliefs on the rest of society could not be justified as moral. Further, he said, the experiment of the Eighteenth Amendment proved his point. Yes, the law had changed the old ways of life, the old style of drinking. But it had created another drinking lifestyle and another kind of immorality: “It has failed to reduce, moderate, or control heavy drinking. It has created a new social order of bootleggers, and its blunders have protected an infant industry until it is now so secure in the law and the profits as to be a real menace to our national security and integrity.

“And,” Norris concluded, “death follows at its heels.

We are there again, too. In particular, the awful stew of the current regime, if they get their way, will see an increase in ill health, imprisonment, and death, primarily among the poor, and women and children, and they are fine with that.

All quotes about the prohibition are from The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Deborah Blum.

UPDATE: Oh, and look at this – there’s a move to gut the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Poisons and explosions for everyone!

Game of Influences.

Politico has a very interesting article on all the game playing in the Tyrant House, and just how easy it is to play the Unpresident. This is a man who does not actually read (Yes, he skims newspapers, primarily for mentions of himself), and doesn’t use the internet for anything handy, like finding things out. So, anything can be slipped under his nose, and he often predictably reacts, not caring whether or not what was slipped under his nose is in any way true. The Tiny Tyrant’s “policy” of having open doors all over, and allowing for haphazard, um, information land on his desk not only results in idiocy and chaos, it allows for staffers to stab other staffers in the back quite efficiently. Back stabbing becomes surprisingly easy when there’s a reactionary idiot at the helm.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Trump.

Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.

Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.

The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life.

While the information stream to past commanders-in-chief has been tightly monitored, Trump prefers an open Oval Office with a free flow of ideas and inputs from both official and unofficial channels. And he often does not differentiate between the two. Aides sometimes slip him stories to press their advantage on policy; other times they do so to gain an edge in the seemingly endless Game of Thrones inside the West Wing.

The consequences can be tremendous, according to a half-dozen White House officials and others with direct interactions with the president. A news story tucked into Trump’s hands at the right moment can torpedo an appointment or redirect the president’s entire agenda. Current and former Trump officials say Trump can react volcanically to negative press clips, especially those with damaging leaks, becoming engrossed in finding out where they originated.

[…]

When Trump bellows about this or that story, his aides often scramble in a game of cat-and-mouse to figure out who alerted the president to the piece in the first place given that he rarely browses the Internet on his own. Some in the White House describe getting angry calls from the president and then hustling over to Trump’s personal secretary, Madeleine Westerhout, to ferret who exactly had just paid a visit to the Oval Office and possibly set Trump off.

Priebus and White House staff secretary Rob Porter have tried to implement a system to manage and document the paperwork Trump receives. While some see the new structure as a power play by a weakened chief of staff – “He’d like to get a phone log too,” cracked one senior White House adviser—others are more concerned about the unfettered ability of Trump’s family-member advisers, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, to ply the president with whatever paperwork they want in the residence sight unseen.

“They have this system in place to get things on his desk now,” the same White House official said. “I’m not sure anyone follows it.”

Priebus has implored staff to do so in order to abide by presidential record-keeping laws, which require cataloguing what the president sees for the archives.

Lisa Brown, who served as White House staff secretary under President Barack Obama for two years, said it can be “dangerous” when people make end-runs around paperwork procedures, leaving the president with incomplete or one-sided information at key junctures.

“It’s even more important with someone like this,” she said of Trump, a president notoriously influenced by the last person he has spoken to, “but the challenge is he has to buy into it.”

“You know that people are going to go around the system. But then it’s up to the principal to decide how to handle it,” Brown added. “You need the president to say ‘thanks, I appreciate it’ [when he receives stories] and to hand it off to get it into a process.”

The article is dismal facepalm material, but we need to be aware of the compleat clusterfuck which is the Tyrant House. Recommended Reading, full story at Politico.

And The Hole Gets Deeper…

The Unpresident returning from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster.

And a whole lot more batshit. The Tiny Tyrant is now what could be charitably described as wholly unglued. He seems to have decided that open threats are good, because hey, why not piss off the FBI? Even staunch rethuglicans are now cringing and diving for cover, as Donnie’s, um, swamposity goes full court florid.

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

Jesus. Dude, everyone knows you’re doing a bit of “leaking” over the investigations, because you’re guilty. This sort of shit isn’t going to help. Well, it may help most of us here in uStates, because you’re doing an actually good job at getting the impeachment train going. So congrats on that one, I guess.

Naturally, the Twitterati are busy weighing in on this one, too. You can see more here.

More in the ongoing clusterfuck:

‘It’s complete bananas’: FBI agents rushing to complete Russia probe before ‘orange blob’ can kill it.

‘The president is not correct’: FBI sources dispute Trump claims about dinner meeting with Comey.

Trump whines it’s ‘not possible’ for busy White House to give information ‘with perfect accuracy’.

REVEALED: Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty one day after Yates informed the White House of Flynn’s FBI interview.

Trump demanded loyalty from FBI director James Comey — ‘Comey demurred’ and then he was fired: NYT.

What a fun way to start your Friday, eh?

Aaaaaaand, a bit more:

Comey furious over Trump team’s smear campaign — and he’s prepared to respond: report.

Comey eager for Trump to release those tapes: ‘There’s nothing he’s worried about’.

They Tricked Us!

The photo of Sergey Lavrov, Donald Trump, and Sergey Kislyak you weren’t supposed to see. CREDIT: Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP.

In a stark illustration of the sheer idiocy of the regime, the Tiny Tyrant is having an overwrought tantrum over Russia publishing photos of the “secret” meeting yesterday, in which uStates press was barred, but Russian press was allowed. There was a cameraman there. With a camera. What did they think they were going to do with the photos? Paste them in their fan book? The incoherent scream tumbling from the white house is “they tricked us!” I have news you for ya, fellas. If that’s tricking you, you deserve it, with bells on.

On Wednesday, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House. Now the administration is “furious” that TASS, the Russian state-owned news agency, has published photos of the meeting.

There’s no shortage of theatrics leading up to the White House’s reactions.

First, the meeting was only supposed to be with Lavrov. Only Lavrov was scheduled to be in attendance, and only Lavrov was mentioned in the official White House readout of the meeting. Thus, it’s only because of the Russian agency’s photos that the public knows Kislyak was also present.

The White House shrugged off Kislyak’s presence, noting there’s nothing suspicious about meeting with an ambassador in the Oval Office.

Jim Acosta: Official pushed back on critics who slammed Kislyak in Oval: “It is ridiculous to say that an ambassador can’t meet with the president…”

But this ignores a significant amount of context. The meeting took place the morning after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. That firing came at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had supposedly recused himself from the investigation because he didn’t disclose meetings he had with Kislyak while he was serving as a Trump campaign surrogate.

With little believable explanation available for why Trump fired Comey except for his role the Russian investigation, it’s particularly conspicuous that Kislyak would then be in the Oval the very next day. Moreover, an ambassador meeting with the President is far more suspicious when the White House seems to intentionally try to hide it. And now the administration is “furious” that TASS published photos that are the only way anyone even knows Kislyak was present for the meeting.

A second aspect of the theatrics is the fact that when journalists were eventually invited into the Oval, neither Lavrov nor Kislyak were present. Instead, Trump was unexpectedly meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The optics of this are rather incredible. Many lawmakers and pundits had spent much of the previous 24 hours comparing Trump’s firing of Comey to President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when he fired an attorney general and a deputy attorney general because they wouldn’t remove the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. Kissinger was not implicated in Watergate, but it was still rather surprising Trump would have a surprise meeting with the man who served as Nixon’s Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. They discussed “Russia and various other matters,” according to the pool report.

The rest of this most interesting story of incompetent stealth and tantrums is at Think Progress.

What A Fuckin’ Mess Roundup.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up during a meeting about healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

What a clusterfuck the regime does weave. This isn’t the proverbial web woven by lies and deception, it’s more like the spit-cement cocoons in Alien. There’s a whole lot of clusterfuck out there, here’s some of it.

If you haven’t quite figured out WTF yet, a good run down of recent events is here: James Comey, Donald Trump, Russiagate and the Mother’s Day Massacre.

Going with the theme of highly suspicious timing: Trump to meet Russia’s Lavrov day after Comey firing.

Naturally, Mr. Tweet appeared in a whirlwind to blame Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for, well, everything.

They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And they fired James Comey.’ Yes, they certainly did, and that should make the need for an independent prosecutor clear, but I expect that will be another fight all on its own.

Kellyanne Whatsherface is back with “inappropriate to question the almighty Trumpety” and alternative facts, upsetting both Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper.

Conservative Rick Wilson begs GOP to get off the ‘mindless, soulless Trump Cult Train’ after Comey firing.

Trump advisers at heart of Russia probe celebrate Comey’s firing: “Somewhere Dick Nixon is smiling.”

The most powerful reactions to Trump’s abrupt firing of the FBI director: “We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.”

The two things you need to know about the Comey firing: Trump is an authoritarian. But Comey is a rank incompetent.

I think that’s enough Alien spit cocoons for now.

Oh, I guess not, a few more to add to the spit pile:

BOMBSHELL: Comey sought ‘significant increase’ in resources for Russia probe days before firing.

Trump excludes US media from meeting with Russian ambassador — but Russian state news allowed in.

‘Game of Thrones for morons’: Bannon-McMaster feud reaches new heights.

‘President Putin can fire anybody’: Federal official says Comey ouster is absolutely about Russia.

What Clapper actually said…

The Unpresident returning from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster.

The Tiny Tyrant was utterly creamed in the Russia hearings, and he has reacted by firing James Comey. As everyone on the planet will note, yes, Comey needed firing, ages ago, but the timing here is rotten all the way through. It seems the Tiny Tyrant’s method of dealing with the landslide of shit is simply going to be firing people. Naturally, Mr. Tweet has appeared once again, with yet another blatant lie, the only thing which seems to reside in our wannabe dictator’s skull. So, a Pants On Fire! check…

President Trump took to Twitter to try and tamp the whole thing down.

But the first of four tweets Trump published about the hearing made a claim that was undermined earlier in the day by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who testified alongside Yates.

“Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump,” the president tweeted.

This, however, is not what Clapper said on Monday.

On March 4, Clapper went on Meet the Press, and was asked by Chuck Todd if he’s aware of evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

“Not to my knowledge,” Clapper replied.

Just over two weeks later, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia. That same day, Trump seized upon Clapper’s Meet the Press remark to try and undercut the notion he’s involved in a scandal.

[…]

On Monday, however, Clapper clarified that his Meet the Press comment wasn’t meant to give people the idea he had direct knowledge of Comey’s investigation and had concluded it hadn’t uncovered evidence of collusion. Instead, he said he just wasn’t aware that Comey was investigating.

From Mother Jones:

At Monday’s hearing, Clapper pulled this rug out from under the White House and its comrades. He noted that it was standard policy for the FBI not to share with him details about ongoing counterintelligence investigations. And he said he had not been aware of the FBI’s investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia that FBI director James Comey revealed weeks ago at a House intelligence committee hearing. Consequently, when Clapper told Todd that he was not familiar with any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, he was speaking accurately. But he essentially told the Senate subcommittee that he was not in a position to know for certain. This piece of spin should now be buried. Trump can no longer hide behind this one Clapper statement.

Instead of reassuring Trump, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said Clapper being kept in the dark about the FBI investigation should worry the president.

There’s much more at Think Progress. It’s important to spread this far and wide, because in spite of everything, Trump is still tweeting that Clapper cleared  him, contrary to all evidence and facts.

*Strikeouts are mine.