Tuesday, January 31, 2017


The snake

There is a story Donald Trump liked to tell on the campaign trail. The story of the snake.  The fable goes like this. A “tender-hearted” woman finds a wounded snake on the road. She takes it in and nurses it back to health. The snake, revived, bites her. The woman, dying, asks why. . . . “‘Oh, shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.’”. . .

The vengeful conspiracy theorist as president . . .

The power of the presidency in service of grudges, obsessions, and score settling . . .

Republicans hoped they could control Trump. They were wrong. . . .

There will never be a pivot . . . [read on]

The Justice Dept needs to be independent from any president, and defend THE LAW (remember Nixon and the Saturday Night Massacre). The Acting Attorney General says she isn't convinced that the immigrant ban is legal. So Trump fires her -- then insults her

Remarkably for a sitting president, the White House didn’t just announce Yates’s firing but also attacked her personally, calling her “an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration” who “betrayed the Department of Justice.” . . .

More: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/317018-trump-fires-acting-ag-for-refusing-to-defend-travel-ban 

Repeated comments from President Trump and his advisers about barring Muslims from entering the United States were at the heart of the decision on Monday by the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, to refuse to defend the president’s executive order on immigration . . . Mr. Trump had campaigned on a promise to single out Muslims for immigration restrictions. One of his advisers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, said in an interview that Mr. Trump wanted a Muslim ban but needed “the right way to do it legally.” Mr. Trump said in a later interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network that Christian refugees would be given priority for entry visas to the United States.

And now this

Trump Fires Acting Chief Of Immigration And Customs Enforcement

Checks and balances my ass: in Trump's DC everybody is working for HIM 

Republicans are furious that the White House gave them no notice about the travel ban, then offered little guidance as the policy was haphazardly implemented. . . . However, it appears that the Trump White House actually did work with several Republicans on Capitol Hill – but they were House Judiciary Committee staffers, not members of Congress. They couldn’t tell their bosses because the Trump team had them sign nondisclosure agreements.

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-is-the-big-story 
I guarantee you: career staffers who are hearing about this are gobsmacked. It's unheard of. [read on] 

Short answer: no

Does Donald Trump understand his own executive orders?

Here's an example: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-regulations-idUSKBN15E1QU
President Donald Trump signed an order on Monday that will seek to dramatically pare back federal regulations by requiring agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new rule introduced. "This will be the biggest such act that our country has ever seen."

[NB: The order, in fact, doesn't reduce or cut a single regulation. Not one.]

More: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/01/30/1627349/-One-regulation-enters-two-regulations-leave-Another-brilliant-Trump-executive-order
The deep thinking here certainly seems to go along with the kind of planning and forethought that went into Trump’s other executive orders. . . . 

Why Trump’s ‘one in, two out’ gimmick is a childish mistake

Trump’s order to “kill two regulations for every new one adopted” is a mess 

Trump says we need to keep out the "bad dudes." This is not the way to do it


More: http://www.salon.com/2017/01/30/president-trumps-chaotic-muslim-ban-wasnt-even-discussed-with-his-secretary-of-homeland-security/
Trump’s chaotic Muslim ban wasn’t even discussed with his secretary of homeland security, but Rudy Giuliani knew about it 

Why Trump Keeps Making Up Lies About His Refugee Ban

Trump’s travel ban on ‘bad dudes’ actually keeps out women and children

A few GOPers take a stand against Trump's illegal, unAmerican Muslim ban


And now this: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/01/30/1627316/-Dozens-of-diplomats-plan-dissent-memo-blasting-Trump-s-Muslim-ban
Dozens if not hundreds of career foreign service officers are reportedly planning to oppose Steve Bannon and Donald Trump’s Muslim ban in what Lawfare describes as a “major bureaucratic uprising.” They’re planning a dissent memo, and the draft published at Lawfare hits hard on both the ineffectiveness and immorality of the ban . . . 

State Department staffers go rogue

Many of America’s top CEOs oppose Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration, but won’t speak out . . . they're afraid of retaliation 

Trump’s “Muslim ban” is immoral, ineffective and likely to worsen the problem of global terrorism. As former vice president Dick Cheney, not usually a go-to source of empathetic wisdom, has put it:      

"I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. … I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from."

Here's a list: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/01/republicans-are-not-all-board-trumps-immigration-order

Many of Trump's executive orders aren't, really


There is a petty, small-minded, nasty man in the White House

Schumer Tears Up At Presser Denouncing Trump's Travel Ban

"I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears," Trump said after meeting with small business leaders at the White House. "I’m going to ask him who is his acting coach." 

Is National Security Advisor Michael Flynn already on the outs?



We've gotten to know Steve Bannon -- what about the other Steve (Miller)?


Will Bannon's rise to power threaten Trump's ego? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/31/steve-bannon-take-note-nobody-puts-donny-in-the-corner.html

Trump has a typical made-for-tv moment tonight to announce his Supreme Court nominee


Dems are already planning a filibuster



Remember Gregg Phillips, the fringe activist who is going to prove massive voter fraud?

A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned. Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi . . .

More on the Cabinet hearings

It looks like Trump’s HHS pick didn’t tell Congress the truth about a sweetheart stock deal

More: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/01/tom-price-was-not-100-truthful-about-his-forays-penny-stock-market

Why people are quitting Uber



The Trump gang likes to call the media "the opposition party." And it's going to get worse


The man in charge: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/01/30/1627306/-Steve-Bannon-to-media-You-ll-listen-to-Sean-Spicer-and-you-ll-like-it
Mr. Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, rarely speaks to reporters on the record. But he reached out to a reporter unprompted to praise Mr. Spicer . . . “He’s a fighter,” Mr. Bannon said in a telephone interview, during which he also urged the news media to “keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” “Sean Spicer is much too polite to the media,” Mr. Bannon added. “I’m the guy who wanted them out of the building.”  

How should the media respond? http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/trumpcast/2017/01/this_isn_t_politics_it_s_an_emergency.html

Press secretary Sean Spicer has a distinct mode for telling the press how much he respects their work

‘Utter Nonsense’


'Much To Do About Nothing'

Bonus item: Can't top this one (yes, it's real)

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Monday, January 30, 2017


Steve Bannon called himself a Leninist. What did he mean?

“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed. . . “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.”

More: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/steve-bannon-will-lead-trumps-white-house


Another tenet of Leninism: you have to make things worse in order to make things better

Lenin, the quintessence of self-discipline and advocate of strict discipline within his own party and society, commended the spreading of disorder and discord within "bourgeois" societies, which were at a "lower level" of historical development. "Worse is better" was his slogan. . . .

"Telling the truth is a petty-bourgeois prejudice. Deception, on the other hand, is often justified by the goal." . . .

"Politics," said Lenin quoting the Prussian militarist, Karl von Clausewitz, "is the continuation of war by other means." . . .

I call this "making things worse"

This is nuts:     
  • On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security determined that President Trump's immigration order doesn't apply to green card holders.
  • Later on Friday, Steve Bannon overruled them and said it did.
  • Saturday night, DHS confirmed that the order applied to green card holders.
  • Today, chief of staff Reince Priebus apparently overruled Bannon and said it didn't apply to green card holders after all. 
Who are Bannon and Priebus speaking for? Neither one of them has the authority on their own to issue these directives. DHS Secretary John Kelly has the authority. Whoever's running the Department of Justice has the authority. Donald Trump has the authority. When are we going to hear from one of them?

Watch: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/01/sarah-kendzior-dissects-how-extremists-are
Sarah Kendzior Dissects How The Extremists Are Taking Over The White House

Bannon’s power-grab, so far, has been entirely successful. He and Stephen Miller, a like-minded policy aide of Trump’s, have personally written the executive orders, per Politico, and consulted with virtually no one while doing so. “Inside the West Wing, it is almost impossible for some aides to know what is in the executive orders, staffers say,” the Politico reporters explain. There’s an obvious advantage to this process: Bannon doesn’t have to deal with opposition from inside the administration. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly was only notified of the incoming Muslim ban shortly before it became finalized on Friday, despite the fact that his agency would be tasked with implementing. This means that Kelly had no opportunity to lobby Trump against the policy.  This malevolent drive might lead you to believe that Bannon is some kind of evil genius — that his successful pushing of the Muslim ban, and landing himself on the NSC, has made him into one of the iconic villains he has fondly cited as inspirations in at least one interview.  "Darkness is good," Bannon told Vanity Fair in November. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power.”  But it’s not that simple. Bannon’s approach may very well not be sustainable in the long run. . . . Bannon’s centralization of authority breeds incompetence. When you don’t have input from agencies, nobody knows how to implement the order — as we’ve seen in the chaos at America’s international airports. And when you don’t talk to the government’s lawyers, you open yourself up to lawsuits: the American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a successful suit against part of the immigration ban, and more are coming. Legal experts think these have a good chance to succeed, owing to the incompetence of the EO draft itself. 

More: https://twitter.com/mfrost11/status/825823003896197121?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw 
"Let this sink in: Bannon / a self-destructive anti-Semitic nihilistic pro-Russian anarchist / is effectively running our country."
Why putting Bannon on the NSC is a terrible idea




The Trump gang rolls out onto the Sunday shows to defend this crazy policy. They contradict each other and create NEW legal problems. Some say it's not a "Muslim ban," but others admit that it is

"As far as green card holders moving forward, it doesn't affect them," Priebus said on NBC News' "Meet the Press."
"This order does not impact any green card holders from these seven countries?" Chuck Todd asked.
"Well, of course it does," Priebus replied. "If you're traveling back and forth you're going to be subjected to further screening. I mean, we are going to—"
"Are you going to do that to American citizens as well?" Todd asked.
"I would suspect that if you're an American citizen traveling back and forth to Libya, you're likely to be subjected to further questioning when you come into an airport," Priebus replied.
"Why are you confident that's constitutional?" Todd pressed. "By having to put in an extra hurdle for a green card holder in order to get back into the country, how are you confident that doesn't violate their rights and that it doesn't end up making this order unconstitutional?"

More: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/01/kellyanne-conway-detaining-green-card
Kellyanne Conway: Detaining Green Card Holders Is 'A Small Price To Pay'

Conway Claims Judge's Ruling 'Really Doesn't Affect' Trump's Executive Order

Trump regime obfuscates and lies about chaos created from its Muslim ban

Giuliani: Trump Asked Me How To Enact A Muslim Ban 'Legally'

Trump Advisor's Son Deletes Twitter After Calling Executive Order A 'Muslim Ban'

Team Trump's messy defenses of the immigration order could hurt them in court

It’s Unconstitutional

Yet again, this band of incompetents screws up, utters lies and nonsense, and then when that doesn't work has to retreat in full-out damage control mode

Could the White House have been unprepared for the backlash to the "extreme vetting" executive order? It beggars belief, but the tone of this new statement directly from the President is defensive (I do too have "compassion" for the "suffering"), wounded ("This is not about religion"), self-justifying (Obama did the same thing!), lashing ("this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting"), and bewildered (Why doesn't the media recognize my good intentions?). . .  [read on] 

[Trump] "To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe."

A timely reminder: Trump “still has his Muslim ban promise on his campaign site.”

[NB: I keep saying it, but this is their future. Unpopular, poorly implemented policies that pander to their base and alienate everyone else, including a big chunk of the GOP.]

Yes, it IS a "Muslim ban"

The immigration ban won't work in "making us safe," and is already having damaging repercussions

The order lacks any logic. It invokes the attacks of Sept. 11 as a rationale, while exempting the countries of origin of all the hijackers who carried out that plot and also, perhaps not coincidentally, several countries where the Trump family does business. The document does not explicitly mention any religion, yet it sets a blatantly unconstitutional standard by excluding Muslims while giving government officials the discretion to admit people of other faiths. . . . [read on]

The US government’s own websites are adding to the chaos around Trump’s immigration order

Immigration Ban Is Unlikely to Reduce Terrorist Threat, Experts Say

Trump's incompetent anti-Muslim ban will do nothing to make us safer  

Trump’s “Muslim ban” is a huge gift to ISIS

World leaders speak out on Trump's immigrant ban

Little steps: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rob-portman-extreme-vetting-order-not-properly-vetted
GOP Senator: Trump's 'Extreme Vetting' Order Was 'Not Properly Vetted'

Top GOP senators fear Trump order could become a ‘self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism’ 

Fear, hate, and nationalism


Perfect, in so many ways

Will Ukraine Build a Wall to Keep Out the Russians?

Reince Priebus tries to explain why Jews weren't mentioned in the WH Holocaust statement. Chuck Todd is unusually dogged, and good for him. According to Priebus, "everyone suffered"


It seems we've been the victims of an unfortunate typo. When Trump said "Mexico will pay for the Wall," what he meant was "Medicare will pay for the Wall"


I really don't know how much longer Kellyanne can keep doing this

Kellyanne Conway goes on bonkers rant, calls for Trump's media critics to be fired 

She tweets! http://www.businessinsider.com/conway-on-trump-refugee-ban-get-used-to-it-hes-just-getting-started-2017-1
"Get used to it. @POTUS is a man of action and impact" . . . "I don't think Washington is accustomed to somebody who's just been a brilliant businessman, who's accustomed to delivering and producing results, who's accountable to, in this case, the people," Conway said during her Fox News interview. "Promises made, promises kept," her tweet continued. "Shock to the system. And he's just getting started." 

Back to the "eight years" myth: Trump has ALREADY filed for re-election in 2020


And, by the way: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/01/29/1625407/-The-cloud-of-Trump-s-lies-may-have-a-silver-lining
2020 will be the first time in two decades that a presidential election—remember that the Democratic candidate has won the popular vote in six of the last seven, so we’ll certainly have a fighting chance—coincides with a redistricting year. At the federal level, the only way to not only undo what Trump does but also push through new, strong, progressive policies is to retake the House and Senate, and have enough success at the state level to redraw congressional and state district lines so that the composition of our legislative bodies going forward actually reflects the will of the voters. . .

Also had a huge temper tantrum over the size of his inauguration crowd, insisted he actually won the popular vote and ordered an investigation into non-existent voter fraud. His press people went to the press lied to their faces and called it "alternative facts." Oh and re-instituted and expanded the global gag rule.

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***