Of Walls And Memos


By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

WaPo reports that our president is lying to his base about progress on his wall.

As pressure mounts on President Trump to fulfill his key campaign pledge to build a border wall, he has hit on a quick and easy method to demonstrate progress: Just inflate how much his administration is already spending on the project.

Over the past week, including at a campaign rally Thursday night in Billings, Mont., Trump has begun boasting that he has spent $3.2 billion on the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border — twice as much as has been authorized by Congress.

“We’ve started the wall,” Trump told thousands of supporters at the event. “We’ve spent $3.2 billion on the wall. We’ve got to get the rest of the funding.” Later, he repeated the monetary figure and added: “We’ve done a lot of work on the wall. A lot of people don’t understand that.”

Perhaps that is because it is not entirely true. The Trump administration has begun work on 14 miles of a wall in San Diego and 20 miles in Santa Teresa, N.M., under a $341 million appropriation from Congress last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Additional border security projects, including levee walls and a secondary wall in San Diego, have been planned and could begin soon under $1.6 billion allocated in the spring, the agency said.

But Trump, who touted the $1.6 billion figure in rallies in June and July, has suddenly upped the figure, suggesting at a rally in Charleston, W.Va., in late August that the administration has spent “over $3 billion. It’s moving along very nicely.”

And I can hear the chants now, ”Build the Wall,  build the wall” [rinse and repeat].  When he wants to sell shit as shinola we know where he goes – Charleston. And they buy everything he has.  I’m so proud.

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It’s the message, not the messenger, stupid

patd By PatD, a Trail Mix Contributor

Mark Shields (PBS Newshour):

The anonymous thing — I disagree with many of my colleagues, […] — when I first ran political campaigns, an old manager said to me, never have anybody sign a memo. Just give the memo and let read — and I said, why? He said, because you want to look at the substance, not the source. You don’t want to be deferential because it’s somebody important writing it or dismissive because it’s somebody young and inexperienced.

And if the person’s name had been on this piece, the anonymous piece in The New York Times, then the response would have been the typical Washington attack machine. They would have gone after the writer, attacked, and say, here — got a DWI charge in 1983 or something of the sort, and just try and savage that.

As a consequence, we’re forced to look at the substance of what was written. And I think these together, they come from Republicans, they come from people who work in the Trump administration. And, I mean, the significance of it demands our attention.

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55 thoughts on “Of Walls And Memos”

  1. emphasis on the message 

      ”..  because you want to look at the substance, not the source. You don’t want to be deferential because it’s somebody important writing it or dismissive because it’s somebody young and inexperienced”  as mark said


    and as the NY Times explained in their “How the Anonymous Op-Ed Came to Be”

    The New York Times’s Opinion desk published an Op-Ed by an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration on Wednesday. By Friday, nearly 23,000 readers had submitted questions to us about the vetting process and our thinking behind publishing the essay.
    Our Op-Ed editor, James Dao, has responded to a selection of the questions, which have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

    Why did you publish this piece?
    Why publish this? What purpose does it serve, other than to enrage its target and assuage the guilt of a collaborator? We have a mad king and a shadow government. This is a coup, not a heroic attempt to save democracy.
    — Henry Matthews, New York
    In our view, this Op-Ed offered a significant first-person perspective we haven’t presented to our readers before: that of a conservative explaining why they felt that even if working for the Trump administration meant compromising some principles, it ultimately served the country if they could achieve some of the president’s policy objectives while helping resist some of his worst impulses.
    We’ve certainly read excellent news stories that quoted anonymous officials making similar points and criticizing the president’s temperament and chaotic style. What distinguished this essay from those news articles was that it conveyed this point of view in a fleshed-out, personal way, and we felt strongly that the public should have a chance to evaluate it for themselves.
    The only way that could happen was for us to publish the essay without a byline. That was an extraordinary step for us, but the piece touched off what we believe to be an important national debate about whether the writer, and similarly situated Trump administration officials, are making the right choice (many of our readers clearly think they are not).
    — Jim Dao
    […other questions and answers continue….]

  2. not just one message either.

    yes, twit’s crazy as a loon, our very own king George III;

    but what does this say about certain officials (in the white house as well as the house of reps) who’ve sworn to uphold the constitution

    and what does it ultimately say about the health of a democracy when so few care enough about their country to vote?

  3. Ann Coulter and other FOX trolls have been relentlessly goading Trump to build the wall without Congress, just order the Pentagon to do it. So wouldn’t you know that’s what he’s talking about these days, or threatening a shutdown if Congress doesn’t give him the money. He thinks this will goose Republican turnout for the Midterms.

  4. I still say the resistance-from-within letter was signed, “Sincerely, The Breakfast Club.”

    One person was given the responsibility to write and release it.



    Dear Ivanker,

    Please take the car keys away from your creepy, delusional daddy before he drives the country into a ditch.

  5. Could Obama’s staff have pulled off anything like that claimed in the letter?  Nope.

    A megalomaniac who understands little, and who definitely only understands the simplest cause & effect (not any issue with a lot of moving pieces), and who can be so easily controlled by Faux Noise, could be managed in this way.

  6. Will Europe ride populist wave? Visual guide https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/15/europe/populism-in-european-elections-visual-guide/index.html

    Going  back to Prez Obama going all “Rocky Horror” last week (saying Trump is the symptom, not the cause),  it’s spreading across the globe.  Is there any way to remove the cause (fear in its many forms) but not the symptom (to let Trump ride out the next two years)?

    The only thing we have to fear are the manipulations of the 1%.

  7. lie detectors in the white house to ferret out who stole the strawberries and who wrote the op ed?



    How ‘The Caine Mutiny’ and the paranoid Capt. Queeg influenced the 25th Amendment’s drafters, making it harder to sideline a president


    The crew, as of late, believed the captain was out of his mind. He had recently ordered a sweeping investigation into who ate a missing quart of strawberries from the kitchen, believing the apprehension of this strawberry thief was of singular importance…..

    “Captain, I’m sorry, but you’re a sick man,” executive officer Stephen Maryk told him at the climax of the movie, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Herman Wouk. “I’m relieving you as captain of this ship under Article 184.”
    And with that, the captain lost his power.
    The scene was unforgettable for Bogart’s bug-eyed portrayal of a man wielding power gone mad.
    But for a certain group of lawyers and lawmakers in the 1950s and ’60s it was an unforgettable lesson as they sat down to draft the 25th Amendment, which provided an alternative to impeachment for removing an incapacitated president.  They didn’t want a similar situation — an “Article 184″ in the amendment — where a vice president or others could simply usurp the commander-in-chief’s power at the mere utterance of the word “disabled,” explained John D. Feerick, professor and former dean of Fordham School of Law, who assisted in drafting the amendment in the 1960s.
    The 25th Amendment, which was adopted on Feb. 10, 1967, in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, describes the procedures for replacing the president in the event that he or she dies, resigns, is temporarily unconscious or is found to be “unable” to carry out his or her powers and duties. That last part, Section 4 of the amendment, describes who makes the decision in the event the president won’t step aside himself: the cabinet and the vice president. Should the president disagree with them, Congress must vote to strip the president of his or her powers by two-thirds majority, protecting against internal political coups, Feerick said.
    But what the amendment doesn’t provide is any clear definition of what it means to be a “disabled” president or one “unable to discharge” duties. The ambiguity has fueled debates for decades — perhaps no more so than now.

  8. craig, if that projection is accurate, Norfolk looks to become the new sunken Atlantis.

    D.C. won’t be far behind given it will be hit by the strong north eastern bands.

  9. As SC continues with their Air Force of drones all pushing Aunt Florence to the north.  It’s working! It’s Working!

  10. Of course 4 days or so out the path of Florence could change, but the models put landfall in SE NC, with inland rain beteen 5 and 30 inched, depending on whether you follow the American (5″) or European model.  Regardless, after a 150% past 3 months of rainfall, the region isn’t ready to absorb that kind of rain.  IOW, if you live in areas that will be affected, get the hell out if Flo continues on her current path – and don’t wait until Friday morning to leave.

  11. patd, under both models the Potomac watershed will be getting torrential rain – in already saturated areas.  For instance Garrett County, MD and Preston County WV were on 2 hour delays today as a result of rain overnight.  They are just west and north of the Potomac watershed.

  12. I’m sorry about my old stomping grounds at CGAS Elizabeth City, NC: but hey, they must need bigger drones…..

  13. I don’t recall ever seeing such consensus on hurricane path models, all pointing to the Carolinas. And two other nasty factors: she’s getting 2 or 3 days over warm water to build strength, and they’re predicting a 3 or 4 day stall right after landfall. It’s like Hugo and Harvey rolled into one.

  14. Let me guess:  TV news is fear-mongering over the hurricane.  They do it for ratings- stop riling people up unless you’re the one who has to deal with them as they scurry about, hoarding every consumable they can get their hands on, as if 20 cans of Pringles will get them through the apocalypse.


    Remember Florida was supposed to be wiped out, last year, according to cable news?  Guess what?  It’s still there.

  15. Onliest Woodward book I ever read was the one Bernstein helped him with…..no prejudice, just lazy about some kinds of reading.

  16. The Caine Mutiny is such a marvelous example for the situation we’re now in. Here we have President Trump as Captain of the Ship of State and his VP and Cabinet the officers of the Ship. The only one who has Article 185 25th Amendment Authority is the Vice President. What will he do? Will he throw himself on the Sword of State for the sake of the Republic??

    Stayed tuned to MSNBC!

  17. Bink, on the other hand there have been storms that did not get sufficient coverage in advance to get people to leave even when the path became predictable – There were those called Katrina and Mathew that I can recall. This article does a fair job of discussing the phenomenon of who leave sand who stays and why.  If the cold front moves through and steers Florence away from the coast, great – people will have a good supply of Pringles, bottled water, eggs milk and white bread (and if they’re smart, peanut butter) and they’ll curse the weather guys and civilian authorities and refuse to leave the next time “the big one” is threatened.  I have a certain sensitivity to the issue having grown up 200 miles north of the Gulf Coast and having seen evacuations and failures to evacuate when hurricanes threatened the Florida, Alabama and Mississippi coasts.  Once in the early 70s I cancelled hotel reservations in Panama City, FL (actually then it was a motel) for a hurricane that fizzled – I got riled up and it turned out to be unnecessary, but then again hurricane path and intensity predictions were not then what they are now.  I tend not to be one of those who panic and flee, but I like to think I’m not stupid and when the science says it’s stupid to stay, I’d be one who leaves.

  18. Bink…  Woodward’s book doesn’t actually hit book shelves until tomorrow.  I did pre-order a copy off of Amazon.  It’ll be the first Woodward book I read.

    Flatus…  I see on the other thread that you say you are unimpressed with the current Democratic candidates for president.  It made me think.  I have stated here several times on candidates that I will not vote for in the NH primary.  So I want to say that after seeing Cory Booker stand up to the Republican led Senate in Kavanaugh’s hearing last week, that I will gladly consider voting for him in said primary.

  19. Renee, when I penned that I was discouraged and tired. Yes, I will enthusiastically support Booker as I would one of the potential moderate women candidates. If it becomes a choice between Bernie and Kasich, Kasich would have my vote. I would like seeing Warren’s complete platform before deciding on supporting her. I will absolutely oppose anybody who has supported Trump in any political way. Male or Female, Democrat or Republican, I want a consensus building moderate American as President.

  20. Good one Pogo!   Trump supporters are stupid.

    My family used to vacation in the Outer Banks and the evacuation was always worse than anything else   two lane roads and everyone worried about running out of gas

  21. bink, guess you’ve never witnessed the fright of a nearby hundred foot high pine toppling over just from outer wind bands of a minor hurricane nor be stranded by flooding nor endure subsisting on nothing but cheese crackers, room temperature canned soups and  bottled water while waiting days for the electricity and water to be restored… to say nothing of hunting for lost drenched and spooked pets.

  22. BiD, while nancy says “I’m here” ron says “i’m outta here”
    Rep. Ron DeSantis, a conservative Republican running for governor of Florida, has resigned from the House to focus on his campaign, he told House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a letter delivered Monday.
    DeSantis, 39, has represented Florida’s 6th Congressional District since 2013. He faces Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, in a closely watched matchup this November.
    “As the Republican nominee for Governor of Florida, it is clear to me that I will likely miss the vast majority of our remaining session days for this Congress,” DeSantis wrote. “Under these circumstances, it would be inappropriate for me to accept a salary. In order to honor my principles and protect the taxpayer, I officially resign from the House of Representatives effective immediately.”
    A spokesman for Ryan confirmed receipt of DeSantis’s letter.
    Word of the resignation came as The Washington Post reported Monday that DeSantis spoke four times at conferences organized by a conservative activist who has said that African Americans owe their freedom to white people and that the country’s “only serious race war” is against whites.
    DeSantis has missed 43 of 80 House votes cast since July — including all 14 votes cast last week — according to database maintained by GovTrack. In the letter, DeSantis asked that his resignation be made retroactive to Sept. 1 for payroll purposes.
    “This is not a decision I make lightly,” he wrote. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Florida’s Sixth Congressional District, and I look forward to serving them and the rest of Florida as our state’s next Governor.”

  23. The buzz on DeSantis is that he’s deep into courting the “besieged white” vote. He recently spoke at Horowitx’s organization.  From Greg Sargents’ WaPo column today:

    Prepare to be shocked: One of the Trumpiest candidates in the country repeatedly spoke at a conference whose organizer believes that the “only serious race war” in this country right now is the one targeting white people.

    The Post reports that Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee in the nationally watched Florida gubernatorial race, has spoken four times at conferences organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The group’s conferences have featured a parade of alt-right, white nationalist and Islamophobic heroes, as well as speakers who claim that refugees and immigrants are destroying European culture and that diversity is dumbing down America.

    Horowitz himself has said that “American blacks are richer, more privileged, freer than blacks anywhere in the world, including all black run countries.” He responded to the news that a man was arrested after vowing to kill “all white police” at the White House by saying: “Meanwhile, the country’s only serious race war — against whites — continues.” DeSantis is running against Democrat Andrew Gillum, the African American mayor of Tallahassee.

    Sweet guy – Florida may deserve him (Poobah’s dad excepted of course).

  24. rollingstone :
    The host also summarized the vicious, since-denied quotes from the Woodward book. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is quoted saying Trump has “the understanding of a fifth- or sixth-grader.” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly says, “We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.” And John Dowd, the president’s then-lawyer, reportedly told Special Counsel Bob Mueller on March 5th after a Trump practice interview, “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell.’”
    “That is incredible,” Oliver said of the comments. “That is the president’s own lawyer telling a prosecutor – a prosecutor – that his client would be so stupid under questioning, it would be a genuine national security concern. And while Dowd also denied those comments, let’s just appreciate for a moment how charming it is to call anyone a ‘goddamn dumbbell.’ It’s so much more delightful than ‘idiot’ or ‘dipshit’ or ‘fucking moron.’ ‘Dumbbell’ just puts a fun cartoon image in your head.”
    “Anyway,” Oliver added, “the president’s a disaster, and we’re all going to die.”

  25. We’ve never lived through a hurricane….  but we did live through an ice storm which will hit it’s 10 yr anniversary this December.  God did it suck!  We awoke to our yard looking like a bomb went off and every wire ripped from our house.  We went for 12 days without electricity… thank god we still had our wood stove for back up heat.  Did anyone die…  no….  but I sure never want to have to go through that again.

    Everyone in Florence’s path and aftermath…  stay safe!

  26. Leave if there evacuation orders.  It sounds fun and romantic but it isn’t.  It’s dirty, chaotic and very scary and you are on your own.

  27. nbc news:
    Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former contestant on “The Apprentice” who became a White House aide, released a new secret recording on Monday in which President Donald Trump can be heard discussing Hillary Clinton and the Russia investigation.
    Manigault Newman said the audio recording, which was first released on ABC’s “The View” and later aired on MSNBC, was made in October 2017 during a meeting between senior communications staffers about tax reform that Trump crashed to talk about a dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by British intelligence operative Christopher Steele.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and former White House communications director Hope Hicks can be heard on the recording talking to Trump:
    Trump: I think Hillary is getting killed with Russia. The real Russia story is Hillary and collusion. Somebody told me, Hope, you told me it was $9 million they spent on the phony report.
    Sanders: Closer to six.
    Hope Hicks: Yeah, someone just said, “She’s far worse for the country than we thought if she didn’t know her own campaign was spending $9 million.”

    Trump: Did you see? Nobody knows who spent it. No, I heard it was nine. I heard it was 5.7 but now they say it was nine. It was spent through a law firm that way they can’t trace it. But they traced it. One thing in this business is they trace it. And, yeah, close to $9 million. I can’t even believe it. The reason a law firm is because this way you don’t have to give any papers. But they found out, it’s definitely illegal and it’s illegal from a campaign standpoint, from a campaign financing standpoint. So the whole Russia thing, I think seems to have turned around. What do you think, Sarah?
    Sanders: Absolutely.
    She said on MSNBC that the entire exchange lasted roughly 15 minutes, and that afterward, Trump made the staffers gather around the Oval Office to listen to him “rant” further on various topics.
    During her appearance on “The View,” Manigault Newman said that Trump frequently crashed meetings at the White House, “rambling from topic to topic,” because he got bored “very often.”

    She also called Trump’s claims in the recording “blatant lies,” but said that the communications staff had to repeat those claims to the American people.

  28. daily beast  on omarosa’s latest:

    The author of Unhinged returned to The View on Monday morning armed with yet another secret audio recording that she says was made inside the White House. Introduced by Whoopi Goldberg as someone who went from one of Trump’s “biggest defenders to one of his biggest nightmares,” Manigault-Newman came out swinging against the president.
    “You cannot silence someone when they’re coming forward to expose corruption,” she said of the Trump team’s arbitration action against her. “I’m going to keep on fighting.”
    And yet as eager as Manigault Newman has been to trash her former boss now that she’s out of the White House, The View’s co-hosts did not let her off the hook for being his staunch defender in the past. Abby Huntsman asked why she stayed in her job so long if she was so “miserable” and Sunny Hostin called out her hypocrisy of praising Trump’s supposed inclusiveness in the past and now labeling him a “racist.”
    In reference to the alleged “N-word” tape, Manigault Newman said, “I don’t hold the tape. I’ve heard the tape. They’ve been talking about releasing it. I suspect they’re going to release it around the midterms.” She did not disclose who she meant by “they.”
    “I was in a toxic relationship with Donald Trump and I regret that I was so complicit,” she added. “You know, Hillary Clinton was robbed and I was a co-conspirator in that robbery. And I will regret that for the rest of my life, that I was a co-conspirator along with the rest of the folks who helped this con man get into office.”
    It wasn’t until later in the show, after Manigault Newman reiterated who she believes wrote the Times op-ed (Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers) and shared the code texts she and her White House colleagues would use to mock the president (#TFA for “25th Amendment” and the orange emoji), that she brought out the new tape.

    “You knew he wasn’t telling the truth but folks still cheered him on,” Goldberg said. “You said that lying is second nature in the White House and you had to repeat everything he said. So, do you think y’all knowingly lied to the American people?”
    “Oh absolutely,” Manigault Newman said. “I would have left that meeting where you just heard Donald Trump discuss how to obstruct justice by going through a law firm so that he could protect whatever crime and he was insinuating that Hillary did this. We now know that he did that with the National Enquirer and possibly Stormy. We would have to go out and repeat verbatim what you just heard, that Hillary Clinton was involved with the Russia collusion, that she was engaged in some criminal activity. Because he said it, we would repeat what the president said.”
    “We would go out as you heard Hope Hicks, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and repeat those lies,” she continued. “She would repeat those lies from the podium in the press room.”

  29. Bink – Irma did destroy quite a bit of Florida.  I saw the framework of homes in the Atlantic.  I saw homes blown apart in NE Florida, Central Florida and SE Florida.  The shelter I ran had three hundred people who had no home left to go to, and there were many other shelters in Florida with the same.

    One thing Florida became skilled at was enforcing hurricane strength building codes and designing cities for minimizing damage.  Starting decades ago, each hurricane and tropical storm which hit the state was a learning lesson, and a way to get rid of the structures which were not sound.

    October 2016, Hurricane Matthew.  Florida survived with “minimal” damage because the storm shifted a few miles east off shore and the impact was not as strong as it could have been.  But, the storm smashed into North Carolina with damage that is still being repaired. I sat that one out in Orlando.  Yes I have been in much worse while driving emergency vehicles as the hurricanes went over.  But, I know what can happen and did not bother leaving my hotel room until it had moved North a lot of miles.

    Right now I am activated for the Chesapeake Region, I do not have a lot to do until Friday, but then I expect to be very busy for weeks.  I am also on standby in case the damage in the Carolina’s is very bad and I am needed there.  I may also go down to relieve someone if the operation lasts long, which I would expect it to.

    The “media” can only hype to the level of what you can read on NOAA.gov/hurricane

  30. I rarely disagree with the distinguished statesman from Columbia, South Carolina. This is one of those rare moments. kasich is only moderate when compared to such political radicals and mountebanks as trump, pence, cruz, and brownback. kasich claims to be pro-life, but that only means that he opposes any woman’s right to ownership of her own body and destiny. his ‘pro-life’ stand does not include the right of people to eat pure food, breath pure air, or drink pure water.

    With the exception of joe manchin, I do not think there is a Democrat that I would not vote for to keep kasich out of the White House.

  31. The russophiliac trump-occupied White House lacks glasnost. Glasnost begins with showing us the tax records.

  32. XR if Manchin and Kasich were in a dark room talking politics you probably couldn’t figure out who was speaking when.

  33. Renee,  I was still in Tuscaloosa, 200+ miles from its Dauphin Island landfall at the mouth of Mobile Bay, when Hurricane Frederic hit.  My  fellow workmates and I watched the winds – like I said, we were 200 miles inland from landfall – blow down two live oak trees that were by lore on the campus of the University of Alabama when the school was founded in 1831.  They were immense trees – probably 4′ in diameter.  Big storms are nothing to fuck with.

  34. Flatus, WV politics are pretty simple in the post Obama era – all the idiots vote Republican and the smarter folks vote Democratic. Unfortunately there aren’t enough smarter folks.

  35. In reading Omarosa’s interview in The Atlantic, Pence is the devil in waiting.  It sounds like Pence’s team is running as much of the show as they can.  Grain of salt, but…

  36. BiD, as I recall, pence also ran the transition team. so instead of devil “in waiting” he’s more the author and executor.

  37. My take is that where IMPOTUS is a bumbling doofus Pence is a cunning opportunist. Where SFB is unmoored from any semblance of moral grounding and feels no need to justify any action morally, Pence is following his orders from God to lead America to a state of religious perfection and his every action is toward that end and is accordingly divinely inspired and divinely sanctioned and is therefore not only good but is righteous. He is indeed dangerous.

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