“Democrats in leadership pretend at conviction and lack courage.”

Slate: Democratic Reluctance to Even Utter “Impeachment” Is Becoming Untenable:

The problem with Democratic pointillism is that if congressional Democrats truly refuse to see the big picture, after the staggering proof put forth in the Mueller report, the daily reports of gross financial misconduct and corruption, and the administration’s growing refusal to accede to any form of congressional oversight, one has to wonder which hypothetical red dot or yellow smear might persuade them that, um, crimes. Perhaps some belief in Trump’s infamous boast that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot a man without losing support has spooked Democrats to the point of paralysis. The reality is that Democrats on the Hill know what criminal obstruction looks like—they are just too terrified to say so.

The other problem with Democratic pointillism is that House Democrats want to look like measured and rational adults in the face of the biggest toddler tantrum ever witnessed in presidential history, one in which the Constitution is being repurposed as a diaper. But as any parent or even uncertified Red Cross babysitter will tell you, every time you decline to impose consequences, you move the line for acceptable behavior a little further. Mueller is himself trying to look measured and rational by demurring from testifying. Looking adult and rational in the face of abject insanity is not always synonymous with bravery, especially when the other side is shouting TREASON and LOCK THEM UP and INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS.

Our government is a joke.

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Tromp

“the prisoner of his own impulse”

Inside Trump’s shutdown turnaround:

His poll numbers were plummeting. His FBI director was decrying the dysfunction. The nation’s air travel was in chaos. Federal workers were lining up at food banks. Economic growth was at risk of flatlining, and even some Republican senators were in open revolt.

So on Friday, the 35th day of a government shutdown that he said he was proud to instigate, President Trump finally folded. After vowing for weeks that he would keep the government closed unless he secured billions in funding for his promised border wall, Trump agreed to reopen it.

He got $0 instead.

Trump’s capitulation to Democrats marked a humiliating low point in a polarizing presidency and sparked an immediate backlash among some conservative allies, who cast him as a wimp.

Elected as a self-proclaimed master dealmaker and business wizard who would bend Washington to his will and stand firm on his campaign promises — chief among them the wall — Trump risks being exposed as ineffective.

“He was the prisoner of his own impulse and it turned into a catastrophe for him,” said David Axelrod, who was a White House adviser to President Barack Obama. “The House of Representatives has power and authority — and now a speaker who knows how to use it — so that has to become part of his calculation or he’ll get embarrassed again.”

The dog learns to heel.

Donald Trump, self-made liar and thief.

A solid piece of investigative journalism from The New York Times on the “self-made” empire of Donald Trump:

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

Just another reminder that Donald Trump is a liar and a thief.

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Business, Finance, Tromp

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“The result is a two-track presidency.”

The New York Times published an anonymous Op-Ed essay by a senior member of the Trump administration, something they’ve never done before:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Scathing.

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Politics, Tromp

“This is 40 years of deceit coming home to torment him.”

‘He’s Unraveling’: Why Cohen’s Betrayal Terrifies Trump:

Res, meanwhile, was the Trump Tower construction manager. A few years after that, working to refurbish the Plaza Hotel after Trump paid far too much for it, she up and quit—unwilling any longer to take Trump’s explosive moods and turbulent treatment. In her 2013 book, All Alone on the 68th Floor, she recounted an especially unnerving experience as she installed some cut-rate marble. “Donald took one look at this marble and started screaming at me,” she wrote. “He was shaking. ‘You did this,’ he said. ‘You bought this cheap shit and now you are making me look like a jerk. You’re no fucking good.’ I said, ‘Look, Donald, this is the marble you approved. It was cheap, you wanted to save money. Don’t blame me.’ It was like pouring gasoline on a fire. His face was red. His mouth was all twisted and I thought to myself, if he hits you, just take a fall. I did think he was going to hit me.” Res has been a steady Trump critic since he announced his presidential candidacy. Trump once responded by calling her “nasty.”

It’s seems Trump has been running a loyalty Ponzi scheme his whole life, burning bridges and firing people and then moving on and finding new people who are ‘the best’.

He’s reaching the end of the line of people willing to be loyal to him.

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Tromp

Russia’s got the clearance to run the interference.

12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation:

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The announcement came just a few days before President Trump is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland.

The 11-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state boards of elections and other government agencies.

The indictment is part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’s become increasingly obvious over the last 2 years Russians have been interfering in American politics for quite some time. The Mueller investigation is just further confirmation.

A good trick I learned when listening to Trump is just think of the opposite of what he says to know what’s really going on. If he says the Mueller investigation is a witch hunt, it’s not a witch hunt. If he says Putin is a strong leader, he’s really a scumbag. If he claims he didn’t criticize British prime minister Theresa May yesterday, he did criticize her.

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Politics, Tromp

“the white freedom of Calabasas”

From a powerful piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kayne West:

What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.

This essay is a response to West’s recent tweets endorsing of Trump, calling Trump ‘his brother.’

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Tromp

Trump’s Name as a Racial Jeer

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer:

According to several scholars of American history, the invocation of a president’s name as a jaw-jutting declaration of exclusion, rather than inclusion, appears to be unprecedented. “If you’re hunting for historical analogies, I think you’re in virgin territory,” said Jon Meacham, the author of several books about presidents, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson.

Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, agrees. “If you’re looking at modern presidents, fill in the blank and see if it can be used in the same way,” he said. “You will see it has not. Hoover? Or Eisenhower? Can you imagine a situation like that?”

What horrible piece of shit we have as president.

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Tromp

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“Trump is the darkness.”

Josh Marshall on how Trump destroys everything he touches:

I puzzled over this for some time. Eventually I sensed that Trump wasn’t inducing people’s self-destruction so much as he was acting like a divining rod, revealing rot that existed already but was not apparent. It may seem like an odd comparison. But I’m reminded of the effect in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series where the cursed pirates appear to be flesh and blood bodies. But the moonlight reveals them as desiccated skeletons, animated but undead. The rot was there but hidden. Trump is the moonlight. Perhaps better to say, to invert our metaphor, Trump is the darkness.

I would add to this that Trump increases the rot. He brings out the worst in people.

Because he’s constantly lying, he’s creating conflicts were none existed.

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Politics, Tromp

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Pretty Hate Machine

Mike Monteiro’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end (via kottke):

Twitter would have you believe that it’s a beacon of free speech. Biz Stone would have you believe that inaction is principle. I would ask you to consider the voices that have been silenced. The voices that have disappeared from Twitter because of the hatred and the abuse. Those voices aren’t free. Those voices have been caged. Twitter has become an engine for further marginalizing the marginalized. A pretty hate machine.

Biz Stone would also believe that Twitter is being objective in its principled stance. To which I’d ask how objective it is that it constantly moves the goal posts of permissibility for its cash cow of hate. Trump’s tweets are the methane that powers the pretty hate machine. But they’re also the fuel for the bomb Twitter doesn’t yet, even now, realize it is sitting on. There’s a hell of a difference between giving Robert Pattinson dating advice and threatening a nuclear power with war.

Monteiro is right. Twitter has become “a cesspool of hate”. People I follow who historically only tweeted about art, culture, or design now react to Trump on a daily basis. Multiply that by the 240 accounts I follow and that becomes a shitload of negativity. Not a great way to start your day.

Suspending Trump’s Twitter account is not a First Amendment violation. Twitter is a company with clearly stated policies you must abide to use their service. If you do not abide by those policies then you don’t get to use the service.

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Community, Tromp

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C.E.O.s Disbanding

Trump’s Council of C.E.O.s in Disarray Following Remarks on Protest:

President Trump’s main council of top corporate leaders appeared on the verge of disbanding on Wednesday, said people briefed on the matter, following controversial remarks from Mr. Trump on Tuesday when he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.

Late Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group and one of Mr. Trump’s closest confidants in the business community, organized a conference call for members of the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum.

On the call, the chief executives of some of the largest companies in the country were debating how to proceed.

One option under serious consideration was disbanding the forum altogether.

If the forum does survive, several C.E.O.s were expected to resign from it.

This how you hit Trump where it hurts, with business.

Trump prides himself on his business acumen and all the connections and “friends” he has in the business world, so there’s nothing more insulting to Trump than to have his business council collapse.

It may not affect his pocket book, but it’s a loss and it’s symbolic.

Update: Trump is throwing in the towel with his “Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum,” as a winner does.

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Business, Tromp

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