Today’s post is a bit all over the place…so I hope you can follow it…my brain is feeling the effects of the tRump presidency and it has become almost debilitating. I feel like I have some form of OCD, there is the constant itch in my thoughts. I can’t get rid of it. Like some kind of diseased earworm that has set root deep in my mind. I cannot stop thinking about tRump and what he is destroying. Everything is crumbling before me. The itch is so bad, that I almost feel like grabbing an ice pick and jamming it in my ear. If only to get these tRumptonian thoughts out of my mind.
All commitments made so far in talks with the U.S. over trade will be withdrawn if President Donald Trump carries out his threat to impose tariffs, China said Sunday.
While both sides reported some progress in discussions this weekend about how to reduce China’s $375 billion goods-trade surplus with the U.S., Trump’s revival last week of a plan to slap tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports has cast the talks into turmoil.
“If the U.S. rolls out trade measures including tariffs, all the agreements reached in the negotiations won’t take effect,” state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday, citing a statement from the Chinese team that met with a U.S. delegation led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Does that also include the agreements made regarding the new tRump Tower and all those convenient new trademarks Ivanka was granted…(which we will touch on in a moment.)
The Xinhua report came after Ross met Sunday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for talks that Ross called “friendly and frank, and covered some useful topics about specific export items.” At the same time as negotiators focus on technical steps to reduce the U.S. deficit, Trump’s swerve has rattled Beijing as it raises the possibility that any agreement made could be simply torn up by the president.
“China is concerned over the U.S.’s unpredictability, especially after Trump turned an about-face on tariffs,” said Gai Xinzhe, an analyst at Bank of China’s finance institute in Beijing. “Trump needs to give out more goodwill in exchange for really productive negotiations. Bluff, threat, and willful moves might work in business bargaining, but they could backfire in talks among nations.”
Yada, Yada, Yada…haven’t we heard this before? I think someone who is very fond of pantsuits brought this particular negative trait of tRump’s personality up during the debates? I don’t know…maybe I am wrong, but I know we have talked about it countless times here on the blog before that anus-lipped tangerine turd was installedin the White House.
When former president Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea in 2009 on a humanitarian mission to free two U.S. journalists, he delivered strict instructions to his team ahead of their meeting with dictator Kim Jong Il: “We’re not smiling.”
In several photos, including a formal portrait with their hosts in Pyongyang, Clinton and his aides kept their game faces on — looking serious and determined, befitting the tone of the mission, according to a person familiar with the trip.
President Trump took a decidedly different approach on Friday when he welcomed a North Korean official to the White House for the first such meeting in 18 years. Trump beamed as Kim Yong Chol — a former spy chief accused of masterminding the sinking of a South Korean navy vessel in 2010 that killed 46 sailors — presented him with a cartoonishly oversize envelope containing a letter from Kim Jong Un, the nation’s current dictator.
The two posed for a photo in the Oval Office with Trump proudly showing off the envelope — an image that White House aides promptly distributed to the public.
The warm display left some former U.S. officials who’ve negotiated with North Korea arguing that Trump had already handed Pyongyang another public relations victory before winning concessions on its nuclear program.
“No question this is speed dating,” said Christopher R. Hill, a former State Department diplomat who led the U.S. delegation in the Six-Party Talks with North Korea during the George W. Bush administration. He recalled being rebuffed in his bid to personally deliver a letter from Bush to Kim Jong Il — in a standard business-size envelope.
By contrast, Hill said, the North Koreans already “have gotten the whole enchilada” from Trump.
Let’s look more closely at this photo for a minute.
Zoom in again.
See how the North Korean spy chief’s mouth turns down on one side and up on the other as he “smiles”?
They run death camps and have threatened to nuke us constantly — but unlike the Canadians, those gravy-drenched monsters, these incredible North Koreans haven't tried to increase the price of milk. https://t.co/MK0Ug6xYNE
I feel like we have been on some kind of hamster wheel of that replays itself every day…this cycle of tRump chaos and scandal and destruction of democracy…is leading to one thing. Desensitization.
Sort of like that opening scene in Boyz in the Hood, where the kids are desensitized to the violence in the street…as they walk home from school. Calmly explaining the process of decay in a bloody crime scene.
Which later comes to a point where the bloody scene has moved beyond this to an actual dead body lying beside a railroad track, as young teens discover the body and young adults play football. The violence and murder is no longer an issue for the young adults…the teenagers are disturbed by the smell but do not react more than that, as they too are desensitized to the fact that murder and death is a common occurrence in there everyday world.
That link will give you a look at the scene…from a film critic perspective. I thought it was a good one. Like I said my post is all over today.
My point being, this is a tactic. A tRump way of controlling and manipulating things, an authoritative government…administration at work. And the media is complicit in its actions in bringing about the downfall of democracy.
This is a very good column from @laurenduca, who warned of Trump's media manipulation tactics well before he took office. Wish the weaker members of the press would heed her words, then and now. https://t.co/amv6sJTSIA
Lately there has been a reinvigorated conversation around labeling something a lie. The debate boils down to a question of intent: Journalists who are most cautious with the “lie” label argue that we cannot truly know Trump’s purpose for shitting on the very concept of facts. Is he working off of misinformation? Is he exaggerating with his “Art of the Deal” tactic of “truthful hyperbole”? Is he hallucinating an anthropomorphic pumpkin that is telling him what to say? We are not inside the president’s brain, they argue, and so we cannot know.
One such journalist is Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for The New York Times. On Sunday, May 27, she responded to criticism about her frequent refusal to use the word “lie” in her work with a series of tweets. “I have written stories about his lies, falsehoods, whoppers, half-truths, salesman-like stretches,” she tweeted. “The reality is that what he does can be hard to label because, as anyone who has worked for him will tell you in candor, he often thinks whatever he says is what’s real.” As far as I’m concerned, all of those euphemisms for “lies” still mean lies, and if, as Haberman asserts, he really believes them, then she should report that it is also possible that the president is out touch with reality.
By the way, Haberman is one of the authors of an article in the New York Times that is getting a lot of attention recently…I have more on that later on in the thread.
As the leader of the country, Trump is the core source for our perception of the state of the union. Once he took office, his abusive relationship with the truth came with the official seal of the White House, and that is of crucial importance. The Trump administration is now waging an unprecedented campaign of disinformation on the American people. The president of the United States is working to undermine our shared foundation of truth so that we have no choice but to accept his version of reality.
Trump himself has reportedly admitted that this is his aim. On stage at the Deadline Club Awards Dinner on May 21, 60 Minutes host Leslie Stahl told PBS Newshouranchor Julie Woodruff that Trump told her he undermines the press so that the public will have no grasp on what is true. During an informal meeting with then candidate Trump in 2016, Stahl said, she asked Trump why he was constantly attacking the media. “He said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you,’” she told Woodruff. If this is true, and those are Trump’s intentions, the endgame is to deprive journalism of any value whatsoever.
Much of Trump’s war on the truth appears to be based in exploiting widespread media illiteracy among the citizenry. Journalism is not about striving to appear fair, but maintaining a rigorous objectivity for the purpose of serving the public. The ultimate allegiance of the press is to our fellow citizens. It is crucial that journalists do a better job at explaining our purpose and be radically transparent with all editorial decision-making. That means calling a lie a lie, and if we don’t, then fully providing readers with the reason why the word “lie” is not appropriate, along with context for understanding this administration’s abusive relationship with the truth.
Authoritarianism works to corrode our shared foundation of truth, pushing us to a point where we so doubt our own sanity, it becomes too much of a chore to even care what is true. Such is the goal of the Trump administration: to bombard us with so many conflicting versions of reality that we throw our hands in the air and give up on being certain about anything at all. The falsehoods, whoppers, and salesman-like stretches all come down to this: Without the truth, we have no foundation from which to resist.
I really should end the post on that huge point alone…but there are a few other things I want to bring to your attention…real quick.:
1/ The letter from Trump’s lawyers admitted to an impeachable high crime. It is close enough to felony obstruction/witness tampering. If that’s not an impeachable abuse of power (dictate a false statement to a witness and lie about dictating it), what is? https://t.co/mhlVSUx5FL
Trump’s team not only argues that he can pardon himself but also argues that he has unlimited power to investigate his enemies and end investigations into his friends. If this sounds like tyranny to you, that’s because it is. https://t.co/1dWv8OG04X
In Trump's "God Manifesto," he asserts his right to cancel—at his pleasure—any federal law enforcement investigation into his own actions, the actions of his family, or the actions of his associates. It is, in short, the bald claim that he and his are beyond the reach of the law.
This would be a valid legal argument — if our government were a dictatorship. Fortunately, we are a government of laws, not men. And in America, no one is above the law, including the president. https://t.co/yxtu9HUUkz
Our democracy is under attack. The notion that the president is above the law is so preposterous on its face that the media should have its hair on fire. We can't normalize this attack as a legitimate debate.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a U.N human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to ‘go to hell’, warning against interference in domestic affairs.
If the UN ever sends a human rights expert to the US to check up on the obvious offenses going on at our southern border…I bet we would hear the same shit coming out of tRump’s mouth.
Let’s take a look at some more tweet shit storms:
This whole thing stinks worse than anything any modern president has ever done in public. If only we had some warning Trump would sell out to Chinese interests for a few bucks, besides his whole life. https://t.co/H6omEf2lTZ
It’s unlikely Trump murdered Melania in a fit of rage and the people around him are helping to cover it up while they figure out what to do next. But the fact I used the word “unlikely” instead of “impossible” or “ludicrous” kinda shows you the state of our leadership today.
But…keep this in mind, as BB wrote about yesterday as well…:
One of America's most famous male journalists of the 1970s did not report on domestic violence in the White House because, he says, he did not understand that the president hitting his wife was a criminal act https://t.co/CppVrZqThN
LIARS All of them. ivanka is now (with her 13 new patents from gina) selling her clothing line under the name 'Adrienne Vittadini', at Stein Mart & other locations. She knows the T word is toxic, so she got around it. *wink wink*#boycottAdrienneVittadinihttps://t.co/RqM5cP1eVp
What has happened to Melania? I’m becoming obsessed with this question. It has now been 18 days since she’s been seen in public on May 10. How much longer can the White House go on claiming she’s living there without evidence? The latest rumor is that she has gone back to New York.
Melania surfaces in New York: Secret Service has confirmed that Melania Trump has moved back to New York for the "foreseeable future" . Agents are assigned to her New York detail. Costing us more $$$….
The Inquistr reported yesterday that Melania’s Twitter location had changed to New York. But it turns out that they were looking at the Twitter account Melania used before becoming first lady. The FLOTUS account that she uses now still says Washington, DC. So that’s a red herring that was debunked by The Palmer Report.
Why wasn’t Melania with her husband at yesterday’s Memorial Day ceremony?
Trump claimed she was in a window looking down at a press gaggle outside the White House, but no one else could see her. The White House is going to have to explain what’s happening eventually, or the occasional speculation is going become an uproar.
Melania Trump, 48, underwent kidney surgery on May 14, and has since secluded herself from the public eye. But her break isn’t completely health-related – she’s also trying to better her marriage to Donald Trump, 71.“Melania has been taking a little ‘me time’ to work on fully regaining her health, and to try and strengthen her marriage again,” a source close to the First Lady tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “It’s been a hideously stressful past few months, and Melania needs a break out of the media glare to recharge her batteries and take stock.”
However, our insider noted that the president isn’t making things easier for his wife. “Donald has been under an ever increasing ton of pressure, so he definitely isn’t in the best of moods, which makes for a pretty tense atmosphere at home,” the source continued. “Melania really is getting to the point now where she just wishes Donald’s presidency was over, and she can’t wait to return to her ‘regular’ life again, even though she realizes it will never be quite the same.”
The Palmer Report claims this means Melania is having psychological problems.
This confirms that there was never any kidney problem; this is some kind of mental health break. It’s been fairly obvious from the start that this has probably been a mental health issue, but due to the sensitive nature of the situation, we’ve gone out of our way not to explicitly say it.
I’m not sure we can assume this based on an anonymous source quoted at a gossip site, but what else could explain her disappearance from public view? At this point, I have to believe that Melania wants out of her marriage and that’s why we haven’t seen her since May 10. We’ve seen how she resists holding his hand–sometimes even batting it away.
This is interesting, from Riot Woman (second tweet in series):
Interactions like this have been captured several times. This is January 19th, 2017. It's the day before the inauguration. Trump and Melania are in a room full of supporters.
First he makes her agree that he's a nice person. She says she does not want to speak.
Trying to imagine the reaction if a previous president had a record of beating and raping his first wife, emotionally abusing his second wife, sexually assaulting multiple women…and then his third wife is abruptly hospitalized and not seen for 17 days and counting
Special Counsel Robert Mueller may well be in the final stages of wrapping up his principal investigation. Last week, I argued here in Politico that Mueller will want to avoid interfering with the November midterms, and so will try to conclude by July or August. On this one we can believe Trump’s new lawyer, former prosecutor and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who claims Mueller’s target is September 1.
How will Mueller wrap up his investigation? What will he produce? And then – what can we expect from the other players in this saga: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, President Trump and his lawyers, and the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress?
Nelson W. Cunningham
As a former prosecutor and Senate Judiciary and White House lawyer who has carefully studied presidential investigations since Watergate, the next steps in this constitutional dance seem clear. Mark Twain was certainly right when he said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” And this summer may well be the most consequential in presidential politics since 1974, the year Watergate came to a head.
Here are the predictions, which you can read about in detail at the link above.
– Mueller will not indict the president, but will issue a comprehensive and detailed report.
– Rod Rosenstein will decide to release the report to Congress and the public.
– Rosenstein’s move to release the Mueller report will lead to his firing and perhaps another Saturday Night Massacre.
– And this is when the Senate and the Congress might finally engage.
If Cunningham is correct, we have an interesting summer ahead.
Trump is clearly obsessed with what Mueller is doing. He spent the long Memorial Day weekend tweeting about it. Yesterday, after inappropriately tweeting “Happy Memorial Day!” and then bragging about his so-called accomplishments, he sent multiple tweets about the Russia investigation, trying to twist it into a Democratic scandal. Politico:
Trump pivoted to tweeting about Fox News segments on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – an investigation that Trump and his allies contend, without evidence, was politically motivated to harm Trump’s campaign and his administration.
“‘The President deserves some answers.’ @FoxNews in discussing ‘SPYGATE.’” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The “president” is bald.
Minutes later, he posted again: “‘Sally Yates is part of concerns people have raised about bias in the Justice Dept. I find her actions to be really quite unbelievable.’ Jonathan Turley.”
“‘We now find out that the Obama Administration put the opposing campaigns presidential candidate, or his campaign, under investigation. That raises legitimate questions. I just find this really odd…this goes to the heart of our electoral system.’ Jonathan Turley on @FoxNews,” he added….
Trump appears increasingly obsessed with what he is calling “Spygate” – the notion that his campaign was surveilled by the Justice Department for political purposes. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case. The FBI utilized an informant to talk to campaign officials after they discovered evidence that the officials had Russia-linked contacts during the campaign, while Russia was allegedly waging a covert disinformation campaign to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Trump.
As a candidate, Donald J. Trump claimed that the United States government had known in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks. He hinted that Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice who died in his sleep two years ago, had been murdered. And for years, Mr. Trump pushed the notion that President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya rather than Honolulu, making him ineligible for the presidency.
None of that was true.
The “president’s” narrative
Last week, President Trump promoted new, unconfirmed accusations to suit his political narrative: that a “criminal deep state” element within Mr. Obama’s government planted a spy deep inside his presidential campaign to help his rival, Hillary Clinton, win — a scheme he branded “Spygate.” It was the latest indication that a president who has for decades trafficked in conspiracy theories has brought them from the fringes of public discourse to the Oval Office.
Now that he is president, Mr. Trump’s baseless stories of secret plots by powerful interests appear to be having a distinct effect. Among critics, they have fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media that mirror his own.
“The effect on the life of the nation of a president inventing conspiracy theories in order to distract attention from legitimate investigations or other things he dislikes is corrosive,” said Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and biographer. “The diabolical brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges, and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them.”
The White House communications director’s job has been vacant for exactly two months. But in practice, it has been filled since the day Hope Hicks said farewell to her unofficial replacement — President Trump himself.
The president also has unofficially performed the roles of many other senior staffers in recent months, leaving the people holding those jobs to execute on his instincts and ideas.
And that’s exactly how Trump likes his West Wing.
Largely gone are the warring factions that dominated life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first year of Trump’s term, replaced by solo players — many with personal connections to the president and their own miniature fiefdoms — laboring to do their jobs and survive.
Trump has brought in a handful of senior people who believe in him personally, are temperamentally in sync with the brash boss and are invested in his political success more than some of his first-year aides were. As one top official put it, “Ultimately he’s the only one anyone elected.”
The authors point out that this doesn’t seem to be working for him in terms of accomplishments. They also write that WH staff has been reduced to simply trying to stop him from doing something completely crazy.
Rather than struggling to manipulate the president to follow their personal agendas, the senior staff members of Trump’s Year 2 — or “Season 3,” in Trump’s reality television parlance — focus on trying to curb his most outlandish impulses while generally executing his vision and managing whatever fallout may follow. Most of all, officials said, they “get” Trump.
“Last year was the year of adjustment. He was constrained by an axis of adults and adjusting to be president,” said Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “This year is the year of action. He’s giving the orders, even if there’s resistance.
“Next year,” he continued, “is the hangover year, the year of living with the consequences.”
That doesn’t sound too promising.
Anyway, onward into another day of hoping Trump doesn’t blow up the world. What stories are you following?
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