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Kelly In, Mooch Out

[ Posted Monday, July 31st, 2017 – 16:28 PDT ]

General John Kelly, newly-sworn-in White House chief of staff, certainly has his work cut out for him. He began his tenure in office with an easy and obvious move -- immediately firing Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci from his job as White House communications director. This completed a week and a half of musical chairs at the White House: Mooch was hired and Sean Spicer resigned in protest, Reince Priebus was fired and Kelly was announced as his replacement, Kelly was sworn in and then showed Mooch the door -- which was reportedly announced by none other than Sean Spicer. The circle is now complete, in a bizarre Trumpian way. Mooch lasted only ten days before he was escorted out of the White House. Worse for Mooch, he can't even use the standard "spending more time with my family" excuse, since his wife reportedly just filed for divorce.

Is this the last spasm of chaos in the Donald Trump White House? Well, I wouldn't bet on that personally, but let's at least give Kelly the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he'll get everyone under control, using his experience in the military to establish what has so far been sorely lacking in the Trump White House: a clear chain of command. This might go a long way towards solving the incessant backbiting and infighting, which has been the motivation behind much of the rampant leaking. Then again, it might not. After all, even if Kelly manages to hammer the rest of the White House into shape, he'll still have a rather large loose cannon as his boss. But we'll get to that in a moment.

In today's press conference, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that everyone in the White House will now be reporting to Kelly. If this turns out to be true, this would mean that Kelly will take control of who goes into the Oval Office -- meaning even Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner would have to make their case to Kelly before they get to talk to Donald Trump. Will this actually work? Or will they complain to Trump privately and convince him that they deserve the same full and unfettered access they have so far enjoyed?

Others on the list of people who have been able to waltz into the Oval Office on their own initiative reportedly include Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. Keeping Conway at arm's length will be easier for Kelly to achieve, assumably, than doing the same with Bannon. Even if Kelly does fully restore the gatekeeping function of the chief of staff, this might mean he has accepted the full-time job of refereeing the squabbles between all the competing factions on Trump's team. Kelly could succeed at this Herculean task, but the real mark of his success might not be the amount of squabbling that happens, but whether the public hears about it so much in the press.

Up until now, the press and the various Trump factions have used each other in a rather bizarre dance. Kellyanne Conway even admitted months ago that she appeared on so much cable television because she knew that it was the easiest way to influence Trump himself. This was an extraordinary statement from someone who had the privilege of standing in the room with Trump to make her case. Making her pitch to Trump worked better when he saw it on television than making that same pitch in person, in other words. For Trump people who didn't have the luxury of appearing on television, leaking to the print media was almost as good, because any story that was juicy enough would inevitably be talked about on cable news.

This dynamic came to a head with the now-infamous Scaramucci interview with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker. Scaramucci, by his own later admission in a tweet, somehow assumed that his phone call to a journalist would be off the record, without making that a condition of the call in advance. This is assumably why he felt so free to use salty language. But even taking Mooch at face value here, if he had remembered to say "hey, this whole call is going to be off the record" at the very start of it, then what he was doing was leaking to the press while complaining about White House people leaking to the press. Just another two-step in the dance with the media that all Trump players have been doing for months, in other words.

This White House has set new records in the "broken sieve" department when it comes to leaks. The term "leaks" doesn't even begin to do it justice -- we should probably have been using "flood" for months, now. An absolute deluge of junior-high-level bickering among cliques, played out in as public a manner as possible. This is General Kelly's first challenge, really. Because if Kelly fails to effectively crack the whip, then the bickering will continue, much to the delight of cable news hosts and late-night comics alike. The first test of this will be how much of what happened today -- the drama surrounding how Mooch was fired -- leaks out to the media in roughly the next 48 hours. If the lid stays on the details of the story, then perhaps Kelly has a chance of turning things around. If the gory details are on tomorrow morning's news broadcasts, however, then Kelly will still obviously have a lot more work to do.

Of course, all the players in the media drama at the White House are taking their cues from the man at the top. Donald Trump is a master media manipulator, and it seems to be one of the two things he thoroughly enjoys about his job (the other being holding political rallies). The true test of Kelly's ability to get the Trump White House under control will be whether he can get Trump's tweets under control. Nobody else has been able to convince Trump to either stop the incessant whiny tweeting, or to even convince him to let someone else vet his tweets in advance for a minimum level of accuracy. Just this weekend, Trump showed an astonishing level of ignorance by complaining by tweet that the 60-vote filibuster rule was what torpedoed the healthcare bill in the Senate. Trump even ignorantly complained about "reconciliation," apparently not realizing (even at this late date) that reconciliation was actually what allowed the Senate to pass the bill with only 50 votes, not 60. If someone had vetted these tweets, Trump would have been spared an extra dose of ridicule, to put it mildly.

Will Kelly be able to wrest control of Trump's Twitter account away from him? That's a pretty tall order, for this particular president. Trump has so far turned a deaf ear to all complaints about his tweeting, because he loves doing it so much. He is right about one thing -- Trump does have the power to completely change the subject in the media with one or two tweets. He diverts attention away from other news like nobody else can, and he knows it (and enjoys it). The problem has been that half of the time, what he's diverting attention away from would have been good news for him (often he's stomped all over carefully-crafted policy announcements from his own communication staff). But so far, nobody has been able to convince him that while seeing his tweets get rehashed on cable is lots of fun for him, in the long run it is doing him damage with the public.

Trump could be on the brink of a further collapse of his job approval polling numbers. For the past two months or so, he's held pretty consistently around a 40 percent approval average -- the lowest such numbers ever recorded at this stage since presidential polling began. But the combination of the failure of "repeal and replace" and all the staff shakeups might have turned off some of his core supporters. While various polls report various numbers, individual polls are often slightly biased in one direction or another. Rasmussen is likely the most Republican-friendly poll around, and has consistently reported Trump's job approval anywhere from three to ten points above Trump's average from all polls. They even gave Trump a 50 percent approval rating in mid-June, when most other polls showed it closer to 40 percent. Today, though, Rasmussen is down to 39 percent approval -- the first time they've fallen below 40 percent. Trump's overall average at Real Clear Politics is currently 39.2 percent. This means Trump could be on the brink of a larger falloff (Rasmussen and Gallup report numbers every day, but other polls take longer to reflect changes in public attitude, meaning the polling for the next two weeks will be interesting). If Trump sinks further in the polling, then Kelly may have a stronger hand to play. He can tell Trump: "I am your last chance," and maybe Trump will actually listen.

Kelly certainly does have his work cut out for him. Ironically, after ten days of hirings and firings, the strongest thing Kelly has going for him is that Trump needs him more than Kelly needs the job. Kelly can walk away at any point and say "I tried, but I failed, so I resigned," and still keep his honor and his self-dignity intact. Trump should know by now that Kelly walking off the job (after a few weeks or a few months) would look incredibly bad for Trump, and weaken Trump even further (after all, who would be willing to take the job then?). Of course, it is somewhat ridiculous to be speculating about how soon Kelly will quit on the man's first day at his new job, but if the saga of The Mooch has told us anything, it is that in Trump's White House such things can happen in the blink of an eye. Perhaps the saddest thing about Mooch leaving so soon is that now we'll never know who was going to play him on next season's Saturday Night Live.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

117 Comments on “Kelly In, Mooch Out”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    It will be interesting to see if, by this fall, the media will be reporting explicitly on the declining quality of people willing to work for the president.

    That kind of reporting is self-reinforcing, as potential staffers realize they'll start their White House job with the media assuming they're second-rate losers, not bright rising stars.

    Longer term, the country seems to be experimenting with whether we can return to 19th century levels of irrelevance for the Executive Branch. Will there be a time next year when the press literally stops reporting or taping most of what the president and his staff say, because it is so consistently wrong and/or dishonest that to report it as "news" would be misleading to viewers and readers?

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    [189] Paula wrote:
    [187] TheStig: Kelly will be THE test. He probably thinks if anyone can make 45 act like an adult, he, Kelly, can. He will find out one way or the other.

    If Kelly resigns or gets fired I think it will mean a whole lot more than Mooch getting the boot. Everyone thought Mooch was an unpleasant sort of joke. Kelly ain't that. He's unpleasant but far from a joke.

    But things will look good for awhile before they go sour. 45 isn't gonna like being kept on a leash, though, and I don't think he'll tolerate it for long. Plus, his whole modus operandi is to deflect attention from things like the Russia probe by doing horrible and outrageous things and he will be bursting to lash out.

    My wild guess is 3 months, tops, and Kelly will be gone, one way or another.

    I had just posted this on Friday Talking Points -- copying here.

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    So a story just broke in the Washington Post that it was 45 who dictated Junior's supposed statement about "we talked about adoption" in the 8-person never-disclosed meeting. I wonder who leaked it?

    Not a crime, per se, but continues to emphasize 45 has something to hide.

    Lets's see if Kelly stems the tide of tweets as this story picks up steam.

  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    And, meanwhile, Jeff Flake has a we've-been-tunnel-visioned-obstructionist-pricks Op ed in Politico (excerpted from his forthcoming book.

    Well, well, well.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/31/my-party-is-in-denial-about-donald-trump-215442

  5. [5] 
    Paula wrote:

    [1] John M: Could be. If Kelly doesn't last I 45 will have a hell of a time getting anyone decent to do anything for him. He's already dealing with c-listers, kooks and grifters -- though the right is riddled with them -- but usually such people have a sense of self-preservation, if nothing else.

  6. [6] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    John M (1)-
    No.
    That is what the media does, report on the show instead of informing citizens about ways to fix the problems.
    The media has continued to report on both the President and the Democrats with their Better Deal nonsense as if it was real news even though both have been "so consistently wrong and/or dishonest".
    Just look over Cw's recent columns and see how many were about Trump or the Democratic establishment's talking points and how many were about Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, One Demand, etc. And the rest of the media is pretty much the same.

  7. [7] 
    neilm wrote:

    JMC [1]

    You've hit the nail on the head. This is becoming the administration you don't want on your resume.

    The "Mooch" needs careful watching. Does he think he made his move too soon, so he needs to revert to being 45's unapologetic attack dog on TV and wait out a Kelly exit, hoping to be rehabilitated at a time when there is nobody left apart from low level losers and then take over? Or will he fade into obscurity after a couple of weeks?

    I miss him already. He really was the true face of 45's regime.

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    45 really should lean the basic lesson of Wall St and D.C. - it isn't the crime that kills you, it is the cover up.

  9. [9] 
    neilm wrote:

    He's already dealing with c-listers, kooks and grifters -- though the right is riddled with them -- but usually such people have a sense of self-preservation, if nothing else.

    Some lights are so bright insects can't help themselves. The White House is the brightest light for the D.C. pond scum.

  10. [10] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    It would seem that firing somebody after just ten days would require an explanation.

    You are saying that if no explanation is given, it will prove Kelly is in charge... but since when is it acceptable to say nothing?

    There was either a serious failure in hiring/vetting, or incompetence of another kind at work, and I don't think anybody in the media should let them get away with remaining silent.
    These people officially work for us after all.

    In other news being ignored because of all this, a UAW vice president who has since passed away, his girlfriend, and two former execs at Fiat Chrysler were indicted in a $1.2 million bribery case.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/07/27/holi-j27.html

    FBI officials say it calls into question the legality of all the contracts the UAW VP was involved in negotiating which were likely corrupted in return for the cash (which were good for Fiat Chrysler and bad for workers), yet both the UAW leaders and car company execs (who knew about the bribery and let all involved retire without consequences) are claiming everything is just fine.

    Labor union leaders and corporate execs collaborated to screw workers and profited handsomely from reduced labor costs, and yet only those directly involved are being indicted despite clear evidence that those at the top were aware of it.

    The elites skate free, while the workers stuck with crappy contracts are screaming bloody murder.
    And apparently this is being considered justice in America.

    A

  11. [11] 
    altohone wrote:

    CW
    re 10

    Here's the NYT version of the story, who, along with the prosecutor seem to be buying the "We were both victims here" excuse from the UAW president and Fiat Chrysler's CEO despite their clear knowledge of and inaction about the crimes.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/business/ex-fiat-chrysler-executive-accused-of-siphoning-millions-with-union-leader.html

    Funny how it doesn't mention the FBI investigator questioning the validity of the labor contracts, or any comments from the affected workers, isn't it?

    A

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula-3

    Getting Trump to give up Twittering will be harder than getting him to give up KFC....and lot harder to enforce.

  13. [13] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Kelly's challenge is that Trump's management style is centered around yes men. An effective chief of staff needs to be a diplomatic but firm No Man. This concept will not compute in the Trump Brain.

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    [9] neilm: Good one!

    [13]TheStig: exactly.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Favor ta ask...

    Whenever ya'all talk about Kelly, can you please say GENERAL Kelly??

    For 2 reasons..

    1. He's earned it..

    2. More important, every time I read "Kelly" I think KellyAnne and that just screws everything up...

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    JMC,

    It will be interesting to see if, by this fall, the media will be reporting explicitly on the declining quality of people willing to work for the president.

    Trading in a Mooch for a General Kelly is "declining"???

    On what planet???

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    General Kelly was ready to resign over the firing of Director Comey.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    JMC,

    Will there be a time next year when the press literally stops reporting or taping most of what the president and his staff say, because it is so consistently wrong and/or dishonest that to report it as "news" would be misleading to viewers and readers?

    Or, more accurately, the news media itself is being wrong an dishonest by reporting "news" that would be misleading to viewers and readers.

    There are ample examples of the news media just making shit up to take down Trump..

    But, sssshhhhhhhhhh We're not allowed to talk about that here.... :D

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    General Kelly

    Thank you, Liz... :D

    was ready to resign over the firing of Director Comey.

    Everyone who knows General Kelly has said that he is completely devoted to President Trump...

    I am not being facetious when I say I would love to read any thing that claims the opposite..

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I don't know what General Kelly's relationship with President Trump is but, "devoted" strikes me as bit over the top.

    What upset the general about the Comey firing was the way it was handled by the president ... which is to say very poorly.

    I agree with the general about that and I think the general and the director are cut from a wholly different cloth than is President Trump.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't know what General Kelly's relationship with President Trump is but, "devoted" strikes me as bit over the top.

    And Kelly is a believer, too. People closer to the general than I am tell me he is unabashedly committed to President Trump's agenda, if not also President Trump the man. He has worked assiduously at the Department of Homeland Security to execute Mr. Trump's immigration and border objectives, and he believes in his heart that Mr. Trump has exactly the right vision for the country.
    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/07/28/ftp447/#comment-106565

    What upset the general about the Comey firing was the way it was handled by the president ... which is to say very poorly.

    If that is what General Kelly said then I would say I have to agree with him..

    But simply criticizing how it was handled is a far cry from actually resigning over it..

    As far as the firing itself, you once again have to realize that President Trump is not like other Presidents.. Other President's played the Politically Correct game and was very cognizant of the politics when someone is fired...

    President Trump just flat out comes out and says "YOU'RE FIRED"

    Frankly, getting away from all the politically correct felgercarb is refreshing..

    Patriotic Americans *LIKE* that about President Trump.. It's why we elected him President..

    I agree with the general about that and I think the general and the director are cut from a wholly different cloth than is President Trump.

    Probably.. But there are some similarities between President Trump and General Kelly.. Straight shooters who despise political correctness...

  22. [22] 
    neilm wrote:

    Perhaps the saddest thing about Mooch leaving so soon is that now we'll never know who was going to play him on next season's Saturday Night Live.

    Seemingly the script writers for SNL are damn near suicidal over the news "The Mooch" has gone. This would have been comedy genius.

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Seemingly the script writers for SNL are damn near suicidal over the news

    Com'on Neil!!! Don't tease me!!! :D

  24. [24] 
    neilm wrote:

    General Kelly is a difficult choice for 45 - he will come to realize that he has handed considerable power to somebody he is going to find very difficult to either fire or badmouth.

    There is a building level of disgust with 45 over the way he is treating people who deserve a lot more respect than they are getting.

    Here are 12 firing/"resignations" in order of "who cares":

    1. "The Mooch" - everybody thought this guy was a foul mouthed clown. No harm done, in fact this was probably a popular move.

    2. Michael Flynn - you can't be a traitor and expect to keep a position in even 45's White House. No tears here.

    3. Sean Spicer - Spicey had lost all respect from his peers and everybody else. Basically he became "Baghdad Bob". It just became sad in the end, and needed to happen.

    4. Reince Priebus - another previously respected player who became a muppet. He did himself more harm by waiting for "The Mooch" to basically force him out. He had become all but meaningless in his role.

    5. James Comey - Now we are getting into dangerous territory for 45. Comey had soiled his reputation during the election, however firing the FBI head requires more than a garbled and changing story.

    6. Sally Yates - again 45's need to ponce around in the public eye turned a "standard transition" into a clown show.

    7. Preet Bharara - this was an act of pure desperation to try to stop a vigorous investigation from continuing - ringing alarm bells around the country. I predict this will be seen as the first example of the behavior that brings 45 down.

    Upcoming or in play targets:

    1. Jeff Sessions - Sessions is regarded as an extremist for his views, however he is personally liked, so while his ejection may not cause many tears, if he is humiliated then there will be universal disgust at 45. Most of the anger will be on the Republican side who need to up their game - and if this brings them to their senses it will be about time.

    2. Rod Rosenstein - Rosenstein's firing would be seen as a pathetic act of vindictiveness - in other words, right up 45's alley. Unless Rosenstein is fired for refusing to fire Mueller then it will be a one day or maybe even one hour news item in the clown tornado that is 45's disastrous time in office.

    3. Robert Mueller - this is "Saturday Night Massacre" territory. I predict it will result in two responses:
    i/ replacement of the role with another diligent investigator
    ii/ legislation like the "Russian Sanctions" act that limits 45's power to fire the replacement

    Interesting times.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    1. Jeff Sessions - Sessions is regarded as an extremist for his views, however he is personally liked,

    Funny how Sessions was called every name in the book by Democrats, including practically every Weigantian, when he was nominated..

    NOW that Sessions is on President Trump's bad side, NOW Sessions is "extremely well liked"...

    I saids it befores and I'll says it agains..

    Such vigorous and blatant 180s simply CANNOT be good for ya'all's bonal structure.. :D

    I predict it will result in two responses:
    i/ replacement of the role with another diligent investigator
    ii/ legislation like the "Russian Sanctions" act that limits 45's power to fire the replacement

    Limiting the President's power in that regard would be ruled unconstitutional.. With prejudice...

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Most people confuse what is politically correct with a whole host of other things.

    Those who constantly harp on what is politically correct are usually the ones who are most clueless with what the phrase actually means or refers to.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Most people confuse what is politically correct with a whole host of other things.

    I completely agree..

    SOME people even believe that political correct is simply the best way of doing things.. :D

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    3. Robert Mueller - this is "Saturday Night Massacre" territory.

    Mueller has an undeniable conflict of interest..

    This is fact..

    If he doesn't do the right thing and resign, President Trump should fire him...

    It's that simple...

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    And if Mueller is fired then it's going to be that much harder to replace him..

    Better for the Left is Mueller voluntarily resigns..

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    5. James Comey - Now we are getting into dangerous territory for 45. Comey had soiled his reputation during the election, however firing the FBI head requires more than a garbled and changing story.

    Comey's reputation is soiled only in the minds of those who fail to understand what he did and why he did it.

    Context is everything.

    Director Comey is one of the few characters in this sordid saga who began with a solid reputation for integrity and professionalism which remains very much intact.

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm done with this thread.

    Btw, that is simply a small courtesy to inform that I won't be responding further.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump

    US futures jump as Wall Street kicks off August on a high note
    U.S. stocks were set to build on the sharp gains they posted last month.
    The three major indexes also notched multiple record highs last month as Wall Street reacted positively to strong quarterly reports from major companies.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/01/wall-street-set-to-open-higher-on-earnings-momentum.html

    Making America Great Again...

  33. [33] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The height and weight of D. Trump are closely guarded state secrets, but he's clearly not in good physical shape....and getting worse. He entered office with a double chin, which quickly became a triple and is now a fully fledged dewlap. His posture is stooped, walking seems a challenge. POTUS is BLOTUS and knows it. Poor self image can make you a mean SOB. Jabba T. Hut mean.

    I think USMC Kelly is very much the type of man that Trump pretends to be...and knows full well he isn't. Maybe Kelly can shame/cajole/convince Twitterpated Trump to put down the smartphone and engage in some manly 6 AM PT. As the recruiting posters used to say: Marines Build Men. It's worth a shot.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    The height and weight of D. Trump are closely guarded state secrets, but he's clearly not in good physical shape....and getting worse. He entered office with a double chin, which quickly became a triple and is now a fully fledged dewlap. His posture is stooped, walking seems a challenge. POTUS is BLOTUS and knows it. Poor self image can make you a mean SOB. Jabba T. Hut mean.

    If you can back up your claims, you are lying troll...

    Not my rules.... Just sayin'... :D

    I think USMC Kelly is very much the type of man that Trump pretends to be...and knows full well he isn't. Maybe Kelly can shame/cajole/convince Twitterpated Trump to put down the smartphone and engage in some manly 6 AM PT. As the recruiting posters used to say: Marines Build Men. It's worth a shot.

    And will you give credit when it happens??

    Of course not... Party zealotry is too strong...

  35. [35] 
    Paula wrote:

    POTUS is BLOTUS - yep!

  36. [36] 
    Paula wrote:

    With this new story in WaPo about 45 making up the cover story for junior -- couple that with 45's wandering over to yap with Putin at the G20? Was it the G20? Where 45 and Putin spoke for several minutes without "witnesses" (everyone saw them but supposedly no one heard them). Then in 45's next "interview" (reporters ask questions and babble is emitted in response) one answer that was reasonably concise was the claim 45 and his hero were discussing adoption. Or in I'm-in-trouble-land, its called trying to construct an alibi.

    As Josh Marshall noted on Twitter last night, 45 is the only person who knows everything. He knows what Mueller may uncover; Kushner, Junior's boy, boy and girl may know some of 45's crimes, and even participated in them but only 45 knows them all. And 45 has been doing everything he can get away with to obstruct. In NY they're going after the sex-trafficking in 45's modeling agency, and has been speaking with the woman who was going to come out right before the election to talk about being raped as a thirteen-year-old, but she didn't. She claims she's been threatened.

    Among the nasties in 45's past, there's something lurking that's particularly smelly.

  37. [37] 
    Paula wrote:

    have been

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Among the nasties in 45's past, there's something lurking that's particularly smelly.

    .... You HOPE......

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's the irony here..

    Ya'all are hoping that Mueller does to President Trump what Ken Starr did to Clinton..

    But ya'all yelled bloody murder about Ken Starr doing it to Clinton.. Yet ya'all STILL want Mueller to do the EXACT same thing to President Trump..

    How is this NOT pure unadulterated and unequivocal hypocrisy???

    "Anyone??? Anyone?? Buehler???"

  40. [40] 
    Paula wrote:

    This is good: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/trump-is-proving-that-obamas-legacy-will-survive.html

    Loss aversion also helps explain why many of Obama’s supporters undervalued the accomplishments of his presidency. The left shrugged at the passage of some of the most sweeping domestic reforms in decades. Obamacare? “A very small number of people are going to get any insurance at all, until 2014, if the bill works,” sniffed Howard Dean. “This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate.” The Paris climate accord? Meh, said Bernie Sanders: “We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that.”

    Trump’s efforts to reverse these achievements has produced a very different assessment among supporters of these measures. Dean has called Trump’s health-care rollback “a disaster.” Sanders has called his withdrawal from the Paris agreement “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace.” It is logically impossible for the repeal of an insignificant reform to be catastrophic. If it is a big deal to uninsure 24 million Americans and cut taxes on the rich, then it must be a big deal to insure 24 million and raise taxes on the rich. Yet the psychology of loss aversion is pervasive in American political thinking, especially on the left. The threat posed by Trump has allowed progressives to realistically assess the scale of Obama’s achievements for the first time.

  41. [41] 
    neilm wrote:

    1. Jeff Sessions - Sessions is regarded as an extremist for his views, however he is personally liked,

    Funny how Sessions was called every name in the book by Democrats, including practically every Weigantian, when he was nominated..

    NOW that Sessions is on President Trump's bad side, NOW Sessions is "extremely well liked"...

    I didn't say "extremely well liked" Michale - you even copied my comment - I said "personally liked", i.e. people like him as a person, even though he has extreme fundamentalist views wrt to marijuana and social issues.

    Try to stick to what I say, not what you want me to have said.

    I predict it will result in two responses:
    i/ replacement of the role with another diligent investigator
    ii/ legislation like the "Russian Sanctions" act that limits 45's power to fire the replacement

    Limiting the President's power in that regard would be ruled unconstitutional.. With prejudice...

    Look at the powers Kenneth Starr and Clinton's inability to fire him as the model for Mueller's replacement.

  42. [42] 
    neilm wrote:

    I'm done with this thread.

    Btw, that is simply a small courtesy to inform that I won't be responding further.

    All you need to do is stop reading and commenting Elizabeth. The dramatics are unnecessary.

  43. [43] 
    neilm wrote:

    How is this NOT pure unadulterated and unequivocal hypocrisy???

    I'll tell you what, you stop doing to Mueller what Clinton did to Starr and we'll stop laughing our heads off at you.

    Deal?

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    I didn't say "extremely well liked" Michale - you even copied my comment - I said "personally liked",

    To-may-toe, po-tay-toe

    The fact is ya'all hated Sessions..

    Until Trump hated Sessions..

    Now ya'all love sessions..

    Look at the powers Kenneth Starr and Clinton's inability to fire him as the model for Mueller's replacement.

    You're confusing "inability" with "not politically acceptable"...

    Clinton was a political animal and wouldn't do ANYTHING that upset the political apple cart..

    President Trump has proven beyond ANY doubt that he doesn't give a shit about politics...

    I'll tell you what, you stop doing to Mueller what Clinton did to Starr and we'll stop laughing our heads off at you.

    Where was Starr's conflict of interest??

    Yer comparing apples and celery...

  45. [45] 
    neilm wrote:

    Among the nasties in 45's past, there's something lurking that's particularly smelly.

    OK, I'm going to restate this for the umpteenth time but add a proviso.

    1. I don't think there was any material collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, even if Don Jr. was dumb enough to try to do something - the Russians were desperate to defeat Clinton (because she was the true American patriot), but they wren't dumb or desperate enough to trust 45 and his brood of clowns.

    2. 45's real problem is his involvement with Russian money laundering and he knows it.

    NEW:

    3. Even I didn't think 45 was stupid enough to make the "cover up is always worse than the crime" mistake, but he is really poorly educated and obviously losing his marbles. Let's assume he had some base cunning to bluster his way through large real estate deals 20 years ago (even though most of them failed), however those days are passed and grampa has lost the plot.

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:

    The fact is ya'all hated Sessions..

    I don't hate Sessions. If I hate anything, it is his views and willingness to hurt other people for what he thinks.

  47. [47] 
    neilm wrote:

    Look at the powers Kenneth Starr and Clinton's inability to fire him as the model for Mueller's replacement.

    You're confusing "inability" with "not politically acceptable"...

    Good grief Michale, read the history, it is all there. Clinton did not have the ability to fire Starr.

  48. [48] 
    neilm wrote:

    While Clinton could not fire Starr, his current employer, Baylor University, can. And did. For his role in how he handled a sexual harassment charge involving the football team:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ken-starr-baylor-university-reportedly-fired-campus-sexual-assault-a7047341.html

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    the Russians were desperate to defeat Clinton (because she was the true American patriot),

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.. No.. a LOT...

    I don't hate Sessions. If I hate anything, it is his views and willingness to hurt other people for what he thinks.

    That's the politically correct way of saying you hate someone.. :D

    Good grief Michale, read the history, it is all there. Clinton did not have the ability to fire Starr.

    If Clinton wanted to have Starr fired, he could have... Just like Trump can have Mueller fired..

    But the situations are not analogous because Starr didn't have a conflict of interest..

    To make the situations analogous, it would be as if Starr was married to Linda Tripp or Monica Lewinsky while prosecuting Clinton...

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm a drama queen, Neil.

    I thought you knew that.

    :-)

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, Neil, are we in agreement on #5??

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Long live the queen!!!! :D

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I was just trying to be nice, Neil, jeez... but, I'm back now until the sun comes out again, so I'm ready to respond ...

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

  55. [55] 
    Paula wrote:

    neilm: I agree that 45's most likely crimes are entangled in his dodgy business dealings over the years. He's already paid fees for money laundering. There's a lot of dirt surrounding his modeling agency that has been suppressed one way or another. He's a classic "set up dummy corporations to launder money and evade taxes" cheat -- I think he has over 500 Incs, etc.

    Re: collusion with Russia. Per Bill Browder's testimony, there are ways Putin's operatives go about entangling people and people DO get entangled. It isn't the least bit farfetched to think 45 or Kushner or one of the kids got enmeshed in stuff, even, initially, unknowingly. That's how it's done. It's also not far-fetched to wonder if 45 isn't in a position to be blackmailed by Putin because 45 has been doing business with Russian criminals for years. Indeed, Trump himself makes a point of never putting things in writing; he likes to meet in person and do stuff verbally -- this is a guy who knows all about incriminating evidence.

    Did he directly collude re: the election? What we know is Junior was READY to do so. I don't think 45 masterminded any collusion but its quite possible he was informed about shady stuff and just thought "sure, why not?".

    What we DO know, too, is 45 is trying to reverse/cancel sanctions against Russia, which are specifically sanctions against oligarchs/criminals in Russia. The sanctions keep these people from being able to come to the U.S., launder their money through U.S. banks, and secondarily through non-U.S. banks that do business with U.S. banks.

    For the last 2 days we've been told 45 was going to sign the sanctions bill voted for at 98 to 2 or whatever it was by the Senate. They will override his veto. As of today he hasn't signed it.

    45 is desperate to do 2 things: keep Mueller out of his business history and remove sanctions for Putin's benefit. They may be related; they may not be. Either way, it looks bad. Why do you think 45 wants to let Putin get his hands on stolen money?

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    What we DO know, too, is 45 is trying to reverse/cancel sanctions against Russia,

    Cite???

    If you can't back up your claims with facts, your claims are invalidated...

    I don't make the rules... :D

  57. [57] 
    flyswat wrote:

    Good analysis worth reading in my non partisan opinion

    https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/trump-dynasty-luttwak/

  58. [58] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Neilm-45

    I wouldn't rule out a legal standard of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. It may not be a prosecutor's path of least resistance, but an aggressive prosecutor is going turn over a lot of rocks and see what crawls out.

    I don't assume the Russians were initially seeking to make Trump President. A more limited, but more obtainable objective would be to undermine the US public's faith in the US Electoral System and US Government. This type of covert operation has been in the Russain/USSR playbook for generations, and it succeeded brilliantly in 2016.

    However, now that Trump is POTUS, it makes sense for Russia to build on success and sow further chaos by taking the Trump Operation down. In short, rub our noses in their success.

    The Russian's gambit is like the one monkeys play at a zoo. A monkey pisses on the first few rows of a crowd around the cage. There is a gasp from the front rows, and they move back. The back rows rush forward to see what the hell is going on. The monkey has saved some urine and takes takes another whizz. Now the whole crowd of bystanders in shouting and scattering. Happy Happy Monkey!

    Who would be in a better position to take down Jr. than the Russians who set up the meet and greets in the first place? Drop a few intel hints to grease the skids leading to Trump failure and/or downfall. Happy Happy Russians. They are very good psychologists.

    Points 2 and 3, I could not agree with you more.

  59. [59] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW, Neil, Paula, TS, Liz... anyone interested in some of the background of Trumps financial dealings, AND the involvement of Trump's nominee to lead the FBI

    This is worth a read.
    It's a stunning summary of non-ideological investigative reporting that includes key criminal players linked to Trump deals.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/357-esq-james-s-henry/3253-no-wray

    It's a column, not a video... don't miss the footnotes.

    A

  60. [60] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What is the gist of the article, Al?

  61. [61] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm guessing that your article suggests that Director Wray should not lead the FBI.

    Btw, hasn't he been confirmed yet? The official FBI site still shows the acting director??

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    A more limited, but more obtainable objective would be to undermine the US public's faith in the US Electoral System and US Government. This type of covert operation has been in the Russain/USSR playbook for generations, and it succeeded brilliantly in 2016.

    And why has it not been an issue until now??

    BECAUSE YA'ALL LOST!!

    Face the facts, TS....

    If there *WAS* a "Russian Gambit"... (oooooooooooo TinFoil hat on tight??) :D

    .....it could *ONLY* have succeeded with a really REALLY close election...

    Now... All of ya'all ask yerselves ONE question... If you have the courage..

    *** WHY WAS THE ELECTION SO CLOSE??? ***

    The answer to that will explain why ya'all simply CANNOT win any debate on this issue.. :D

    Of course, this all ignores the **FACT** that ya'all have not a SCINTILLA of facts or evidence that shows a NOT-45 vote was changed to a Trump vote..

    NOT AN IOTA OF FACT OR EVIDENCE....

    In other words, it's a bona-fide delusion.... Wishful thinking... :D

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other words, it's a bona-fide delusion.... Wishful thinking... :D

    But I completely understand why ya'all indulge in this delusion..

    Because the reality...... that the Democrat Party simply sucks... is just too much to bear...

    So ya'all have to invent fantasy tin-foil based conspiracies and totally ludicrous shadow-puppets....

    I get it.. If I were a better friend I would indulge ya'all in yer delusions and let ya'all enjoy them in peace...

    But, this is a reality-based forum and so reality is the soup de jour....

  64. [64] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [40]: Excellent article, and from my perspective, spot on, particularly the riff on 'loss aversion' that you quoted.

    Trump, ever the dilettante, apparently came into office believing that governing requires little more than a political base and a few policy prescriptions, much like someone who might believe that building skyscrapers requires little more than a plot of land and an artist's rendering.

    Perhaps that's the way that Fred Trump left the Trump organization for his heir - as an idiot-proof pyramid of skills that allows Don to pick out the colors of the drapes while his underlings do all of the detail work. Must be: he's survived building inspections on thousands of properties for forty years somehow. Maybe that's why, in recent years, Trump has preferred to slap his name onto already built and separately managed properties in return for endorsement fees instead.

    Obama, by contrast, was a student of government: he had been a state legislator and a Senator, and had taught Constitutional law. He understood that a good law requires a good foundation, architecture, and internal structure in order to function sustainably into the future - very much as a skyscraper does, as a matter of fact.

    Republicans have repeated the lie that the ACA was 'hastily and secretly' constructed for so long, that they've forgotten that it took nearly two years from its introduction to its passing. Obama hosted several public sessions at the White House before even submitting a draft.

    Compare that to Trump's back-of-an-envelope Immigration ban, an incredibly poorly written attempt, or to every hastily written iterations of GOP 'replacement' that McConnell put on the floor last week. Might as well propose replacing the Waldorf with a food truck.

    This is why, I think, Trump and the GOP are having such a hard time dismantling Obama's legacy: it's just better built then they thought, to begin with. If Trump really wants to dismantle the Obama legacy and replace it with something that will last beyond the next election, he will have to learn, ironically, how to build as well as Obama did.

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is why, I think, Trump and the GOP are having such a hard time dismantling Obama's legacy: it's just better built then they thought, to begin with.

    Yea??? Then why is OdumboCare imploding???

    how to build as well as Obama did.

    Odumbo didn't build that!!

    BBBWWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump...

    U.S. eases environment laws for Mexico border wall near San Diego

    WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday it would waive environmental and related laws in order to expedite building security-related barriers and roads along the nation's border with Mexico near San Diego.
    http://news.trust.org/item/20170801134803-a4w11

    Making America GREAT Again!!!

  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    "You can't win!! I have god on my side!!"
    -Leland Gant, NEEDFUL THINGS

    :D

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    Where's that "Better Deal Better Pizza" the Democrats have been harping about???

    {chiirrrrrpppppp} {{{chhiiiiirrrrrrppppp}}}

    Ah yes.... VaporWare....

    Who could have POSSIBLY predicted that!??

    Oh... wait.. :D

  69. [69] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Just so we all have enough leisure reading material
    Headline from WAPO: 2:20 PM today

    Trump Dictated Misleading Statement on Son's Meeting With Russians.

    Advisors fear it could put him and others in legal jeopardy.

    To be clear, the article alleges that D. Trump ghost dictated his son's response that was delivered to the Senate. Since Jr's document had complete sentences I am assuming somebody, probably not Jr, translated the gist of the transcript into standard English.

    Anyway, Trump staff is leaking, while other Trump staff is lamenting Trump Sr. shooting another toe off his already mangled foot.

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    Headline from WAPO: 2:20 PM today

    ANd you can TRUST WaPoop because they have NEVER been wrong before!!! :D

    hehehehehe

    I wish ya'all could step back and see how HILARIOUS ya'all are... :D

  71. [71] 
    Paula wrote:

    [63] Balthasar: Yep! Good governing is actually a skill. Blotus (my new favorite) thinks he knows stuff he doesn't because he is able to pay people who DO know stuff to do things.

    [68] TheStig: Yep. Blotus made up the story.

    Also, fun story, FOX is being sued by the detective who was working on the Seth Rich murder, for all their lies about that. Blotus also implicated -- suit alleges Blotus was consulted and the lies and specifically directed they be pushed and Hannity -- FOXes scummiest resident scumbag fully complied. http://www.npr.org/2017/08/01/540783715/lawsuit-alleges-fox-news-and-trump-supporter-created-fake-news-story?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

  72. [72] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Stig [57]:This type of covert operation has been in the Russain/USSR playbook for generations

    I agree. Recent reports of conversations between Ambassador Kislyak and Moscow describing details of his meetings with Sessions suggest to me that they might have been both using and simultaneously setting up the Trump transition team. Surely Kislyak knew that others would be listening in on a phone call - it's in 'Introduction to Spying 101', I'm sure.

    I heard former CIA chief John McGlaughlin describe the Russians recently as "cynical". It feels apt.

  73. [73] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [71] Oops. No "G" in Mclaughlin.

  74. [74] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [70]: Which is precisely why I wonder why he picked this confederacy of rank amateur dunces to run the White House. Does he really believe that "no prior experience" is necessary to govern, or is this 'planned incompetence' per Bannon's 'deconstructing government' ideology?

    A critical relationship will be that of General Kelly and Bannon, a former Naval officer. Bannon doesn't seem to be in line with a 'buttoned up' operation, but might give deference to an officer of superior rank, even all these years later.

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    Does he really believe that "no prior experience" is necessary to govern,

    Why not??

    We all believed that when we elected Odumbo...

    A critical relationship will be that of General Kelly and Bannon, a former Naval officer. Bannon doesn't seem to be in line with a 'buttoned up' operation, but might give deference to an officer of superior rank, even all these years later.

    Face reality, people..

    General Kelly is going to fix the problems..

    Then ya'all will have NOTHING to bitch about.. :D

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    Surely Kislyak knew that others would be listening in on a phone call - it's in 'Introduction to Spying 101', I'm sure.

    Yea... Cuz yer such an expert... :D

    Where was all your Russia concern when NOT-45 was selling out the US to Russia???

    Non-existent...

  77. [77] 
    Paula wrote:

    [73] Balthasar: I think Blotus' number 1 criteria is loyalty.

    Separately, as a web developer I run into people constantly who underestimate what's involved in doing web work -- and the worst are often people who have unrelated, but technical, skills. They think: "I'm good at this, so if I spent half an hour I'd know everything there is to know about web development." It's a funny kind of arrogance.

    Blotus has this idea in spades - he thought he could roll into D.C. and just order everything to change because that's how he ran his family business. He had no conception about the terrain he was walking into, and no respect for people who have skills he doesn't. He also seems to think people being rich makes them automatically qualified to do anything. He ranks people by their wealth -- which may be part of his love-affair with Putin. Putin may be the richest man in the world, and his money came via crime. Blotus doesn't care HOW you get money, just whether you do.

    People who are knowledgable but not rich are meaningless to Blotus. So he puts rich people who pledge loyalty into jobs THEY aren't qualified for. And THEY, like him, think they're qualified because they're rich/successful in unrelated areas. Peter Principles in action.

    Remember he quite literally thinks/thought his money-inheriting-real-estate-magnate son-in-law was going to just wave his hands and fix every problem under the sun.

    I don't think Blotus' choices of incompetents is deliberate - he picks badly-qualified people because he is one.

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    Blotus (my new favorite)

    And you people wonder why it's ODUMBO and DUMBOCRATS all the time???

    Like I always say..

    I don't make the rules.. I just play by ya'all's....

  79. [79] 
    neilm wrote:

    Elizabeth [53]

    Thanks for having a good self deprecating sense of humor. Kudos.

    Just got back from my little sister's Birthday party in Scotland. Happy. Happy.

    As one of my favorite posters keep up the effort. Appreciated!

  80. [80] 
    neilm wrote:

    Elizabeth

    Re Comey

    I feel that Comey tried to be "fair" to 45 expecting, as too many people did, that he had no chance of winning.

    His mistake was deviating from the "just the facts" approach that would have served him far better.

    I'm happy, as usual, to be corrected if you have reliable evidence to the contrary.

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    His mistake was deviating from the "just the facts" approach that would have served him far better.

    What "facts" did Comey deviate from???

  82. [82] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil,

    The only evidence I have are Comey's public statements.

    I would also like to know what facts you think Comey deviated from ...

  83. [83] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Re. "just the facts" approach ...

    I assume you refer here to the statement Comey gave following his investigation of Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server and handling of classified information.

    This case was hardly a normal case. Indeed, this was a highly politicized case in a hyper-partisan environment with a presidential election process underway and, therefore, an extremely high public interest involved.

    I fully accept Comey's explanation before a congressional committee that he was left with very bad options and he chose the least of the bad and the most responsible option.

  84. [84] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm not here to correct you, Neil. I'm here only to discuss and debate.

  85. [85] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula

    To give proper credit, Steven Colbert coined the acronym "BLOTUS" and it stands for Big Liar Of The United States.

    POTUS IS BLOTUS AND KNOWS IT - RESIST is a catchy demonstration chant that may come in handy if and when we enter Constitutional Crisis Phase of the Trump Sadministration.

    You may also enjoy using the acronym SLOTUS in reference to Don Trump Jr. It stands for: Slow Learner Of Trump's Unqualified Sons.

  86. [86] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Neil[57],

    You're one of my favourites, too. :)

  87. [87] 
    Paula wrote:

    [84]TheStig: "Slotus" is another winner!

    Here Josh Marshall talks about the timeline involving Blotus, Junior, Putin and the meeting stories:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/did-president-trump-dictate-the-false-statement-or-was-it-president-putin

    In addition to the issues raised at TPM, there's just the simple matter that Blotus and several of his underlings, and Junior are once again caught out in a lie. Blotus' lawyer Sekulow lied to Chuck Todd and George Stephanopoulis.

  88. [88] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Eric Trump was on Hannity's show whining that Republicans are not defending his daddy and he just cannot understand why they would treat him so poorly.

    Maybe because anything anyone has said in an attempt to defend Trump has been shown to be bullshards by Trump's own admissions. See the Comey firing as a perfect example of this. No one can speak as to Trump's motives for his actions because typically Trump doesn't even know why he does things at the moment he does them!

    Speaking of the Comey firing, Trump reportedly told the Russian Ambassador that firing Comey would remove the pressure that the Russian investigation was causing him. Why? The investigation would continue unless the White House instructed the DOJ to kill it.

    Which leaves the question: Did Trump order the DOJ to kill it when they fired Comey or did Rosenstein act In their hesitation to do so when he named Mueller as special prosecutor?

  89. [89] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Senator Jeff Flake (R) wrote this in Politico today:

    Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.

    I will let the liberals answer for their own sins in this regard. (There are many.) But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure. It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president—the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime. It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us. It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued. To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.

    Maybe Flake is the Republican voice of reason we've been praying for. He's not perfect, but it's a start.

  90. [90] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    flyswat [57] -

    First off, welcome to the site! Your first comment was held for moderation, but from now on you should be able to post comments instantly.

    Just limit yourself to one link per comment, as multilink comments are held for moderation automatically.

    Second, thanks for the link, I will check it out!

    :-)

    -CW

  91. [91] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    flyswat?

    Great, another anonymous commenter.

    Well, welcome aboard and all that ...

  92. [92] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    flyswat,

    What makes your link so good and worth reading?

    Care to summarize ...

  93. [93] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Flyswat [57]

    Long-term processes of income redistribution from working people to everyone else, non-working welfare recipients as well as the very rich, had been evident for at least two decades.

    So the rich don't actually work and nor does anyone receiving welfare? That is a weird trait for two such different groups to share!

  94. [94] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I predict flyswat is a drive-by ... :)

  95. [95] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [77]: He ranks people by their wealth --

    This is something that a lot of Republicans I know have done, and in fact Trump's wealth was the reason that some of them gave for voting for him.

    When I've tried to point out that wealth & brains are NOT necessarily connected (Einstein & Tesla, for example), I only get back looks of disbelieving pity.

    Scaramucci was one who brought that attitude with him to Washington. In a January 23, 2017 article for New York Magazine, he says that the "thing I have learned about these people in Washington is they have no money. So what happens when they have no fucking money is they write about what seat they are in and what the title is. Fucking congressmen act like that. They are fucking jackasses".

    Clearly, he had no idea of how American government works. The downside to this is that when the government does assert its authority to regulate Wall Street behavior, if feels capricious and arbitrary to guys like him because they don't understand its basis: "..what happens in Washington is they will stab you right in the chest with a smile on their face," says Scaramucci, "It’s like the Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games screenwriters got together with the writers of House of Cards and they made a story."

    It's tragic: folks like the Mooch are just the most public examples of "constitutionally impaired" Republicans. I understand that the GOP now considering ways to help us all donate to these misunderstood and unfortunate victims of 'wealth delusion'. heh.

  96. [96] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    John M from Ct [1] -

    Yeah, especially since one of the WH interview questions must now be: "You do have your own personal lawyer, don't you?"

    Heh.

    Paula [2] -

    One positive note -- Kelly's apparently already called both Pelosi and Schumer, in an effort to build some sort of relationship with congressional Dems. More than the Trump WH has yet done, so like I said, a cautiously optimistic note.

    But you're right, if Kelly lasts 6 months, I for one will be shocked.

    Paula [3] -

    Had to have been someone on that AF1 flight. The details of where Trump actually was in the plane kinda pointed to someone in the air with Trump while it happened.

    altohone [10] -

    The official line is Kelly wanted "a clean slate." The unofficial line so far is pretty close -- that Kelly demanded Mooch's removal as a condition of taking the job, and Trump knuckled under.

    michale [15] -

    So... he's earned "General" but Barbara Boxer is a [insert misogynist slur] for demanding to be called "Senator"?

    Heh. Couldn't resist.

    Actually, I kinda agree with you on this one, more on your second point than the first. He's not currently in the military, is he? Therefore the "General" is just a courtesy title (like referring to Bubba and Dubya still as "President" not "ex-president").

    The Washington rule is, as far as I understand it, that the proper title to use is (in order of importance): Your current job, your previous job if retired. The only real exception to this rule is that when two titles could be appropriate (current and former, for instance), the higher-ranking one is used.

    By this rule, he would properly be White House Chief of Staff Kelly. WHCoS outranks pretty much any military title, I think.

    BUT (and here's where I agree with you a little) it is kind of confusing to just call him Kelly, because there's already a Kellyanne.

    OK, to end on, funny joke from one of the late-night guys last night: "John Kelly, a man with two first names, will replace a man without a single recognizable name: Reince Priebus."

    Heh.

    OK, I'm going to post this so I don't lose it and continue in the next comment...

    -CW

  97. [97] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [16] -

    Trading in a Mooch for a General Kelly is "declining"???

    On what planet???

    OK, hard to argue with that one!

    :-)

    Heh.

    Michale [19] -

    OK, now you're back to losing again. LizM's right. Comey called up Kelly and talked him out of it. Kelly's devoted to the country and the Constitution, not Trump, from all I hear.

    neilm [22] -

    Seemingly the script writers for SNL are damn near suicidal over the news "The Mooch" has gone. This would have been comedy genius.

    Yeah... what might have been...

    SNL Weekend Update is doing some sort of mid-summer thing next week, so they'll get at least one crack at it... Aug 10th I think?

    neilm [24] -

    Good list. Except for the last item. I think if Mueller is fired, what will happen is Congress would immediately appoint him "Independent Counsel" (rather than "Special Counsel") and the investigation wouldn't skip a beat... I've heard many Republicans threatening this, even. If Congress appoints an IC, then Trump can't fire him, period.

    LizM [tangent] -

    Hey, here's a link for you:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/08/01/sanders-preps-month-long-campaign-for-single-payer-health-care-with-legislation-to-follow/?utm_term=.e035f3b1a5e3

    Bernie's about to begin his single-payer rollout...

    Michale [28] -

    Dream on, Kemosabe.

    Michale [32] -

    You mean, of course: "Not screwing up the WS rally that began a year into Obama's term..."

    There! all fixed!

    :-)

    TheStig [33] -

    Marines build men? Wasn't Steve Austin from the Air Force? Or maybe NASA? I'm confused...

    Heh.

    Michale [44] -

    I certainly don't love Sessions. But Trump has done one thing I never thought would happen -- I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Sessions.

    Different thing.

    neilm [48] -

    Starr couldn't be fired because he was an Independent Counsel. Just like, if Trump did fire Mueller, Congress could immediately appoint him as IC, and Trump would be powerless to do anything about it.

    TheStig [58] -

    You just HAD to use that particular analogy, didn't you?

    Heh.

    LizM [61] -

    Senate confirmed Wray today. Overwhelmingly, I believe. McConnell is going to use his extra 2 weeks in August to move on a lot of confirmation votes, from what I hear.

    neilm [79] -

    Here's the only Scottish joke I know:

    An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman walk into a bar and all order a pint. As the pints are served, three flies waft down and alight on the three pints.

    The Englishman (in a snobby posh accent) says: "Barman -- can you draw me another pint -- this one has a fly in it!"

    The Irishman rolls his eyes, fishes into his pint, pulls the fly out and tosses it aside. He then proceeds to drink deep.

    The Scotsman picks up the fly in his pint, holds it over the glass, and yells: "Spit it oot, ye wee bastard -- SPIT IT OOT!"

    Heh.

    Seems like a good place to end this comment...

    -CW

  98. [98] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear [89] -

    Flake's been all over the place hawking his book. He's getting increasingly worried about his chances next year, methinks.

    After all, he wasn't one of the "no" votes last week...

    Balthasar [95] -

    Saw a tweet this week, with a link to the Mooch firing story:

    "Best season of Hunger Games ever this year!"

    Heh.

    OK, that's it! All caught up!

    :-)

    -CW

  99. [99] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks for the single-payer link, Chris. It will be interesting to follow the coming debate ...

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of the Comey firing, Trump reportedly told the Russian Ambassador that firing Comey would remove the pressure that the Russian investigation was causing him.

    Cite??

    If you can't back up this claim, then the claim is not valid and is false..

    :D

  101. [101] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Trading in a Mooch for a General Kelly is "declining"???

    On what planet???

    OK, hard to argue with that one!

    :-)

    Heh.

    Thank you.. I have my moments.. :D

    Comey called up Kelly and talked him out of it. Kelly's devoted to the country and the Constitution, not Trump, from all I hear.

    I am not saying yer wrong.. I am simply saying that, from all that I have read, General Kelly is completely devoted to the President Of The United States..

    If there is anything out there that says otherwise.....

    "I am all ears"
    -Ross Perot

  102. [102] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    flyswat [57] -

    First off, welcome to the site! Your first comment was held for moderation, but from now on you should be able to post comments instantly.

    Humble request..

    When you welcome a new commenter to the site, can you put a link to their comment??

    Saves time scrolling back to try and find the comment.. :D

    Just a minor quibble..

  103. [103] 
    Michale wrote:

    So... he's earned "General" but Barbara Boxer is a [insert misogynist slur] for demanding to be called "Senator"?

    :D

    The rules for military are different..

    EVERYONE of higher ranks is "sir" or "ma'am"...

    For a person in the military, addressing a person of higher rank by their rank as opposed to "sir" or "ma'am" is tantamount to an insult or disrespect..

    On another note, I wish we could use the STAR TREK format and just refer to everyone as "sir".... Make things so much easier...

  104. [104] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of overly-sensitive about alleged misogyny..

    Did you hear that Left Wingers are complaining because the movie DUNKIRK was "male-centric" and didn't have any strong female leads??

    Get that!??

    The movie was sexist because this WORLD WAR II battlefield movie didn't have any strong female leads!

    Gods, please deliver us from moronic political correctness... :^/

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    For a person in the military, addressing a person of higher rank by their rank as opposed to "sir" or "ma'am" is tantamount to an insult or disrespect..

    By and large...

    As with most true and valid rules, there are exceptions..

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    Dumbocrats gave ya'all the "Better Deal"..

    But there is the REAL DEAL...

    On health care, double down on the failing ObamaCare disaster.

    On federal spending, continue to grow our $20 trillion national debt at an unsustainable rate. “Free” college, anyone?

    On illegal immigration, protect sanctuary cities.

    On taxes, keep them high because government bureaucrats know how to spend your hard-earned money better than you do.

    On the Second Amendment and gun rights, disregard the Constitution and only allow criminals to have guns.
    On terrorism, refuse to acknowledge the underlying problem: radical Islam.

    On campaign finance reform, pretend to be against Super PACs, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    That's the Dumbocrat Party in a nutshell..

    No wonder they can't win elections...

  107. [107] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [102] -

    That is actually a good idea. Here you go:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/07/31/kelly-in-mooch-out/#comment-106835

    I promise I'll keep this idea in mind in the future... anything to make the site easier to use...

    :-)

    -CW

  108. [108] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [104] -

    I tend to agree with you on this one, too. There's such a thing as historical accuracy...

    "Foyle's War" had a good episode on Dunkirk, without all the spectacular SXF.

    -CW

  109. [109] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [106] -

    Yeah, and get back to me when GOPers release their "deficits don't matter" tax/budget plan.

    Let's see if your side can live up to your expectations....

    -CW

  110. [110] 
    Michale wrote:

    That is actually a good idea. Here you go:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/07/31/kelly-in-mooch-out/#comment-106835

    I promise I'll keep this idea in mind in the future... anything to make the site easier to use...

    Danke... :D

    I tend to agree with you on this one, too. There's such a thing as historical accuracy...

    Yep...

    Let's see if your side can live up to your expectations....

    I have no side... My "side" is the United States Of America...

    Having said that, yea... It would be nice if the OTHER side could live up to what is required of them as well..

  111. [111] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    I certainly don't love Sessions. But Trump has done one thing I never thought would happen -- I am beginning to feel a little sorry for Sessions.

    Sessions screwed up..

    Trump is holding him accountable...

    It's what good leaders do...

    Different thing.

    Not really..

    Feeling sorry for someone implies sympathy..

    If Sessions was the racist scumbag the Left (and many Weigantians) said he was, how could ya feel sympathy for him??

    You would say, "Serves the scumbag racist right!!"

    "afw'ein Mnhei'sahe"
    -Romulan Proverb

    My point, though, is simple..

    As with Director Comey, the Left's attitude towards Sessions changed 180 degrees SOLELY based on the actions of President Trump...

    How is this not hypocritical???

  112. [112] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-108

    IMHO Dunkirk has some of the finest aerial combat footage ever. The interior cockpit shots are particularly good, especially the gauges (tap tap...nice) the hydraulics and the obsession with fuel level. Ditching and crash landing scenes were also first rate.

    The main historical inaccuracy, maybe bias is a better term, has to do with the "
    Little Ships." With very few exceptions, pleasure craft were not manned by their owners. The British wanted tonnage, not amateur sailors. Naval ratings and professional civilian sailors crewed nearly all small craft. Lifeboats (shore based rescue lifeboats) were especially useful. The boat manned by Rylance seems to be a composite of 3 historical exceptions to the rule.

  113. [113] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maybe Flake is the Republican voice of reason we've been praying for. He's not perfect, but it's a start.

    TRANSLATION: FLAKE IS NOW TOEING THE DUMBOCRAT PARTY LINE SO NOW HE IS OUR BESTEST BUDDY

    Of course, when scumbag Democrat James Hodgkison went on a GOP hunting spree and Flake had run from victim to victim rendering aide, no one here applauded Flake's actions then..

    Back then he was just another Rethug giving aid and comfort to other Rethugs...

    But NOW..... Now that Flake is singing ya'all's tune, now ya'all LOVE Flake..

    Comey... Mueller... Sessions... Now Flake..

    I am sensing a pattern here..

    One that is too blatant and obvious to overlook...

  114. [114] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    102

    Humble request..

    When you welcome a new commenter to the site, can you put a link to their comment??

    Saves time scrolling back to try and find the comment.. :D

    CW provided the name and comment number flyswat [57] -

    Rather than scrolling, you can do a quick search by copying and pasting (or typing) the comment number into the search box.

    Ctrl F [57]

    Just a minor quibble..

    Easy to do a search, though. :)

  115. [115] 
    Michale wrote:

    Troo...

    But simply right-clicking on a link is easier still..

  116. [116] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    115

    Troo...

    But simply right-clicking on a link is easier still..

    The point was that "scrolling back to try and find the comment" is an unnecessary problem of your own making when anyone can easily perform a simple search using the provided comment number rather than depending on being spoon-fed a link. :)

  117. [117] 
    Michale wrote:

    The point was that "scrolling back to try and find the comment" is an unnecessary problem of your own making when anyone can easily perform a simple search using the provided comment number rather than depending on being spoon-fed a link. :)

    That may have been YOUR point, but mine was ease of use...

    CW agreed with me.. :D

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