….Moose and Squirrel Must Die…….OR NOT…..Weekend Edition…..


….the only free press is the one you own….

 (MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP/Getty Images)

Responding to a Russian government demand to drastically slash its diplomatic staff in Russia, the Trump administration Thursday ordered Moscow to close three of its consular offices in the United States.

Russia will be required to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, the chancery annex in Washington and the consular annex in New York, the State Department announced.

The move was the latest tit-for-tat action in worsening relations between Washington and Moscow, despite President Trump’s expressions of friendliness toward President Vladimir Putin.

Angered over a package of congressionally mandated economic sanctions, Russia had ordered the U.S. to cut its staff in Russia by around two-thirds, to 455.

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…..But Wait!….There’s More!…..on  ……”the Russian thing”……………

Just so there’s no confusion: Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman? Seeking help from the Kremlin on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow? During the presidential campaign?
Yes, this really happened. While most attention was rightly focused on the devastating flood in Houston, there was quite a bit of news on the Russia front — all of it, from President Trump’s perspective, quite bad.The revelations begin with a Trump business associate named Felix Sater . A Russian émigré who bragged about his Kremlin connections, Sater was a principal figure in development of the Trump Soho hotel and condominium project in lower Manhattan. Sater wrote a series of emails to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, touting the Moscow Trump Tower project as a way to help Trump win the presidency.In November 2015 — five months after Trump had entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination — Sater wrote to Cohen that he had “arranged” for Trump’s daughter Ivanka, during a 2006 visit to Moscow, “to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.”The email went on, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.”

Felix H. Sater, right, attends the Trump Soho Launch Party in 2007 in New York with Donald Trump, left, and Tevfik Arif, center.

Could Sater be just a blowhard who exaggerated his influence with the Russian president? Perhaps. But Ivanka Trump did tell the New York Times that she took a “brief tour of Red Square and the Kremlin” during that 2006 visit. The Times reported she said that “it is possible she sat in Mr. Putin’s chair during that tour but she did not recall it.”

There is no evidence that Cohen, one of Trump’s closest associates, found anything improper in Sater’s pledge to get Putin “on this program.” Nor did Cohen or anyone in the Trump Organization bother to disclose the emails — or the Trump firm’s effort, even during the campaign, to profitably emblazon the Trump name on the Moscow skyline — until the correspondence was turned over to the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.

And there’s more: In January 2016, with the Moscow project apparently stalled, Cohen went straight to the top to get it back on track — or at least tried to. He sent an email to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s longtime personal spokesman, “hereby requesting your assistance.”

Peskov confirmed that the email was received but said he did nothing about it and that it was not given to Putin.

So Trump was lying when he tweeted, shortly before his inauguration, that “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” The truth is that in October 2015, on the same day he participated in a GOP candidates’ debate, he signed a letter of intent for the Moscow Trump Tower project.

That is a “deal,” and Trump’s hunger to keep it alive may explain his reluctance to say anything critical about Putin. Or it may tell just part of the story.

The other part involves the whole question of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign to meddle with the election and boost Trump’s chances. Sater’s boasts, by themselves, are hardly definitive. But of course there is the larger context, which includes the infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr. convened in New York at which he hoped to receive dirt, courtesy of the Russian government, on Hillary Clinton.

Thus far we have the president’s son, son-in-law Jared Kushner (who was at that meeting), then-campaign manager Paul Manafort (also at the meeting) and now his personal lawyer all seemingly eager for Russian help in the election. Who in the campaign wasn’t willing to collude?

All of this is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the various congressional committees that are conducting investigations. Some have suggested that Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the unrepentant “birther” and racial profiler, might have been a message to Trump associates facing heat from prosecutors: Hang tough and don’t worry, you’ll get pardons.

But there was more bad news for the president: Politico reported that Mueller is now cooperating and sharing information with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Presidents can only issue pardons for federal offenses, not state crimes. Uh-oh.

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 …………whatcha make of that tRump ?…your pardon gun may be shooting blanks!…..

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……..g wiz folks….you’d think people would be getting tired of this………hit it Joe!..

Trump fatigue comes early 

Americans eventually tire of the presidents they elect. The political skills that fuel the rise of Roosevelts, Reagans and Obamas always seem to lose their allure over time as the promise of “Morning in America” and “Hope and Change” devolves into the cynicism of “Been There, Done That.”

Lyndon Johnson won in a landslide in 1964 but was pushed out of office four years later. Ronald Reagan breezed to reelection by winning 49 states in 1984, but two years later his power of persuasion was gone. In 1986, the Great Communicator couldn’t persuade voters living through the last days of the Cold War to support anti-communist allies in Central America. Even in the afterglow of Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection, the biggest political star in the world couldn’t pass gun reforms that 90 percent of Americans supported following the Sandy Hook massacre.

President Trump is, of course, the most radical example of this negative political phenomenon. Seven months into his maniacal presidency, Trump is driving his approval ratings to record lows and causing friends and foes alike to experience premature presidential fatigue.

Video Link

Former allies on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Examiner now criticize Trump for leadership failures and his abuse of power. Republicans on Capitol Hill more frequently call out the president’s aberrant behavior. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) questions the president’s ability to survive. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questions Trump’s stability.

By now, the president’s low poll numbers rarely raise an eyebrow. Newspapers have repeated ad nauseam that Trump is saddled with the worst approval ratings in U.S. history at this stage of his presidency. But this week, those lame approval ratings collapsed to a new low of 34 percent. A Fox News poll released Wednesday found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe Trump’s presidency is “tearing America apart.” And only 20 percent of younger voters now support the 71-year-old former reality television star.

President Trump likes to trumpet his “tremendous” support and strong base, but polls show that his approval rating is declining, even among key demographics that voted for him in 2016.

And even Trump’s famously forgiving base is growing tired of the commander in chief’s reckless routine. Trump supporters in a Pittsburgh focus group talked about how their patience with the petulant president was reaching an exhausting end. “Everybody knew he was a nut, but there comes a point in time where you need to become professional. He’s not even professional let alone presidential. Chill out, man,” was a woman’s advice. Another Trump supporter said that Trump’s manic need to dominate news cycles was driving him crazy. “He’s on the television all the time.” Another weary supporter said, “He’s such an incredibly flawed individual who has articulated many of the values that I hold dear and the messenger is overwhelming the message.”

That focus group sounded a lot like recent phone calls I had with friends in Pensacola and Birmingham who have been Trump supporters from the start. Not long ago, most were telling me that I needed to back off the president and give him a chance to succeed. But after Charlottesville, that began to change. One friend after another tells me they have had enough of Trump’s self-destructive behavior and are tired of the president being his own worst enemy. Like the focus group, my Republican friends are growing impatient with the man they once believed could change Washington and make America great again.

The president keeps bleeding support, Democrats remain rudderless, Washington is still gridlocked, and the problems that propelled Trump to the presidency are getting worse. From Pittsburgh to Pensacola, many Trump voters would prefer a leader who stops attacking allies, stays off Twitter and lets Congress get something done before Democrats retake control.

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……………hey Joe……where you going?…………O nevermind….here comes Eugene again…….Mr. Robinson…..Headline Opener….

Trump is delusional about his popularity

Enough, already, with all the takeouts and think pieces about how President Trump’s loyal basecontinues to support him. That’s neither surprising nor impressive — and it’s certainly not the point about this shameful and appalling presidency.

Also, it’s not entirely true. Trump won 47 percent of the popular vote in November’s election. That’s less than Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent but means nevertheless that nearly half the country put its trust in a man who had already shown himself to be a liar, a buffoon, a demagogue and a self-proclaimed sexual harasser.

This week, Gallup reported Trump’s approval rating at 36 percent, with 60 percent of those polled disapproving of the job he’s doing. Since the advent of polling, no president has been so unpopular at this point in his tenure. Clearly, some who voted for Trump have had second thoughts. But most have not, and why, at this point, should anyone expect otherwise?

It might feel like six years, but it’s only been six months and change since Inauguration Day — far too soon for even Trump to have alienated everyone who trusted him with their hopes and dreams. Give him time. He’s working on it.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Trump has a solid base of about 35 percent of voters who will stick with him no matter what. Much of his base lives in small towns, rural areas, the South and the Rust Belt — which has inspired countless lazy op-eds about how the jaded sophisticates of the East and West Coasts are too smug and insular to have a clue about the “real America.”

Please. Just stop.

This country is riven by many fault lines, race and educational attainment being perhaps the most important. But no citizen’s America is any more “real” than anyone else’s. The voice of a laid-off West Virginia coal miner is no more authentic than that of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, a Hollywood production assistant, an Upper West Side advertising executive or — and this may be shocking — an opinion writer for a mainstream news outlet. If people such as me live in an elite, progressive “bubble,” it must be an awfully big one; indicators such as the popular vote suggest there are more Americans inside than out.

I accept that most Trump voters — those who were not heeding his campaign’s dog-whistle appeals to white supremacy and racial grievance — had an understandable motive: Frustrated with a political system that seems incapable of getting much of anything accomplished, they decided to lob in a grenade, blow it to smithereens and start over.

I get that. I get how Trump’s outrageous statements on Twitter and in campaign-style rallies sound fresh and encouraging to his die-hard supporters, not vicious and loopy. Trump gets it, too, and that’s why I doubt anyone will ever be able to pry his smartphone from his dainty clutches. Some of his tweetstorms are primal screams from an insecure man who is in way over his head, but others are carefully crafted to show that he is keeping the faith with those who elected him to break the rules.

But Trump is genuinely delusional about both his talents and his popularity. On Thursday, a day after he grudgingly signed the Russia sanctions bill, he tweeted, “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”

Apparently he’s never heard of the Cuban missile crisis, in which Washington and Moscow came close to nuclear war. But why is he going out of his way to attack a Congress led by his own party? Senators, especially, do not take kindly to such abuse, as Trump should have learned from the health-care vote. It might be different if he were a popular president. But he is not.

How long will Trump’s base stay with him? I don’t know, but clearly he’s worried. Even Rasmussen, the generally conservative survey that usually shows him as having more support than other pollsters detect, released a poll this week showing Trump’s approval below 40 percent for the first time. He makes laughable claims about having accomplished more than any other president in his first months because he knows his support will slowly leak away if he fails at his central promise, which is to get stuff done. Thus far he has been a failure.

Trump voters are not blind to that fact. And their patience won’t last forever.

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