Brian Snyder/Reuters

A Headline That Should Not Be

#trumpfoil | #WhatTheyVotedFor

A Yoma feeds. (Detail of frame from 'Claymore the Series', episode 1, "Great Sword".)

‘Tis a grim headline: “Trump wiretapping controversy goes global”. The lede is pretty straightfoward: “President Trump can’t seem to get past the wiretapping controversy,” writes Niall Stanage. “It’s not even clear that he wants to do so, despite Republican lawmakers joining Democrats in rejecting his claims.”

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder)The whole thing is a mess. The Trump presidency, that is. To wit, the problem is not that Stanage, of all people, gets that headline, or anything like that. It has an iconic ring, and his coverage of Donald Trump for The Hill managed to pull that one out. Somebody eventually would have, and it’s easy enough to say Stanage deserves it.

During the previous day’s White House media briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer had read remarks from a Fox News commentator, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who claimed that GCHQ—a British intelligence facility—had been “used” by Obama to get “transcripts of conversations” involving Trump.

This has sparked fury in London. GCHQ itself, which generally refrains from public comment, called the allegations “nonsense.”

But Trump insisted on Friday that “we said nothing,” and instead sought to put full responsibility for the claim onto Fox News. “You should be talking to Fox,” he told the German reporter who had asked about the episode.

Soon afterward, a Fox anchor, Shepard Smith, said on-air that the network “cannot confirm” what Napolitano had alleged, and added, “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.”

Or, rather: Whatever. The problem is that anyone gets to write that headline. It is some manner of thing that should not be.

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Image notes: Top ― A Yoma feeds: Detail of frame from Claymore the Series. Right ― Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder.

Stanage, Niall. “Trump wiretapping controversy goes global”. The Hill. 17 March 2017.

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Even Less Admirable (The Chairman’s Daughter’s Whatnot)

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT03) questions Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. during her testimony in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on 29 September 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

This is not what we would ordinarily call a profile in courage:

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz again reversed his position on Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy on Wednesday night, saying he’d vote for the Republican nominee but wouldn’t endorse him.

“I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him,” Chaffetz tweeted Wednesday. “[Hillary Rodham Clinton] is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA.”

The House Oversight Committee chairman had previously backed Trump’s candidacy before withdrawing his endorsement on Oct. 8 following the revelation that the Republican nominee had made lewd and sexually aggressive comments while filming for an “Access Hollywood” interview in 2005.

(Lima)

Then again, this is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT03) we’re talking about, so it’s not like anyone expects a lot. To that end, we should at least note the accomplishment, the e’er graceless flip-flop-flip.

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Dangerous and Unadmired

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). (Detail of photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Follow the bouncing Crapo:

Of all the congressional Republicans who’ve struggled with Donald Trump’s candidacy, arguably no one’s story is funnier than Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.). The Illinois Republican endorsed Trump, then un-endorsed Trump, then endorsed David Petraeus, then endorsed Colin Powell, then un-endorsed Powell, then said he no longer wanted to talk about it.

But if Kirk’s story is the most amazing, Sen. Mike Crapo (R) of Idaho is a competitive second ....

.... Yes, the Idaho Republican initially endorsed Trump. Then Crapo un-endorsed Trump. Soon after, the incumbent senator, up for re-election this year, said he’s an undecided voter. Yesterday, Crapo came full circle, re-endorsing the presidential candidate he un-endorsed two weeks ago.

(Benen)

This is important: Of all the unbelievable insanity we have witnessed through the 2016 electoral cycle, just how much of it is unbelievable, and why?

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The Donald Trump Show (Ohio)

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

You know, there was a time when this would have seemed significant:

Donald Trump’s Ohio campaign manager on Saturday renounced its relationship with the Ohio Republican Party’s top official, laying bare the long-simmering tensions over Trump’s candidacy within the state GOP.

Bob Paduchik, a longtime campaign operative in Ohio, sent a two-page letter to the state GOP’s central committee members on Saturday saying Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges no longer has a relationship with the campaign. The letter accuses Borges of exaggerating his relationship with Trump in media interviews, and undermining Trump’s efforts.

(Tobias)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder)There is a lot that would have seemed significant, once upon a time. The thing is, though, that it’s not just Donald Trump. It’s also Republicans who, you know, nominated him.

Because, frankly, Republicans have more than a few things to answer for after this mess. There are no more pretenses of innocence about the conservative (ahem!) “conscience”. Yeah: Y’all built this. And, really, you owe the rest of us some manner of explanation.

And, you know, this is an occasion on which conservatives will actually have to start make sense for once in their lives.

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Image notes: Top ― Detail of frame from Darker Than Black, episode 14, “A Heart Unswaying on the Water’s Surface… (Part 2)”. Right ― U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Tobias, Andrew J. “Donald Trump campaign denounces, severs ties with Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges”. Cleveland.com. 15 October 2016.

Your Quote of the Day: Murphy on Trumptastic Genius

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder)“Trump is a genius at stepping on his own messaging, and I don’t think there’s a force on Earth, at least without heavy weaponry, that can ever separate Trump from his ability to tweet. I think everybody in that campaign is trying to pry the smartphone away from him, and it’ll never happen.”

―Mike Murphy, 4 October 2016

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Image note: Detail of photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters.

The Donald Dyke Show

It is true, I am not a lesbian. Nonetheless, the question of Rush Limbaugh as inspiration for anything having to do with … er … ah … right. Anyway, I’m not lesbian. Jennifer Bendery can explain the rest:

But Rush got me thinking: are there lesbians out there who are voting for Trump? I don’t know of any in my lesbian circles in Washington, D.C. I didn’t come across any in July at the Republican National Convention, where I sought out LGBT attendees. I could only find one article that featured an interview with lesbian Trump supporters.U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder) There were two of them. Is that it? Two?

I decided to try to find a Trump-supporting lesbian to see what makes her tick. I hit up about 20 lesbian friends to see if they knew anyone. There’s only so many of us, I figured the six-degrees-of-separation theory would be my greatest asset. Their responses were not helpful.

“Bahaha,” emailed one friend.

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Image note: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question at a news conference before a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire, 14 August 2015. (Detail of photo by Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Bendery, Jennifer. “My Search For A Lesbian Donald Trump Supporter”. The Huffington Post. 8 September 2016.

What It Comes To (Par Excrement)

Commander Amaro suffers a bout of masculine insecurity. (Detail of FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet')

So ....

If it seemed strange enough that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump should hit Marco Rubio for sweat, and Mitt Romney for bowel control, and that Sen. Rubio should respond by mocking Donald Trump’s sweat and bladder control, then I have no idea what to tell you about what comes next.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), part of the U.S. Senate's 'Gang of Eight', speaks during a news briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., 18 April 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)Marco Rubio again unleashed an array of sharp attacks on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, jabbing at his “small hands” and “spray tan.”

In response to the property mogul calling him “little Rubio,” Rubio conceded that Trump was taller than him. However, the Florida senator suggested Trump had small hands for his height.

“And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio said with a smile, prompting stunned laughter from the crowd.

The report from Alex Jaffe of NBC News is not exactly encouraging insofar as anyone might care about pretenses of dignity. This is your Republican Party.

It is one thing to wonder how low this can go. It is another to grab the popcorn and enjoy the spectacle. But while this is reality, it is not reality television proper.

Here is a question: How low do we have to search in order to find an upside? Because it only gets worse.

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