To keep Donald happy, Trump’s staff has to ensure he’s always receiving praise and adulation

To keep Donald happy, Trump’s staff has to ensure he’s always receiving praise and adulation

Daily Kos

Politico has a story explaining how Donald Trump’s staffers are locked in a constant, daily battle to keep the barely coherent man-child from launching one of his famous incoherent tantrums. It’s pathetic. It’s deeply embarrassing. It’s the story of a team constantly attempting to feed praise of Donald Trump to friendly outlets so that they could turn around and show it back to their boss, a constant scramble to feed his unending need for public praise. Because if they didn’t do it he’d get sullen and cranky and lash out like a petulant little child.

The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk.

So whenever there were negative stories about Trump, which has been All The Damn Time, they’d go to outlets like “Breitbart, Washington Examiner, Fox News, Infowars and the Daily Caller” with alternative story ideas for how freakin’ swell Donald Trump was, and then once they got one of those friendly (Infowars!) outlets to take the bait, the staff would tweet those stories out, then print out, for Trump, that friendly coverage to make the idiot manchild feel like he was getting sufficient praise for his little pronouncements and wars and fits. That, and only that, would calm him.

The whole thing reads like Trump’s staff treats him like a dangerous zoo animal let loose in the White House. Gotta keep him happy. Gotta rub his belly when he says to. Don’t let anyone rattle the bars of his little cage or we’re all dead. And never, never leave him alone:

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Spotlight on Green News & Views: Chaffetz goes after Bears Ears; fracking spills undercounted

Spotlight on Green News & Views: Chaffetz goes after Bears Ears; fracking spills undercounted

Daily Kos

This is the 484th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the Feb. 18 Green Spotlight. More than 26,480 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

Desert Scientist writes—Water! “This diary begins a series of four diaries on the old “elements.”  We know now that these are not elements. Water, for example, consists primarily of one Oxygen and two Hydrogen atoms (both of which are elements), plus various other compounds as impurities, such as the combination of salts in salt water, and in many cases pollutants. That said, the four old “elements,” Air, Earth, Fire and Water, will serve well as symbols of the required necessities of life on this planet. I start with water because as a long-time South-westerner I developed a strong attachment to this scarce resource (See my diary on desert water at www.dailykos.com/…). I am now living in the Pacific Northwest, but water is still an issue, especially drinking water, although not as much as it was in New Mexico and Arizona.  Here the streams have been damed and are often polluted, and even Puget Sound, that vast southern part of the Salish Sea, is stressed.  Yet many of us in the United States worry more about money than water, as is well illustrated by the current difficulties at Standing Rock. The slogan “Water is life” used by the demonstrators at Standing Rock is so much of a truism as to be overlooked by those requiring quick profits in the present year. They often act as if water was an unlimited resource.”

John Chapman writes—Infrastructure and Resource Extraction Projects Slow under Trump Administration (the NEPA freeze): “While much of the discussion so far has focused on regulation and funding, the federal government also plays the lead role in planning the projects that improve our infrastructure and allow for resource extraction. Interestingly, preliminary data shows that the federal government is actually slowing down in its approval of projects relating to infrastructure and resource extraction. This type of slowdown was not seen in the first few weeks of the Obama or George W. Bush administrations—what is going on now is not a general feature of a transitioning administration. Now, I do not claim to have tracked down every single project related to infrastructure or resource extraction. However, it is possible to get a general picture of how these activities are progressing by taking a look at one important step in the process required for major projects that need to be approved by the federal government. By looking at ‘Notices of Availability’ of Environmental Impact Statements (which are published in the Federal Register) we have a snapshot of the progress that the government is making on some of their largest and most controversial projects.”

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GOP Congressman says terrorists can hide nukes in marijuana bales and that’s why we need a wall

GOP Congressman says terrorists can hide nukes in marijuana bales and that’s why we need a wall

Daily Kos

At some point, one would think, the Republican Party is going to eventually need legislators who are not deeply, deeply stupid.

While defending the need to build a costly wall along the southern U.S. border, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) claimed on Wednesday that nuclear bombs could be hidden inside bales of marijuana smuggled into the United States through Mexico.

“I can suggest to you that there are national security implications here for a porous border,” Franks told CNN host Brianna Keilar on Wednesday. “We sometimes used to make the point that if someone wanted to smuggle in a dangerous weapon, even a nuclear weapon, into America, how would they do it? And the suggestion was made, well, we’ll simply hide it in a bale of marijuana.”

Yes. Yes, of course. That is exactly how a foreign terrorist group would want to smuggle a nuclear weapon into this country—by wrapping it in a gigantic bale of the thing that all the United States border agencies are furiously searching for in the first place. Ideally, something that all the security dogs could smell from 100 yards away.

This seems a perfectly logical plan that all the bright terrorists would be super-duper eager to carry out, so long as there is no border wall to stop them. Quick, wrap everything in marijuana! The Americans will never find it then! Ha ha ha!

Ahem. You know, these are supposedly the best our nation has to offer—the people chosen by our citizens as the most capable, the brightest, the keenest minds we can bring to bear on our national problems.

That is the theory, anyway. We probably need to re-evaluate that.

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As Team Trump vetoes not-loyal-enough staff picks, hundreds of administration jobs remain unfilled

As Team Trump vetoes not-loyal-enough staff picks, hundreds of administration jobs remain unfilled

Daily Kos

In the seemingly unending list of tasks and duties Donald Trump and his team are systemically screwing up, among the biggest screw-ups is the team’s inability to properly staff his own government. Donald Trump has more than 500 Senate-confirmed offices sitting empty because he hasn’t nominated anyone for those positions—and he hasn’t nominated anyone for those positions because the chief requirement for each and every one of them is that the nominee must never have criticized Trump or worked against him in any capacity, and there just ain’t 500 qualified people in the country who meet that test.

The result is a hiring effort stuck up to its axles in Donald Trump’s ego, and it’s wreaking havoc as his senior cabinet officials try to staff their departments only to have their choices shot down by the White House.

When an informal adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently recommended a candidate for a high-level Senate-confirmed position at the agency, the adviser was told that the candidate had little chance of getting the job because the person had previously worked for an organization that was seen as being at odds with Trump’s policy positions, one person familiar with the issue said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has clashed with White House officials over top officials in his department, sources say. The White House saw some of Mnuchin’s picks as too liberal or not supportive enough of Trump, sources say. Trump has yet to name Mnuchin’s No. 2, nor has he tapped any undersecretaries or assistant secretaries at the department.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has struggled with the White House to appoint his own aides, with significant pushback from the White House over deputy positions and ambassadorships. Several high-level people were delayed or scuttled because they didn’t agree with Trump during the campaign or because the White House preferred someone else […]

And on and on. If it seems like this administration continues to be staggeringly incompetent, there’s a fine reason for that: they still don’t have anyone who actually knows what they’re doing on the team. People like Tillerson and DeVos were picked for their ideologies, but know nothing about the departments they’re supposed to be leading. Underlings who might know more are being nixed because anyone who might know what the hell they’re doing probably wasn’t a Trump supporter during the campaign, and therefore Trump’s team doesn’t want to risk letting them in the building.

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Just when you thought Trump couldn’t possibly further poison relations with Mexico, he does

Just when you thought Trump couldn’t possibly further poison relations with Mexico, he does

Daily Kos

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s the Trump administration’s ability to put its best two left feet forward in the realm of diplomatic dances with America’s closest allies. This week, Donald “Winning” Trump has done it again! Because he hadn’t thoroughly tanked relations with Mexico during his last go ’round over who’s paying for his precious border wall (Answer: Not Mexico), Nahal Toosi writes:

The Trump administration riled Mexican officials by choosing Tuesday — on the eve of visits by the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to Mexico City — to release sweeping guidelines on deportations and a border wall.

As Mexican officials rushed to contact the State Department for more information, the timing of the guidelines’ release threatened to severely hinder what could have been a diplomatic make-up session, U.S. and Mexican officials and analysts said.

Not to worry! From the cone of alternative facts known as the White House briefing room, press secretary Sean Spicer called U.S.-Mexico relations “phenomenal right now.” Back in reality, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray had a different take, roundly rejecting the Department of Homeland Security’s new deportation policies.

“I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other,” the Mexican foreign minister said. “We will not accept it, because there’s no reason why we should, and because it is not in the interests of Mexico.”

The new memos outline plans to return all undocumented immigrants who illegally enter the U.S. through Mexico back to Mexico (regardless of their country of origin) and to hold U.S. asylum seekers in Mexico until their cases can be heard. It’s worth noting that Mexico has been a good partner in trying to stem illegal immigration into the U.S. But Team Trump is batting zero right now.

Surely, the “winning” will be starting any day now. 

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Trump’s Homeland Security deportation memos are wrong on every policy point imaginable

Trump’s Homeland Security deportation memos are wrong on every policy point imaginable

Daily Kos

Here’s a good basic summation from the New York Times of the Department of Homeland Security’s new deportation guidelines:

Documents released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.

And here are at least five reasons Donald Trump’s new sweeping anti-immigrant policies defy logic on every policy point imaginable:

1) If Trump’s nativist base thinks undocumented immigrants are killing the economy, just wait until they quit contributing to it

Bloomberg Politics writes:

President Donald Trump’s sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants will strain an already tight U.S. job market, with one study suggesting that removing all of them would cost the economy as much as $5 trillion over 10 years.

That represents the contribution of the millions of unauthorized workers to the world’s largest economy, about 3 percent of private-sector gross domestic product, according to a recent paper issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research. At an average of $500 billion in output a year, removing all such immigrants would be like lopping off the equivalent of Massachusetts from the U.S. economy, said study co-author Francesc Ortega.

2) Only in the delusional world inhabited by Trump and his rabid nativist supporters are immigrants more dangerous than native-born Americans.

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Thanks to liberal watchdog CMD, EPA chief’s emails showing his collaboration with Kochs are online

Thanks to liberal watchdog CMD, EPA chief’s emails showing his collaboration with Kochs are online

Daily Kos

The Center for Media and Democracy has posted online 7,564 searchable pages of Scott Pruitt’s emails and other records. The watchdog organization pried them loose from the Oklahoma attorney general’s office with a lawsuit. But not in time for U.S. senators to read them before voting last week to confirm Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency that he wants to demolish or, at the very least, hamstring. What those emails show is unsurprising given what was already publicly known: Climate science-denier Pruitt is going to be no friend of the environment or the agency he has been chosen to lead.

The Guardian has a story explaining that the emails “reveal close ties with fossil fuel interests.” So does The New York Times, declaring in its headline that he was “Arm in Arm With Industry.” The good folks at DeSmogBlog have done their own analysis, complete with screenshots of a few emails.

Here’s an excerpt from CMD’s press release:

The oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) coordinated opposition in 2013 to both the Renewable Fuel Standard Program and ozone limits with Pruitt’s office. While AFPM was making its own case against the RFS with the American Petroleum Institute, it provided Pruitt with a template language for an Oklahoma petition, noting “this argument is more credible coming from a State.” Later that year, Pruitt did file opposition to both the RFS and ozone limits.

In a groundbreaking New York Times Pulitzer winning series in 2014, Eric Lipton exposed the close relationship between Devon Energy and Scott Pruitt, and highlighted examples where Devon Energy drafted letters that were sent by Pruitt under his own name. These new emails reveal more of the same close relationship with Devon Energy. In one email, Devon Energy helped draft language that was later sent by Pruitt to the EPA about the limiting of methane from oil and gas fracking.

In 2013, Devon Energy organized a meeting between Scott Pruitt, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society and coal industry lawyer Paul Seby to plan the creation of a “clearinghouse” that would “assist AGs in addressing federalism issues.” Melissa Houston, then Pruitt’s chief of staff emailed Devon Energy saying “this will be an amazing resource for the AGs and for industry.”

You can view the document collection here.

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Jon Ossoff picks up another endorsement as progressive groups continue to unite around him

Jon Ossoff picks up another endorsement as progressive groups continue to unite around him

Daily Kos

Progressive groups continue to unite around Jon Ossoff as he runs for Congress in the special election to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Daily Kos is closing in on $1 million raised for Ossoff in the April special election for this suburban Atlanta seat, and now Ossoff has picked up an endorsement from End Citizens United:

“We need an anti-corruption reformer like Jon Ossoff in Congress to lead the fight against President Trump and his allies, who are doubling down on a rigged system,” said Tiffany Muller, Executive Director of End Citizens United.  “Since taking office, Trump has surrounded himself with mega-donors and corporate special interests, and his policies cater to their needs.  Jon Ossoff will put the needs of Georgia families ahead of big money and push for reforms to our campaign finance system so it works for everyone.  Our members are passionate about these issues and eager to get to work electing him to Congress.”

While Price won easily in Georgia’s 6th District, Donald Trump barely eked out a win in the district. That means an opening for Democrats if they can unite behind Ossoff and help him run a strong campaign. 

Please send $3 to Jon Ossoff now!

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Midday open thread: Block-granting low-income programs cuts funding; tracking spyware for everyone

Midday open thread: Block-granting low-income programs cuts funding; tracking spyware for everyone

Daily Kos

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is President baby boy:

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Via @peterwsinger: Trump spends twice as long tweetingas he has in intelligence briefingspic.twitter.com/TX3UBMyWPZ via @velvetart

— Zane Safrit (@ZaneSafrit) February 22, 2017

A cogent defense of the Waters of the U.S. Rule:

To streamline the process of identifying Waters of the United States on parcels of land, the EPA and corps jointly developed a set of rules that defined regulated bodies of water within the U.S. They produced an initial document based on scientific expertise and research. Public review followed, involving over one million comments and more than 400 meetings. […]

But before it could be fully implemented, the rule was quickly challenged in the courts by Republicans, nearly 30 states, and a range of business interests, all claiming that it represented a major overreach of federal power. It remains in litigation.

 Not exactly a surprise, eh?

Men outnumber women by more than 2-to-1 among top aides to President Trump so far, according to the White House and an analysis by USA TODAY.

If that ratio holds as the president finishes filling out his staff, the percentage of women in the West Wing would be smaller than at least five of the last six presidential terms, the analysis shows.

Remembering a miracle on ice for Team USA from the 1980 Olympics.

Block-granting low-income programs means less money for them historically:

Funding for housing, health, and social services block grants has fallen significantly over time, an examination of several decades of budget data demonstrates.  This is a red flag, since Congress may soon consider proposals to convert more programs into block grants.  This includes programs that serve families and individuals who are low income or otherwise vulnerable, such as Medicaid, which President Trump and some Republicans in Congress have called for block-granting.

• I tracked myself with $170 smartphone spyware that anyone can buy:

Welcome to the largely unregulated industry of consumer spyware—powerful, malicious software for computers and mobile phones that jealous lovers, commercial competitors, or crooked cops can buy online.

Of course he does. Mark Cuban calls universal basic income ‘one of the worst possible responses’ to robot automation:

More preferable to Cuban is beefing up job-creating programs like Americorps, a federally-subsidized program that slots workers in full- or part-time positions, he said. President Trump recently announced Americorps is one of the programs he’s considering shutting down.

“There are plenty of communities that need social support services that can be filled by qualified people who can add value,” he told Business Insider.

• On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up news from the livelier town hall meetings, plus thoughts on shared values, the Milo crash, and Trump’s penchant for generals. The 4th Circuit upholds MD’s assault weapons ban. And an in-depth look at just WTF Comey was up to.

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Republicans have found their boogeyman for 2018. And it’s … Elizabeth Warren?

Republicans have found their boogeyman for 2018. And it’s … Elizabeth Warren?

Daily Kos

The party of Donald Trump thinks it has a real winning strategy for 2018: try to make it about Elizabeth Warren. Democrats will be playing major defense in the Senate, with just two potentially competitive Republican-held seats, so any Republican strategy might end up looking successful, up to and including attacks on red-state Democrats for their links to an adorable kitten. But really? Elizabeth Warren is the monster under the bed for Republicans?

The new NRSC ads focus on the 10 Democrats on the ballot in states Trump carried, dinging them for voting with Warren. They say West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin voted with her 78 percent of the time and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown did so 97 percent of the time. It’s not clear how much money is behind them, though officials said they will appear on Facebook feeds in those competitive states.

Guys. Donald Trump. You think the senator from Massachusetts—who, by the way, will be up for re-election and won’t have as much time to stump for other candidates as she has the past two cycles, and whose ideas are broadly popular—is going to be an effective way to nationalize the evils of the Democratic Party over Donald freaking Trump? Oh, wait. It’s called grasping at straws.

And if this straw-grasping doesn’t look like a home run success (and again, remember the likely success of the “Red-state Democrat linked to adorable kitten” attack in at least one of the states where Democrats are playing very difficult defense), Republicans will only have succeeded in elevating Warren’s national profile. so they’re taking some very real risks here.

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