The Wires
The Ledes

Sunday, June 17, 2018.

NJ.com: "Gunfire blasted through a celebrated community event in Trenton early Sunday morning leaving one person dead and 22 injured, police said. The 24-hour Art All Night event is meant to honor local artists and held at the historic Roebling Wire Works building on South Clinton Avenue. The shooting erupted shortly before 3 a.m. Authorities said the shooting did not appear to be a targeted incident but a dispute between individuals that eventually led to an exchange of gunfire with police.... One of the suspected shooters is dead, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri. The 33-year-old man is believed to be shot and killed by police, Onofri said. A second suspect is in police custody. Neither has been identified."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/doral/article211406689.html#storylink=cpy

NAFTA No, NAFSA . North American Free Soccer Agreement. Washington Post: "The World Cup is returning to the United States, and this time, Mexico and Canada are along for the wild ride. A North American joint bid won the rights Wednesday to host the 2026 edition of the celebrated soccer tournament, defeating Morocco and bouncing back from an unfathomable U.S. defeat to Qatar in voting for the 2022 event eight years ago. The member associations in FIFA, the sport’s governing body, favored the North American effort, known as the United Bid, in a landslide vote, 134-65."

... Washington Post: "It was Justify’s moment, after all. In a dazzling display of power and durability, the late-blooming colt who didn’t race as a 2-year-old proved Saturday he couldn’t be worn out as a 3-year-old, thundering to victory in the Belmont Stakes to claim a place in history as the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion. After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible, Justify became the second horse in four years to achieve it, tutored, like 2015 predecessor American Pharoah, by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, which Justify won by 1¾ lengths over surprise second-place finisher Gronkowski in a 10-horse field, the massive chestnut colt with the white blaze had won the Kentucky Derby by a 2 1 /2-length margin, becoming the first since Apollo in 1882 to win the classic without running as a 2-year-old. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on "The Americans." Mrs. McC Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen the show's finale, & you plan to, see it before reading Gessen's post.

You may want to cut the sound on this video so you don't go nuts before you get to move overseas:

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I found this on a political Website, so that's my excuse. Juliana Gray in McSweeney's: "The Incel Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It begins,

"Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like an equal redistribution of sexual resources.
Let us go, through certain half-considered tweets
and form tedious arguments
about entitlement.

"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Maya Angelou."

Read on. Incels, in case you don't know,  (a portmanteau of 'involuntary' and 'celibacy') are members of an online subculture who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom. Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual," according to Wikepedia.

New York Times: "A thousand-year-old English castle echoed with the exhortations of an African-American bishop and a gospel choir on Saturday, as Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle, an American actress, nudging the British royal family into a new era. Ms. Markle, who has long identified herself as a feminist, entered St. George’s Chapel alone rather than being given away by her father or any other man, a departure from tradition that in itself sent a message to the world. She was met halfway by Prince Charles, her future father-in-law and presumably the future king of Britain. Prince Harry, who is sixth in line for the throne, has long called on Britain’s monarchy to draw closer to the daily life of its people. But the most extraordinary thing he has done is to marry Ms. Markle, an American actress who is three years his senior, biracial, divorced and vocal about her views. Their choices at Saturday’s wedding, many of them heavily influenced by black culture, made it clear that they plan to project a more inclusive monarchy.” ...

Serena Williams, at the When Harry Wed Meghan rites.... Anthony Lane of the New Yorker attended the nuptials & reports back: "Love, as warmly recommended by the preacher, held sway. The sole unpleasantness that crossed my path took the form of a burly fellow wearing a fascinator, with ripped jeans and mirrored shades: not an outfit that I will soon forget." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: If you are wondering what a "fascinator" is, so was I. There were hundreds of them worn to Windsor Saturday. It's a ridiculous thing that otherwise sensible women attach to their heads. We are not fascinated.

Shorter Wedding:

This is the WashPo's live coverage of the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry & American actor Meghan Markle. You can supersize it:

The Guardian is posting updates re: the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry & American actor Meghan Markle. "The Queen has announced the titles given to the married couple. Prince Harry, or to give him his formal title, Prince Henry of Wales, has been made Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.So he will be His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and, once married, Meghan Markle will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex."

Josephine Livingstone of the New Republic reviews The President is Missing: "... there’s an ickiness to this book, and it lies in gender politics. It’s just not possible to engage with Bill Clinton as a public figure without thinking about his relationship with the 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky. America is undergoing a revision of its original interpretation of that incident, one in which people newly recognize her youth and her vulnerability. Wrong was done by her, and that is more widely understood. Clinton can’t expect readers not to think about that. And yet during the publicity tour for the book, he has responded to questions about Lewinsky with great churlishness. To boot, the book ends with the revelation that the villain all along was feminism." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This novel needed a woman's review. As for Livingstone's note about #MeToo revisionism, I was horrified by Bill's abuse of Lewinsky in real time. And I was equally horrified by Hillary's attempts to get her husband out of the jam of his own making. I didn't understand why I was nearly alone among liberals in what I found to be obvious abuses of power, but I now see it was blind partisanship, of a quality & quantity not different from stupid Trumpbot loyalty. I never thought Clinton should have been impeached; I thought he should have resigned.

Ha Ha. Anthony Lane of the New Yorker reviews the newly-published novel The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson. "Writing, like dying, is one of those things that should be done alone or not at all.... Bill Clinton, who can write, has hooked up with James Patterson, who can’t, but whose works have sold more than three hundred and seventy-five million copies, most of them to happy and contented customers for whom good writing would only get in the way." Lane runs down the plotline of this thriller, & he says the story includes "no sex'" even tho there as sexy female assassin (of course there is) who is after the fictional president. Lane goes out of his way to diss Patterson's writing. "Somehow, 'The President Is Missing' rises above its blithely forgivable faults. It’s a go-to read." Mrs. McC: Tho not by me.

Here's a Guardian interview of Harry & Meghan:

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Sunday
Jun172018

The Commentariat -- June 18, 2018

Children in Cages. Nomann Merchant of the AP: "Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl’s diaper.... More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that’s divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. The cages in each wing open out into common areas to use portable restrooms. The overhead lighting in the warehouse stays on around the clock. The Border Patrol said close to 200 people inside the facility were minors unaccompanied by a parent. Another 500 were 'family units,' parents and children. Many adults who crossed the border without legal permission could be charged with illegal entry and placed in jail, away from their children. Reporters were not allowed by agents to interview any of the detainees or take photos." ...

... AP & Mark Abadi of Business Insiders: "First lady Melania Trump is wading into the emotional controversy over policies enacted by her husband's administration that have increased the number of migrant children being separated from their parents. Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN on Sunday that the first lady believes 'we need to be a country that follows all laws,' but also one 'that governs with heart.' She says that [Melania] Trump 'hates to see children separated from their families' and hopes 'both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform.'... [Donald] Trump has tried to blame the practice on a law passed by Democrats that doesn't exist." Mrs. McC: Melania doesn't really dispute that. "Wading in," maybe, but barely getting her feet damp. ...

     ... Update. Peter Baker of the New York Times: "By laying responsibility for the situation on 'both sides,' Mrs. Trump effectively echoed her husband’s assertion that it was the result of a law written by Democrats. In fact, the administration announced a 'zero tolerance' approach this spring, leading to the separations.... The administration approach has drawn a cascade of criticism in recent days." ...

     ... Steve M. contrasts Baker's story with Karen Tumulty's story in the Washington Post. Shame on you, Karen.

... Laura Bush, in a Washington Post op-ed is a bit more forthright, though she doesn't name Trump, Sessions, Miller, et al.: "... this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history." Mrs. McC: The reader has to be smart enough to know who is responsible for the zero tolerance policy, and it's safe to say that the majority of readers have no idea. ...

... Shane Harris, et al., of the Washington Post: "Democrats expanded their campaign Sunday to spotlight the Trump administration’s forced separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S. border, trying to compel a change of policy and gain political advantage five months before midterm elections. Against a notable silence on the part of many Republicans who usually defend President Trump, Democratic lawmakers fanned out across the country, visiting a detention center outside New York City and heading to Texas to inspect facilities where children have been detained.... Trump has falsely blamed the separations on a law he said was written by Democrats. But the separations instead largely stem from a 'zero-tolerance' policy announced with fanfare last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The White House also has interpreted a 1997 legal agreement and a 2008 bipartisan human trafficking bill as requiring the separation of families — a posture not taken by the George W. Bush or Obama administrations." ...

... Speaker of the Oblivious. Avi Selk of the Washington Post: "For Father's Day 2016, Paul D. Ryan ... tweeted a soft-focus video about life with his three growing children. 'We fish. We hike. We go do something,' Ryan said as a string instrument plucked in the background....” He retweeted what appears to be the same video in 2017. It was so superb, he retweeted it again this year. (Mrs. McC: Maybe his "growing children" never grow.) "What might have been appreciated on Father's Days past went over like a used food processor this time, amid the Trump administration's 'zero-tolerance' crackdown on illegal migration that has resulted in the forced separation of thousands of children from their mothers and fathers at the Southwestern U.S. border.... Many of the [30,000] replies [to the video] are variations on the same theme: images of children being physically taken from their parents, compared with the family fun on display in the House speaker's video."

Paul Krugman suspects the Pax America is over. The barbarians are already inside the White House. ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker: "A network of institutions and alliances — the United Nations, nato, the international monetary system, and others — became the foundation for 'the rules-based international order' that the leaders in Charlevoix saluted. It imposed restraints on the power politics that had nearly destroyed the world. It was a liberal order, based on coöperation among countries and respect for individual rights, and it was created and upheld by the world’s leading liberal democracy. America’s goals weren’t selfless, and we often failed to live up to our stated principles.... The system endured, flawed and adaptable, for seventy years. In four days, between Quebec and Singapore, Trump showed that the liberal order is hateful to him, and that he wants out.... Kim Jong Un is Trump’s kind of world leader.... The alternative to an interconnected system of security partnerships and trade treaties is a return to the old system of unfettered power politics.... Without allies and treaties, without universal values, American foreign policy largely depends on what goes on inside Trump’s head. Kim, like Putin, already seems to have got there."

in late May 2016, Roger Stone ... [met with a Russian] man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, [and who] offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton..., according to Stone who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said. 'You don’t understand Donald Trump,' Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. 'He doesn’t pay for anything.' Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner. 'How crazy is the Russian?' Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted 'big' money, Stone replied: 'waste of time.'... Caputo said he was asked about the meeting by prosecutors during a sometimes-heated questioning session last month.... Stone and Caputo, who did not previously disclose the meeting to congressional investigators, now say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump. They cite records — independently examined by The Post — showing that the man who approached Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.... There is no evidence that Greenberg was working with the FBI in his interactions with Stone, and in his court filing, Greenberg said that he had stopped his FBI cooperation sometime after 2013. Greenberg, in text messages with The Post, denied that he had been acting on the FBI’s behalf when he met with Stone.... [The meeting] came in the same time period as other episodes in which Russian interests approached the Trump campaign.” Greenberg now claims there was a third man at the meeting, a Ukrainian called Alexei who said the Clinton Foundation had fired him & he wanted to "tell his story.” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Michael Caputo appears to be a regular contributor to CNN. Now it appears that while working for the Trump campaign, he actively sought dirt on Clinton from a shady or "crazy" foreign national. I think he's in trouble. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Aaron Rupar of ThinkProgress: "Just hours after The Washington Post published a bombshell story about a previously undisclosed May 2016 meeting between Roger Stone and a Russian national who promised political dirt about Hillary Clinton, President Trump encouraged Post employees to go on strike. 'Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough,' Trump tweeted. 'I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is @WaPo a registered lobbyist?'” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Trump & Giuliani Dangle a Pardon in Front of Manafort. Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "White House lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani suggested Sunday that President Trump might pardon his former campaign manager Paul Manafort if he is convicted — but only after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has completed his investigation. 'When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States, he retains his pardon power, nobody’s taking that away from him,' Giuliani said on CNN’s 'State of the Union' when asked whether Trump would pardon Manafort should he be convicted. 'I couldn’t and I don’t want to take any prerogatives away from him.' But Giuliani stressed that Trump has not issued, would not issue and should not issue any pardons related to the Mueller probe while it is still ongoing, so as not to give the appearance that he has anything to hide.” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Patrick mentioned in yesterday's Comments a column by Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post (June 15) in which she outlines how Russia entices Western businessmen to do their bidding by offering them "deals with friendly Russian businessmen.... 'Let us introduce you to some useful business contacts' was also, it seems, one of the ways in which the Russian government kept the attention of the Trump family." ...

Help world peace and make a lot of money, I would say that’s a great lifetime goal for us to go after. -- Felix Sater to Michael Cohen, while they were discussing Trump Tower Moscow ...

... So think about that when you read about Jared's backchannel to North Korea in the story linked next. I suspect Jared had in mind to "help world peace -- and make a lot of money." Donald's goal was more like: "get a Nobel Peace Prize & make a lot of money on beach condos." ...

... Mark Mazzetti & Mark Landler of the New York Times: An American financier living in Singapore reached out to Jared Kushner last year to try to establish "a back channel to explore a meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, who for months had traded threats of military confrontation. Mr. Schulze ... had built a network of contacts in North Korea on trips he had taken to develop business opportunities in the isolated state. For some in North Korea..., Mr. Kushner appeared to be a promising contact. As a member of the president’s family, officials in Pyongyang judged, Mr. Kushner would have the ear of his father-in-law and be immune from the personnel changes that had convulsed the early months of the administration. Mr. Schulze’s quiet outreach was but one step in a circuitous path that led to last week’s handshake between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim at a colonial-style island hotel in Singapore — a path that involved secret meetings among spies, discussions between profit-minded entrepreneurs, and a previously unreported role for Mr. Kushner, according to interviews with current and former American officials and others familiar with the negotiations.... For Mr. Schulze, the scion of a family that made billions in mining, a thaw in America’s relationship with North Korea would be potentially lucrative."


Margaret Sullivan
of the Washington Post: Cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff says the media are mishandling Trump's lies. Rather, news stories should read like a "truth sandwich": "First, he says, get as close to the overall, big-picture truth as possible right away. (Thus the gist of the Trump-in-Singapore story: Little of substance was accomplished in the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the pageantry.) Then report what Trump is claiming about it: achievement of world peace. And then, in the same story or broadcast, fact-check his claims. That’s the truth sandwich — reality, spin, reality.... Avoid retelling the lies. Avoid putting them in headlines, leads or tweets, he says. Because it is that very amplification that gives them power. That’s how propaganda works on the brain: through repetition, even when part of that repetition is fact-checking.... Jay Rosen of New York University sums up one such proposal in three words: 'Send the interns.' White House briefings ... are no place for talented, highly compensated reporters.... They have also become a place where reporters get insulted instead of answered, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed last week when she refused to answer reasonable questions and repeated lies about Trump’s immigration policy....” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... They're Not Lies. They're Not "Alternatives Facts." They're a "Particular Vernacular." Good Grief! Caleb Howe of Mediaite: Steve Bannon, on ABC's "This Week," insisted that Trump had never lied to the American people. "After some back and forth, [host Jon] Karl repeated again, 'he says things that aren’t true all the time.’ 'I don’t believe that,' said Bannon. 'I think he speaks in a particular vernacular that connects to people in this country.'” Mrs. McC: To present this as a truth sandwich: Trump lies; Bannon says he doesn't; fact-check." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... MEANWHILE, maybe New Yorkers shouldn't try to get all folksy and borrow from Texas "vernacular." "All cattle and no hat," Chuck?

Way Beyond the Beltway

Pope Still Catholic. Hilary Clarke, et al., of CNN: "Pope Francis compared having an abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi era idea of trying to create a pure race. Speaking to a delegation of Italy's Family Association in Rome on Saturday, he also reiterated the Roman Catholic belief that a true human family is comprised of a man and woman."

Sunday
Jun172018

Father's Day in the Time of Trump

By Akhilleus

On this, the eve of Father's Day, a day set aside to acknowledge the role played by that member of the family, a role traditionally described as that of a guardian, a teacher, a mentor, a partner, a protector, it is instructive to consider the evil inversion and sick perversion of that role by a thug who demands that he be kowtowed to as the Father of All, the dictator patriarch to whom fealty, money, power, and the abasement of us all is required. He, of course, as is typical with Trump, is not required to provide a thing. There is no reciprocation. He is a taker and the conditions of the inhabitance of this role does not in any way modify that one-sided relationship.

The evil of this person (I will not promote him, ever, to the status of "man" for he is not a man. At least not one that I recognize; certainly not the type of man my father was, that I aspire to, and that I hope one day will describe my son) has become incarnate at so rapid a rate that it's hard to keep track of all the ways that evil has been inhaled by America since his illegitimate election and gaudy (if poorly attended) coronation.

The fact that he and his evil horde have torn families asunder, for the fun of it, makes an epic joke of how a father should act. We often call George Washington the father of our country, but not just because so much of our heritage stems from his actions in war and stewardship in peace. Washington, who, ironically, had no children of his own, offered a model for the generous, wise, humanitarian father, a role not determined by what was in it for himself, but what was best for the rest of America.

But Trump has become the evil anti-father, the philanderer, the cheater, the greedy, selfish, narcissistic, punishing, pain-instilling, chaos sowing, soul-killing patriarch. His treatment of immigrant children is exhibit one in his trial as a thoroughly evil person. The tearing apart of families is done purely to inflict as much pain as possible, and to gather up the dead rosebuds thrown by the white supremacists he courts. And anyone who tries to describe what's going on under his command in cautiously anodyne DC-speak journalese deserves perdition.

He is not just pandering to the white supremacist hordes who demand punishment for blacks and browns and see their children as little more than chattel. He likes it. He enjoys the pain of others. He and Sessions are operating off the old slave master's handbook, and using the Bible as cover for their crimes. Break up the family, crush the mother, the father, and the little children, shatter their souls and smash their wills. Make them subservient, and now and then, whip them. Just for the pure sadistic fun of it.

And as we see with so many of Trump's voters, the evil he so deliciously indulges in shouts to the devils of their worser nature. His racism, hatred, and thirst for violence encourage the worst, most damaging, inhuman instincts in his supporters. Just look at how ICE agents, freed from ethical, moral, or legal constraints, have taken to life under their new anti-father. Perhaps not all, but those whose inherent hatreds were previously kept under wraps are unleashing the dogs of racism and letting them howl.

The evil of Trump is so rampant and so overwhelming I can barely believe this is America. But this America has always been with us. We've just never had a president* who celebrated it with such relish.

And to make it worse, he is simply too much of a coward to acknowledge his own evil. He blames Democrats. He throws his hands up. "Oh geez, I wish I didn't have to tear these babies away from their mothers' breasts, but Obama is making me do it."

Not just evil, but cowardly and evil. A craven, vicious, blackhearted liar.

So, happy father's day to all the real men who take care of children and their families, who put themselves on the line every day, sometimes at great cost to themselves, who stand between their families and a hard, hard world (thanks, Dad, you were the best!).

For Trump and his evil, greedy, lying brood and his equally malicious supporters--for they are all accursed--go straight to hell.

Saturday
Jun162018

The Commentariat -- June 17, 2018

Afternoon Update:

in late May 2016, Roger Stone ... [met with a Russian] man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, [and who] offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton..., according to Stone who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said. 'You don’t understand Donald Trump,' Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. 'He doesn’t pay for anything.' Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner. 'How crazy is the Russian?' Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted 'big' money, Stone replied: 'waste of time.'... Caputo said he was asked about the meeting by prosecutors during a sometimes-heated questioning session last month.... Stone and Caputo, who did not previously disclose the meeting to congressional investigators, now say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump. They cite records — independently examined by The Post — showing that the man who approached Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.... There is no evidence that Greenberg was working with the FBI in his interactions with Stone, and in his court filing, Greenberg said that he had stopped his FBI cooperation sometime after 2013. Greenberg, in text messages with The Post, denied that he had been acting on the FBI’s behalf when he met with Stone.... [The meeting] came in the same time period as other episodes in which Russian interests approached the Trump campaign.” Greenberg now claims there was a third man at the meeting, a Ukrainian called Alexei who said the Clinton Foundation had fired him & he wanted to "tell his story.” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Michael Caputo appears to be a regular contributor to CNN. Now it appears that while working for the Trump campaign, he actively sought dirt on Clinton from a shady or "crazy" foreign national. I think he's in trouble. ...

... Aaron Rupar of ThinkProgress: "Just hours after The Washington Post published a bombshell story about a previously undisclosed May 2016 meeting between Roger Stone and a Russian national who promised political dirt about Hillary Clinton, President Trump encouraged Post employees to go on strike. 'Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough,' Trump tweeted. 'I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is @WaPo a registered lobbyist?'”

Trump & Giuliani Dangle a Pardon in Front of Manafort. Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "White House lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani suggested Sunday that President Trump might pardon his former campaign manager Paul Manafort if he is convicted — but only after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has completed his investigation. 'When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States, he retains his pardon power, nobody’s taking that away from him,' Giuliani said on CNN’s 'State of the Union' when asked whether Trump would pardon Manafort should he be convicted. 'I couldn’t and I don’t want to take any prerogatives away from him.' But Giuliani stressed that Trump has not issued, would not issue and should not issue any pardons related to the Mueller probe while it is still ongoing, so as not to give the appearance that he has anything to hide.”

Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: Cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff says the media are mishandling Trump's lies. Rather, news stories should read like a "truth sandwich": "First, he says, get as close to the overall, big-picture truth as possible right away. (Thus the gist of the Trump-in-Singapore story: Little of substance was accomplished in the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the pageantry.) Then report what Trump is claiming about it: achievement of world peace. And then, in the same story or broadcast, fact-check his claims. That’s the truth sandwich — reality, spin, reality.... Avoid retelling the lies. Avoid putting them in headlines, leads or tweets, he says. Because it is that very amplification that gives them power. That’s how propaganda works on the brain: through repetition, even when part of that repetition is fact-checking.... Jay Rosen of New York University sums up one such proposal in three words: 'Send the interns.' White House briefings ... are no place for talented, highly compensated reporters.... They have also become a place where reporters get insulted instead of answered, as Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed last week when she refused to answer reasonable questions and repeated lies about Trump’s immigration policy....” ...

... They're Not Lies. They're Not "Alternatives Facts." They're a "Particular Vernacular." Good Grief! Caleb Howe of Mediaite: Steve Bannon, on ABC's "This Week," insisted that Trump had never lied to the American people. "After some back and forth, [host Jon] Karl repeated again, 'he says things that aren’t true all the time.’ 'I don’t believe that,' said Bannon. 'I think he speaks in a particular vernacular that connects to people in this country.'” Mrs. McC: To present this as a truth sandwich: Trump lies; Bannon says he doesn't; fact-check." ...

... MEANWHILE, maybe New Yorkers shouldn't try to get all folksy and borrow from Texas "vernacular." "All cattle and no hat," Chuck?

*****

Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Trump on Saturday repeated his false assertion that Democrats were responsible for his administration’s policy of separating migrant families apprehended at the border, sticking to a weekslong refusal to publicly accept responsibility for a widely condemned practice that has become a symbol of his crackdown on illegal immigration. 'Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!' Mr. Trump said in a morning post on Twitter. It came the day after his administration said that it had taken nearly 2,000 children away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month, as part of a new 'zero tolerance' policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization. The White House defended the practice this week, saying the president was merely enforcing the law. And in recent speeches around the country, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has made a spirited case for it, arguing that a strict approach is a vital tool for deterrence. But Mr. Trump has steadfastly tried to deflect blame for the separation of children from their parents, consistently dissembling about why it is occurring. His comments are the latest example of his asking the public to discount what it sees with its own eyes and instead believe his own self-serving version of reality. They also reflect how politically poisonous the issue has become...." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: "Another day, another front-page NYT story that flat-out says the POTUS* is a big fat liar.

Trump Cozies up to Another Dictator. Benjamin Hart of New York: "On Saturday, Trump offered what sounded like hearty congratulations to Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, whose Fidesz party won a a sweeping electoral victory in April.... Orbán is not quite a dictator, but he’s the closest thing to one in Europe. Since he began his second stint as prime minister in 2010, Orbán has slowly but surely transformed his country from a model postcommunist democracy to a strongman’s paradise.... Once upon a time, like two years ago, an American president would have protested such naked illiberalism in Hungary.... George W. Bush wrote a letter ull of complaints about his rule during the Hungarian’s first term; when it was ignored, Bush declined to invite him to the White House. During Orbán’s second tenure in office, President Obama denied visas for six Hungarian officials over corruption issues.... [Trump's] habit of going out of his way to endorse world leaders inimical to Western democracy never stops being stunning." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It's not surprising that Trump made the call on a weekend. It was Trump's day off, so he did things he relishes -- he went golfing & shmoozed a fellow dictator. It's all fun! Update: Turns out the call to Orbán was just a warm-up. Trump will top off his weekend fun with a  call to a 100-percent, ruthless, murderous dictator: "Asked by a Fox anchor what he was going to be doing on Father’s Day, the president replied, 'I’m going to be actually calling North Korea.'”

... Maureen Dowd: "A new study from Southern Methodist University says the nation’s capital has more psychopaths per person than anyplace else in the country. No surprise there.... The study notes that 'psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere' and that 'the occupations that were most disproportionately psychopathic were C.E.O., lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant.' So if a chief executive, salesman and media personality becomes a politician, he’s hitting four of the highest-risk categories.” Read on. Dowd is having one of her good days.

Caroline Orr of Shareblue: "Russian state TV is celebrating after seeing the recent report that Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea belongs to Russia because the people there speak Russian. Trump’s statement, which parrots the Kremlin’s talking points on Crimea, was widely interpreted in Russia as an official declaration by the U.S. that Russia was justified when they illegally invaded Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine. The ignorant proclamation made by Trump was quickly turned into propaganda and touted by Russian state TV hosts Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov, who triumphantly reported on the remarks Friday. 'Krym nash, Trump nash!' Skabeeva declared to the audience, which in English means 'Crimea is ours, Trump is ours!'”

Peter Goodman, et al., of the New York Times: "As the Trump administration imposes tariffs on allies and rivals alike, provoking broad retaliation, global commerce is suffering disruption, flashing signs of strains that could hamper economic growth. The latest escalation came on Friday, when President Trump announced fresh tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, prompting swift retribution from Beijing. As the conflict broadens, shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for crucial raw materials are rising. At factories from Germany to Mexico, orders are being cut and investments delayed. American farmers are losing sales as trading partners hit back with duties of their own.... History has proved that trade wars are costly while escalating risks of broader hostilities. Fears are deepening that the current outbreak of antagonism could drag down the rest of the world."

Tom Jackman of the Washington Post: "The Northern Neck Regional Jail, where Paul Manafort will spend at least the next three months while awaiting trial..., houses federal prisoners awaiting trial — including a member of the Taliban and a feared Colombian drug lord. It held NFL star Michael Vick and musician Chris Brown, too. The jail is notable for another reason — four inmates have died there since 2011. In one of those deaths, a 32-year-old female inmate who suffered a stroke in 2016 was denied medical care for more than 10 hours and was declared brain dead later that night.... Jail records show Manafort was booked into the 'VIP' section of the jail at 8:22 p.m. Friday." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Meant to embed this yesterday. Beginning with the set-up at about 4:30 minutes in, Rachel Maddow reads the court transcript (sadly, absent sock puppets) of the exchange among the judge & lawyers in Manfort's bail revocation hearing. Sort of fun, unless you're Manafort:

This Was Always the Plan. Julie Davis & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Almost immediately after President Trump took office, his administration began weighing what for years had been regarded as the nuclear option in the effort to discourage immigrants from unlawfully entering the United States. Children would be separated from their parents if the families had been apprehended entering the country illegally, John F. Kelly, then the homeland security secretary, said in March 2017, 'in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network.'... for George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents’ arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy, and Mr. Trump, though he had made an immigration crackdown one of the central issues of his campaign, succumbed to the same reality, publicly dropping the idea after Mr. Kelly’s comments touched off a swift backlash. But advocates inside the administration, most prominently Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s senior policy adviser, never gave up on the idea. Last month, facing a sharp uptick in illegal border crossings, Mr. Trump ordered a new effort to criminally prosecute anyone who crossed the border unlawfully — with few exceptions for parents traveling with their minor children.... [While Trump has blamed Democrats for his decision (because why wouldn't he?)] Kirstjen Nielsen, the current homeland security secretary, has clashed privately with Mr. Trump over the practice, sometimes inviting furious lectures from the president that have pushed her to the brink of resignation.”

Donald Trump says it's "very unfair" that Paul Manafort has to sit in jail after allegedly repeatedly breaking the law AND the terms of his parole, but Trump is still good with this:

Tom Dart of the Guardian: "The Trump administration has been accused of illegally rejecting potential immigration judges for being too liberal, amid outrage over families being forcibly separated at the southern US border and a harsh crackdown on migrants seeking asylum.... The attorney general has the power to hire and fire immigration judges.... Four Democratic members of Congress wrote to [Jeff] Sessions in April expressing concern after whistleblower allegations that the Department of Justice 'may be using ideological and political considerations to improperly – and illegally – block the hiring of immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeals'.” The DOJ has responded, but "two congressmen, Lloyd Doggett and Elijah Cummings, issued a joint statement which said that the response did not fully address their concerns, and called for an independent investigation by the office of the inspector general."

Glenn Thrush of the New York Times: "Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has picked a deputy at the budget office, Kathy Kraninger, to succeed him at the consumer watchdog agency, a White House spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday. Ms. Kraninger, who oversees the preparation of the budgets for cabinet departments, was selected over the objection of some officials inside the White House, who argued that her relative inexperience — and association with Mr. Mulvaney — could scuttle her nomination.... On Saturday, White House officials played down the fact that she has never held a job as a regulator or worked in the financial services industry.... Last week, Mr. Mulvaney told reporters that he was not participating in the selection process for his new deputy. White House officials disputed that account and said Ms. Kraninger was his clear preference."

Alex Guillen of Politico: "The federal government's top ethics official suggested Friday he is considering a 'formal corrective action proceeding' regarding alleged improper behavior by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a perhaps unprecedented step against a sitting member of the president's Cabinet. The head of the independent Office of Government Ethics urged EPA's in-house watchdog to expand its ongoing investigations to review the latest allegations about Pruitt, including that he used EPA resources to find a job for his wife. OGE will look into the findings of that probe to decide how to proceed, acting OGE Director David Apol wrote in a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins on Friday.... Donald Trump said earlier Friday that he was 'not happy about certain things' with his embattled administrator, although he praised the 'fantastic job' Pruitt is doing at EPA. Trump did not elaborate on what made him unhappy. An OGE spokesperson told Politico the office is unaware of the agency ever before initiating a formal corrective action proceeding against any federal official, let alone a Cabinet member." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: An appropriate "corrective action" would be to fire Pruitt, bring criminal charges against him & make him pay out-of-pocket for all the taxpayer money he wasted. ...

... How Scotty Keeps His Job. Josh Dawsey, et al., of the Washington Post: "Over the past year, Trump has removed members of his Cabinet for far fewer and less serious infractions [than Pruitt has committed].... In the case of both [Tom] Price and [David] Shulkin, however, Trump had become frustrated with their inability to achieve some of his top priorities. Pruitt, on the other hand, has doggedly pursued the president’s objectives while heaping praise on the commander in chief. He has also commiserated privately with him about two of Trump’s favored grievances: the probe into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and the problem of aides who leak." Here's one of several examples the writers cite: "At one point during the weeks-long discussions about whether to exit the Paris accord, Pruitt sought to circumvent the decision-making process in a meeting with the president. Without consulting others, he gave Trump a plan to pull out of the deal, even as discussions were underway among other senior officials. [Gary] Cohn and ... Rex Tillerson said Pruitt gave the president inaccurate data to support his argument, and he was widely excoriated for doing it secretly. 'It was total bulls[hit],' one person present for the discussions said. But Trump sided with Pruitt....”

Julia Jacobs of the New York Times: "A neighbor of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was sentenced Friday to 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to felony assault for tackling the lawmaker last year, a spokesman for federal prosecutors said. The attack was fueled by irritation over a pile of debris. The neighbor, Rene A. Boucher, 60, of Bowling Green, Ky., was also sentenced to one year of probation and a $10,000 fine, said Tim Horty, a spokesman for the United States attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, in a phone interview. In a statement, Mr. Paul said that he believed a conviction with prison time was 'appropriate,' and he hoped it would deter Mr. Boucher from any future violence."

Beyond the Beltway

North Carolina GOP Cooks up a Full Menu of Voter Suppression Measures. Michael Wines of the New York Times: "The last time Republicans in the North Carolina Legislature enacted a law making it harder for some of the state’s residents to vote, a federal court said the statute targeted African-American voters 'with almost surgical precision,' and threw it out. That was last year. Now the legislators are back with a new set of election proposals, and an unconventional plan to make them stick. Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Republican senators unveiled legislation that would eliminate the final Saturday of early voting in state elections, a day that typically draws a large share of black voters to the polls. That followed a Republican proposal last week to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would require all voters to display a photo ID before casting votes. In addition, party leaders say they are preparing a constitutional amendment that would curb the power of the Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, over the state board that controls election procedures.... Gerry Cohen, a longtime counsel to the Legislature..., said the Republicans were very likely to lose their supermajority in the statehouse. 'So they’re trying to pass as much as they can before December 31.'...”