Sunday, October 20, 2019

Let the Bedbugs Rest: No G-7 at Doral

Late yesterday, after he had evidently gotten into his pjs, Twitterman completely caved on his self-dealing, wallet-inflating decision to use his own Florida resort for the next G-7 summit. Naturally, because he is Twitterman, he caved on Twitter:
“I thought I was doing something very good for our country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders .... But, as usual, the hostile media & Democrat partners went CRAZY!”
“Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020.”
Our first reaction was "way to go, crazed and irrational Democrats!" But the real source of Trump's ignominious retreat was members of his own party in Congress. Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the decision to use the Trump golf resort on Thursday. By Friday, WashPost reporters had interviewed more than 20 GOP lawmakers and congressional aides. "Many said they were repulsed by Trump’s decision to host an international summit at his own resort."

“You have to go out and try to defend [Trump]. Well, I don’t know if I can do that!” steamed a frustrated Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “I have no doubt that Doral is a really good place — I’ve been there, I know. But it is politically insensitive. They should have known what the kickback is going to be on this, that politically he’s doing it for his own benefit.”

Instead of "Crazed and Irrational Hostility" from Democrats, Trump might want to acknowledge "Sudden and Uncharacteristic Growing of Testicles by Fellow Republicans."

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Donald Trump Reminds Me of Dewey Butcher

So Turkey and the Kurds of northern Syria are just like "two kids in a lot." "You’ve got to let them fight," said Corporal Bonespurs. But it's been quite an uneven fight. The Turkish Land Forces -- with approximately 315,000 soldiers, and 3,778 tanks, 7,550 armored fighting vehicles, 1,013 self-propelled guns, 697 towed-artillery pieces, and 811 multiple-launch rocket systems -- vs. the YPG, Kurdish men and women with mere guerrilla arms and some US cast-offs.

In that speech Trump reminds me of Dewey Butcher, a man I knew when I was growing up in West Texas. He liked seeing his bully son physically dominate smaller kids. "Siccum!"

Was Trump one of those dads or is he just one of those presidents? While quite possibly a coward himself, he enjoys watching others fight, like a cock-fighter half-heartedly trying to break the habit. The basic cruelty of the proposition just doesn't resonate with him -- "just two kids." Trump is notoriously stingy with his fellow-feeling. Large swaths of the human race just don't register with him. But "do me a favor, though." Always me.

Despite his slightly bored estimation of the damage done in the Turkish Land Forces' invasion of Syria -- "a lot of sand they can play with" -- it's meant (last numbers I saw) displacement for 130,000 persons, with almost 100 confirmed deaths -- some of them summary executions. Untold suffering. To which the Trump doctrine declares, "Get over it!"

Vicious cruelty in a president -- an unwelcome innovation in the office -- has not existed before in our history. I've read a lot of history. Some presidents had a mean streak. Theodore Roosevelt leaps to mind. So did the other Roosevelt. Nixon, of course, and Johnson. All of 'em! They all could be ruthless, but each -- even Nixon -- balanced his ruthlessness with largeheartedness at times (though not always for the same people experiencing the short-end of his presidential stick).

Trump is something advanced a few degrees to the south. What are allies to him but pawns? Expendable -- to be sacrificed not for the greater good but for his personal convenience.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Get Ready, Eggheads! If Tim Moore Wants To Be Your Leader, He'll Get the Job

Butter wouldn't melt in NC House Speaker Tim Moore's mouth as he denies any interest in taking over as president of the University of North Carolina system. Most recently, the immediate past chair of the UNC system Board of Governors said that Moore's true ambitions are visible from outer space:

"In my opinion, I strongly feel like Tim is interested in the job," says Harry Smith, who was chair of the UNC board of governors until last month. "He's not told me that, but I have every reason to believe that Tim has a lot of interest in the job." []

Tim Moore's particular brand of self-dealing will mesh well with the unsuspecting intellectuals, geeks, book-stack denizens, and political lambs who populate the university system, no? UNC will have achieved its full measure of internal decay as a great educational system.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Body Count -- Megan Brennan

A Reoccuring Feature on Who's Jumping Off Luxury Liner Trump

Twitterman has long expressed disdain for Postmaster General Megan Brennan, a three-decade career Postal Service employee who began as a letter-carrier in Lancaster, Pa. She became Postmaster General in 2015, the first woman to lead the agency, and she was protected from presidential spite by the 11-member Board of Governors who actually vote on new leaders of the agency. Recently (this August), Trump appointees to the board achieved a majority, and yesterday Brennan announced her retirement.

Trump has been mad at Brennan because she won't double the rates charged Amazon for the delivery of packages. Brennan has responded that there is an existing contract which cannot be easily broken, and doubling the rates charged to Amazon would directly impact costs to the public.

Trump hates Amazon because of owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. That newspaper has arisen during the Trump presidency as his chief fact-checker, keeping a running count of the president's lies and misrepresentations (currently over 13,000 enumerated falsehoods since he took office).

So can we look forward to a new Postmaster General who will breach the Amazon contract and bring on higher shipping costs for both shippers and receivers? What could possibly go wrong with that?

A Roomful of Men With No Balls

And one woman willing to stand up to the very stable genius.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Profiles in Chickenshit*

Burgess Everett et al., on
Republicans unleashed perhaps their most aggressive outcry of the Trump era after he abandoned the U.S.’ Kurdish allies and ceded northeastern Syria to Turkey. But now GOP lawmakers are dialing back their direct criticism of the president....
... while they’re still dissatisfied with the situation, they’ve shifted gears away from confrontation with the president.
“I do appreciate what the administration has done against Turkey through executive action, but more to follow,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters Tuesday afternoon, after joining Trump for a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. “I appreciate the phone calls yesterday with Erdogan, I think [Trump] reached out in a good way to let Turkey know they needed a cease-fire right now.”
It's a good way, according now to Lindsey Graham.

*Indebted to Rick Wilson for the headline.

The Body Count -- Jon A. Sale

A Reoccuring Feature on Who's Jumping Off Luxury Liner Trump

Two weeks ago Rudy Guiliani hired high-powered attorney Jon Sale to head up his legal team. Sale insisted at the time that his new client "100 percent did not do anything illegal.” That odd locution was reported by Yesterday, Rudy Guiliani announced that he intended to defy all subpoenas -- "I ain't saying nuttin to nobody!" Jon Sale announced later on that same day that, by the way, he is no longer a part of Guiliani's legal team.

Did a few percentage points come off that claim of 100 percent innocence?

Sale himself came up with an implausible excuse, as relayed by BuzzFeed reporter Zoe Tillman: "He said he was brought on by Giuliani for the sole task of responding to Dems' subpoena, and that task is done so the representation is over. This was the plan from the start, he said. He doesn't know if Giuliani has other counsel."


High-priced white-collar-crime specialist is hired for just two weeks to respond "No!" for Guiliani to the impeachment inquiry?  I don't buy it.

Who is Jon A. Sale
He's a leading criminal defense attorney, specializing in white collar crime. He's "of counsel" at the large Nelson Mullins firm in Miami. He is touted on the Nelson Mullins website: 
"He is experienced in representing corporations and individuals in grand jury investigations and diverse and complex criminal litigation, including large scale document reviews and productions. He also is experienced in representing defendants at sentencing hearings. He has represented clients in almost every substantive area of concentration, including health care fraud, securities fraud, financial institution fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, money laundering, criminal anti-trust violations, tax fraud, mortgage fraud, and various fraudulent investment schemes."
He seems made in heaven for the Rudy Guiliani we've all come to know.

Sale is more widely recognized for his past well known role as an assistant special Watergate prosecutor under special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, so you might say he has experience with White House appendages that defy subpoenas.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lawsuit Is Filed To Stop New Valle Crucis Elementary School

Henri Deschamps, owner of the Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, has filed for an injunction to stop the Watauga County School Board from buying the Hodges property adjacent to his business for a new elementary school. The proposed new school was the subject of a large joint public hearing before the school board and the Watauga County Commission on September 3 and has generated both heated opposition and support in the community.

Deschamps is represented by Robert N. (Bob) Hunter of the Higgins Benjamin law firm in Greensboro and by "Four" Eggers (Stacy Eggers IV) of Boone. Bob Hunter was appointed to the NC Supreme Court by Gov. Pat McCrory but was defeated by Sam Ervin IV in the election of 2014.

The Watauga County Commission will meet this evening at 5:30 and will take public comment on a proposal to change the Valle Crucis Historic District Ordinance to allow the building of the school on the Hodges property.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Have No Fear -- Jared Is Here!

With son-in-law Kushner in charge of protecting Twitterman from impeachment, Trumpists can sleep soundly, no?

The little known role of Jared Kushner in the smooth-as-silk defense of his father-in-law gets revealed in the final paragraph of Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni's behind-the-scenes write-up, "Inside Trump's Botched Attempt to Hire Trey Gowdy":
"Mr. Kushner, who aides said had been spending many hours on impeachment as part of his broader portfolio of defending the president, has told some people he is running the inquiry response and played down that idea with others."
Sometimes Jared is just sooo modest!