the real world: trump administration, week 13


13 weeks. Somehow, it feels longer.

I haven’t really heard much US news this week (thanks to this, sigh) but I’ll do my best to sum things up.

w13

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So, last week, Trump chose to provoke North Korea. North Korea reacted.

Rinse.

(CNN) With North Korean soldiers standing less than 100 feet behind him at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN that Pyongyang should understand that the Trump administration’s approach toward the regime will be different than that of past US presidents.

“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably,” Pence said in an exclusive interview at the DMZ.

To achieve this new strategy, the administration is relying heavily on China, a country President Donald Trump spent his entire campaign railing against, but has since stopped as it became clear North Korea would be a top priority requiring China’s help.

Repeat.

North Korea marked the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un’s grandfather with a rousing concert in Pyongyang that featured a video simulation of a nuclear missile attack destroying what appears to be an unidentified U.S. city.

The video simulation, obtained by Western news sites Wednesday, shows at least one ballistic missile being fired and crossing the Pacific before multiple missiles appear to strike the U.S. The video then shows an American flag and a cemetery superimposed with flames.

Rinse. 

“We are sending an armada. Very powerful. We have submarines. Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

Except….

A U.S. aircraft carrier was heading away from the Sea of Japan last week when the White House announced it was moving toward the location, Defense News first reported.

The Navy announced on April 9 that its Carl Vinson Strike Group would skip a regularly scheduled visit to Australia and head toward the western Pacific Ocean, a move the White House later said was meant as a deterrent to North Korea’s recent provocations.

But as The New York Times noted Tuesday, the Navy posted a picture taken April 15 showing the strike force in the Sunda Strait, an area off the coast of Indonesia and thousands of miles from North Korea.

AUSTRALIA!

It would be funny if it wasn’t so alarming. These idiots (well Trump mostly) can’t even lie properly. I loved Sean Spicer’s idiotic description of the armada too. I don’t think he knew what was even saying.

Anyway, I don’t think anyone really knows where the armada is, but what’s even worse is that Trump is still getting his news (TOP SECRET NEWS!!) from FOX News….

There has been much speculation about Trump’s nonsense talk about his “armada.” Administration officials suggested a miscommunication between the Pentagon and the White House. Others suspected deliberate psy-ops against North Korea and China.

I put the question to my former colleague Tom Ricks, military writer and national security specialist at the New America Foundation. Ricks’s hypothesis: Trump didn’t have any idea where his armada was. “He probably saw it on TV.”

….seriously, give him some crayons, warm milk and cookies and just sing him his intelligent briefings if you have to, man. Or write it in gold.

This is beyond embarrassing.

(just to clarify, the propaganda video came after Trump’s Armada comment.)

Sources:

‘Armada’ Trump claimed was deployed to North Korea actually heading to Australia

Where is Trump’s ‘armada’? Apparently, wherever Fox News says it is.

Aircraft carrier wasn’t moving toward North Korea when WH said it was

On North Korean border, Pence tells CNN US will drop ‘failed policy’
Money, money, money, money, money…

Numerous corporate powerhouses and individual business titans — including fossil fuel, financial and food and beverage interests with lucrative business before the federal government — helped fund President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to a new disclosure filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Hardly surprising.

Also contributing $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee on Jan. 6 was the Affleck-Middleton Project, a production company Oscar Award-winning actor and producer Casey Affleck formed in 2014 with John Powers Middleton. Earlier this year, after the Center for Public Integrity reported that the Affleck-Middleton Project has contributed $5,000 to Trump’s presidential transition effort, Affleck told BuzzFeed he was “appalled.”

Affleck added that he had “no knowledge of it, was never asked, and never would have authorized it. I will get to the bottom of it. The policies of the Trump administration, and the values they represent, are antithetical to everything I believe in.”

Surprising

Not because Casey Affleck is an upstanding guy (in fact poor treatment of women is something he and Trump have in common) but because you’d think someone would know this about their own company. Perhaps he’s appalled they weren’t discreet enough.

Source:

Donald Trump inauguration bankrolled by corporate giants

The Voice of Unheard White America is no more

Bill O’Reilly was fired. Apparently $13 million in settlement money was just too much. That and the 50 advertisers who suddenly jumped ship even though Bill’s sketchiness has been known for years.
Anyway, good riddance.

Convenient Comey

Remember how James Comey sent Congress a letter saying that the FBI had reopened the investigation into the Hillary Clinton emails about two weeks before the election? Apparently he did it to counteract claims of favouritism.

FBI Director James Comey was trying to defend his agency against potential accusations of favoritism when he went forward with a letter to Congress last November informing members of the House and Senate that the FBI was investigating new evidence regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

To sum up the NYT article

  • Comey was determined to make sure that no one tried to say that the FBI favoured one candidate over the other
  • He thought that Lynch was compromised so he was harsh on Clinton during his initial statement announcing that there would be no charges
  • They knew that the Russians had hacked the DNC but didn’t realise why until late on during the election
  • Obama didn’t want to say anything about the Russians in case people thought he was trying to sway the decision in HRC’s favour. 
  • Comey thought that Hillary would win, hence why he decided to send the letter. Lynch asked him to wait but apparently he felt it necessary – again, he didn’t want to be accused of covering up something. 
  • The reason why he refused to answer questions about Trump’s ties to the Russians is because that investigation was still open whereas the Hillary email investigation was officially closed. 

Conclusion: Who cares? Yes, Comey needlessly inserted himself into the election and yes, that was one reason why Hillary lost. He’s not the only reason. It’s over and done with now. Apart from the whole Russia thing, but anyway, can people look to future, please?

Sources:

Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election.

Rawstory
Meandering Melania

Vanity Fair published a quite frankly unflattering profile of Melania Trump. From what I gather she’s basically aspires to be one of the Real Housewives of New York. 

The shade in this article is too much. I don’t even have much to add, just gonna quote it. And laugh. 

“She never wanted this, and never had any interest,” said one source to Vanity Fair‘s Evgenia Peretz. In fact, parents at her son Barron’s school Columbia Prep in New York City say that in the days before the election, Melania Trump looked “thin, tired, and sad” and others reported her as being “terrified” of Trump’s quest for office because “he might win.”

…In her defense, she always looks thin, tired and sad. Plus, she’s married to Donald Trump. That must be exhausting in itself 

“She was passionate about… Well, I can’t think what she was passionate about,” said old friend Lisa Bytner when Vanity Fair asked where Mrs. Trump’s deepest interests lie.

Her “old friend“.

She is by all accounts a doting and attentive mother to Barron and mostly what she reportedly wants is “a luxurious home where she could indulge her hobbies — Pilates and reading fashion magazines, according to People — in peace, and a promise that she would never have to return to drab Eastern-European prospects,” said Peretz.

…is that it? She doesn’t do any knitting, writing or stamp collecting? Drag racing? Other rich people hobbies. What do rich people even do besides throwing money away? Even an additional boring hobby would do.

Mrs. Trump said in November that her pet cause as First Lady would be the prevention of cyber bullying, which critics found particularly rich given her husband’s lack of restraint on Twitter.

“(I)t was the height of spoiled self-centeredness,” said Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus. “Of a very privileged, wealthy woman looking only at herself, who clearly has no thoughts or care for the people her husband has damaged, ruined, and traumatized by his cyberbullying

“She’s an immigrant who doesn’t give a sh*t about the plight of other immigrants,” he said. “She’s famously a plagiarist. And she’s brought ruinous lawsuits against journalists and bloggers accusing them of among other things, potentially interfering with her ability to profit off her role as first lady.”

…Have we even heard a peep about her supposed pet cause? Besides her silent complicity whenever Trump goes on a Twitter tirade? I’m guessing that the answer is no. 

Melania, you are the weakest link. Goodbye. 

Source:

Melania Trump profile says she’s ‘frosty’ with Ivanka and ‘never had any interest’ in First Lady job

Playtime

You know how we all imagine that Trump just sits behind his desk with a colouring book? And not the adult kind that are supposedly helpful (I need to try one!) but the kind reserved for toddlers. 

Well…

Trump likes to keep large chunks of time on his daily schedule open because — as he said in “The Art of the Deal” — it allows him time to be “imaginative.”

His aides are realising that maybe it isn’t a good idea.

And while some advisers support the president’s unconventional approach to the job, others worry that these holes in the president’s schedule are where he goes awry and “watches too much TV”, gets overexcited and posts inflammatory — frequently inaccurate — rants online or speaks by phone with people who encourage his worst instincts.

“There may be a block of time, two hours of staff time, who knows what’s going on during that time, anything could happen,” one harried-sounded White House official told Politico anonymously.

The picture that emerges from these mishaps and the current stories from the White House is of a president with a childlike attention span who gets into trouble if he’s out of the sight of his minders for more than an hour.

“Number one, he’s lonely. It’s part of why he’s reached out to me,” said one friend of the president who Trump regularly speaks with on the phone. “He’s always been a creature of routine.”

Lonely? I know, we should get him a giant stuffed…lobster. Something that matches his complexion at least. It’s the humane thing to do. Donny needs a friend! 

Source:‘Anything could happen’: Trump aides fret when he gets free time because that’s when he screws up

99 Problems and Buyer’s Remorse Ain’t One 

There’s no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945 –- yet 96 percent of those who supported him in November say they’d do it again today.

Source:

Trump at 100 days: 96 percent of his voters say they’d do it again (POLL)

Last but not least….

Thursday afternoon, the young Trump administration scored an undeniably significant win: It got Egypt’s dictator, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to release an American aid worker, Aya Hijazi, who had been unjustly detained in a Cairo prison for three years.

Yay! Some good at last!!!

On Friday afternoon, the Trump team succeeded again — this time, in cheapening their accomplishment with an exceptionally bizarre video

Nay!!! What the ever loving fuck is this?

The music. The fact that it’s just pictures. The constant cut to’s back to Trump’s face. Everything! Why? Who? How? The music.

I just can’t. 

Source:Trump’s weird, gloaty video about a political prisoner: a scene-by-scene analysis

–More next week. Thanks for reading!

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