The Wires

Hollywood Reporter: "Michael Wolff's controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television. Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project."

New York Times: "CBS said on Tuesday that it had chosen [John] Dickerson, 49, to replace Charlie Rose as the third co-host of “CBS This Morning,” a spot left empty since Mr. Rose was fired in November after allegations of sexual harassment. Mr. Dickerson is to join the lineup of Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, who have carved a niche as a relatively serious, news-driven morning team. Mr. Dickerson — whose mother, Nancy Dickerson, became in 1960 the first female correspondent at CBS News — plans to move to New York and leave 'Face the Nation,' which he joined in 2015. CBS has not yet chosen his successor, effectively setting off a horse race at the network for one of television’s most influential political roles."

Oprah Gives Moving Speech, Celebrities Nominate Her for President. For full coverage of the Golden Globe awards, the Los Angeles Times has a pageful of blurbs & links.

Medlar's Amazing Sports Report (Is about Sports!):

New York Times: "Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota [executed] ... what would prove to be the critical play of the Titans’ shocking 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an N.F.L. wild-card playoff game on Saturday.... [The Titans were] trailing by 18 points in the third quarter..., i and as Mariota scrambled toward the line of scrimmage, he appeared to throw the ball away.... But when Darrelle Revis of the Chiefs batted the pass back toward Mariota, the quarterback snagged it out of the air. And ... Mariota sprinted forward for a touchdown that went into the books as a 6-yard pass from Mariota to Mariota."

New York Times: "Hoda Kotb, a longtime NBC News correspondent, will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC’s flagship morning program, 'Today,' the network said on Tuesday. Ms. Kotb (pronounced COT-bee) had replaced Mr. Lauer on an interim basis since he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. The appointment is the first time that two women will be the program’s official main hosts; 'Today' has an overwhelmingly female audience and is the network’s most profitable franchise. The decision signals a turning point of sorts for NBC: In addition to the Lauer scandal, the network also reviewed 2005 footage from an NBC-owned show in which President Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia but was beaten to publication by The Washington Post, and passed on an exposé of [Harvey] Weinstein by an MSNBC contributor." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: I forgot this part of the tape saga: that NBC suits sat on it until someone at the "Today" show leaked it to David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post.

 

Here's one of the film's trailers:

So finally they called me up because it got so late, and the argument got so tense, and said you're going to have to decide this. And I said, well, why do we have to do it right away? The Times took three months. And they - the editors all got on the phone. And the businesspeople were on the other phone saying wait a day. The editors were saying we mustn't wait a day. Everybody knows we have these papers. And we have to maintain the momentum that was stopped when the Times was enjoined. And it's very important. People have their eyes on us. And we have to publish.... And finally after talking to both sides, I asked my colleague Fritz Beebe what he would do. And he was a lawyer. And he said, I guess I would not. And that made it hard but not impossible. He said it in such a way that I thought he's leaving it up to me. And I can do this. And so I said let's go. Let's publish. And I hung up because I was so freaked out by having had to make that decision so fast. -- Katherine Graham, on her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, in an interview, 1997 ...

... Terry Gross of NPR interviewed Katherine Graham in 1997 about her 1971 decision to publish the Pentagon papers -- and other things. Graham died in 2001. Audio & transcript. Via David Von Drehle of the Washington Post.

Guardian: Britain's "Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend Meghan Markle in spring next year, Clarence House has announced. 'His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle,' it said in a statement on Monday."

 

The full Neiman's Christmas book is here, with some items costing less than $35K.

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. Des MacHale (often misattributed to H. L. Mencken)

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

Monday
Jan152018

The Commentariat -- January 16, 2018

Afternoon Update:

Michael Shear & Lawrence Altman of the New York Times: "President Trump’s physician said Tuesday that the president received a perfect score on a cognitive test designed to screen for neurological impairment, which the military doctor said was evidence that Mr. Trump does not suffer from mental issues that prevent him from functioning in office. 'There’s no indication whatsoever that he has any cognitive issues,' Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy and the White House physician, told reporters on Tuesday. 'I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes.' Dr. Jackson said that a cognitive test was not indicated for Mr. Trump when the president went underwent his annual physical on Friday, but that he conducted one anyway because the president requested it after questions from critics about his mental abilities. He said Mr. Trump received a score of 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a well-known test used by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and other hospitals.” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So Trump is just an ignorant narcissist? I couldn't find a place to take the test but I found a copy on the test online & tried it. The only one I had trouble with was an easy substraction question. It's the same trouble I would have had with the question when I was 10 years old, so probably not newly-diminished capacity.

In case you harbored hope anybody in the Trump administration planned to allow some form of DACA to be reinstated:

... ** Maria Sachetti of the Washington Post: "The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would appeal a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily derailed plans to phase out DACA, the Obama-era deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since they were children. The Department of Justice said it filed a notice of appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit seeking to overturn the judge’s order in California, and said it will also 'take the rare step' later this week of asking the Supreme Court to directly intervene. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said 'it defies both law and common sense' that a 'single district court in San Francisco' had halted the administration’s plans to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program starting in March." Mrs. McC: At least Trump will have a friend in the Inferno. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The Democrats now must shut down the government. It is beyond clear that Trump has no intention of signing a bill to grant even permanent residency status to Dreamers, much less a path to citizenship. Every suggestion that he might cave was merely a tease. Trump has the backing of hardassed bastards like Kelly, Sessions & Miller, who would knock the pen out of his hand if he tried to sign the bill.

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "Stephen K. Bannon ... was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle.... The subpoena could be a negotiating tactic. Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices.... The subpoena is a sign that Bannon is not personally the focus of the investigation. Justice Department rules allow prosecutors to subpoena to the targets of investigations only in rare circumstances."

Ed O'Keefe & Nick Miroff of the Washington Post: "Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed on Tuesday that President Trump used 'tough language' in an Oval Office meeting last week, but she said she did not hear him describe some African countries and Haiti as 'shithole countries,' as has been reported.... Later, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) began by telling Nielsen, 'I hope you remember me. We were at two meetings together' last week." A dry wit. ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Earlier I wrote that Nielsen had finally, after repeatedly questioning by Durbin, confirmed that Sen. Graham had repeated the derogatory term Trump used but that she couldn't remember. In fact, she refused to admit anything more "specific" than "tough language," & it was Durbin who informed her what Trump & Graham said. I don't know what "tough language" is. I think "tough language" could include your saying to your kid, in a stern voice, "That was a terrible thing to do! Go right to your room!" Or this is tough language: "Get over it, lunkheads. The only people who get into this country are Nowegians!"

*****

** The Party of Ignorance. Paul Krugman: "One way to think of Trumpism is as an attempt to narrow regional disparities, not by bringing the lagging regions up, but by cutting the growing regions down.... Today’s Republicans — for this isn’t just about Donald Trump, it’s about a whole party — aren’t just Know-Nothings, they’re also know-nothings. The range of issues on which conservatives insist that the facts have a well-known liberal bias just keeps widening. One result of this embrace of ignorance is a remarkable estrangement between modern conservatives and highly educated Americans, especially but not only college faculty.... Conservatives don’t see the rejection of their orthodoxies by people who know what they’re talking about as a sign that they might need to rethink. Instead, they’ve soured on scholarship and education in general. Remarkably, a clear majority of Republicans now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on America.... And as it happens, the 2016 election largely pitted these rising regions against those left behind, which is why counties carried by Hillary Clinton, who won only a narrow majority of the popular vote, account for a remarkable 64 percent of U.S. G.D.P., almost twice as much as Trump counties."

Josh Dawsey, et al., of the Washington Post issue a post-mortem on Trump's DACA meeting: "When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides.... But when they arrived at the Oval Office, [Durbin & Lindsey Graham] were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was 'fired up' and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.... Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together.... Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding, from elation to fury, has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position. The blowup has derailed those negotiations yet again and increased the possibility of a government shutdown...." ...

     ... Mrs Bea McCrabbie: We should not lose sight of the fact that Trump -- at the urging of the equally execrable racist Jefferson Beauregard Sessions -- initiated this entire crisis by reversing President Obama's DACA program. ...

...NEW. Tom Boggioni of RawStory: "According to a moment-by-moment report of the contentious White House meeting over immigration reform, the Washington Post is reporting that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had President Donald Trump’s ear and convinced him to scuttle a bipartisan deal on DACA. While Trump’s comments about Haiti and African nations being 'sh*tholes' got all the media attention — with the Post now reporting Kelly didn’t even blink when Trump said it.... The report states that Kelly was briefed on the proposed bipartisan deal before the meeting.... According to the Post, Kelly 'talked to Trump to tell him that the proposal would probably not be good for his agenda.'" --safari: It appears Kelly is on par with Stephen Miller (a.k.a. Grand Wizard-in-training) in his dedication to the white nationalist agenda. ...

     ... Mrs. McC: See report by Josh Dawsey, et al., linked above. Since the new DHS secretary Kristjen Nielsen is Kelly's protégé, it's highly unlikely she'll be helpful in getting DACA passed.

Emily Goldberg of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Monday tweeted..., 'Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can't be made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our military,'..." ...

... Anne Gearan of the Washington Post: "President Trump's first stop Monday was Trump International Golf Club, apparently beginning the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with golf rather than the charitable service the slain civil rights leader's family has urged as the best way to memorialize him. The morning after declaring 'I'm not a racist,' Trump began his Monday the same way he has begun each day of the three-day holiday weekend: with tweets sent before leaving his private Mar-a-Lago estate and then a short motorcade to the golf club. Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago hours later, and drove from there to the airport in late afternoon. He was not seen in public until he boarded Air Force One." ...

... Jamie Lovegrove of the Charleston, S.C., Post & Courier: "In his most extensive comments yet about Thursday's explosive Oval Office meeting, [Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)] again declined to confirm whether Trump specifically used the term 'shithole' to describe the countries. But, in what appeared to be a direct jab at Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, Graham said, 'My memory hasn't evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.' Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, said Friday that Graham told him media reports of what Trump said were 'basically accurate.'" After initially saying they could not recall what the president said, Perdue of Georgia and Cotton of Arkansas said Sunday that Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who said he heard the 'shithole countries' comment, was misrepresenting Trump's remarks. They also contradicted Graham, who has not denied reports about Trump's comment.... When Trump made the incendiary remark, Graham ... [says he] 'tried to make it very clear to the president that when you say "I’m an American," what does that mean?... It doesn’t mean that they’re black or white, rich or poor. It means that you buy into an ideal of self-representation, compassion, tolerance, the ability to practice one’s religion without interference and the acceptance of those who are different.... It’s not where you come from that matters, it’s what you’re willing to do once you get here.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I wonder if new friends Trump & Graham are still BFFs or if Trump will toss the Graham cracker for not supporting this fable by the least racist person you've ever heard of.

... Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "A conservative columnist said President Trump called friends to brag after the meeting in which the president reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as 'shithole countries.' 'It’s weird that people in the room don’t remember Trump using that word when Trump himself was calling friends to brag about it afterwards,' Erick Erickson, who has in the past been critical of Trump, said in a tweet. 'I spoke to one of those friends. The President thought it would play well with the base.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Here's why I feel confident Erickson & his source were truthful: the first story out of the White House was that the "shithole" comment would "play well with the base." The source for this "analysis" was a White House staffer (or staffers). Trump copied the rationale from the staffer & turned it into a boast. He can't come up with this stuff himself. Update: Just discovered that as early as Saturday, Jim Sciutto of CNN reported on the "victory lap" Trump took just after the "shithole" comment came to light & before the denials started. In any event, Trump has managed to deny his own racism -- "I'm the least racist person you've ever interviewed. -- and accused all his fans of being racists. Well, he's half-right. ...

... Guardian: "A Maryland pastor denounced President Donald Trump’s alleged vulgar description of African nations from the pulpit on Sunday – while Vice-President Mike Pence was sitting in the pews of his church.... WUSA-TV reported that Pence became red-faced at times during the sermon. In an email to the Associated Press on Monday, Pence’s office denied that." Mrs. McC: So I guess we must infer that pence is okay with referring to other countries and a whole continent as "shitholes" (or "shithouses"). ...

... "Are You Effing Kidding Me?" ...

The Party of Trumpbots. Jonathan Chait: "When Robert Mueller was hired to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to the Trump campaign, Republicans in Congress supported Mueller, and even warned Trump not to interfere with his work.... Many Trump critics assume at least implicitly that these conditions still pertain. But ... the Republican Party has largely coalesced around Trump. If — or when — Trump quashes Mueller’s investigation, the veto-proof majorities to restore Mueller’s power will almost certainly fail to materialize." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The evidence Chait presents is convincing -- and troubling. Here's a piece of it I didn't know: "The moderate columnist David Brooks recently pronounced Trump more competent and informed than widely believed, and decried the excesses of his critics." The Constitution be damned; we do not have a system of checks & balances. The only way to return the Congress to checking the president is to vote for Democrats; even if your Democratic Congressman or candidate is a jerk, hold your nose & vote for him or her. I've done it myself: I voted for Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.), even when I knew the Republican candidate Dick Zimmer was a far more decent person. I was ashamed to do so, but it was the pragmatic thing to do -- control of the Senate hung in the balance.

#MAGA. Tami Luhby of CNN: "The uninsured rate rose 1.3 percentage points to 12.2% last year, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. That represents an increase of roughly 3.2 million Americans...The uninsured rate rose for all demographics last year, except for senior citizens, who all qualify for Medicare.... The rate for blacks soared 2.3 percentage points, while Hispanics saw a 2.2 percentage point jump. The annual increase is the largest single-year jump since Gallup and Sharecare began tracking the uninsured rate in 2008. The trend will likely continue this year." --safari

Republican "Leaders" Being Exposed as Moral Charlatans --safari

... ** David Corn of Mother Jones: "Trump became racist-in-chief because Republicans and conservatives embraced him and normalized his racism-driven politics.... As Trump pursued [his 'birther'] crusade, there were no Republicans and few members of the media who called out his racism — or his nuttiness. In fact, Republicans and conservatives eagerly welcomed him into their circles.... In early 2012, Mitt Romney ... trekked to Trump’s Las Vegas hotel for an event announcing Trump’s endorsement.... With this meeting, Romney signaled that Trump was fine company for the GOP and that his over-the-top birtherism was no disqualification.... Hugged by Romney, cheered by CPAC, Trump the Birther was now a huge star in the Republican/conservative cosmos. His racist endeavor — still underway — did not matter. And Trump certainly learned a valuable lesson: Not only can I get away with this; I can bolster my political position with this schtick." --safari ...

... So There's Nothing Hypocritcal about This: Mitt Romney "criticized President Trump over his alleged comment about immigration. In a tweet on the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr...., Romney wrote, 'The poverty of an aspiring immigrant's nation of origin is as irrelevant as their race. The sentiment attributed to POTUS is inconsistent w/ America's history and antithetical to American values. May our memory of Dr. King buoy our hope for unity, greatness, & 'charity for all.'” ...

... Deplorable. Brad Reed of RawStory: "Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a hero of the civil rights movement, says that white people have now started taunting him by yelling President Donald Trump’s name whenever they see him.... Lewis revealed that he had been on the receiving end of taunts by a white man who spotted him on a flight from Atlanta back to Washington DC. 'I was on a flight from Atlanta, and I’m walking down the aisle and the gentleman said as loud as he could, ‘Trump!'' said Lewis. 'So I didn’t ... say anything.'" --safari

Gene Robinson: "A century ago, there were nativists who railed against Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigration, claiming that unwashed hordes from poor countries were 'mongrelizing' the nation. We now have a president who rejects American ideals of diversity and inclusion in favor of racial purity.... President Trump’s intent could not be more explicit: He wants immigration policies that admit white people and shut the door to black and brown people. That is pure racism — and the Republican Party, which traces its heritage to the Abraham Lincoln era, must decide whether to go along. Silly me. The GOP seems to have made its choice, judging by the weaselly response from most of the Republicans who were in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump made vile and nakedly racist remarks."

Slum Hotelier. Jose Lambiet of the Miami Herald: "A year after the discovery of foods that could sicken people at ... Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, his Winter White House was just cited by inspectors for poor maintenance. Never mind that it costs $200,000 in initiation fees to join the exclusive club, which has two restaurants and a bed-and-breakfast. Fresh state records show the B&B needed emergency repairs in order to pass the latest inspection in November. Trump’s club, located on a beachfront property where the historic main house was built in the 1920s for cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, was cited Nov. 8 for two violations deemed high priority: the lack of smoke detectors capable of alerting the hearing impaired through flashing bright lights; and slabs of concrete missing from a staircase, exposing steel rebar that could cause someone to fall.... The November inspections of the club’s two main kitchens, meanwhile, yielded a total 15 violations."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/jose-lambiet/article194784609.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/jose-lambiet/article194784609.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/jose-lambiet/article194784609.html#storylink=cpy

Candy Man. Josh Dawsey & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: House Majority Leader Kevin "McCarthy, 52, has sought to position himself as Trump’s indispensable man in Congress, an easygoing Republican who gets him — and likes him.... While at Camp David earlier this month, McCarthy took up the task of explaining the obstacles facing Republicans ahead of the midterm elections in November, walking through the financial hurdles and bleak prospects in various races. He urged the president to do everything he could to raise money for vulnerable Republicans. According to two people familiar with the presentation, Trump appreciated McCarthy’s use of pictures and charts rather than a memo." ...

... Steve M.: "... how difficult are the midterms to comprehend? A traditional memo on the midterms would probably be full of bullet points -- that's not good enough for Trump? He needs huge graphs with 64-point bold type before he can take in the fact that he's unpopular in many districts and states where Republican candidates are running for reelection?... Can't anyone with a newspaper subscription or Internet connection understand the state of play and the stakes? We knew Trump was an uninformed simpleton. This suggests just how little he really comprehends." ...

... Benjamin Hart of New York: "Be wary of Trump’s moods; simplify everything as much as possible; reward him with play time. The people who can best manage the president really do treat him like a capricious child. Senator Bob Corker was onto something with that 'adult day care' bit.” Mrs. McC: Again, I think Trump's behavior is an amplification of his life-long personality disorders, the amplification likely caused by a severe decline of mental acuity.

Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast: "At 9:30 on Tuesday morning ... the staff and members of the House intelligence committee ... will question [Steve Bannon].... [T]he interview will almost certainly touch on the substance of that particular meeting, which Trump Jr. had at Trump Tower in June of 2016 with a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner joined that meeting as well.... The widespread Washington speculation is that Bannon may consider using this opportunity to damage Kushner, his former West Wing rival.... It’s all but certain investigators will also have questions for Bannon on the Trump family finances.... And then there’s Cambridge Analytica." --safari

Zachary Basu of Axios: "In 2017, U.S. counterintelligence officials warned Jared Kushner that Chinese-American businesswoman Wendi Deng Murdoch could be using her close relationship to Kushner and Ivanka Trump to push the Chinese agenda, reports the Wall Street Journal.... The warning was part of an ongoing effort to alert Kushner of the risks of dealing with people with foreign connections. Murdoch, who kept her married name after divorcing Newscorp CEO Rupert Murdoch in 2013, has been on counterintelligence radars for years. U.S. officials assessed that she was lobbying for a $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in D.C., which was ultimately deemed a security risk because its 70-foot tower could be used for surveillance.... A representative for Kushner and Ivanka described the warning as a routine senior staff security briefing'....” ...

... Margaret Hartmann of New York: "... the [WSJ] report also mentions the old rumor that Wendi Deng Murdoch had an affair with Tony Blair when she was still married to Rupert Murdoch. While both parties have denied having any romantic involvement, according to the Journal the story caught the attention of intelligence officials.... Michael Wolff, whose book Fire and Fury is full of wild stories about Javanka..., [tweeted], 'Since their divorce, Murdoch has been telling anybody who would listen that Wendi is a Chinese spy--and had been throughout the marriage.'"

NEW. Chris Strohm & Greg Farrell of Bloomberg: "The Justice Department’s decision to give congressional Republicans access to documents about FBI investigations risks exposing sensitive sources or material and poses a critical early test for bureau Director Christopher Wray, current and former U.S. law enforcement officials say...One agent said he’s now concerned that forms identifying FBI informants would be handed over to Congress. If that happened, he said, it would cause him to think carefully about whether to withhold sensitive information from future reports. Another agent said recent statements about the bureau by Trumpand congressional Republicans have made it more difficult for him to get informants to open up...Other officials said they’re worried about an effort by Trump and his allies to oust anyone seen as being disloyal to the president." --safari

Brian Fung of the Washington Post: "Fifty senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.... It has the support of all 49 Democratic senators as well as one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.... The tally leaves supporters just one Republican vote shy of the 51 required to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval, in a legislative gambit aimed at restoring the agency's net neutrality rules. Those rules, which banned Internet providers from blocking or slowing down websites, were swept away in a December vote led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai."

Tom Lutz of the Guardian: "Simone Biles is the latest athlete to say she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Biles, who lit up the Rio 2016 Olympics as she won four gold medals, described the abuse in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday.... Nassar, a longtime US women’s gymnastics team physician who has been accused of sexually abusing more than 140 women and girls under the guise of medical treatment, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a Michigan court last year. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison in a separate case, regarding child abuse images.... Some of Biles’s USA team-mates have said they were abused by Nassar, including gold medalists Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas. Maroney filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics last month, alleging that officials paid her to sign a confidential financial settlement to remain silent on the abuse." --safari

Barbie Nadeau of The Daily Beast: "What is a boy to do when his spiritual mentor, part of a group that claims it is leading young people on the path of Christ, says that God, working in mysterious ways, wants him to fondle and be fondled, to lie naked with grown men, to be sodomized? Too often and for too long in too many parts of the world, those experiences have been kept as guilty secrets.... Such is the situation in Peru and Chile, where Pope Francis is paying a visit this week." --safari

Michelle Goldberg has quite a good column in today's NYT titled "The President & the Porn Star."

AFP in the Guardian: "In 1545 disaster struck Mexico’s Aztec nation when people started coming down with high fevers, headaches and bleeding from the eyes, mouth and nose.... Within five years as many as 15 million people – an estimated 80% of the population – were wiped out...Its cause, however, has been in questioned for nearly 500 years. On Monday scientists swept aside smallpox, measles, mumps, and influenza as likely suspects, identifying a typhoid-like 'enteric fever' for which they found DNA evidence on the teeth of long-dead victims.... European colonisers spread disease as they ventured into the new world, bringing germs local populations had never encountered and lacked immunity against. The 1545 cocoliztli pestilence in what is today Mexico and part of Guatemala came just two decades after a smallpox epidemic killed an estimated 5-8 million people in the immediate wake of the Spanish arrival. A second outbreak from 1576 to 1578 killed half the remaining population." --safari

AND Victoria, in today's Comments, reminds us of when we had a president we could all admire:

Sunday
Jan142018

The Commentariat -- January 15, 2018

Afternoon Update:

"Are You Effing Kidding Me?" ...

*****

The Comments section of Reality Chex still is not working. Don't be fooled! If you try to post a comment, you'll get a reassuring message that your comment has been submitted. But it hasn't! Instead, your comment goes into the ether, lost forevah. For a couple of work-arounds, see my suggestions in yesterday's Commentariat. I'm trying to pressure my host to get on this. You can see the influence I have. --  Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

***** 

Freedom Marchers arrive in Montgomery, Alabama, a few weeks after Alabama state troopers attacked marchers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma at the start of a previously-planned march. This time, President Johnson ordered the Alabama National Guard & U.S. Army troops to protect the marchers.THIS Is How We Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Trump's USA:

Noah Weiland of the New York Times: "A Republican senator who attended a Thursday immigration meeting at the White House forcefully denied on Sunday that President Trump had used the phrase 'shithole countries' in describing Haiti and African nations, saying a Democratic senator’s account of the session was 'a gross misrepresentation.' Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said on ABC’s 'This Week' that Mr. Trump 'did not use that word,' and accused Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, of distorting what the president had said at the meeting, which included more than a half-dozen lawmakers. Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, joined Mr. Perdue later in the morning in questioning Mr. Durbin. 'I didn’t hear that word either,' he said on CBS’s 'Face the Nation.' 'And I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was.'... Ben Marter, a spokesman for Mr. Durbin, immediately attacked their assertions.... The remarks by Mr. Perdue and Mr. Cotton were an escalation from a statement they released on Friday, when they said they did 'not recall the president saying these comments specifically.' They also appear to conflict with the account of Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who was at the Thursday meeting. Mr. Graham told a fellow South Carolina Republican, Senator Tim Scott, that reports in the news media of Mr. Trump’s language were 'basically accurate.'” ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: During the CBS interview, Cotton pushed his new product line "Tom's Excellent Cotton Ball Sound Mufflers." Mr. Perdue reminded "This Week" listeners that "Perdue's Chicken Wax Silencer" was available on the Home Shopping Network. Cotton said he used his own product "all the time for events where anybody from the Democrat party shows up." Perdue said his "Chick Wax Silencer" has been saving marriages for decades. "If you can't hear what she's sayin', you're not gonna get mad at 'er." ...

     ... The NYT story has been updated, with Thomas Kaplan as the lead reporter. The new lede & detail:

"After three days of denunciations from around the world, President Trump declared that he is 'not a racist' on Sunday, even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the capital, including efforts to protect young undocumented immigrants and avert a government shutdown. Mr. Trump also insisted that he had not made the inflammatory comments in a White House meeting on Thursday, part of a newly aggressive defense and a counterattack on Democrats by the president and his allies. But his remarks on Sunday were a departure from the White House’s initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.... 'I’m not a racist,' Mr. Trump said on Sunday night as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, who attended the meeting last week and has not spoken publicly about it. 'I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.' His comments, while extraordinary coming from a president of the United States, echoed reassurances Mr. Trump has made several times before.” ...

... Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "With the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants in the balance, relations between key GOP and Democratic lawmakers turned poisonous Sunday over disagreement about President Trump’s use of a vulgarity to describe poor countries last week during an Oval Office meeting.... The accusations prompted Democrats to blast the GOP senators for impugning a colleague’s integrity, while also slamming Trump and his remarks as unabashedly racist.... The White House did not dispute the remarks when The Washington Post first reported them Thursday. Trump offered a vague denial in a Friday tweet.... 'To impugn [Durbin’s] integrity is disgraceful,' [Sen. Chuck] Schumer [D-N.Y.] said on Twitter.... Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on 'This Week' that he had spoken to meeting participants immediately afterward — before The Post reported Trump’s use of the vulgar term. 'They said those words were used before those words went public,' Flake said." ...

     ... DeBonis's story also has been updated, with Anne Gearan sharing the byline. Both the NYT & WashPo accounts are worth reading.

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie. Trump's latest denial on Shitholegate is typical Trump, & it's appalling. First, he says something horrible and/or false. Then he can't quite remember what he said and/or issues a weasely half-denial. Then he flat-out denies it. In this case, his enablers changed their story, giving Trump a lifeline. A very similar pattern exhibits itself in the contemporaneous Kim Jong-un claim. First, Trump makes a false claim. Then the interviewer publishes a tape-recording, proving Trump & his enablers are wrong. Then some wingers claim he said something different from what the tape proves he did say. Then he echoes the wingers' claim, sharply denying he said what he said. ...

... ** "Shithouse" or "Shithole"? The Great Washington Debate:

     ... First, there's this from Benjamin Hart of New York: "National Review’s Rich Lowry got more specific on This Week, telling [George] Stephanopoulos that his sources told him Trump used the word 'shithouse,' not 'shithole' — which does not seem like a world of semantic difference." ...

     ... Also this tweet from Josh Dawsey Sunday at 8:54 pm ET of the Washington Post (i.e., hours before Trump issued his denial: "White House official told me tonight there is debate internally on whether Trump said 'shithole' or 'shithouse.' Perdue and Cotton seem to have heard latter, this person said, and are using to deny." Mrs. McC: So that's the "gross misrepresentation" Durbin made? -- Not "shithole" but "shithouse"? Yeah, shame on you, Dick Durbin. Time for reporters to interview Perdue & Cotton. ...

      ... Mrs. McC: On Thursday, so before Dick Durbin spoke on the record Friday, I heard a confederate CNN guest (I don't know who he was, but I don't think it was Lowry) make the same "distinction": "I have it on good authority," this guy said, "that the President said 'shithouse,' not 'shithole.'" Certainly Lowry's "sources" & the CNN guest's "authority" were Republicans. ...

... Annals of Journalism & "Journalism," Ctd. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: "... the profanity used by the president to describe poor countries โ€Š— 'shithole,' to be precise โ€Š—โ€Š still managed to [shock]. And news organizations had to grapple with whether and how prominently to use his words. But the real issue wasn’t the language at all, disgusting as it was. What mattered much more was what Trump’s words really meant, and what the responsibilities of journalists were in conveying that meaning in some sensible way. In the first hours of coverage, some rose to the challenge well.... Predictably, though, Trump’s regular media defenders were responding in two appalling ways. First, they did it by noting that countries like Haiti are indeed poor and troubled, implying that the president was therefore right to disparage them.... And second, they did it by positing that Trump’s racism will play well with his base, which somehow makes it acceptable." ...

... ** Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times: "On the day before Martin Luther King’s Birthday, African-American churchgoers gathered as they always do, to pray, give thanks and reflect on the state of race in America. But after a disheartening week and an even more disheartening year, black Americans interviewed on Sunday said they were struggling to comprehend what was happening in a country that so recently had an African-American president.... They said they saw America slipping into an earlier, uglier version of itself. And when Mr. Trump used crude words to describe Haiti and African countries in an immigration discussion, they said, he was voicing what many Americans were thinking, even if it was something they no longer felt comfortable saying: America prefers white people."...

...Margaret Hartmann of New York: "While forcing a shutdown over the fate of the Dreamers had once seemed like a risky strategy for Democrats, the uproar over Trump’s remark makes it easier for them to blame the situation on the unreasonable demands of a demonstrably racist president. But over the weekend,Republicans came up with a plan: 1) Insist that despite what you might have heard, Trump wouldn’t say something so racist. 2) Complain that they are at the mercy of the Democratic minority, whose members are hell-bent on shutting down the government...Despite efforts by Cotton and other Republicans to spin the situation, there’s one person who decided to end DACA, sabotaged efforts to fix it, was rebuked by the courts, and probably can’t go another week without saying something offensive – and he’s not a Democrat." --safari...

...The U.S., via KKK Donald, is playing diplomatic fire with the entire African continent. --safari

...Judd Legum of ThinkProgress: "The African Union called Trump’s comments “outrageous, racist and xenophobic” and demanded a “retraction and apology.” The group also said it was 'concerned at the continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of color.' The entire communiqué was published online by Samantha Power, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, who said it was completely unprecedented...Experts believe Trump has permanently damaged the United States standing in the world. 'I don’t think this will just blow over. I think it fundamentally poisons the relationship with numerous countries,' Peter Lewis, director of African Studies at Johns Hopkins University" --safari

Mrs. McCrabbie: I got to wondering how Fox "News" was celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day & this is the first thing that popped up on the Googles -- an essay about how liberals were "politicizing" the day. "Reporters at the White House on Thursday didn’t care to treat MLK Day with reverence, either. I found it telling that even after Dr. King’s nephew gave a powerful speech about his uncle’s legacy, not a single reporter made much of what he said. Instead, the entire event centered around President Trump’s controversial remarks about immigration." Hunt is a 24-year-old Army officer who thinks White House reporters, instead of asking questions about Trump's "shithole" remark should be having a round table about the speech by King's nephew or maybe asking Mrs. Huckleberry how Trump is like King. And that, folks, is how we celebrate Dr. King on Fox "News."

Wall Street Journal Joins "Fake News" Club. Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Trump on Sunday morning ratcheted up a dispute with The Wall Street Journal, accusing the newspaper of purposely misquoting him as saying in an interview that he has a good relationship with the leader of North Korea. In two tweets from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., the president applied a familiar denigrating term — 'fake news' — to a Journal report on Thursday that said Mr. Trump had boasted during an interview: 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised. Mr. Trump insisted that he had actually started his sentence with the contraction 'I’d,' not 'I,' which would change the meaning from a surprising boast of an existing relationship into a prediction that he could have a good relationship with the dictator if he wanted it. 'The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them 'I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un” (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters...' '...and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!'... [Sarah] Sanders wrote on Twitter that the White House had first requested a correction from The Journal on Friday morning, the day after the interview.” Includes recording. See also links to related stories in yesterday's Commentariat. ...

... Say, this might be a good place to find out what-all else Jeff Flake is doing these days:

... Kasie Hunt & Kendall Breitman of NBC News: "Sen. Jeff Flake is planning to slam ... Donald Trump's attacks on the press on the Senate floor this week in a speech that will compare the president's use of the term 'enemy of the people' to describe the media to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. 'When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn't suit him "fake news," it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press,' Flake, R-Ariz., will say, according to excerpts of the speech provided to NBC News.... '... so fraught with malice was the phrase "enemy of the people," that even (later Soviet leader) Nikita Khrushchev forbad its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin to for the purpose of "annihilating such individuals" who disagreed with the supreme leader,' Flake will say.... The speech from one of Trump's fiercest Republican critics comes as the president has promoted his 'Fake News Awards' on Twitter, saying that the awards, expected to be on Wednesday, will go to 'the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media.'"

Mike DeBonis: "Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s former campaign manager, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he will give testimony this week to a House committee probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Lewandowski said on WABC-AM radio in New York that he expects to appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the campaign. He told host Rita Crosby that he has not been contacted by Justice Department investigators — led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — who are conducting a parallel investigation."

Amy Wang of the Washington Post on how Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency sent out a false alarm of an incoming missile. "Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: 'Test missile alert' and 'Missile alert.' He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert.... On Sunday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai ... seemed to cast blame on state-level officials for the error." But it's not that simple. Although an employee of Hawaii's agency made the mistake, state agencies "are a partnership of the FCC, FEMA and the wireless industry...' the state agency had standing permission through FEMA to use civil warning systems to send out the missile alert — but not to send out a subsequent false alarm alert..., [according to a spokesman for Hawaii's agency.... 'We had to double back and work with FEMA [to craft and approve the false alarm alert] and that’s what took time,' [he] said.... Trump ... issued no statements about the incident.... Past presidents have often weighed in to reassure the public at times of stress or threat." ...  

     ... Mrs. McC: Sure, but the POTUS* was busy playing a top-secret golf game. Besides, Hawaii's voters gave Clinton more than twice as many votes in the 2016 election as they did Trump, so screw Hawaii. Trump can't remember much, but the 2016 results are encrypted in his small brain. He's not going to let a slight go unpunished. ...

... Max Fisher of the New York Times: "Nuclear experts are warning, using some of their most urgent language since President Trump took office, that Hawaii’s false alarm, in which state agencies alerted locals to a nonexistent missile attack, underscores a growing risk of unintended nuclear war with North Korea." Fisher cites Russia's 1983 downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 to show how mistakes & bad relations between nuclear-armed foes -- in this case the Soviet Union & the U.S. -- could lead to nuclear war. "If similar misunderstandings seem implausible today, consider that an initial White House statement called Hawaii’s alert an exercise — though state officials say it was operator error. Consider that 38 minutes elapsed before emergency systems sent a second message announcing the mistake. If even Washington was misreading events, the confusion in Pyongyang must have been far greater." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I continue to think that a cruel, ignorant bully with dementia & the nuclear football is the greatest threat to national security since the Cold War. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are bent on risking the lives of every American so they can squeeze more money out of the poor & middle class. Talk about depraved indifference...

...Juan Cole: "A false alert was sent out by the state of Hawaii on Saturday to residents’ cell phones warning of an incoming North Korean nuclear strike, as Mary Papunfuss of Huffpost explains...But here’s the thing. The US military knew all along that there was no such threat. Nobody from the Pentagon tried to reassure the public. And, President Trump was on his West Palm Beach golf course and got the notice that it was a false alarm. He just went on playing golf. Then he wrapped up the game. He never tweeted any reassurance to the people of Hawaii. He let them twist in the wind...But he is president of all the state residents, too, and he had knowledge that could have benefited his co-citizens and did nothing." --safari

Matthew Lee & Julie Pace of the AP: "The Trump administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, cutting the year’s first contribution by more than half or perhaps entirely, and making additional donations contingent on major changes to the organization, according to U.S. officials.... Donald Trump hasn’t made a final decision.... The plan to withhold some of the money is backed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who offered it as a compromise to demands for more drastic measures by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.... Haley wants a complete cutoff in U.S. money until the Palestinians resume peace talks with Israel that have been frozen for years.... Some officials, including Israelis, warn that it might push people closer to the militant Hamas movement, which controls Gaza." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If you don't come to the table, kids, & eat your crow potpie, Daddy is going to cut off your allowance.

Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times (Jan. 13): "Iranian officials, responding to President Trump’s call to revise the nuclear agreement, said they would reject any changes to the 2015 deal, saying it was 'not renegotiable.' Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wrote on Saturday in a message on Twitter that the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers was 'a solid multilateral agreement' that President Trump was 'maliciously violating.'”

Kate Hodal of the Guardian: "Women are more likely than men to survive in times of famine and epidemics, research has found. While it has long been known that women have a higher life expectancy than men in general, analysis of historical records stretching back 250 years shows that women have, for example, outlived men on slave plantations in Trinidad, during famines in Sweden and through various measles outbreaks in Iceland. Even when mortality was very high for both sexes, women still outlived men, on average, by six months to four years, according to the report (pdf) by Duke University in North Carolina." --safari

** Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker: "Usually, there’s a tension between the [Interior] department’s mandates — to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under [Secretary Ryan] Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.... Zinke is, in many ways, a typical Trump appointee. A lack of interest in the public interest is, these days, pretty much a precondition for running a federal agency.... In the decades to come, one can hope that many of the Trump Administration’s mistakes — on tax policy, say, or trade — will be rectified. But the destruction of the country’s last unspoiled places is a loss that can never be reversed."

Awww. A Sweet News Story, for Once. Avi Selk of the Washington Post: On his first day of tweeting, a young man who goes by the Twitter name @whoisgarylee got more likes than any of Trump's tweets Sunday. Oh, and he used to have a low-level job in the Obama White House.

Saturday
Jan132018

The Commentariat -- January 14, 2018

 

The Comments section of Reality Chex still is not working. It just sends your comments into the ether. I discovered a semi-solution that contributor MAG tested, and it works. Like MAG, you too can become a Reality Chex member! If you've commented here before & want to submit a comment before the Comments submissions function gets fixed -- e-mail me at constantweader@gmail.com. Send me a login ID & password (I think they have to be at least 6 characters long), & I'll tell you how you can exercise the (I hope temporary) exclusive privilege of being a Reality Chex member. If you choose to do so, PLEASE don't give me a log-in or password you currently use anywhere else. I don't want to be the No. 1 suspect when some crook uses your Macy's card. When you're logged in, your comments should take -- at least for now. (But of course save them somewhere in case it doesn't work, as you always should before they appear.)

If you'd rather just e-mail your comments to me, that's okay, too. The downside is that I will be IDed as the writer (tho of course I'll credit you). BTW, two contributors who already have log-ins also can comment while they're logged in. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

     ... UPDATE: The Bad News: The host won't be able to fix this right away. The Good News: It's a system-wide problem, so they're likely working on it.

*****

Adam Nagouney, et al., of the New York Times: "An early-morning emergency alert mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea. The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked nearly 40 minutes after it was issued, prompting confusion over why it was released — and why it took so long to rescind. State officials and residents of a normally tranquil part of the Pacific, as well as tourists swept up in the panic, immediately expressed outrage. 'The public must have confidence in our emergency alert system,” the governor, David Y. Ige, said. 'I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.'” An earlier version of this story was linked yesterday.) ...

... Mrs. McC BTW: At least six hours after the false alarm, not a word from Trump. He has been golfing in Florida. He did take time out to tweet this, tho: "So much Fake News is being reported. They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!" Thanks, Donald, for reassuring the nation about the Hawaii media scare. ...

... New York Times Editors: "The authorities quickly announced that the alert was a mistake. But it made tangible the growing fears that after decades of leaders trying to more safely control the world’s nuclear arsenals, President Trump has increased the possibility of those weapons being used. At a time when many are questioning whether Mr. Trump ought to be allowed anywhere near the nuclear 'button,' he is moving ahead with plans to develop new nuclear weapons and expanding the circumstances in which they’d be used. Such actions break with years of American nuclear policy. They also make it harder to persuade other nations to curb their nuclear ambitions or forgo them entirely." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If we had a responsible Congress, the scare in Hawaii would shake every member into action working to reduce the dangers Trump presents. Instead quite a number of Republicans are knocking themselves out to exacerbate those dangers.

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: This might be all the news you need to know this week:

John Bowden of the Hill: "President Trump is responding to the widespread condemnation of his remarks about immigrants from shithole countries' with a two-word tweet: 'America First!' Trump offered the tweet at 8:14 a.m. with little other comment. And while the tweet didn't cite the criticism of his reported comments at a meeting with lawmakers in the White House, it was hard to see the words as anything but a response to that controversy." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) 

Vivian Yee of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump’s remarks [about 'shithole countries'] were 'sadly reminiscent of the language used by nativists and racists in the early 20th century against Eastern and Southern Europeans and Asians,' said Mae Ngai, an immigration historian at Columbia University. 'Obviously he likes Norwegians because they are white,' she added. 'But he knows nothing about Norway, a country with single-payer universal health care and free college education. Why would anyone want to leave Norway for the U.S.?... [In 1924,] Congress passed an immigration overhaul that set strict quotas designed to encourage immigrants from Western Europe, block all but a few from Southern and Eastern Europe and bar altogether those from Asia. Overall immigration levels were slashed. The racial theories at play in the legislation, wrote the immigration historian Roger Daniels, would later become the first draft of 'the official ideology of Nazi Germany.'” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: There is a short, direct line from the proto-Nazi 1924 act to Donald Trump's "shithole" remark. In 1927, police detained Donald's father Fred for refusing to leave a Klan parade in Queens, according to Philip Bump of the Washington Post. Mike Pearl of Vice found evidence that Fred was wearing a KKK outfit when arrested. The sentiments of the father are visited on the son. However, the 1927 incident is one part of the Trump family legacy that Donald denies: "He was never there! It never happened. Never took place," Donald Trump said of his father's detention. Bump links Donald's fake pretense that he had no idea who David Duke was to Fred's racism. (Both linked reports are good reads.) ...

... Josh Marshall: "Trumpism is ethnic-nationalism, rightist ethnic nationalism, specifically white ethnic nationalism.... The heart of Trumpism has always been fueled by panic over the decline of white privilege and a rapidly changing demography in which whites are no longer the overwhelming majority of Americans and in a few decades likely won’t be a majority at all.... Trump administration policy means to and is in the process of, implementing the 'shithole' mindset which is to say get rid of as many 'outsiders' as we can and keep new ones from coming in." --safari ...

... Jacqueline Thomsen of The Hill: "The word 'shithole' was projected onto President Trump's D.C. hotel Saturday. Video shows the word, along with the 'poop' emoji, being projected onto the property. 'Pay Trump bribes here' 'emoluments welcome,' and 'we are all responsible to stand up and end white supremacy' were also projected onto the building." --safari ...

... German Lopez of Vox: "President Donald Trump reportedly couldn’t avoid stereotyping black people during a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. He had asked members of the Congressional Black Caucus in a March meeting, Vivian Salama reported for NBC News on Friday, if they personally knew Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who is black. He was surprised when none of the attendees did, two meeting attendees told Salama.... In the same meeting, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus told Trump that welfare cuts would hurt her constituents, 'not all of whom are black.' Trump then reportedly responded, 'Really? Then what are they?'...The NBC News report comes a day after reports of Trump’s racist remarks about Haiti and African countries.... And this is only some of the news from the past few days." --safari ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is similar Trump's press conference where he asked reporter April Ryan to arrange a meeting for him with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. He assumes there's a clique of powerful Washington black people who hang out & do black stuff together. He also assumes that black people would be grateful for the privilege of handling menial tasks for him (for free!), so getting a White House reporter to do his secretary's secretary's secretary (paid) work seems reasonable.

... Robert Mackey of The Intercept: "After bizarrely offering his 'congratulations' to the late Martin Luther King Jr. at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump was asked for the first time by reporters to explain why he referred to Haiti and some African nations as 'shithole countries,'...[Journalist AprilRyan then cut to the point, asking Trump the question that should be repeated every day from now until the end of his term: 'Mr. President, are you a racist?'... as reporters in the Netherlands demonstrated this week [linked below], asking politicians who make offensive statements to account for their remarks can be a public service, by at least attaching some sort of social embarrassment to making such comments." --safari

Trump Silenced Another Porn Star. Marlow Stern & Aurora Snow of the Daily Beast: "The Daily Beast was informed late Friday that porn star Jessica Drake is not allowed to discuss President Donald J. Trump on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed barring her from any such talk. NDAs are often deployed as part of settlements to silence accusers. 'Jessica’s NDA blankets any and every mention of Trump, so she’s legally unable to comment,' her publicist informed The Daily Beast. 'Jessica signed a non-disclosure agreement after her allegations of misconduct, and she can’t do as much as peep his name publicly.'... n late October 2016, Drake became the 14th woman to accuse then-candidate Trump of sexual misconduct. At a public press conference, Drake, flanked by her attorney Gloria Allred, claimed that after she met Trump in July 2006 at Nevada’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship..., he made a pass at her. Trump’s wife, Melania, had recently given birth to their son Barron at the time.” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Maybe you were doubting the "unverified" "golden rain" memo in Christopher Steele's dossier. Maybe you find it pretty plausible now.

Michael Savage & Toby Helm of the Guardian: "Donald Trump’s deteriorating relationship with Britain is likely to kill off any lingering cabinet hopes of a swift post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, a former British ambassador to Washington has warned. Sir Nigel Sheinwald said that a series of controversial interventions by the US president in British issues meant that the remote prospect of a quick transatlantic deal, heralded by pro-Brexit cabinet members, should now be 'put out of our minds' for good. His intervention comes as a new poll highlights the British public’s opposition to Trump in the wake of his decision to cancel a trip to the UK, with fewer than a fifth of voters (18%) believing he is a friend of Britain." --safari

Jacqueline Thomsen of The Hill: "President Donald Trump retweeted a far-right figure on Saturday night. Trump retweeted Jack Posobiec, who is well-known for promoting debunked 'alt-right' conspiracy theories. 'Dick Durbin called Trump racist for wanting to end chain migration. Here's a video of Dick Durbin calling for an end to chain migration,' the tweet read. The brief clip is a cut from a 30-minute September 14, 2010 Senate floor speech by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) arguing in favor of approving the Dream Act, not calling for an end to chain migration." --safari

Robert Litt, in Lawfare, explains how ignorant & irresponsible it was of Donald Trump to accuse an FBI agent of treason. (If you're unsure of what constitutes "treason," Litt gives an excellent -- and fairly short -- explanation.

Kevin Drum: "In his recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, President Trump said 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.' It was certainly a peculiar thing to say. Today, instead of explaining it, the ever shameless Sarah Huckabee Sanders simply insisted [in a tweet embedding a picture of a denial by somebody] that the Journal was lying.... Unsurprisingly, it turns out it’s Sanders who is lying." Drum embeds a WSJ audio of Trump saying exactly what the WSJ reported. "Any normal White House would have simply explained that Trump misspoke slightly and meant to say 'I’d.' Case closed. But this White House is the first in history to routinely deny the documentary evidence of audio and video.... It helps them keep up their faux war with the media, and I guess that’s all that matters."

Matt Stevens of the New York Times: "The federal government said on Saturday that it would resume accepting renewal requests for a program that shields from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children. In a statement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said that 'until further notice,' the Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, 'will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded' in September, when President Trump moved to end it. The decision came after a federal judge in California issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday ordering the Trump administration to resume the DACA program.... But officials also said they were not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under DACA.... On Sunday morning, Mr. Trump blamed Democrats for preventing progress on a legislative deal that would permanently legalize the young immigrants and give them an eventual path to citizenship...."

Luke Barnes of ThinkProgress: "The newly-appointed U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has finally admitted that he was wrong to say that there were 'no-go' zones in the country where Muslim youths were burning politicians and cars.... When interviewed last month at the U.S. Capitol by the Dutch news program Nieuwsuur, Hoekstra completely denied making the remarks, calling it 'fake news' — despite his entire speech being captured on video.... On Friday, however, Hoekstra finally admitted defeat, telling the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he had made the remarks, that he was 'shocked' by them and that they were factually incorrect." --safari: If only MSM could be so brave.

The Best People, Ctd. Robert O'Harrow of the Washington Post: Twenty-four-year-old Trump appointee Taylor Weyeneth is deputy chief of staff "at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House office responsible for coordinating the federal government’s multibillion dollar anti-drug initiatives...." Since there is no chief of staff, Weyeneth has assumed many of the chief of staff's duties. "Weyeneth’s only professional experience after college and before becoming an appointee was working on Trump’s presidential campaign.... Current and former ONDCP officials who have served under Democratic and Republican presidents said in interviews that the turmoil, including the elevation of Weyeneth, hinders efforts to rally the government at a time when the nation is going through the worst opioid crisis in its history." Weyeneth has lied on his résumés, thrice claiming an MA from Fordham, although he has not completed his degree requirements. On the résumés, he also claimed various hours of volunteer work at a monastery that cannot confirm his work there. "When he was in high school, Weyeneth was 'Director of Production' for Nature’s Chemistry, a family firm in Skaneateles, N.Y., that specialized in processing chia seeds and other health products. [While Weyeneth] held that job,] the firm was secretly processing illegal steroids from China as part of a conspiracy..., federal court records show. Weyeneth’s stepfather, Matthew Greacen, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge last year.... Weyeneth was not charged." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So the kid who is unofficially running the administration's anti-drug campaign has no professional experience except in high school he was really close to an illegal drug-manufacturing operation. He claims he knows nothing about the steroid stuff even though he was directing the production. Oh, and this from O'Harrow's report: "In October, Trump’s nominee to lead the office, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), withdrew from consideration after a joint investigation by The Post and 60 Minutes found he had sponsored legislation favoring opioid makers and curbing the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate abuses." The only attention Trump is giving to illegal drug containment is to reducing competition from south of the border (see "beautiful wall" & "they bring drugs.") And you thought Trump didn't have a strategy.

** Jamie Doward of the Guardian: "The introduction of medical marijuana laws has led to a sharp reduction in violent crime in US states that border Mexico, according to new research. According to the study ... when a state on the Mexican border legalised medical use of the drug, violent crime fell by 13% on average. Most of the marijuana consumed in the US originates in Mexico, where seven major cartels control the illicit drug trade.... The authors claim their study provides new insights into methods to reduce violent crime related to drug trafficking. But its publication comes as the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is rescinding the Obama-era policy that ushered in the medical marijuana laws." --safari

David Rogers of Politico: "For the first time in their lives, millions of middle-class donors will be effectively shut out from claiming any charitable deduction under the GOP’s new tax law. At the same time, the wealthy will get a still larger share of the tax benefit, even when sacrificing a smaller share of their income. Indeed, the few concessions by tax writers to promote charitable giving are aimed at the very high end of the income scale. The end result is a law that does more to promote gifts to pay for a grandchild’s private schooling than it does to encourage the same grandparents to go outside their family and give to the local Boys & Girls Club."

"Capitalism is Awesome", Ctd. David Dayen of The Intercept: "The insurance firm Aflac has exploited workers, manipulated its accounting, and deceived shareholders and customers, according to nine former employees. This article is based on interviews with multiple current and former employees, as well as three previously unreported lawsuits. The allegations contained in the lawsuits involve nearly every aspect of Aflac’s business and have already led to a series of investigations by state and federal regulators." --safari

Neo-Nazi Trolls. Ben Collins of The Daily Beast: "In the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, MartinLutherKing.org, a website run by the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront that calls King a 'sexual deviant' with an 'uncontrollable lust and propensity for violence,' was a top result for searches of 'Martin Luther King' on Google. The site’s placement on the first page of results for King’s name forces results with truthful content or historical documents off the first page in favor of racist propaganda." --safari...

     ... safari: The other day I tried to find a clip on Youtube of Jim Acosta on CNN calling out Trump as a racist. The first few pages were all Confederate propaganda praising their Dear Leader or talking shit on Mr. Acosta. The Right's war on information has gamed all the search engines with their disinformation. Putin would be proud.

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: According to President Obama in his interview with David Letterman, it's even worse than that. Google knows what sites you call up, so & when you search for a particular political topic, its algorithm chooses the "news" you are likely to prefer. So if a cofederate & I Google "Trump tax reform analysis," the top results a conservative will get might be the idiot Gateway Pundit, while I might get Paul Krugman. Obama suggests that one of the reasons the country is becoming increasingly partisan is this kind of search engine filtering. ...

... Julia Manchester of the Hill has more on President Obama's remarks re: partisan news media. ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Watched David Letterman's interview of President Obama. If you have access to Netflix, and unless you don't especially like Obama, you'll be doing yourself a favor to watch it. Nobody is perfect, but the U.S. has not had a better president in my lifetime (which is long!) than Obama. Obvious why Trumpelthinskin hates him. Trump is suffering from acute Obama Derangement Syndrome; Trump is tied in knots of jealousy. Obama is everything, everything Trump is not. That interview is one more jarring reminder of how far down we have come.

A few Sunday Laughs. --safari

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Senate Race

Sorry, But This Is Stupid. of the Washington Post: "Chelsea E. Manning, the transgender former Army private who was convicted of passing sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, is seeking to run for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, according to federal election filings. Manning would be challenging Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin, who is in his second term in the Senate and is up for reelection in November. Cardin is Maryland’s senior senator and is considered an overwhelming favorite to win a third term." Mrs. McC: I suppose you could argue that Manning has plenty of government experience.

Beyond the Beltway

Expensive Poor-shaming for Fun. Judd Legum of ThinkProgress: "In 2015, West Virginia passed legislation requiring some applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to submit to drug testing. The state estimated that over the first year, the program would identify 390 people as drug users at a cost of $50,000. The program has now been in place for three months and just four people, less than one-half of a percent of all applicants, tested positive. In the general population, the rate of drug use is 9.4%.... West Virginia’s experience mirrors those of other states who have implemented similar programs." --safari