Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Nice! Not Nice!

August 18, 2017

“Nice! Not Nice!” The President Show, on Comedy Central.

Related:

“Why The President Show Might Just Work,” David sims, The Atlantic

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Scaramucci Media Tour

August 10, 2017

Scaramucci Media Tour
Anthony Scaramucci, the Wall Street sleaze employed as a temp worker in the Trump White House, will be interviewed on Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week and on Monday by Stephen Colbert on CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. While the Colbert appearance might be more amusing, the Mooch, who was President Trump’s Communications Director for 10 days, has something in common with Stephanopoulos, President Clinton’s Communications Director for a whopping 138 days.

As we know from The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza, Mr. Scaramucci gives one hell of an interview.

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Tuckered From Tweeting, Trump Takes a Vacation

August 7, 2017

Tuckered From Tweeting, Trump Takes a Vacation

On Friday President Trump, the man who said he’d be too busy to take vacations, started a 17-day vacation at his golf resort in New Jersey.

Donald Trump has taken 42 golf outings to date during the first 6 months of his presidency.  Taxpayers recently covered $41 million in security costs for New Jersey’s Trump National Bedminster resort.

In other news, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation a “fishing expedition.” Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately went to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, took off his shirt, and picked up his fishing rod.

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Moochy We Hardly Knew Ye

August 1, 2017

Moochy We Hardly Knew Ye
President Trump appointed Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as his new Communications Director 12 days ago. A few days later the slick New York finance guy communicated to The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza by phone in an expletive-laced rant threatening other White House staff, especially Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who soon resigned. Yesterday Anthony Scaramucci was fired by the new White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly (Matt Taibbi had predicted this).

Mr. Scaramucci looks forward to spending more time with his … um, no.

Mrs. Scaramucci, 9 months pregnant, filed for divorce three weeks ago, citing her husband’s obsession with politics and Donald Trump as a factor contributing to their alienation. When she gave birth to his son last Monday, The Mooch was at the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia with his true love, Donald Trump. In his defense, he did text his congratulations.

But don’t cry for The Mooch. He’s selling his 44% share in SkyBridge Capital, a move that will earn him $80 million. He’s selling the dubious outfit to a mysterious Chinese corporation.

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‘The Mooch’ Isn’t So Tough On White House Leakers

July 27, 2017

'The Mooch' Isn't So Tough On White House Leakers
Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, President Trump’s new Communications Director, fired White House Senior Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short, the first shot in The Mooch’s campaign to fire all leakers. Mr. Short learned about his dismissal through a post on the Politico website. Politico learned about the matter through a leak from a guy named  Anthony Scaramucci who, as of this date, has not fired himself.

Of course, the biggest White House leaker is someone The Mooch can’t fire: Donald Trump, his boss.

A new government hire and a stickler for ethics, Mr. Scaramucci will divest his 44% share in SkyBridge Capital, a “sacrifice” that will earn him $80 million. He’s selling it to a mysterious Chinese corporation. Welcome to the Trump Administration.

More:

“Anthony Scaramucci leaked that he would fire a press aide, then complained about the leak,” Garet Williams, Vox

“Scaramucci Rails Against ‘Leaking’ Of Info That He Told A Reporter,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

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Can The Honorary Boy Scout President Be Impeached?

July 26, 2017

Can The Honorary Boy Scout President Be Impeached?

The programs of the Boys Scouts of America teach young men civic engagement and citizenship, and since 1910 the sitting President of the United States has always been the organization’s Honorary President. On Monday, President Donald Trump addressed 40,000 Boy Scouts at their annual Jamboree in an exercise that can only be called child abuse. The BSA leadership had reminded scouts and scoutmasters that their organization is nonpartisan and above politics, but their current Honorary President didn’t get the memo:

“Over the next 35 minutes, the president threatened to fire one of his Cabinet members, attacked former president Barack Obama, dissed his former rival Hillary Clinton, marveled at the size of the crowd, warned the boys about the ‘fake media,’ mocked pollsters and pundits, and said more people would say “Merry Christmas” under his presidency. He also told a rambling tale about a famous, now-deceased home builder that meandered from a Manhattan cocktail party to a yacht and then to places that the president would only allow the boys’ imaginations to go.”

— ” Trump’s Boy Scouts speech broke with 80 years of presidential tradition,” Katie Mettler and Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

[The full transcript of the speech is here.]

The speech “had the feel of a third world authoritarian’s youth rally,” tweeted former acting CIA director John McLaughlin.

The President introduced several of his cabinet members who were Boy Scouts, but Eagle Scout Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, was conspicuously absent. Another Eagle Scout was MIA, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a Boy Scout board member who advocated letting gay boys join the scouts.

Mr. Trump’s last known involvement with the scouts was in 1989 when he paid Don Jr.’s Boy Scout registration fee. He took the $7 out of his charitable foundation.

More:

“Trump speech to Boy Scout Jamboree elicits widespread criticism for its partisanship, and profanity,” Jackie Calmes, Los Angeles Times

“After Trump Injects Politics Into Speech, Boy Scouts Face Blowback,” Alan Blinder and Mitch Smith, New York Times

“Boy Scouts of America distances itself from partisan politics after Trump speech,’ Politico

“The 14 Most Inappropriate Moments From Trump’s Speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree,” Margaret Hartmann, New York Magazine

“Donald Trump Tramples on Boy Scout Values,” Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker

“Despite that Trump rally, Scouting is about citizenship and togetherness,” Rosecrans Baldwin, Los Angeles Times

Update:

“Boy Scouts dispute Trump claim that their leader called his speech ‘the greatest,'” Jacqueline  Thomsen, The Hill

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Report: Sessions Talked Policy With Russian Diplomat

July 25, 2017

Report: Sessions Talked About Campaign With Russian Diplomat

The Russian ambassador to the U.S. told his superiors that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to Mr. Session’s public assertions and sworn testimony, reports the Washington Post:

“Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials in the United States and in Russia. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak and then said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign.

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he had no recollection of an April encounter — has provided ‘misleading’ statements that are ‘contradicted by other evidence.’ A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had ‘substantive’ discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Sessions has said repeatedly that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials and that it was only in his capacity as a U.S. senator that he met with Kislyak.

‘I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign,’ Sessions said in March when he announced that he would recuse himself from matters relating to the FBI probe of Russian interference in the election and any connections to the Trump campaign.”

— “Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show,” Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Washington Post

President Trump is hinting that he will fire Mr. Sessions and attacking him, but not for campaign collusion or for lying about it. Mr. Trump is upset that Mr. Sessions recused himself on the Russia investigation and isn’t persecuting his former political opponent, like they do in, say, Russia.

More:

“Sessions Discussed Campaign Matters With Russian Ambassador,” Aria Bendix and Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

“Sessions hires his own lawyer,” Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

Related:

“Ex-Bush ethics lawyer: Trump calling for Clinton to be prosecuted is an ‘impeachable offense,'” Aida Chavez, The Hill

“Russian envoy, at heart of U.S. investigations, ends tenure in Washington,” David Shepardson, Reuters

“Kislyak Leaves His Post With Russiagate in His Wake,” Griffin Connolly, Roll Call

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Summer Intern Speaks Outside White House

July 24, 2017

New Jersey youngster Jared Kushner spoke to White House reporters Monday, claiming credit towards his Citizenship Merit Badge. He’s a good boy, say his counselors.

Every summer well-connected, rich white American youths who can afford to work without pay descend upon the Nation’s Capital. They serve a vital function, staffing federal government offices while our elected officials are playing golf at their private clubs. Inevitably, the inexperienced and unsupervised young folks get into trouble. Everybody just shrugs.

More:

“Kushner’s damning account: At the very least, he’s in over his head,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Jared Kushner’s explanations on Russia reveal a man wholly unsuited to his job,” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

“CNN analyst rips Kushner’s statement to shreds: He’s going to solve the Middle East but can’t fill out forms,” Eric W, Dolan, Raw Story

“Jared Kushner Blames Basically Everyone — Donny, His Assistant, His Tough Job — For the Russia Headache,” Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair

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Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting: 8th Man Identified

July 18, 2017

The 8th participant in Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer bearing campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton has been identified. He is Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the California-based representative of Aras Agalarov, the “Russian Donald Trump.” Mr. Kavaladze is a vice president at the Agalarov family‘s Crocus Group real estate company. Earlier in his U.S. business career, Mr. Kavaladze was implicated in a $1.4 billion money-laundering operation.

According to his personal website:

“Ike Kaveladze’s responsibilities pertaining to Crocus’ international development projects include securing and structuring project investments, and negotiating with Chinese and other international contractors. One such project is the construction of the largest institution of higher education in Russia, Far Eastern Federal University in the Primorsky Krai (maritime province) capitol city of Vladivostok. Ike Kaveladze has engaged architects, engineers, designers, and decorators from the United States and elsewhere to work on the construction of the 8.4-million-square-meter campus and other Crocus endeavors across Russia.

Ike Kaveladze earned his undergraduate degree in economics and graduate degree in accounting at the Moscow Academy of Finance, prior to receiving his Master of Business Administration at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Active with governments, businesses, and professionals on three continents, he is a member of the US-Russia Business Council and the Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc.”

So the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort (then Trump campaign manager), Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, translator Anatoli Samochornov, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, music publicist Rob Goldstone, and Crocus Group representative Ike Kaveladze.

Video: Okay, Mr. Kavaladze was technically not the “8th man” at the meeting, he was the “8th person” (one attendee was a woman), but we couldn’t find any music for that.

More:

“Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified,” Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

“Mueller Probing Eighth Man from Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting,” Daily Beast

Update:

“Russian man at Trump Jr meeting had partner with Soviet intelligence ties,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian 

Related:

“Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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Donald Trump Jr., Cover Boy

July 17, 2017

“How bad is it?” asks David Von Drehle in Time magazine, the new issue with Donald Trump Jr. on the cover. Maybe Trump Sr. will put this cover on the walls of his golf course clubhouses.

Donny Junior’s Russian meeting is certainly a front page story, and as more information emerges, it just gets worse. Possible federal election law violation, conspiracy,  and obstruction of justice. That means full employment for Washington’s lawyers for the foreseeable future.

More:

“How Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails Have Cranked Up the Heat on His Family,” David Von Drehle, TIME

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