Three Hundred Blind Mice

It’s hard to put into words just how brazen this is:

The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump.

At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration.

It appears to be a formalization of a practice that had already taken hold, as Democrats have complained that their oversight letters requesting information from agencies have gone unanswered since January, and the Trump administration has not yet explained the rationale.

The declaration amounts to a new level of partisanship in Washington, where the president and his administration already feels besieged by media reports and attacks from Democrats. The idea, Republicans said, is to choke off the Democratic congressional minorities from gaining new information that could be used to attack the president.

“You have Republicans leading the House, the Senate and the White House,” a White House official said. “I don’t think you’d have the Democrats responding to every minority member request if they were in the same position.”

Apparently fascists don’t like oversight. Who knew?

I’m so old I remember when the Republican mantra was “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to hide.”



Il Duce and Gabbana

That’s just fucking awesome:

Inside the West Wing, attempts to sway Trump’s thinking also continued apace. Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka, has worked to ensure her father heard pro-Paris voices over the last several months, and has continued to press for a decision short of a full withdrawal.

Ivanka Trump and her allies, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s chief economist Gary Cohn, have pressed Trump to alter the US commitments to the Paris agreement without fully pulling out of the accord.

So he pulled out anyway, but for a brief moment the fate of mankind partially hinged on the insane ravings of a parasitic madman with brief consultation from his purse designing trust fund daughter.

We’re so fucked.








Excellent (Depressing) Read: “The Seth Rich conspiracy shows how fake news still works”

Today, Dave Weigel published a story in the Washington Post on “The life and death of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory”:

When Seth Rich’s Gmail account received an alert this week from Mega.com, attempting to start a new account on a website created by the New Zealand-based Internet businessman and convicted hacker Kim Dotcom, his family knew that something was off.

Over seven frenzied days, Dotcom had become a leading purveyor of the theory that Rich, a staffer at the Democratic National Committee who was shot dead near his home in Northeast Washington last summer, had supplied DNC documents to WikiLeaks and was killed as a result. Multiple security analysts and an FBI investigation have tied the release to hackers with ties to Russia. D.C. police have said repeatedly that they think Rich was slain in a random robbery attempt…

All that began to unravel Tuesday afternoon when Fox News retracted a story that had claimed the same Rich-WikiLeaks connection, telling readers that the article was “not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.” Fox News did not respond to a request for comment, but Dotcom wrote on his website that he would not speak further about his allegations…

Of course, this being the internet (and certain people & networks happy to be ghouls for profit) the morbid feasting on other peoples’ tragedy will never actually end.

Here’s Weigel’s original story, on May 20: Read more



Light Night B-Movie Horrorshow Open Thread: The Dunghill Ouroborous

FOX News ginns up conspiracy fantasy, demands answers about said conspiracy from nonplussed bystanders, proclaims their baffled silence further proof of THE CONSPIRACY!!! The giant dungworm swallows its own tail, announces that it is delicious!…

At least when the whole flimsy construction falls to pieces, George Will’s ideological bastard son has all that freshly-stirred manure, ripe for his sweaty flinging…



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Fascist Cosplay

Among the many news stories not getting the attention they deserve, because the man in the Oval Office is so godsdamned busy committing new crimes and misdemeanors all the time… The white-supremacy protestors in New Orleans are serious, and potentially dangerous. Richard Spencer, on the other hand?

Backstory: Some schmuck named Corey Stewart, the underdog GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, decided to carve out some special-interest votes by appealing to “Southern heritage”, aka hardcore racist, Virginians. He’s become a freak-show media draw, and a persistent embarrassment to Virginians in general as well as those Republicans who still have some vestigial sense of shame.

Now, Richard Spencer, self-proclaimed inventor of the term ‘alt right’, wasn’t about to show up in a city where he might get himself punched, again. But Charlottesville, within convenient commuting distance of the Beltway?

“What brings us together is that we are white, we are a people, we will not be replaced,” Spencer said at an afternoon protest, the first of two rallies he led in the town where he once attended the University of Virginia.

At the second rally, dozens of torch-bearing protesters gathered in a city park Saturday evening and chanted “You will not replace us” and “Russia is our friend,” local television footage shows. Spencer was not shown addressing that gathering, but he tweeted a photo of himself standing in the crowd carrying what appeared to be a bamboo tiki torch.

The evening protest was short-lived. About 10 minutes in, an altercation between Spencer’s group and counterprotesters drew police to the scene, and the crowd quickly dispersed, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported…

Not soon enough to avoid the snarksters, though…


 



Time for a Media Reset

Someone sounds awfully worried about Sally Yates’ testimony before the senate today:

Yates will be questioned this afternoon about her warning to the Trump people regarding Flynn’s Russia problem. So Trump is preemptively intimidating her like a sub-literate mafia goon while simultaneously blaming the Obama administration for his own shitty personnel decisions.

President Obama FIRED Flynn before Trump picked him off the trash heap, wound him up and sent him on the “LOCK HER UP!” tour. And apparently Trump’s band of grifting idiots didn’t bother to vet the utterly compromised crackpot Flynn before sharing highly classified information with him as erstwhile NSA. But President “The Buck Stops Anywhere But Here” can’t be bothered with such details.

What are we to conclude from this, aside from the obvious, which is that the person who occupies the Oval Office is a lying, irresponsible, addled dolt — which we already knew? He’s worried about this Russia thing, which just won’t go away. Should he be?

I hope very much that the Russia investigation turns up a bombshell that removes Trump from office, but I have zero faith it will. Comey is a preening hack who seems convinced that hostility from Republicans and Democrats validates his “last honest man in D.C.” conceit. The GOP controls congress, and they’ve already sold out the country to a demented demagogue, so they’ll hamstring every investigation that could endanger their hold on power.

But 2018 hasn’t happened yet, and there’s still time to prevent the next round of interference. The Democrats have their role to play to stop a hostile foreign power from undermining democracy. The FBI and intelligence communities have theirs. And the media has a responsibility here too.

This might sound like a crazy suggestion, but maybe media outlets like the NYT, etc., could use recent developments abroad as well as upcoming events like the Yates testimony as an excuse to reset the way they approach the gigantic elephant in the room: a hostile foreign power’s ongoing meddling in U.S. elections. The way their colleagues in France dealt with a similar attempt by the same outfits to sleaze a fascist into power might be instructive.

Yates’ testimony is expected to directly contradict what Spicer and Priebus told the media about Team Trump’s handling of Flynn. Trump, knowing the testimony is likely to be damaging, implied that Yates committed a crime in the above tweet. We know Trump lied about President Obama’s “wire tapp” — the mainstream press was surprisingly forthright in saying so. I guess there’s a slim chance they’ll treat Trump’s slander of Yates in a similar manner.

I understand that ironic detachment and profitable horse race babbling are tough addictions to overcome, but it’s no exaggeration to say democracy is on the line. And while the Beltway hacks like to pretend they don’t want to be part of the story, the opposite is true: they glory in a scenario that allows them to be players rather than merely covering the game.

Well, here’s your chance, hacks. The Trump administration has lied to you and vilified you for months. You’ve refused to engage in serious introspection about your 2016 political coverage, but here’s a flashing red neon scandal that doesn’t even require that: a recognition that this meddling isn’t going away, and a chance to do something about it. Go be little Murrows. Your country needs you, God help us.



What this is really all about

Here’s a tweet from The Hill a couple of days ago and my response:

Here’s a link to the article. I think it’s spot on regarding Trump’s goal here, and I’m glad the writer used the word “brand,” even though it’s usually annoying to see life-or-death matters discussed in the language of an ad campaign.

It’s appropriate because Trump thinks in those terms. Fellow citizens, our country has empowered a malignant narcissist with a massive inferiority complex. And he is bent on unmaking President Obama’s legacy because it drives him insane(r) that Obama is more loved, accomplished and respected than Trump will ever be.

Does Trump have a fucking clue what’s in the AHCA? Nope. He might actually believe the lies he’s telling about the bill covering more people and costing less. More importantly, that’s not what matters to him. Probably the only thing that confers wood to the flaccid little appendage Trump’s wife dreads is the prospect of undoing something Obama achieved.

What’s worse, the Republicans have figured this out, so they’ll continue to manipulate Velveeta Voldemort to their nefarious ends with “wins,” like ripping away healthcare for millions, unleashing predatory bankers, getting rid of consumer protections, disenfranchising voters and persecuting women, gay people, black and brown people, Muslims, immigrants, etc.

They’ll stop at nothing, the GOP — both in Congress and their hate-filled base — including collusion with a hostile foreign power. So we have to stop them. We simply have no other choice. Suit up, Juicers. We’re in for the fight of our lives, and I don’t know about you, but if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.