CSotD: Trump goes on secret double probation

Signe Wilkinson answers my question, which was “Where to start?”

Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C, when you read the Mueller Report you begin with

DOH! Oh, dear!

Wilkinson is right: It’s all there. I will confess I have not read the entire thing; I’ve skimmed through it, and I’ve read analyses by others whose judgment I trust, but I’ll read more this weekend.

A fair amount is already clear, though, which brings us to Ann Telnaes, who is correct that it reflects the crooked mobster atmosphere of this White House and this president, but she seems to have forgotten Jonathan Swift’s quote that “Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.”

And while any fair, intelligent, well-balanced person would see in the glass just what she depicts, well …

 Jim Morin calls it.

As I’ve said here before, I used to suggest to my kids, when they had a conflict with a teacher, to try to picture who that teacher was at their age and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Trump was a kid so incorrigible and obnoxious that, though his siblings were permitted to live at home, his parents gave up on him and shipped him off to military school, and, aside from whatever abandonment issues that might raise, he seems to have been a dedicated rich, jock slacker.

And — this is entirely theoretical, but aren’t we all? — I can picture a 15 or 16 year old kid in the principal’s office, with the principal knowing damn well he put a dead chicken in another kid’s bed, but, for lack of definitive proof, unable to punish him beyond some toothless threat of secret double probation.

A major frustration for that principal being the knowledge that there is no chance the little shit will break down and confess, and, worse, that he’ll strut out of the meeting not relieved to have escaped punishment, but triumphant for having pulled off another.

And knowing that Daddy would step in to override any actual attempt at expulsion.

Morin shows the result 50 years later, only the role of “Daddy” is now played by Mitch McConnell.


I like Clay Jones‘ cartoon, but I like his essay even more.

There are any number of cartoons on the topic of Barr’s loyal ass-coverage, though not so many that, as Jones does, directly accuse him of deliberate misinterpretation. Most simply play upon his cherry-picking the best paragraphs and ignoring the worst.

But Jones has either read the whole damn thing himself or at least immersed himself in some good sources, because he lays out not only Barr’s stunning dishonesty but several other points in which it is impossible to put a positive spin on the results. It’s worth a read.


Meanwhile, over in the New Yorker, Ivan Ehlers raises a more central and troubling question.

It’s been, I think, pretty well accepted that the reason Trump has so many “acting” cabinet secretaries and other officials is that, just as that malevolent teenager gloried in slipping things past the principal, so, too, the President likes defying Congressional oversight and being able to hire and fire on his own.

But Ehlers raises a different question that has been on my mind.

Howard Baker famously asked, of Nixon, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” but I think a more relevant question now is “What, if anything, does the president know?”

It’s a question that makes reading Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” as critical as reading the Mueller Report, because the two create a blended portrait of a White House in which people routinely feed the president happy news while actively blocking his more unhinged impulses.

Given that the president is a compulsive liar — obviously, his staff didn’t tell him his father was born in Germany or that the old man grew up in Brooklyn — we may never know the balance of what he heard on Fox & Friends versus what his staff told him to keep him from tipping over his high chair versus what nonsense simply bubbled out of his imagination.

And, as with OJ, we’ll probably never know where the lies end and the self-serving scenarios he honestly believes begin.

Still, when “Fire and Fury” came out, there was a defensive response from Trump loyalists that they certainly didn’t do those things and would never, for instance, snatch documents off his desk to keep him from acting upon them.

Only then Mueller put them under oath and their stories changed.

So now the principal has a kid in his office who planned to put a dead chicken in another kid’s bed, except that his friends talked him out of it.

And there is nothing in the Student Handbook that specifically forbids possession of a dead chicken.


As Matt Davies depicts it, the kid has walked away clean again, at least in his mind.

Congress could step in and do their job, or it could be weaponized for the next election.

Or both.

Or neither.

We’ll see.


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I wouldn’t pick on Peter Schrank‘s cartoon if I weren’t seeing this whataboutism across social media.

As French millionaires donate to rebuild one of the great architectural treasures of the world, there is a backlash from those who had other plans for that money.

Which assumes, (A) had they not chosen this, those millionaires would have been required to spend the money feeding the poor or stopping the war in Yemen or whatever, and (B) that they don’t also give to those causes anyway.

And (C) that it’s that simple.

It also ignores that this massive public project will require many construction workers, skilled and unskilled, in a country with 9 percent unemployment and a huge number of refugees.

And, BTW, it ignores that you just spent $5 for a cup of Yuppie coffee when you could have gotten a cuppa joe at Mickey D’s for a buck and handed $4 to a homeless person.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Trump goes on secret double probation

  1. “What about those three churches in Louisiana?!?”

    Why hasnt anyone asked the Southern Baptist Convention (which is just as loaded as the Vatican, proportionately) to pay for it?

    Ah. Right. Because the SBC doesnt have a pope. Indeed, no one person to scapegoat. Just as many crimes, but no one to put a face to them. And we do seem to be in an era where it’s okay to deride not only Muslims but Catholics as well.

  2. The Scots have a 3-verdict system:
    Not guilty
    Not proven. This means ‘guilty, but don’t do it again’. That seems to apply to Trump on several charges.

  3. As noted the other day, the Go Fund Me for the Louisiana Churches went over goal rather quickly. Despite the fact that other people apparently did other things with their money. Or both things.

  4. Another sign of the contempt AG Barr holds for the media and the American people: The PDF file of the Mueller report that was released on the Department of Justice website is not searchable!

    Apparently, this was fairly easy to rectify with Adobe Acrobat, as there are searchable copies available, such as the one at CNN that you referenced, but still.

  5. If they are going to restore the Notre Dame cathedral using the same techniques as were originally used, they will almost certainly have to train quite a few people in the techniques of stone cutting and carving. I doubt that there are many of these craftsmen around who are not already gainfully employed.

    One stonecutter from Italy, Vincent Palumbo, spent 39 years working on the Washington Cathedral (he died in 2000). These skills are not picked up in a few days, or even a few years, so I am skeptical about the plan to restore Notre Dame in only five years.

  6. In fact, one of the problems in the EU is a lack of skilled workers, though it’s more about tech stuff than stonecutting. However, I’d not that you don’t need a hundred stonecutters and you might need a hundred hodcarriers..

    And then there’s the question, given how deeply Macron has dug himself in, is it to late to spin this as a return to the WPA project it was 850 years ago? Or, even, to try to really make it that?

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