BuzzFeed’s Cohen Story Suggests Trump Never Wanted to Be President 

Frank Bruni frames the recent Buzzfeed scoop perfectly:

Through that lens, this presidency and its shortcomings make complete sense. Trump couldn’t assemble and manage a top-notch cabinet because he’d never readied himself for that task. He couldn’t let go of any of the engines of his wealth because he’d never prioritized public service above it.

Trump wasn’t and isn’t a Russian agent. Trump has simply been an agent for Trump the whole time.

Understood this way, the real question is why the GOP has given Trump enough rope to hang the whole party.

Pittsburgh Whole Foods was sold out of 365 brand extra firm tofu which has to be a leading indicator of something.

How Credit Cards Are Used to Finance Mass Shootings 

There’s a tremendous amount to chew on in this investigation from Andrew Ross Sorkin:

A New York Times examination of mass shootings since the Virginia Tech attack in 2007 reveals how credit cards have become a crucial part of the planning of these massacres. There have been 13 shootings that killed 10 or more people in the last decade, and in at least eight of them, the killers financed their attacks using credit cards. Some used credit to acquire firearms they could not otherwise have afforded.

Shutdown? More Like a Breakdown 

Winter is here and The New York Times Editorial Board reaches for a Game of Thrones reference.

This is what happens when the nation’s chief executive holds a leadership philosophy akin to that of the Petyr Baelish character on “Game of Thrones” — namely, that “chaos is a ladder.” For most people, uncertainty and disorder are scary, unsettling forces to be avoided. But for Mr. Trump, they are cherished friends and strategic assets, in part specifically because other people are so anxious to avoid them. The president clearly believes that throwing everyone else off balance gives him an edge — that is, if he can make the turmoil fierce enough, those around him will give up and give in.

Mattis and the Grownups in the Room 

Matthew Yglesias for Vox:

When toddlers play, it’s good to have a grownup in the room to supervise. But if a toddler is driving a car, it does no good to have a grownup in the passenger seat. Pretending that it’s somehow okay is the least grownup reaction possible.

The G.O.P. Goes Full Authoritarian 

Paul Krugman:

As far as I can tell, not a single prominent Republican in Washington has condemned the power grab in Wisconsin, the similar grab in Michigan, or even what looks like outright electoral fraud in North Carolina. Elected Republicans don’t just increasingly share the values of white nationalist parties like Fidesz or Poland’s Law and Justice; they also share those parties’ contempt for democracy. The G.O.P. is an authoritarian party in waiting.

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