The Wires

The Los Angeles Times has the full list of Oscar nominees here.

NBC Sports: "Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez, and Mike Mussina have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America as part of the 2019 class. The results were just announced on MLB Network. Rivera received votes from every single writer who submitted a ballot, becoming the first player ever to be unanimously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Halladay and Edgar Martínez each received 85.4 percent of the vote and Mussina appeared on 76.7 percent of ballots. Rivera, 49, spent all 19 of his seasons in the majors with the Yankees. He was initially used as a starter, but quickly moved to the bullpen, becoming the greatest closer of all-time. He racked up 652 saves — the most in baseball history — during the regular season along with a 2.21 ERA anda 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings. He saved his best work for the postseason. Rivera appeared in 96 postseason games, saving 42 saves in 47 opportunities with a 0.70 ERA and a 110/21 K/BB ratio in 141 innings. Rivera won five championships, five Rolaids Relief Awards, as well as MVP awards in the World Series, ALCS, and All-Star Game. He made the AL All-Star team 13 times."

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If you're a shut-out Trump Shutdown victim tooling around the Internets with nothing to do today, let's assume that some day some time, Trump will de-furlough you and you can get back to work enthusiastically serving the American people in your appointed capacity. In case Trump has rendered you a bit rusty in the area of job skills, Conan here provides some useful tools that may help you get to work on time, even on casual Friday:

ABC News: "Breathtaking drone video of a pod of friendly, playful dolphins joining a surfer as he took to the waves near the coast of Ventura, California, is making the rounds on social media and bringing smiles -- and wow's -- to viewers. ABC station KABC-TV's meteorologist Kimi Evans met the drone's owner Craig Badger, who shared the footage, and spoke to surfer Alden Blair.... The video has been seen more than 3 million times on social media." ...

NBC Suits Are Such Geniuses. New York Times: "After a drawn-out negotiation period, NBC and Megyn Kelly have formally agreed to part ways. The network and the onetime cable news star reached a final agreement on Friday, nearly three months after she wondered aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface for Halloween. NBC and a representative for Ms. Kelly declined to reveal the details of the exit package. But according to two people familiar with the negotiations, Ms. Kelly was paid the outstanding balance on her contract, a figure that amounts to roughly $30 million. At the time of the separation, Ms. Kelly was in the middle of a three-year, $69 million contract with the network."

New York Times: "The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the novelist MacKenzie Bezos announced on Twitter Wednesday that they are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. In a statement posted on Mr. Bezos’s Twitter account, the couple said they had been separated for a long period of time, but planned to remain involved as 'parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects.' According to a 1999 profile in Wired, the two met when they both worked at D.E. Shaw, a New York-based hedge fund, before moving in 1994 to Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. They have four children.... As is the case in any celebrity split, the financial details of the divorce are sure to be complicated despite the couple’s vow to “remain cherished friends.” According to Forbes, which publishes an annual list of billionaires, his net worth is estimated at $137 billion and he is the richest man in the world. While much of his wealth is tied up in Amazon stock, Mr. Bezos, 54, the company’s chief executive, is also the owner of several companies, including The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a space travel company."

Here's a list of the Golden Globe winners, via Market Watch. CNN has posted highlights on a liveblog & currently has a whole buncha links to related stories on CNN Entertainment. And if you're in it for the red carpet, there's this:

New York Times : "Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved, 4,400-year-old tomb of a royal priest and his family in Egypt, in a 'one of a kind' find, the Egyptian authorities announced on Saturday. The tomb was unearthed in Saqqara, a city south of Cairo and a vast necropolis from ancient Egypt. The discovery dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt, according to Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s minister of antiquities. The fifth dynasty governed for less than two centuries, from 2,500 B.C. to about 2,350 B.C., according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tomb had remained untouched, said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s supreme council of antiquities, according to Reuters."

"The Christmas Comet Returneth." New York Times: "Look into the night sky on Sunday [December 16] and you just might see a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. That’s because a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries, right on the heels of this year’s most stunning meteor shower. 'The fuzziness is just because it’s a ball of gas basically,' Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, said on Saturday morning.... 'You’ve got a one-kilometer solid nucleus in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles.' The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the 'Christmas comet,' was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said.”

By George O'Keefe or somebody.Maybe the Best Gift Would Be a Spell-Check App. Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Way back in November (so Slate has had plenty of time to make corrections), someone named Angela Serratore (hope I spelled that right), wrote a post for Slate, which is featured on its main page now, suggesting gifts from small museum shops. That's a nice thought, but it would have been even nicer if the story had not misspelled Georgia O'Keeffe three times: twice as "Georgia O'Keefe" & once as "George O'Keefe." But never "Georgia O'Keeffe."

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

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

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

Monday
Feb112019

The Commentariat -- February 12, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Peter Baker & Glenn Thrush of the New York Times: "President Trump declared on Tuesday that he was 'not happy' about the bipartisan border security compromise negotiated by congressional leaders but would not say whether he would sign it or veto it before another government shutdown hits at midnight Friday.... But he said he thinks he can still add to the measure and avoid another government shutdown. 'I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,' he said. 'If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault.' He added, 'I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us.'... The president said he would have a meeting later on the measure.... Republican leaders, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, have accepted the agreement as the best they can get at this point to avoid another government shutdown by a Friday deadline. But conservative figures have protested loudly.... The agreement includes a provision that could give the Trump administration broad discretion to increase the number of slots to shelter detained migrants, a win for Republicans that could ease the sting of Mr. Trump’s failure to secure full funding for his border wall.” ...

     ... The Times has a graphic -- with explanations -- of what wall exists, what Trump proposed, what Congress has approved. ...

... "The Art of the Deal." Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "The deal as laid out does include some border fencing — $1.375 billion worth, or 55 miles. That’s well shy of the $5.7 billion and 200 miles in wall funding he demanded that led to the shutdown, but it’s not nothing. Trump could argue that he got something out of the 35-day government closure. But only if you ignore two very important things. One is that this compromise includes a concession to Democrats, too: a reduction in the number of detention beds.... But the bigger issue is this: The amount of funding is actually shy of the original deal Republicans and Democrats reached last year that Trump rejected. At that time, the spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security included $1.6 billion for 65 miles of fencing, both slightly more than the current tentative deal. This was the deal on the table (it passed 26 to 5 in the Senate Appropriations Committee in June) when Trump initially began demanding $5 billion for his wall. He’s now getting slightly less than that $1.6 billion while also making a concession to Democrats on detention beds." ...

... Greg Sargent: The "$1.375 billion for new bollard fencing in targeted areas ... [is] nothing like Trump’s wall — it’s limited to the kind of fencing that has already been built for years — and it’s substantially short of the $5.7 billion Trump wants. It’s nothing remotely close to the wall that haunts the imagination of the president and his rally crowds. The $1.375 billion is slightly less than what Democrats had previously offered him. It can’t even be credibly sold as a down payment on the wall.... The fake crisis that Trump invented — and with it, his broader immigration vision — is getting repudiated. The only question is whether Trump will agree to the surrender Republicans are trying to negotiate for him."

Ken Dilanian of NBC News: "After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee. But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media. 'If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don't have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,' said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.... The series of contacts between Trump's associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say."

So we have, let's say, 35,000 people tonight," the president said. "And he has 200 people, 300 people. Not too good. -- Donald Trump, lying of the size of rallies in which he & Beto O'Rourke participatted in in El Paso last night ...

Also too, the only people who showed up for President Obama's first inauguration were officials forced to be there under Constitutional requirements.

... Rebecca Morin of Politico: "The El Paso Fire Department late Monday denied ... Donald Trump's claim that officials gave him special permission to pack more people in to his rally than the facility allowed.... 'Now the arena holds 8,000. And thank you, Fire Department. They got in about 10,000. Thank you, Fire Department. Appreciate it.'... Fire Department spokesman Enrique Aguilar told the El Paso Times on Monday that Trump did not receive permission to exceed the limit and that there were 6,500 people inside the building during the president's rally. The coliseum holds about 6,500 people. There were thousands more watching Trump's speech on big screens outside the facility.... The president also falsely claimed on Monday night that former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is considering a 2020 presidential run, only had a couple hundred people attend his counter-rally in El Paso.... Estimates from O'Rourke's anti-border wall protest show that 7,000 to 8,000 people attended his rally. Some other reports put attendance as high as 10,000 to 15,000."

Alan Feuer of the New York Times: "The Mexican crime lord known as El Chapo was convicted on Tuesday after a three-month drug trial in New York that exposed the inner workings of his sprawling cartel, which over decades shipped tons of drugs into the United States and plagued Mexico with relentless bloodshed and corruption. The guilty verdict against the kingpin, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, ended the career of a legendary outlaw who also served as a dark folk hero in Mexico, notorious for his innovative smuggling tactics, his violence against competitors, his storied prison breaks and his nearly unstoppable ability to evade the Mexican authorities.... The jury’s decision came more than a week after the panel started deliberations at the trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn where prosecutors presented a mountain of evidence against the cartel leader, including testimony from 56 witnesses, 14 of whom once worked with Mr. Guzmán. Mr. Guzman now faces life in prison at his sentencing hearing, scheduled for June 25."

Shocking News. Another multi-billionaire -- Bill Gates -- says Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's proposal to raise taxes on the ultra-rich is "extreme." “But we can be more progressive, the estate tax and the tax on capital, the way the FICA and Social Security taxes work. We can be more progressive without really threatening income generation,” Gates said.

*****

Emily Cochrane & Glenn Thrush of the New York Times: "House and Senate negotiators on Monday night agreed 'in principle' to provide $1.375 billion for physical barriers at the southwestern border, according to two congressional aides. It is a figure far lower than the $5.7 billion that President Trump had demanded for a border wall. The deal, which would stave off another partial government shutdown at midnight Friday, appears to be a significant victory for Democrats. It came together just before Mr. Trump was about to begin a campaign and 'Finish the Wall' rally in El Paso. It still must pass the House and Senate, and secure Mr. Trump’s signature. The negotiators also agreed to reduce the number of migrants and undocumented immigrants who can be held in detention. It would allow for 55 miles of new bollard fencing, with some restrictions on location based on community and environmental concerns, according to the two aides, who requested anonymity to disclose details of the negotiations. The is a fraction of the hundreds of miles of steel-and-concrete wall that the president shut down the government over in December." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: You might think Congress has had enough of Donald Trump. ...

... Mark Landler & Simon Romero of the New York Times: "President Trump came to [El Paso, Texas,] ... on Monday to rally support for his wall with Mexico. But he was met by El Paso’s favorite son, Beto O’Rourke, who denounced Mr. Trump’s claim that walls reduce violent crime and led the city’s residents in his own boisterous show of opposition. The dueling rallies, just across the Rio Grande from Mexico, offered a vivid snapshot of the national debate over immigration, as well as a tantalizing early glimpse of the rivalry between Mr. Trump and Mr. O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who is now considering a challenge to the president in 2020.... 'Walls work,' he said, repeating his assertion that the crime rate went down in El Paso after the border wall was built. 'Thanks to a border wall with Mexico,' he said, El Paso is 'one of America’s safest cities.' Mr. O’Rourke debunked that claim on Friday in a lengthy post on the website Medium, in which he also tried to set out an alternative blueprint for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. El Paso’s success, he said, repudiated Mr. Trump’s call for a border wall.... A short walk from the coliseum [where Trump spoke], protesters gathered to march in a show of dissent against the president.” ...

Trump's 2020 slogan is Stronger Together? Um, my head hurts. -- Jesse Ferguson, deputy national spokesperson for Clinton, in a tweet ...

... Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "The GOP released a graphic Monday that mirrors a tagline from Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. 'We're only getting stronger together,' the graphic says superimposed over a picture of President Trump. Trump made the statement during a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night. The tweet was sent during the rally. The phrase 'Stronger Together' was also the slogan of Clinton's 2016 candidacy. Clinton and her running-mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote a book during the campaign with that same name." ...

... Kate Riga of TPM: "Ron Skeans, a BBC cameraman, was roughly shoved by a man clad in a MAGA hat at ... Donald Trump’s rally in El Paso Monday night. According to a BBC report, the man had been attacking various news crews, but Skeans got the worst of it, the blow so blindsiding him that the camera dipped to the floor and swung around crazily until the man was restrained. Trump saw the attack from the stage and paused to give Skeans a thumbs up and ask if everything was okay. Mere minutes later, Trump brought attention to the press in the room, jeering at them and eliciting boos from the crowd." ...

     ... Mrs. McC: In many cases, I try to go with the first report -- in this case the BBC -- but the BBC's report was so poorly-written, I let Riga do the rewrite. According to the BBC report, bystanders opined that the attacker was drunk.

Lauren Aratani of the Guardian & agencies: "Lawyers for eight immigrant families separated under Trump administration policy have filed claims against the US government, demanding $6m each in damages for what they describe as 'inexplicable cruelty' and lasting trauma. In claims filed to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, released on Monday, the parents accuse immigration officers of taking their children away without giving them information, sometimes without even a chance to say goodbye. The claims allege the children remain traumatized...." ...

Donald Trump's Weekend in Racist Tweets:

Admitting Real Reason for Wall. Gallup Poll: 'Open Borders will potentially attract 42 million Latin Americans.' This would be a disaster for the U.S. We need the Wall now! (Feb. 10)

Making Fun of Trail of Tears. Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz! (Feb. 9)

BONUS Trump Family Racist Instagram Post. Savage!!! Love my President. -- Donnie Junior, "liking" Dad's Native-American smear   

The Trump Scandals, Ctd.

Josh Kovensky of TPM: "National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. asked the Justice Department whether it should register as a Saudi agent, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The newspaper reported that a redacted letter published by the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit was addressed to American Media. The letter concerned the company’s release of a magazine praising Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, published to coincide with a visit he took to Washington in March 2018.... The DOJ decided that American Media’s activities did not qualify it as a foreign agent under FARA. The letter also says that American Media hired an unnamed advisor to the Saudi government to write an article for and edit the magazine, titled 'The New Kingdom.'”

The Reluctant Witness. Darren Samuelsohn of Politico: "Congress is now 0 for 3 in trying to bring in Michael Cohen..., Donald Trump’s former lawyer, for testimony before he is scheduled to report to federal prison in early March. The latest panel to come up short in landing Trump’s longtime fixer is the Senate Intelligence Committee, which had issued a subpoena to get closed-door testimony from Cohen on Tuesday. In a statement on Monday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said the Senate panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election had accepted his client’s request for a delay 'due to post-surgery medical needs.' 'A future date will be announced by the committee,' Davis added. Cohen had surgery on his shoulder in January as he prepares to report to federal prison March 6 to begin a three-year sentence for tax fraud and lying to Congress.”

Andrew Desiderio & Burgess Everett of Politico: "Senate Republicans are fuming at ... Donald Trump for telling lawmakers he would disregard a law requiring a report to Congress determining who is responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The uproar among Republicans is just the latest example of their deep discontent with the president’s foreign policy. It could prompt even more defections in favor of a Democrat-led resolution coming before the House and Senate this month to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.... On Friday, the Trump administration said it reserved the right to decline lawmakers’ demand under the Magnitsky Act that the president report to Congress with a determination of who is responsible for Khashoggi’s October slaying.... Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) ... said, '... The president has to comply with the Magnitsky Act. He has not done so in a timely manner yet.'... Democrats said the administration’s response amounted to a cover-up and a willing violation of the law.” The report cites criticisms from several other GOP senators & "Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.... [But] Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) [-- the new chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee --] ... wouldn’t commit to further action to compel compliance with the Magnitsky Act, a marked contrast to [Sen. Bob] Corker’s time as chairman."

James Bamford, in a long New Republic piece, makes the case than Maria Butina is not a Russian spy but an idealistic naif whom U.S. prosecutors are scapegoating.


Maggie Haberman & Annie Karni
of the New York Times: "Cliff Sims, the former White House communications aide who wrote an insider account of life working for President Trump, is suing the president in his official capacity, alleging that he used his campaign organization as a 'cutout' to improperly seek retribution against former employees and keep them from invoking their First Amendment rights. Mr. Sims was a White House aide from the beginning of the administration. But it was the campaign organization that filed an arbitration claim against him last week, accusing him of violating the nondisclosure agreement he signed with it during the 2016 presidential race with the publication of his book, 'Team of Vipers,' last month. The White House had dozens of people sign such agreements at the beginning of the president’s term. But those agreements are widely seen as likely unenforceable.... Mr. Sims’s lawsuit alleges that Mr. Trump 'is seeking to impose civil liability against Mr. Sims through application of NDAs that apply to information Mr. Sims learned solely during his federal service.'... The suit notes that Mr. Trump appears to be selective in enforcing the nondisclosure agreements.”

All the Best People, Ctd. Michael Brice-Saddler of the Washington Post: "AccuWeather, a private weather company whose former chief executive is President Trump’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, agreed to pay $290,000 as part of a settlement after a federal oversight agency found the company subjected female employees to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. The conciliation agreement was published in June after an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agreement was first reported Monday by the Centre Daily Times. The agreement states AccuWeather subjected women to 'sexual harassment and a hostile work environment' and would pay out thousands to dozens of women as part of a settlement. Barry Myers, tapped by Trump in 2017 to lead NOAA, became Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather’s chief executive in 2007 and stepped down Jan. 1, agreeing to divest himself of any company ownership in accordance with an ethics pledge to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.... His brother, Joel Myers, is founder and president of AccuWeather." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: What? A Trump nominee who ran a company that harasses female employees? Bet you're shocked.

Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times: "Representative Ilhan Omar, who has been battling charges of anti-Semitism for weeks, apologized on Monday for insinuating that American support for Israel is fueled by money from a pro-Israel lobbying group — a comment that drew swift and unqualified condemnation from fellow Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 'Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,' Ms. Omar, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, said in a statement that she released on Twitter. 'My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.' She added, 'I unequivocally apologize.'” ...

... J Street: "J Street is dismayed and frustrated by the ongoing war of words that has taken place between lawmakers including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and others on the subjects of Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and anti-Semitism. This pattern of overheated, ill-considered and reductive attacks, playing out on social media and in the press, has failed to address these issues with the nuance, sensitivity and seriousness that they deserve. It does nothing to advance the true interests and needs of Israelis or Palestinians, nor those of the American Jewish community. Elected officials should be particularly sensitive and careful on the question of the role played by campaign contributions in influencing US policies toward Israel and the Middle East. There is no doubt that money often plays a major role in our political system. At the same time, elected officials must be extremely aware that tropes about Jewish money and political influence have been used for centuries to target and stigmatize our community. Indeed, such tropes featured alarmingly in the campaign ads of Republican candidates during the 2018 election cycle." ...

... Ryan Grim of the Intercept: "A debate about the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan. Omar quoted rap lyrics — 'It’s all about the Benjamins baby' — to suggest McCarthy’s move was driven by the lobby’s prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, 'AIPAC!' The debate ... could be informed by an investigation by Al Jazeera, in which an undercover reporter infiltrated The Israel Project, a Washington-based group, and secretly recorded conversations about political strategy and influence over a six-month period in 2016. That investigation, however, was never aired by the network — suppressed by pressure from the pro-Israel lobby. In November, Electronic Intifada obtained and published the four-part series, but it did so during the week of the midterm elections, and the documentary did not get a lot of attention then. In it, leaders of the pro-Israel lobby speak openly about how they use money to influence the political process, in ways so blunt that if the comments were made by critics, they’d be charged with anti-Semitism. David Ochs, founder of HaLev, which helps send young people to AIPAC’s annual conference, described for the reporter how AIPAC and its donors organize fundraisers outside the official umbrella of the organization, so that the money doesn’t show up on disclosures as coming specifically from AIPAC.” ...

... Congressmen and senators don’t do anything unless you pressure them. They kick the can down the road, unless you pressure them, and the only way to do that is with money. -- David Ochs, explaining how the pro-Israel lobbying groups operate

Guess what? That's pretty much how most big lobbying groups operate. You could check with the NRA or MoveOn.org or the AFL-CIO. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie 

Marianne Levine of Politico: "Sen. Rand Paul said Monday that he will vote against confirming ... Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general, William Barr, citing his record on privacy issues. 'I'm a no,' the Kentucky Republican said in a brief interview. 'He's been the chief advocate for warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens. I think that the Fourth Amendment should protect your phone calls and your bank information. People shouldn't be allowed to look at it without a warrant.'... Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama said last week he would vote to confirm Barr." Mrs. McC: Wow! Li'l Randy is a big maverick -- when his vote will have no consequence. Hope Barr doesn't tap his wires.

Paul Krugman on national debt, deficit scolds & Democrats & Republicans. Mrs. McC: This is an old refrain of Krugman's, one that nobody seems to read, which I assume is the reason Krugman keeps singing the same damned song, hoping it will catch on. What Krugman doesn't discuss here -- and I think he & other economists should -- is that "socialism" is not necessarily costly at all; in fact, it can save money. For one thing, it can have obvious economic benefits in that government projects that feed people, get them & their stuff from place to place, or keep the peace, & so forth, lead to greater prosperity. If you're healthy, well-fed, safe & can get to work on time, you'll be a more productive worker. For another, socialism has the obvious advantage over private industry in its economies of scale; for instance, government-managed health care usually achieves the same benefits for less money than privately-run health industries: I'd rather pay $90 for socialized medicine (via taxes) than $100 for private care (out of pocket). Third -- and of course this is what Republicans hate the most -- equitable distribution of benefits. Republicans would probably be fine with funding a couple of truck-and-limo superlanes on an Interstate, but a free-ticket public transit rail line that primarily gets the poor people of Hoboken to & from jobs in Manhattan, not so much.

Presidential Race 2020 -- Collapse of the Never-Trumpers

Charles Pierce: "I had the sense that most [Never-Trumpers] were more concerned with damage to the [Republican] brand than with the damage to the republic. This was a revelatory weekend for people who believed as I did. Let's go to the videotape. First, Erick Erickson dropped this bunker-busting dungbomb at the Resurgent. 'Some of my concerns about President Trump remain. I still struggle on the character issue and I understand Christian friends who would rather sit it out than get involved.... But I also recognize that we cannot have the Trump Administration policies without President Trump and there is much to like....' Grab all the pussy you can as long as more of the wealth gets pushed upwards. Conspire and collude with thuggish autocrats as long as I can maintain control over every woman's ovaries.... Moving along, we find that the briefly unemployed Never Trumpers who have clustered at The Bulwark have found a new plutocrat to love: ... [Howard Schultz].... And, finally, there was a very weird episode over the weekend from Steve Schmidt.... The disease rages on." ...

... Steve M.: "... it appears that [Charlie Pierce] was right all along.... Erick Erickson['s essay is] titled 'I’ll Be Voting for President Trump and Vice President Pence in 2020.'... The main problem the #NeverTrumpers, or at least Erickson and his kind, had with Trump was that they were afraid he wouldn't be fully on board with the mean-spirited, avaricious, bigoted, rapacious program of the contemporary GOP.... Now Erickson knows that he can trust Trump with the vast majority of the GOP's program. He also knows that he has no choice for 2020 -- Trump won't lose the nomination, so it's either Trump or (nooooooo!) a Democrat." ...

... Martin Longman in the Washington Monthly: "There were #NeverTrumper people who were kind of getting accustomed to having one foot outside of the Party of Lincoln until they got a load of Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax and puddles began to form around their ankles. They’re beginning to fear that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent top marginal income tax rate is more popular than the idea of a President Michael Bloomberg.... Suddenly, Trump doesn’t look so bad. After all, he did build the Autobahn deliver on tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, and undermining Obamacare. He did withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. He is cracking down on the crazy socialists in Venezuela and Cuba. And look at all those Heritage Foundation judges!" ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Let's bear in mind that somewhere around half the Republican senators (Mitt Romney) also were Never-Trumpers or something akin to it. Yet they've spent these past two years voting nearly in lock-step with Trump. Admittedly, that's because Trump, who knows nothing except white people uber alles!, has gone alone with most of the GOP agenda, as Steve so correctly characterized.

Senate Race 2020. Jonathan Cooper of the AP: "Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who rocketed to the national spotlight when his congresswoman wife Gabrielle Giffords was shot in a failed assassination attempt, announced Tuesday he’s running to finish John McCain’s last term in the U.S. Senate. Kelly, 54, is a top Democratic recruit to take on Republican Martha McSally in one of the most closely contested Senate races of the 2020 election.... If Kelly is nominated, the race would pit a Navy veteran and astronaut against a trailblazing Air Force pilot in the contest to replace McCain, a legendary Navy flyer who was famously shot down and held captive.... U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix is also considering a Senate run, which would likely set up a tough fight for the Democratic nomination."

Beyond the Beltway

Illinois. Julie Bosman of the New York Times: "Prosecutors in Illinois are challenging the prison sentence of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who was convicted last year of killing Laquan McDonald and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison, a term that was criticized by many in Chicago as too lenient. In a petition filed Monday, Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Joseph McMahon, the special prosecutor in Mr. Van Dyke’s trial, asked the Illinois Supreme Court to review whether the sentence, after a conviction of second-degree murder, was proper under the law.... At issue is whether Mr. Van Dyke, who was also convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for each of the 16 shots he fired, should be sentenced for the aggravated batteries, which could result in a significantly longer prison term. Under his current sentence, exclusively for the second-degree murder conviction, he could be released from prison in as little as three years."

Virginia. Patrick Wilson of the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Two of the three government staffers to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and two employees of his political action committee resigned following news Friday of a second sexual assault allegation against him. [One of]he PAC employees who left [is] Dave Mills, who was the executive director of We Rise Together.... Mills is the husband of state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who is considered a strong contender to replace Fairfax as lieutenant governor should Fairfax resign.... The job of lieutenant governor is part time. Fairfax is a lawyer at the firm Morrison & Foerster, which has placed him on paid leave." ...

... Kevin Draper, et al., of the New York Times: "The woman who has accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Justin E. Fairfax, of raping her said that a former N.B.A. player, Corey Maggette, raped her at Duke University 20 years ago and that school officials did not pursue the claim, according to a childhood friend of the woman and Facebook messages the woman exchanged with another friend.... Mr. Maggette denied the accusation through a spokesman Monday evening.... Nancy Erika Smith, the lawyer for the woman who accused Mr. Maggette and Mr. Fairfax, Meredith Watson, said in a statement Friday ... that Ms. Watson had reported her rape [by Maggette] to an unspecified dean at the university, but that the dean had 'discouraged her from pursuing the claim further.'” Watson told a friend she did not report the alleged rape by Fairfax because the university had not helped her in her claims against Maggette. ...

... Oh, Ha Ha Ha. Darren Sands of BuzzFeed News: "As Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam continues to resist calls to step down over the racist photo on his medical school yearbook page, he and his advisers are close to finalizing plans for a statewide 'listening tour' to engage different communities in conversations about race. Additionally, a source close to the governor said Northam is telling people privately that if the commonwealth’s legislature puts a bill on his desk that provides the authority to bring down Confederate statues that he would sign it." Mrs. McC: That's like to happen. The Party of the Lost Cause control both houses. Also, read the last graf of Sands' post. I suppose we should be happy Dr. Ralph is trying to get woke. Note to Ralph: Do not wear a sombrero to your visit with the "Hispanic community." ...

... Sarah Jones of New York: "With Northam and Fairfax running out their political life spans, the party’s left with Mark Herring, the state attorney general. Herring admitted to wearing blackface to a college party, and his apology was generally better received than Northam’s."

Monday
Feb112019

The Commentariat -- February 11, 2019

Emily Cochrane, et al., of the New York Times: "Bipartisan talks to reach a border security agreement have stalled, lawmakers and aides said on Sunday, imperiling efforts to prevent another government shutdown days before the Friday deadline. Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the Republican chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key figure in the negotiations, confirmed the impasse on Sunday, saying that he was 'not confident we're going to get there.'... The 17 House and Senate lawmakers negotiating, known as a conference committee, had set an informal deadline of Monday to reach a deal, because Congress would need that much time to consider the legislation without waiving procedural rules and still pass it by Friday, when funding for several departments and agencies expires. But an aide familiar with the talks said lawmakers had stopped communicating. The hang-up was ... a Democratic effort to force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus on detaining migrants with criminal records instead of people who have overstayed their visas by limiting the number of beds it has in detention centers." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Josh Israel of ThinkProgress: "President Donald Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the administration 'absolutely cannot' rule out another government shutdown -- even though he also claimed that there is plenty of money already available for Trump to build his unpopular wall along the U.S.-Mexico border...On Fox News Sunday, Mulvaney vowed that Trump is going to build the wall, period." --s ...

... Simon Romero of the New York Times: "Ahead of President Trump's scheduled rally in [El Paso, Texas,] aimed at building support for his proposed wall on the border with Mexico, people from across the ideological spectrum in El Paso had a message for him on Sunday: Don't speak for us. 'The president is just wrong about the wall and wrong about El Paso,' said Jon Barela, a lifelong Republican and chief executive of the Borderplex Alliance, an organization promoting economic development in a cross-border industrial hub with a combined population of more than 2.7 million, taking in the cities of El Paso, Ciudad Juárez[, Mexico,] and Las Cruces[, New Mexico]. Mr. Barela disputed Mr. Trump's widely discredited assertion that border fencing had cut violent crime in El Paso, pointing to F.B.I. data showing that the city has ranked for decades among the safest urban areas its size in the United States -- long before American authorities started building some fencing along the border about a decade ago.... At the same time Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak before about 6,000 people at the El Paso County Coliseum, [Beto] O'Rourke will speak at another rally a mile away. Mr. O'Rourke said in an essay on Medium that Mr. Trump 'will promise a wall and will repeat his lies about the dangers that immigrants pose.'" ...

... Jose Del Real of the New York Times: "Gov. Gavin Newsom of California is expected on Monday to withdraw nearly 400 of his state's National Guard troops from deployment along the border with Mexico and assign them to other duties, according to aides to the governor. The step to rescind state authorization for the border deployment is a sharp rebuke of President Trump's continued warnings that undocumented migrants present a national security risk to the United States. It follows a similar move last week by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico."

The Trump Scandals, Ctd.

Greg Miller of the Washington Post: "The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee expressed concern Sunday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has not adequately scrutinized President Trump's finances and said House investigators plan to probe Trump's relationship with a bank implicated in Russian money laundering. 'We are not interested in our committee in whether he's a tax cheat or not worth what he says he is,' Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in an appearance on the NBC's 'Meet the Press' 'What we are interested in is, does the president have business dealings with Russia such that it compromises the United States?' In particular, Schiff said the House panel plans to investigate Trump's two-decade relationship with Deutsche Bank, a German institution that has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties in recent years after admitting its role in a $10 billion money laundering scheme that allowed clients in Russia to move vast sums overseas. Schiff voiced concern that Mueller has shied away from investigating Trump's ties to the German lender, saying that 'if the special counsel hasn't subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, he can't be doing much of a money laundering investigation.' Schiff was referring to reports last year that Mueller's office had told Trump's lawyers it was not seeking Deutsche Bank records related to Trump's accounts or loans. Deutsche Bank became a critical lender to Trump in the late 1990s when major U.S. banks refused to do business with the New York real estate developer after repeated bankruptcies."

Sharon LaFraniere, et al., of the New York Times: "Of the few hints to emerge from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, about evidence of possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia, one of the most tantalizing surfaced almost in passing in a Washington courtroom last week. Comments by one of Mr. Mueller's lead prosecutors, disclosed in a transcript of a closed-door hearing, suggest that the special counsel continues to pursue at least one theory: that starting while Russia was taking steps to bolster Mr. Trump's candidacy, people in his orbit were discussing deals to end a dispute over Russia's incursions into Ukraine and possibly give Moscow relief from economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.... A closer look at the transcript, released late Thursday, shows that the prosecutors have been keenly focused on discussions [Paul Manafort & Konstantin Kilimnik] had about a plan to end the conflict that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014.... Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kilimnik repeatedly communicated about a so-called peace plan for Ukraine starting in early August 2016, while Mr. Manafort was still running Mr. Trump's campaign, and continuing into 2018, months after Mr. Manafort had been charged by the special counsel's office with a litany of crimes related to his work in the country."

Lachlan Markay of the Daily Beast: "The brother of Jeff Bezos' mistress, Lauren Sanchez, supplied the couple's racy texts to the National Enquirer, multiple sources inside AMI, the tabloid's parent company, told The Daily Beast. Another source who has been in extensive communication with senior leaders at AMI confirmed that Michael Sanchez first supplied Bezos' texts to the Enquirer. AMI has previously refused to identify the source of the texts, but a lawyer for the company strongly hinted at Sanchez's role during a Sunday morning interview on ABC.... Documents reviewed by The Daily Beast show that Michael Sanchez believed the Enquirer pursued its story about Bezos with 'President Trump's knowledge and appreciation' -- a chase encouraged, in Sanchez's estimation, by Republican operatives 'who THINK Jeff gets up every morning and has a WaPo meeting to plot its next diabolical attack on President Trump.'"


Alexi McCammond & Jonathan Swan
of Axios: "Our ... leak of three months of Trump's private schedules -- enraged White House officials.... Then Politico scooped (and we confirmed) that the White House has launched an internal hunt to find the leaker. This crackdown has not stopped the leaking. Axios' Alexi McCammond obtained four of the president's private schedules from last week. You can view them here, retyped in their original format for source protection. The schedules show the president spent 50% of the four days last week in non-structured 'Executive Time.'... Trump tweeted today about Axios' previous story. 'When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing,' he wrote." (Mrs. McC: Where "watching Fox 'News' & "blow-drying long wisps on head" = "working.")

John Bresnahan of Politico: "Freshman Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar ignited a new controversy on Sunday night when she suggested GOP support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from a prominent pro-Israel group. Omar singled out AIPAC, one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, as the source of those donations. Omar's comments touched upon a long-running, and particularly ugly, thread of the anti-Semitic movement -- that Jewish money fuels backing for Israel in the United States and elsewhere.... [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy and other Republicans have pressed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and top Democrats to "take action" against Omar and [Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida] Tlaib, saying he would do so if the GOP were the majority party. McCarthy has noted that Democrats pressed for punishment for [Rep. Steve] King -- an Iowa Republican -- over his racist comments. Yet, King's openly racist statements went on for years while he served in Congress, while Omar and Tlaib have been lawmakers for five weeks." ...

     ... Mrs. McC: I hate to break it to Bresnahan & McCarthy, but one hardly need be anti-Semitic to consider AIPAC a hard-line, right-wing organization that is dismissive of Palestinian rights & concerns. Calling out AIPAC's strong-arm tactics does not merit any form of censure or admonition. Bresnahan is probably just ignorant, and McCarthy -- who is generally ignorant -- is mostly just displaying his usual partisan hackery here.

Presidential Race 2020

Mitch Smith & Lisa Lerer of the New York Times: "Amy Klobuchar, the third-term Minnesota senator, entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday, hopeful that her moderate politics, Midwestern roots and carefully cultivated history of bipartisanship can appeal to a broad swath of voters in contentious times. On a snow-covered stage in Minneapolis along the banks of the Mississippi River, with the temperature barely above single digits, Ms. Klobuchar said that as president she would 'focus on getting things done' and reverse some of President Trump's signature policies. On her first day in office, she said, the United States would rejoin the Paris climate agreement.... While her approach may appeal to centrists and moderate Republicans in her home state, her breaks with liberal orthodoxy risk alienating the ascendant progressive wing of her party. Ms. Klobuchar backs a less expansive college affordability proposal, has not embraced Senator Bernie Sanders's 'Medicare for all' legislation and has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency." ...

... Justin Wise of the Hill: "Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Sunday addressed reports that she has mistreated her staff over the years after launching a 2020 campaign for president. 'Yes, I can be tough, and yes I can push people,' Klobuchar told reporters after a rally at Minneapolis' Boom Island Park... 'I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country.... In the end, there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years,' she added. The comments came after multiple reports surfaced last week including details of how Klobuchar allegedly treated her congressional staff. HuffPost reported that three potential candidates to lead her nascent presidential campaign declined the job due to concerns about the issue. A BuzzFeed News report also included a number of accusations from former staffers about her workplace demeanor. The ex-staffers told the news outlet that the senator often berated employees over small mistakes and created a hostile work environment."

Warren Looks on the Bright Side. Quint Forgey of Politico: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Sunday said that ... Donald Trump 'may not even be a free person' by 2020, suggesting the president might become ensnared by the special counsel's investigation before she has a chance to face him in a general election.... 'By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person.'"

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast: "Anti-Trump strategist and pundit Steve Schmidt is feeling the heat from all sides since his client, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, announced on 60 Minutes that he might run for president as an independent." So when Schultz sat down to be interviewed by colleagues on his own podcast, called "Words Matter," he "railed at having to defend himself ... with a stream of curses a source present in the studio said consumed six minutes." After settling down & sitting for about 30 minutes of the interview, Schmidt couldn't handle what seemed like a pretty fair question (i.e., would a really rich person slack off because he was taxed at a higher rate?). "'This is bullshit,' Schmidt exclaims. 'I'm not doing this.' 'Steve, you've got to answer the questions,' [interviewer, podcast partner & friend of Steve Adam] Levine says. 'I'm not,' and with that Schmidt slams down his headset and abruptly ends the interview. He threatened legal action against the studio if the interview airs, according to a source involved in the discussion. When his legal threat failed, he offered to buy the recording, according to the source. The studio refused." Mrs. McC: Whatever. Steve still has his claim to fame: bringing us Sarah Palin. ...

     ... Sophie Weiner of Splinter has embedded the podcast at the bottom of her report. Schmidt's podcast cohost, Elise Jordan, who was one of the two interviewers, quit too. Everyone is so touchy.


Robert Downen
, et al., of the Houston Chronicle: "In the [past] decade..., more than 250 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reveals. It's not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state. They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions. About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers." This is the first of a three-part series. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This doesn't surprise me at all. These people are nearly as sexually repressed as Roman Catholic priests. Reminds of the time the married Baptist minister came over to minister to me while I was out in the goat shed milking the goats, and he grabbed my breasts. I knocked him down & in the process upset the goat on the milking stand, who knocked over the milk pail. I found the scene hilarious a few minutes later, but in the moment I was furious. No doubt I took the Lord's name in vain in the course of throwing the pastor off my property.

Damian Carrington of the Guardian: "The world's insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a 'catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems', according to the first global scientific review. More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century. The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are 'essential' for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.... The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors."

Beyond the Beltway

Virginia. Campbell Robertson & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "A Democratic lawmaker in Virginia on Sunday sent his colleagues a draft resolution that would begin impeachment proceedings against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault. The resolution directs a House committee to determine whether allegations of sexual assault against Mr. Fairfax by two women, Meredith Watson and Vanessa C. Tyson, 'constitute conduct sufficient to provide grounds for impeachment.' In an email accompanying the draft, the lawmaker, Delegate Patrick A. Hope, emphasized that the resolution 'is not impeachment. It is a process to investigate whether the Courts Committee would recommend impeachment.'" ...

... Emily Tillett of CBS News: "Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam says he considered resigning in the wake of the ongoing controversy embroiling his office, but told 'CBS This Morning' co-host Gayle King he's 'not going anywhere.'... The governor said in an interview with The Washington Post published Saturday that he would spend the remainder of his term working toward advancing racial equality. The governor has been speaking with black political and community leaders over the past week, but the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus has called for Northam's resignation more than once." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... ** "Advancing Racial Equality"? Ha! Avery Anapol of the Hill: "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King corrected Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) after he referred to slaves as 'indentured servants.' The comment came in Northam's first televised interview since he began facing calls to resign over a blackface scandal, in which he urged healing. 'We are now at the 400-year anniversary -- just 90 miles from here in 1619. The first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe, and while--,' Northam said, before King cut him off. 'Also known as slavery,' King said. 'Yes,' Northam responded.... Sunday's exchange was called out on social media, with some Twitter users pushing for Northam to resign." ...

    ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Northam's wilful ignorance is galling. I grew up in the South & went to public schools with Southern textbooks that shone a very gauzy light on slavery. But I didn't get out of fifth grade without knowing the difference beteen slaves & indentured servants. It is true that some Europeans -- Scottish prisoners of war, for instance -- came to the U.S. under forced indenture, but their terms of service had end dates. And most Europeans who came to America under indenture came voluntarily in exchange for passage, room & board and a "freedom package" bonus at the end of their term of service. They were not enslaved for life as were Africans. They usually had some individual rights during service. Unless Fairfax can clear his name (which seems impossible at this point), Virginians had better get used to the idea of Gov. Mark Herring, because no one should have to live in servitude of Ralph Northam.

... Jenna Portnoy, et al., of the Washington Post: "Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said Saturday that his encounters with the two women who have accused him of sexual assault were consensual, and he called on authorities -- including the FBI -- to investigate. His statement came as calls for his resignation grew from former allies, including the Democratic Party of Virginia, which had reserved judgment until a second woman came forward Friday to say he sexually assaulted her.... He said he knew both women during the time they allege the assaults occurred. He said that he also knew them afterward and that they never told him their interactions were not consensual or caused 'any discomfort.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Sunday
Feb102019

An American's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins

By Brother Akhilleus

... I put it to all the evangelicals, deliriously worshipful of Fatty, to consider how many of the Seven Deadly Sins can be ascribed to his wonderfulness.

Let’s check them off, shall we?

Pride.

In spades. Enough for seven additional variations of this particular sin. Also, smarter than all the generals. Check. Got it.

Envy.

Has there ever been a leader so envious of his predecessor that he sought, so furiously, to diminish his every accomplishment? I’m sure if Fatty could make the sweet, smart, decent Obama kids vanish, he would, they showing up his own venal, rapacious rabble.

Wrath.

There is no wrath like that of an ignorant, narcissistic, needy knucklehead scorned. A glance at a single day’s worth of angry, contemptuous tweets seals the case.

Sloth.

How many hours a day does he actually work? One? Two, at most? Sloth, like you read about. He couldn’t be slothier if he had three toes and hung upside down in a tree.

Avarice.

Why, just today we find that he had organized a scheme to weasel money at his inauguration. He was a clutching, scheming, avaricious ass hat before he was even sworn in.

Gluttony.

Keeping McDonalds in the black by himself. Plus, just look at that fat ass.

Lust.

Pussy grabbing, porn star banging, adultery on a scale with sex mad philanderers from Victorian pornographic novels.


Of course, I’m leaving off other sins that could be a lot more deadly: stupidity, ignorance of world affairs, and treason for just a few.

Is this the guy chosen by god? He must been having a bad deity day.

Let us just say that evangelicals clearly don’t care if their Glorious Leader runs the gamut of sins, venal, mortal, deadly, or doofus. As long as they can stick it to their enemies.

I’m thinking that’s a sin too. But I’m too exhausted of all this evil now to go on. Time to watch some Mr. Rogers on YouTube and clear the mind of such Trumpian-winger foulness.