Dispatches from Wolf Country — Exposure to Russians? Really?

Move Bannon and Preibus and Spicer and Miller and Conway into a suite of offices in West Virginia to find some coal jobs or affordable health care that's not ACA or something...

Comey and Rogers: “Well, this is going to be fun, ain’t it?: U.S., March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A bad idea unless you don’t care,  you just want to scare everyone  to death…

Think people in the eye of  Trump-Storm would have some clue? Wrong!

You can’t ask what the president knew and when, because with this guy, you can’t be sure if he every knew anything before or after anything…Constitution, Policy, Politics — Forget it. He does know how to add golf scores so he can win…

“It’s not that kind of movie, bro.” Samuel Jackson, Kingsmen

The commentary on the House Intelligence Committee Hearing yesterday is trying to make sense of one thing — why didn’t the White House get a better handle on the President’s exposure in this case? Well, from my observation post in the high Mojave desert of California, I can only assume that such concerns are rhetorical because the press wants to explain it to the public and that presupposes some basic understanding on the part of the reader.

If you’re still trying to make sense out of the election, I’m working on it. But, if you’re looking for a more immediate analysis, I can’t do more than recommend P.J. O’Rourke’s How the Hell Did This Happen? The Guardian review is fairly unfriendly, but it was written by a Brit in London or Manchester, disturbed that O’Rourke wasn’t offering a truly incisive and trenchant analysis of the whole thing. In the introduction, O’Rourke tells us that he was having drinks with his editor and making excuses for being behind on the book he got an advance for because he was consumed by the election and writing stuff about that for The Daily Beast and the Daily Standard. The editor said, “Cool, let’s do that anyway…” And here it is. 

Frankly, O’Rourke and I differ on most things, dating back to the decision to not make the first National Lampoon movie, SON OF GOD COMICS instead of Animal House, but that really is beside the point. In this case, we agree about a lot; he disliked Hillary Clinton a lot more than I did, but we both hate Donald Trump. That used to be a basic part of any literacy test in the Northeast, and probably should have been adopted all over.

He described what happened probably after the book went to publication in The Weekly Standard, self-plagarizing as all good writers do from his introduction.

The election of 2016 was terrible because it wasn’t an election, it was a rebellion. America is having a civil war, or, to be more accurate, a War of Incivility. The war is not between Republicans and Democrats or between conservatives and progressives. The war is between the frightened and what they fear. It is being fought by the people who perceive themselves as controlling nothing. They are besieging the people they perceive as controlling everything. We are in the midst of a Perception Insurrection, or, depending on how you perceive it, a Loser Mutiny…..We love to have everything from everywhere brought right to our door. Except when we don’t. We love going to Yellowstone Park. But do we love having the herds of bison, geysers, trees, mountains, tourists, and bears in our rec room? We’ll need to clean the carpet. Then we go to work in the morning and find out a bear ate our job.

O’Rourke is on to something. The traditional press is still confused as to how Trump won and therefore thinks that we’re all stupid. Trump’s preferred alternative media and White Supremacist Press assumes that any readers of their coded nonsense with gutter-German and odd looking frogs and all the rest already has drunk their Kool-Aid. Frankly, most of us aren’t dumb and the balance in the election especially in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin had less to do with Trump or Clinton that with the feeling that life sucks and the best thing to do was blow the whole mess up.

Trump: Mobile incarnate slouching, slobbering animate dumpster fire

Trump is the mobile incarnation of slouching, slobbering animate dumpster fire; Hillary Clinton is the head librarian who is also president of the PTA and is on the School Board. Who’s more likely to blow the whole thing up? It’s like downshifting and flooring the racing slick equipped stock’67 Corvair Monza and heading into Deadman’s Curve at 80; it’s a bad idea unless you don’t care about surivival, you just want to scare yourself and everyone else to death.

When life sucks so bad that pure terror beats the daily grind, scaring yourself to death is one way to get some endorphins going.

Ryan Lizza, a The New Yorker White House Correspondent, nailed down one of the disconnects this morning. It’s a good piece, but you have to wonder about a White House operation that is this clueless. Lizza opens with this revelation, which makes obvious that the Trump wheel oiled machine and its denizens have been watching a different movie than the rest of us.

Early on Monday morning, a couple of hours before the start of the first House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s involvement in the Presidential election, one of Donald Trump’s closest White House advisers made a startling—and completely erroneous—prediction: James Comey, the F.B.I. director, would testify that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. “The Russian collusion thing has always been bullshit,” the official said. “I think Comey will come down and say there absolutely was no contact, collusion, or anything like that with the campaign.”

Well, obviously that didn’t quite play out to plan. The official had described people like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort and Carter Page  and General Michael Flynn or anybody else was more than “marginalia” to the campaign. Manafort was the campaign manager for five months after Corey Lewandowski started chewing on his own tail too often while chasing down a reporter to beat on tape.

Things got kind of kinky in the White House Spin Assembly Room

Lizza found that incredibly, well, wrong. When Comey responded to the question about what they were up to with this, things got kind of kinky in the White House Spin Assembly Room and Pizza Parlor.

I have been authorized by the DOJ to confirm that the F.B.I., , is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election … investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government… As with any counterintelligence investigation, includes an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

Ouch. Lizza points out that Director Comey really sandbagged everybody because unlike the Clinton Email debacle, the FBI has done a very good job not exposing what they have as yet. You would think that people in the eye of the Trump-storm would have some clue as to what was happening around them. Obviously, they’re as incompetent and blind as they’re frequently accused of. I have yet to hear any former White House staffer from any administration say anything good about these folks. They combine natural ignorance with tone deafness, and the ability to take a bad situation and try to make it better, and not getting it at all right.

If I hear Nicole Wallace of MSNBC, a McCain and Bush staffer and loyalist and Director of Communications for Bush campaign who escaped political operativeness after being Sarah Palin’s subject matter coach say, “Poor Sean Spicer, God Bless Him, I wouldn’t want his job, it’s the toughest job in the White House, but…” one more time, I’m just going to start doing a bingo sheet for the station. Nicole is Texan, and if a Texas lady says “God Bless Him” she means something like, “Poor bastard, he’s done. Walmart is calling for it’s next greeter.”

Oh for god’s sake, they didn’t see the exposure of the President and the Administration to the Russians? These people have some excellent prescription medications to cut their street acquired heroin-crystal meth speedballs with. As that great American ethicist and religious leader Richard Nixon explained to various people in the Oval Office after the fact, “It’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the cover up!”

Now, the contemporaneous Howard Baker question might be harder to answer in this case, because “What did the president know and when did he know it?” is actually pretty opaque with this guy except as to…well, I’m sure there’s something he actually knows enough to recall correctly, but it has nothing to do with policy, politics, government or the Constitution of the United States. Golf? Maybe…he’s rumored to be very good at Alternative Sums when scoring.

If I was advising Trump, I would recommend sending Ivanka back home, moving Bannon and Preibus and Spicer and Miller and Conway into a suite of offices in West Virginia to find some coal jobs or affordable health care that’s not ACA or something, and putting Chris Christie in as Chief of Staff with the brief to get this mess under control. Where he’d probably fail, but there’s at least some hope that he might be able to stand up to the pressure. Stop the trips to Florida and New York City, stop eating out at his Hotels, and spend the time exercising and maybe getting therapy instead.

Well, I’m not and never will be. So, the logical thing to do instead is to have Rex Tillerson blow off the NATO meeting so he can go to Russia and talk to his buddies, maybe about asylum. That will make Congress, Defense and all the Intelligence Services happy. Next, get Ivanka into the West Wing as some sort of unpaid, unique, independent consultant to the President for Ethics. The Tillerson thing is a self-evident self-shooting and immolation of one’s feet after the issues with NATO and the Trump administration. The Ivanka thing is more systematically problematic and self-defeating.

As I said somewhere else, putting the President’s Daughter in the White House to consult as an ethics adviser implies that she understands ethics, conflicts of interest, and the vast intricacies of compliance. She’s a Wharton MBA, and is undoubtedly highly skilled at negotiating with crooked Azerbaijani officials and Thai and Chilean sweatshops. Ethics Counselor requires a lawyer with expertise in HR law, Business Law, Compliance Rules and Regulations, Foreign Corrupt Practices, Ethical Reasoning, Public Relations and Crisis Management. Especially with this crew.

Bringing in an ethics White Knight might be a good idea, but the President’s Daughter here is a walking conflict of interest. Anything Trump — father, organization, trademarks, charity — lands her immediately up to her well-sculpted and classy eyebrows in conflicts of interest, of which there are legion. 

For example Who paid for the Japanese Prime Minister’s suite and meals at Mar a Lago? If the Japanese government paid, Trump has a violation of the emoluments laws.  If the US Government paid, Trump has a conflict in interest even more obvious than taking the gang  to the DC Hotel and putting the check on his expense account. Even if he pays cash from his pocket, it’s a conflict of interest.

Hell, who’s paying for the Secret Service HQ in Trump tower to take Melania and Barron to school and shopping? Move her into the White House and have Bannon and Preibus home school the kid.

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