The best people!

So, I’ve seen about 1000 people share one of the best political quotes ever from this truly incredible Ryan Lizza article about his conversation with new Trump Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci.  Just, in case you’ve missed it:

Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)

Oh my.  Wouldn’t not have predicted a conflict where I take Bannon’s side.  Anyway, that amazing quote aside (which I will probably be sharing with my students in PG-form for literally decades) there’s just so much more.  Scaramucci is breathtakingly unqualified for his job.  Kind of like his boss.  Well worth reading this whole, sad, sorry thing.

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Map of the day

Love this map showing the U.S. as similar latitudes in Europe:

 

 

Why the leaks won’t stop

This from Dara Lind is so good:

Donald Trump and his advisers have created an administration in which there is no way to get the president’s attention, or to resolve problems, through normal channels.

The only way to make sure an issue will get any attention whatsoever — much less have a prayer of actually getting fixed — is to leak…

The information flow could, in theory, be fixed — if Trump wanted to. But to want to fix it — to be willing to slog through detailed memos and limit his screen time — he’d have to confront a deeper problem: The most powerful man in the free world is simply unwilling to hear bad news.

This is one of the biggest reasons the information he gets from staff is so limited — reports indicate that to keep him in a good mood, staffers deliberately pad packets of press clips with positive coverage. But even dissent that manages to get through to him might go unheard or rejected — it could even ruin his mood and cloud his decision-making for the rest of the day.

That defeats the whole purpose of telling the president bad news in confidence. It makes leaking the obvious choice…

The Trump administration, to all appearances, has only one way to deal with bad news: shoot the messenger. If the messenger stands up and identifies himself in a private meeting or a memo or a recusal, they know where to shoot. If the messenger leaks to a reporter, they don’t — and besides, they might, just might, realize it was their problem to begin with.

Bad news doesn’t simply go away if you don’t want to hear about it. The Trump administration has created an environment in which leaks are fulfilling the function of basic executive processes, like resolving internal disputes, correcting course, and simply giving the president an accurate sense of what’s going on.

If the Trump administration really wanted to stop the leaks, it would change to make leaking unnecessary. But that would require the president to shut up and listen to people he’s already decided are part of the “deep state” out to get him. It would require him to acknowledge that he can’t drain the swamp without getting drowned in leaks. [emphasis mine]

Honestly, I knew Trump was going to be a bad president, but I am truly surprised at how truly horrible he is.

Transgender miscalculation

Hooray for Senate Republicans.  No, seriously.  Trump clearly just assumed he could successfully scapegoat transgender people and all the Republicans would see it as a culture war win and jump on board.  Not so fast.  The world is changing and even Senate Republicans largely seem to recognize that transgender people are… people.  From the Post:

War hero John McCain, the preeminent Republican voice on national security, took a break from battling brain cancer to send this statement: “The President’s tweet … regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter. … There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are.”

From Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a former Army Reserve commander and the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate: “While she believes taxpayers shouldn’t cover the costs associated with a gender reassignment surgery, Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity,” spokeswoman Brook Hougesen told the Des Moines Register.

From Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is up for reelection in one of the reddest and most socially conservative states in America:

From Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who wields a lot of control over the Pentagon’s budget from his perch on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee: “You ought to treat everybody fairly and give everybody a chance to serve,” he said on CNN. In a follow-up statement to the Huntsville Times, he added: “The current policy is a big tent for people who want to serve. You’ve got to remember, our military force is a voluntary force.”

From Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.): “I would have significant objections to any proposal that calls for a specific group of American patriots currently serving in uniform to be removed from the military.” …

— The Pentagon referred all questions about Trump’s announcement to the White House, but the White House referred questions back to the Pentagon and falsely suggested that the decision had been made at the behest of the military. Because no thought was given to the details before Trump’s trio of tweets, White House incoming press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was unable to provide any clarity during her afternoon briefing. She couldn’t answer, for example, what will happen to the thousands of openly transgender troops who are already serving. A lot of lives hang in the balance, and folks whose careers could be destroyed are waiting with bated breath. But Sanders threatened to leave if reporters pressed her about it. “Guys, I really don’t have anything else to add on that topic,” she said. “As I do, I’ll keep you posted. But if those are the only questions we have, I’m going to call it a day.”

So, what happens next?  I don’t know.  But I’d actually be surprised if this policy comes to fruition.  And credit where credit is due to the Republicans willing to stand up to this.

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