- First published, January 5, 6:32 am under the title “Donald Trump backs words with a funding suspension for Pakistan.”
- January 5, 8:13 pm:
- Place your bets: Does the 25th amendment or impeachment come first?
- The New York Times reports on a strengthening case alleging obstruction of justice against Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, allegedly a conservative columnist, digests it. To give you a clue, Rubin’s first sentence is, “Michael S. Schmidt’s report in the New York Times contains so many blockbusters that it’s hard to know where to begin.” Ummm, whoops. (James Comey)
- Meanwhile, questions about Donald Trump’s mental condition, and hence, fitness for office, which in turn (now) implies a potential invocation of the 25th amendment, are far from new, but do seem to be getting louder (update, January 6, 5:25 pm, and January 7, 12:40 pm: See these articles). James Hamblin, who doesn’t like remote diagnoses, nonetheless deploys evidence of Trump’s apparent degeneration to revisit Jimmy Carter’s over-two-decade-old call for “a system to detect this sort [like that of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease] of cognitive impairment earlier on.” Such a system would obviously find utility in the case of the unfortunate President Trump. (Donald Trump)
- Since Donald Trump ordered a cut to financial assistance, the U.S. no longer has an alliance with Pakistan, according to the latter country’s foreign minister.
- These updates prompted a lot of additional commentary.
- January 5, 8:27 pm:
- Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly cited a passage quoting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to the article by Cristiano Lima. In fact, the passage comes from an article by Saeed Shah. The citation has been corrected.
- I have also tweaked wording in several instances.
- January 6, 8:39 am:
- Twitter has responded to criticism that it should ban Donald Trump. (Social networks)
- Headline shortened to “Donald Trump suspends some aid to Pakistan,” but this isn’t actually the problem I’m having with publicizing this post on Twitter.
- January 6, 1:13 pm:
I think I have fixed the problem I was having publicizing the Daily Bullshit on Twitter. It stems from a decision to shut down my old mail server. I failed to migrate the script that posts these updates and promptly found that a number of scripts, including the one I used before, available for doing this are now, in one way or another, broken. I found this, which requires you to set up your own front end, but which works, at least for now. (I did need to change the post length limit from 140 to 280.)
- January 6, 5:25 pm:
- David Remnick summarizes the state of dysfunction at the White House. (Donald Trump)
- January 7, 12:40 pm:
- The chorus is growing louder that something must be done to remove Donald Trump from office. The arguments appear functionalist conservative in nature.
- I have broken the citations page for Donald Trump, which was growing too long to manage, into two pages: 1 2. Hopefully, all references here now point to the latter but connecting links appear at the top of each.
- January 8, 12:34 pm:
- Title changed to “Donald Trump’s ouster seems increasingly likely.”
- A sitting president has never before been interviewed in a criminal probe in his first year of office (this would be before January 20th). It could very well happen now and Donald Trump’s lawyers are negotiating the circumstances. (James Comey)
- Since her widely acclaimed Golden Globes speech, some are floating the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for president in 2020. At Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, Mary Curtis highlights Winfrey’s positives, but I recall her support for The Secret, which I discussed in a 2006 blog post.
- It turns out my new solution for publicizing these posts on Twitter, the one I thought I had arrived at as of January 6, 1:13 pm, prohibits or at least limits duplicate posts. That’s okay. With Twitter’s new 280-character limit, I think I have space to make update information available.
- January 8, 4:04 pm:
- The Bundys will not be retried following a mistrial in the Nevada case, thanks apparently to “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.” (White Supremacism)
- January 8, 6:57 pm:
- It appears that The Secret is not the only form that Oprah Winfrey’s Magical Thinking, that is, an imagination that one can change one’s reality through positive thinking, takes. Her doctrine excuses neoliberal oppression of workers through her rags-to-riches story with a colonial rationalization we’ve seen before: Anybody can succeed her way, that is, unless they can’t, in which case they can be blamed for failing to do it.
- January 9, 7:09 am:
- Titles of individual posts in the Daily Bullshit will no longer include the now redundant publication name and dates as the script I’ve been working on (mentioned in updates for January 6, 1:13 pm, and January 8, 12:34 pm) now figures these out and puts them in the tweet automatically.
- January 9, 12:22 pm:
- If Donald Trump indeed testifies in Robert Mueller’s inquiry, he will put to rest the question of whether he’s crazy like a fox or, much more probably, just delusional and stupid. (James Comey)
- I guess it’s about time to dredge up the Golden Showers angle of the Russia investigation, as Dianne Feinstein released Fusion GPS’ co-founder’s testimony. Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, who compiled the infamous dossier.
- January 9, 4:05 pm:
- Complicating a balance between free speech and hate speech, Germany now threatens Social networks with massive fines should they fail to remove any user-posted content that violates its laws within 24 hours.
- The American Conservative has a book review that clearly departs from traditionalist conservatism in a way distinctly pointing to what the publication labels as ‘reform conservatism.’ I will be working on a research journal entry on this rather than adding content here.
- January 9, 7:09 pm:
- The aforementioned (at January 9, 4:05 pm) promised research journal entry on Gene Callahan’s essay, in which ‘reform’ conservatism appears to depart from traditionalist conservatism, is now complete, here.
- January 9, 9:10 pm:
- I want to cheer, but I know I can’t, because I’m sure the Trump administration will appeal this judge’s ruling temporarily restraining it from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) program until it wins. (Unauthorized migrants)
- January 9, 9:57 pm:
- CNN has a bit more detail on the court ruling temporarily blocking the Trump administration from rescinding DACA. (Unauthorized migrants)
- January 9, 10:58 pm:
- It’s getting a bit frustrating. Here’s the Wall Street Journal with just a bit more on the court ruling temporarily blocking the Trump administration from rescinding DACA. I’m still not seeing the analysis I’d like to. (Unauthorized migrants)
- It just gets worse and worse with Oprah Winfrey. I knew about The Secret. I saw the article on her neoliberalism on Twitter. But oh yes, it seems this supposed “anti-Trump” has been up to her neck in anti-intellectual hucksters all along. I just hadn’t been paying enough attention. Not that I even remotely wanted to. (Magical Thinking)
- January 9, 11:55 pm:
- I probably should have thought of this earlier, but Dianne Feinstein’s press release, pointing to the Fusion GPS co-founder’s testimony transcript, finally hit my radar. It adds little to the coverage above, but is the more authoritative source for the transcript. (Golden Showers)
If Donald Trump was indeed a master negotiator, he might understand that Pakistan has alternatives to the U.S. and its fucking money, which is to say that it probably has the greater leverage.
“We do not have any alliance” with the U.S., [Pakistani Foreign Minister] Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in an interview Friday. “This is not how allies behave.”
Of course, I’d have said that from the beginning, when, allegedly, “the US threatened to bomb Pakistan ‘back to the stone age’ unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda.”
For Washington, jettisoning support for a longtime nuclear-armed ally in a strategic location isn’t easy. For its part, Pakistan fears a full break could lead the U.S. to apply its leverage in international forums to hurt the country’s economy.
A long-festering dispute lies at the heart of the conflict between the two countries: The U.S. accuses Pakistan of harboring jihadists who kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, while Islamabad says Washington doesn’t adequately acknowledge Pakistan’s role in decimating al Qaeda or its sacrifice of thousands of lives after joining America’s war on terror.
Islamabad also sees the U.S. growing ever closer to its archenemy India, with the Trump administration even inviting New Delhi to take a bigger role in Afghanistan—a move experts say all but guaranteed Pakistan’s pullback from cooperating with the U.S. effort there. The cleavage could push Pakistan further into the arms of China and complicate America’s effort to end the Afghanistan war, its longest-running conflict. BMI Research, an economic-analysis firm based in London, said in a report Friday that the U.S. suspension of aid “will likely accelerate Pakistan’s geopolitical drift towards China.”
Cristiano Lima, “Trump administration to withhold aid to Pakistan,” Politico, January 4, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/04/trump-administration-pakistan-aid-325401
Saeed Shah, “Pakistan Foreign Minister Says U.S. Has Undermined Countries’ Ties,” Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-alliance-with-u-s-is-over-1515155860
The Occupy tweet points to a Daily Beast snippet which summarizes a Twitter blog post. My response:
Olivia Solon, “Facebook declines to say why it deletes certain political accounts, but not others,” Guardian, January 4, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/04/facebook-chechnya-ramzan-kadyrov-political-censorship
Daily Beast, “Twitter: We Can’t Ban Trump Because He’s a ‘World Leader,’” January 5, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/twitter-we-cant-block-trump-because-hes-a-world-leader
Twitter, “World Leaders on Twitter,” January 5, 2018, https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2017/world-leaders-and-twitter.html
Public Radio International, “German social media companies could face big fines if they don’t remove hate speech,” January 9, 2018, https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-01-09/german-social-media-companies-could-face-big-fines-if-they-don-t-remove-hate
Remember, Jennifer Rubin is supposed to be a conservative (my best guess right now is functionalist conservative) columnist:
The walls are closing in on [Donald] Trump, at least with respect to an obstruction-of-justice claim. Literally everyone mentioned above [at least Reince Priebus, James B. Comey, Rod J. Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions, Uttam Dhillon, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller] may have evidence that incriminates the president. Some of these people will have personal liability and therefore may be ready to cut a deal with prosecutors. The White House is melting down.
“The risk is that Trump would either incriminate himself, commit perjury, or lie — unless he truly has committed no offense and has nothing to fear from telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” constitutional lawyer Laurence H. Tribe tells me. “I regard that ‘unless’ as extremely implausible.” He adds, “That said, I wouldn’t have have him plead the Fifth. That option isn’t realistically available to a sitting president, who simply can’t afford the steep political price that taking the Fifth would inevitably exact.” . . .
For all of Trump’s boasting that he’s done everything right (100 percent!) and his lawyer’s ludicrous assertions that a president cannot commit obstruction of justice, the prospect for Trump to be interviewed under oath presents the greatest risk to his presidency yet. Look for a lot of political maneuvering, excuse-making and spin. In the end, however, Mueller has the power to compel Trump to testify; Trump might have a theoretical legal right to refuse, but as a practical matter, he in all likelihood will have to testify — and therefore put himself in grave legal and political peril.
Also see an article by her under Donald Trump.
Michael S. Schmidt, “Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation,” New York Times, January 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/us/politics/trump-sessions-russia-mcgahn.html
Jennifer Rubin, “Why Trump and Sessions are now in a heap of legal trouble,” Washington Post, January 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/05/a-heap-of-legal-trouble-for-trump-and-sessions/
Carol D. Leonnig, “Mueller indicates he will likely seek interview with Trump,” Washington Post, January 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-indicates-he-will-likely-seek-interview-with-trump/2018/01/08/86100bb2-f473-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html
Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Hallie Jackson, “Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe,” NBC News, January 8, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/amp/initial-talks-underway-about-trump-interview-mueller-russia-probe-n835506
Jennifer Rubin, “Trump on the stand: The greatest political and legal peril he’s ever faced,” Washington Post, January 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/09/trump-on-the-stand-the-greatest-political-and-legal-peril-hes-ever-faced/
After [Ronald] Reagan’s [Alzheimer’s] diagnosis, former President Jimmy Carter sounded an alarm over the lack of a system to detect this sort of cognitive impairment earlier on. “Many people have called to my attention the continuing danger to our nation from the possibility of a U.S. president becoming disabled, particularly by a neurologic illness,” Carter wrote in 1994 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “The great weakness of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment is its provision for determining disability in the event that the president is unable or unwilling to certify to impairment or disability.”
James Mann, “Damage Bigly,” New York Review of Books, December 21, 2017, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/01/18/donald-trump-damage-bigly/
James Hamblin, “Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump?” Atlantic, January 3, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/trump-cog-decline/548759/
Jennifer Rubin, “The ‘stable genius’ isn’t even functioning as president,” Washington Post, January 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/06/the-stable-genius-isnt-even-functioning-as-president/
David Remnick, “The Increasing Unfitness of Donald Trump,” New Yorker, January 15, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/the-increasing-unfitness-of-donald-trump
Dianne Feinstein released a transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee despite Republican objections. The transcript itself may be found in the Hill story or in Dianne Feinstein’s press release, while the Los Angeles Times story offers a bit more background.
“Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript,” United States Senate, January 9, 2018, https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=B708D3CB-A945-4436-8FB8-9D85978C5EEF
Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html
Jacqueline Thomsen, “Feinstein posts testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/368119-feinstein-posts-testimony-of-fusion-gps-co-founder
Probably in part because 2020 and the nomination contest are still two years away. Of course Hillary Clinton’s coronation was assured about this far ahead of the 2016 election, too, when I’m sure I commented that it was way too soon to be making predictions.
Mary C. Curtis, “Why Oprah in 2020 Is Both Blessing and Curse for Trump and the GOP,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 8, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/opinion/opinion-oprah-2020-blessing-curse-trump-gop/
John Gravois, “Think Negative!” Slate, May 16, 2007, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2007/05/think_negative.html
Nicole Aschoff, “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers,” Guardian, December 19, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers
Julia Belluz, “Oprah’s long history with junk science,” Vox, January 9, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/1/9/16868216/oprah-winfrey-pseudoscience
Valerie Richardson, “Judge throws out case against Bundys, bars retrial in devastating defeat for federal prosecutors,” Washington Times, January 8, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/8/judge-throws-out-case-against-bundys-bars-retrial/
Associated Press, “Federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocks Trump’s decision to end DACA program,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-daca-federal-court-20180109-story.html
Brett Samuels, “Judge blocks Trump plan to end DACA,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/368246-judge-blocks-trump-admin-from-ending-daca-program
Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, “Judge blocks Trump admin plan to roll back DACA,” CNN, January 10, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/09/politics/california-judge-daca-applications/index.html