The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Washington Post: "Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning. This is the second time in two months that a Navy destroyer based at the 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, has been involved in a collision. Seven sailors were killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a tanker south of Japan in June."

New York Times: "Jerry Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91."

New York Times: "... a team led by Paul G. Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, announced that it had found unmistakable wreckage of the Indianapolis [-- a U.S. Navy cruiser sunk by the Japanese during World War II --] 18,000 feet deep in the Philippine Sea, rekindling memories of the Navy’s worst disaster at sea."

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mlb/miami-marlins/article104073926.html#storylink=cpy

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

The only thing I’d be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to. -- Prospective Juror, Martin Shkreli trial ...

... Harper's republishes some of the jury selection proceedings in the Martin Shkreli case.

Vanity Fair: "... Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times chief book reviewer and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been, by a wide margin, the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world, is stepping down.... Kakutani said that she could neither confirm nor comment. But sources familiar with her decision, which comes a year after the Times restructured its books coverage, told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America."

... Washington Post: "... investigators believe they have discovered the 'smoking gun' that would support a decades-old theory that [Amelia] Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were captured by the Japanese: a newly unearthed photograph from the National Archives that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan — and their plane — on an atoll in the Marshall Islands.... Gary Tarpinian,  executive producer of the History documentary, told the Today show that they believe the Koshu, the Japanese merchant ship in the photo, took Earhart to Saipan, where she died in Japanese custody."

Summer Beach Reading. James Hohmann of the Washington Post suggests Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. Hohmann's column hits some of the highlights. CW: Let us be thankful that Donald Trump is incapable of learning the lessons Franken learned from his team. If Trump were half as bright as Franken, he would be a succesful president & very effective dictator.

Politico: "MSNBC has parted ways with anchor Greta Van Susteren after just six months on air, as her show failed to live up to the network's ratings expectations. An MSNBC executive said the decision to remove the former Fox News host was purely for business reasons, based on ratings."

Click on the picture to see larger image.... AP: "... Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin’s) married a Scottish actress. Mnuchin exchanged vows Saturday night with Louise Linton at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Mrs. Trump wore a pink blush dress."

New Yorker: "In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago. And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent — and the Sahara — in Morocco."

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers."

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends."

Constant Comments

Sunday
Aug202017

Reality Chex Names New Editor

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie.The board of directors of RealityChex.com has named Mrs. Bea McCrabbie as the Website's new managing editor. Mrs. McCrabbie, who is new to fake journalism, is married to Medlar McCrabbie. In her first remarks upon assuming her new position, Mrs. McCrabbie said, "If readers thought the Constant Weader was a bitch, they are going to miss her milquetoast manners. I don't know if the board chose the Weader for her good looks or her good intentions, but I assure you, I have neither."

Mrs. McCrabbie will not be in the office on her first official day at the helm. She and Medlar are traveling to Santee, South Carolina, to watch the solar eclipse from the I-95 bridge over Lake Marion. "You people aren't exactly the sun and the moon, you know," she told the Reality Chex board.

In an interview, Mrs. McCrabbie said that @Nancy -- who hastened the departure of the Constant Weader -- on Sunday provided further evidence of her already-obvious malicious intent. Late Sunday morning, Nancy tried to break into Reality Chex. Fortunately, Reality Chex' security system not only caught the attempt but also prevented Nancy from sabotaging the site. "Donald Trump was right about one thing," Mrs. McCrabbie said. "There are some nasty-assed liberals out there. But they've met their match in Bea McCrabbie."

Comments have been disabled. I'm not going to take any crap from you lot today, what with having to rub shoulders with a bunch of ignorant, drunken rednecks in their sweaty muscle shirts & greasy MAGA caps loafing on the Santee bridge. 

Sunday
Aug202017

The Commentariat -- August 21, 2017

Afternoon Update:

William Booth & James McAuley of the Washington Post: "The Moroccan-born man who authorities say was the driver of the van that plowed down pedestrians in a crowded tourist zone in Barcelona last week was shot dead by Spanish police Monday afternoon. Police confirmed that officers shot and killed Younes Abouyaaquob, 22, in the small town of Subirats, about an hour’s drive west of Barcelona. Abouyaaquob has been the subject of a massive manhunt since he escaped on Thursday night after the van attack. Police said Abouyaaquob was wearing what appeared to be a suicide bomb vest when he was confronted by officers. Bomb squad officers deployed a robot to get near the prone body, only then learning that the suicide vest was a fake, they said."

Kevin Johnson of USA Today: "The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast. Secret Service Director Randolph 'Tex' Alles ... said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.... Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas. 'The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,' Alles said.... Alles said the service is grappling with an unprecedented number of White House protectees. Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family. That's up from 31 during the Obama administration. Overwork and constant travel have also been driving a recent exodus from the Secret Service ranks, yet without congressional intervention to provide additional funding, Alles will not even be able to pay agents for the work they have already done."

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "President Trump on Monday applauded evangelical Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr. for defending Trump's controversial response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month. 'Jerry Falwell of Liberty University was fantastic on @foxandfriends. The Fake News should listen to what he had to say. Thanks Jerry!' Trump tweeted. The president then responded to a Twitter user who said the media is trying to 'take you down,' claiming 'the very dishonest Fake News media is out of control!'... With other Republicans refusing to publicly defend Trump, the White House is relying on Falwell as a top surrogate for the president.” ...

... Samantha Schmidt & Amy Wang of the Washington Post: "After Trump’s equivocation about neo-Nazi groups following the violence in Charlottesville, Falwell tweeted that he was 'so proud' of Trump for his 'bold truthful' statement on the tragedy. Falwell appeared on 'Fox & Friends' Monday morning to reiterate his support for the president.... In response to Falwell’s unwavering support of Trump, Liberty University graduates are calling on fellow alumni to take a stand by returning their diplomas. They are also writing letters to Falwell’s office and to the Board of Trustees, calling for his removal. More than 260 people have joined a Facebook group titled 'Return your diploma to LU.' By publicly 'revoking all ties, all support present and future,' the graduates hope to send a message to the school that 'could jeopardize future enrollment, finances and funding,' according to the Facebook group.”

Politico: "... Donald Trump on Sunday called the collision between the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and a tanker that left at least 10 sailors missing 'too bad' before tweeting support for the sailor's families."

Mr. & Mrs. Trump view the eclipse from the Truman balcony. More proof you cannot be dumber than Donald.*****

... To find out what time the eclipse can be viewed in your area, go here. This page is set for Boston, Massachusetts, but you can plug the name of a city near you into the search box. Local times appears in the upper right corner of the video. ...

... Here's a still map of the path of the eclipse across the U.S. ...

... If you don't have NASA-approved solar-viewing glasses, here are a few ideas -- (1) and (2) and (3) -- on how you can view the eclipse through a do-it-yourself device. Remember, you face away from the sun using these methods & looking at a projection of the eclipse on the ground or inside your homemade projector. ...

... Andy Borowitz: "Attacking the media for its 'very unfair' coverage of Monday’s solar eclipse, Donald J. Trump said on Saturday that the sun was equally to blame for blocking the moon." Mrs. McC Note: This is satire, you lunkheads. Don't write in complaining about fake news & asking why other media didn't cover Trump's lunatic tirade. And speaking of the Big Loon & the lunar, nobody could moon you like Trump. I told Medlar if he accidentally gets behind the Beast on I-95, I'm putting on my eclipse glasses right then & there. I wouldn't let Medlar scrape the Hillary! & faded Barack stickers off the bumpers, so you know Trump will "reply." Only hope for Medlar is the rear window of the Beast isn't big enough to cover the whole show.

 
NEW. Andrew Roth
of the Washington Post: "The United States Embassy in Moscow announced Monday it would temporarily stop issuing all non-immigrant visas in Russia and then severely curtail visa operations as it slashes its staff to comply with the latest salvo in Washington’s diplomatic standoff with Moscow."

Carol Morello & John Wagner of the Washington Post: "President Trump on Monday night will announce a 'path forward' on military strategy in Afghanistan, the White House said, offering his imprint on the longest-running war in U.S. history. Trump is scheduled to address the military and American people from Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement Sunday afternoon." Trump will make a primetime address at 9 pm ET. ...

... Michael Gordan, et al., of the New York Times: "President Trump, who has been accused by lawmakers of dragging his feet on Afghanistan, has settled on a new strategy to carry on the nearly 16-year-old conflict there, administration officials said Sunday. The move, following a detailed review, is likely to open the door to the deployment of several thousand troops. 'The president has made a decision,' Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on an overnight flight that arrived in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday. 'I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous.'”

Max Greenwood of the Hill: "White House officials were notably absent from the morning news show lineups on Sunday, as President Trump capped off a turbulent week in his presidency.  'To give you a sense of how reluctant Republicans are to talk about President Trump this week, not one member of the current Republican leadership in Congress agreed to come on the broadcast this morning,' Chuck Todd, host of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' said.  'In fact, even the White House was unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide a guest, right down to the White House press secretary.'" 

You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill. -- Unidentified White House Official ...

... Mike Allen of Axios: Top White House officials explain -- off the record, of course -- why they're not quitting. ...

... Brian Beutler: "The notion that Donald Trump’s presidency constitutes an open-ended, moment-to-moment crisis for the United States and the world is no longer a contested one. If there’s one thing his staunchest allies and opponents agree on, it’s that Trump is dangerous.... It speaks volumes about the precariousness of the situation that the most powerful senior officials in the executive branch, other than the president himself, spend so much of their time justifying their continued service.... It is extraordinary that members of this president’s braintrust say they’re sticking around only because they think they can save the president (and through him, all of us) from himself.... Nobody who claims to be protecting the public from even worse outcomes can credibly claim that their influence will last, or that they’ll be in the right places at the right times whenever Trump’s unbridled instincts tell him to do awful things. Their efforts to extend the Trump presidency expose the public to greater risk, not less."

John Wagner: "Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that he sees 'some serious issues' with President Trump’s capabilities that aren’t likely to get better but that it’s premature to consider invoking a constitutional provision to force him from office.... Schiff ... said he does not agree with some fellow Democrats who have argued that it’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment, which gives the vice president and eight Cabinet members the authority to unilaterally force the president from office if they deem him 'unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.' 'I think for that reason at a minimum, we need the very best people around him in the White House,' Schiff said of Trump.” ...

... Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that he and his colleagues are increasingly concerned about ... Donald Trump’s mental fitness. 'There are some serious issues,' Schiff said on CNN’s 'State of the Union,' adding that 'the pressures of the job may only get worse.'” ...

... Sharon LaFraniere, et al., of the New York Times: "... interviews with his associates and documents reviewed by The New York Times indicate that [Rinat] Akhmetshin..., [a lobbyist who met with Donald Trump, Jr., & other Trump campaign officials last summer,] has much deeper ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs than previously known.He has an association with a former deputy head of a Russian spy service, the F.S.B., and a history of working for close allies of President Vladimir V. Putin.... Mr. Akhmetshin’s meeting with Trump campaign officials is of keen interest to [special counsel Robert] Mueller.... Of all the visitors who attended the June 2016 session at the Trump Tower, he appears to have the most direct ties to Russian intelligence." ...

... Darren Samuelsohn of Politico: "Countless amateur sleuths are on [Donald Trump's] case, from a short-order cook in Belfast, Northern Ireland, whose research was recently cited by The Daily Beast to a Florida art teacher who tells Politico he is applying his pattern-recognition skills to Trump’s sprawling business empire. Undaunted by a lack of subpoena power or search warrants, and the government’s vast legal and technical expertise, countless people like these are poring through Trump’s personal and business records, as well as overlooked 2016 campaign clues. They share their findings through email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and even tips to reporters and the FBI. Most labor in obscurity, but all are motivated by the lottery-like odds of a discovery that has eluded journalists and prosecutors but which just might bring down a president.... This may sound like the pointless industry of conspiracy theorists, but some legal experts, and history itself, suggest they could make a difference. Among the 15,000 pieces of mail and 6,000 telegrams the Watergate special prosecutor received during his first year on the job, according an official report, an average of three or four 'substantial allegations' each month merited a deeper look.... At the FBI, the notion that the public could strike pay dirt is the reason it maintains a website at which incoming tips are taken seriously, law enforcement sources say."

Jeremy Peters & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "John F. Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, told Stephen K. Bannon in late July that he needed to go: No need for it to get messy, Mr. Kelly told Mr. Bannon, according to several people with firsthand knowledge of the exchange. The two worked out a mutually amicable departure date for mid-August, with President Trump’s blessing. But as Mr. Trump struggled last week to contain a growing public furor over his response to a deadly, race-fueled melee in Virginia, Mr. Bannon clashed with Mr. Kelly over how the president should respond.... By Thursday, after Mr. Bannon undercut American policy toward North Korea in an interview published by a left-leaning magazine, Mr. Trump himself had concluded that Mr. Bannon was too much of a liability. By Friday, when he was forced from his job as Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Mr. Bannon had found himself wholly isolated inside a White House where he once operated with such autonomy that he reported only to the president himself."

Max Greenwood: "Breitbart News, the media outlet helmed by President Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, published an article on Sunday casting national security adviser H.R. McMaster as soft on Islamist extremism and terrorism." ...

Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair: Steve Bannon, back at the helm of Breitbart & planning to challenge Fox "News" for a slice of cable, is about to go ballistic on Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Gary Cohn & administration hawks.

Julia Manchester of the Hill: "President Trump blasted the news media ahead of his return to Washington on Sunday after a 17-day working vacation. 'Heading back to Washington after working hard and watching some of the worst and most dishonest Fake News reporting I have ever seen!' the president said."

Dara Lind of Vox: "... the ACLU is going to have to make some very quick decisions about when and how it will defend the far right in 2017.... In the days before the Unite the Right rally, it became clear that Charlottesville would be a gathering point for both right-wing rallygoers and left-wing counterprotesters. The city of Charlottesville attempted to defuse the situation by moving the Unite the Right rally away from its original location ... to a location farther away from the center of the city. The city argued it was trying to prevent confrontation. But to free-speech activists — including the ACLU of Virginia — it was a pretty standard attempt to use a rally permit to marginalize unpopular speech. So the organizers of the rally sued, with the ACLU’s support, and won the right to keep the rally downtown.... [After the melee,] ACLU of Virginia board member Waldo Jaquith resigned, alleging on Twitter that the organization ignored signs that rally organizers were encouraging violence — and that 'what is legal is not always right.'... On Thursday, the national organization appeared to [change its position] — and draw a new line that would have prevented them from defending Unite the Right. ACLU director Anthony Romero told the Wall Street Journal: 'If a protest group insists, "No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms," well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.'... In practice, freedom of speech isn’t exactly absolute: 'Government may not censor speech because of its viewpoint,' says former ACLU director Nadine Strossen, 'but it may censor speech because of its effects.'” ...

... Julia Manchester: "The Vice News reporter who followed white supremacist marching in Charlottesville said they were chanting about Jews, not the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. 'Once they started marching, they didn't talk about Robert E. Lee being a brilliant military tactician. They chanted about Jews. Like, they wanted to be menacing. It's not an accident,' Elle Reeve told CBS News' John Dickerson on CBS's 'Face the Nation.'" ...

... Alex Pareene in Splinter News: "Charlottesville Was a Preview of the Future of the Republican Party.... I’m not merely being glib: Racial resentment has been a driving force behind College Republican recruitment for years, but at this point it’s really all they have left to offer.... Everything that has happened in American life since the election of George W. Bush, the last point at which the generation currently entering its 30s was 'up for grabs,' has only served to drive young people away from the Republican Party.... Meanwhile..., the alt-right absolutely comprises the only effective and successful youth outreach strategy the GOP currently employs.... The pool of people the Republican Party will be drawing from when selecting candidates a generation from now will contain these men and hardly anyone else.... This will be the legacy of Trumpism: It won’t be long before voters who reflexively check the box labeled 'Republican' because their parents did, or because they think their property taxes are too high, or because Fox made them scared of terrorism, start electing Pepe racists to Congress."

Matea Gold & Anu Narayanswamy of the Washington Post: "The Republican National Committee paid the Trump International Hotel in Washington $122,000 last month after the party held a lavish fundraiser at the venue in June, the latest example of how GOP political committees are generating a steady income stream for President Trump’s private business, new Federal Election Commission records show. At least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance filings. Trump’s companies collected an additional $793,000 from the RNC and the president’s campaign committee.... The nearly $1.3 million spent by Republican political committees at Trump entities in 2017 has helped boost his company at a time when business is falling off at some core properties.... The RNC is among 19 federal political committees that have patronized the [Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.,] this year.... Trump’s other signature properties also have drawn GOP fundraising events." ...

... Shannon Donnelly of the Palm Beach Post: "And then there were two. Or maybe four, depending on what happens when a couple of boards meet this week. Today, the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and MorseLife both announced a change of venue for their annual Palm Beach fundraisers, from the Mar-a-Lago Club to – well, not the Mar-a-Lago Club. That brings to 19 the number of charities that have decided to leave Mar-a-Lago in recent months, many in the past week. The defections leave only the Palm Beach Police Foundation’s Policeman’s Ball and the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Vets 'Spirit of America' holiday gala as remaining at the presidential retreat."

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Labor leaders, once courted by President Trump, are stepping up their campaign to turn workers against the White House if it does not deliver more on jobs and trade — and if it does not stop undoing Obama-era regulations. The most visible effort, which starts in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon, is a two-week tour organized by the coalition Good Jobs Nation that ropes in labor-friendly politicians. The coalition, launched in 2013 to pressure Barack Obama’s White House on trade and wage issues, is organizing rallies throughout the Midwest through Labor Day. 'Trump ran as a working-class hero, so let’s look at the results,' said Joseph Geevarghese, Good Jobs Nation’s executive director. 'We’re seven months into his administration, and wages are flat. People are still getting pink slips.'... The Trump administration has undone or walked away from a number of regulations that labor lobbied for, and won, under Obama....”

Saturday
Aug192017

The Commentariat -- August 20, 2017

Counter-protesters in Boston, Mass., August 19. ... Julia Jacobo, et al., of ABC News: "One week after violent protests rattled Charlottesville, Virginia, a scheduled free speech rally in Boston today was met with thousands of counterprotesters, but the day went off mostly smoothly, police said, with 33 arrests but few injuries. The free speech rally was deemed 'officially over' by police ahead of its official end time, but thousands of counterprotesters continued to spread out in the city throughout the afternoon, with some protesting peacefully but others confronting officers and people. A total of 33 arrests were made today, mostly from disorderly conduct and a few assaults on police officers, the Boston Police Department announced. Police Commissioner William Evans said at a news conference this afternoon that some urine-filled bottles were thrown at officers, and police indicated on Twitter that some demonstrators were throwing rocks at police.... Evans said that '99.9 percent of the people here were for the right reasons -- that's to fight bigotry and hate.'" ...

... Tara Golshan of Vox: "The Boston Free Speech rally, which many feared would draw a violent crowd of white supremacists Saturday, was instead overshadowed by thousands of counter-protesters denouncing bigotry and racism. The dueling demonstrations on Boston Common showed a shocking disparity in size. As Vox’s Alex Ward reported from the scene, the Free Speech rally, scheduled to begin at noon, was only permitted for 100 participants.... Meanwhile, counter-demonstrators ... filled the grounds outside a security perimeter, drowning out the speeches at the Free Speech rally. More anti-racism protesters, led by the Black Lives Matter chapter, marched through Boston Saturday from the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center to join the counter demonstration at Boston Common. Police are estimating roughly 15,000 people in the march, according to ABC News." ...

... Tyler Kingkade of BuzzFeed: "A right-wing event in Boston that billed itself a 'Free Speech Rally' attracted only a few dozen supporters on Saturday, while an estimated 40,000 counter-protesters turned up to demonstrate against racism." ...

... Brandon Patterson & Jamilah King of Mother Jones: "One week after a bitterly violent protest in Charlottesville, Va., that left one woman dead and 19 injured, tens of thousands of counter-protesters marched in at least 30 cities, including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their opposition to white nationalism. The largest protest by far was in Boston, where an estimated 30,000-40,000 counter-protesters showed up, according to the Boston Globe. Only a handful of people attended the planned 'Free Speech' protest, and they were quickly overwhelmed." ...

... The New York Times report, by Katharine Seelye & others, is here. ...

... Sarah Betancourt of the Guardian: "Donald Trump described anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrators who converged on Boston as 'anti-police agitators' on Saturday, in a tweet that seemed destined to revive the still simmering controversy over his remarks equating the far right and anti-Nazis in Charlottesville last weekend.... But he later seemed to back the right to demonstrate....” ...

     ... Kevin Drum: "Nonviolence isn’t the answer to everything, but it is here. The best way to fight these creeps is to take their oxygen away and suffocate them. Fighting and bloodshed get headlines, which is what they want. So shut them down with lots of people but no violence. Eventually they’ll go back to their caves and the press will get bored. Of course, all of this depends on our president not doing anything further to support their cause. If that happens, I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks." ...

... AP: "Duke University removed a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee early Saturday, days after it was vandalized amid a national debate about monuments to the Confederacy. The university said it removed the carved limestone likeness early Saturday from Duke Chapel where it stood among 10 historical figures depicted in the entryway.... '"I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university,' [Duke President Vincent] Price said in the letter. Durham has been a focal point in the debate over Confederate statues after protesters tore down a bronze Confederate soldier in front of a government building downtown. Eight people have been charged with tearing down the statue during a protest on Monday. Hundreds marched on Friday through downtown Durham in a largely peaceful demonstration against racism, leading to an impromptu rally at the site where the bronze statue was toppled." ...

... Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times: "... during a rally earlier this week to show solidarity in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., a [University of Southern California] campus group linked the name [of the university's mascot Traveler] to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, whose favorite horse was Traveller.... [Richard Saukko, who owned the first Traveler -- a movie horse -- & rode it in what was to be a one-off at a 1961 USC football game, has said the horse was already named when he purchased it.] The earliest mention of a connection between Lee and USC’s Traveler appears to have come in [Richard] Saukko’s four-paragraph obituary in The Times. 'Saukko's first horse was half Arabian, half Tennessee walker and was named Traveler I, after the horse of Civil War general Robert E. Lee,' the story said."

David Nakamura, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event. The first family will not participate 'to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning. The announcement comes as three of the five honorees — television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J had not said whether he would attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues.... This is the first time in the awards' history that the White House portion of the festivities has been canceled."

David Remnick of the New Yorker: "During [a campaign] speech in Charlotte[, North Carolina, in early November 2016, President] Obama warned that no one really changes in the Presidency; rather, the office 'magnifies' who you already are. So if you 'accept the support of Klan sympathizers before you’re President, or you’re kind of slow in disowning it, saying, "Well, I don’t know," then that’s how you’ll be as President.'... [Afterwards, in a private conversation, Obama said,] 'We’ve seen this coming.... Donald Trump is not an outlier; he is a culmination, a logical conclusion of the rhetoric and tactics of the Republican Party for the past ten, fifteen, twenty years. What surprised me was the degree to which those tactics and rhetoric completely jumped the rails.' For half a century, in fact, the leaders of the G.O.P. have fanned the lingering embers of racial resentment in the United States. Through shrewd political calculation and rhetoric, from Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy” to the latest charges of voter fraud in majority-African-American districts, doing so has paid off at the ballot box.... The imperative is to find ways to counteract and diminish his malignant influence not only in the overtly political realm but also in the social and cultural one.” ...

... New York Times Editors: Donald Trump has changed the subtext of the GOP's "Southern strategy" into text. "For reasons of ineptitude and ideological complicity, the [Republican] party’s leaders did almost nothing to counter the Trump phenomenon, nor did they seek in any sustained fashion to temper his worst excesses, beginning with his false claims about President Barack Obama’s birth and proceeding onward through his demagogic Inaugural Address."

Mike Allen of Axios: "At the end, Trump was beyond fed up, viewing Bannon as a self-aggrandizer who had built a personal narrative as the grand puppetmaster. 'Who the f[uc]k does this guy think he is?' Trump has said incredulously to associates." ...

... digby: "Bannon is a self-professed chaos agent who is happy to use Trump's simple-minded vacuousness for his own purposes, one of which is obviously to 'let Trump be Trump.' But they are not on the same page, not really, and the fact that people still think that Trump is some kind of an economic populist or an isolationist in any way is frustrating. He has no philosophy, he has domination impulses. That's it." ...

... Ryan Lizza: "... in the Trump White House there is no Trump agenda. There is a mercurial, highly emotional narcissist with no policy expertise who set up — or allowed his senior staffers to set up — competing ideological fiefdoms that fight semi-public wars to define the soul of Trumpism.... The lasting legacy of Bannonism is the xenophobia and hostility to nonwhites that emanates from the White House and has remained a political fire that this Administration is constantly fanning. But, as we learned this week, Trump doesn’t need Bannon to keep those flames alive." ...

... Josh Marshall notes that Trump just fired the one guy who does not seem to have been implicated in the Russia scandal. But Marshall has a feeling Bannon knows a lot about Trump & other Friends of Vlad. 

Maureen Dowd tells a story about the time her Irish cop father quashed the local KKK. "There will be a lot of pain while this president is in office and the clock will turn back on many things. But we will come out stronger, once this last shriek of white supremacy and grievance and fear of the future is out of the system. Every day, President Trump teaches us what values we cherish — and they’re the opposite of his.... He’s no tough guy if he can’t stand up to the scum of the earth. He followed the roar of the crowd to dark, violent places, becoming ever more crazed and isolated and self-destructive, egged on by the egotist and erstwhile White House strategist Steve Bannon but really led by his own puerile and insatiable ego."

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who faced calls from his Yale University classmates to resign in the wake of President Trump’s controversial comments about last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, defended the president Saturday and said he intends to stay in office. 'While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways,' Mnuchin, who is Jewish, said in a statement released by the Treasury Department."

Russ Feingold in the Guardian: "The lesson from Charlottesville is ... the unmasking of the Republican party leadership. In the wake of last weekend’s horror and tragedy, let us finally, finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda of voter suppression, renewed mass incarceration and the expulsion of immigrants.... Words mean nothing if the Republican agenda doesn’t change.... Gerrymandering, strict voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement are all aimed at one outcome: a voting class that is predominantly white, and in turn majority Republican.... Even if the entire Republican party rises up in self-professed outrage at white supremacists, if voter suppression and other such racist policies survive, the white supremacists are winning. And America is losing."

Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning. The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.... But NOAA communications director Julie Roberts said in an email Saturday that 'this action does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.'”


Faith Karimi
, et al., of CNN: "North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea military exercises are 'reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.' Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the US mainland can 'dodge the merciless strike.' The messages in Rodong Sinmun, the official government newspaper, come a day before the US starts the Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises with South Korea."

Friday
Aug182017

The Commentariat -- August 19, 2017

Afternoon Update:

boston.com has live updates on competing rallies scheduled in Boston, Mass., this afternoon.

David Nakamura, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event. The first family will not participate 'to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning. The announcement comes as three of the five honorees — television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J had not said whether he would attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues.... This is the first time in the awards' history that the White House portion of the festivities has been canceled."

*****

Nahal Toosi & Eliana Johnson of Politico: "Top administration officials in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan teamed up ahead of a high-level meeting on Friday to persuade ... Donald Trump to step up American military involvement in the 16-year-old war, two sources told Politico. Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser H.R. McMaster rehearsed their pitch heading into the Camp David strategy session.... But as of Friday evening, the president had not announced a decision on his plans for Afghanistan.... And no announcement appeared imminent. The two sources — an administration official and a senior White House aide — also confirmed that Erik Prince, founder of the former Blackwater private security firm, had been scheduled to attend the session but that ... McMaster ... blocked Prince... at the last minute.... Prince has been urging the administration publicly and privately to outsource much of the war effort — which primarily involves training and advising Afghan security forces. Prince had the backing of Steve Bannon, who was ousted Friday from his role as the chief White House strategist."

... Larry Buchanan, et al., of the New York Times name "the top White House officials who resigned, or were fired, dismissed or reassigned. Mr. Trump also fired James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I. and Sally Q. Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration who was serving as his acting attorney general." ...

... Andrew Prokop of Vox: "... it’s remarkable that Trump has burned through so many of his choices for senior jobs in less than seven months in office. For instance, his predecessor Barack Obama went through four official chiefs of staff and one interim one over his eight years in office — something Trump mocked at the time: '3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda. — Donald J. Trump January 10, 2012' Trump is far exceeding that pace — not just for his own chief of staff (who had the shortest stint of anyone since the position was created) but for a whole swath of top-level White House jobs." ...

... Julia Wong of the Guardian: "In his first post-White House interviews, Steve Bannon ... made clear that he had no intention of going quietly. 'I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,' the former White House chief strategist, who returned as executive chairman of Breitbart News late Friday afternoon, told the Weekly Standard. 'I built a f[uck]ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.'” ...

The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over. -- Steve Bannon, to the Weekly Standard, Friday afternoon

If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents -- on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America. -- Steve Bannon, to Bloomberg News, Friday afternoon ...

... Peter Boyer of the Weekly Standard: “'On August 7th , I talked to [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and to the President, and I told them that my resignation would be effective the following Monday, on the 14th,' [Steve Bannon] said. '“I’d always planned on spending one year. General Kelly has brought in a great new system, but I said it would be best. I want to get back to Breitbart.' Bannon says that with the tumult in Charlottesville last weekend, and the political fallout since, Trump, Kelly, and he agreed to delay Bannon’s departure, but that he and Kelly agreed late this week that now was the time for Bannon to leave. Bannon may have resigned, but it was clear from the time that Kelly became chief of staff that Bannon’s remaining time in the West Wing was going to be short.... It is plainly Bannon’s view that his departure is not a defeat for him personally, but for the ideology he’d urged upon the president....” ...

... Joshua Green, et al., of Bloomberg News: "According to a person close to Bannon, he met Wednesday with conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies and a major financial supporter of both Trump and Bannon’s efforts. The two mapped out a path ahead for Bannon’s post-White House career and discussed how Trump could get his agenda back on track. The following evening, Mercer and several other major Republican donors had dinner with Trump to share their thinking, and Mercer also had a private meeting with Trump to pledge to redouble his efforts to support Bannon and advance Trump’s agenda.... Moving Bannon outside the White House raises new risks. Even if he continues to support the president, he may become aggressive in attacking the administration’s more traditional Republican players and policies. He has ample access to funding through his close relationships with Mercer and other major Republican donors.... Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon ally who previously worked with him at Breitbart News, also may face removal from his post as a counter-terrorism aide to the president, said two people with knowledge of the situation.... House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called Bannon’s ouster 'welcome news, but it doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance.'” ...

... Michael Grynbaum & Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "Stephen K. Bannon, who left his post on Friday as President Trump’s chief strategist, has resumed his role as chairman of Breitbart News, the provocative right-wing website that propelled him to national fame. Hours after his departure from the White House was announced, Mr. Bannon led the evening editorial meeting of his former publication, Breitbart said on its website. 'The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,' the editor in chief of Breitbart, Alex Marlow, said in a statement." ...

... Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... New Lede: "Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled chief strategist who helped President Trump win the 2016 election but clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers, is leaving his post, a White House spokeswoman announced Friday. 'White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,' the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. 'We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.'” ...

... Ashley Parker, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Trump has decided to dismiss his embattled chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, an architect of his 2016 general election victory, in a major White House shake-up that follows a week of racial unrest, according to two people familiar with the move. Trump had been under mounting pressure to dispatch with Bannon...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... New Lede: "President Trump on Friday dismissed his embattled chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, an architect of his 2016 general election victory, in a major White House shake-up that follows a week of racial unrest, according to multiple administration officials." ...

... Jeremy Diamond, et al., of CNN: "Bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago, a White House official told CNN's Jeff Zeleny, but it was put off. CNN reports the President equivocated after an initial plan was to fire Bannon and then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at same time, the official says, because Rep. Mark Meadows, the influential chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and others urged Trump to keep him on board. The interview [with Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect] this week was enough for Meadows to change his view, a person close to him says." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Madison Kircher of New York: "Over on 4chan, users are discussing whether or not they’ll continue to support Trump now that Bannon is gone. While there’s some support for a Bannon-free Trump administration, the bulk of comments mourn the senior strategist in some, uh, colorful language.... There’s a similar conversation happening over on Reddit, too. Though it’s slightly — thank you, moderators — more tame.... Meanwhile, Twitter reaction has been everybody making the same joke about Trump taking down a pro-Confederacy statue at the White House."

Maggie Haberman & Ken Vogel of the New York Times: "President Trump dined on Thursday night at his Bedminster golf club with a handful of the right’s most generous donors, as he tried to build support for his hobbled legislative agenda amid mounting criticism from within his own party, three people briefed on the dinner said. The dinner was scheduled weeks ago as part of a donor-outreach initiative by the Trump administration as it prepares an overhaul of the tax code, according to several people involved in the planning. But it came as the White House is struggling to move past the racially charged controversy that Mr. Trump fueled in the wake of the deadly white supremacist rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Va." ...

Bryan Bender & Negassi Tesfamichael of Politico: "Military leaders have hastened to denounce racism amid the furor over ... Donald Trump’s defense of white supremacists who violently rallied last week around a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. But they are also presiding over their own controversial symbols of the Confederacy — including 10 Army bases named for generals who commanded armies of the slave-holding South during the Civil War, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Rucker in Alabama. On Friday, a group of mostly African-American Democrats in the House proposed legislation that would require the defense secretary to rename any military property 'that is currently named after any individual who took up arms against the United States during the American Civil War or any individual or entity that supported such efforts.' They argued that the names undermine the military's commitment to American values of 'freedom, equality, and democratic governance.' The office of the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, told Politico that he too he supports renaming bases named for Confederates." ...

... Gail Collins wants to put a remove-by date on publicly-situated statues. ...

... Jonah Bromwich of the New York Times: "The mother of the woman who was run down by a car during violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., said Friday that after seeing President Trump’s comments equating white supremacist protesters with those demonstrating against them, she does not wish to speak with him. 'I’m not talking to the president now; I’m sorry,' Susan Bro said. 'After what he said about my child.' In an interview on ABC’s 'Good Morning America,' Ms. Bro said that she had initially missed several calls from the White House, the first of which came during the funeral of her daughter, Heather D. Heyer, who was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters on Saturday. She said that she had been too busy with the funeral and working to set up a foundation in her daughter’s name to watch the news until Thursday night. That was when she saw footage of Mr. Trump’s explosive Tuesday news conference, in which he said that there was 'blame on both sides' for the violence in Charlottesville.'” ...

... Paul Waldman. It doesn't matter whether or not Donald Trump is a racist. He "is the most racially divisive president in our lifetimes — and it’s not even close. From literally the moment he began his presidential campaign in 2015, he has spread racist ideas, made racist arguments, appealed to racist sentiments, enacted racist policies, and encouraged the most repugnant racists in American society to become more vocal and visible.... .... So Steve Bannon may be gone, but we shouldn’t let that fool us into thinking that the Trump administration has undergone some kind of transformation. We’ll know that something has truly changed if the Justice Department displays a genuine commitment to upholding civil rights, or if the administration dials back on its vote suppression efforts, or if the president himself stops making statements that bring so much joy to the most detestable hatemongers in American society.... I don’t know about you, but I’m not expecting much." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Adam Kelsey of ABC News: "Businessman Carl Icahn announced on Friday that he will step away from his role as a special advisor to ... Donald Trump on regulatory reform issues -- a decision he claims was made to avoid the suggestion of conflicts of interest by critics of the administration.... The announcement from Icahn, the founder and majority shareholder of conglomerate Icahn Enterprises, comes days after a number of business leaders resigned from the White House's American Manufacturing Council in the aftermath of Trump's response to last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The American Manufacturing Council disbanded on Wednesday, as did a second, separate panel of CEOs, dubbed the Strategic and Policy Forum. Icahn's letter made no mention of Charlottesville." ...

... Max Greenwood of the Hill: "The pastor of a New York megachurch said Friday that he has resigned from President Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board, citing 'a deepening conflict in values' with the administration. Rev. A.R. Bernard, who leads the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, said in a statement that he had 'quietly stepped away' from the panel several months ago, but submitted his formal resignation on Tuesday.... It was not immediately clear if Bernard had formally resigned from the panel because of the president's comments on Tuesday, in which he equated white nationalists to the counter-demonstrators who had gathered in Charlottesville to oppose them. The pastor signed onto a Monday letter from the Commission of Religious Leaders fiercely condemning hate groups in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville." ...

... Nancy Scola of Politico: "More business executives are departing en masse from Trump administration advisory positions, with a new set of resignations from a Commerce Department advisory board following an exodus from two business groups advising the White House, which then disbanded both of them. More than half of the members of the 15-person Digital Economy Board of Advisors, an expert board set up last year by the Obama administration to help the federal government navigate the digital economy, are known to have resigned this week in the wake of ... Donald Trump's controversial comments about the violence last week in Charlottesville, Va., that left one person dead." ...

... Drew Harwell & David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and Susan G. Komen on Friday joined a growing exodus of organizations canceling plans to hold fundraising events at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, deepening the financial impact to President Trump’s private business amid furor over his comments on Charlottesville. The major exits now mean seven of the club’s biggest event customers have abandoned it in a matter of hours, likely costing the Trump business hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue or more" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Maggie Haberman: "James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of a frequent ally of President Trump’s, condemned the president’s performance after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., and pledged to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League. In an email on Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times and confirmed as authentic by a spokesman for Mr. Murdoch’s company, the Fox scion gave an extraordinarily candid statement against the white supremacist sentiment that swept through Virginia last weekend. It was also the most outspoken that a member of the Murdoch family has been in response to the week’s events.... '... I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists....'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico: "Another advisory group is walking away from ... Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigning en masse Friday morning. 'We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,' members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by Politico, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week. The first letter of each paragraph of the letter spells out 'Resist.'... The 17-member committee was appointed by President Barack Obama and hasn't met under Trump, but it has continued work on some of its programs." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Avi Selk of the Washington Post: "... none of the [Charlottesville] marchers soared so high or crashed so hard as Chris Cantwell, who became the ivory-skinned, gun-toting star of a documentary about Charlottesville that aired Monday on HBO — and a week later is better known as the 'weepy white supremacist' or 'weeping Nazi' who got banned from OkCupid." ...

Aram Roston of BuzzFeed: "Federal prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller are focusing keenly on the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and are trying to determine his intent when he attended a controversial June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he was looking for negative information about Hillary Clinton when he, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, met with the lawyer. But he claimed he did not receive any useful opposition research. The source familiar with the investigation said that prosecutors have been trying to determine exactly what information was provided and are scrutinizing Trump Jr.’s statements about the meeting. Requesting or accepting anything of value for a presidential campaign from a foreign national violates federal election law, legal experts told BuzzFeed News."

Tracy Jan of the Washington Post: "The person President Trump tapped this summer to oversee one of the largest regions under the Department of Housing & Urban Development is a longtime Trump family employee with no experience in housing, according to the one-page résumé Lynne Patton submitted as part of the transition. Patton began working for Trump’s son Eric in 2009 as the vice president of his foundation and as his primary aide. She oversaw all aspects of his business, charity and personal obligations. That included his home and spousal responsibilities as well as coordinating events. She was promoted in 2012 to be the Trump family’s senior aide and chief of staff, serving as the principal contact between the family members and all corporate partners, heads of state and high-end donors. Specifically, she worked for the Trump children, Donald Jr., Tiffany, Ivanka and Eric and his wife, Lara. During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Patton worked as his senior adviser and family liaison.... In June, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, an acclaimed neurosurgeon with no expertise in housing policy either, charged Patton with running the agency’s regional office overseeing New York and New Jersey. Her appointment stirred controversy because of her lack of experience and the fact that Trump has a 4 percent stake in a Brooklyn development, Starrett City, that is the nation’s largest subsidized housing complex.... Patton has officially recused herself from any decisions involving the Starrett City housing development, signing a 'conflict of interest disqualification' memorandum on July 12." 

Way Beyond the Beltway

James McAuley, et al., of the Washington Post: "Spain was seized Friday with the realization that it had incubated a large-scale terrorist plot, as authorities across Europe mounted a manhunt following the deadliest attacks to strike the country in more than a decade: two vehicle assaults in Barcelona and a Catalan coastal town. Investigators say they believe that at least eight people plotted the attacks, putting them at a level of sophistication comparable to major strikes in Paris and Brussels in recent years. Other more recent attacks in London, Berlin and the southern French city of Nice were perpetrated by individuals operating largely on their own. Spanish counterterrorism officers were scrambling to untangle the terrorist network, which involved at least four Moroccan citizens under age 25, according to intelligence officials. In addition to those four, authorities have detained three Moroccan men and a Spaniard."