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Trump 21: Tweeting Us Into the Apocalypse

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1 hour ago, GrumpyGran said:

Why isn't he on the golf course where he belongs? 

Who says he isn't? 


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I figured the 'bailouts' for Congress was money he was putting into their re-election campaigns. I'm getting cynical.

When I saw he was calling this morning for Republicans to go to a 50 vote instead of 60, I realized all over again that he's like a simple-minded child. The rules aren't working for him? Change the rules! I guess it never occurred to him that if rules were that flexible, they wouldn't be rules.

What truly amazes me is that Trumpettes see nothing wrong with what he says or does. If Obama had called for Democrats to change the rules during their majority, Faux News would have been on it 24/7! Republicans wouldn't have stopped complaining and freaking out about how Obama was trying to turn this country into an authoritarian state! But Trump does it.... and eh. Liberals have too much power anyway. And Obama did x.

Though I have a feeling if I asked my mom what she thought of this, she'd say something about how he doesn't really mean it, and liberals are making something out of nothing.

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3 hours ago, fraurosena said:

Tangerine Twitler's tantrumming today. 


I guess nobody told him there is no new HealthCare Bill. Or does he think a memo with less than 10 bullet points suffices?

And bailouts for members of Congress? WTF does that even mean? Or did he just put that in there because he thinks it sounds smart and decisive?

Quoting myself here, because I found the answer to my own question:

Trump Threatens Congressional Health Insurance Benefits


President Donald Trump is considering stripping the employer contribution for health insurance away from members of Congress.

While the Trump White House has previously declined numerous requests from Roll Call to weigh in on the possibility, the president took to his favorite social media platform Saturday to make the threat himself.

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly,” Trump tweeted. “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

The first portion of that message, regarding the cost sharing reduction payments to insurance companies to help subsidize expenses for lower-income policyholders, might get the most attention nationally.

But on Capitol Hill, the question of lawmaker “bailouts” coming to an end could be the focus.

As part of the 2010 health care law, members of Congress and many staffers were shifted out of the usual Federal Employee Health Benefits structure and into the new insurance exchanges set up by the law.

The Office of Personnel Management under President Barack Obamadetermined that the employer contribution portion of the premiums could flow through the District of Columbia’s health insurance exchange.

In recent days, calls from outside conservative groups to rescind the OPM regulation for members of Congress — either through legislative action or an executive directive — have grown.

Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots suggested in a statement Friday, after the Senate failed to move forward on the so-called “skinny” repeal legislation, that the entire policy should be upended, including for staff.

“To unite congressional Republicans, President Donald Trump should take action to end the congressional exemption from ObamaCare. It is apparent that since Members of Congress, their families and staff do not have to live under the law they passed for every other American, they lack the incentive to take the action they were elected to take,” Martin said. “Ending Congress’s special exemption from ObamaCare will motivate Republicans to finally keep their promise — if not for principle, at least to improve their own insurance predicament.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., had filed an amendment during the health care debate on the Senate floor that would have ended the payments for members of Congress. Similar proposals were long championed by former Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, whose repeated unsuccessful efforts seemed like they would never go away.

The author of one version of the original requirement that members of Congress get their health insurance through the exchanges was Sen. Charles E. Grassley. But the Iowa Republican has said that in the process of the Democrats advancing the original law, there was a drafting error.

“You understand that when we adopt an amendment in [the] Finance [Committee], unlike other committees, it’s not legal language,” Grassley told Roll Call back in 2013. “We described it. But then it went to [then-Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s office and when they put it in statutory language, they screwed that up.”

How is this not blackmail?

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2 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

I hope Mueller gets Reince's ass on oath soon. 


This level of obsequiousness is getting ridiculous

Taken with a whole truckload of grains of salt. It's Newsmax - make Fox seem balanced. (And the middle of the same page - when I looked - had this great message: Why doctors in the know no longer prescribe blood pressure meds.")

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7 minutes ago, apple1 said:

Taken with a whole truckload of grains of salt. It's Newsmax - make Fox seem balanced. (And the middle of the same page - when I looked - had this great message: Why doctors in the know no longer prescribe blood pressure meds.")

The video of the Hannity interview is here if you want to check the quotes.  http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/reince-priebus-sad-hannity-interview-good-thing-i-was-ousted 

Hannity is an idiot. He's saying that Trump has such a definitive stance with repeal and replace.  He's said everything from repeal and replace, repeal and replace later, wait and sabotage Obamacare, and he has no actual details. 

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4 hours ago, fraurosena said:


I guess nobody told him there is no new HealthCare Bill. Or does he think a memo with less than 10 bullet points suffices?


This may be the new healthcare bill he is talking about. It seems there may be another effort by the GOP. Lindsay Graham is the one leading this bill. 

CONGRESS As Trump steams, Senate Republicans consider new repeal effort

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1 hour ago, fraurosena said:

How is this not blackmail?

 I keep thinking about how Trump occasionally trotted out some of his employees during the campaign, and how they would gush about how fabulous Trump was. Well, I guess you'll say anything if you are scared enough. :pb_sad:

Ted Cruz is missing an opportunity to make another speech on the floor of the senate. Heidi Cruz provides health insurance coverage for the Cruz family through her job at Goldman Sachs. This would give Ted an opportunity to drone on about how all the congresscritters  should get their health insurance through their spouse's job, just like Jesus would. :pb_rollseyes:


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23 minutes ago, nvmbr02 said:

This may be the new healthcare bill he is talking about. It seems there may be another effort by the GOP. Lindsay Graham is the one leading this bill. 

CONGRESS As Trump steams, Senate Republicans consider new repeal effort

Whenever I read articles about Trump shaking his tiny orange fist at the Republicans, the "fight" music from Star Trek: Original Recipe starts playing in my head.


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23 minutes ago, Cartmann99 said:

Whenever I read articles about Trump shaking his tiny orange fist at the Republicans, the "fight" music from Star Trek: Original Recipe starts playing in my head.


Thanks, @Cartmann99, that was fun! But now I have an image in my head of this being what goes on in the White House every day. :giggle:

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Ah, "Amok Time" an excellent ST episode.  

Too bad all this crazy wasn't  just a dream (nightmare) sequence of a really suck ass tv show.  The Running Amok Time episode of the DT show.

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So. Uh. Donald. Honey. Are you ok? Cos you are more unhinged than usual today, and that’s saying something.

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19 hours ago, candygirl200413 said:

Do you wonder if Trump could like have something on them? That's the only thing I can think of as to why they would support him.

I've thought this for a long time. There's no way that every single person who works (or has worked) for the orange menace would stay silent. I'm guessing he has people who dig up dirt on potential employees. I'm thinking of the scene in "The Firm" when DeVasher shows Mitch the photos taken of Mitch rolling around the beach with a hooker.


"Guarding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club by air and sea has cost taxpayers $6.6 million"


As the Trump administration threatened hefty budget cuts for the U.S. Coast Guard, the military service was spending more than $6.6 million protecting the president’s waterfront Mar-a-Lago Club during his seven weekend trips there this spring, documents show.

The Coast Guard deployed cutters, patrol boats, helicopters and anti-terror specialists from across the country to safeguard the luxury Palm Beach, Fla., estate.

The deployments came as Coast Guard leaders, bracing for possible budget cuts, have argued that the cash-strapped service has made painful sacrifices— letting some illegal drug shipments go and delaying certain repairs to its fleet.

The records, released Thursday to The Washington Post in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, offer a glimpse into the intricate costs and demands for a military force tasked with defending the president during his frequent getaways to his private businesses.

They also highlight how taxpayers have helped finance the unusually elaborate lifestyle of Trump and his family in ways that can also benefit his company. In this case, Mar-a-Lago, which Trump has dubbed a “Winter White House,” is also a for-profit, members-only club.


The Coast Guard has provided security for past presidents alongside the U.S. Secret Service, including guarding former President Barack Obama during trips such as his annual family vacations to Hawaii, but officials could not immediately provide estimates for those costs.

When Obama spent a weekend in South Florida in 2013, the Coast Guard spent about $586,000 to cover patrol, travel and lodging costs, according to a Government Accountability Office report last year.

The spending at Mar-a-Lago, which comes to close to $1 million for each trip, appears to collide with the president’s pledges of trimming government costs.

The Coast Guard spent more than $17.8 million on presidential security costs between October and March, offering air and waterside patrols for high-level events during the Obama and Trump administrations. That cost was up from $15.1 million in the same period ending in March 2016, and $10.7 million for the period ending in March 2015, Coast Guard records show.

The Coast Guard is brought in to protect Trump at official events as well as recreational excursions, including patrolling the Potomac River when the president plays golf at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.

The Secret Service requested Coast Guard protection for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago visits, which are classified as “national special security events,” Coast Guard officials said. The club has represented an expensive challenge for the service, which patrols the airspace above the estate as well as its two coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.

The Coast Guard’s missions — including drug interdictions and port patrols — sit at the center of some of Trump’s biggest campaign promises, including stricter immigration and homeland security. But leaders say the military branch has struggled to complete its mission while faced with a tightening budget and aging fleet.

The Coast Guard’s commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft, testified before a House subcommittee on Tuesday that the branch was “deferring maintenance” and running cutters and aircraft long beyond their retirement age because it needed more funding.

In a CBS interview that aired Tuesday, Zukunft added that the Coast Guard had not pursued hundreds of potential drug shipments last year because “we didn’t have enough planes, we didn’t have enough ships.”

The Coast Guard’s spending accounts for a fraction of the military security apparatus that has encircled Trump during journeys to his private clubs and golf courses. Congress this year allocated roughly $120 million in additional funding to help cover the Secret Service’s presidential travel and protection, as well as “extraordinary law enforcement personnel costs” incurred by local governments during Trump’s trips.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. Officials have in the past defended the costs as necessary to safeguard the president’s work, with White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham saying in February, “He is not vacationing when he goes to Mar-a-Lago. The president works nonstop every day of the week, no matter where he is.”

Coast Guard service members, specialists, pilots and engineers spent thousands of hours on patrol or support duties around the time of the president’s 25 days at Mar-a-Lago between February and April, records show.

Gun-mounted response boats manned by four-person tactical crews spent 1,866 hours on the water, or more than 77 full days, at a cost of about $2.8 million, the documents show.

They were joined by larger watercraft, including an 87-foot Marine Protector-class patrol boat and a 154-foot fast-response cutter, which watched for threats and kept out recreational boaters in three nearby “security zones.”

Back on land, teams of armory staff, mechanics and electronics specialists worked to keep the boats running and armed. Overhead, H-65 Dolphin helicopters, traditionally used for water rescues, flew for 135 hours so as to intercept low- and slow-flying aircraft, at a cost of about $7,885 an hour.

Special anti-terror units, known as Maritime Safety and Security Teams, also deployed to Mar-a-Lago from Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Boston, New York and a naval submarine base in southeastern Georgia. Flights, mileage, lodging and other expenses for Coast Guard service members patrolling the seven Mar-a-Lago visits exceeded $720,000.

Trump gave up day-to-day management of Mar-a-Lago but still owns the private club, which took in $37.2 million in resort-related revenue between January 2016 and April 2017, financial disclosures show.

The club, which hosts banquets and weddings and offers a spa and tennis courts, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 shortly after Trump won the election.

The White House in March proposed slashing the Coast Guard’s budget by 14 percent, triggering alarms among military leaders, before promising that it would instead keep the branch’s budget to “current funding levels.”

The president’s latest proposal, delivered to Congress in May, cuts the Coast Guard’s budget by 2.4 percent, or about $267 million. The Secret Service’s $2.1 billion budget is slated to grow less than 1 percent.

The Coast Guard, Zukunft said in April, has received no extra funding to help cover the costs of “protecting the approaches to Mar-a-Lago on both coasts . . . (and) in the air.” Service officials said the Presidential Protection Assistance Act restricts them from seeking reimbursement for costs associated with supporting presidential security.

The Coast Guard is one of several tax-funded agencies involved in the protection of the president’s private club. Palm Beach County officials said they spent more than $60,000 a day toward costs such as deputy overtime when Trump was in town this past spring.

Trump’s interest in waterfront excursions has taxed the Coast Guard in other ways. The service walked back plans this week that forbid recreational paddlers and boaters from skimming two miles of the Potomac River near the Trump golf club when the president is playing there.

The Coast Guard did not respond to questions about whether it encountered any security intrusions during its Mar-a-Lago deployments. But the service’s round-the-clock patrols did report some suspicious activity to the police, including a young couple having sex on a small nearby island in April, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

Oh please, "The president works nonstop every day of the week, no matter where he is.” I guess driving around a private golf course in a golf cart is "work". Oh, and watching Faux News is "work". Well, actually, if I tried to watch Faux News, it would be harder than any job I've ever had.

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How did we miss having a thread about Reince, or or did I miss a Reince thread? Anyway, RIP Reince.  The Onion nailed it.  It's a bit out of date, since Reince resigned was ingloriously thrown into the gutter by the seat of his pants only yesterday, which is like forever in Trump days, since so much insane shit can go down in 24 to 36 hours, especially with The Mooch around. 


WASHINGTON—Taking stock of his present circumstances as he packed up his belongings and exited the West Wing after being pushed out of office by the president of the United States, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus expressed a sense of gratitude Friday that he had so little dignity to begin with. “I’m just lucky that I came into this role with effectively no personal honor whatsoever, or this could have really stung,” said Priebus, who explained that, having spent years overseeing the Republican Party and suffering regular mockery and derision at the hands of his colleagues and regular citizens alike, his unceremonious ouster from one of the highest political positions in the United States could, at this point, largely just roll off his back. “I can’t imagine how awful it would have been to be fired by the president over social media—not to mention, just one day after a new colleague of mine accused me of being a paranoid schizophrenic in front of the nation—if I happened to be someone who engendered even a modicum of respect or esteem from others. But I don’t, so it really isn’t that bad.” Priebus added that he was confident he could ultimately bounce back from the firing, saying his absence of dignity and ability to debase himself and the American people would surely help him land on his feet in Washington.


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I didn't see anything posted about this. Well, Agent Orange told police not to worry about injuring suspects. Now: "U.S. police chiefs blast Trump for endorsing ‘police brutality’"


Police leaders across the country moved quickly to distance themselves from — or to outright condemn — President Trump’s statements about “roughing up” people who’ve been arrested.

The swift public denunciations came as departments are under intense pressure to stamp out brutality and excessive force that can erode the relationship between officers and the people they police — and cost police chiefs their jobs.

Some police leaders worried that three sentences uttered by the president during a Long Island, N.Y., speech could upend nearly three decades of fence-mending since the 1991 Los Angeles Police Department beating of Rodney King ushered in an era of distrust of police.

“It’s the wrong message,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told Washington radio station WTOP while speaking of the trust-building work that departments have undertaken since King’s beating. “The last thing we need is a green light from the president of the United States for officers to use unnecessary force.”

Trump made the comments at a gathering of law enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?” Trump said, miming the physical motion of an officer shielding a suspect’s head to keep it from bumping against the squad car.

“Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody — don’t hit their head,” Trump continued. “I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

Trump’s remarks came after he spoke about local towns ravaged by gang violence.

Across the country, police department leaders said the president’s words didn’t reflect their views.


“The Suffolk County Police Department has strict rules and procedures relating to the handling of prisoners, and violations of those rules and procedures are treated extremely seriously,” the department said in an emailed statement. “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough[ing]’ up prisoners.”

Trump’s comments also drew a rebuke from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In a statement Friday, the group did not specifically mention Trump by name but appeared to respond to his speech by stressing the importance of treating all people, including suspects, with respect.

Statements from other police leaders followed:


In a statement to Patch.com, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said:

Seattle’s police officers have embraced reform and have worked incredibly hard to build community trust. We do not intend to go backwards. It is truly unfortunate that in today’s toxic environment, politicians at both ends of the spectrum have sought to inflame passions by politicizing what we do. We remain committed to our principles and reject irresponsible statements that threaten to undermine our relationship with the community.


Police departments are under increased scrutiny for violent, often fatal interactions with suspects. So far this year, 574 people have been shot and killed by police, according to The Washington Post’s Fatal Force database. Last year, police shot and killed 963 people.

This year’s killings included the Minneapolis Police shooting of Justine Damond, an Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible rape in the alley near her home and ended up shot dead by the responding officers.

The department’s missteps — neither officer had activated his body camera, so there’s no video evidence of the fatal encounter — resulted in international criticism and the ouster of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau.

She was the fourth chief in recent years to lose her job after a controversial fatal shooting.

It's interesting, because far too many police organizations backed Agent Orange in the 2016 election.

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This is an interesting perspective piece from the WaPo: "Mark this date: Donald Trump is now a lame-duck president"


Remember this day, July 28, 2017: The day Donald Trump became a lame duck president. More significantly, the day the tea party revolution ended and Washington began the return to “regular order.”

The coup de grâce came at 1:30 a.m. on the Senate floor as John McCain became the third Republican to break ranks and defeat the third attempt to repeal Obamacare, which embodied the Democrats’ promise that all Americans could — and should — have health insurance at a price they can afford. It was, as tea party Republicans had warned, another expensive government entitlement that, once granted, could never be taken away. Now McCain had acknowledged that political reality.

Although it appeared to fall short by a single vote in the Senate, that was always going to be the margin of defeat for the seven-year effort to repeal Obamacare that had become the centerpiece of the tea party revolt. There were as many as 10 Republicans who had acknowledged that the proposal cobbled together at the last minute by the Republican leadership was so bad that, earlier in the day, they had demanded assurances from the House of Representatives that it would never become law.

It was left to McCain, however, to do the deed so the others could protect themselves from the retribution of party leaders or the wrath of tea party voters in the next Republican primary. Having just been diagnosed with brain cancer, the senior senator from Arizona had achieved that state of political liberation where he no longer had to worry about such things.

McCain was joined in his “no” vote by Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who earlier in the week had received a call from the secretary of the interior warning that the administration would drop its support for expanded energy drilling and road construction in Alaska if she dared to defy the president and Republican leadership on the crucial vote. Murkowski did not take well to being muscled in that ham-handed fashion. As chair of the two relevant committees, she announced that she was indefinitely postponing sessions to consider nominations to Interior’s top positions and to mark up its 2018 appropriations.

The collapse of the Obamacare repeal effort was hardly the only evidence of the waning influence of Trump and his tea party supporters.

In the hours before the vote, the attorney general of the United States had defiantly declared that he had no intention of acceding to White House requests that he resign and dared the president to fire him.

“If he wants to make a change, he can certainly do so,” Jeff Sessions told Fox News. The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged on by several Republican colleagues, had already warned the Republican president that anyone appointed to replace Sessions would not receive a confirmation hearing. And senators of both parties had indicated that they would use parliamentary sleight of hand to keep the Senate in formal session through the normal summer recess to prevent Trump from replacing Sessions with a recess appointment.

Earlier in the day, military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon indicated they would “study” what to do about transgender members of the armed forces after the commander in chief had tweeted that they would no longer be allowed to serve.

And at the White House, the long-running tong war among members of the president’s top staff finally broke out into the open, as the new communications chief let loose with a profanity-laced rant against a chief of staff whom he characterized as a paranoid schizophrenic leaker and chief strategist who spent his days engaged in political self-fellatio.

Hoping to demonstrate, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the business of government was proceeding apace, the White House and the Republican leadership of the House and Senate issued a five-paragraph “statement of principles” for a long-promised reform of the tax code.  Months in the making, the statement was a nothing-burger of political and economic platitudes that failed to resolve the central challenge of reducing tax rates without reducing tax revenue and exploding the federal deficit.

This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance.  They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

I don't know that I agree wholeheartedly. I think enough Repugs are just spineless enough to not really get back to any semblance of functionality.

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I seriously doubt it: "Trump enlists Kelly to enforce order, but can the ‘zoo’ be tamed?"


President Trump is trying to take command of his floundering administration by enlisting a retired four-star Marine general as his White House chief of staff, empowering a no-nonsense disciplinarian to transform a dysfunctional West Wing into the “fine-tuned machine” the president bragged of running but which has yet to materialize.

John F. Kelly will be sworn in Monday at the nadir of Trump’s presidency, with historically low approval ratings, a stalled legislative agenda and an escalating Russia investigation that casts a dark cloud.

Trump envisions Kelly executing his orders with military precision and steely gravitas, and without tending to outside political motivations or fretting about palace intrigue, according to Trump confidants. The president replaced Reince Priebus with Kelly, who had what Trump considers a star run as homeland security secretary, in hopes of projecting overall toughness and of inspiring the respect — and even fear — that has eluded him on Capitol Hill, where fellow Republicans last week defied the White House on health care and Russian sanctions.

But no matter how decisive his leadership, Kelly alone cannot turn Trump’s vision into reality. Warring internal factions that have stirred chaos, stoked suspicions and freelanced policies for six straight months may not easily submit to Kelly’s rule. And the president — whose rash impulses routinely have sabotaged the best efforts of his senior aides — has shown no willingness to be tamed.

“Kelly is an incredibly disciplined person who could bring order to the process if the animals in the zoo behave,” said John E. McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA who served in seven administrations. “The danger he has is that Trump will be Trump.”

Kelly got a quick introduction to his new life on Saturday: an angry tweet storm from Trump in which he told Senate Republicans to “Get smart!” and change chamber rules to make it easier to pass his agenda, claiming the senators “look like fools.”

If Kelly has been recruited to bring order to a turbulent White House, the first decision he must make is where to concentrate his energies.

There is not a single model for White House chiefs of staff, as all are derivative of the president’s style and preferences. But broadly, they can be viewed as either managing the president or managing the government, managing up or managing down and out.

In Trump’s White House, given the personality of the president and the clashing world views among the senior staff, Kelly might be forced to do both.

“It will be a challenge for someone who has demonstrated great discipline, General Kelly, to be able to introduce President Trump to some of the discipline he should have in the Oval Office,” said Andrew H. Card, who was President George W. Bush’s first White House chief of staff. “Great generals do not allow impulse to dictate how they are going to inspire other people to do their jobs. Generals appreciate the consequence of decisions.”

No one disputes that Trump’s White House lacks discipline. This dynamic was not an accident. It was designed that way by the president-elect during the transition. Experts on government management knew from the minute Trump named Priebus as his first chief of staff and anointed Stephen K. Bannon as chief strategist with virtual coequal standing that this was going to be a White House with competing power centers.

These days, there actually are three camps in the Trump White House, factions that sometimes meld: family, represented by daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner; Trump campaign loyalists, including Bannon and counselor Kellyanne Conway; and GOP establishment figures, such as Vice President Pence and other senior aides.

Kelly, who comes from none of those camps, is being grafted onto the existing body. He is well liked by all three factions and has forged a particularly close bond with two members of the Cabinet: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The three men have formed a rapport as older, calmer presences in Trump’s orbit navigating tricky policy directives that frequently overlap.

In the White House, Kelly could form a natural alliance with national security adviser H.R. McMaster, a three-star Army general who has struggled to take full control over the national security process.

As some administration officials texted and called each other Saturday to discuss Kelly, there was widespread angst, since few of them were familiar with his leadership style.

To get a grasp of his personality, people familiar with Kelly urged White House aides and agency leaders to read books by conservative writer Bing West, a retired Marine, who has extensively chronicled Kelly’s military tenure in titles such as “The Strongest Tribe” and “The March Up.”

One particular scene in “The March Up” was passed around by several Trump associates as a sign of how Kelly operates: tersely and with little tolerance for complaints.

After Kelly saw the bodies of Iraqi civilians alongside a road, West writes, he warned his commanders that so many civilian casualties was not acceptable — a point that prompted a defensive response from the commanders about how they were just trying to protect their troops.

“‘Don’t go there with me,’ [Kelly] shot back, cutting off debate,” West writes. “He had been in the infantry thirty years and knew the range of every weapon.”

Trump advisers also checked in with friends at the Department of Homeland Security, asking what they had gleaned from Kelly’s time there. They shared two immediate takeaways: first, that Kelly had not been directed with a heavy hand from the White House on whom to hire as his deputies, and second, that he is driven by duty and a passion for enforcing the law rather than by ideology.

Throughout his life, Trump has venerated military valor, and he recruited several generals into his administration, including Kelly. He admired Kelly’s decisive moves to crack down on illegal immigration and border crime and first sought him out for the chief of staff role in mid-May. Trump was rebuffed multiple times until Kelly agreed this past week to take the job.

Even as confidants suggested other options for chief of staff, Trump kept coming back to Kelly. The collapse this week of the Republican health-care bill sped up the president’s timetable to replace Priebus, according to people familiar with the move.

Kelly comes into the job as more of an equal to the president than Priebus, both generationally — Kelly is 67 and Trump is 71, whereas Priebus is 45 — and in stature.

“The kinds of people that Trump particularly likes are people with bucks — money — and braids — the military,” said Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project.

Although Kelly does not bring legislative experience, Trump sees him as part of the solution to his administration’s legislative woes, according to people familiar with the decision to bring Kelly to the White House. Instead of hiring an insider who would ingratiate himself or herself on Capitol Hill, Trump wanted someone who adds stature and commands respect from congressional leaders, the people said.

Over recent months, Trump concluded that Priebus’s close relationship with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) became a hindrance, giving Ryan leverage and insight into the workings of the White House. He resented the suggestion that Priebus was a “Trump whisperer” who had to explain Trump to Ryan and other GOP leaders, these people said.

So far, most of the administration’s accomplishments have been overturning or reversing Obama-era policies. But Kumar said Kelly could help reorient the White House around a “positive policy agenda.”

When Kelly made the rounds on Capitol Hill before his nomination hearings in January, he did not know Trump very well and asked people there to share stories about the president-elect. He wanted to know how Trump made decisions. Told that Trump relished competing power centers around him, Kelly grimaced and said nothing.

Those who knew Trump before he became president knew that his management style, short attention span and general lack of discipline were a recipe for trouble. Trump’s early transition planners envisioned a White House table of organization that started with a strong chief of staff and that included clear lines of authority and limited direct access to the president.

Instead, Trump got what he wanted, a White House in which the power and influence of individuals ebbed and flowed, with status affected by Trump’s focus of the moment, his limited loyalty toward any of those in his employ and the backstabbing that has been a constant feature almost from Day 1.

Trump’s transition documents included a lengthy memo about White House structure, based on past administrations. “They didn’t follow the product at all,” said a person with direct knowledge of what transpired as Trump was setting up his administration. “They did it instinctively. . . . The president-elect didn’t want to say no to anybody.”

The result was the White House that now exists, populated by advisers with competing ideologies that reflect the reality of an administration that is an amalgam of populist nationalists, hard-line conservatives and establishment Republicans. This was Trump’s winning coalition in the presidential campaign, and it encompasses Trump’s disparate views on the issues, but it has added greatly to the lack of coherence once he took office.

“The only way a chief of staff can be successful is if he is empowered by the president, and I never had any feeling that Reince Priebus was fully empowered by the president,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). “The success of Kelly will be significantly dependent upon how much authority President Trump grants him.”

The environment is poised to change in the Kelly era. The new chief of staff is expected to have full control over the Oval Office and schedule, officials said. Trusted aides such as Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino and Keith Schiller — as well as senior advisers such as Kushner, Bannon and Conway — will continue to have casual access to the president.

But Kelly is expected to have a far tighter grip than Priebus was able to exercise on who participates in meetings and the process by which policy decisions are made.

“The vast majority of people who work in the White House are quite competent and quite self-confident,” Card said. As chief of staff, he added, “You want to make sure that they recognize that their competence is needed, but their self-confidence should be managed.”

One possibility mentioned by Kelly associates as a deputy chief of staff is Christian Marrone, a Republican who served in President Barack Obama’s administration as chief of staff to homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson. Marrone declined to comment.

Many of Trump’s top aides chafed at taking instructions from Priebus. When Anthony Scaramucci was hired as communications director this month, he received an assurance from Trump that he would report to the president, not to the chief of staff.

Chris Whipple, author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff, said Kelly’s task will be “mission impossible” if his control is not absolute.

“If Scaramucci reports directly to President Trump, therein lies disaster,” Whipple said. “You can’t have a loose cannon rolling on the deck. Kelly has to make sure he’s in charge of the White House staff, in charge of the information flow to the president, and in charge of executing policy. And fundamentally, he’s got to be able to go in, close the door, and tell Trump what he does not want to hear.”


I love George Takei's take on the Rancid Penis fly incident:


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"Priebus: I sold my soul for this?"


“How did it come to this?” Reince Priebus said. “When we struck our deal two years ago, I thought you would make me White House chief of staff to Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz if it came to that. But then to suffer the daily humiliation of serving THAT man. The mocking. He ordered me to swat flies in the Oval Office. He would constantly remind me of how I asked him to drop out of the race during the “Access Hollywood” fiasco. Do you even know how many times?”

“Actually, yes,” his interlocutor replied. “I keep close tabs on all of my collaborators.”

“I thought that when I signed your book I was just agreeing to an eventual eternity in hell, or wherever you live.”

“The San Fernando Valley.”

“Right — the New Jersey of the West Coast. Anyway, I didn’t realize that the torture would begin almost immediately.”

“Well, you’re not exactly a Faust at the negotiating table.”

“And then to be fired so quickly.”

“It’s like that old Woody Allen joke: such bad food, and such small portions.”

“When I was in the White House, I could tell myself I had a good reason to be there. I was the establishment figure, the voice of reason, the restraint on a presidency run amok.”

“How did that go?”

“You’re on Twitter. But there was also the agenda to consider. Sure, large portions turned out to be too unpopular to pass. But at least I helped Paul Ryan cope with the president. Poor Paul. What will he do without me?”

“Don’t worry about him. It took him a little longer to come around, but I got him to sign up with me, too. He took some convincing after Trump had trouble distancing himself from David Duke.”

“Oh yeah, I’d almost forgotten that one. That was back when we still thought we could change him. How did you get Paul to come around?”

“I promised him a GOP Congress. He would do practically anything for a tax cut.”

“Is there anyone in the party you haven’t turned?”

“Sadly, yes. The health-care bill didn’t pass, did it? Still, 49 votes. Not every lord of darkness could get even that far.”

“Yeah, we came close. Now I’ve been replaced by a general. What is it with Trump and generals? You know he wanted some kind of North Korea-style military parade for his inauguration?”

“Yeah, even I think that’s weird.”

“Oh, yeah? I thought that was your touch.”

“Trump? No, I don’t have a deal with him. To be worth my time, my collaborators have to possess some reservoir of decency they can surrender. If there were anything in it for me, believe me I’d get it. He’s a worse negotiator than you are.”

“It was still worth it, though, right?”

“Sure. That’s what history will conclude. Anyway, you’ll have a long time in the Valley to think about it.”

The video in the article that is a parody of "Mean Girls" is a hoot and worth a watch -- "stop trying to make pickle happen, Sarah."

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