Rumors started circulating a few months back that Donald Trump had made his West Wing staff sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) regarding their work and what they see and hear during their time in the White House. Now, in business settings, NDAs are pretty common practice. Companies have proprietary practices, programs and Tech, and in general lots of things they expect to not have to tell the general public. But as it turns out, you can’t really do stuff like that for government work. Other than stuff that is specifically designated as classified, the public nature and expectation of transparency in public work is paramount in democratic settings. A few days ago, Kellyanne Conway confirmed that everyone in the West Wing was told to sign an NDA, and the question a lot of people were asking was “why?” And not just because it seems sketchy, but because, as many experts have begun pointing out, they are virtually unenforceable. NDAs are corporate instruments, and can’t be used to bar information that is legally available to the public. Freedom of information is literally a law we have when it comes to the government. I can only imagine what it is Trump doesn’t want people talking about.
Sunday’s utterly distasteful “Unite the Right” rally, meant to celebrate the anniversary of what most would consider the tragedy of the events in Charlottesville, was a big fat failure in every respect. First of all, the turnout…well it was actually pretty good for the protestors who came to shame the people throwing the rally. Thousands showed up to let the White Supremacists in charge know how they felt. Unfortunately, the turn out for the actual rally part was rather impotent. I think at last count there were 12 people who ultimately showed up? So much for solidarity. For the millions of people concerned about the rise of this alt-right, neo-Nazi, white radical ideology, the lack of traction of this event should perk you up a bit. Indeed, the fact that thousands of people came out to make their voice heard against this kind of hatred and bigotry maybe shows that our country isn’t too lost after all. We may need to make our voices better well heard, but we still have the numbers. And I have to believe this event sticks somewhere in Trump’s craw. Because whether he’s willing to admit it, this is the voice of his base that’s floundered. While he probably would never openly endorse the success of such a rally, I believe Trump was hoping at least in part that this “Unite the White” event, held out in front of the White House, would have showed the power behind his message and his base. And the fact that it made that group look so small and ineffectual hopefully gives Trump a picosecond of pause regarding his message.
On the same day that Donald Trump condemned racism and violence for the anniversary of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Trump also called his ex advisor, and “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa a “low life.” To me that brings up a whole host of issues. First, it’s important to remember why Trump attacked Omarosa. She of course, among many other claims, has suggested there are recordings of Trump rather frivolously using the n-word. Also (and this may just be reading too much into things, I’ll freely admit that), but the term Trump used to denigrate Omarosa, “low life”, feels a little dog whistle-y. In my defense, when Trump goes for character assassination, he usually finds a childish way to call someone dumb, corrupt or a liar. But “Low life” feels like a term used to describe someone you think is a low class street thug. Again, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but regardless, the whole thing makes Trump’s condemnation of violence and racism ring hollow. But frankly, I feel like Trump’s statements when talking about racism, violence and unity usually do.
Oh goodness, Space Force is still a thing. Initially it was a stupid joke made by Trump. But as with most things that come out of his mouth, upon his own further reflection, he decided it was actually a stroke of genius. Despite being told by his generals that this was a colossal waste of time and money, Trump apparently kept pushing, assigned the task of assembling the Space Force to disinterested high ranking military officers and now, Mike Pence announced that they are aiming to have an operational branch of the military by 2020. What’s more, Pence is talking about having a Special Forces unit to…do what exactly? Ransack a space station? He then went on this ominous sounding rant about making peace through strength, and having the US rule over space with strength…it all sounds a little like the Empire in Star Wars to me, which the more I think about, the more sense that interpretation starts to make.
So the new look in Conservative Patriotism is memorabilia with a slogan that says “I’d Rather Be A Russian than Democrat”. You’ll see these t-shirts floating around Trump rallies and GOP conventions. You see, it’s the next great message in making America great again. It shows how far Conservatism has come. You see, 2 years ago, the GOP considered Russia a hostile foreign power. They bashed liberals over the head with even the whiff of a notion of being soft on Russia and Vladimir Putin. But then suddenly, the winds changed, Putin was a wonderful leader, and Russia should be reached out to. Russia stopped being the enemy, and people with opposing political values took their place. “I’d Rather Be A Russian than Democrat” is the slogan of our country’s political divide, perfectly encapsulating this near civil war mentality between ideologies. And yet for all of that, I can’t find where these pieces of memorabilia first originated. Several vendors are putting them out, but for all the research that I’ve done, I don’t know who came up with it. But I can imagine Donald Trump might be kind of tickled by this. It shows how effective his sales pitch has been.
Alex Jones! He is… the best worst person in the whole damn universe. He’s just a bag of prejudice, anger and degeneracy. And it brings me no end of joy to see him fall on his face. Namely in recent days, when his “news” show (I can’t emphasize the sarcasm behind “news” hard enough) has been banned by all the major digital distribution networks that allow for mass access to his show. iTunes, Facebook and YouTube all kicked him off their services for violating their content policies. Now of course, Jones is claiming censorship (which is what zealots who don’t know what censorship actually means always claim when they get kicked out of a party) and begging for help. Namely, he’s begging Donald Trump for help. He put up a video on his InfoWars website, pleading for Trump to take up his cause, making his “censorship” a concern for the midterms. Though going to bat for a media company…well that might be a bit off brand for Trump. But in a weird way, I think Trump probably admires the moxie on Jones.
Donald Trump, Jr. might be looking at a bit of trouble for his participation in a meeting in Trump Tower during the 2016 election. For those not in the know, Don Jr, potentially (probably) with the knowledge of his father, took a meeting with a Russian lawyer in the hopes of getting dirt on Hillary in the election. The more information that becomes public, especially as it relates to a statement by Jr, probably drafted by Sr, the less good it looks for Jr. And I guess Papa Trump might be getting worried as well. Whether that is genuine concern over the welfare of his son or concern for himself over the blowback is up to whoever is telling the story. But whichever the case, it’s certainly causing Trump and his legal team time and energy. And the flip flopping over Don Sr.’s level of knowledge of the incident before it happened is only causing more waves. All I can imagine is that Trump would rather Jr. be out of reach for the time being.
Donald Trump weirdly, and proudly bragged about destroying peoples careers this weekend. It was odd, not that he said it but how he approached the subject. During a rally in Ohio, when talking about fellow Republicans, he suggested that he’s totally happy and capable of destroying members of Republicans who oppose him, but this isn’t cruel. No sir! They deserved it by virtue of disagreeing with him! Those monsters! As far as Trump is concerned, anyone who doesn’t agree with him 100% of the time about 100% of his opinions is the enemy. And as the enemy, they don’t deserve mercy! That’s reasonable, right? Right?
Trump again suggested to the whole wide world that he’s the most popular Republican of all time according to some “poll”. Which poll is a total mystery, and his claims on top of that are equally bizarre. He’s still claiming that he’s even more popular in the polls than Abraham Lincoln. Now, I’ve said this before, but it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE for him to know that. There were no real polling system in Lincoln’s time. Also what is he comparing that to? His popularity at the time? Because yeah, he presided over a war and basically altered the fabric of the economy by emancipating a race of people, in a time when Racism was still the normal thing. But Trump won’t be bothered to clear anything up. He did suggest in his tweet that perhaps someone should check the numbers because this assessment couldn’t possibly be right, and to that, I think we ALL agree. Mind you, if you check those numbers and decide there is nothing even remotely truthful about that statement, good luck not being called “fake news”.
The New York Times just released an article about how Jared Kushner and his weird story arc in the narrative of the Trump administration. From his high standing, to his water treading, to hunkering down, and waiting for a desperate POTUS to reembrace him, it’s seems he’s been through a journey of sorts. But all of that is frankly boring. Jared Kushner and his duplicitous face don’t interest me. What does interest me in that long story was Trump bragging that he could have had Tom Brady as his son-in-law, and that…that is hilarious. Listen, I don’t know what history exists between Ivanka Trump and New England Patriots’ star child Tom Brady, but I somehow doubt that Ivanka and Tom’s love story was written in the stars. But I can only imagine how much Donald would have loved that. As far as he considers the people around him as a grander reflection of himself, you can be sure that Son-In-Law Tom Brady would have been used to better sell an athletic, strapping Donald Trump, and frankly, people love Tom Brady more than anyone has ever loved a Trump ever. The idea that he still reminisces about what could have been is the best story to come out of the White House in a long time.