I’m Sorry, Folks, He’s a Few French Fries Short of a Happy Meal


Trump Boasts The Ice Caps Are ‘Setting Records.’ But It’s For Melting.

And no one says “global warming” anymore because it’s “getting too cold all over,” he told Piers Morgan.

By Mary Papenfuss

President Donald Trump seemed to be in a fog about the facts of climate change during his British TV sit-down with Piers Morgan, which aired Sunday night.

Trump said in the ITV interview that the “polar ice caps were supposed to be gone by now,” but instead they’re “breaking records.”

“The ice caps were going to melt,” he said, “they were going to be gone by now. But now they’re setting records. They’re at a record level.”

Asked if he thinks that climate change is happening, Trump said, “There is a cooling, and there’s a heating. I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. Right? That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.”

An Immigrant Doing a Job that Americans Just Won’t Do

just remembered copy

A good friend who lives in the heartland—but is apparently fond of the English tabloid press—has taken me to task for ignoring this vital story:


Melania Trump ‘spending time away from Donald at posh hotel’ after allegations of his affair with porn star Stormy Daniels

The First Lady, 47, has been left ‘humiliated’ and spends ‘three to four days a week away from the White House’ before flying to West Palm Beach, Florida, yesterday

Actually, I am coming to see the decency and good sense in Melania. Yes, she is a Woman with a Past. Yes, she made a really rotten Faustian bargain. But, at least, she appears to have the good sense to realize the mistake she made.

Melania, it appears, has understood what a goodly portion of the Republican establishment will not admit: the problem with Useful Idiots is that their idiocy tends to detract from their utility.

Each Frays a Joule

joule thief

A careful but literal minded reader objects to the headline of the previous post, which reads in part, “Ramses II was a friend of mind.”

The objection is not well taken. Obviously, my point was that Ramses II was not literally a friend of mine, but that, if I had lived in thirteenth century BC Egypt he would have been a friend. And, in consequence, I can imagine IN MY MIND that he was a friend, even though he was not literally a friend.

This is because I am, like, a really smart person. Indeed, a stable genius. And I have very good words. In fact, I have the best words. That is why I never make mistakes.

Another reason why I never make writing mistakes is that I have a spell checker.


Jerrold Zar

I have a spelling checker,

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot see.

Eye ran this poem threw it.

Your sure real glad two no.

Its very polished in its weigh,

My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a blessing.

It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen

Eye trussed too bee a joule.

The checker pours o’er every word

To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checkers

Hour spelling mite decline,

And if we’re laks oar have a laps,

We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate flare,

There are know faults with in my cite,

Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does not phase me,

I does knot bring a tier.

My pay purrs awl due glad den

With wrapped words fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet

Of witch won should be proud,

And wee mussed dew the best wee can,

Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays

Such soft wear four pea seas,

And why eye brake in two averse

Buy righting want too please.

I Knew Ramses II. Ramses II was a Friend of Mind. And you, Donald, are no Ramses II

Abu Simbel

Three questions intersect.

Question 1—and, yes, it’s an oldie: How much of Trump’s never-ending stream of bullshit represents a conscious intent to lie, and how much arises from delusion and seriously confused thinking?

Question 2: What kind of a DACA deal is politically feasible?

Question 3: What will happen if and when any DACA bill falls through?

Question 1—Conscious Lying Versus Confusion, Illusion, and Delusion

This afternoon Matt Yglesias took another pass at the question, and laid out a very strong and detailed case that, while there appears to be some conscious lying, it’s mostly serious mental confusion. His headline, Trump’s latest interview shows he’s not really the president, pretty well sums it up.

“Trump doesn’t know he canceled DACA,” Yglesias writes. And, as to the purported “White House negotiating position” concocted by General Kelly and Stephen Miller,

Democrats are, for better or worse, prepared to cough up a lot of border security money in exchange for DACA protections. The sticking point is that Trump’s White House keeps putting forward a lot of other demands — including, notably, a 50 percent cut in legal immigration.

But Trump, amazingly, does not mention these demands at any point in the [CNBC interview in Davos]. The president is completely out to sea on the main policy debate of the moment, even though he’s also completely central to it.

Question 2: What kind of a DACA deal is politically feasible?

The Kelly-Miller deal is dead on arrival. Trump doesn’t understand it (see Yglesias article above). Democrats pronounced it dead on arrival. The Senate will never pass it. And, most importantly,

  • a segment of the population hates the idea of accepting dreamers,
  • Breitbart hates it
  • Ann Coulter has denounced it (“combines political incompetence, malpractice, greed, betrayal, and self-mutilation,” she said, with her customary restraint)
  • right-wing nutjub candidates are denouncing it.

Like Ramses II, Trump yearns to construct a giant monument on his southern border to frighten and piss off his neighbors to the south. But, Donald, I knew Ramses II. Ramses II was a friend of mine. And you, Donald Trump, are no Ramses II.

Schumer already offered the wall in exchange for the Dreamers. Many Democrats would do the same. Such a deal would probably pass the Senate. It might or might not pass the House. Trump might want to sign it.

But if Breitbart and Ann Coulter and the hardest of hard-core elements of American society hate the Kelly-Miller approach, what the hell would they say and do about a simpler wall-for-Dreamers deal?

You know the answer. They would go ballistic. They would desert Trump in droves.

Just at the time when the Russian/obstruction shit hits the fan.

And the combined effect of ballistic right wingers, now deserting Trump, at the same time as the Russian/obstruction situation goes really out of control would mean that the purportedly respectable Republicans—no longer fearing Trump’s erstwhile supporters, no longer with anything much to gain by supporting Trump, and with everything to lose by being tarred with the brush of criminality and treason—would rise as one to proclaim, “All hail President Pence.”

Question 3: When the Deal Falls Through

One thing, and only one thing, will save Trump’s bacon: establishment Republican fear of his base.

But, to placate the worst of the worst—to hang on to his cult of personality—Trump will not get to trade the Dreamers for the wall.

Like a wounded animal, he will betray the Dreamers to save his own skin.

And Ozymandias will not get his monument or his wall.


Pardon Me for a Horrifying but Obvious Prediction


Well, that was nice.

Trump Says He Is Open to a Path to Citizenship for ‘Dreamers’

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he is open to a path to citizenship after 10 to 12 years for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, days after rejecting a bipartisan plan with that as its centerpiece.

Mr. Trump once again seemed to undercut his administration’s message, telling reporters at the White House that he would allow the young immigrants, known as Dreamers, to “morph into” citizens over a period of time.

The reporters had gathered for a briefing from a senior official detailing the administration’s plans to stick to a restrictive immigration agenda when the president dropped in unprompted, shortly before departing for Davos, Switzerland, pre-empting the official.

“Over a period of 10 to 12 years,” Mr. Trump said, “somebody does a great job, they work hard — that gives incentive to do a great job. Whatever they’re doing, if they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen.”

But here is Trump’s problem:

“A slice of the public bucks popular sentiment for young undocumented immigrants, underscoring the conflicted feelings over the issue that has stymied Congress for years.”

And that’s the very “slice” to which Trump will desperately cling when the Mueller shit hits the fan. That’s the “slice of the public” being told by Fox News and the Russian bots about the Deep State Conspiracy.

Trump won’t want to see any more headlines like the one from Britbart “News” shown above.

If Trump loses his little slice of the public, if he loses Fox, if he loses Breitbart, then his goose is well and truly cooked.

And Donald Trump is not a man to agonize over the choice between common decency and self-interest.

So I am afraid that as soon as Mueller finishes his work, ICE is going to start showing up for the Dreamers.


No Importará

Democratic senators, plus a few sentient Republican senators, gave up their shutdown in exchange for the promise of a Senate vote on DACA and the wall. Don’t worry, I have no intention of adding to the blather about who won and who lost that round. But suppose they get their vote, and an acceptable bill passes in the Senate. What then?

Jay Bookman, who is nobody’s fool, makes the case that

It won’t matter.

It won’t matter because the Republican caucus that controls the House of Representatives has no intention of welcoming 700,000 to 1 million Dreamers into full membership in the American family. That is antithetical to their perceived mission in Congress.

It won’t matter because House GOP leadership lacks the guts to withstand the accusations of “amnesty” and “traitor!” that would inevitably come from their hard-core, anti-immigrant, white-nationalist right.

It won’t matter because House Republicans know all too well that by their past actions and rhetoric, they have already guaranteed that the Dreamers will vote overwhelmingly Democratic, as will their children and eventual grandchildren.

It won’t matter because with the midterm elections just months away, and with the Democratic base angry and energized, Republicans will not dare to take a step that would anger and alienate much of their own base. Instead, their goal between now and November will be to inflame that base, and they know exactly how to do that. …

If Democrats want to help the Dreamers — and they do — they can’t do it by trying to twist the arms of Republicans who control every agency in the federal government. They’ll have to it do it by winning elections.

If Bookman is right, and he may well be, there will be no deal.

And then Trump will have to decide whether he wants to start deporting Dreamers. Or, more likely, just leave the question to his antediluvian staff.

Maria will go.

Our hearts will break.

And there will be hell to pay.

Emperor Goes to Davos Wearing New Clothes


I believe I have already blogged on the emperor’s-new-clothes theme, but a friend writes from afar to suggest that I do so again. I am happy to oblige.

Trump is off to Davos, accompanied by a vast array of sycophants, but minus Mrs. At times in the past, the incumbent Mrs. Trump herself let herself be photographed with far fewer garments than are customary.


But now, she seems to be asserting her dignity. And, Aardvark says, good for her.

The time has come for all the actual world leaders—you know, Merkel, Macron, May, that lot—to imitate the little boy in the story. They need to tell Trump that he’s naked, and, what’s more, despite what he proclaims to the world, his dick isn’t all that impressive.


No Shit, Sherlock


Amber Phillips, There’s a strong case to make that Trump is a big reason why the government just shut down

Out there in the business world there are four kinds of negotiators. Some—not very many, but some—are pushovers. Some are decent people who negotiate hard and drive the best bargain they can. Some are genuinely bad actors, but they are rational bad actors; those people you can deal with, when your respective interests happen to coincide—just be sure to watch your back. And, finally, there are people whose word is so bad, who are so unreliable, that it is an utter waste of time to try to deal with them. Sort of like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football.

And you know which kind of negotiator Trump is.

Hence, the dilemma.

On the one hand, Congress can’t negotiate a deal without him.

On the other hand, Congress can’t negotiate a deal with him.

Oh, and BTW, Let Me Be Sure I Have This Straight:

Lots of congressional Republicans believe that protections should be extended to Dreamers.

But they just don’t want to take this action as part of a stopgap spending measure.

So, rather than take the right and moral position as part of a spending measure, they would rather shut down the government.

That sounds fair.

You Really Should Read the Book

I mean, of course, the new Michael Wolff book, Fire and Fury.

With his customary cogency, Eugene Robinson writes,

One year into the Trump presidency, we effectively do not have a presidency at all.

As McConnell noted in frustration Wednesday, he can’t orchestrate passage of an immigration bill unless he knows what Trump is willing to sign. Likewise, Ryan can’t pass spending legislation unless he knows what Trump will and will not accept. But the president has no fixed positions. His word is completely unreliable. How are congressional leaders supposed to do their jobs?

With that thought in mind, why should you read the new book? Haven’t you heard it all from the talking heads?

Well, of course you have heard a lot of it from the talking heads. But when you read the book, the focus falls away from the anecdotes and the big picture comes clear.

There are dozens and dozens of cognitive biases. I’ve got ‘em. You’ve got ‘em. Everybody’s got ‘em. But here’s the difference between Donald Trump, on the one hand, and many of the rest of us, on the other hand. Particularly that portion of the “rest of us” whose job it is or was to bring judgment to bear on difficult and important questions—in medicine, in law, in government, and so on. We know we’ve got cognitive biases, and we can at least try to compensate for those biases with reason and with objective information.

Trump has cognitive biases of the most egregious nature, but is entirely innocent of any discernment about his mental sgtate. Lacking that discernment, he is helpless to correct for his biases.

As Wolff explains, with illustrations, Trump does not take in information through the written word.

He cannot reliably distinguish between truth and fiction.

He cannot relate cause to effect.

And he believes, falsely, that others, or at least most others, think like him. He thinks, for example, that referring to Africa as comprised of “shithole countries” will actually increase his standing with the public.

As Wolff lays out, Trump “knows” a limited set of things, all of which are false. But, as to those matters, which he thinks he knows, he clings tenaciously to his illusions and is impervious to any contrary empirical information or logic.

As to a vast array of other matters, Trump has no intellectual curiosity at all, and no sense of duty to try at least to learn the relevant facts. As to these things, he is perennially at the mercy of whoever spoke to him last.

You know all this already. Reading Fire and Fury will help you get your head around it.

As Eugene Robinson says, we are functioning without a chief executive and commander-in-chief. It’s a kind of mad experiment.

But on a lighter note, check out

President Trump allegedly had Stormy Daniels spank him with Forbes magazine cover featuring his face  

I remain of the view that we should just line up the middle aged tooties outside the Lincoln Bedroom, grease their palms with silver, and  let them keep him occupied.

trump and friends