This title is an allusion to Hogarth's Rake's Progress, the depiction in oils of a man's character, dissolution, and descent into damnation.  Trumpers chose sides.  I choose truth.



4/20/2021   George W. Bush: Today’s GOP is ‘isolationist’ and ‘nativist’, by Quint Forgey, Politico

Still, Bush remained hopeful that a more moderate Republican — one who supported reasonable gun reform measures, increased public school funding and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, among other policies — could succeed in the party’s 2024 presidential primary.


“I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved, I think the person has a shot,” he said.


As for the Jan. 6 insurrection perpetrated by supporters of former President Donald Trump, “it did make me sick. I felt ill. And I just couldn’t believe it,” Bush said.


“What’s really troubling is how much misinformation there is and the capacity of people to spread all kinds of untruth,” he added. “And I don’t know what we’re going to do about that.”

4/15/2021   What Ever Happened to Donald Trump? by David A. Graham, The Atlantic

Although making any statements about Trump’s relative irrelevance feels like tempting fate, he has remained unexpectedly peripheral since leaving office. You’re not imagining it. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump showed recently that Google search interest and cable-news images of Trump have both returned to roughly where they were before he ran for office. Only cable-news mentions remain significantly elevated, but even they have dropped steeply.


An outburst over the weekend—speaking to a room of Republican officials and donors, Trump called the most powerful elected Republican in the nation a “dumb son of a bitch”—underscores his fade. The speech got some attention, but not much. The time when “covfefe” could consume the nation for days on end is, mercifully, past.

4/12/2021   Trump Says New York Tax Law Doesn’t Apply Because He’s Not President, by Joe Schneider, Bloomberg

“While the Trust Act is not the clearest statute, the best reading is that it does not apply to former presidents,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in a report to U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols in Washington, asking that he accept their interpretation.


Trump had also sued the New York attorney general’s office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to block them from handing over the information to Congress.


The case is Trump v. Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, 19-cv-2173, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

4/8/2021   Manhattan district attorney seizes evidence from Trump executive’s former daughter-in-law, by Shayna Jacobs, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell, The Washington Post

4/8/2021   Former In-Law of Trump Executive Gives Prosecutors Boxes of Documents, by Jonah E. Bromwich and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times

Prosecutors have focused on the elder Mr. Weisselberg in recent weeks as they look into whether Mr. Trump and his company manipulated the value of properties it owned in order to obtain favorable loans and tax benefits. They have subpoenaed Mr. Weisselberg’s personal bank records and asked questions about gifts he and his family received from the former president.

4/5/2021   Trump’s Campaign Bilked His Fans Out of Millions Because of Course It Did, by By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

It is a testament to Trump’s grifting genius that his victims continue to venerate him. Goldmacher’s story contains this utterly perfect sentence, describing one of the victims who was tricked into giving the campaign more than ten times what he intended to donate: “Like multiple other donors interviewed, though, he held Mr. Trump himself blameless, telling the Times, ‘I’m 100 percent loyal to Donald Trump.’”


Trump’s political career was — or, more pessimistically, is — an extension of his grifting career. He recognized conservative media as the perfect vehicle to identify a new and vast collection of marks. He ran as a populist and used the trust his voters placed in him to govern as a plutocrat. All the promises of restoring the factories that disappeared in the 1980s simply gave way to another tax cut for the rich.


Almost every confidence artist has had to flee from his victims after they realized the trick. Trump may be the greatest con man in history. His victims still adore him. 

3/25/2021   Prosecutors are Lining Up Witnesses to Explain Donald Trump's Many Alleged Crimes to a Jury, by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

Prosecutors are looking to gather information and testimony from bankers, bookkeepers, real estate consultants, and others close to the Trump Organization who could provide insights on its dealings, according to interviews and court filings. The process of identifying all witnesses and targets could take months.


“The next phase is identifying targets” for subpoenas and testimony, said one person familiar with the case…. Vance’s investigators need insiders who can provide the narrative behind any conflicting numbers on Trump’s financial records and testify to Trump’s knowledge and intent, said former prosecutors of white-collar fraud cases.


“Even in the most heavily document-dependent case, you need witnesses to tell the story,” said Reed Brodsky, a longtime white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor.



Jennifer Weisselberg said she believed her father-in-law would never testify against Trump voluntarily. She envisions Allen Weisselberg flipping only if he or his sons are facing prosecution. But no one, she said, knows more about Trump’s finances.

3/18/2021   Donald Trump is Drowning in Criminal Investigations and Legally Screwed, by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

For much of his adult life, Donald Trump was known for going after his enemies with frivolous lawsuits, so much so that by the time he ran for president in 2016, he and his businesses had been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions. According to a 2016 report, Trump had no qualms about responding to “even small disputes with overwhelming legal force” and didn’t “hesitate to deploy his wealth and legal firepower against adversaries with limited resources,” sometimes refusing “to pay real estate brokers, lawyers, and other vendors.”


In other words, he was a consummate bully who used his money and power to screw over little people, and never worried about the tables being turned, as he would simply countersue, like his family business did in the 1970s when the Justice Department accused it of discriminatory housing practices.


But as the old saying goes, “karma is a bitch and she relishes the idea of a litigious a-hole living out his last days in prison."

2/22/2021   Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Final Bid to Block Release of Tax Returns, by Adam Liptak, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Benjamin Weiser, The New York Times

The ruling is also a big victory for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. He will now have access to eight years’ worth of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, as well as other financial records that Mr. Vance’s investigators view as vital to their inquiry into whether the former president and his company manipulated property values to obtain bank loans and tax benefits


Last summer, the justices rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that state prosecutors cannot investigate a sitting president, ruling that no citizen was above “the common duty to produce evidence.” This time, the court denied Mr. Trump’s emergency request to block a subpoena for his records, effectively ending the case.

2/20/2021   An Ex-KGB Agent Says Trump Was a Russian Asset Since 1987. Does it Matter? by Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer

Reporter Craig Unger got a former KGB spy to confirm on the record that Russian intelligence had been working Trump for decades. In his new book, “American Kompromat,” Unger interviewed Yuri Shvets, who told him that the KGB manipulated Trump with simple flattery. “In terms of his personality, the guy is not a complicated cookie,” he said, “his most important characteristics being low intellect coupled with hyperinflated vanity. This makes him a dream for an experienced recruiter.”

2/12/2021   GOP super-lawyer Ted Olson cuts off donations to Republicans who refuse to convict Trump, by Bob Brigham, RawStory

Olson was the U.S. Solicitor General during George W. Bush's first term. His c.v. is major, Dude. 

1/21/2021    How will Trump's Mar-a-Lago-neighbors enforce the 1993 covenant that he cannot stay more than 21 days a year and 7 consecutive days when he has spent 130 days during his presidency and it is registered as his permanent Florida address? by Nelson McKeeby, Quora

- from the discussion:


The problem for Trump is he is taking two different legal ideals and jamming them together illegally.


Mar-a-Lago is a house, in which case he owes education and property taxes and cannot run a business there.


Mar-a-Lago is a business, in which case he cannot live there or protect it through homestead.


"The Trump name is on par with Sirhan Sirhan in terms of popularity."   [Editor's note: This one is my favorite. }


1/21/2021   Donald Trump has a money problem, by Chris Cillizza, The Point, CNN Politics


1/20/2021   Last-minute Trump appointee at NSA put on administrative leave due to inspector general probe, by Zachary Cohen and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

"The circumstances and timing -- immediately after President Trump's defeat in the election -- of the selection of Mr. Ellis, and this eleventh-hour effort to push this placement in the last three days of this Administration are highly suspect," Pelosi's letter read.

1/20/2021   Statement from the  White House Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency

President Donald J. Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals.


Linked to is a list of the Names and Details

1/18/2021    Attorney Roberta Kaplan is about to make Trump’s life extremely difficult, by Karen Heller, The Washington Post

Pending for the soon-to-be South Florida retiree is a trio of lawsuits that allege defamation, fraud and more fraud — all of which are helmed by one attorney.


Roberta Kaplan’s clients include writer E. Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation case after Trump claimed she was “totally lying” about her allegation that he raped her a quarter-century ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room, and niece Mary L. Trump, who claims that Trump and two of his siblings deprived her of an inheritance worth millions.


“My maternal grandmother always hated a bully,” Kaplan says during a series of phone interviews. “One really good job for going after bullies is to be a lawyer.”


“I became the go-to person to sue the president,” says Kaplan, 54, with considerable relish.

1/17/2021   Giuliani associate told ex-CIA officer a Trump pardon would 'cost $2Million’ – report, by Martin Pengelly, The Guardian US Edition

John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for identity leak, said his pursuit of a pardon came up in a meeting with Giuliani last year


The former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for leaking the identity of an operative involved in torture, told the Times he laughed at the remark from the associate of Giuliani, the former New York mayor who as Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly a possible pardon recipient himself.


“Two million bucks – are you out of your mind?” Kiriakou reportedly said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.”


An associate of Kiriakou reported the conversation to the FBI, the Times said.

1/17/2021   Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump, by Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel, The New York Times

When Mr. Giuliani went to the bathroom at one point, one of his confidants turned to Mr. Kiriakou and suggested Mr. Giuliani could help. But “it’s going to cost $2 million — he’s going to want two million bucks,” Mr. Kiriakou recalled the associate saying.


“I laughed. Two million bucks — are you out of your mind?” Mr. Kiriakou said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.”


Mr. Kiriakou said he did not pursue the arrangement, but he shared the anecdote at a party last fall. A friend, a Transportation Security Administration whistle-blower and former air marshal named Robert J. MacLean, became alarmed and feared Mr. Giuliani might be selling pardons.


Without telling Mr. Kiriakou, Mr. MacLean filed a report with the F.B.I. “I felt duty-bound to report it,” Mr. MacLean said. Neither he nor Mr. Kiriakou heard from the authorities.

1/16/2021   Trump’s ‘Law and Order’: One More Deceptive Tactic Is Exposed, by Elaina Plott, The Washington Post

This month, it was a largely white mob trawling the Capitol grounds with Trump banners and zip ties, and killing a police officer. And yet the president did not preside over a tear-gas-fogged show of force, as he had during a protest for racial justice before the White House last summer. Instead, he praised these supporters on the evening of the riot — “you’re very special,” he assured them, “we love you” — before trotting out the “law and order” comment the next day under pressure from advisers.


“This ‘Blue Lives Matter’ stuff was just a code word for race that they were using,” said Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican strategist. “‘Law and order’? Here you have a police officer murdered on Capitol grounds, and the White House doesn’t even acknowledge it. It’s incredible.”

1/16/2021   Historians having to tape together records that Trump tore up, by Guardian Staff and agencies, The Guardian US

Implications for public record and legal proceedings after administration seized or destroyed papers, notes and other information

1/16/2021   Trump to flee Washington and seek rehabilitation in a MAGA oasis: Florida, by Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker, The Washington Post


1/15/2021   The Trial of Donald Trump Must Tell the Full Story of the Capitol Insurrection, by By Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

An attempt to tell the story of the insurrection—and the story of the Trump Presidency, which made it possible—would not be efficient. It would have to be sprawling, ambitious, grand. It would require the President-elect and senators to use their full political and intellectual muscle. This needs to be done not because it is necessary to punish and banish Trump, but because this country cannot rely only on snatches of stories that float haphazardly through non-overlapping realities. Biden certainly fears that insisting on a deep and broad Senate trial would further alienate Trump’s supporters. But if impeachment is allowed to fizzle, or even to proceed in the most efficient way possible, that will guarantee nearly half of Americans will watch the process without having to challenge the notion that the Democrats are simply out to get Trump. Can they be pulled in by a more detailed, more truthful, and undoubtedly more troubling story? We cannot know—but without telling a story we cannot live.


1/14/2021   Trump’s future looks rotten,  Opinion by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

It is not clear how many people are going to pay to belong to a seditionist’s Mar-a-Lago Club or stay at any of his properties.

1/14/2021   Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy was pushed aggressively by Jeff Sessions, despite warnings, Justice Dept. review finds, by Nick Miroff and Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post

During the crackdown, the government took more than 3,000 children from their parents, placing them in government shelters while adults were jailed. Some of the mothers and fathers were deported while their children remained in government custody, and in the ensuing chaos, the government had no functional plan to reunite the families.


More than two years later, attorneys representing the families have been unable to contact more than 500 of the parents whose children were taken. Some of those minors remain in the United States with relatives.

1/13/2021   The Senate can constitutionally hold an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office, by Lawrence H. Tribe, The Washington Post

The Constitution references impeachment in six places but nowhere answers that precise question. Article I, Section 3 comes closest to delineating the contours of the Impeachment Power, instructing that “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.”


These “judgments” — removal and disqualification — are analytically distinct and linguistically divisible. Their divisibility was first established by the Senate during the 1862 trial of federal-turned-confederate Judge West Humphreys and reaffirmed by a parliamentary inquiry during the 1936 trial of impeached Judge Halsted Ritter. The only court to address the issue agreed with the Senate that an impeachment trial could proceed even after the individual was no longer in office.

1/13/2021   Trump’s impeachments don’t even reflect his worst offense, Opinon by Matt Bai, The Washington Post

The virus that struck suddenly last spring would have challenged any president. But the most obvious responses necessary to defend the nation — the most basic measures that every expert recommended — were clear and cost-free.


Be honest with people. Ask them to take the simplest precautions. Tell states to treat the crisis seriously.


Had Trump done any of that for more than a day — had he simply exhorted his followers to wear masks and socially distance for a while, had he backed common-sense restrictions on public gatherings for just a few months — the nation would be in a very different place.


Instead, Trump decided in that moment that the virus could be used to gin up the one thing he needed in order to win reelection: a culture war. Ever the divider, he saw its potential as a giant wedge between urban and rural, between growing communities and those nursing grudges against modernity. Between his people and everyone else.


So Trump did something unconscionable. He denied the virus and mocked the masks. He encouraged every dim-bulbed, Trump-wannabe politician in statehouses around the country to defy the immovable laws of science.

1/13/2021   Republicans just blew their chance to move on from Trump, Opinion by Max Boot, The Washington Post

So I tuned in to the House impeachment debate on Wednesday, with popcorn and a cup of coffee close at hand, full of anticipation. Would this be the day when the Republican Party finally began to turn the page on the odious Trump era? Would this be the moment when the GOP rediscovered some higher principle beyond “Trump can do no wrong”? I was searching hard for signs of hope, and I found a few — but not nearly as many as I would have liked.


For the most part, the Republican members of House who rose to speak sounded just like the anchors and guests on Fox News — which is no doubt where most of their tedious talking points came from. Few Republicans actually defended what Trump did in inciting a mob to invade the Capitol — just as a year ago, when Trump was last impeached, few defended his attempted blackmail of Ukraine. Once again, Republicans resorted to denial and deflection.

1/13/2021   Finally, these Republicans can stomach Trump no more, Opinion by Dana Milbank, The Washington Post

Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House and scion of a revered Republican family, changed the debate overnight when she said she would vote to impeach the man who “lit the flame” of last week’s deadly attack on Congress. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” she said.


Lesser-known but no less brave was Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), who at 1:42 p.m. Wednesday stood on the floor and announced: “There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions. . . . With a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.”


Less than five minutes later, another Republican from Washington, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, rose to declare that she, too, would vote to impeach. “I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I am afraid that my country will fail,” she said.


In the Oval Office, Trump must have feared a stampede. Within minutes, the White House issued a statement from the president: “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence.” Trump’s chief defender, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), quickly read it aloud in the chamber.


If only Republicans had spoken up earlier. If only, even now, more Republicans could overcome their fear of Trump and denounce him for inciting insurrection, they could rid the party of this cancer.

1/13/2021   Trump is impeached yet again. But most GOP members shrug at sedition, Opinion by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

1/13/2021   Want unity? Impeaching Trump was the first step, Opinion by EJ Dionne, The Washington Post

Two things are essential for our nation: We must move beyond the vicious, mendacious and anti-democratic presidency of Donald Trump. And Republicans must recognize both the fact of his electoral defeat and his role in inspiring insurrection against our nation’s system of free government.

1/13/2021   Trump’s stench will cling to Republicans long after he’s gone, Opinion by Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

1/13/2021   Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Are Reportedly Already Unwelcome at Their Billionaire’s Bunker Country Club, by Emily Kirkpatrick, Vanity Fair

A source says the outgoing presidential advisers “need not apply,” suggesting that they “lunch with their fellow patriots” at Mar-a-Lago.


The first daughter seems to believe she can emerge from all this unscathed.


(Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the couple had a serious conversation deciding—as though it was actually a possibility—that she would be the one to ascend to the Oval Office. “It’ll be me. I’ll be the president,” we assume the first daughter said in her whisper voice, touching Jared’s face in a gentle way so as to not break it.)

1/9/2021   The Inciter-in-Chief, by David Remnick, The New Yorker

How surprising can Donald Trump’s recent provocation be when for years he has served as an inspiration to bigots everywhere?


At midday, Trump went to the Ellipse and spoke at a rally of maga supporters whom he had called on to help overturn the outcome of a free and fair election. From the podium, he said that the vote against him was “a criminal enterprise.” He told the crowd, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He raged on like a wounded beast for about an hour, thanking his supporters for their “extraordinary love” and urging them to march to the Capitol: “I’ll be there with you.”


Trump, of course, would not be there with them.


The insurrection lasted four hours. Once the Capitol was cleared, the solemn assurances that “this is not who we are” began.

1/7/2021   Trump’s Reckoning—and America’s, by Susan B. Glasser

For four years, Trump has made war on the constitutional order, on the institutions of American democracy, and on anyone who stood in his way. Almost all of the Republicans on Capitol Hill let him do it. They aided and abetted him. They voted to acquit him of impeachment charges. They endorsed him for reëlection and even acceded to his request not to bother with a Republican Party platform. The Party’s ideology, henceforth, would be whatever Trump wanted it to be.


When Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, bragged about Trump’s successful “hostile takeover” of the Republican Party, he was, in a toxically untruthful Administration, for once telling the truth.


Maybe the first daughter shouldn’t have called the violent protesters “American Patriots”?


One person has reportedly been shot.


12/18/2020   Was It Worth It?  by Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic

Anyone who went to work for Trump inside or outside the government surely knew the terms of the bargain. They’d be answering to an untested and impulsive president. They weren’t getting Dwight Eisenhower as a boss — they were getting Dwight Schrute.


Others argued that boycotting the Trump administration would have exposed the country to more harm. Even John Bolton isn’t sorry he took the job. Bolton — who was ousted last year as national security adviser, quickly became a target of Trump’s, and is now among the president’s most outspoken critics — saw himself as a bulwark against an untutored president. “He wasn’t prepared when he went in, and on January 20, he’ll be barely more prepared than when he started,” Bolton told me. Working on important national-security issues under Trump “really has added significance” because of the dangers the president posed. “That’s not to say that there’s a record of achievement — more a record of damage control. But that just highlights the reason to do it.”


“The vast majority of people who worked in the White House were decent people who were doing the best they could to serve the nation,” John Kelly, the second and longest-serving of Trump’s four White House chiefs of staff, told me. “They’ve unfortunately paid quite a price for that in reputation and future employment. They don’t deserve that. They deserve better than that, because they kept the train from careening off the tracks.


“The climate — the work environment — is always set by the boss,” added Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general who left as his rapport with Trump deteriorated. “And people, generally speaking, endured it as long as they could. Until they couldn’t.”


9/27/2020  18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records, by David Leonhardt, The New York Times 


12/8/2017   Commentary: I study liars. I’ve never seen one like Donald Trump, by Bella DePaulo, The Chicago Tribune

The most stunning way Trump's lies differed from our participants', though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump's lies were hurtful or disparaging. For example, he proclaimed that John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey, all career intelligence or law enforcement officials, were "political hacks." He said that "the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close." He insisted that other "countries, they don't put their finest in the lottery system. They put people probably in many cases that they don't want." And he claimed that "Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities."

4/8/2019:  Trump Tower of Babel, Adriana's Blah-g

Separate from the Las Vegas Strip, sits Trump's monument of gaud. His bright gold building is not part of the Strip and sits off in the distance all by itself.


I imagine our tightwad idiot president purchasing the cheaper, non prime real estate with Russian money probably thinking, in all his narcissism, that the Strip would follow him. 11 years later, it hasn’t.


His golden tower sits off in the horizon in mocking symbolism of the con man who has never been accepted by the big boys. They shunned him in New York and Las Vegas appears to have done the same.


He preaches intolerance and has everyone speaking different languages. This suits him fine because as long as we are unable to find common ground and unity, this disgusting man continues to rule over a confused, ‘scattered’ people.

5/3/2019   Infrastructure Week Became a Joke. Now It’s for Real., by Elaina Plott, The Atlantic

Somewhere along the way, Infrastructure Week became an internet meme, a symbol of the White House’s inability to stay on message and to keep the president on message, too. The administration’s repeated attempt to drive a policy conversation had become something like a bizarre game of telephone, the initial message about fixing roads and bridges somehow morphing into talk of neo-Nazis and porn stars. Yet even if each Infrastructure Week generated no actual legislative progress, it at least made for an amusing intersection of Washington and internet culture. 

5/7/2019    Trump Is Governing by Grievance, by Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic

Trump gets distracted. He tweets. His staff reacts. That’s how whims harden into White House messaging. “The strategy in the White House, on all things, is to wait for the president to tweet and then try to deliver on the tweet,” says Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.


In his book about Clinton’s presidency, The Survivor, John F. Harris describes a scene in which Representative Tom DeLay, one of the former president’s chief Republican detractors and an impeachment crusader, came to the White House at Clinton’s invitation for a ceremony about adoption. Clinton said at the event that his “heart just melted” when he read an article about how DeLay was committed to adoption and foster parenting. The moment was emblematic of Clinton’s capacity to compartmentalize. “He was able to continue to reach out to Republicans while they were trying to impeach him,” Lockhart says. “Trump makes things very difficult for himself because every day he poisons the well.”

June 2019   An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry, by David A. Graham, Adrienne Green, Cullen Murphy, and Parker Richards, The Atlantic

His racism and intolerance have always been in evidence; only slowly did he begin to understand how to use them to his advantage.


The first quotation from Donald Trump ever to appear in The New York Times came on October 16, 1973. Trump was responding to charges filed by the Justice Department alleging racial bias at his family’s real-estate company. “They are absolutely ridiculous,” Trump said of the charges. “We have never discriminated, and we never would.”


In the years since then, Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities. His statements have been reflected in his behavior—from public acts (placing ads calling for the execution of five young black and Latino men accused of rape, who were later shown to be innocent) to private preferences (“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” a former employee of Trump’s Castle, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, told a writer for The New Yorker). Trump emerged as a political force owing to his full-throated embrace of “birtherism,” the false charge that the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States. His presidential campaign was fueled by nativist sentiment directed at nonwhite immigrants, and he proposed barring Muslims from entering the country. In 2016, Trump described himself to The Washington Post as “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”

6/30/2019:  Imagining Post-Trump Nationalism, by Emma Green, The Atlantic

The small conservative magazine First Things aims to reclaim what has become a dirty word in the Trump era.

7/8/2019:  Trump has referred to his Wharton degree as ‘super genius stuff.’ An admissions officer recalls it differently, by Michael Kranish, The Washington Post

By the time Trump released his autobiography, “The Art of the Deal,” in 1987, he had embraced the idea of what he called “truthful hyperbole.” The key to promotion, he explained, “is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

7/9/2020   The Jeffrey Epstein Case Is Like Nothing I’ve Seen Before, by Ken White, The Atlantic

Great wealth insulates people from consequences, but not always, absolutely, or forever.


Ken White is an attorney and former federal prosecutor

7/9/2019:   Trump’s tariff claims are demonstrably false. Here’s why. By Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca, The Washington Post

First, foreign countries don’t pay a dime of his tariffs. Tariffs are taxes on imports — paid by the importers, not by the exporters. The president’s advisers know this, and therefore try to explain away his “China pays the tariffs” claim the way he explains away his “Mexico pays for the wall” claim. Mexico does not “write a check” for the wall, he admitted, but (somehow) pays through changes in trade flows that will (someday) emerge from his NAFTA revisions. Likewise, China does not actually pay the president’s tariffs, trade adviser Peter Navarro explained, but “bears most of the burden of the tariffs” by lowering its export prices to offset them.


Fortunately, we can test this claim. Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes an aggregate index of the pre-tariff prices of imported Chinese goods. Any Chinese price cuts would cause this index to fall.


Given that tariffs last year raised the import costs of Chinese goods roughly 6 percent on average, if Chinese firms had cut prices to offset Trump’s tariffs the index would have fallen 6 percent since last June — when the trade war started. Yet the index has fallen barely 1 percent, and at least some of that tiny decline can be explained by Chinese currency depreciation — which makes Chinese goods cheaper for U.S. importers. There is, therefore, no evidence supporting Navarro’s claim. Americans are, in fact, bearing the burden of Trump’s China tariffs.

7/13/2019   It’s a Precarious Time for Any Official in Trump’s Orbit, by Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic

Relying on a string of officials holding jobs on a temporary basis, Trump is sitting atop a hollowed-out administration that is lacking in the permanent leadership needed to manage escalating foreign and domestic crises, good-government experts told me. Signs suggest the churn isn’t about to stop.

7/16/2019   The One Color the White House Sees Clearly, by David A. Graham, The Atlantic

In some ways, President Donald Trump refuses to follow any of the established rules, like avoiding open racism. In others, he is perfectly derivative—for example, when called on his racist remarks, the president reverted to one of the most tired cliches in the book:


As Christopher Petrella and Justin Gomer wrote in an April Washington Post essay on the history of “racist bones,” the phrase gained currency during the Reagan administration. When confronted about the racial impacts of its policies, the White House would simply insist it didn’t see color; the policies were intended to affect everyone the same. It took to citing Martin Luther King Jr.’s exhortation to judge people on their character rather than skin color: “This embrace of colorblindness—a selective and distorted reading of what King actually advocated—enabled Reagan to frame his relentless attacks on civil rights as motivated by a morally righteous and apolitical commitment to equality.”


The problem is that Trump and his administration are not especially good at making this deniability plausible. This is the difference between Ronald Reagan and Trump. In 1980, Reagan would happily go to Neshoba County, Mississippi, near where three civil-rights workers had been murdered 14 years earlier, and talk about states’ rights—another “color-blind” Trojan horse for race—but Reagan and his defenders were at least willing to feign outrage at the suggestion that race was a factor.


Trump, on the other hand, has a long and undeniable record of singling people out by race. He cannot keep the ruse up, and often the mask slips. It slipped on the campaign trail in 2016, when Trump spotted a man in the crowd and excitedly said, “Look at my African American over here!” It slipped when Trump was unwilling to straightforwardly condemn a white-supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.


It also slipped today, when Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to argue that it was standard to ask people about their background by asking a reporter where he was from. But Conway made two mistakes. First, she claimed falsely that Trump had “said ‘originally.’ He said ‘originally from.’” (In fact, he referred to the “countries” that they “originally came from.”) Second, and more importantly, she asked the question of a Jewish reporter—immediately raising the specter of anti-Semitism.

8/23/2019:   Trump’s trade war shows the reality of ‘America First’ in action, by George Will


11/18/2019:  White House Denies Trump Health Emergency, by Peter Baker, The New York Times

Two days after a mysterious, unannounced hospital visit, President Trump’s physician issued a late-night statement attributing it to “regular, primary preventative care.”

12/12/2019:   Trump is getting played by China on trade, by Josh Rogin, The Washington Post

1/27/2020:  Four big takeaways from the explosive John Bolton revelations, by Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

1/28/2020:  Bolton isn’t just selling books. He’s saving his legacy, by Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post

1/28/2020:  John Bolton could be Trump’s John Dean, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

2/24/2020:  Overhyped Coronavirus Weaponized Against Trump, by Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH: Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. (interruption) You think I’m wrong about this? You think I’m missing it by saying that’s... (interruption) Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.

[Editor:  Fuck You and your Lies, Rush ]

3/20/2020:  You Cheered as He Fucked Up. No Take Backs, Trumpists, by Rick Wilson, Daily Beast

The cliché about authoritarian leaders being strong but brittle is coming true with Donald Trump. The cost of this lesson will be tallied in lives and a wrecked economy.


Donald Trump and his fans are learning that karmic externalities are a bitch. They're learning that you can get away with a chain of scams, business failures, bankruptcies, and branding disasters and win the presidency but still fail utterly as a president and a person.


His enablers know the truth and have tried to turn the battleship of bullshit toward it. They know Trump didn't just mishandle the Coronavirus crisis, and he did so with his political standing and benefit in mind. Trump spent six weeks claiming to his soft-minded followers that the worst public health crisis since the 1918 H1N1 Spanish Flu was a fake news Democratic media hoax.

4/2/2020:  Authoritarian Populists Have Six Classic Moves. Trump’s Response to COVID-19 Uses Five of Them, by Kristy Parker and Yascha Mounk, The Atlantic

Donald Trump, to put it politely, does not fit the mold of a disciplined strategist. But, guided by his instincts, and believing that he alone represents the people, he chafes against restrictions on his powers. Over time, he has corrupted the purpose of an ever-growing list of democratic institutions, making them serve his own interests instead of the public good.


While a disciplined autocrat might be more obviously dangerous to American democracy than an erratic one such as Trump, the latter’s actions fit a similar template that bodes ill for American institutions. Recent history shows that authoritarian populists engage in six categories of assaults on democracy, of which seizing raw executive power is but one. As president, Trump has engaged in each of these behaviors: spreading disinformation, quashing dissent, politicizing independent institutions, amassing executive power, delegitimizing communities, and corrupting elections.

4/28/2020: America’s Elections Won’t Be the Same After 2020, by Russell Berman and Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic

Democracy in America has already changed so much that the way citizens vote today would be unrecognizable to the nation’s Founders. Women and African Americans secured the franchise just in the past century, after decades of repression and long, painful campaigns for equal rights. The secret ballot—a custom now cherished as inviolable—did not become the norm across the U.S. until well into the 1800s. More recently, the expansion of early voting has elongated elections by days and weeks, challenging the very concept of Election Day.

4/28/2020:  GOP Stimulus Plan Is a Trillion-Dollar Trump Re-Election Fund, by Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast

To watch these people who’ve spent 40 years on the Government Is Evil beat see that now we need government exposes the lie at the heart of two generations of conservative rhetoric.

5/8/2020:  William Barr and his henchmen must be held accountable, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

5/15/2020:  Washington needs a new U.S. attorney, The Editorial Board, The Washington Post

5/21/2020:  The System Failed the Test of Trump, by David Frum, The Atlantic

Have you ever known anyone swindled by a scam? It’s remarkable how determined they remain to defend the swindler, and for how long—and how they try to shift the blame to those who tried to warn them of the swindle. The pain of being seen as a fool hurts more than the loss of money; it’s more important to protect the ego against indignity than to visit justice upon the perpetrator. We human beings so often prefer a lie that affirms us to a truth that challenges us.


Americans are living now through the worst pandemic in a century and the severest economic crisis since the Great Depression. At every turn, President Donald Trump has made the crises worse. Had somebody else been president in December 2019—Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush—fewer Americans would have met untimely deaths; fewer Americans would now be unemployed; fewer businesses would be heading toward bankruptcy.

5/26/2020:  ‘Fox & Friends’ Confronts Kayleigh McEnany With Chris Wallace Criticism, by Matt Wilstein, Daily Beast

“Were you questioning the religious beliefs of the press?” Brian Kilmeade asked Kayleigh McEnany directly.


About halfway through her appearance on that show Tuesday morning, Kilmeade brought up a comment McEnany made during her Friday press conference. “Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed,” she told reporters, some of whom objected in the moment to that blatant condescension.


As Kilmeade put it, “Some of the press got insulted,” before reading McEnany part of what Wallace said about her comments on his Sunday show.


“Let me just say, Sam Donaldson and me in the Reagan White House, we were pretty tough on the White House press secretaries and we never had our religious beliefs questioned or were lectured on what we should ask,” Wallace said. Kilmeade left out the part where Wallace said that in his six years covering the White House he “never saw a White House press secretary act like that.”

5/27/2020:  If Trump Moves RNC, ‘Our Whole Future Is Gone’, by Hunter Woodall, Daily Beast

President Trump’s threat to move the Republican convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, sent chills through a business community already suffering from COVID-19 shutdowns.

5/28/2020   The Karen in Chief, by David A. Graham, The Atlantic

The term is most commonly applied to middle-aged women—but why abide by that sexist standard? A man can easily be a Karen, as Donald Trump is proving this week. When Trump gets sufficiently angry about anyone who dares criticize him, he is quick to work the referees, attempting to use the force of the law to bully the critics into submission and to try to intimidate would-be critics from opening their mouths. That’s what Trump is doing in resurfacing old and spurious accusations of murder against the TV host Joe Scarborough, and in preparing an executive order to punish social-media companies after Twitter dared to fact-check his words.

5/29/2020:  Trump is the Looter, by David Frum, The Atlantic

5/29/2020:  How Dare All These People Die and Threaten Donald Trump’s Re-Election Chances, by Molly Jong-Fast, Daily Beast

Trump and his supporters feel (whether they admit it or not) that Trump is the center of the entire Earth and the media ecosystem, ergo anything that happens in the world is actually happening to Trump primarily. “Deadly pandemic kills a hundred thousand American souls” is merely a Democratic plot to make the president look bad. It seems too nuts to be true but various members of the Trumpy media continually imply it, and then Eric Trump went as far as to say it.


In February, when the coronavirus was still raging mainly in Wuhan, the president tweeted, “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Coronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.” His supporters agreed. Rush Limbaugh told his audience on February 24, “Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump.”

6/2/2020:  Trump Is No Richard Nixon, by David Frum, The Atlantic

In 1968, Nixon offered a promise of peace and order. Today, Trump offers only conflict.

6/3/2020:  Maybe there is no floor for Trump’s support, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

6/4/2020:  Inside the Wild Race for the Right to Host 'Nightmare' RNC, by Hunter Woodall, Hanna Trudo and Sam Brodey, Daily Beast

6/5/2020:  The Republicans Telling Their Voters to Ignore Trump, by Russell Berman, The Atlantic

There’s a major complication in President Donald Trump’s recent crusade against voting by mail, which he has called “a scam” that will lead to “the greatest Rigged Election” in history: In states that Trump desperately needs to win this fall, Republicans love it.

6/6/2020:  Hundreds gather in Shelby Township for road rally to support Trump, meet candidates, by Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press

6/7/2020  Joe Biden has doubled his lead over Donald Trump in Michigan, poll says, by Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

6/8/2020:  Will New York’s High Society Finally Turn on Ivanka Trump? By Hannah Seligson, Daily Beast

6/9/2020: Trump Camp Runs Ads on D.C. Cable to Ease the Boss’ Anxieties and Buck Up Congressional GOPers, by Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast

6/10/2020:  Trump’s bluster about ‘antifa’ and the protests takes another hit, by Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

6/10/2020  Trump is spreading a dangerous conspiracy theory about antifa, Editorial Board, The Washington Post

June 11:  Why Republicans Still Can’t Quit Trump, by Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic

Almost all observers in both parties that I’ve spoken with agree that a Trump loss will embolden the Republicans who have been most skeptical about his message and agenda to more loudly press their case. Yet many remain dubious that whatever happens in November, those critics can assemble a majority inside the party by 2024—one that’s eager to reconsider the racial nationalism and anti-elite populism that has electrified big segments of the Republican base but alienated young people, minorities, and a growing number of previously Republican-leaning suburbanites.


That means a Republican Party committed to Trump’s strategy of maximizing support among the white voters most uneasy with America’s demographic and social changes may endure for years, even as the nation’s racial and religious diversity inexorably grows. That view is common, though not unchallenged, inside the GOP, both among those who welcome and fear that prospect.

June 11:  Trump’s most loyal media ally promised a pro-Trump poll. It didn’t deliver — and then pulled its story, by Philip Bump, The Washington Post

CNN’s release of a poll this week showing President Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden by 14 points nationally clearly rattled the president and his reelection campaign. In short order, Trump tweeted out a memo making various allegations about how and why CNN conducted the poll, each assertion ludicrous and easily debunked. On Wednesday, the campaign escalated its efforts to portray CNN’s poll as unfair, demanding that CNN retract the poll and issue an apology.


CNN’s attorneys, with complete and understandable justification, declined to do so.

June 11:  Trump’s irrationality is undermining his own campaign, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

June 13:  An Anti-Trump Slam Dunk, by Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

On the issue of race, America’s Coach boxes out America’s Cretin.

June 14:  Trump Aides Know His Polls Are Terrible—And Tell Him Otherwise, by Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

“There are a few pollsters who are bought and paid for, and they will tell you [the client] what you want to hear,” Frank Luntz, a famed-GOP pollster and Trump-skeptical conservative, said, without naming names. “There are pollsters [for whom] if the check is big enough, the lie will be big enough.”

“I don’t envy those who have to tell Donald Trump what he doesn’t want to hear,” Luntz continued. “I’ve met him several times, I’ve met Biden several times. I would rather present bad [polling] information to Biden than Donald Trump. Presenting bad information or tough information to Joe Biden, you’ll break his heart, if you present tough information to Donald Trump, he breaks your arm.”

June 14:  John Bolton made a tragic mistake. It’s not the one you might think, by George T. Conway III, The Washington Post

Bolton made one fateful misjudgment. He overestimated the character, honor and patriotism of Senate Republicans. It would have taken just four, joining with Democrats, for the Senate to have issued a subpoena. But only two voted to hear Bolton testify. A Yale-educated lawyer, Bolton perhaps calculated that Senate Republicans would live up to their oaths of office, and to the separate impeachment-trial oath they took to do “impartial justice.” He assumed they would uphold the Constitution. Sadly, he was wrong.

June 14:  Trump tries to explain his slow and unsteady walk down a ramp at West Point, by Philip Rucker, The Washington Post

June 14:  Trump’s Halting Walk Down Ramp Raises New Health Questions, by Maggie Haberman, The New York Times

Another video circulated of Mr. Trump taking a sip of water from a glass tucked inside his lectern on the dais at West Point. Mr. Trump held the glass with his right hand and brought it to his mouth, but appeared to momentarily have trouble lifting his arm farther. He used his left hand to push the bottom of the glass so that it reached his lips.

June 15:  Trump supporters already know he will definitely win by a landslide, by Paul Waldman, The Washington Post

June 16:  New polls show Trump sinking under the seismic events of the moment, by Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

June 16:  Alabama Republicans are furious with Trump: report, by Tom Boggioni, RawStory

Riley Seibenhener, head of the Geneva County GOP, bluntly stated, “I’m pissed off about it. It bothers me that so many people are voting for Tommy Tuberville because Trump doesn’t like Sessions,” Seibenhener stated, while adding he felt that Sessions had just been doing the right thing when he recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into the president.

June 16:  Largest Tulsa Newspaper Says Trump Not Welcome, by Common Dreams (Crooks and Liars)

There is no treatment for Covid-19 and no vaccine. It will be our healthcare system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow.

June 17:  Bolton’s new book blows apart one of Trump’s biggest reelection arguments, by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman

Even after impeachment, even after his disastrous mishandling of coronavirus, even after over 19,000 false and misleading claims and thousands of appalling tweets, President Trump still retains the capacity to shock us with the depth of his corruption.

June 17:  John Bolton delivers a scathing indictment of Trump — and of himself, by Max Boot, The Washington Post

But better late than never. Reading the excerpt from your new book in the Wall Street Journal, along with summaries of it in The Post and the New York Times, makes clear that you are confirming in every particular — and then some — the indictment of Trump by his critics. The president is every bit as ignorant, incompetent, capricious and heedless of the public interest as many of us have been saying while you stayed silent or supported him.

June 17:  November is our chance to wipe out Trumpism, not just Trump, by Brian Klaas, The Washington Post

June 18:  Liberals might have gotten a taste of what makes Trump so popular, by Megan McArdle, The Washington Post

It seems likely that the iron law will remain in force, because the purer your own side gets, the more terrifyingly alien are the people who remain outside your carefully constructed defensive perimeter.

June 18:  John Bolton is a weasel in a party of weasels, by Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

June 18:  The stage is being set for the repudiation of Donald Trump in November, by Michael Gerson, The Washington Post


Trump’s rallies—a bizarre mishmash of numerology, tweetology, and white supremacy—are the rituals by which he stamps his name on the American dream. As he prepares to resume them for the first time in months, his followers are ready to receive.

June 19:  Why Trump’s rally in Tulsa will be remembered by history, by Paul Waldman, The Washington Post

So much of the disastrous chaos of this moment in American history is compressed into this one gathering that when the history of this presidency is written, the Tulsa rally may be the one we remember more than any other.

June 20:  A Friday night massacre that backfired, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post 

June 20:  In the crisis at Justice, impartial rule of law is on the line, by Stuart M. Gerson, The Washington Post

Stuart M. Gerson served as assistant attorney general under President George H.W. Bush and as acting attorney general in the early months of President Bill Clinton’s administration.


The lawyers in both the D.C. and Manhattan offices have been deeply inculcated by great U.S. attorneys, such as Silbert and Thomas A. Flannery in D.C., and Robert M. Morgenthau and Robert B. Fiske Jr. in New York. They knew always to adhere assiduously to the admonition of the Supreme Court in the signal case of Berger v. United States that the “United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party ... but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all.” All of the lawyers, from top to bottom, who worked in either of these offices acted accordingly.

June 20:   James Comey: Geoffrey Berman upheld the finest tradition of the SDNY office, by James Comey, The Washington Post

There are few moments of true pivot in the lives of institutions, but the Southern District of New York pivoted in 1906. In the words of one of the district’s judges, “Henry L. Stimson changed the office of United States Attorney. He created the model of competence, integrity and professionalism that has set the standard for prosecutors ever since.”


With Stimson, a culture was founded. Politics were disdained. Academic achievement was prized. The office’s lawyers were known for being better — smarter, more principled, harder-working — than those in other federal offices, especially at the main Justice Department in Washington. There were 11 other federal prosecutors’ offices with “Southern District” in their names, but only one the world knew by that shorthand alone.

June 20:  We knew Trump didn’t care for human rights in China. But this is a new low, by the Editorial Board, The Washington Post 

“According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the [Concentration] camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.” Mr. Trump has called Bolton’s book a “compilation of lies and made up stories.” 

June 21:  Distinguished pols of the week: They may beat Trump all by themselves, by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

Head and shoulders above all the rest in the hard work of beating back President Trump and Trumpism stand the good folks at the Lincoln Project: Republicans George T. Conway III, Reed Galen, Jennifer Horn, Mike Madrid, Steve Schmidt, Ron Steslow, John Weaver and Rick Wilson. They made their careers helping to elect Republicans, but in the era of Trump, they have put partisanship aside in the cause of patriotism and defense of American democracy. Their ads have been the most effective and memorable of the presidential campaign, singeing Trump in a way Democrats have not quite mastered.


They launched two of their most devastating ads this week. The first highlighted Trump’s feebleness on full display at United States Military Academy at West Point: 


The next drew on the revelation in former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir about Trump’s weakness on China and effort to enlist President Xi Jinping to help him win reelection: 



John Bolton's book seems to have found some homes on Google Drive.  Google has reacted to the demand by limiting downloads.  To get around that, I am told you can employ your browser's Print icon. That will open the undownloadable pdf in a new tab.  Save that page or print to a file instead of a printer. 

Being an innocent, I can hardly have tried either or both methods.  It's something I read about - here.  If what appears to be copyright theft bothers you, consider this. Bolton won't keep his profits from the sale of the book. Trump's Capo, Attorney General William Barr, will have Bolton's profits from the book profits seized, possible because of a technicality in the book's State Department vetting process.  Bolton will have to be satisfied with his $2M advance.


June 21:  Attendance at Trump's Tulsa rally was just under 6,200, Tulsa Fire Department says    Axios Report  

June 21:  Turnout At Trump’s Tulsa Rally Was Just Under 6,200–A Fraction Of The Venue’s 19,200 Capacity, by Andrew Solender, Forbes 

Andrew Little, the Public Information Officer for the Tulsa Fire Department, confirmed to Forbes on Sunday that a tally taken by the fire marshal clocked the turnout at just under 6,200 people, far fewer attendees than the campaign expected.

June 21:  Chris Wallace Shreds Trump Campaign Adviser: ‘You Guys Look Silly’ for Denying Poor Rally Attendance, by Justin Baragona, Daily Beast

“There are empty seats there,” Wallace retorted. “The other half of the rally was empty. The arena was empty. You can’t deny it.”

June 22:  Bolton Says Jared Kushner Was the Most Important Person in the White House, by Erin Banco, Daily Beast

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said in an interview with ABC News that aired Sunday night that the most important person in the White House was President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  “It varied from time to time,” Bolton said. “The sustained answer to that question... is Jared Kushner.”

Bolton went on to say that Trump was generally uninformed and did not do his homework.  “There was an unwillingness... to do systematic learning so he could make the most informed decisions,” Bolton said, adding that the president’s day didn’t “start until almost lunchtime.”

“I don’t think he is fit for office,” Bolton said.

June 22:  Meghan McCain: This Image Will ‘Haunt the Trump Campaign’, by Justin Baragona, Daily Beast

Meghan McCain, The View’s resident conservative co-host, said Monday that the now-infamous footage of a sullen President Donald Trump shuffling off Marine One after his lightly attended Tulsa rally will “haunt” his campaign and could be the “writing on the wall.”


Following days of hype from his campaign that hundreds of thousands of supporters reserved tickets and an overflow crowd was expected for his rally in Tulsa, only 6,200 people attended the event—less than one-third of the capacity at the arena where it was held. The president, who was reportedly “furious” over the embarrassing crowd size, was seen later that night walking off Marine One with his tie undone and a crumpled MAGA hat in his hand.


“He looks like a depressed person that realized maybe, just maybe the writing is on the wall right now,” the “View” host declared.

June 25:  Trump keeps claiming that the most dangerous cities in America are all run by Democrats. They aren’t. By Philip Bump, The Washington Post

June 26:  Facebook to label all rule-breaking posts - even Trump’s, by Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press, Austin American Statesman

Earlier in the day, shares of Facebook and Twitter dropped sharply after the Unilever, the giant company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, said it will halt U.S. advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through at least the end of the year.


Unilever, the European consumer-product maker, said it took the move to protest the amount of hate speech online. Unilever said the polarized atmosphere in the United States ahead of November’s presidential election placed responsibility on brands to act.

June 26:   Mary Trump once stood up to her uncle Donald. Now her book describes a ‘nightmare’ of family dysfunction, by Michael Kranish, The Washington Post

Mary L. Trump was embroiled in a feud over her inheritance two decades ago when her uncle Donald Trump and his siblings punched back in classic style. In an obscure court filing, they belittled her, alleging she “lives primarily off the Trump income” and is “not gainfully employed.”


Actually, Mary Trump had embarked on a new career. She studied patients with schizophrenia at Hillside Hospital on Long Island for at least six months during this period, meeting with an array of people who were delusional, hallucinatory and suicidal.


Over time, she deepened her studies of the disorder, contributed to a book on treating schizophrenia, wrote a dissertation on stalkers, and became a clinical psychologist. But not since she became part of the lawsuit in 2000 against her uncle has she spoken in detail about what she sees as the disorders of Donald Trump. 

June 28:   Trump promotes video of a supporter saying ‘white power’, by Anne Gearan, The Washington Post

The video of a pro-Trump golf cart parade in the Villages, a retirement community in central Florida, includes counterprotesters calling the president a bigot. The video shows Trump supporters and opponents facing off in screaming matches filled with expletives and insults.


“Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!” Trump tweeted, as he shared the video that opens with an elderly white man in a golf cart decorated with Trump signs being heckled by a counterprotester who asks “where’s your white hood?” The man responds by twice saying “white power” as a woman beside him chants “Trump! Trump!”

June 28:  John Bolton’s been a political brawler for decades, but his rumble with Donald Trump is extreme — even for him., by Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post 

June 28:  Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says, by Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz, The New York Times

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

June 29:   From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials, by Carl Bernstein, CNN

(CNN)In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.


The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.


By far the greatest number of Trump's telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America's principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was "stupid."


One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as 'abominations' so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President.


But his most vicious attacks, said the sources, were aimed at women heads of state. In conversations with both May and Merkel, the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as "near-sadistic" by one of the sources and confirmed by others. "Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her 'stupid,' and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians ... He's toughest [in the phone calls] with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with."

The calls "are so unusual," confirmed a German official, that special measures were taken in Berlin to ensure that their contents remained secret. The official described Trump's behavior with Merkel in the calls as "very aggressive" and said that the circle of German officials involved in monitoring Merkel's calls with Trump has shrunk: "It's just a small circle of people who are involved and the reason, the main reason, is that they are indeed problematic."

June 29:   Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops, by Eric Schmitt, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos, The New York Times

The recovery of large amounts of American cash at a Taliban outpost in Afghanistan helped tip off U.S. officials.

July 8:  Mary Trump Book Claims Trump Praised Her Breasts and His Own Sister Called Him a Clown, by Lachlan Cartwright, andrew Kirell and Scott Bixby, Daily Beast

Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, paints her uncle the president in a horrifying light and reveals explosive details about his character and disparaging comments made by his sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry.


“If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy,” Mary bluntly declares in the book. “Donald, following the lead of my grandfather and with complicity, silence, and inaction from his siblings, destroyed my father. I can’t let him destroy my country.”


 July 11:  Mitt Romney Slams Donald Trump’s Commutation For Roger Stone: ‘Historic Corruption’ by Lee Moran, Huffpost

TweetOfRomney2020 07 11



8/12/2020   Tariff Man punishes the Canadian bullies, by George Will, The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s almost erotic relationship with the Whirlpool Corp. continued last week when he traveled to Whirlpool’s factory in Clyde, Ohio, where he boasted to workers that he reimposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Why this pleased them is mysterious.

“Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual,” he said, as usual. He is indignant that although America has been made great again, it is being bullied by Canada, which inflicts on U.S. purchasers aluminum that is too inexpensive, destroying “our aluminum jobs.”


But only 3 percent of U.S. aluminum jobs involve producing primary aluminum. Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics explains that smelters use vast quantities of energy, so most are located where electricity is inexpensive, as in Canada, which has abundant hydropower. Only three companies smelt primary aluminum in the United States, and one of them, Alcoa, smelts globally, so these tariffs essentially serve two companies. Ninety-seven percent of U.S. aluminum jobs involve making things from the metal — things that will cost more and hence sell less because of Trump’s tariffs.

8/12/2020:   Even for Trump, the Canada aluminum tariff is especially senseless, by The Editorial Board, The Washington Post

9/14/2020   The People v. Donald J. Trump, by Jeff Wise, Intelligencer

The defendant looked uncomfortable as he stood to testify in the shabby courtroom. Dressed in a dark suit and somber tie, he seemed aged, dimmed, his posture noticeably stooped. The past year had been a massive comedown for the 76-year-old former world leader. For decades, the bombastic onetime showman had danced his way past scores of lawsuits and blustered through a sprawl of scandals. Then he left office and was indicted for tax fraud. As a packed courtroom looked on, he read from a curled sheaf of papers. It seemed as though the once inconceivable was on the verge of coming to pass: The country’s former leader would be convicted and sent to a concrete cell.


The date was October 19, 2012. The man was Silvio Berlusconi, the longtime prime minister of Italy.

10/31/2020   Bad Hombres: All of the Trumpworld Figures Who’ve Been Arrested, Indicted, or Jailed, by Pilar Melendez, The Daily Beast

At least 18 people connected to President Trump have been locked up, indicted, or arrested since the real-estate mogul announced his candidacy in 2015.

11/1/2020   The real results of Trump’s trade tariffs, The Editorial Board, The Washington Post

The U.S. trade deficit with China now stands exactly where it did when the president took office, having risen during his first 18 months, then come back down in the wake of the tariff war. The U.S.’s global trade deficit, meanwhile, is substantially higher than it was when Mr. Trump took office. As for manufacturing, the tariffs seem to have mainly shifted jobs from industries that do not benefit from such levies to those that do, pretty much as Economics 101 predicts. A December 2019 Federal Reserve paper found that tariffs helped raise manufacturing employment by 0.3 percent in industries exposed to Chinese competition, while cutting it 1.1 percent in industries that rely in Chinese-made inputs. Meanwhile, factory jobs also suffered somewhat from China’s retaliatory tariffs.


Among Mr. Trump’s errors, tariffs will be relatively difficult for a possible Biden administration to undo, since they have now acquired political constituencies among those firms and unions that do benefit from them.

11/1/2020   Trump was way worse than I feared in 2016. Here’s how.  By Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post

11/6/2020    Incendiary texts traced to outfit run by top Trump aide, by FRANK BAJAK and GARANCE BURKE, Associated Press

“This kind of message is playing with fire, and we are very lucky that it does not seem to have driven more conflict,” said John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s online watchdog Citizen Lab. Scott-Railton helped track down the source.

11/6/2020    Trump National Security Officials Horrified by His Election Lies, by Erin Banco, The Daily Beast

Even members of President Donald Trump’s own national security team are worried about the misleading information he’s pushing about the vote count. And they’re increasingly concerned that the president will not respect the final results.


Top national security officials say they have spent the days since the election tracking disinformation about the vote count, including Team Trump’s efforts to erode trust in the ballot tallying and reporting process. Despite working with the big social media companies to flag some of those falsities, officials say there is little they can do to prevent the president’s team from propagating disinformation in public—from Twitter to nationally televised press conferences. With increasingly flagrant efforts by Trump to cast doubt on the vote tallies, officials are preparing for how to handle a situation in which the race is officially called for Joe Biden—and Trump refuses to concede.

11/7/2020:    Trump Will Have His Own ‘Deep State’—and His Own #Resistance, by Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast




11/10/2020   The Abnormal Presidency, by David Montgomery, The Washington Post

What does it mean to be presidential? Article II of the Constitution describes the office in just a handful of paragraphs. To a remarkable extent, the presidency is shaped by unwritten traditions and expectations that historians and political scientists call “norms” — what political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt call the “soft guardrails” of American democracy.


One of the things Trump has forced presidential scholars to realize “is the extent to which shamelessness in a president is really empowering,” says Jack Goldsmith, a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration who teaches at Harvard Law School. The current presidency also reveals “the extent to which the whole system before Trump was built on a basic assumption about a range of reasonableness among presidents, a range of willingness to play within the system, a range of at least a modicum of understanding of political and normative constraints.” 

November, 2020   Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy, by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic

I’ve said this before: The problem facing the Republican Party, the conservative movement, whatever you want to call it, goes back to the attitudes of the base—attitudes that have been shaped by right-wing media. And so essentially what Republican elected officials have done is to say to themselves that in order to survive, we have to go along with conspiracy theorizing, false assertion, fantasies that Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and others in that echo chamber have concocted, because people believe them.


The populist wave was abetted by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, he said, and encouraged to spread by social-media companies uninterested in exploring their impact on democracy. “I don’t hold the tech companies entirely responsible,” he said, “because this predates social media. It was already there. But social media has turbocharged it. I know most of these folks. I’ve talked to them about it. The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable. They are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not. The First Amendment doesn’t require private companies to provide a platform for any view that is out there.”

11/19/2020   Trump Has Abdicated in the Face of Disaster by David A. Graham, The Atlantic

The nation faces an unprecedented crisis, and the president has left a void.

11/20/2020   Federal Judge Strikes DOJ from the Docket in E. Jean Carroll’s Case Against Donald Trump, by Adam Klasfeld, Law & Crime

In late October, a federal judge denied the Department of Justice’s effort to fend off rape allegations against President Donald Trump in a defamation suit on the taxpayer’s dime, but the court’s docket did not catch up with that reality for weeks.


U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the record abundantly clear in a 1-page order on Friday.


“[T]he docket sheet erroneously lists Mr. [Stephen] Terrell and another attorney as counsel for defendant Trump,” Kaplan wrote, referring to a Justice Department lawyer. “That is incorrect. They represent only the United States.”


The Justice Department tried to barge into the case in September, insisting that Trump responding to rape allegations with comments like “She’s not my type” is just one of the duties befitting of the President of the United States.


Carroll’s legal described that proposition as wrong and obscene the next month.


“There is not a single person in the United States — not the president and not anyone else — whose job description includes slandering women they sexually assaulted,” attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote last month in a blistering legal brief. “That should not be a controversial proposition. Remarkably, however, the Justice Department seeks to prove it wrong.”

11/22/2020 Trump administration exits Open Skies treaty, by Paulina Firozi, The Washington Post

In a statement in May, Joe Biden said that in announcing the intention to withdraw, Trump “doubled down on his short-sighted policy of going it alone and abandoning American leadership.”


“I supported the Open Skies Treaty as a Senator, because I understood that the United States and our allies would benefit from being able to observe — on short notice — what Russia and other countries in Europe were doing with their military forces,” his May statement added.


5/21/2020   Trump administration to withdraw from Open Skies treaty in a further erosion of arms control pacts with Russia, by John Hudson and Paul Sonne, The Washington Post

  • the United States will withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, a nearly 30-year-old pact designed to reduce the chances of an accidental war by allowing mutual reconnaissance flights for members of the 34-country agreement.

11/24/2020   Trump administration wants to cut food stamps to thousands of seniors, lawmakers say, by BY AIMEE PICCHI, CBS News

11/24/2020   Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Plans to Put $455 Billion Beyond Yellen’s Easy Reach, by Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg

11/26/2020    Trump flips out on reporter: 'I'm the President of the United States!'  CNN




  • Trump: this election was massive fraud

  • Reporter: why?

  • Trump: how come more people voted for Biden than for Obama



12/4/2020   What I Learned From My Brush With Trump, By Jorge Ramos, The New York Times

We journalists should have been tougher on Mr. Trump, questioning his every lie and insult. We should not have let him get away with his racism and xenophobia. We should never again allow someone to create an alternative reality in order to seize the presidency.


 Jorge Ramos (@jorgeramosnews) is an anchor for the Univision network, a contributing opinion writer and the author of, most recently, “Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era.”