Trump signs Yad Veshem’s yearbook… (Open Thread)

Trump visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial today. National embarrassment ensued:

Here are larger versions of the photos in case you can’t make out the notes in the tweet:

The Trump administration is up to its raccoon-like eyeballs in scandal, corruption and legislative vandalism, and that’s where the focus rightly belongs. But the daily national pantsings are unbearable in their own right. It may become necessary to ration face-palms.

PSA: DeFOXifying Your Elders (Open Thread)

I’ve mentioned before that my grandma morphed from a sweet (if conservative) little old church lady into a frothing rage-bot due to toxic exposure to Fox News…and how we used subterfuge and deception to combat that malign influence. Below the fold, the cartoon version of the story! Open thread! Read more

Human Auto-Tune’s Vapid Pitch

Low hanging synergy-fruit Ivanka Trump brought her women’s empowerment corporate cliché roadshow and shakedown fest to Saudi Arabia along with her embarrassing father. Unsurprisingly, real-life activists who are resisting the nightmarish autocracy in Saudi Arabia weren’t buying what the auto-tuned Trump was selling. Via WaPo:

“All the women that Ivanka Trump met have a guardian,” said Aziza al-Yousef, a 58-year-old activist here who has campaigned to abolish the guardianship rules [i.e., necessity of obtaining male permission for work, education, travel, healthcare, etc.]. A retired professor of computer science at King Saud University, she was recently rebuffed when she tried to deliver a 14,700-signature petition on eliminating the guardian system to the government.

“All these achievements depend on whether you’re lucky to be born in a family where your guardian will be understanding, will help you,” Yousef said. “If Ivanka is interested in women empowerment and human rights, she should see activists, and not just officials.”

“It’s not about Ivanka speaking at the meeting,” said activist Loujain al-Hathloul, “but is it actually useful for these women from Saudi Arabia to speak as well? Is their contribution in such events helpful to us Saudi women in general, not princesses or business owners or rich women? Does it actually help us? I doubt it.”

I hear you, Saudi sisters. The ambulatory teeth whitening strip’s* patter about women’s empowerment rings a bit hollow in the States too. Particularly when she holds herself up as an example of how pluck and determination drive entrepreneurial success.

Pffft. It would be a lot easier to watch these entitled pricks monetize the U.S. government if they didn’t expect us to pretend that they’re doing us all a favor.

PS: Help the sweet old lost dog pictured below find his way home — details here!

And open thread!

* H/T: Sam Bee

History Turns on Small Things

There were too many factors that contributed to the outcome of the 2016 election to identify just one overriding cause, IMO. You can count them off like stone weights of varying sizes that, combined, sunk the SS Clinton: sexism, racism, Russian interference, Comey’s overweening self-regard, the “change” election dynamic, a click-driven-Clinton-hating Beltway media, celebrity culture, etc.

But a case can be made that one key pivot-point for the 2016 election was the oft-photographed contents of Anthony Weiner’s underpants. Via WaPo, Weiner’s latest round of legal trouble, which unearthed irrelevant emails that nonetheless upended the election, will be resolved today:

Former congressman Anthony Weiner is expected to appear in federal court Friday to plead guilty in a sexting case, according to a representative with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan said Weiner will appear at 11 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska but declined to release further information. The New York Times, citing an unnamed source, reported that as part of a plea agreement, Weiner plans to plead guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor. He has reportedly turned himself over to federal agents, according to the Times.

The contemptible shit-stain will probably get probation and community service for sending dick pics to a 15-year-old girl. I guess that’s roughly commensurate with the magnitude of the crime.

But even if the judge throws the book at him and sentences him to 10 years, it would feel inadequate as payback for what Weiner set in motion. The orange fart cloud that engulfs the planet did not emerge from Weiner’s shorts. Still, how ironic, nauseating and infuriating on every level that the nasty little pervert played a role at all.

History turns on small things. Sometimes very, very small things.

An Amusing Tidbit

Reading the latest NY Times piece on Comey and Trump I ran across this amusing little tibit in the caption of the accompanying picture:

James Comey is 6′ 8″.

What Will the Afternoon Bring? (Open Thread)

Published at The Washington Post this morning:

The White House’s absolutely brutal night, in 6 headlines

For any president, one of these headlines would be very bad news. For President Trump, they all came in a span of 12 hours:

“Justice Department to appoint special counsel to oversee probe of Russian meddling in 2016 election”
“House majority leader told colleagues last year: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump”
“Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed — after being paid as its agent”
“Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House”
“Israeli Source Seen as Key to Countering Islamic State Threat”
“Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians — sources”

It was a dizzying Wednesday night for political reporters and followers alike, with a bevy of new information being thrown at them on multiple fronts. And it continued into early Thursday morning with that last headline, from Reuters.

More scandals in 12 hours than Obama had in eight years!

Then came the Ailes news! And word that Twitler is holding a press conference at 3:45. This is shaping up to be a schadenfreudelicious day.

But I think the shitgibbon’s gonna harsh my mellow at this press conference by announcing Joe Lieberman as his pick for FBI director. That will have two terrible consequences, one long-term, the other short-term. Here they are in that order:

1) We’ll have to look at Lieberman’s stupid fucking face and hear his mewling voice for the next 10 goddamn years.

2) The appointment will be heralded as a sign that Trump is finally growing into the job. Serious people will speak of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, as if Lieberman wasn’t a sanctimonious prick who is never happier than when he’s shivving a Democrat while polishing McCain’s knob.

Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he is what we knew he was all along: an unhinged, impulsive, narcissistic bully whose only real talent is for swindling and self-promotion. But I think the vapid Beltway choir has one more chorus of the Pivot Polka left in them. We shall see.

Open thread!

Loose Tweets Cost Seats?

Because they’ve hitched their wagon to a deranged, ignorant, pussy-grabbing “star,” the Republicans and sundry government employees have been compelled to undertake quasi-serious investigations into false and frankly ridiculous claims and allegations. This began literally on Day One, when Trump pressured the US Parks Service to produce nonexistent photographic evidence to support his lies about the inauguration crowd size.

To stave off the narcissistic injury of his massive popular vote loss, Trump claimed that millions of illegal ballots were cast, sending Republican minions scurrying to bolster that absurd claim. Now a panel headed by a racist vote suppressor has been convened, at taxpayer expense, to support that lie and hatch additional racist voter suppression schemes as a bonus.

The “wire tapp” lie about President Obama similarly goaded Republicans into investigating an absurdity. Trump was just repeating fatuous nonsense from Breitbart and Fox News, but he is no longer some random ranty douchebag flinging spurious allegations like verbal turds from his perch on a golden toilet; the morons who yoked their fate to his were obligated to treat the accusation seriously.

But if Brian Beutler is correct in a New Republic piece published today, the tweet below has the most potential to bring the whole house of cards crashing down on Trump’s head:

Beutler notes that while versions of the truth provided by Trump and his White House flacks tend to vary wildly, they’ve been notably consistent in keeping mum about the tapes alluded to in the tweet. He speculates that’s because those within the administration capable of higher cognitive functioning know they’ve boxed themselves in but good:

For a White House as undisciplined as this one, the tape stonewalling scans less as a political position than a legal one. White House counsel Don McGahn, or someone else who understands the potential gravity of the situation, may well have told everyone to keep their mouths shut. If the White House were to acknowledge that there are no tapes, Trump would be caught in a very troubling fabrication to intimidate a witness, but if the White House confirms that tapes exist, Trump would face the legal obligation to preserve them and perhaps even surrender them to Congress.

We know to a near certainty that the White House will come under immense pressure to come clean. If Comey testifies publicly before the Senate, it is likely he will confirm under oath that Trump sought his personal loyalty, thus resolving the mystery of the White House tapes one way or another. Trump might dispute Comey’s claims, but if he doesn’t release any tapes to prove his case, it would suggest either that the tapes don’t exist or that they vindicate Comey. The question at the heart of the tape scandal would tighten from “Do the tapes exist?” to “Did the president lie about the existence of the tapes, or about their content?” That’s a question people working in the White House will feel much more pressure to address than the one they face today.

It strikes me as overwhelmingly likely that the truth lies in one of these two scenarios. But even if Trump has recordings of his conversations with Comey, and they vindicate Trump—as he coyly suggests in his tweet—it is small solace because he will have recorded himself using his power to fire Comey as leverage to discourage an FBI investigation. That is, he will have gathered evidence against himself, documenting his attempt to obstruct justice.

Check and mate? Not while the Party Before Country Party hopes it can wring tax cuts, court appointments and voter suppression measures (as a bulwark against its overwhelming unpopularity) out of Trump.

But you know the establishment GOP is longing to wrestle the Tang Tyrant down, wind duct tape around his big fat mouth and break his tiny tweeting thumbs. It’s difficult to see how they make this White House “tapes” bullshit go away, given the dilemma Beutler outlines above.

There are really no good ways to spin it. And even if the GOP manages to avoid an independent investigation for now, if the party is increasingly seen as carrying water for an addled liar leading an incompetent fail parade, that may cost them enough seats to lose control of congress. And then all bets are off.