The Widdershins

One hundred thirteen days and the sun still peeked over the eastern horizon this morning. The way things are going, I’m not betting on where, or if, the sun will set.  Writing about current events during the Ides of Orange is like playing Jinga in a windstorm. Not the best idea.

It truly is impossible to try to summarize the news. Therefore, I’m not even going to try. What I am going to do is marry up my behavioral psychology and legal viewpoints to provide a wild guess on where we find ourselves on the 113th day.

First, a disclaimer: I am not going to opine or even guess about Dolt 45’s mental health.  I’m not qualified. What I can do is give you an idea of his behavioral patterns and why he does some of the things he does.

With that said, for recollection, you can go here for Crazy, Stupid, Hate and here for 604,800. The Orangutan makes this stuff so easy. To summarize, he gets every ounce of his self-esteem from the way others perceive him. He is emotionally fragile. Stress enhances that fragility. We are seeing all of these patterns play out.

Next, we need to disabuse ourselves of a few things. The sanctified Office of the Presidency means very little to Dolt 45. It is merely a means to an end. Where any normal human would be awestruck at the otherworldly honor of serving, the ambulatory Cremesicle deems himself entitled to the office.

What Dolt 45 holds dear is money. It is the measuring stick of his self-worth. It is his Superman’s cape. It is his reason for being.

Guys from the home office doing a grab and grin with their franchisee…

If you accept these jumping off points, the rest of this post will be easy to swallow. The Dolt is nervous about having his “fortune and things” taken from him. For the longest time, I have been convinced RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) would play a part in Dolt’s downfall.

It seems certified good guy, Sen. Ron Wyden is of a similar mind. Sen. Wyden has put a hold on a Treasury nominee until certain documents from the Treasury’s financial crimes unit are produced. Follow the money. In a related event, grand jury subpoenas have issued to associates of Michael Flynn for financial records.

This, to at least my way of looking at things, gives a pretty big incentive to fire Comey. Remember, Dolt and his quislings are political neophytes who have no more insight than the last drunk at the end of the bar.

A few words about Comey:  Zealots clad in self-righteousness have committed more injustices than all the despots in history. Comey is, and has always been, a self-righteous arsonist moonlighting as a firefighter.

Nate Silver has done some amazing work and the last installment was published last week. It is definitive. Comey cost Hillary the election. There is no other way to parse the numbers. In a biting indictment of the media, Nate asks a simple question, “Why is the media in denial about it?”

Another point is this: The Comey letter, after duplicate emails were parsed out, was about 12 emails – none of them new and 10 of them were from auto-syncing. That is the legacy of the self-righteous Jim Comey, but I digress.

Now that we know the financial motivation of Dolt 45 to protect his assets, why did he write the letter? It was a strange letter wasn’t it? All the language about Comey telling the Dolt on three occasions he was not a target of any investigation. All the talking heads have talked themselves into a lather about it. Here’s my answer.

Enter Don McGahn. The guy is White House Counsel. A few words about Mr. McGahn: He graduated from either a non-rated law school or the 143rd rated law school in the U.S. since through some mitosis process his law school split into two. Here’s another data point: McGahn was Tom DeLay’s ethics attorney. One final data point: McGahn also defended DeLay in some nasty business regarding Russian oil tycoons making illegal contributions. Ring a bell?

So Don McGahn is one to watch throughout these coming weeks. My bet, he’s not too bright, but for what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up in sleaze. So why would Dolt 45 put that strange language into the Comey termination letter?

To a legal mind like McGahn, he was building a defense to obstruction of justice, i.e., you can’t have intent to obstruct if you know you aren’t under investigation. It’s dumb, but it is the only plausible explanation from a legal standpoint. One clue: When you see Don McGahn’s name in any article look for a whole lot of stupid to follow.

That brings me full circle with all the actors. Dolt 45 made such a horrendous mistake by firing Comey and then lying about it. He’s torpedoed his press office. He’s torpedoed his own credibility. And his most achingly stupid move is crossing Comey. Remember, Comey is the guy whose reputation was built in a hospital room over the pained and protesting body of John Ashcroft by getting in the face of Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card.  Now who do you think leaked that little vignette?

There are no good guys here. There are only degrees of bad. Dolt 45 will resign. It won’t be dramatic. The incentive will be keeping his money. He has no shame so that is not even an inkling of a consideration. He knows he will be able to command headlines for the rest of his miserable life just like Nixon did. A good person to ask about that might be Henry Kissinger – oh yeah, didn’t he visit the White House this week?

So put on your orange-tinted glasses and watch Dr. Evil talk about his life.  Does he remind you of anyone?

What’s on your mind today?

 

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As I have written many times, often writing posts in the Trump-age feels like an exercise in futility because by the time they are posted they are already out of date. I fear this post will be the same… so we must stay on top of latest news via the comments!

What we know: FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with Rosenstein writing the explanation. (Rosenstein had previously been viewed as an honest man. He was confirmed just a few weeks ago to the Justice Deparment with a 94-6 vote in the Senate. But as Philippe Reines pointed out, if Rosenstein was an honest man he would have answered Trump and Sessions’ demand that Comey be fired with: “No, I refuse.” Instead, he wrote his own epitaph as a coward.) The administrations explanation for firing Comey is: it’s Hillary’s fault. Also, her e-mails.

I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.

This is, of course, laughable on its face and no one can take this explanation seriously except maybe Fox News, which suddenly shows great concern for how Comey treated poor Hillary Clinton. Even Roger Stone (!) expressed regret: “What Comey did to Hillary was disgraceful. I’m glad Trump fired him over it,” he said to Alex Pfeiffer. We know, of course, the firing had nothing to do with Clinton. It is about the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election.

Comey

James Comey has been an enigma for a long time. His press conference announcing that his agency would not recommend charges against Clinton over use of a private e-mail server, while blasting her in such a public manner, seemed inexplicable. Some stories later suggested Comey wanted to reveal information about Russian interference in our election in the summer of 2016, but was stopped by Obama. Then Comey refused to sign on to other agencies’ announcement of this info in the Fall of 2016 because it was too close to the election and he didn’t wish to interfere. But his Letter just days before the election, announcing discovery of new e-mails on the computer of Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s husband, did precisely what he claimed earlier he didn’t wish to do: he changed the outcome of an election. What a bizarre story arc for a man who once rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop the Bush/Cheney administration from spying on Americans. None of it made sense. Until last week when Comey testified before the Senate. Finally the fog lifted.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

In the end, this long term public servant fell for the oldest tragic flaw, the one Greeks wrote plays about: Hubris. Comey just thinks of himself as the last honest man in America. Our own Prolix has written a few times that Comey isn’t corrupt, he is Righteous and his own belief in his Righteousness is where things can get murky. It’s true that his Righteousness is why I think ultimately he could have been trusted with the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. But his zealotry came with unintended – even by him – consequences: the election of Donald Trump as President. In an honest desire to be seen as non-partisan Comey managed to ruin the reputation of his favorite agency. With his fear of being taken to task by Republicans, who would smear him and the FBI if he did not tell them about the Abedin e-mails, Comey compromised himself as an honest broker of truth. He misassigned the concepts of “bad” and “catastrophic.” He thought not telling Congress about the e-mails would be catastrophic. In fact, not telling Republicans and becoming the target of their wrath would have been bad. Affecting the outcome of a Presidential election was catastrophic.

-Joy Reid Sally Yates comment

(There were also the grave issues that in his testimony to the Senate Comey gave inaccurate information about Abedin’s e-mails, falsely claiming “tens and thousands” of messages had been sent by her to her husband’s computer. It took 6 days, and prodding from ProPublica and Washington Post, for the FBI to issue a correction. The same day Comey was fired. Trump had his bodyguard Keith Schiller deliver the firing letter to the FBI headquarters, but they didn’t realize Comey was not in the office. Comey was delivering a speech and learned he was fired when the news popped up on the screen behind him.)

-COmey fired Petri

This brings us to the present. What does Comey’s firing mean in the larger scheme of things? Many Clinton aides have expressed concern, not joy, at the developments. That Clinton aides, who dislike Comey as much as anyone, are concerned about the firing speaks volumes about the Clinton candidacy and the people who supported her. We are more concerned about the Republic than petty revenge. Because what does Comey’s firing mean for the Russia/Trump investigation and the future of the Republic? It is impossible to know just yet. Some high profile Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have lined up behind Trump. Collins told Judy Woodruff: “Well, the president didn’t fire the entire FBI.” Graham said: “I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” This is worrisome because it shows a continued support for the insupportable Trump, his administration and his policies. The good news is that some others Republicans have expressed concerns. (And not just the Nixon Library tweeting an objection to people calling Trump’s behavior “Nixonian.”)

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John McCain tweeted that “Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia’s interference in 2016 election.” Tea Partier Justin Amash tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into Trump/Russia, wrote:

I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.

Other notable Republicans who have expressed concern about Comey’s firing are James Lankford of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Senate Judiciary Committee member Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

I think we are at a cross-roads. What happens next is what history books will say about all of us. Will the firing of Comey bring about Trump’s downfall? Or will Republicans close ranks and save him, kill the investigation… and damn us all to a banana republic?

-History joke

The caption reads: History Repeats Itself – The Robber Barons Of the Middle Ages And The Robber Barons of Today

And there is a bigger copy of the image here

** so said Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

 

Good Tuesday Widdershins!

So have you ever heard that phrase or one similar that goes something like “I know a friend of a friend of…the police chief, the Mayor…” or someone else that implies the person knows the high muckety-mucks and that relationship can help…you.  That’s a pretty good description of an event that was held at the Ritz Carlton in Beijing this past weekend. The event was sponsored by the Kushner crime uh family.

The shindig was an “investment opportunity” for wealthy Chinese citizens to plunk a cool half million dollars into a Kushner luxury apartment complex in Jersey.  And it has the additional sweetener that by plunking down said $500k you can also apply for what’s known as an investor visa.   That program is called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Process.  I might refer to it as “grease the skids on getting entrance to the U.S.”.

And of course it was all on the up and up.  Of course.  And we know it was on the up and up because it included Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared’s sister.  And of course she was introduced just that way, as Jared’s sister.  And these people knew exactly who Jared Kushner is; the son-in-law of the President of the United States.

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa.

The potential investors were advised to invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration. “Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.  [me – I wonder if they ran that line past Col. Cornpone and Steve Bannon?  Those two might now want any of these yellow people getting into ‘Merica.]

Gawd, do these people, any of them, have any shame or is it all about the almighty dollar, regardless of what it looks like.

The event underscores the extent to which Kushner’s private business interests have the potential to collide with his powerful role as a top official in his father-in-law’s White House, particularly when it comes to China, where Kushner has become a crucial diplomatic channel between Beijing and the new administration.

While Kushner has reported divesting from elements of the family business, including the specific project that his sister pitched in Beijing, the session Saturday demonstrated that the company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration. Ethics laws prohibit government officials from profiting personally from their public-sector work.

Divest, my backside.  The family will be holding Jared’s share for after he leaves government, ya know…after the impeachment.

Still, it’s the image of what this implies.

Watchdogs and ethics experts on Saturday criticized the Beijing event as an attempt to cash in on Kushner’s newfound proximity to power.

“It’s incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate,” said Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, who has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration. “They clearly imply that the Kushners are going to make sure you get your visa. . . . They’re [Chinese applicants] not going to take a chance. Of course they’re going to want to invest.”

And this particular type of visa has become very popular with the Chinese, especially as a way to get their money out of China.

Also, it has become a source of getting dubious investment dollars without really following through on what it was designed for.

The program was launched with the goal of securing investment and creating jobs. But instead, in recent years, many real estate developers have used the program as a source of cheap financing by using foreign investors, especially from China, for flashy projects in Manhattan and other city centers.

A Government Accountability Office report in 2015 found the EB-5 program carried a high risk of fraud, was rife with counterfeit documentation and had “no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners.”

In other words, a way to finance Trump and Kushner investments and real estate.

 

There’s much more at the link, so check it out when you can.

Lastly, real life issues came up with Prolix so I took today’s post.  I apologize for such an un-Prolix type of post.  It will make us appreciate all the more, the real deal when he has time to post again.  Of course this is an open thread.

 

 

Good Sunday Widdershins!

Oh Widdershins, all the damned news (bad news that is) just keeps hitting us on the head without respite:  Trump/Healthcare, Trump/Russia, Trump/Everything!  It’s just one damned Trumpthing after another.  And honestly I could not come up with any ideas for a post on songs or movies.  The Muses have left me.  So I decided to look around for some odd, funny, or perhaps strange news to share.  Strange…seems to go well with the way the country is these days.  And I’ll share with you what I’ve found.

I’m sure we all feel this way but…

This is an older piece I had bookmarked and somehow I think it will continue to sum up how we feel about the man who calls himself the President, and once again this one comes from the Sunshine State.

So it seems that Joseph Murphy was not happy about the election and was also drunk.  I bet there have been a number of folks who have experienced both of those conditions…and at the same time.  However, you should not, when the police are arresting you ,yell “police brutality” and “F*ck Trump” .

The 20-year-old Murphy was placed in a patrol car and allegedly began banging his head against a partition and then tried to choke himself.

Police said Murphy started yelling “police brutality” and “F*** Trump” to the officers.”

Things got a wee more intense at the Orange County Jail, emphasis on the “wee.”

Officers said Murphy banged his head on the car window and started to urinate on the jail floor, as well as a trooper’s pants “leaving a large wet spot on his uniform,” according to the Palm Beach Post.

Murphy is now facing numerous charges, including battery on a law enforcement officer, exposure of sexual organs, two charges of resisting a police officer without violence and disorderly intoxication.

Further, this seems to be a “thing” in Floriduh with people and the cops and peeing.

Last March, police in Lake County pulled over Carlos Adonis Ramos-Erazo for driving 75 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The 24-year-old allegedly said he was rushing to get home because he had “to go No. 2” and drove off. When they eventually took him into custody, he allegedly pooped and urinated on himself in the patrol car.

In November, 2012, Roger Alvin Henderson allegedly relieved himself all over the squad car of an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy who pulled him over for an alleged window tint violation.

Have you ever had “one of those days” when it all seems to hit at once?

Yes, of course you have.  And probably so did these people who got on this car barge in Australia.  Because it’s not a supported video file type for wordpress, you’ll have to go here to see what happens.

Note:  This is where Niki Haley & Lindsey Graham come from

That in and of itself is not a good thing.  This however is worse, I do believe.

Folks must be very picky about the City Marina in Charleston South Carolina because someone called to complain about an old shoe that had been sitting on the dock for several days.  But that wasn’t the end of the story:

Officers were called at 1:35 p.m. Monday to 17 Lockwood Drive between docks J20 and J22, according to an incident report.

“The complainant notified employees at the marina that a shoe has been sitting on the dock for approximately six days with possible remains of a human foot inside of it,” the report said.

The shoe — a teal size 9 Adidas sneaker — had a black sock inside of it, the report said. An object believed to be a human bone was seen inside the shoe and sticking out of the top.

[snip]
Investigators believe the shoe and foot inside were floating amid some debris in the marina for some time, Wooten said. Someone cleaning the debris threw the shoe onto the dock where it sat for six days.

Those Charlestonians weren’t concerned when the foot and shoe were bobbing around in the water, but six days sitting on the dock…well. there are limits.

Is this one of those Kardashian Brazilian butt lift things?

This woman had some nerve I tell ya.

May 5 (UPI) — Customs officials in Arizona said a woman attempting to cross the border from Mexico disguised $45,000 worth of heroin as her buttocks.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the 47-year-old woman, a U.S. citizen from Arizona, was referred for further inspection Tuesday when she attempted to cross the border from Mexico to Nogales in a pedestrian lane.

The woman was searched and investigators discovered she had nearly 3 pounds of heroin, worth more than $45,000, strapped to her backside inside her pants.

 

* * * * *

Lastly, I’ll leave you with Courtney Barnes’ vivid description of an interaction between the police in Jackson Miss. and an individual.  “Like a tornado, gurl”.

Naturally it’s an open thread/post to take wherever you wish.

 

 

Okay, okay, I know we have been stewing like ceviche in the citrusy juices of the imPOTUS Tangelo for 106 days now, but the allusion to 101 Dalmatians was just too good. If only the birthing of my new googling machine had cooperated, I could have used the title last week.  

The head fake to 101 Dalmatians does serve a purpose though. Taken individually, pups are adorable, even two or three at a time is manageable, but 101 all at once is a herd of pooping madness. It’s like the sophisticated engineering of a single locust, but multiply that evolutionary design by millions and suddenly we are breaking out the Old Testament for gardening tips.

My point is this – no matter if you are an American who sees the daily onslaught of issues as adorable Dalmatians or plagues of pestilence, something alarming is happening in the country.

As disconcerting as yesterday was, with one-sixth of the economy and perhaps 24 million gleefully sentenced to Republican indifference in order to provide the largest historical wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest, it isn’t yet benedictory.

Likewise, it doesn’t even worry me that the poor souls who voted for Dolt 45 are doggedly clinging to him like dung-beetles to an elephant with acute diarrhea.

And not even the extinction level event of me linking to something George Will writes causes my alarm bells to chirp.  Yesterday while describing one of the Trumpanzee’s many disabilities, Will wrote, “[T]he problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.”

What bothers me most was paraded in full view of the world on Tuesday. It is the reason we were denied the most qualified President in history. We were denied not because of hacking or Putin or Wikileaks or gerrymandering or voter suppression or not going to effing Wisconsin enough.  We were denied our rightful President because we have allowed aberrant behavior to be normalized. Not just normalizing Dolt 45’s behavior, but normalizing the wholesale disregard for shared values and expectations.

Notice in GOP Crazyland, Breitbart is larger than Fox in terms of creating a narrative…

That’s how we are punching the clock in our little piece of history. For the past thirty years there has been unparalleled asymmetric polarization. The Right has gotten more philosophically turgid while the Left has stayed philosophically consistent. When the intellectually lazy say, “Both sides do it,” tell them there are library ranges straining under the weight of sociological studies proving they are stupid and should be castrated to improve the gene pool. Both sides don’t do it. It is the Right that has gone off the page in any diagram of philosophical leaning.

To service and empower this time-reversing way-back machine, an epistemic closed loop has extinguished fact and replaced it with tribal truisms.  Tribal truism is a simple construct: Does whatever is said or heard help my tribe or hurt my tribe? If whatever is said hurts my tribe, I ignore it, deny it, or engage in “whataboutism”. I neutralize whatever hurts my tribe since it can’t be true.

For instance, Paul Ryan didn’t want to hear what the independent Congressional Budget Office had to say about the AHCA so he ignored it, called a vote before the CBO score, and for good measure, the Michelin Man doppelganger, Newt Gingrich, called for the abolishment of the CBO altogether. Protect the tribe!

Used to be the press enforced the rules by shaming offending politicians. Not anymore. There is no longer shame on the Right. When you get to the outer reaches of the philosophical spectrum, there is no longer the gravity of shame.

As DYB has so eloquently pointed out, access journalism has rendered the First Amendment a toothless lap dog. When I see Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Frick Halperin, Frack Heilemann, or “rock hard abs and Employment Whack-a-Mole” Andrew Sullivan, I’m reminded the only appreciable talent these people have is balancing both pen and paper in one hand while they are otherwise engaged on the business end of a journalistic glory hole.

Even birds are skeptical…

So what does all this have to do with Tuesday’s hearing with the almighty King of the Fibbies? Simple. Comey made a decision to violate DoJ procedure and write his misleading October 28th letter because there were no consequences. The bad consequences for him would have come from complying with the rules and not writing the letter.

The cost/benefit analysis was clear: He would be hounded unmercifully by the Fox/Breitbart/Drudge/Limbaugh/Hannity/PeeWeeHerman infotainment complex if he didn’t write the letter no matter if Hillary won or lost. There were only upsides to feeding the shameless nutjobs of the far, far Right. There were no concomitant upsides from adhering to the shared values and expectations.

Contrary to Comey’s statement, at no point in the criminal justice process, beyond basic fairness, is the reputation of the investigator of any consequence. Comey knew the Democrats would play according to the rules, but he knew the Republicans would not. In reality his contrived self-serving dilemma of “reveal versus conceal” should have been “violate and copulate” since he broke established procedure in order to f*ck the country in order to please himself.

Good government, efficacious policy, and the republic itself is under attack, we will be lucky if it is only 101 predations.

A case of the “bigly sads”…

If you’ve noticed, I’ve purposefully kept the links to a bare minimum today in order to emphasize one superb Vox article:  Donald Trump and the Rise of Tribal Epistemology by David Roberts. It is a few weeks old, but it is a wonderful synopsis of a very complicated web of problems. If you read nothing else today, take the time or bookmark it. It is truly exceptional.

One last thing – thanks to Fredster, DYB, and GAgal for covering during my technological convalescence. I appreciate them.

What are you thinking about today?

Christiane Amanpour interviews Hillary Clinton. | CNN/David Holloway

Another week… another Twitter meltdown at the Clintons. Last week Chelsea was in the crosshairs, on Tuesday it was back to Hillary Clinton. And it’s all the usual suspects who returned into the arena.

Earlier in the day Clinton spoke to Christiane Amanpour in a town-hall interview at the Women For Women International, an organization that helps women in war-torn countries. Amanpour asked Clinton about the 2016 election and Clinton responded:

I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the short falls that we had. […] I have been in a lot of campaigns and I’m very proud of the campaign we ran. and I am very proud of the staff and the volunteers. It wasn’t a perfect campaign — there’s no such thing — but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off and the evidence for that intervening event is I think compelling, persuasive and so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, or false equivalence, of so much else, and as Nate Silver … concluded, if the election had been on October 27, I would be your president. [ …] Did we make mistakes? Yes. [But] The reason I believe we lost was because of events of the last 10 days.

This is where the hyenas descended. Today it was Glenn Thrush’s turn to lead the pack. There were many messages from him over the course of several hours. One tweet read: “Hillary takeaways 1) Loathes Trump 2) blames Comey/Putin 3) the ‘real’ Hillary-funny, hard-edged, unguarded 4) blames everyone but self.”

Thrush’s Times colleague and mentor Maggie Haberman tweeted many messages of personal support for Thrush and critiques of Clinton. At one point Haberman actually said to Greg Sargent of The Plum Line, who posted an article in which he argued the fault  for the loss was not entirely Clinton’s, that one of her – Haberman’s – objections to Clinton’s statement, and the reason she doesn’t believe her, is that the order of Clinton’s statement was all wrong. Haberman argued that if Clinton ended her argument with contrition, it would have made all the difference. Am I the only who thinks this is one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard?

Then later in the day Bill Maher told Jake Tapper that he doesn’t understand why Hillary just won’t go away already.

Chris Cillizza also participated in this feeding frenzy, but I won’t even bother you with his nonsense.

To my surprise a number of journalists came to Clinton’s defense. More importantly, a number of them specifically criticized Thrush and Haberman, some times by addressing them directly, for the behavior.

Chris Hayes of MSNBC responded to Thrush: “I find this obsession with Clinton taking full responsibility for her loss from ostensibly “objective” observers really weird.” (To which Thrush answered without any irony: “I don’t care if she takes responsibility.”)

Mark Murray of NBC initially blasted Clinton, but then seemed to change his mind and posted a series of tweets showing poling data: “Just look at the national polls: Pre-Comey, she was up 5-6pts, Post-Comey, 3pts. From outside MOE to inside it.” Perhaps Murray was convinced by actual…data. Data doesn’t lie.

Because of data, Nate Silver has been one of the strongest voices in the “blame Hillary” debate: “We’ll have a piece out on this tomorrow. Issue is that some of the competing explanations for Clinton’s loss implicate the media’s judgment… / Did they jump the gun on Comey letter? Drop the ball on Russia? Cover email too much? Not fact-check Trump enough? / What were ethics of Wikileaks coverage? What role did Clinton’s gender play? Tough questions! Easier to say Clinton durg her own grave.”

Michael Cohen (no, not that one) of Boston Globe: “Genuinely fascinating that so many NYT reporters are so focused on Hillary Clinton’s self-flaggelation / I mean it’s never true that a single candidate is personally responsible for losing a presidential campaign. It’s a confluence of factors / So it’s mystifying how many reporters are adamant that Clinton must take personal responsibility for her loss… / did reporters insist that Romney take personal responsibility for losing? McCain? Gore? The media obsession w/HRC’s self-flaggelation is such an obvious case of diverting responsibility I can’t think of another explanation. / I mean it’s ok to say “we made some mistakes in how we covered the 2016 campaign.” None of [us] are perfect; pencils, erasers etc / and every time reporter tweets “it’s Hillary’s fault” it only serves to highlight how obvious this effort at diverting responsibility is.”

I was stunned when even Bernie Bro with serious case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome Matthew Yglesias of Vox wrote in response to Matt Viser of Boston Globe (Viser: “Clinton in one breath: “I take absolute personal responsibility.” Clinton in the next: “I would have won if not for Comey and Wikileaks.”). Yglesias’ response: “Despite the valiant efforts of many in the press these are not really contradictory statements. / To take responsibility for something is an ethical stance not a causal analysis. / When Harry Truman said “the buck stops here” he was not saying that all events in American life were under his total personal control.”

There is a “mean girls” quality to Thrush/Haberman/Cillizza/Barro/etc. attacks on Hillary (and Chelsea) Clinton. One person starts, the others jump in, sharks sensing blood. Or the last person standing in dodge-ball. The same names come up time and again. But I was encouraged to see several people – especially surprised by Yglesias – break with the pack and directly argue with them. Is this change temporary? Or a new awareness on the parts of some reporters that perhaps, maybe, just possibly they are not infallible?

But… back to Thrush and Haberman. On Tue they published a piece in the Times about Ivanka Trump, who has a book out, which she is not supposed to promote. Former Fortune publisher and current digital director of Columbia Law School Pamela Kruger tweeted at Haberman: “Ivanka gave this in depth interview just as her new book comes out. The book she isn’t promoting.” Haberman, who often reveals herself in spontaneous responses to others, fired back: “We were doing a profile and we went to them.” Kruger retorted: “Timing worked out pretty well for her.”

When I say Haberman often reveals herself in spontaneous tweets, the following may be one of the most revealing messages Haberman ever sent. After stories came out about in-fighting between Bannon and Kushner, Breitbart wrote an article attacking Kushner’s staff. To which Haberman tweeted: “Do folks there seriously believe hitting the president’s family, even by extension, is going to help their access?” I think this message needs to be framed because it reveals everything about not just Haberman specifically, but reporters generally who survive on the need for access.

I also ran into this tweet from Thrush that really made me cringe: “Anyone who thinks [Trump] is ‘incoherent’ has it exactly wrong. Every speech is 100% coherent. Every speech is 100% about Trump.” This message that Trump is a genius is something Haberman has stated in the past as well. A few months ago I followed her arguing with NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen. Rosen wrote that the idea that Trump is some sort of media genius is nonsense. Haberman responded that she’s been following Trump for many years and he is, in fact, a master manipulator of the media. I recall responding that just because Trump manages to masterfully manipulate her, doesn’t mean he is a master at manipulation.

Eric Boehlert summed up the day’s events fairly well: “for those keeping score, NYT reporters who typed up Ivanka puff piece today, spent the afternoon trolling Hillary on Twitter /



 but the newsroom gets very very mad when anyone threatens to cancel subscriptions.
 / 



keep in mind, same day WH press secretary Refuses To Take Any Press Questions, reporters spent afternoon attacking private citizen.”

Joy Reid

As I was finishing this post, I ran into an astonishing piece in WaPo by Dave Weigel. It shows how somebody in the media can take a single statement, misrepresent it, and create a tornado of attacks. In this case, no surprisingly, it was a statement by Hillary Clinton to Amanpour that was misrepresented by Phil Elliott of Time – creating a storm of attacks on Clinton.

Trump may be the first president whose plunge to 40 percent approval was marked by stories about the voters who still loved him. And Clinton may be the only politician who can talk about the need for rural broadband — at this point, an almost banal priority of rural politicians — and be accused of snobbery.

For a final laugh, see this from the NY Times, trying to explain Trump’s comments about Andrew Jackson:

C-2IOOHXkAEVpit

And then this:

Chelsea Handler

Where to start? That’s the question that has bogged me down since the election. As DYB was saying the other day, by the time you write a post, a whole new world of crazy has opened and the insanity has moved on to lunacy. I can’t keep up. So, I decided if I’m going to lend a hand around here, at least until I get back into the swing of things, I’m going to have to leave it to the comment section to keep us up on the latest. I’d rather be lazy than crazy.

C4-I5AoXUAECgM5Speaking of lunacy, I thought I’d share with you a few Letters To the Editor from my hometown newspaper over the last few months. Right after the election, there was letter after letter calling for prayers for our New Leader. Since I like to try to analyze these people, (that might be my problem, right there) I started thinking. If Hillary had won would they have written that same letter? I think not. In fact, some of them came across to me as “Oh my God, he won. PRAY people, PRAY! PRAY as if your life depends on it!”. At least in my mind. Then a lady writes this simple message:

In response to the letters to the editor, “We Have Moved On” and “We Got God’s Attention”:

The writers of these letters seem to think that their prayers have been answered. I ask them to pray now to give President-Elect Donald Trump the wisdom he needs to keep the people of this country safe, free from prejudice and free to choose their own way of life and worship or not to worship.

Oops. Did a “real” Christian slip in there? Atheist? I don’t know, but no one responded. After all, what could they say? Pretty smart. That’s the way to do it. Phrase it just so, and what are they gonna do?

Here’s another that no one responded to. I didn’t even try to analyze this. Yes, I spent five minutes reading about Baal (I get the golden calf) and no, I did not look up the scripture. (No offense meant to anyone) But after reading the title “God is not dead”, I was not expecting this:

Donald J Trump could have become America’s Baal, bursting onto the scene espousing his knowledge of everything. Trump’s ability to spew bluster laced with blatant lies enabled him to exercise mind control over a segment of the electorate that was angry and grossly uniformed. For others to judge their reactions would be a fool’s folly.

Thinking historically, the children of Israel danced around their golden calf. Nov. 8, millions of Americans chanted Trump’s name, endorsing and celebrating racism, hatred, bigotry, violence, lies, misogyny, ableism and the bilking of hard-earned money from countless victim’s of one man’s avarice. Their nations rejected intelligence, education and science  – the truly major things that help make America great. The rest of the world looked on in disbelief.

True Christians fell into despair while the Still Small Voice reassuringly whispered that there were millions that day who refused to bow their knee to Baal. God is not dead! The path can be found back in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Huh. Takes all kinds, I guess. There’s just one other letter, of the religious sort, that I will have to paraphrase, but I remember it well. He was responding to this letter: (shortened a bit)

What do I say to my severely-disabled grandson that our new president thinks its okay to mock and ridicule his condition and that of others like him who struggle to live life in dignity? What do I say to my beautiful granddaughter when her new president speaks openly about it being okay to treat women in a demeaning, vulgar and threatening manner? How do I explain to my Sunday school kids that our new president thinks himself above the Creator – boasting of never having to ask God’s forgiveness for anything he said and done? How can I feel secure in voicing my beliefs when he has openly encouraged his supporters to physically attack those who oppose him?

For that heartfelt letter, he got this back (paraphrased ’cause I didn’t save it). “You tell your grandson, granddaughter and Sunday School kids to THANK GOD everyday that that criminal Godless liberal Hillary Clinton lost!”

Now you would think this stuff would make me mad. Actually it makes me LMAO. But now I’m having a sad. All those were from November and December. And now, nothing. Silence. I mean sure, way back in January there was this: (my bold)original

I have begun to wonder if Democrats will ever get over losing. I just witnessed a goodbye ceremony between the out-going POTUS and the out-going VP that eclipsed all other expressions of grief. Barack Hussein Obama presented Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I must confess that I do not have a clue what that is.

I have never seen such fawning and pandering outside of the Democratic media. Barack Hussein Obama was proclaimed as a great president by glaze-eyed followers and likewise was Biden. Everyone, especially reporters, were engulfed in tears. It was truly a life altering experience for those who bought it.

I am always incredulous about the amount of drivel that lockstep Democrats are willing to swallow. All it takes is the willingness to accept anything that is told to them as fact, much like sheep. As a Democrat, you certainly would not want to be guilty of attempting an original thought.

What of BHO now, you might ask? I have an idea. First, he will rejoin Jeremiah Wright’s church. Making that good impression is no longer important. He will then seek out photo ops and mingle with his Hollywood cronies. Talk shows, anything to feed his ego.

He is the slickest politician I have ever seen. He can graduate from our finest schools, still claim racism, cry on demand, change his dialect and has been known to break out in song if needed.

In closing, after I watched a tearful Biden follow-up on the “View”, a show featuring a babbling group of clueless female Democrats, I resorted to Tylenol. Will it ever end?

Yeah, dude. That’s what we keep asking, too. Only it’s going to take a whole lot more than Tylenol. Tylenol won’t cure your stupid. Now the guy is off the radar. There is an occasional letter from another guy-all crammed into one- about political correctness, climate change is a hoax and keep your kids as dumb as possible. Better yet, homeschool them and don’t even teach them to spell C-O-L-L-E-G-E.

There were a couple of folks convinced that the votes of every head of cattle in Wyoming baf59b214d180f40466f43c5ca46e3ceb3b8c420e6d87589c7acdfd93d1ae303was more important than actual people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. I think they believe only flamboyant gay men live in Queens. I guess now that they don’t have Obama and Hillary to hate anymore, they must feel so lost. People have been trying to goad them out to no avail:

Yet another installment of right wing nut radio land and their toxic garbage with the sole purpose of dividing this country. To them, America is a terrible country under a Democrat, and a great one under a Republican, no matter how good or bad the country is being run.

[snip]

Now we have lyin’ Donald Trump a reality show/con artist using the same old GOP handbook from the Bush era. They want to go back to that? No thanks. Trump is a pathological liar with some major issues. I’ve never seen a person so full of it in my life. God help us all.

Some man wrote a beautiful referral for Betsey DeVos. He had grown up with her and her family in Michigan and they are fine, upstanding citizens. She will make a great Secretary of Education. (Wonder if he’s heard from Erik lately? Maybe a Christmas card?) He got a response from a woman who always make me smile when I see her name. She is hell on our local politicians, too.

When do know beyond a doubt that your elected officials are not working for their constituents? When they vote “yes” to appoint a person to head the Department of Education who spent her adult life and enormous wealth to block public education in her home state of Michigan.

Betsey DeVos has no degrees in education, has never attended a public school and has spent millions (Amyway fortune) on legislation to make charter schools, vouchers and “for-profit schools” non-regulated. Her effort took money away from the public education system.

Mrs. DeVos comes from a religious sect that believes parents should be responsible for their children’s education. Few parents today have the skills or resources to properly educate a child for 12 years in preparation for the 21st century.

My four great-grandchildren need public schools. I signed petitions, wrote letters, called my people. So how did the vote go? Democrats voted against and all but two Republicans for her. The GOP keeps claiming they are the party of Lincoln-this man who studied by candlelight and was kept warm by a fireplace which he most likely had to stoke, would be appalled.

Why is it there are billions and billions of dollars to buy votes from our elected officials, but putting some of that money to the education of our children now and for the future isn’t even in the playbook? Why did our elected officials vote against their own community and children?

The Republican party is an exclusive members-only club and if you have the money, you are in! If not “work harder, make more and then you can be like us!”

Mrs. DeVos will dismantle what has taken 50 years to establish. This was a vote by Republicans against our social order, aside from the fact that they have “dead souls” toward children.

Ooouch! ‘dead souls’ toward children. I love this woman. I don’t know her, but I love her. Now, you would think that would provoke a reaction, but no. All silent on the home front. This was in February. There has not been a single “Atta Boy” letter about Trump and company. No mention of his name. Not even when an occasional lib’rul writes about his EOs polluting our environment. No one is willing to stand up for him.

That’s what it was all about. After the black man termed out, they weren’t gonna let THAT damn woman tell them what to do. Nothing else matters anymore. They can kick back, fat and happy and grin from ear to ear while it all burns down around them. Their work is done.

Open thread. What’s going on in the “real” world?

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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar