The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Today’s Not Midterm News

Here I am, still avoiding midterm election news and commentary. Here’s what’s left over.

A whole lot of expensive gifts given by foreign powers to the Trumps during the Trump administration are missing. It’s believed the Trumps still have them, even though keeping them violates the emoluments clause. I know you’re shocked.

The eclectic list ranges from golf clubs given to Trump by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a 2018 World Cup soccer ball gifted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a gold-plated collar of Horus, the falcon-headed ancient Egyptian god, given by Egypt’s president, a large painting of Trump from the president of El Salvador, and a $6,400 collar of King Abdulaziz al Saud, a ceremonial honor from Saudi Arabia, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. …

,,, The sprawling request sent to the Archives also includes an antique framed signed photo of Queen Elizabeth II; a marble slab commemorating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem; dresses from Oman; a bust of Mahatma Gandhi; an Afghan rug; a crystal ball; and various pieces of jewelry including diamond and gold earrings, according to the person familiar with the request.

I bet the bust of Mahatma Gandhi was just misplaced, or else somebody broke it. Anyway, the rules are that the Trumps could keep the stuff if they paid for it; otherwise all gifts were supposed to have been turned over to the National Archives. Apparently they weren’t. I take it they were also required to report any gifts they received, but that wasn’t done, either. So someone is apparently trying to figure out what gifts the Trumps were given through other sources.

The failure to account for gifts is part of a pattern of the Trump administration’s record keeping practices.

Numerous items identified as “gifts” were seized by the FBI during their search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and residence in August. It’s unclear whether the seized gifts were given to Trump by foreign governments during his time in office and improperly transferred to Mar-a-Lago. …

… Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said that when he worked for Trump, the president always wanted to keep gifts from foreign leaders. Kelly said that while he instructed staff to follow the process of recording gifts from foreign leaders, when Trump was given the opportunity to buy the gifts, he was adamantly against paying for them.

“He said, ‘They gave me these, these are my gifts,’ ” said Kelly, recounting his conversation with Trump. “But I’d say, ‘No sir, they gave these to the president of the United States. You have to look at that as an official gift from a country.’ He would be totally against that. He was adamant that they were his gifts and he couldn’t understood why he couldn’t keep these gifts.”

“I never remember him buying anything,” Kelly added.

Moving on … Philip Bump writes, The big-stack-of-paper strategy comes to House Judiciary Republicans. The Republican minority on the House Judiciary Committee released a “1,000 Page Report” on alleged politicization of the FBI and the Justice Department. And the Republicans indeed trotted out a 1,000 page stack of paper. But the report itself was less than 50 pages long. The rest was just filler, letters (much duplicated) the committee members had written to people, and pages and pages of signatures on the letters.

They used to pull crap like this whenever Republicans wanted to claim they had a new health care plan. They’d trot around in front of cameras with big stacks of paper while somehow never releasing an actual plan beyond their usual half-baked ideas about tax credits and reinsurance and what not.

So what’s in the 50 pages? Kate Riga tells us at TPM:

The other 50 pages are a who’s who of Fox News-flavored grievances and conspiracy theories, dinging the FBI for everything from the “unprecedented raid” of Mar-a-Lago to going easy on Hunter Biden to supposedly targeting parents for resisting “a far-left educational curriculum” to inflating domestic violent extremism stats. 

Many of their gripes and allegations are old — that Hillary Clinton was given “kid-glove treatment” in comparison to Donald Trump — and animated by perpetual, ongoing right-wing complaints, including that “big tech” is censoring conservative viewpoints. 

So, they got nothin’. But if they hate big tech they should be thrilled that Twitter may not last longer than a lettuce. Elon must enjoy the thrill of burning money.

13 thoughts on “Today’s Not Midterm News

  1. Look at Narcissists on parade on hullabaloo 11/4/22. Digby shows a Trump tweet june 2018 almost word for word what Musk posted 11/5/22 about Twitter. So Elon must be quite the Trump fan.

    True colors

  2. First thing – tRUMP will never be able to wrap his diseased and tiny mind around someone being given a "gift," but not being able to keep it.

    "Does not compute."

    And besides, "gifts" are so… Cheap.


    These are "Tributes" for America's Caesar.

    They are honorariums.


    And they're HIS.

    To keep.


    Typical RepubliKKKLAN lies:

    "We have a '1,000 Page Report."

    "Baby, I swear.  It's like, almost a foot-long."


  3. “Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” he said in a tweet. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”,destroy%20free%20speech%20in%20America.%E2%80%9D

    Much of the drop is automotive advertisers in competition with Tesla. Did genius Musk consider how much revenue would walk away to create a crisis for the boy wonder? They can spend their money on other platforms that don't strengthen Musk's brand. I haven't seen reports of how much this is as a percentage, but Musk is squalling. 

    Musk is also (reported) engaged in massive layoffs including the departments that review objectionable content. I think Musk intends the cuts will be permanent to boost profit which means only algorithms will be able to decide if a tweet violates standards. I think Musk, like Trump, is too stupid to realize how screwed he is.

    Trump is more openly defending the J6 insurrectionists, moving in context of his statements to defend the factions in trial for sedition. For some time, he danced around the edges of defending the tourists who were invited in. (If you believe that.)  Trump is getting close to embracing the Oath Keepers who are on the edge of being convicted for sedition. IMO, Trump is not far from being indicted himself for J6 as I read reports of DOJ investigations. So Trump is going all in. 

    Trump's not the only one who knows that the GOP candidate for POTUS in 2024 will be facing multiple criminal trials at the federal level, from Georgia and possibly NY. It's entirely possible the IRS will get in the game if/when details of Trump's overt and inexcusable criminal tax evasion become public. (Yeah, that's a guess but it's supported by the facts we know.) No, this isn't a fight the IRS wants but if  I paid more in taxes last year than TFG paid over a decade when his US worth doubled by billions… the IRS policies are going to come into serious question. 

    So Congress is excuse-mongering for TFG. (Don't look at that man behind the curtain!)  Instead of the facts and the law, the GOP will employ a two-pronged defense. 1) LOOK OVER THERE! (Hunter Biden, Dr. Fauci, Covid is a hoax. Covid was developed by evil Democrats. Lizzard People may be real.) 2) The facts introduced in the prosecution(s) of TFG are not important because the prosecutors do not like Trump.

    Neither of these strategies will work because the juries won't be witnesses to either, especially if there's a strict, enforced sequestration. (Juries cut off from TV and allowed very limited and censored external communication. If ever a trial need for the jury to be isolated, criminal trials of TFG are it.)

    When the History of this period is written, "The Crazy Years", the midterms won't be central – the period after the midterms including all the Trump trials and the disintegration of the GOP will be. We're about to see how bad things can get before they get better.

    • I suspect that not being able to openly brag about his coup attempts eats at The Donald's inner being.


    • Yep, be a barnacle, "The Crazy Years" is the name of the new version of the "America Game (AS SEEN ON TV (C) TM)".

  4. Re the gifts: I would look on eBay. Seriously. I remember TFG, in his recent role as President of The United States, signing a napkin somewhere in the heartland, telling the recipient he could get $10,000 for it on eBay. Everything's for sale.

  5.   <i>I bet the bust of Mahatma Gandhi was just misplaced, or else somebody broke it.</i>


    Why? Trump would have no idea who Gandhi was. 

    • I can just see the Ghandi statue becoming the center of one of Jr's cocaine-fueled orgies and getting defaced/destroyed and dumped in the WH dumpster at 4 AM.

  6. Got an email from Gavin Newsom –

    All across the country, Republicans are focusing their closing message on public safety. And by some accounts in the press and the polls, it seems to be working.

    One problem. It’s absolute nonsense.

    Republicans do a much better job scaring people about safety than they do making people safer.

    Let’s just take a look at three states, for example: California, Texas, and Florida.

    Which state has the lowest firearm death rate between Florida, Texas, and California? California has the lowest firearm death rate.

    Which state has the lowest homicide rate between Florida, Texas, and California? California has the lowest homicide rate.

    Which state has the lowest violent crime and property crime rate between Florida, Texas, and California? California has the lowest violent crime and property crime rate.

    But it’s not just crime.

    Which state has the lowest infant mortality rate between Florida, Texas and California? California has the lowest infant mortality rate.

    How about drug overdose rates? Florida’s drug overdose rate is 160% higher than California’s.

    How about COVID-19 death rates? Texas’s COVID-19 death rate is 166% higher than California’s.

    The facts are on our side. Democrats should not surrender on this narrative. Not between now and Tuesday, and not afterward either.

    We should FIGHT.

    Because the truth is, it is the laws and policies in states led by Republican governors that contribute to these numbers.

    People are safer in “Blue” states like California….

    If Kari Lake wins in AZ, I expect some interesting fireworks between her and Newsom, which should raise this “debate” into the national eye. Newsom needs to hone his message and his delivery so it sells outside CA, and I suspect Lake will be a worthy adversary to help him in this regard, as much as I detest her. Thrilled that my gov is taking it to the Republicans.

  7. We all have heard the sermon on the throne, by now, and know that He of the turd coming is the most sanctimonious.  DeSantis can only be one of a predicted slew of false prophets.  Both vie in the world of Ceasar yet will not refrain from claiming status in the world of that which they know nothing. Nothing at all. Pathetic and what needs to be viewed as blasphemy from what the scholars taught me.

    One victory has already happened.  In Kansas, two former Republican governors of the state have appeared in an ad for the incumbent Democratic governors in support of her re-election.  True evidence of a sane division of the republican party which recognizes that running the state is a job not an anointment.  

    Hopes and prayers that someday, Florida may have a similar awakening.  Perhaps they need a dose of Brownback.

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