United States of Authoritarianism

May 7–13

Note: I will be skipping two weeks as I am on vacation, although I will likely still collect links to publish once I return. Try not to let the world fall apart while I’m gone, eh? ;-)

  1. Let’s start things off with a bit of a bang here. It may well be that considerable blowback from Trumpism finished Le Pen off in France. Very good news here, although the fact does remain that Le Pen’s party is basically a recognized party now, instead of a malignant fringe party forever on the edges.

2. Macron is fucking brilliant here. I am suddenly reminded of Spain’s shooting itself in the foot when it expelled the Jews and the Muslims… I have to admire this, even as I recognize the disaster it is for the U.S.

Oh look. Just in time to snap up more scientists:

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast.

President Trump has directed Mr. Pruitt to radically remake the E.P.A., pushing for deep cuts in its budget — including a 40 percent reduction for its main scientific branch — and instructing him to roll back major Obama-era regulations on climate change and clean water protection. In recent weeks, the agency has removed some scientific data on climate change from its websites, and Mr. Pruitt has publicly questioned the established science of human-caused climate change.

3. Ooh, keep a close eye on this. 45 appears to be VERY nervous about Sally Yate’s upcoming testimony.

And as a reminder, Sally Yates: American Hero

4. It’s kind of depressing running down the list of things this WH is doing to fuck things up.

5. He could actually get police departments upset with him.

6. Never let it be said that the media can’t strive to improve their reporting.

7. Nevertheless the effort to silence protests continues.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced since 8 November in “an unprecedented level of hostility towards protesters in the 21st century”. Their introduction comes amid a huge increase in activism and engagement, much of it inspired by Trump’s election to the presidency.
The ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild have said many of the bills are likely unconstitutional. “The proposed bills have been especially pervasive in states where protests flourished recently,” said Vera Eidelman, who works in the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology project.

8. Daaaaaaaaaaamn…


9. Wait, I missed this, where Yates was actually fired after warning about Flynn, not about putting a hold on the muslim ban.

On Jan. 30, less than two weeks after he took office, Trump abruptly fired Yates, ostensibly because of her refusal to defend legal challenges to his Muslim ban executive order.
But The Post’s subsequent reporting revealed that Yates was instead fired right after her warnings to McGahn.

And generally:

Ooh, and here’s a transcript of Yates beating up Cruz.

I love Franken. Boom. Boom boom. Boom boom boom…

10. This doesn’t mince words.

11. …

12. I can’t even.

13. *blink*

14. This is troubling, and this article nails it:

At issue in the two proceedings […]is the very idea of government as process rather than princely will. Both stories dramatize the casual contempt of Trump and those around him for the Constitution, the law, and the procedures that guard both.

15. This is promising, but we still need a fully independent, funded, bipartisan committee to spearhead this investigation.

16. No, don’t hold back. Tell me how you really feel.

IVANKA TRUMP HAS WRITTEN a book about female empowerment, and it is about as feminist as a swastika-shaped bikini wax. That is its best quality. If there were a shred of advice in Women Who Work that were actually relevant to a single woman who has ever had to work for a living, we might have to take it seriously on its own terms. As it is, we can at least regard this eye-watering jumble of simpering platitudes shunted together by the heiress and entrepreneur — in between stints shilling as the acceptable face of an administration bent on destroying, among other things, women’s rights — in the cold, hard light of the post-liberal propaganda wars. Women Who Work is an unholy screed of late-stage patriarchal capitalist soothsayings masquerading as a blush-pink self-help manual. That the author of this Park Avenue spellbook could seriously be considered as a new “face of feminism” is as risible as any suggestion that the book and the multi-million-dollar personal branding project it promotes can somehow be separated from Ivanka Trump’s personal power in the new White House. This is the ultimate unholy, incestuous marriage of politics and public relations, and the very least of its faults is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy, as in everything the Trumps do, is the whole point.

17. Holy hell, I haven’t got my political seatbelt on at the moment. Also, that second paragraph…

I think Lawfare nailed it back in November, as much as I think Comey’s really more incompetent than this:

In fact, for those concerned that President Trump will trample the rule of law — liberals and conservatives alike — Comey’s fate is one potential canary in the coal mine. If Trump chooses replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.

All the news outlets, social media, etc are just blowing up right now o.O. I’m going to leave it at that. But many interesting things, such as a small set of R senators finally sounding like they’ve had enough of this, the timing of the firing with a bunch of TrumpRussia FBI subpoenas having been sent out…well there’s a lot of Saturday Night Massacre comparisons being made across the board.

A good collection of the immediate reactions is here:

However, this is most likely the underlying reason, not over the laughably corny reason that they fired Comey for being mean to Hillary Clinton on her emails…

They can’t be this incompetent. And yet…

And, yes


18. This is necessary reading.

19. I’ve decided his name is Трамп.

20. Just look at those numbers. GOP is a walking dead party: corrupt and complicit in the destruction of U.S.’s democracy.

21. This is goddamn awesome.

“I hope every single Democrat next door to a dead-beat Republican does this. … I think it’s good to show people what it would be like to have a congressman who cares.”

22. Crazy headlines.

23. Yep.

24. Not going over well.

25. I..the what? What the fuck? Geeze, the WH is likely hopelessly riddled with spy cameras by now.

Other former intelligence officials also described the access granted to the photographer as a potential security lapse, noting that standard screening for White House visitors would not necessarily detect a sophisticated espionage device.
The administration official also said the White House had been misled about the role of the Russian photographer. Russian officials had described the individual as Lavrov’s official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass.
“We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency,” the administration official said.
As a result, White House officials said they were surprised to see photos posted online showing Trump not only with Lavrov but also smiling and shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Kislyak, of course, figures prominently in #TrumpRussia connections, popping up virtually everywhere. Note also that clip at the top of the article is when Lavrov said, “He’s fired? Really?” and then turns away.

Longer version of the clip: https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/watch/russias-lavrov-on-comey-firing-was-he-fired/vp-BBAYUSO

26. Unsurprised by this at all. However, I think the timetable McCabe has has just been shortened. Because yes, Трамп and his WH are that fucking stupid. But, respect for cojones here.

27. Yep.

28. Can we at least tattoo the Constitution and such on every elected official? Because this is so wrong it’s not even funny.

“We don’t oversee the executive,” he added, earning a round of loud boos from the audience. “Congress is not the board of directors of the White House.”

Ahem. Do you think this one is at the appropriate grade level? http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_checksandbalances.htm

29. I’d seen this mentioned a few places, but the whole story is quite a doozy.

30. Tell me. Do I have a permanent hand impression on my forehead by now? It’s okay. You can tell me if I do.

31. Ooh…

32. Damning. And you’ll notice he just threw all his spox under the bus.

33. /flails

34. /chokes

35. That palm & forehead are getting awfully well acquainted.

speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of speaking about the president

36. … How Nixonian.


courtesy of (remember him?)


37. Show us the money.


38. Bingo.


39. More shade.


40. o.O


41. Unreal.

The aftermath is a presidency rocked by its most serious self-inflicted crisis yet, exposing dysfunction and distrust within his West Wing and imperiling his agenda. The momentum for the health-care bill that passed the House is gone, and a week scheduled to be devoted to Trump’s preparations for a high-stakes foreign trip was overtaken by distractions and fury.
Across Washington, Trump’s allies have been buzzing about the staff’s competence as well as the president’s state of mind. One GOP figure close to the White House mused privately about whether Trump was “in the grip of some kind of paranoid delusion.”

Also unreal. And really scary.

Several people close to the president say his reliance on a small cadre of advisers as he mulled firing Comey reflects his broader distrust of many of his own staffers. He leans heavily on daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Hope Hicks, his trusted campaign spokeswoman and Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

42. I have a tiny violin somewhere.

43. Wat.