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.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: The Kleptocracy

It used to be third-world shiteholes and banana republics where the ruling autocrat was brought low by the thieving ways of his inept relatives. Thanks, GOP, for making this comic trope AMERICAN!

Within the warped internal logic of the Trump presidency — where it is taken as a given by essentially everybody around him that the president is impulsive and grotesquely ignorant — his shocking actions and statements have a more understandable basis.

A week ago, it appeared that the probe would center around the activities of a handful of figures who are now marginal within Trumpworld: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and deposed National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. That has changed. The Washington Post reported Friday that investigators have identified a current White House official as a person of interest in its financial probe. (The story hinted, and New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali confirmed, that the person is Jared Kushner.)…

All this implies that the probe is scrutinizing the financial aspects of Trump’s business, which is a family operation. While some Trump advisers opposed the firing of Comey, Kushner reportedly advocated for it. That fact may seem strange if one thinks of Kushner as a voice of pragmatism. But it is easier to understand if you think of him as a figure sitting near the heart of a financial scandal, who harbors a strong interest in suppressing the investigation…
 
The official White House line maintains — or has tried to maintain — that the administration welcomes special prosecutor Robert Mueller and sees his work as a chance to dispel the cloud of suspicion needlessly hanging over the presidency. Their actions suggest a very different calculation. From Trump’s campaign to ensure the loyalty of his FBI director, to his subsequent firing of him, to his tweet-rages against the special prosecutor as an unfair witch hunt — all of this indicates high levels of panic in the Oval Office. Trump has almost certainly engaged in obstruction of justice for the simple reason that there is a lot of justice to obstruct.

Of course, like every other aging crime family capo, the old man can’t resist going back to his known accomplices…



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



Donald of Arabia: A Photo Album


 

(Nice cup of tea, but no accompanying large bowl of individually-wrapped pharmaceuticals)


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(Edgar suit, Men in Black)

Conjure your own images:



Open Thread: Bring on the Very, Very Tiny Violins

You knew what he was when you signed up to work for him!

From the Washington Post, in its role as the paper for a company town whose monopoly industry is politics — “The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump“:

Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started contacting consultants, shopping their résumés. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like, according to two people close to the staffer…

…[Trump’s] team is growing increasingly weary. Privately they say that the problem is not an incompetent communications shop, as the president sometimes gripes, or an ineffectual chief of staff, as friends and outside operatives repeatedly warn, but the man in the Oval Office, whose preferred management style is one of competing factions and organized chaos…

One Republican operative in frequent contact with White House officials described them as “going through the stages of grief.” Another said some aides have “moved to angry,” frustrated with a president who demands absolute loyalty but in recent days has publicly tarnished the credibility of his team by sending them out with one message — only to personally undercut it later with a contradictory tweet or public comment.

And a third said that others are sticking around purely for self-interest, hoping to juice their future earning potential. This Republican added that any savvy White House staffer should be keeping a diary. “The real question is, how long do you put up with it?” this person said. “Every one of those people could get a better-paying job and work less hours.”…

Are there no Koch-fueled conservative ‘think’ tanks? Are there no Mercer-paid ‘study groups’?
 
Take the word of Rick Wilson, “Republican political consultant for almost 30 years” — “If you work for Trump, it’s time to quit“:

Whether you’re a 20-something fresh off the campaign trail, or a seasoned Washington insider serving in the Cabinet, by now you’re painfully aware that you’re not making America great again; you’re barely making it to the end of the daily news cycle before your verbally incontinent boss, the putative leader of the free world, once again steers the proverbial car into a ditch. On every front, you’re faced with legal, political and moral hazards. The president’s job, and yours, is a lot harder than it looked, and you know the problem originates in the Oval Office…

You learned quickly that your job isn’t actually to serve the nation, manage your agency or fulfill the role you ostensibly play according to the White House org chart. In reality, you spend most of your time fluffing Trump’s ego. Either that or you’re making excuses for not being a more aggressive suck-up. If you’ve been ordained to appear on television as an administration surrogate, you know by now that your task isn’t to advocate for your agency or issue, but to lavish the president with praise…

You already know you can’t save the president because he doesn’t want to be saved. You already know there’s not another, better version of Trump getting ready to show up. You’re smart. You’re loyal. You’re sniffing the wind like a gazelle, nose filled with the scents of predators. You don’t want to break from the pack too soon, but there’s greater risk in waiting too long…



Early Morning Open Thread: Oh, Now They Find Some “Caution”