Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Last Call For Another One Bites The Dust

It should come as no surprise that the Sexual Assaulter In Chief has folks who work for him who physically abuse women.  The difference is White House staff secretary Rob Porter is not Donald Trump, so Porter doesn't get the protections of the office and has to resign.

A senior White House official announced Wednesday he will resign following allegations by his two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse.

The official, Rob Porter, served as the staff secretary and often controlled the paper flow to President Trump’s desk, along with his daily schedule. Porter also oversaw the White House’s policy implementation process and worked closely with Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to try to instill discipline in the chaotic West Wing. He often spent hours of the day with Trump and frequently traveled with him on Air Force One. 
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign,” Porter said in a statement. “My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.” 
The allegations against Porter by his ex-wives were first reported by the, and senior West Wing aides spent part of Wednesday morning preparing for the fallout from his departure. Many senior officials, including Kelly, urged Porter to stay, according to White House advisers. 
“He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive, and that is why I left,” Colbie Holderness, his first wife, said in an interview with the His second wife said she filed and received an emergency protective order against Porter. The newspaper published what appeared to be a copy of the order, which included a Virginia magistrate’s signature.

The news site on Wednesday also posted pictures of Holderness with a bruised right eye, which she alleges was the result of Porter punching her during a trip to Florence in the early 2000s.

Porter told the that many of the accusations were false but declined to comment further.

Again, the real enabler here is Trump, but supposed "Adult in the room" WH Chief of Staff John Kelly publicly defended Porter right up until the point where Porter resigned this afternoon.  Let's not forget that Kelly is a screaming racist asshole who keeps wrecking any hope for an immigration deal, too.

By the way, Porter's wife had a restraining order against him back in 2010 which was the main reason he couldn't get a security clearance, yet he was basically Kelly's right hand when dealing with Trump and all the documents that crossed Trump's desk. Figure that one out.

Still, good to see Porter go, but the people who really need to resign are John Kelly and Donald Trump.

A Deal With The Devil

It seems that both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate want to settle this budget mess and get back to the most important task: fundraising for reelection campaigns.

Senate leaders, disregarding President Trump’s threats to shut down the government, struck a far-reaching agreement on Wednesday to set spending levels on military and domestic spending for the next two years, breaking the cycle of fiscal crises that have bedeviled the Capitol since last summer. 
The accord between Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, and Chuck Schumer of New York, his Democratic counterpart, would raise strict caps on military and domestic spending that were imposed in 2011 as part of a deal with President Barack Obama that was once seen as a key triumph for Republicans in Congress. 
The deal will cause federal budget deficits to grow even larger, on top of the effects of the sweeping tax overhaul that lawmakers approved in December. 
The deal includes commitments to dedicate billions of dollars to areas like infrastructure, the opioid crisis, V.A. hospitals and health research, according to a person briefed on the agreement. It also includes disaster relief for areas hit by last year’s hurricanes and wildfires.

We'll see if the deal passes, but my guess is Trump blows it up, especially when he hears stuff like this:

The budget deal would be paired with a stopgap spending measure that would keep federal agencies open past Thursday, when the current funding measure is set to expire.
It was not immediately clear if enough Democrats would oppose the bill to imperil its passage in the House, given the likely opposition from at least some fiscal conservatives. If lawmakers cannot pass a temporary funding measure by the end of Thursday — either by itself or tied to a budget pact — the government would shut down for the second time this year. 
The budget agreement would also negate the president’s demands to broadly reorder government with deep cuts to domestic programs like environmental protection, foreign aid, and health research that were to offset large increases in military spending. Mr. Trump is to release his second budget request on Monday, but the deal — sealed by members of his own party — would effectively render many of his demands null and void. 
If the deal passes, lawmakers would put together a long-term spending package over the coming weeks that would fund the government through September, granting a measure of peace to Washington as attention turns to the midterm elections in November. By setting overall spending levels through September 2019, the deal would ease passage of spending bills in the next fiscal year as well.

Trump will never, ever tolerate a bill that can be described as one that "would effectively render many of his demands null and void" either.  It means this bill would not only have to pass the Senate and the House but do so with two-thirds majorities in both chambers to override an assured Trump veto.

That's certainly possible, but it won't be easy.

Also, please note the swiftness with which Republicans are willing to completely blow up their own sequestestration spending cap limits put in place to hamstring Barack Obama, back when the GOP actually gave a damn about "deficits" and stuff.

We'll see.

General Disarray And Major Meltdown

Generalissimo Francisco Cheeto didn't get his Pentagon inaugural military parade through the streets of Washington 13 months ago, so he wants it now to show the world that he's the greatest guy ever, or something.

President Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces.

Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Shows of military strength are not typical in the United States — and they don’t come cheap. The cost of shipping Abrams tanks and high-tech hardware to Washington could run in the millions, and military officials said it was unclear how they would pay for it.

A White House official familiar with the planning described the discussions as “brainstorming” and said nothing was settled. “Right now, there’s really no meat on the bones,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

Naturally, Trump's militaristic fascist impulses must be fed, because he's Trump.  If Obama had done this, we would have had armed Tea Partiers in the streets lining up to remake that famous Chinese Tiananmen Square picture of the guy in front of a tank. 

Trump does it, it's funny because it makes stoopid libtard heads explode, or something.  But it is a big deal?  Does it even matter and is this worth getting upset over?

Not really.  I agree 100% with Steve M. who says let the child have his toys and move on.

If Trump were smart, he'd be using this to troll liberals. If he were a shrewd, cynical manipulator of public opinion, like the message-shapers of the Reagan administration, he'd be using this to drive a wedge between his critics and heartlanders, who'll take this at face value and embrace it (though probably not as enthusiastically as they might have in the 1980s, when their anger at '60s/'70s critics of America was still raw). If he were an adept totalitarian, he'd use this as a genuine assertion of his power.

But he's Trump, so he'll just spend hundreds of millions of dollars to ship weaponry to the streets of D.C. because he's an overgrown eleven-year-old boy still mentally living in the 1950s, and also because he's a crushingly insecure plutocrat who needs a steady succession of gaudy displays in order to feel that he's adequately demonstrating his own greatness to the world.

This parade won't be part of a grand plan to crush democracy in America -- there won't be roaming goon squads, and a protest will probably be permitted, though at some distance from the main event. Trump might want the parade to intimidate foreign foes, but it won't accomplish that goal, because the military will probably agree to display only weapons our enemies already know about. This will just be a pointless moment of excess, with Trump using weapons the way, in his hotels, he uses gilt.

Steve's right, to say like the SOTU, just don't watch. but my counter-argument would be this:  Trump wants his parade and the right-wing will just scream WHY DO YOU AWFUL TREASONLIBS HATE AMERICA SO MUCH WE SHOULD USE THESE WEAPONS ON YOU HURR DURR anyway. They'll make liberal resentment the story just like they have since 1982, not because Trump is trying to troll people, but because the people surrounding him certainly want to and will do so.

In fact, if I'm a GOP consultant my eyes are lit up like a kid on Christmas because I can't wait to play commercials with marching band music and Trump's parade footage in it against black and white scenes of mean ol' troop-hatin' Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.  Believe me, it'll play goddamn great in Kentucky and Iowa and North Carolina and Wisconsin.

It doesn't matter if we rise to the bait in the era of Trump.  They'll say we did and that's all that matters.  We've gotten to the point where an event has already accomplished the goal of "pissing off the libs" months before it happens, as an assumed truism, whether it actually happens or not.

Going after this is a mistake.  There are fights to have, and this isn't one of them, guys.  It's a lose-lose, non-starter, no-brainer level of bad.

On the other hand...maybe FOX News will kill the parade for us.

We'll see.


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