Kushner skimmed campaign cash for the whole Trump family


His master’s voice

Donald Trump and his family have spent the last four years making the airtight case that they view the presidency as simply a means to enrich themselves and their associates. They probably don’t particularly like that reputation and, yet, it hasn’t stopped them from funneling taxpayer money to their private business, gouging the Secret Service, and raising legal defense funds that the fine print says could go directly to their pockets. Oh, and, according to a new report, setting up a shell company that spent hundreds of millions of campaign dollars to pay Trump family members along with other expenditures it seemingly wanted to keep under wraps.

According to Business Insider, first son-in-law Jared Kushner personally approved the creation of the company, incorporated as American Made Media Consultants Corp. and American Made Media Consultants LLC, in April 2018. From there, Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was named president, with Mike Pence’s nephew John Pence serving as vice president. If you’re wondering why the shell company, described as Business Insider as acting “almost like a campaign within a campaign” was necessary, well, it’s not entirely clear, but it sure sounds like the express purpose was the ability to shield “financial and operational details from public scrutiny,” as it allowed the campaign to avoid federally mandated disclosures concerning what it was spending considerable amounts of money on. And by considerable we mean nearly half of the $1.26 billion raised for Trump’s reelection. Which seems like a lot!…

…Within the larger campaign, some leaders told Business Insider they were in the dark regarding the AMMC arrangement, saying that they were generally aware the company was used to purchase TV, radio, and digital advertising but had no idea exactly how much each vendor was keeping for itself.

“Never steal anything small” is the phrase that comes to mind.

Flies make a point…


[Slightly enhanced to match a 54-year-old memory of the last time I saw this]

…After this week’s vice-presidential debate in the United States, the fly that landed on Vice-President Mike Pence’s head was more of a sensation than the details of the debate — at least on social media…

When a fly becomes famous, it’s worth wondering why

…In the great scheme of things, our lives are no longer than that of a fly. For me as an art historian, the fly was a moment to reflect not only on the history of flies in western painting, but to begin considering what the long history of this symbolism may reveal about why the fly generated so much buzz…

Salvador Dalí, who was pretty much the lord of the flies (he painted them a lot) included a fly on the watch face of his painting The Persistence of Memory (now housed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York). He also used an army of ants to signify the decay of time and life’s impermanence…

Good enough reasons for me. Certainly, sufficient starters for your own musings about flies.

G_d’s plan for Mike Pence

This…often happens when he’s in front of a friendly crowd. He’ll be witnessing to evangelicals at a mega-church, or addressing conservative supporters at a rally, and when the moment comes for him to pass along the president’s well-wishes, the words are invariably accompanied by an amused little chuckle that prompts knowing laughter from the attendees. It’s almost as if, in that brief, barely perceptible moment, Pence is sending a message to those with ears to hear—that he recognizes the absurdity of his situation; that he knows just what sort of man he’s working for; that while things may look bad now, there is a grand purpose at work here, a plan that will manifest itself in due time. Let not your hearts be troubled, he seems to be saying. I’ve got this.

And then, all at once, Pence is back on message. In his folksy Midwestern drawl, he recites Republican aphorisms about “job creators” and regulatory “red tape,” and heralds the many supposed triumphs of Trump’s young presidency. As he nears the end of his remarks, his happy-warrior buoyancy gives way to a more sober cadence. “We’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of this country,” Pence soulfully intones. “It’s a good time to pray for America.” His voice rising in righteous fervor, the vice president promises an opening of the heavens. “If His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray,” he proclaims, “He’ll hear from heaven, and He’ll heal this land!”…

Meanwhile, Pence’s presence in the White House has been a boon for the religious right. Evangelical leaders across the country point to his record on abortion and religious freedom and liken him to a prophet restoring conservative Christianity to its rightful place at the center of American life. “Mike Pence is the 24-karat-gold model of what we want in an evangelical politician,” Richard Land, the president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and one of Trump’s faith advisers, told me. “I don’t know anyone who’s more consistent in bringing his evangelical-Christian worldview to public policy.”

But what does Pence make of his own improbable rise to the vice presidency, and how does he reconcile his faith with serving a man like Trump?…

This article will give you the answers. Detailed, easy to understand…I’d simplify it by saying a servant always serves his master. Ideological, philosophical, political. Different streams of obedience may seem at cross-purposes depending on which fantasies you believe predominant. For Pence, obedience is good enough.

Fake President = Fake Information


“My monkeys stop science – not gossip”

“…Is there anyone in the White House who can say to Donald Trump, and I know this has sort of become a moot question over the years, but is there anyone who can say, hey, this is too important for you to be riffing off the top of your head?”

“…President Trump himself is the main one spreading disinformation, completely contradicting the information and the data put out by public health experts. The president disputing the 3.4% data-driven assessment of the overall coronavirus death rate saying it’s a false number, offering no evidence to back it up, only saying it’s a hunch.”…

“That said, though, public health experts do say the administration is doing a couple of things right, in part in naming Debbie Birx, the Obama appointee, the State Department ambassador at large. She brings 30-plus years of real-life experience. She is described to me as being someone who is serious, sober-minded, a real professional. She is now coordinating the day-to-day coronavirus response.”

I hope one thought Pence capable of carrying the fightback against COVID-19. He’s still busy preparing to defeat Satan with prayer.

Trump hates coronavirus because it’s tanking the stock market


Incompetent chooses ignoranus

Escalating fears of the coronavirus’s spread in the US sparked one of the biggest sharpest sell-offs in recent years. Across three days this week, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged over 2,000 points and the S&P 500 erased its yearly gains.

The precipitous losses sparked alarm bells within the Trump administration, particularly the president himself. He is furious that the stock market has tanked over the coronavirus, the Washington Post reported. And he was enraged at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for issuing stark warnings that he believed frightened traders and investors…

Warnings from top public health officials urging Americans to prepare for the spread of the virus have collided with the rosy luster the White House tried casting on the situation up to now. And it threatens a pillar in President Trump’s case for re-election: the booming stock market.

Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who oversaw the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as director for foreign disaster assistance at USAID, said the administration’s effort to ward off more steep market losses could still backfire…

“You don’t want to look like you weren’t on top of things… If you’ve been saying for a month that this will be contained and it’s under control, then it doesn’t get priced in and then there’s a greater disruption when it does occur,” he said.

The clodhopper crowd who believe everything Trump tells them have no problem with this. He will simply roll out a new excuse for his lies – and Trump loyalists will bleat “yes sir, no sir, three bags full, sir”.

Recognizing a threat and dealing with it simply isn’t a bad idea, you know. No need for fearmongering. No need to make political excuses either.