The Incompetency Path To Autocracy.

Slate has an interview with Masha Gessen on the current state of affairs:

[… ] You wrote a piece for the Times called “Trump’s Incompetence Won’t Save Our Democracy.” I think the common answer from many Trump opponents is that his incompetence has been the real saving grace. Why do you disagree?

I think that incompetence is actually an integral part of autocracy taking hold. Basically, what we mean when we say that he is incompetent, in large part, is that he doesn’t understand the way American government functions. But because he’s wielding power, he’s reshaping government very quickly to fit his idea of how government should function, and that is autocracy. His incompetence is actually an integral part of the damage that he’s doing by turning something like a democracy into something like an autocracy.

That may be true, but wouldn’t autocracy function better if he was competent enough to actually staff his administration with cronies and pass laws that would entrench his power?

I guess it depends on what your ultimate fear is. If your ultimate fear is that he will pass legislation that will do terrible things, then you’re right. My ultimate fear is different. My ultimate fear is that he is destroying the structure and culture of American government.

That’s my fear too, aside from nuclear war.

But you don’t do this legislatively. The thing is, if you pass this terrible legislation, that’s reversible because the mechanism is transparent, the mechanism of damage, and then in the post-Trump era you reverse it by passing a different piece of legislation. That’s great. When he destroys things by eviscerating institutions, by changing the way that they actually function, that’s a much more difficult thing to reverse in a post-Trump era. The fact that they haven’t been able to fill positions is actually part of what I’m talking about in terms of the way that government is breaking up into discrete, opaque parts.

The State Department, which I happen to know more about than other agencies, which isn’t a whole lot, but the State Department is basically missing that entire layer of political appointees who would normally ensure that there’s communication between the top and the career staffers who do most of the on-the-ground work. With that layer gone, they are all sort of functioning in a kind of airless space. If they still have money that they’re supposed to spend on programs that are still sort of maybe valid, then they will, but they’re not sure that that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, and they have no one to talk to about it, which is not to say that they’re making terrible decisions. They’re possibly, in fact probably making the best possible decisions under the circumstances, but they’re making those decisions out of the public eye. Restoring that system of accountability, which wasn’t that great in the first place, is much more difficult than reversing legislation.

The full interview is at Slate, and well worth reading. I’d say Ms. Gessen’s take on the incompetency factor takes on a new urgency, because this is the new strategy of the GOP, protecting and defending Trump from all accountability and accusation, “he didn’t know better” and “he’s not competent in politics”.  Think Progress has the full story on the new double speak of the incompetency defense.

Another Bad Bush.

John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily, the batshit christian conservative’s “news” source. Bush is a profound birther, and rabidly anti-choice. In spite of all this, he will most likely end up confirmed, unless some rethuglicans root around and find both a brain and a conscience.

Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!”  — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.

[…]

In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.

Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”

After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”

Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.

“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.

“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”

Well. There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard, especially if your career in life is that of a fucking judge. Fucking Idiot does not even begin to cover this.

In fairness, Bush’s ignorance of American civil rights history, while certainly not an optimal trait in a judge, might not prevent him from performing the core responsibilities of an appellate jurist. Typically, judges spend far more time parsing statutory language and consulting legal precedents than they do digging into political history.

But Bush is not like most people named to the federal bench. In a 2009 panel hosted by the conservative Federalist Society — an organization which has played a major role in selecting Trump’s judicial nominees — Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted.

Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones. After all, how can someone figure out the original meaning of a text if they don’t understand the historical and political context that brought that text into being?

The fact that Bush knows so little about one of the most famous judicial decisions in American history does not suggest that he is up to this task.

I’d say that’s quite the understatement. The reality? Bush is yet another toady who will do whatever the Tiny Tyrant wants, regardless of law.

Think Progress has the full story.  * RWW watch also has this, along with video of the questioning by Franken.

Mr. Tweet: Ever Incoherent.

HYDE & GO TWEET, © Justin Erickson.

Once again, the Tiny Tyrant tweets incoherently, and it’s another instance which may well prove to be quite troublesome, as while Trump might be capable of keeping his mouth shut on the odd occasion, he has no control when it comes to tweeting out every idiotic thought.

Donald J. Trump: Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker!

As pointed out on Think Progress, the Tiny Tyrant seems to want things both ways here, a dismissal of Comey and his testimony as lies, and a complete vindication as well. It doesn’t work like that, which wouldn’t be news to most people on the planet, but as usual, the unpresident seems utterly clueless to anything connected to reality. This rather unpleasant, obsessive attachment to leaking has grown terribly old and weary. How many more times are we to be subjected to the hoarse cry of “Leaker!” as the walls of Castle Trump come crumbling down?

There’s a danger in Trump’s position. He and his lawyer are accusing Comey of perjury while not under oath themselves. Will Trump stand by his version of events if he has to give a sworn account of his interactions with Comey? If he does, it’ll be the word of a meticulous memo-writer against the word of a man who began his presidency by declaring war on reality itself and has,by one count, told 623 lies during the first 137 days of his administration.

Think Progress has the full analysis of the latest incoherence.

Trump Morality.

CREDIT: Eric Trump steps off Air Force One as he arrives Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. President Donald Trump and family are returning from his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

After Eric Trump spent some time with Sean Hannity, spitting bitterness and claiming that democrats aren’t even people to him, as he opined over the complete lack of morality these days (the fault of liberals, natch),  a report from Forbes has revealed an instance of what passes for morality in the Trump Klan.

On Tuesday, Forbes reported that Eric Trump has diverted more than $1 million donations to his kids-cancer charity to Trump golf courses. These costs were incurred during the Eric Trump Foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. But according to charity experts, “the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”

The golf fundraiser was marketed as an opportunity for donors to have nearly their entire gift go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, since the golf and other services were provided free of charge.

A former employee of the club, however, told Forbes that beginning in 2011, the charity was charged for the use of course and other services. Ian Gillule, membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester, said the club began billing Eric Trump’s foundation after Donald Trump “had a cow.”

“I don’t care if it’s my son or not — everybody gets billed,” Donald Trump said, according to Gillule.

The payments by the charity to the Trump Organization for its one-day tournament were also confirmed by a former member of the Eric Trump Foundation board. And the payments increased dramatically over time — from $46,000 in 2011 to $322,000 in 2015.

Eric Trump appears to have gone to significant lengths to cover up these payments. Last year, he told Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold that none of the money actually went to the Trump Organization. Rather, Eric Trump insisted, the money was simply passed from the Trump Organization to “to cover the cost of outside vendors.”

In July, Eric Trump excoriated Fahrenthold for even suggesting otherwise:

Eric Trump also criticized The Post for a recent blog post — and recent Twitter messages by this reporter — about a payment made by the Eric Trump Foundation to one of Donald Trump’s golf courses.

“It’s disgusting. It is so disgusting what’s happening,” Eric Trump said. “I’m saving dying children. We do tremendous good for people. And you’re sitting there tearing us apart.”

“I save dying children! I do! There’s nothing wrong with profiting from that! This speaks to one of the worst things about the Trump Criminal Organization – the insistence that they are prime signifiers of morality; of being truly good and decent people. Ivana Jr. wants to profit by pretending to identify with working women. The elder sons slaughter animals for fun, are up to their necks in sleazy business, and now do whatever they must to protect their sire, lying and spreading bullshit by the fucktonne.

Think Progress has the full story.

BOTulism.

Twitter Audit.

Bots have always been a problem. They are now a much bigger problem, on Twitter in particular. Too many people are gullible, and far too many people simply do not take minutes out to fact check things. Fact checking can be tedious, but it’s part and parcel of being informed these days. Twitter bots have gotten a bit more sophisticated, not much, but enough to fool people, and that’s really all they need to do. This makes it much more difficult to refute all the fakery and Trakery™ out there. Bots can also outperform people, so there’s much more nonsense than valid information on the loose.

A bot will write on Twitter in clunky English, reciting paragraphs of propaganda or fake news in compartmentalized tweets, often featuring rudimentary linguistics and nondescript profiles. Unlike computer programs, frustrated citizens and real people online engage with the context of specific posts, respond to counterpoints and typically use profiles that reflect human personalities. “They’re yelling fools,” Philip N. Howard, a sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute, told the New York Times, “and a lot of what they pass around is false news.”

But bots—including those designed to support the Trump presidency—are continuing to invade social media and create chatter at such a rapid speed, that the differences are becoming blurred for many users attempting to keep a grasp on reality in 2017.

[…]

But as of recently, many of those bots appear to have one common and undeniable goal: to protect and defend the 45th president of the United States.

[…]

The Trump bots are active virtually 24/7, and especially during times when the president is furiously tweeting.

“A bot army can be utilized for a number of dishonest purposes, chief amongst them, misrepresenting public sentiment about whichever topics the controller has interest in,” Brad Hayes, fellow at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab’s Interactive Robotics Group, told NY Daily News Saturday. “If 3 million people started tweeting in favor of or against a particular topic, would it shift public perception? What if those same 3 million people targeted every source you use for information? It’s fair to say that this kind of written ‘show of force’ can certainly alter perceptions.”

There’s much more at Raw Story.

Magnetic Personalities, How Do They Fuckin’ Work?

Hope Hicks, left center, attends a White House press briefing in January. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post).

A statement by Hope Hicks on Monday truly highlights the absurdity of the Tiny Tyrant and the Wannabe Regime. It not only reads like a parody, it reads like a bad comic book parody, being chock full of magnetism.

President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.

Um, that’s so over the top, you kind of need to keep staring at it, in the hope the ol’ brain will comprehend it one day soon. It’s so full of “oh, no, no, nope, so fucking wrong” it has the ability to reduce people to sputtering wrecks, morphing into balls of tearful laughter somewhere on the floor. If Trump loaded himself down with magnets, he wouldn’t have a magnetic personality of any kind. He may be considered charismatic to some, although I’m hard pressed to think of any. Even his diehard fans don’t consider him charismatic, they liked him because he 1) wasn’t a politician and 2) was  a hateful, asshole bigot who promised them white vengeance. No charisma in sight.

Brilliant? Right. We are talking about the Fucking Idiot who said: “You know, I’m, like, a smart person.” A sense of humour? Where? Because I’m pretty sure if there ever was one residing in Trump, it jumped ship ages ago. Making people feel special? Huh. Like refusing to shake hands with Angela Merkel? Or the thousands of tweets denigrating just about everyone on the planet? Or all the Trump Tantrums™ and insults he lets fly all over the white house? Jesus, I haven’t even warmed up on this one yet, the list could go on forever here.

Hicks composed the statement in response to a Washington Post report on Trump’s habit of cutting down staffers with insults. The most jarring thing about her characterization of the president is not the inaccuracy; it’s the sudden rejection of Trump’s entire political brand.

To say that Trump “exudes positive energy” is to ignore the whole premise of his campaign. He would not need to “Make America Great Again” if America were currently great — and Trump made very clear that he believes it is not.

Not only that, but the Tiny Tyrant ran on a platform of bigotry and hate. All of it was “those people are criminals! rapists! awful! evil! stealing your jobses, precious!” and so on. FFS, not only does this represent a brand new low in fucking idiocy, this blatant attempt at pandering to, um, whoever, will not work. Most people know it’s absolute bullshit, and his diehard followers don’t want a magnetized Trump, they want the stupid, evil asshole they voted for, so the point of all this? No idea.

The Washington Post has the full story.

Oh Good, A War Room. That’s Sure To Help.

Trump speaks to U.S. troops at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, on May 27. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters).

A war room. Why? All the scandals engulfing the Tiny Tyrant, of course. The mere fact that the Tiny Tyrant feels this is a situation of war lends credence to the malignant reality reaching out with a stranglehold on us all. This is a siege mentality overlaid on an already highly unstable and paranoid mindset.

President Trump and his advisers, seeking to contain the escalating Russia crisis that threatens to consume his presidency, are considering a retooling of his senior staff and the creation of a “war room” within the White House, according to several aides and outside Trump allies.

Following Trump’s return to Washington on Saturday night from a nine-day foreign trip that provided a bit of a respite from the controversy back home, the White House plans to far more aggressively combat the cascading revelations about contacts between Trump associates, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Russia.

White House officials are also trying to find ways to revive Trump’s stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public.

That includes proposals for more travel and campaign-style rallies throughout the country so that Trump can speak directly to his supporters, as well as changes in the pace and nature of press briefings, likely including a diminished role for embattled White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Oh right, a “return” to campaigning. A good portion of Trumpholes have now figured out that supporting him is akin to having your hands filled with a steaming pile of shit, so I don’t imagine the campaign rally trail will be quite so happy this time around. This also means that Trump will once again be preaching and hollering hate everywhere, in an attempt to provide a salve for bruised egos everywhere, a place for people to lay blame. Like last time, I also expect there will be another spike in hate fueled violence, on top of the one which is still ongoing.

It would be truly great if every person in uStates could figure out that campaigning is not the same as presidenting, and it has been made more than obvious which one Trump can manage, and which one he clearly cannot manage.

While much remained fluid Saturday, the beefed-up operation could include the return of some of Trump’s more combative campaign aides, including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was fired nearly a year ago, and former deputy campaign manager David N. Bossie, who made his name in politics by investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton for two decades. Both of them have already been part of ongoing discussions about how to build a “war room,” which have been led in part by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

[…]

“Go to the mattresses,” a line from “The Godfather” film about turning to tough mercenaries during troubled times, has circulated among Trump’s friends, according to two people close to the “war room” discussions.

Well, how … apt.

Meanwhile, White House counsel Donald McGahn is mulling expanding his office, and an outside legal team led by Marc E. Kasowitz is readying to meet with Trump and guide him, including on whether he should continue to comment on the Russia probes on Twitter.

Kushner has played an active role in the effort to rethink and rearrange the communications team, improve the White House’s surrogate operation, and develop an internal group to combat the influx of negative stories and revelations over the FBI’s Russia probe, said someone with knowledge of the coming changes.

“The bottom line is they need fresh legs; they need more legs,” said Barry Bennett, who served as a political adviser to Trump during the general election. “They’re in full-scale war, and they’re thinly staffed.”

[…]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, is being considered as a replacement behind the lectern and is likely to appear on camera more often in coming weeks. White House aides have also talked about having a rotating cast of staff brief the media, a group that could include officials such as national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Having several aides share the briefing responsibilities could help prevent Trump — who has a notoriously short attention span — from growing bored or angry with any one staffer.

Shuffle, move, scoot, change, whatever the fuck. The key words in the above would be: 1) Trump 2) short attention span 3) bored 4) angry. The problem? Trump. The solution? Get rid of Trump.

Aides and allies of Trump say they have come to the realization that unflattering stories about Russia will be part of the daily conversation for the foreseeable future and acknowledge that the White House has been ill-equipped to handle them.

Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend, said the White House has been caught flat-footed on many of the Russia stories.

“Because they did not believe there’s anything to it, they’re playing catch-up to get their side of the story out,” Ruddy said.

Oh, fucking bullshit! Bullshit. This didn’t take anyone by surprise, they just assumed he’d get away with it, like he has before.

Being outside of Washington among his supporters, particularly in a state he won last year, energizes Trump and provides a way for him to communicate without the filter of the media, his advisers say.

“The conventional ways of communicating are not working for them,” one adviser said, adding that Trump should consider Facebook Live sessions and get out on the road “as frequently as possible.”

“They have to get the campaign brand back,” the adviser said.

Oh yes, the brand. All you need is hate and the brand. Intelligence, compassion, competency? Nah, who the hell needs those things?

“I hope he’ll travel more and do these rallies once a week,” Bennett said. “You get to say whatever you want to say, and you don’t have to take questions.”

You know what would be great? If lots and lots and lots of people showed up at said rallies, and refused to stay quiet and listen, and yelled out all their questions about just how he’s fucking everyone and everything over, and why does he hate America so damn much.

There’s much, much more at The Washington Post.

None So Blind As The Faithful.

Screen Grab. Playable video at link.

The willful blindness of some people never ceases to baffle me. I’m not much a one for taking things on faith, and I never take any politician on faith of any kind. Politics being what they are, an arena for game playing, with rewards for lying and other duplicitous behaviour, it strikes me as pure folly to rely on faith in the words of any politician, and in particular when it comes to someone like Trump. I’m not overly inclined to being sympathetic to Trumpholes, but it’s difficult to not have compassion for those who feel betrayed as result of their blind faith in a person who did not deserve it in any way. The best they can do now is to get damn active in The Resistance, and try to atone for boosting the Tiny Tyrant into place.

An upstate New York man who sold many of his possessions last year to fund a months-long tour playing music at Trump rallies now regrets his vote for the Republican candidate.

“I had everything riding on the fact that he was going to make things better,” Kraig Moss told the Associated Press. “He lied to me.”

Then-candidate Donald Trump looked Moss in the eye at one rally in Iowa and told the grieving father he would help end the drug epidemic that had claimed his 24-year-old son, whose ashes accompanied the truck driver to 45 rallies.

“He promised me, in honor of my son, that he was going to combat the ongoing heroin epidemic,” Moss said. “He got me hook, line and sinker.”

Post-election analyses found that Trump over-performed in Rust Belt counties ravaged by public health crises — such as drug and alcohol addiction and suicide — but the president’s budget released this week slashes funding for addiction treatment, research and prevention.

Medicaid funding would shrivel under Trump’s 10-year plan, which could devastate coverage to an estimated three in 10 adults addicted to opioids.

[…]

Trump promised during the campaign and after his election to help families suffering from the opioid epidemic — but his voters feel betrayed by the president’s focus on tax cuts, military spending and border security.

“I didn’t see this coming,” said Paul Kusiak, of Massachusetts, who told Trump the candidate about his sons’ successful battles with addiction. “I’m trying desperately to have hope and take the president at his word.”

[…]

“Inside I’m screaming,” said Sandra Chavez, of Sacramento, whose son died from an infection related to drug use. “We’re going backward with Donald Trump’s plan.”

Trump has proposed cutting funds for addiction research, prevention programs, drug courts and prescription drug monitoring, as well as eliminating support for training of addiction professional.

Justin Butler, a 36-year-old Trump voter from Cleveland, fears he will be back on the streets, using drugs and selling them, if Medicaid stops paying for addiction treatment.

“He’s turning his back on people,” Butler said. “He’s a liar.”

It’s one hell of a harsh lesson, and none of these people, in spite of voting for Trump, deserves to be tossed aside like so much trash. None of us deserve that. That said, as noted earlier, being sorry isn’t enough. Regretful Trump voters need to channel that disappointment and betrayal into working for The Resistance, and to now work to get the Tiny Tyrant unseated.

Via Raw Story. There’s a similar story, about a Trump voter who is completely dependent on SSI, finding out she most likely will not have that anymore under the Tiny Tyrant.

A $2 Trillion Error and More…

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

The math in crafting the budget was seemingly too difficult for an administration embroiled in scandal. President Donald Trump promised that he would balance the budget for the first time in over a decade and he would do it without cutting spending for defense or Social Security. The numbers were flawed, however.

According to New York Magazine, Trump’s budget assumes a $2 trillion increase in revenue through economic growth that can’t be verified or supported by any estimations by anyone, anywhere. Even the Trump administration’s supposed economic growth wouldn’t pay for the $2 trillion error. Previously, Trump claimed his cuts would be paid for by the growth expected to come in, as a result of his tax breaks. The plan is akin to a credit card that has an interest rate that pays off your card as you spend money on it. The administration has double counted the growth.

Via Raw Story.

This whole mess is turning out to be worse than the Fuck You Healthcare Plan. Apparently, our Tiny Tyrant is not in the least disturbed by numbers which simply do not work. It will be great, yes, of course it will, because it has ‘greatness’ on the label, see, and if you have branding, you don’t have to care about anything else. Might be best if everyone prepares for bankruptcy. There’s a great deal to be disturbed about, so here’s the Oh Fuck Roundup:

Congressional Republicans balk at the arrival of Trump’s cruel budget: Not everyone’s on board; in fact, plenty aren’t.

Trump’s budget sacrifices diplomacy for bigger guns: The State Department would see massive cuts, while the Defense Department would get its budget padded further.

Here’s where the White House got its insane growth projections: Trump’s budget sets a wildly implausible growth target and then seeks to achieve it by cutting food stamps and disability benefits.

Student loan borrowers should brace themselves for Trump’s budget: The news is particularly grim for graduate students.

The outrageous assumptions hiding a $6 trillion hole in Trump’s budget: The budget is so detached from reality, it’s created its own theory of economic growth.

Trump’s budget would destroy the health coverage of at least 14 million poor people: The budget blueprint embraces Trumpcare’s massive cuts to Medicaid — and then cuts the program even more.

Trump’s ‘welfare reform’ will destroy the program: Welfare fails to help families in poverty. Trump would make it much worse.

Asshole Mulvaney’s Take.

That’s enough bad news, ennit?

Caitiff.

Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Photo: Defense Intelligence Agency).

It will be a surprise to exactly no one that Flynn has decided to go full court coward, a common trait in military persons who try to go political. That Flynn plans to invoke the 5th, that’s hardly a shocker.  Flynn has also stated he will not comply with a documents subpoena. Golly, wouldn’t it be grand if us regular folks could get away with that sort of thing? I rather doubt Flynn will be locked up until he decides to comply.

Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn plans to ignore the subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and will cite his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

According to an Associated Press report, Flynn plans to officially invoke the Fifth Amendment sometime on Monday.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) said last week that Flynn had not yet complied with the Senate’s subpoena, and added that he didn’t expect Flynn to agree to testify under oath.

Flynn asked for immunity from the Senate in exchange for testifying, but so far the Senate has been unwilling to grant his request.

Raw Story has the full article.

15 Million Dollars.

Chemical warfare, Turtle Island, Oceti Sakowin Camp, November, 2016. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King obtained audio where Energy Transfer Partners freely admitted that they worked closely with the Sheriff’s Association, and wow, did they ever. They became one and the same.

Water protectors who lived at camp can attest to ETP and law enforcement’s collusion and fraternization, but the record speaks for itself.

The Sheriffs’ Association has a $3.46 million dollar budget, according to tax forms. Some of this funding comes from corporate sources, like TigerSwan. TigerSwan maintains offices in Iraq and Afghanistan. TigerSwan’s CEO is a former adviser to the multinational private security firm, Blackwater. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Besides funding the Sheriff’s Association, TigerSwan is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervising overall security for the company. Tigerswan works for Dakota Access, while funding and partnering with the Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriff’s Association purchased military gear from the U.S. Department’s Defense Logistics Agency thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program. Think corporate welfare for the defense industry.

Wait, there’s more. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren offered to reimburse North Dakota and Morton County for costs due to defending the Dakota Access Pipeline.

So why are U.S. taxpayers forking over $15 million dollars to North Dakota?

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s wishes, America is not an oil company with an army. We should not be bankrolling our own oppression.

Incidentally, the Dakota Access Pipeline is not even operational yet, and it’s already sprung a leak in South Dakota, just southwest of the Lake Traverse Reservation. End this foolishness.

Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today has the full story.

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.

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!