Constitutional crisis, day one

I couldn’t watch it. But CNN tells me that Donald managed the swearing in without biting his tongue off, or anyone else’s for that matter. And that’s enough. We have ourselves a new president.

And now we have ourselves a problem.

…the minute Trump was sworn in, he violated Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, known as the emoluments clause.

Trump has already violated the Constitution. And it’s nothing trivial, for sure. It’s one thing for a president to go dumping trash within the city limits of Bumfuck, Iowa, and be guilty of a misdemeanor. More problematic would be if he busted some guy in the chops in a Newark Hooters, drawing a state attorney general’s attention.

But when he violates the U.S. Constitution, he’s asking for it.

People in the federal government aren’t allowed to take anything at all from any foreign government entity…

[But] his business empire is taking in a stream of payments from foreign governments — money that ultimately goes into his pockets.

For example, the Kuwait National Day celebration, thrown by the Kuwaiti embassy, will be held at Trump’s downtown D.C. hotel in February.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), which is controlled by the Chinese state, is currently paying rent for tenancy in the Manhattan Trump Tower (according to mortgage documents filed in 2012, it is the Tower’s largest office resident).

Donald is daring anybody to come after him. It’s alpha male bullshit on the order of: You have the balls? We’ll see.

Thankfully the Constitution is clear on the grounds for Trump’s defenestration: “…any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” So that’s not the problem. The country’s courage seems to be the matter.

Day one, or day three, after a po’ boy and a nap…

Look out world here comes The Most Awesome. President. Ever.

President-elect Donald Trump has a busy Inauguration Day ahead of him — in between the oath of office and the inaugural balls, he’s pledged to take some “big league” actions as part of a Day One agenda that will set the tone for his presidency.

That’s right – On. Day. One. BOOM goes the dynamite, America.

He repeatedly promised to “eliminate every unconstitutional executive order” — referring specifically to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which granted legal status to illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, or who have children who are citizens or legal residents.

Additionally, he has pledged to suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot be properly done. And he’s vowed to instruct the State Department to “immediately suspend the Syrian refugee resettlement program” and develop a plan for a safe zone in the region.

Trump also says he intends to ask Congress to pass “Kate’s Law”… In a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., in October, he promised to yank federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” on his first day.

Donald will be a whirlwind of kicking ass and taking names. Deporting Mexicans, denying war orphans asylum – #makingamericagreat. It’s all going to be Huge. And Awesome. Quite sizable, large, and great – again (SWIDT?).

…he also pledged to direct the Department of Labor to investigate “all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker” on his first day in office.

His most famous campaign promise — a wall on the southern border — also has been supposedly slated for Day One action. In a speech in September in Phoenix, Ariz., Trump said on his first day, “we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall”…

He also promised the U.S. will begin deporting the approximately 2 million criminal illegal immigrants in the country… “Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone,” he said.

So I suppose we should all get the hell ready for Friday. Because its going to be one of the greatest days in American history. It’s going to be like if John Wayne made a 3-D porn video in an Indian cyclone, with politics, if that were possible. But then it has to be possible because God Dammit it’s The Donald. He is the total Best, the A-Number-One chief top shelf unobtainium-plated mega-MAGA…

Donald Trump said the first order he’ll sign as president will be to create “strong borders,” but he’ll be doing that Monday, after taking the weekend off…

“…[D]ay one – which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Right? I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration.”

…piker. Really, a shiftless son of a bitch. And if China invades Taiwan over the weekend? Are we supposed to flag down Donald on the fifteenth hole? Obama can’t do anything, so says the Twentieth Amendment. What then?

This man has no idea what he’s gotten himself into.

Goodbye Monica, fly away. Fly, fly.

Hell I am so smart.

GOP foreign policy adviser Monica Crowley said Monday she will relinquish the senior job she’d been poised to take in the Trump White House.

On January 7th I typed out in perfectly clear blog-ese that Monica had no choice but to step down. She left me stone cold hanging for nine days.

Ms. Crowley, who had been tapped to be senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council, had been dogged in recent weeks by questions about whether she lifted portions of her past written work from other writers.

This is the Moonie Times, so “questions” and “whether” can be swapped with “copy and pasted most modern text, but for Gone With The Wind.”

Here. And here. And here. Because she is a wingnut, and a great lover of the overwrought schmuck, Richard Nixon, she will fall on her feet. She will be on Fox News next month. She will be on CNN sometime this Summer. She will be on PBS early next year. The elephantine fact that she is a huckster and moron will not matter at all.

Hullo fascism

Today’s depressing news drove me to Wikipedia where I spent time reading up on fascism. This thumbnail from Columbia’s Robert Paxton seems fit for us.

Quote: A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline

humiliation or victimhood, and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity

It has become a signature attack line of the 2016 presidential campaign…

Donald Trump started using the “low-energy” moniker to describe Bush sometime in August, as he continued to surge in polls while Bush sunk. Today, Trump has taken over the front-running position that Bush was long presumed to hold.

“Here’s a woman who goes home and she goes to sleep all the time. Think of it. She’s got no energy whatsoever…”

At his rally, Trump exaggerated that “everyone’s talking about the fact that I’ll do seven, eight, nine stops, I’ll make three or four major speeches” before boasting about his crowd size in Tallahassee.

in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites

abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Count on the ‘external expansion’ later after Donnie sees for himself what the military can do. The ‘democratic liberties’ part is what got me today.

Reince Priebus resorts to intimidation: ‘The head of the government ethics ought to be careful’

… “The head of the government ethics ought to be careful because that person is becoming extremely political,” Priebus said, adding that Shaub “may have publicly supported Hillary Clinton.”

“And he is calling out the president with information on Twitter about our detangling of the business over a month ago,” he continued. “So I’m not so sure what kind of standing he has anymore in giving these opinions.”


The Trump Administration May Evict the Press from the White House
“They are the opposition party,” a senior official says.

…According to three senior officials on the transition team, a plan to evict the press corps from the White House is under serious consideration by the incoming Trump Administration. If the plan goes through, one of the officials said, the media will be removed from the cozy confines of the White House press room, where it has worked for several decades.

He could erect a golden fence to keep the normals out. He has the money, no problem. He can erect a couple towers with gunnery guards just in case.

The new normal

There are always plenty of things going on. There are the TV news breaks and press conferences. There are the incoming appointments and cabinet picks. There are the political players jockeying for high position, and the eventual winners and losers. There are the endless talks of policy and tone, priorities and attitude.

It’s semi-quadrennial political theater, as an old president ends his administration and the new one begins. This time around, though, it’s bizarre.

President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. have been in frequent contact in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

A U.S. Army general is meeting with the ambassador of a country openly hostile to us. This is after our own intelligence agencies determined Russia’s role in a number of high-profile cybercrimes. He’s only the incoming National Security Advisor, someone who’d be interested in defending the United States against hackers, particularly when they’re agents of a foreign government.

We’re through the gilt-leaf mirror here. The brush-off at the end is solid.

After initially denying that Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak spoke Dec. 29, a Trump official said late Friday that the transition team was aware of one call on the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions.

Flynn? ‘Lunatic’ Flynn? Calling a Russian ambassador!?! What, are you crazy? Oh of course! That one time, why not! What a bunch of cloak-and-stagger.

More weirdness – oh no, please. Not her. Dear God in heaven not Monica Crowley again.

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley, who is slated to serve in a top national security communications role in Donald Trump’s presidential administration, plagiarized thousands of words of her 2000 dissertation for her Columbia University Ph.D., a CNN KFile review has found.

Her own Ph.D. thesis. That is…sad.

CNN’s KFile has found nearly 40 lengthy instances of Crowley lifting paragraphs from numerous sources, including several scholarly texts, the Associated Press, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The revelation comes on the heels of another CNN KFile investigation, which found more than 50 instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” On Tuesday, the book’s publisher, HarperCollins, announced that it would stop selling the book until “the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material.”

To the scoreboard. When Monica writes an op/ed for a wall street paper, she plagiarizes. The Journal pulls the article. When she writes a book for a major publishing house, she plagiarizes. Harper Collins pulls the book. When she writes a thesis for a university, she plagiarizes. Columbia has to figure out what to do with her degree.

But as far as Donald is concerned…

“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said… “Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”

…Monica is the best. She’s exceptional and thoughtful, i.e. ‘full of thoughts’ [ed: leasing, with an option to buy]. I’m sure he likes her now all the more. She’s really an amazing woman, tremendous, and double hooley skree in-your-face. I hope Donald keeps her around forever cuz’ loozer.

And then…this:

Donald Trump’s inauguration planners incredibly picked a company with the name “Don’s Johns” to supply the porta-potties for the event — and now they’re scrambling to cover them with masking tape…

The likely culprits are inaugural workers concerned the name would anger the notoriously thin-skinned Trump.

Damn. We came sooo close.

Add: More on the General’s bizarre behavior.

Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser, held five phone calls with Russia’s ambassador to Washington on the day the United States retaliated for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The calls occurred between the time the Russian embassy was told about U.S. sanctions and the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had decided against reprisals, said the sources…

The calls raised fresh questions among some U.S. officials about contacts between Trump’s advisers and Russian officials at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies contend that Moscow waged a multifaceted campaign of hacking and other actions to boost Republican Trump’s election chances against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Very weird.

Couldn’t call it unexpected

That was one helluva press conference. Is he going to try to pack White House pressers with his knuckle-draggers and flunkees too? Are they going to stomp their feet and howl every time he gives CNN the ole’ bazoo? We’re only a couple weeks away from seeing the Commander-in-Chief high-fiving Newsmax and Gateway Pundit on his way out the briefing room.

Right. It was half propaganda, half performance. There were a dozen flags hanging perfectly behind him. There were about 50 trumpco related files (…huh?) piled up on a table beside the podium (…ooh – BIG business, very complicated, you’d never understand). There were his sons Eric and Donald Jr. in attendance, the new kingpins of Dad’s corporate operations, to assure everyone they were actual human people and not just Donald disguising his voice over the phone.

And then there was his lawyer Sheri Dillon. A thin-skinned shill, if ever there was one. Donald ceded her center stage so that he could stand aside nodding hmm-good-point while she kindly educated us about our own Constitution.

“Some people want to define emoluments to cover routine business transactions, like paying for hotel rooms. They suggest that the Constitution prohibits the businesses from even arm’s-length transactions at the president-elect has absolutely nothing to do with and isn’t even aware of. These people are wrong,” Dillon claimed.

That was a little bit of a shock. I thought the Emoluments Clause read something like…

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

…my bold. But in going back and reading it again, I see it also says:

…except for a tycoon who makes money

1.) at arm’s length, or
2.) has nothing to do with it, or
3.) isn’t even aware of it.

If that’s the case, bro, go for it.

I was pleasantly surprised myself. Not everybody felt the way I did though.

Larry Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, told ThinkProgress that the announcement “a totally fraudulent runaround.” Tribe added that the structure was “cleverly designed to dazzle and deceive, but it solves none of the serious ethical or legal issues. And his lawyer would flunk constitutional law at any halfway decent law school.”

I wouldn’t say that we are headed for years of constitutional skirmishes, crises, and clusterfucks.


Trump to Charlie Brotman: You’re fired.

How about this Charlie Brotman guy?

A few months later, Brotman got a call from Eisenhower’s office to see if he’d be available to reprise his announcing role for the inaugural parade in January. “At the time, I thought it was kind of a fun thing,” Brotman said. “I thought it would be a one-time shot, and that would be the end of it…”

How wrong you were, mister. Brotman has called every inaugural parade for the last sixty years.

“The Secret Service says, that Charlie Brotman, he’s so good, he can have the job as long as he wants to,” Brotman, now 85, said in a phone interview as he prepared for his 16th outing in the announcer’s booth. “When I reach 120, I’ll retire.”

What a great story. Really, just the best. Except for that last bit, the 16th outing, in about 12 days. Because, brace yourselves: You-know-who did you-know-what.

“I was fired. I was destroyed the moment I read that,” he said in an emotional telephone interview from his home in suburban Maryland. “I am heartbroken. I am the only person in the world to do that job for more than 60 years and now they found someone younger. I hope he knows what he’s getting into. There’s a lot more to it than just reading a script.”

Trump dismissed Charlie. He canned the legendary voice of the inaugural parade. What the hell, Donnie? And why?

When he recovered from the initial shock, Brotman phoned the Presidential Committee in an effort to understand why they decided to find a new voice. He got the proverbial runaround.

Each person he spoke to passed him on to someone else. Each one said they would look into it and call him back. “Everyone seemed very nervous. No one ever answered my question,” he said.

Poor man. Not only did he lose his lifetime gig, but nobody will even tell him why. C’mon jerks, it’s not like it’s some big secret.

Steve Ray served as a volunteer for President-Elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, according to The Daily Beast.

Ray’s Twitter profile has since been made private, but according to BuzzFeed, it previously included a tweet in which Ray wrote, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the honor of driving in your motorcade 10x over the past year in DC.”

Ray has also retweeted many pro-Trump memes on his Twitter account.

What can you say? What to tell Charlie? It’s just Trump being Trump.

Goodbye Monica Crowley

Conservative commentator and Fox News personality Monica Crowley will not be Donald Trump’s incoming “senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.” Because Monica will be stepping down.

Conservative author and television personality Monica Crowley, whom Donald Trump has tapped for a top national security communications role, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book, a CNN KFile review has found.

The review of Crowley’s June 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened,” found upwards of 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including the copying with minor changes of news articles, other columnists, think tanks, and Wikipedia. The New York Times bestseller, published by the HarperCollins imprint Broadside Books, contains no notes or bibliography.

Courtesy of CNN’s KFile.

This is astonishing, though not because plagiarism is so awful. It’s stunning because she’s done it again. Unbelievably she got caught doing the same thing back in 1999. I wrote about the phony baloney in 2012:

In August 1999, for the Wall Street Journal, she wrote a piece called “The Day Nixon Said Goodbye.” She plagiarized a far better writer, prolific Brit Paul Johnson, throughout. Slate:

From Johnson’s “In Praise of Richard Nixon,” Commentary, October 1988:

“There was none of the personal corruption which had marked the rule of Lyndon Johnson, let alone the gross immoralities and security risks of John F. Kennedy’s White House.”

From Crowley’s “The Day Nixon Said Goodbye,” Wall Street Journal, August 9, 1999:

“There was none of the personal corruption that had marked the rule of Lyndon Johnson or the base immoralities and outrageous security risks of the Kennedy and Clinton White Houses.”

Monica copy-pasted Paul Johnson everywhere. Entire paragraphs were lifted with barely a word or two changed. What could possibly have been her excuse for that? What did she say? Quote: “I have wracked my brain, and I can honestly tell you that I have not read…”…zergh blerg.

The odds of that being true are about one in a gazillion, so she’s a bad liar too. Shitting Crows, can Trump pick ’em, or what?

He speaks power to truth

There’s some question as to whether Donald Trump knows how disliked he is. He may not, it may be beyond his ken. This is even with recent Earth events still reverberating, as they say. This is even though he just went through the world’s most bruising popularity contest and lost by millions of votes.

You’d figure he would take note of what just happened. You’d figure because of that he would become more humble, or gracious. Instead, he’ll say America’s true feelings can be found in the Electoral College: he won in a “landslide.” Trump the man is an utter marvel in this respect. He spends the great majority of his precious time gilding and filigreeing his public persona. Yet he continues to wear his hair the same way, like a crepe, and he persists in treating women the same way, like they were pets.

In terms of polling data, there’s virtually no good news for Trump. The results generally point in the same direction: He’s widely disliked and inspires little confidence in his presidential abilities…

Trump’s contrast with Obama in late 2008 is stunning: Obama entered 2009 with a 68 percent favorable rating. Today, Trump’s favorable rating stands at an anemic 43 percent. And if history is any indication, that rating is almost certain to go down once the new president takes office.

If anything in life can be said to be true, that’s it. Once the responsibilities of president set upon you, the game gets a lot harder. Everybody is watching, and there’s nowhere to hide. Everybody has demands, and they never end. The honeymoon fades, the popularity tumbles, and the drudgery begins.

You would think Trump would be aware of all this, too.

The President-elect spoke with the paper to defend Russia hours before his briefing with intelligence officials scheduled for Friday.

You wouldn’t think he’d try to jump-start his presidency by taking sides against his own country. You wouldn’t think he’d reject the assessments of the executive branch of his own government in favor of a foreign power. But you’d be wrong.

Donald Trump said the focus on Russian involvement in hacking the 2016 election is “a political witch hunt.”

“China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names,” he told The New York Times in an interview publish Friday, referencing the past breach of computers at the Office of Personnel Management. “How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt.”

I was so puzzled by this comment I had to look up the term’s definition. Witch-hunt: a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views. Well, pity poor Russia.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.

The officials presented their unanimous conclusions to Mr. Trump in a two-hour briefing at Trump Tower in New York that brought the leaders of America’s intelligence agencies face to face with their most vocal skeptic, the president-elect, who has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia’s role.

Why the lamentable Putin et. al. hold these “unorthodox or unpopular views” is a bit mysterious. The report offers its own theory.

When it appeared that Mrs. Clinton was more likely to win, it concluded, the Russian effort focused “on undermining her future presidency,” with pro-Kremlin bloggers preparing a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #DemocracyRIP. It noted that Mr. Putin had a particular animus for Mrs. Clinton because he believed she had incited protests against him in 2011.

Hillary Clinton, what a surprise. Intelligence officials are scandalizing Donald’s election on behalf of the woman who opposed him – a power hungry Washington millionaire, elite-est of the elite, and symbol of all that is self-serving and corrupt in the flesh. They’d want to come to her rescue, wouldn’t they? And then they’d want to use Russia for their own purposes – the making and disseminating of propaganda. Of course they would…

The conclusions in the report were described on Thursday to President Obama and on Friday to Mr. Trump by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence; John O. Brennan, the director of the C.I.A.; Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; and James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I.

…because a demagogue will say anything (really, just ask him). What a comical farce. And what a shiftless and shameless group, blaming third parties without a shred of credibility.

I have my own feelings about all this, certainly. But I’d rather not let on, I’d rather you draw your own conclusions. I won’t say that Donald here is a kind of national hero, spitting in the face of crony conniving. That would be something for America to decide. But for the rest of the world, I’ll say this. Should you end up being dragged into one of our sordid affairs, you couldn’t ask for a better friend…