More Rain for the Fail Parade

Via CNN:

Judge blocks part of Trump’s sanctuary cities executive order

Washington (CNN)A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities — the latest blow from the federal judiciary to President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda.

In a ruling delivered Thursday, Judge William H. Orrick sided with Santa Clara, the city of San San Francisco and other cities, who argued that a threat to take away federal funds from cities that do not cooperate with some federal immigration enforcement could be unconstitutional.

Velveeta Voldemort was reportedly so angry he transformed Bannon into a ferret, performed a Cruciatus Curse on Conway and made Spicer chug the Drink of Despair so he could check the status of a locket Horcrux.



Surely the Germans have a word for this…

I’ve long thought we’d be better off if the entire Beltway media contingent were summarily converted to Walmart greeters and their papers’ foreign correspondents recalled to replace them, then instructed to cover domestic politics as if still writing dispatches from a foreign capital.

That view was reinforced this morning by the spectacle of the German media politely covering Ivanka Trump like the presumptuous banana republic princess she is, something American infotainment personalities have repeatedly failed to do. Via Politico:

BERLIN — Ivanka Trump arrived in Berlin Tuesday morning armed with facts and figures to recite at what was expected to be a high-brow international summit to discuss women entrepreneurship, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But on her first international trip as an official representative of the United States, the first daughter was put on the spot about her father’s attitudes toward women, booed and hissed at by the crowd, and grilled by the moderator about what, exactly, her role is in President Donald Trump’s administration.

“You’re the first daughter of the United States, and you’re also an assistant to the president,” the moderator, WirtschaftsWoche editor-in-chief Miriam Meckel, said. “The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I’d like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”

“Certainly not the latter,” Ivanka Trump said. “I’m rather unfamiliar with this role as well…It has been a little under 100 days and it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey.”

We’re all unfamiliar with the role because it shouldn’t exist, not outside a tin-horn kleptocracy. But while Trump’s sole non-fluff response about her role was to explicitly deny that she represents her business, the only tangible results she’s achieved in “office” have accrued to her brand. She’s done exactly nothing to “moderate” her lunatic father or advance the vague objectives she supposedly champions, i.e., empowering women and families.

Ivanka Trump, who was deeply involved with her father’s campaign and has been instrumental in his administration in the first three months in office, positioned herself as someone who is still in humbling listening tour mode. “I’m striving to think about how best to empower women in the economy,” she said, at one point calling herself a feminist. “I have no doubt that coming out of this trip I’ll be more informed.”

But she was booed and hissed at by the majority-women audience at the conference when she lauded her father for supporting paid leave policies. “I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy,” she said, calling him “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.”

The Politico account overdramatizes the reaction (shocking, I know) — it was more of a collective groan at the absurdity of framing the grotesque orange pussy-grabber as an advocate rather than actual booing and hissing (at least on the audio I heard). When asked to respond to the audience reaction, where the elder Trump would have screeched “FAKE NEWS,” Ivanka replied with a more modulated, polysyllabic version of that non-response:

“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, that’s been perpetuated,” she said, drawing laughs from the audience.

Good for them, because laughter is an appropriate response to that ridiculous deflection. But Ivanka, still determined to pass her gross old fart-sack of a father off as pro-woman, barfed up the following treacle:

“As a daughter, I can speak on a very personal level. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and tenacity. That’s not an easy thing to do, he provided that for us. There was no difference [between Trump’s treatment of her and her brothers].

Well, Trump didn’t repeatedly imply that he’d like to shag the sons, so that’s at least one difference. But again, the overweening entitlement and self-regard. This isn’t a person who was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple. This is someone who was born in the Diamond Suite in the clubhouse and thinks she won the World Series.

Still, even people who should know better will go on assuming the shitgibbon’s chief enabler is a good influence and deserves credit for curbing the worst of her vile shit-stain of a father’s excesses. Jon Oliver dispatched this myth ably late last week:

The most telling tidbit was a quote from Ivanka’s book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” which flat-out telegraphs her current role in the Trump shit-show:

Perception is more important that reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.

As Oliver says, the apple didn’t fall very far from the orange. And the word I was looking for up top is “Scheiße,” which I imagine in thought-bubbles over the heads of the accomplished women who had to share a stage with this vapid dilettante. It’s just so embarrassing.



Babbling Idiot Babbles Unintelligibly

Velveeta Voldemort’s AP interview from last Friday is getting a lot of social media attention. (Transcript here via TPM.) I’m not sure why people find it noteworthy.

It’s a random, incoherent stew of hyper-aggressive posturing, bald-faced lies, butthurt braggadocio and demented ravings. In other words, it’s a typical Trump interview.

Folks have seized on the numerous passages marked “unintelligible,” and indeed it is strange that a grown-ass man who successfully masqueraded as an executive for several decades and managed to accrue tens of millions of votes is so profoundly inarticulate. But while remarkable in a historical sense, that’s hardly news now.

The thing I found most interesting (as a real-time psychological decompensation artifact) was the way Trump ended the interview, by lying about a new trick he claims to have learned over the past year:

TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.

AP: You just said you did.

TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?

AP: You just said —

TRUMP: Where? Where?

AP: Two minutes ago.

TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.

AP: Right.

TRUMP: In fact, they also did. I never thought I had the ability to not watch. Like, people think I watch (MSNBC’s) “Morning Joe.” I don’t watch “Morning Joe.” I never thought I had the ability to, and who used to treat me great by the way, when I played the game. I never thought I had the ability to not watch what is unpleasant, if it’s about me. Or pleasant. But when I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had. I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them.

AP: And do you feel like that’s, that’s because of the office that you now occupy —

TRUMP: No.

AP: That you’ve made that change?

TRUMP: I don’t know why it is, but I’ve developed that ability, and it’s happened over the last, over the last year.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: And I don’t watch things that I know are going to be unpleasant. CNN has covered me unfairly and incorrectly and I don’t watch them anymore. A lot of people don’t watch them anymore, they’re now in third place. But I’ve created something where people are watching … but I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch.

AP: Sure.

TRUMP: I just don’t. And that’s taken place over the last year. And you know what that is, that’s a great, it’s a great thing because you leave, you leave for work in the morning you know, you’re, you don’t watch this total negativity. I never thought I’d be able to do that and for me, it’s so easy to do now. Just don’t watch.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: Maybe it’s because I’m here. I don’t know.

So that’s how the awesome responsibilities of the office have changed Trump, by his own reckoning: He has developed the ability to refrain from watching media coverage about himself.

We know he’s lying — the AP reporter busted him in real time, and Trump famously live-tweets the shows he claims he doesn’t watch. But I think it’s fascinating that Trump felt this was important enough to put on the record when asked about how his decisions are affected by the 24/7 news cycle. If you wave away the squid-cloud of butthurt and hack through the tangle of self-congratulations, the bottom line is he’s retreated fully into the Fox bubble.

Bear in mind that as a candidate, Trump said he gets his information from “the shows,” and that doesn’t seem to have changed much now that he has access to perhaps the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering apparatuses in human history. Odd pronouncements that seem to be nods to Fox News hysteria-objects continue to appear in official policy documents emanating from the White House, such as the weird Trumpcare fixation on lottery winners on Medicaid.

“The shows” also seemed to have set off the accusations about President Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower and the subsequent flurry of possibly illegal and certainly unethical actions on the part of Rep. Nunes and White House staff in an attempt to provide cover for Trump’s paranoid Twitter ravings.

So, the key takeaway from this interview (for me, at least) is that, yep, your Fox-addled grandpa is in charge of the nuclear codes. Terrifying? Yes. But there’s nothing new to see here, folks.



They’re exactly who we thought they were

Remember how we were told that millions of Trump voters were driven to cast a ballot for a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue through sheer desperation? That they were fooled by Trump’s faux economic populism and only tolerated the racism, sexism and xenophobia reluctantly? That if only the Democrats would quit being neoliberal shills in the pocket of Big Bankster, these self-same Trump voters would flock to our banner? Yeah, not so much:

There’s no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945 –- yet 96 percent of those who supported him in November say they’d do it again today.

Mind you, this was AFTER Trump filled his cabinet and adviser ranks with Goldman Sachs alums, predatory distressed asset swindlers and to-the-manor-born plutocratic loons bent on redirecting the flow of federal dollars to fellow billionaires. This was AFTER Trump appointed that unreconstructed Confederate shitbird Sessions to roll back civil rights, harass immigrants and restart the War on Drugs. This was AFTER Trump colluded with Paul “Granny Starver” Ryan to remove access to healthcare coverage for 24 million people.

Trump is historically unpopular with the American people. His administration has been a colossal failure in terms of legislative achievements, despite controlling congress. And even he knows it, which is why he is angrily tweeting about the “ridiculous standard” he himself set and desperately casting about for “accomplishments” to add to his pathetic list in a quest for the ultimate participation trophy.

But the rump that elected Trump is getting exactly what they wanted: an administration that gives force of law to their bigotry and cultural resentments. Look for Trump to double down on that as inklings that “presidenting is hard” continue to penetrate his combover and sink into his thick skull.

Like a rat in a Skinner box, Trump will continue to press the lever marked “DEMAGOGUERY.” That’s the only mechanism that delivers the adulation-pellets he craves.

As for those of us who are dedicated to opposing the demagogue and rescuing the country from his cabal of amoral, scheming, self-interested scumbags, let that poll be a wake-up call: We need to turn out Democrats and get the millions who will be harmed and further impoverished by this maladministration off the sidelines. Chasing Trump voters is folly — they’re getting exactly what they want.



Headlines that make me want to gouge out my eyes with a melon baller

What do you get when you cross an inanity with a pathetic attempt to paper over gaping ineptitude and a statement of the blindingly fucking obvious? This headline from your paper of record:

I realize “Hella dangerous clown baffles allies and adversaries, squanders U.S. prestige, endangers planet” might sound a tad partisan or even alarmist, but goddamn it, sometimes it’s more important to tell the truth than maintain your ironic distance.

Open thread!



100 Days of Derpitude

Twitler doesn’t understand much, including how the government works. But he does know how news cycles function in the celebrity-driven media circus that swirls around him, so he knows he’s about to get hammered for failing to achieve anything of note in his first 100 days:

Aside from forwarding the Heritage Foundation’s choice for the stolen Supreme Court seat to be rubber-stamped by the thieves who stole it, Trump has achieved remarkably little, especially considering that he nominally controls both houses of Congress. Nobody knew presidentin’ was hard!

Maybe the fucker will become so enraged by the “first 100 days” coverage that, in a fog of confusion, he’ll file divorce papers on Ivanka, put Melania in charge of graft operations in China, hand the Middle East portfolio off to Spicer and drop a MOAB on Mar-a-Lago.

Open thread!



My Sojourn in Gilead

I read “The Handmaid’s Tale” decades ago, but as many have noted when discussing the upcoming release of the Hulu miniseries, its theme is more relevant than ever. That’s because a beady-eyed Christo-fascist gender role-absolutist who thinks women should be compelled to hold funerals for miscarriages is one bloated, erratic, 70-year-old junk food junkie’s heartbeat away from the presidency.

In Atwood’s dystopian novel, the Christo-fascist nation that replaces the United States is called the Republic of Gilead. Oddly enough, I have some experience dwelling in a place called Gilead.

My mom was a hippie in the 1970s and an indulgent single mom with a laissez faire parenting style. But she had no qualms about foisting my sister and me off on her fundamentalist Christian parents during the summer so she could enjoy some free time.

I don’t blame her, but the abrupt imposition of rules and structure gave my sister and me whiplash every year. Never more so than when our grandparents began shipping us off to a summer camp run by Bible-believing Christians. The name of the camp was, I shit you not, Camp Gilead.

It was a regular summer camp in some ways. There was canoeing and arts and crafts. There were wienie and marshmallow roasts around the campfire. But there was also religious indoctrination. Campers were compelled to attend chapel daily, and girls were required to wear long skirts to the services.

To comply with the rule, I pulled a skirt over my shorts and wore it to chapel with my customary t-shirt, high-top Converse sneakers and a hideous green-and-white striped hat I’d won at the fair by throwing darts at balloons. I also carried a small Swiss Army-style knife at all times in my front pocket — a kid could get away with that sort of thing back then.

During one particularly tedious sermon, I put my feet up on the hymnal rack in front of my hard, wooden pew, partially unlaced my sneakers and practiced tying nautical knots with my shoestrings. I soon got them in a terrible tangle that tied my feet together.

As I struggled to extricate myself, one of the church ladies began playing the hymn that signaled the service was coming to an end, and we were all compelled to rise for the closing prayer. I could stand up, but try as I might, I couldn’t undo the knot in my shoelaces or break them.

Hoping that the supervising adults’ eyes were closed during the prayer, I hiked my skirt up to my waist, dug the knife out of my shorts pocket, bent down and cut my shoelaces. It worked, and I was able to walk out of the chapel in the orderly recessional rather than hopping as if in a sack race.

Weird how reading a review of an upcoming miniseries on a Christo-fascist dystopia can recall childhood memories. Anyone else planning to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale?”