Un-be-fucking-lievable…

Jesus Fucking Christ:

I don’t think Northam’s political career can or should survive this, do you? Loomis of LGM says the lieutenant governor is more progressive than Northam. Looks like Virginians will find out.

Seriously, WTF? This is fucking shameful, and it was shameful in 1984 too.



“Sir, this is an Arby’s drive-thru…”

Guess what, guys? The caravans are back, at least in Twitler’s defective brain and Twitter feed:

More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!

So, if WALL is “Being Built,” why did shit-fer-brains shut the government down for a month-plus, threaten to do so again in 16 days and yap endlessly about declaring a national emergency to build WALL?

It’s a moronitude, wrapped in a dumbassery, inside an imbecility.

Trump has tweeted more than a dozen times so far this morning because he doesn’t do his job. I wonder who’s running the government? My guess is Jared since whomever it is sucks at his or her job, like a callow, unqualified nepotism hire inevitably would.

Anyhoo, each and every tweet is as idiotic as the sample above. No cherry-picking here!

Open thread!



Lashed to the Mast

W. Bush-era torture apologist Marc Thiessen extruded an especially stinky turd of a column in The Post. Thiessen has never written anything worth reading, but I call your attention to the log he laid in the opinion page litter box yesterday because it’s an especially gross example of how, when “conservatives” buy into Trumpism, they drop all pretense to every principle they previously claimed guided their lives and become walking, talking manifestations of Cleek’s Law.

This column purports to advise Trump on how he can pull a “win” from the shutdown loser-town wreckage that is smoking all around him. Idiotically, Thiessen’s genius plan involves Trump calling Pelosi’s bluff, as if Trump didn’t just try that last week and get burned to the fucking ground for his trouble. But I digress — an excerpt:

[Trump] should go back to the experts at the Department of Homeland Security and ask them: If Democrats refuse to give you the addition physical barriers you have said are essential to secure the border, what other funding would you need to make up for it?… The total, he should tell the border professionals, can be far more than $5.7 billion. Just tell me what you need — the sky’s the limit.

Then, the president should then use his State of the Union address to demand that congressional Democrats fund every single penny. He should announce that if Democrats won’t pay for a wall, this is what border agents and homeland security professionals say they need immediately to secure the border without one. Unfortunately, it is more expensive to secure the border with people and technology than it is with steel slats.

Trump should make clear these demands are nonnegotiable. He will not make any concessions for them. No protections for “dreamers” or extension of the Temporary Protected Status program. Those things are still on the table, but only in exchange for a physical barrier.

If Democrats refuse, Trump will have regained the moral high ground… But Democrats will not refuse, because they have no grounds to do so. They have repeatedly claimed over the past few weeks to support such measures. Well, now it is time to start funding them.

If Democrats agree, then Trump can legitimately claim to have done more than any president in history to secure the southern border. He will have essentially built a virtual wall. And he can do all this without giving up on a physical barrier. Trump can make clear that he will make wall funding a condition of every policy initiative that Democrats put forward in the coming two years. He can declare that he is more than willing to cut a bipartisan deal to reform our broken immigration system — as long as that deal includes a wall.

To recap, if this plan works the way Thiessen thinks it will, Trump will extract untold billions of taxpayer funds for a virtual wall that makes a physical barrier obsolete, then turn around and demand a physical wall too. Why build not one but two walls? So Thiessen’s impotent orange idol can chalk up a “win.”

As we all know, Republican claims about being the party of fiscal responsibility have been garbage for decades. From the sainted Reagan to the present day, Republicans run up huge deficits and bugger the economy in myriad ways, and then Democrats have to come in and clean up the mess.

That said, Republicans used to be disciplined enough to try to disguise their profligacy, using scams like “trickle down” as a pretext for shoveling cash into their donors’ pockets, or lying that a ruinous, pointless war will “pay for itself.”

But here, Thiessen just straight-up urges Trump to spend many billions of dollars on a “virtual wall” and then insist on a multi-billion dollar spite wall that the first project rendered unnecessary. He thinks the American people — the majority of whom don’t want one wall, let alone a belt-and-suspenders boondoggle — won’t mind the expense, point out that Mexico was supposed to pay for it, or object to a vanity wall demand jamming every other piece of legislation for the next two years. Only a cultist could be so deluded.

Because our Beltway press is a dysfunctional garbage heap that privileges phony notions of “balance” over accuracy, Thiessen and fellow neocon trashmongers like Hugh Hewitt retained their prominent perches after cheerleading W. Bush’s epic fuckup in Iraq. Maybe we can make Trump cultism a bridge too far, or at least try to do so.

When Trump is finally exposed as the utter fraud he is in terms that even balance junkies can’t deny — and I think that will happen — let us resolve to use our power as consumers to unseat his worst media enablers, people like Thiessen, Hewitt, etc. — pundits in mainstream outlets who’ve lashed themselves to the mast of the SS Trumptanic.

Let them be reduced to peddling their rancid hot takes at InfoWars or Breitbart, not in the pages of The Washington Post. Or better yet, let them enjoy a steaming mug of STFU.



The Donald Trump Worldwide Threat Assessment

This morning’s Presidential tweet storm confirmed a trend I’ve discerned recently.

I’ve had a running (good-natured) argument with other nuke nerds on Twitter about the President’s delusions with regard to North Korea. His tweets and much of the administration action and speech, particularly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s, seem to revolve around an assumption that Kim Jong Un is ready to give up his nuclear weapons.

However, every official statement from North Korea says otherwise. Kim sees those nuclear weapons as the foundation of his country’s security from meddling by outside powers. North Korea has long used the word “denuclearization” to indicate a state in which they no longer fear attack and thus can give up their nuclear arsenal.

This disjunction is dangerous. It appears that Kim is playing Donald Trump, and Trump is responding. It may mean that Trump will give up alliances with South Korea and Japan for meaningless actions from North Korea. It may mean that at some point he will recognize the disjunction and feel that he has been betrayed by Kim and will allow John Bolton his desire for a war.

The nuke-nerd argument is over when and how Trump’s betrayal or disillusionment will occur. I have argued that he can go for a very long time indeed. That is based on his ability to hold beliefs contrary to reality for some long time. Now we see that that characteristic extends across many policy areas.

The commonality is Trump’s gut. He is smarter than anyone; he has the best brain. He is not bound by mere facts or the intelligence agencies. And he will hold that belief for a very long time.

The central principle is that Trump is the best president ever and that everyone bows to his will. He is also the best negotiator ever. Barack Obama was wrong in everything he did as president. When you look at Trump’s tweets and actions through this frame, they are quite consistent.

Syria

Trump this morning: When I became President, ISIS was out of control in Syria & running rampant. Since then tremendous progress made, especially over last 5 weeks. Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago.

Reality: With the United States withdrawing, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is strengthening with Russia’s and Iran’s help.

Afghanistan

Trump this morning: Negotiating are proceeding well in Afghanistan after 18 years of fighting.. ….Fighting continues but the people of Afghanistan want peace in this never ending war. We will soon see if talks will be successful?

Reality: Ending the war in Afghanistan is a good thing. Reports I see are that the United States is giving up a lot.

North Korea

Trump this morning: North Korea relationship is best it has ever been with U.S. No testing, getting remains, hostages returned. Decent chance of Denuclearization……Time will tell what will happen with North Korea, but at the end of the previous administration, relationship was horrendous and very bad things were about to happen. Now a whole different story. I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un shortly. Progress being made-big difference!

Intelligence assessment (from the DNI’s statement): North Korea has not conducted any nuclearcapable missile or nuclear tests in more than a year, it has dismantled some of its nuclear infrastructure, and Kim Jong Un continues to demonstrate openness to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.…we currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.

Southern US Border

Trump this morning: If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!

The southern US border is not mentioned in the intelligence assessment as any kind of danger.

Iran

Trump this morning: The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but……..a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!

Intelligence assessment:

The Iranian regime will continue pursuing regional ambitions and improved military capabilities, even while its own economy is weakening by the day.

Domestically, regime hardliners will be more emboldened to challenge rival centrists and we expect more unrest in Iran in the months ahead.

Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism as the recent European arrests of Iranian operatives plotting attacks in Europe demonstrate.

We expect Iran will continue supporting the Huthis in Yemen and Shia militants in Iraq, while developing indigenous military capabilities that threaten US forces and allies in the region.

Iran maintains the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.

And while we do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device, Iranian officials have publicly threatened to push the boundaries of JCPOA restrictions if Iran does not gain the tangible financial benefits it expected from the deal.

Its efforts to consolidate its influence in Syria and arm Hizballah have prompted Israeli airstrikes; these actions underscore our concerns about the long-term trajectory of Iranian influence in the region and the risk of conflict escalation.

 

Trump did not mention Russia and China, but the threat assessment lists them as the top threats. The threat assessment also mentions global warming, which Trump scoffs at, as a threat. The full threat assessment is here.

What Trump has said today, he has said many times before. He does not believe the intelligence community when it disagrees with his glorification. In the areas in which he is intervening, the progress is great and good. He probably could sustain this kind of fantasy in his business life, because he had toadies whose job it was to make things go well. Still, he had six bankruptcies.

The presidency is open to public eyes. Other agencies of the government require factual input for analysis. We can all see that Trump’s gut is diverging from reality. That is a recipe for several types of disaster, but, for now, Trump seems to be robustly resistant to reality.



Intel chiefs at odds with boss

Trump appointees Christopher Wray (FBI), Gina Haspel (CIA) and Daniel Coats (National Intelligence) briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee on worldwide threats today. Their boss claims warm personal relationships with the leaders of Russia, China and North Korea and has identified Iran as a primary threat. Trump’s appointees see things…differently (The Post):

Russia and China are competing more intensely with the United States in “a race for technological and military superiority,” the nation’s top intelligence official told a Senate panel Tuesday during a hearing that highlighted the distance between the U.S. intelligence community and President Trump on several critical fronts…

Coats, speaking on behalf of the assembled officials, said that North Korea was “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival…”

Conversely, the intelligence officials assessed that the government of Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon, despite the Trump administration’s persistent claims that the country has been violating the terms of an international agreement forged during the Obama administration…

Officials also warned, as they did last year, about Russia’s intention to interfere with the U.S. political system via “information warfare” waged largely on social media, which stokes social and political tensions to divide Americans. Other countries are likely to employ those tactics, as well, Coats said…

Trump continues to equivocate on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election on his behalf, contradicting the unanimous assessment of all the top intelligence officials currently serving.

So, Trump appointed these people, but he doesn’t take their assessments seriously, at least not in a policy formation sense. He relies instead on Fox News programming and perhaps the counsel of kooks like Ginni Thomas. That’s alarming.