Friday Reads: Sociopaths of a feather Gaslight togetherPosted: September 7, 2018
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I truly have some news items today showing that every one in Trump’s orbit is extremely disturbed. I mean it too.
Okay, let’s just sorta tick off what’s actually in serious media this morning then take a deep breath while realizing these people are making policy decisions for this country that impact the entire wold.
White House officials reached out to a noted Yale University psychiatrist last fall out of concern over President Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior.
Dr. Bandy Lee, who edited the best-selling book “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” told the Daily News Thursday the staffers contacted her because the President was “scaring” them.
Lee’s revelation comes as Trump fumes in response to an anonymous op-ed about administration insiders White House tell-all by journalist Bob Woodward that claims there are grave concerns among the highest ranks of the Trump administration about the President’s judgment.
Lee briefed a dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate last December about Trump’s fitness to be President. But lawmakers on Capitol Hill weren’t the only ones alarmed by the President’s erratic behavior, his troubling tweets or his temper.
A pair of West Wing representatives contacted her two separate times on the same day because they believed the President was “unraveling.”
“I had not mentioned this before because I did not want to confuse my role as an educator to the public,” Lee said when pressed about why she did not speak out sooner. “I thought I would be more effective by retaining my public role than getting involved in either the treatment of those who were feeling scared or in the actual intervention with the President.”
Salon first reported Lee’s claim.
Around the same time, a Trump family friend emailed her over concern for his mental health.
I didn’t watch the Rally last night but there’s all indications that it was a doozy.
And then there was this:
Trump is trying to deflect stories that accuse him of labeling southerners “Dumb” and using the slur “retarded” frequently.This is via the NYT.
“The Woodward book is a scam,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday morning about “Fear: Trump in the White House,” the new volume to be published by Bob Woodward next week. “I don’t talk the way I am quoted. If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up.”
In particular, Mr. Trump has denied that he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” or a “dumb Southerner,” as the book reports. “I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing,” the president wrote earlier this week.
But, in fact, Mr. Trump has used the phrase “mentally retarded” on recorded radio shows that have been unearthed this week. And in a previously unreported incident, a journalist who used to interact with Mr. Trump during his days as a real estate developer in New York said this week that he even used the phrase “dumb southerner” to describe his own in-laws.
But then, Trump’s staff isn’t faring any better at looking sane and stable. Here’s a Woodward story about John Kelly.
John Kelly nearly engaged in a “fistfight” with an ICE official whom President Donald Trump invited to the White House. Bob Woodward’s new book suggests that Kelly had butted heads with the official while Kelly was working as Secretary of Homeland Security.
“I can’t believe you’d let some f–king guy like this into the Oval Office,” Kelly allegedly shouted at Trump in November 2017. Kelly was referring to Chris Crane, the head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement union
Crane was invited into the oval office by Trump without Kelly’s knowledge. The invite was sent out after the POTUS heard Crane complaining on TV about him and other ICE agents had not been invited to the White House
The heated argument led to Kelly threatening to resign before storming out of the Oval Office. Later on, Trump told aids that it appeared Kelly and Crane were about to get into a “fistfight” over the interaction.
Crane and Kelly had previously fought over ICE’s attempts to execute an extreme plan for crackdowns on certain immigration violations — Kelly blocked the crackdown and Crane didn’t agree with the decision.
Numerous reports have suggested that the quarreling between Donald Trump and John Kelly have been ongoing and heating up for months. Kelly is expected to resign from his position in the near future.
The Kavanaugh Hearing is turning into one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in a long time. Brett Kavanaugh is a lying piece of shit. The Democrats have a strategy that’s pissing off Mitchie McConnell whose screaming “the rules” and “bad behavior” when it’s not like he hasn’t done everything possible the last 8 years to screw up all decorum, tradition and standing rules himself.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview that aired Friday that Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) could face scrutiny from the Senate Ethics Committee for violating a rule that prohibits the release of confidential material.
During Thursday’s hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Booker said he was knowingly violating a Senate rule by releasing an email revealing the nominee’s views on racial profiling. After another senator on the Judiciary Committee said that could result in expulsion, Booker dared his colleagues to take that action.
It turns out that document had already been cleared for public release. But later Thursday afternoon, Booker, who is weighing a 2020 presidential bid, released what he said were 28 documents marked “committee confidential” in a defiant bid to make the confirmation process more transparent.
During a radio interview, McConnell characterized Booker’s actions as “unusual behavior” and said it “wouldn’t surprise me” if it draws the attention of the Ethics Committee.
“When you break the Senate rules, it’s something the Ethics Committee could take a look at,” McConnell told host Hugh Hewitt. “And that would be up to them to decide. But it’s routinely looked at by the Ethics Committee.”
While the D.C. Circuit court ruled in favor of the Obama administration, denying the religious groups a chance to argue their case before the entire panel, Kavanaugh dissented from the majority.
“The question was first was this a substantial burden on their religious exercise? And it seemed to me, quite clearly, it was,” Kavanaugh explained Thursday. “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objected to. That phrase — ”abortion-inducing drugs” — is inaccurate and, in the eyes of abortion rights advocates, incredibly telling. In their brief to the Supreme Court, which eventually heard the case, Priests for Life and its fellow plaintiffs argued that they didn’t want to “affirmatively authorize, and facilitate coverage for contraception, sterilization, abortifacients, and related education and counseling.”
Zina Bash must be trolling us all. First, she shows up in a Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar and then she trolls us with the okay (sic) hand signal once again.
Oh, and but his emails via The Daily Beast: “Newly Released Emails Show Brett Kavanaugh May Have Perjured Himself at Least Four Times”.
You can forgive Democratic senators for saying “I told you so.”
For over a month, Democrats (and this writer) have complained that the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is fatally flawed because the records of Kavanaugh’s White House tenure were being redacted by his former deputy, then redacted again by the Trump White House, then redacted a third time by Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Well, so what, Republicans said. You’ve got over 400,000 pages to look at—a few more isn’t going to make a difference.
On Thursday, with the release of a half dozen emails by Grassley and several more by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), the Democrats have been proven right. Brett Kavanaugh has misled the Senate at least four times, and the censored emails have been withheld not because of national security or executive privilege, but, at least in part, because they make Kavanaugh look bad.
And Booker is not backing down at all.
My Congressman was one of the folks testifying today against Kavanaugh.
There’s also still the parlor game about the anonymous op ed writer claiming to be a Senior official and White House ‘resister’. Frank Rich’s piece today is brilliant on that account. And yes, I feel like all of this should be coming from the National Enquirer or The Globe along with the Hillary adopts Alien baby stories but we’re all strangers in a strange land right now.
At least when those like Lindsey Graham espouse such a rationale they attach their names to it. Mr. Anonymous is a coward so lacking a moral compass that he doesn’t realize that the best way to “preserve our democratic institutions” (as he claims to be doing) is to identify himself, resign, and report any criminal activity he has witnessed by the president or his colleagues. The Washington Post media columnist Erik Wemple has a point when he dismisses the op-ed as “a P.R. stunt” for the Times, since it adds an intriguing guessing game but no news to what we already know about this White House from Woodward and even Omarosa, not to mention the stalwart work of reporters at the Times and Post since Inauguration Day.
But the piece could also be viewed as a P.R. strategy for its author. It reads like a defense document that’s being put on the record should that rainy day come when Mr. Anonymous, no longer anonymous, will have to defend his own actions in a Nuremberg-like legal reckoning once the king of Crazytownhas been carted off. As any student of Vichy knows, there was no shortage of French collaborators who falsely claimed to have been secretly part of the underground Resistance to the Pétain regime once the war was over.
Rich also takes on Lady Lindsey’s pearl clutching about children seeing protests at the Kavanaugh hearings. Why not worry about all children who happen to watch the US president at a rally on any given day?
What kind of country have we become?” whined Lindsey Graham, appalled that Kavanaugh’s daughters had to witness rude protesters in the hearing room on opening day. Thanks to Graham and his cohort, we have become Trump country. In keeping with that, the hearings are a clown show, a bare simulation of democratic procedure, with withheld evidence, unexamined evidence delivered in a last-minute document dump, and a foregone conclusion. In that spirit, here’s what I would ask Kavanaugh if I were a Democratic senator on the Judiciary Committee: “Explain your thinking when you wrote a legal memo to the independent counsel Kenneth Starr proposing that President Clinton be asked this question and nine others like it: ‘If Monica Lewinsky says that on several occasions in the Oval Office area, you used your fingers to stimulate her vagina and bring her to orgasm, would she be lying?’” And in further keeping with the ethos set by the “grab ’em by the pussy” president who nominated Kavanaugh, I would ask that question aloud before the nominee’s family. The answer might well illuminate the future justice’s view of women and their right to govern their own bodies with a specificity missing in his obfuscating filibusters about Roe.
My bottom line is that absolutely none of this should be normalized by the media because it’s all absolutely insane and not worthy of a country whose democracy has been centuries in the making. Actress Alyssa Milano had this to say and I agree.
Actress Alyssa Milano in an interview that aired Thursday on “Rising” said the news media has normalized President Trump throughout his campaign and the first half of his presidency instead of pointing out events she calls “crazy.”
“The media actually normalized some of what he did, and continues to normalize it instead of going ‘Can you believe how crazy this is? This guy wants to do this,’ ” Milano, a frequent critic of Trump, said to Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton on Tuesday.
Sexton noted that some in the media would probably say they have tried to “raise as many alarms as they can.”
“I would wonder if you were to have this conversation with any number of White House correspondents or major news anchors, other than at one channel that I’m sure you could guess, you would probably have a lot of folks saying they’re doing everything that they can to raise as many alarms as they can,” Sexton said.
Milano pushed back on that assertion, saying she does not think the media has done “enough.”
“I don’t think it’s enough, and I don’t think it was enough when he was campaigning,” Milano replied. “I think that we coddled this idea of a man who has been a self-proclaimed pussy grabber.
“During this time, instead of calling it what it was, which was total and crazy bullshit that this guy would actually be allowed to be the leader of the greatest country on the planet, the most powerful country on the planet, the fact that instead of news media going ‘This is just crazy,’ they reported it like it was normal, so it completely normalized the entire thing. We looked at it like ‘This is entertaining. This is getting us ratings.’”
Republicans need to stop collaborating with a clearly unqualified, unhinged man or acting like they can secretly save us from his madness. Mitch McConnell needs to find the drawer where he hid his soul. Are tax cuts and clearly radical judges with outlier opinions really worth what you’re putting the country and our institutions through you feckless asshole?
Grow a fucking pair and ask Cory Booker to show you his if you need some instructions!
And have a great weekend!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?