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Donald Trump has had a busy week celebrating the victories of white supremacists and praising brutal dictators. These presidential antics are almost typical nowadays, so the GOP and the media tend to focus more on the potty language of movie stars.



Bob Corker, retiring senator from Tennessee, is less upset about all of that and more troubled over Republicans seemingly shrugging off Trump's attacks on free trade. He wants to check the president's power to impose tariffs but claims his GOP colleagues are "afraid to poke the bear."

"It's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? And it's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party," Corker told reporters.

I am so freaking tired of Republicans claiming that Trump isn't one of them. He's signed the paperwork. He won the primary. He accepted the nomination and made the creepy speech. There were multiple exit ramps for the GOP, but they all led to a Hillary Clinton presidency and they considered that worse than showing up solo at their cousin's wedding. So, now Trump's their man. And the loving's so good, they won't even consider divorce or legal separation.

This is a toxic, codependent relationship, but it's not a cult. Cults are fun: You've got wacky robes and masks, sneakers, and rounds of Kool-Aid. Cult members also have a shared set of beliefs, even if ridiculous, that are greater than simply being out for all you can steal.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford rejected the cult comparison in a CNN interview on Wednesday.

"I would disagree with that. There are areas that you can agree or disagree with any person," Lankford told Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Wednesday evening. "There are areas I agree with President Trump; there are a lot of areas I disagree. And that's fine. We should be able to have that ongoing dialogue. Where we agree, we should be able to work together. But I don't see it as a cult-like focus. I definitely wouldn't use that term."

Lankford added that he believes Trump is capable of accepting criticism of himself and his policies.

"I think the President can take it as well as dish it out," Lankford said.

He added, "I don't work for the President, I work alongside the President."

This is profoundly untrue. The newly unemployed South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford voted for everything that was important to Trump, but Trump still bodyslammed him on Election Day for no real reason other than his tepid criticism of Trump's more outspoken racist moments.

Professional Hillary Clinton Campaign Screwer-Upper James Comey has compared Trump to a "mob boss," but I'm starting to think the whole administration is playing out less like a gangster film and more like a horror movie where the plot demands that no one reacts like normal people to obviously terrifying events. "But her emails!" is essentially the political equivalent to "What a charming old house! I feel like I've always lived here" or "How often do you have such convenient access to a pet cemetery?"

Remember the spooky sisters scene in The Shining? That's what Trump's inauguration speech was like. Who sticks around after that? But we all did. Even though Trump is tweeting from inside the house.

Ronna McDaniel is the RNC Chair formerly known as Ronna Romney McDaniel before Donald Trump reportedly demanded she change her name to Ronna Mellencamp (they compromised with Ronna McDaniel). Her job is to go around and pretend that Trump is a normal, poor-slapping Republican like her uncle. She reminds me of the creepy kid in horror movies who looks sweet and innocent but starts making increasingly alarming statements.

We tried to ignore it for a while, but it's only escalated. Wednesday night McDaniel delivered her "They're here!" moment.

So... that's peculiar.

Who talks like this? She also tweeted it out just before my middle-aged man bed time, so I was sleeping with a flashlight and the covers pulled over my head. McDaniel tried to clear things up this morning, but it was about as reassuring as an extended director's cut of The Exorcist.


Frankly, I expect her head to start spinning around any time now. There are reports that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her job as White House Press Secretary, but maybe that can only happen if someone says her name three times into a mirror. Either way, I'm not sticking around to find out. I don't care how low the asking price on America is right now. I'm not spending another night here.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work.

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If it's a day, the New York Times is fucking shit up, but today, it fucked up BIGLY.

Fresh-faced access journalists Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt have just published what we can only describe as a drive-by shooting against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which reads as some bullshit planted by the White House to give Donald Trump the pretext for his Saturday Night Massacre, if he wants it. (He does.)

Maybe the White House is tired of talking about the flailing nomination of Judge Maybe Rapey and how Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, and the New York Times was more than happy to help!

Or maybe it was planted by former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just hours before his pension was set to kick in, and may have a serious axe to grind with DoJ officials and leaked a copy of his own memos. (His lawyer says that's not true, but he would say that, wouldn't he?)

Or maybe it's both, somehow! Or one of many other things!

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It's not every day Golf Digest gets noticed as a source of hard-hitting investigative journalism, at least outside of reviews of titanium carbon fiber nanotech infinite improbability drivers or some such. But Wednesday, some journamalisming that started with a Golf Digest story about a guy who drew fantastic imaginary golf courses concluded with that guy, Valentino Dixon, walking out of Attica prison, 27 years after he'd been sentenced for 39 years to life. Not bad, Golf Digest. We give you a GOLF CLAP. And a Pulitzer if we had one, which, sadly, we don't.

As Golf Digest says, the twists and turns of the case are a bit complex (they're unraveled in more detail in this New York Times story), but it basically comes down to a local prosecutor who was determined to railroad Dixon for the 1991 murder of a 17-year-old, Torriano Jackson, in Buffalo, New York. The conviction involved

shoddy police work, zero physical evidence linking Dixon, conflicting testimony of unreliable witnesses, the videotaped confession to the crime by another man, a public defender who didn't call a witness at trial, and perjury charges against those who said Dixon didn't do it.

Dixon had a prior conviction for selling cocaine, and he made a convenient target for Erie County prosecutor Chris Belling, who was weirdly determined to ignore even statements from the actual killer, LaMarr Scott, who pleaded guilty to the killing shortly before Dixon's release this week.

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