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September 9: The New York Times reports that Equifax is doing nothing to protect you if hackers to its system gained access to your personal information. In fact, Equifax has a plan to make money on your misfortune. Reporter Ron Lieber has some suggestions about what you can do to protect yourself from Equifax & its hackers. Equifax is providing no good way to find out if you've been affected; it is apparently just trying to hook as many suckers as it can into getting a "free" account, but you can bet it won't stay free. Read the story if you'd like to feel helpless & enraged.

On Request:

David Remnick of the New Yorker remembers its publisher S.I. NewHouse, Jr.

Janet Malcolm of the New Yorker profiles Rachel Maddow. Mrs. McC: Maddow was right the first time about the canisters.

The New Yorker has links to Lillian Ross's stories here. The New Yorker is subscription-only but allows non-subscribers to read six stories a month, so if you're not a subscriber, you may want to open the page in a private window.

Mrs. McCrabbie: When the Emmy folks are looking to give out prizes next year, they should think Jimmy Kimmel.

Some highlights of the Emmys:

... To watch the whole monologue, go to YouTube & type something like "stephen colbert monologue emmys". There are quite a few pirated copies up right now, but CBS will certainly take them down, so none will be posted here. The Washington Post has some of the transcript here.

Former star of "The Apprentice" finally gets his Emmy:

Kim Weeks in the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton revealed this week she turned to an esoteric breathing technique popular among yogis to heal from her devastating election loss.... By bringing this kind of breath work into the mainstream, Clinton has introduced the world to a practice that has both proven mental and physical health benefits.... In nadi shodhana, the process of literally alternating breathing between the right and left nostril also helps balance the right and left brain, the right and left lungs, and the right and left sides of the body. Alternate nostril breathing has been shown to slow down a rapid heart rate and to lower blood pressure." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Okay, I tried it. I can do the left nostril but not the right. That stressed me out.

Hill: "Melissa McCarthy brought home an Emmy this weekend for her memorable impression of former press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live. The actress won an Emmy for best comedy actress on a comedy series at the Emmy’s creative arts awards Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The awards are a precursor to the main show next weekend." Spicer panned McCarthy's impression.

New York Times: "Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, plans to step down from the magazine in December after a 25-year tenure, leaving the role that established him as a ringmaster of the Hollywood, Washington and Manhattan power elite. Mr. Carter’s influence stretched from the magazine and entertainment worlds into finance, literature and politics, where President Trump, a target of Mr. Carter’s poison pen for decades, still bristles at the mention of his name. One of the few remaining celebrity editors in an industry whose fortunes have faded, Mr. Carter — famous for double-breasted suits, white flowing hair and a seven-figure salary — is a party host, literary patron, film producer and restaurateur whose cheeky-yet-rigorous brand of reporting influenced a generation of journalists.... Spy[a magazine Carter co-founded,] took special glee in attacking Mr. Trump, whom the magazine memorably deemed a 'short-fingered vulgarian.' (The insult stuck: just last week, Mr. Trump referred to his 'too big' hands during a visit to Houston.)"

New York Times: "Tronc, the publisher of The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, announced on Monday that it had acquired The Daily News, the nearly 100-year-old tabloid that for decades set the city’s agenda with its gossip, sports and city coverage. The deal represents the end of an era for The News, which was long a voice for New York’s working class. It may also signal the end of the political influence of its owner, the real estate magnate Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who often used the paper’s bold, front-page headline — known as 'the wood' — for commentary about candidates and politicians, locally and nationally."

Guardian (Sept. 4): "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced. The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum."

Constant Comments

Tuesday
Oct102017

The Commentariat -- October 11, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Cliff Clavin Is Still Running the Country:

Why Tillerson Called Trump a Moron. Courtney Kube, et al., of NBC News: "... Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s.... The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a 'moron.'” ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: This decline [in the nuclear arsenal] was the product of deliberate policy, and mandated by disarmament treaties.... And, anyhow, America already has enough atomic firepower to end most — if not all — human life. From the perspective of a status quo nuclear superpower, the value of an international norm against proliferation would seem obvious. But not from the perspective of our commander-in-chief. As Trump examined the chart’s downward slope, none of these considerations flickered in his mind.... NBC News’ dispatch suggests that Trump’s advisers talked him down from this illegal and exorbitantly expensive request.... Earlier in his term, Trump reportedly asked his military advisers three times, in an hour-long meeting, why the U.S. doesn’t make greater use of its nuclear weapons.... On Tuesday night, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reported that a 'very prominent Republican' had told him that he and his colleagues ... that if Trump ever 'lunged' for the nuclear football, chief-of-staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might 'tackle' him." (Sherman's post is linked below.) ...

Another day, another casual threat from the president of the United States to abuse the powers of his office in order to stymie reporting that he doesn’t like. -- Matt Yglesias ... 

... Threats of a Moron. Peter Baker & Cecilia Kang of the New York Times: "President Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.... Mr. Trump objected to the report in two messages on Twitter later Wednesday and threatened to use the authority of the federal government to retaliate.... 'Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!... With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!' The comments immediately drew criticism that the president was using his office to undermine First Amendment guarantees of free speech and free press. And, in fact, the networks themselves — and their news departments — do not hold federal licenses, though individual affiliates do. 'Broadcast licenses are a public trust,' said Tom Wheeler, who until January was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by President Barack Obama. 'They’re not a political toy, which is what he’s trying to do here.' In suggesting that a broadcast network’s license be targeted because of its coverage, Mr. Trump once again evoked the Watergate era....” ...

... Inae Oh of Mother Jones: "Trump’s threat to use the federal government to shut down critical media follows his recent suggestion of creating 'equal time' for conservatives to level the playing the field against late-night TV hosts who mock him. It’s unclear how Trump’s suggestion would work, as only television stations are subject to FCC licensing, not the networks." ...

... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: Trump's Twitter habits "expose just how predisposed is the president toward gutting the First Amendment, and just how little he understands how it works." Wemple goes on to explain what-all Trump would have to do to "challenge their license." It's an impossible task, & even if he & his minions by some magic made it happen, MSNBC -- which of course is not a broadcast channel so the FCC doesn't regulate it. And NBCNews.com could become the most popular site on the Internet, with many a spinoff. ...

... Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair: "... now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview — in which the Republican senator described the White House as 'adult day care' and warned Trump could start World War III ... brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is 'unstable,' 'losing a step,' and 'unraveling.'... According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, 'I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!' (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision.... Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment — the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, 'What’s that?'”


Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Lloyd Grove
of the Daily Beast: NBC News spiked Ronan Farrow's story detailing multiple charges by women that Harvey Weinstein had sexually abused them. A few said he raped them. The New Yorker published the story Tuesday. Now, Farrow & some media critics on the one side & NBC News on the other are engaged in a they-said/they-said dispute about why NBC News wouldn't publish Farrow's report. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I'm not buying big media outlets' claims – NYT one day, NBC News the next – that they spiked stories on Weinstein because the stories weren't fully-reported. When a reporter hands an editor a potential blockbuster that needs work, the editor gets the work done, either by the reporter who developed the story or by a more experienced reporter. It happens every day twice a day at big news outlets.

*****

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Trump escalated his attack on Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday by ridiculing him for his height, even as advisers worried that the president was further fracturing his relationship with congressional Republicans just a week before a vote critical to his tax cutting plan. Mr. Trump gave Mr. Corker, a two-term Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a derogatory new nickname — 'Liddle Bob' — after the two exchanged barbs in recent days. He suggested Mr. Corker was somehow tricked when he told a reporter from The New York Times that the president was reckless and could stumble into a nuclear war.... 'The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!'... A Times reporter interviewed Mr. Corker by telephone and recorded the call with the senator’s knowledge and consent. Mr. Corker’s staff also recorded the call, and he said he wanted The Times to do the same." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Obviously, Trumpelthinskin has no idea that a making stupid, grade-school attack show that he is a lot liddler than Corker. The only ways Trump is bigger than Corker all have to do with his ass, both physically & metaphorically. What an embarrassing twit. ...

... Washington Post Editors: "One avenue [of disposing with Trump] open to Congress would be to remove the president from office. If indeed Mr. Trump is so reckless that he could set the nation 'on the path to World War III,' as [Sen. Bob] Corker said Sunday in an interview with the New York Times, this possibility can’t be dismissed.... But Congress is not ready to consider such an option — nor, in our view, should it be.... First, Congress should seize the initiative on issues where it knows Mr. Trump is wrong.... Second, congressional leaders can offer a contrast to what Mr. Corker described as the 'adult day care center' at the White House simply by presiding over their branch with institutional dignity and respect for tradition. This would include letting Democrats have a say in the debate, in implicit contrast to the president’s contempt for those who disagree with him."

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "President Trump proposed an 'IQ tests' faceoff with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the nation's top diplomat reportedly called the president a 'moron' and disparaged his grasp of foreign policy. In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump fired a shot at Tillerson over the 'moron' revelation, first reported by NBC News and confirmed by several other news organizations, including The Washington Post. 'I think it's fake news,' Trump said, 'but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.'” See also yesterday's commentary. ... 

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Tillerson should accept the challenge: back in the old days, there actually was a category called "moron," & I'd expect Trump to qualify. Not sure about Tillerson. AND there's this: if Trump is so innately smart, why does he act so stupid? I'm way more impressed with someone who isn't the certified genius Trump claims to be, but who applies the intellectual gifts s/he has & employs them usefully. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

David Ignatius of the Washington Post: "Skeptics say that on major issues — Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Russia — the Trump administration hasn’t explained clear, systematic plans for achieving results. Even where there seems to be a coherent diplomatic strategy, as on North Korea, the president often undercuts it with Twitter storms or personal tirades.Because so many key political positions haven’t been filled at the State Department, the interagency process that’s supposed to decide and implement policy is something of an 'empty suit,' veteran officials say. European diplomats say they have been frustrated by the difficulty in finding Trump officials with whom they can frame policies on shared concerns, such as Iranian misbehavior. Trump seems weirdly pleased at the many vacant policy positions — evidently not understanding that the vacancies prevent effective action." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: That's because President Dimwitty -- who repeatedly claims he has a very high IQ -- thinks that He Trvmpvs sets foreign policy & he can accomplish this in 140 characters -- 280, if the situation is complex & requires insulting somebody.

BBC News: "Hackers from North Korea are reported to have stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, said the information was from his country's defence ministry. The compromised documents include wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea. They also include reports to the allies' senior commanders. The South Korean defence ministry has so far refused to comment about the allegation. Plans for the South's special forces were reportedly accessed, along with information on significant power plants and military facilities in the South."

Nicole Perlroth & Scott Shane of the New York Times: "Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs. What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies. The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers."

Tom LoBianco & Eric Tucker of the AP: "Even as ... Donald Trump’s advisers encourage him to accept the realities of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, longtime friends and allies are pushing Trump to fight back, citing concerns that his lawyers are naive to the existential threat facing the president. Trump supporters and associates inside and outside the White House see the conciliatory path as risky.... Instead, they want the street-fighting tweeter to criticize Mueller with abandon. The struggle between supporters of the legal team’s steady, cooperative approach, and the band of Trump loyalists who yearn for a fight, comes as the Mueller probe begins lapping at the door of the Oval Office. Mueller, who is investigating the firing of former FBI director James Comey and other key actions of the Trump administration, has signaled that his team intends to interview multiple current and former White House officials in the coming weeks and has requested large batches of documents from the executive branch." ...

... Jeff Cox of CNBC: "...  Donald Trump 'likely obstructed justice' when he fired FBI Director James Comey and could face impeachment, according to an analysis from the Brookings Institution. The liberal-leaning think tank released a 108-page report on the issue Tuesday. In the analysis, Brookings concludes that even though Trump had the authority to fire Comey, he could not do so if the intention was to get in the way of an ongoing investigation. 'Attempts to stop an investigation represent a common form of obstruction. Demanding the loyalty of an individual involved in an investigation, requesting that individual's help to end the investigation, and then ultimately firing that person to accomplish that goal are the type of acts that have frequently resulted in obstruction convictions,' Brookings analysts Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen wrote." ...

... Ali Watkins of Politico: "Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, informed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he will not be cooperating with any requests to appear before the panel for its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and would plead the Fifth, according to a source familiar with the matter." Mrs. McC: Huh. As Trump asked in September 2016, "The mob takes the fifth.... If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" So what's the problem, Carter?

Matt Shuham of TPM: "White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday refused to back away from ... Donald Trump’s incorrect claim that America is 'the highest taxed nation in the world.'... At a press briefing Tuesday, Sanders said Trump meant to say that America was the 'highest taxed corporate nation' among 'developed economies across the globe.'” Sanders got in a back-and-forth with a reporter for One America News Network, who kept asking Sanders why Trump kept repeating a false claim if he "meant to say” something else. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The reporter, Trey Yingst, asserted that Sanders' interpretive reading of Trump's remark was accurate. It isn't. According to PolitiFact, & many other analysts, 'the United States’ corporate tax rate doesn’t appear to be the highest once deductions and other exclusions are taken into account." But the point here is that Sanders is justifying one of Trump's lies by pretending he said something he didn't say. Trump wants individuals to believe we're the highest-taxed in the world, and we're absolutely not. But, you know, boo-hoo-hoo, all the blah people are taking white people's money & spending it on booze & bling.

Alana Semuels of the Atlantic: "The Trump administration has long portrayed the Clean Power Plan, a signature Obama-era initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as a policy overreach that was bound to cost the economy jobs and constrain economic growth.... In announcing Monday he would repeal the Clean Power Plan, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said that the reversal was a way of listening to the needs of businesses. Regulations 'ought to work with folks all over the country and say, how do we achieve better incomes by working with industry, not against industry,' Pruitt said Monday, in Hazard, Kentucky.... But the Clean Power Plan, which which would have required states to meet certain individualized targets to limit emissions from existing power plants, was ... supported by a wide array of businesses.... 'It was really just a small minority of businesses that were against it,' John Quigley, the former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told me.... The companies supporting the Clean Power Plan are among the biggest employers in the country, and also contribute the most to economic growth...."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on how the Trump administration uses "religious liberty" to discriminate against LGBT rights. "In February, the Trump Administration rescinded protections allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. In May, President Trump signed an executive order directing his Attorney General to support and defend religious-freedom laws like the one in Mississippi. In July, Trump tweeted out a ban on transgender service members. In September, the Justice Department filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. This month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued detailed guidelines based on Trump’s religious-freedom executive order and, separately, instructed U.S. Attorneys to stop interpreting federal law as protecting transgender employees from discrimination on the basis of sex. This timeline is probably missing something; reversals in L.G.B.T. rights have been unremitting.... In the nostalgic campaign that got him elected, Trump promised to take his voters back to an imaginary past in which they felt better, more secure, and generally more great than they do in the present. Nothing communicates Trump’s commitment to the past as effectively as reversals of L.G.B.T. civil-rights progress — arguably the most rapid social change in American history."

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The Trump administration on Tuesday approved a federal disaster declaration for California in response to wildfires that have swept across the state. Vice President Pence announced the decision during a meeting in the state capital of Sacramento with emergency responders. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) had requested federal assistance to combat the deadly fires."

Jim Tankersley of the New York Times: "The Republican tax rewrite unveiled this month aims to jump-start economic growth in part by establishing a 25 percent tax rate on small businesses and other firms that operate as pass-through entities, a cut from the top rate of 39.6 percent that such business owners pay now. But [an] abandoned experiment in Kansas points to how a [similar] carve-out intended to help raise growth and create jobs instead created an incentive for residents, particularly high earners, to avoid paying state income taxes by changing how they got paid. The [Kansas] tax package reduced state revenue by nearly $700 million a year, a drop of about 8 percent, from 2013 through 2016, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, forcing officials to shorten school calendars, delay highway repairs and reduce aid to the poor. Research suggests the package did not stimulate the economy, certainly not enough to pay for the tax cut. This year, legislators passed a bill to largely rescind the law, saying it had not worked as intended.... Participation at the federal level could be far more dramatic — with tax benefits dwarfing those enjoyed in Kansas." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Congressional Republicans -- at least the ones promoting the pass-through exemption -- know exactly what they're doing. The pretense that they believe making rich people richer will improve the economy is a joke -- and the laugh's on us.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court Tuesday night dismissed one of the challenges to a now-expired version of President Trump’s travel ban, and the legal battle over his latest efforts to ban some immigrants will need to start anew. There were no noted dissenters from the court’s decision not to hear arguments about the travel ban, although Justice Sonia Sotomayor would have left the precedent of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s ruling in place. The court’s order did not mention a second ruling, by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit."

Medlar's Sports Report:

NFL Owners Cave to Bully-in-Chief. Ken Belson of the New York Times: "As the president continues to harangue the [NFL] over the anthem, and a number of fans across the country express displeasure with the handful of players who continue to kneel during the anthem, a growing pool of owners is trying to defuse the politically charged issue, even if it means confronting the players the owners previously sympathized with.... [League Commissioner Roger] Goodell, who said previously that players had a right to voice their opinions, is siding with the owners opposed to letting the players demonstrate. The owners plan to meet next week to establish what to do about the anthem gestures."

Alex Shephard of the New Republic: "ESPN got played by Donald Trump. "... whatever you think of the validity of [Jemele] Hill’s suspension, the idea that sports are being politicized solely by the left is laughable. Two weeks ago, the president of the United States made national anthem protests an issue again by tweeting about them; two days ago, the vice president of the United States made national anthem protests an issue again by traveling several hundred miles to leave a football game 90 seconds after it began." Mr. McC: If you consider the round-trip (Nevada to Indiana to California), it was actually several thousand miles, & I think pence left before the game began.


Brooks Barnes
of the New York Times: "In a statement, the Walt Disney Company said it was 'unaware of any complaints, lawsuits or settlements' regarding the sexual behavior of [Harvey] Weinstein, who left Disney in 2005 to found the Weinstein Company, another film and television studio. Disney’s statement added that Mr. Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, who co-founded Miramax, had 'operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy.'... Hillary Clinton released a statement saying she was 'shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.' Mr. Weinstein has been a longtime donor to Democratic candidates, and he hosted a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton at his Manhattan home last year.... Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, also released a statement about Mr. Weinstein, saying that 'any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.' The Obamas’ older daughter, Malia, was an intern at the Weinstein Company this year. Also on Tuesday, Georgina Chapman, Mr. Weinstein’s wife, told People magazine that she was leaving him. And the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts said it had decided to reject his earlier pledge to fund a $5 million endowment for female filmmakers.” ...

... Jodi Kantor & Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "When Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 years old..., film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.' Before shooting began, he summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting.... It ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said. 'I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,' she said in an interview, publicly disclosing that she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award. She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. 'I thought he was going to fire me,' she said. Rosanna Arquette, a star of 'Pulp Fiction,' has a similar account of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, as does Judith Godrèche, a leading French actress. So unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Ronan Farrow, in the New Yorker, details many similar stories, and worse. "Three women ... told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex.... [Some Weinstein] employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein’s places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Weinstein Abuse Shocks Wingers. Steve M.: "I'm seeing a lot of right-wing self-righteousness in response to the Harvey Weinstein story.... We all know, of course, that conservatives have circled the wagons around their own sex abusers -- Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and of course the president of the United States. But there was also conservative media complicity with Harvey Weinstein himself." Steve cites the case of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was wearing a wire when Weinstein admitted he groped her, but conservative outlets like Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, & Britain's Daily Mail smeared her. "... it was the "liberal media" that brought down Weinstein, in part because the conservative press really doesn't do journalism. But the Gutierrez story didn't require a lot of shoe leather. It was in plain sight -- yet the right-wing press either ignored the opportunity to go after Weinstein or simply sullied his accuser's name. So spare me the lectures, conservatives."

Way Beyond the Beltway

Raphael Minder & Patrick Kingsley of the New York Times: "The Catalan secession crisis took a confusing new turn on Tuesday night, after the leader of Catalonia [Carles Puigdemont] made a perplexing speech in which he appeared to declare independence from Spain, before immediately suspending that decision to allow for more 'dialogue' with leaders in Madrid."

News Lede

New York Times: "The fires ravaging California’s wine country since Sunday night — part of an outbreak of blazes stretching almost the entire length of the state — continued to burn out of control Tuesday, as the toll rose to at least 17 people confirmed dead, hundreds hospitalized, and an estimated 2,000 buildings destroyed or damaged."

Monday
Oct092017

The Commentariat -- October 10, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Trump escalated his attack on Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday by ridiculing him for his height, even as advisers worried that the president was further fracturing his relationship with congressional Republicans just a week before a vote critical to his tax cutting plan. Mr. Trump gave Mr. Corker, a two-term Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a derogatory new nickname — 'Liddle Bob' — after the two exchanged barbs in recent days. He suggested Mr. Corker was somehow tricked when he told a reporter from The New York Times that the president was reckless and could stumble into a nuclear war.... 'The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!'... A Times reporter interviewed Mr. Corker by telephone and recorded the call with the senator’s knowledge and consent. Mr. Corker’s staff also recorded the call, and he said he wanted The Times to do the same." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Obviously, Trumpelthinskin has no idea that a making stupid, grade-school attack show that he is a lot liddler than Corker. The only ways Trump is bigger than Corker all have to do with his ass, both physically & metaphorically. What an embarrassing twit. ...

... Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "President Trump proposed an 'IQ tests' faceoff with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the nation's top diplomat reportedly called the president a 'moron' and disparaged his grasp of foreign policy. In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump fired a shot at Tillerson over the 'moron' revelation, first reported by NBC News and confirmed by several other news organizations, including The Washington Post. 'I think it's fake news,' Trump said, 'but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.'” See also today's commentary. Mrs. McCrabbie: Tillerson should accept the challenge: back in the old days, there actually was a category called "moron," & I'd expect Trump to qualify. Not sure about Tillerson.

Jodi Kantor & Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "When Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 years old..., film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.' Before shooting began, he summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting.... It ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said. 'I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,' she said in an interview, publicly disclosing that she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award. She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. 'I thought he was going to fire me,' she said. Rosanna Arquette, a star of 'Pulp Fiction,' has a similar account of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, as does Judith Godrèche, a leading French actress. So unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected." ...

... Ronan Farrow, in the New Yorker, details many similar stories, and worse. "Three women ... told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex.... [Some Weinstein] employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein’s places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe."

*****

"American Kakistocracy." Norm Ornstein in the Atlantic: "From cabinet officials jetting around on the public dime, to Trump's shattering of ethical norms, to disregard for congressional procedure — there’s a case to be made that the United States is governed by the least scrupulous of its citizens.... The problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness.... Donald Trump campaigned by promising to run government like a business. Unfortunately, that business is Trump University."

Trump Plans More Mayhem for Americans. Louis Nelson & Adam Cancryn of Politico: "... Donald Trump wrote online Tuesday morning that he plans to take unilateral steps to reform the nation’s healthcare system, hinting at signing an executive order without clarifying what that order might be. 'Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST,' Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Nelson & Cancryyn hypothesize that Trump's order will authorize companies to sell insurance across state lines. If they're right, the order -- no matter how bold Trump's signature -- may prove meaningless. Before & after the implementation of ObamaCare, states tried interstate insurance schemes, & no insurance companies took them up on it. Also, too, even if such a program were implemented, it would not lower overall consumer costs, as Trump & other know-nothing Republicans claim ...

     ... BTW, I'm a little slow-witted, so I just figured out another reason Trump is so hot to get rid of/undermine ObamaCare. According to this 2013 Kaiser Foundation report, "Reflecting their limited incomes and lack of access to employer-sponsored health insurance, people of color are more likely to be uninsured compared to Whites." Because of its requirements that force insurers to cover certain health needs, ObamaCare affects every type of coverage. But it has had a greater impact on people of color because, as Kaiser found, they were less likely to have any kind of coverage. Trump doesn't know much, but I'll bet he knows this. Also see Krugman, linked below, on this Kaiser finding: "People of color have particularly high stakes in state decisions to implement the ACA Medicaid expansion." AND as we all know, & as Money (& many others) reported, repeal of the ACA would "also limit coverage for millions of American women, particularly the poorest." BUT of course GOP "replace" bills did give big tax breaks to the rich.

Lisa Friedman & Brad Plumer of the New York Times: "The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming. At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

It will also limit coverage for millions of American women, particularly the poorest....

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: In case you were wondering why Trump didn't do the announcing of this horrible policy -- the better to flourish his executive order pen -- it was because he was busy golfing. And he played fantastically well! Emphasis on fantastic. BTW, since Pruitt made the announcement while Nero fiddled Trump golfed, it's quite possible the presidunce knows nothing about it. But even if he does, it wouldn't matter because he doesn't care.

Peter Baker & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "President Trump’s latest rupture with a Republican senator has widened the schism with his own party on Capitol Hill, potentially jeopardizing the future of his legislative agenda even as he presses lawmakers to approve deep tax cuts, according to veteran Republicans and independent analysts.... White House officials seethed on Monday, privately accusing [Sen. Bob] Corker of intentionally picking a fight with the president to draw attention to his new crusade against raising the deficit in any tax overhaul. But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ... and his allies were incredulous that the president would anger a senator just a week before a budget vote that is critical to tax cuts when the party’s 52-vote majority can be thwarted by just three defections.... Few other incumbent Republicans rushed to the microphones to echo [Corker's] comments on Monday, but several made little attempt to hide their irritation at Mr. Trump for attacking Mr. Corker." ...

... Charles Pierce: "Bob Corker thought that Scott Pruitt was just the man for the job. Bob Corker also voted in favor of making a discreet racist the Attorney General, for putting a grifter at the head of Health and Human Services, and for putting unqualified buffoons at the head of the Departments of Education and Housing And Urban Development. Bob Corker was altogether fine with stiffing Merrick Garland for a year in order to hijack a Supreme Court seat for Neil Gorsuch who, apparently, even John Roberts can't stand. It was cool with Bob Corker, several times, if millions of Americans lost their healthcare and if even the surviving restrictions on Wall Street brigandage and campaign finance went up in smoke. Bob Corker voted with the administration 88 percent of the time. And as Alec MacGillis pointed out on the electric Twitter machine, Bob Corker stepped in and monkeywrenched a union drive at an automobile plant in Tennessee.... So, no. I don't have to 'give credit' to Bob Corker for anything. He owes his career to the same unreason and extremism of which this president* is a perfect end product." ...

... Robert Costa, et al., of the Washington Post: "Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, President Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday. In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem. In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign — especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange (R) in last month’s Alabama special election, despite the president’s trip there to campaign with the senator.... Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, scrambling to manage his outbursts." ...

... Babysitting Trump. Josh Dawsey of Politico: "... interviews with ten current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process where they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling – and many days are spent managing the president, just as Corker said.... [Strategies to manage Trump don't always work.] Trump wanted to fire FBI Director James Comey for at least a week before it happened. Aides, including [Reince] Priebus, [Steve] Bannon and White House chief counsel Don McGahn continually told him what a perilous threat it could be to his presidency. Outside advisers called Trump and warned him against it. Eventually, Trump went away to Bedminster for the weekend and decided to fire Comey anyway." ...

... Karen DeYoung & Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "After nearly nine months of the Trump administration, many of America’s closest allies have concluded that a hoped-for 'learning curve' they thought would make President Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen.... Instead, they see an administration in which lines of authority and decision-making are unclear, where tweets become policy and hard-won international accords on trade and climate are discarded. The result has been a special kind of challenge for those whose jobs are to advocate for their countries and explain the president and his unconventional ways at home. Senior diplomats and officials from nearly a dozen countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia expressed a remarkable coincidence of views in interviews over the past several weeks. Asked to describe their thoughts about and relations with the president and his team..., many described a whirlwind journey beginning with tentative optimism, followed by alarm and finally reaching acceptance that the situation is unlikely to improve."

New York Times Editors: "On Sunday, the White House announced a list of hard-line demands that it said Congress must include in any legislation to help the roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to this country as children. It was the latest flip-flop for the administration and a demoralizing turn for what seemed like a possible bipartisan deal on an emotional issue.... So what can Republicans do? Start by working across the aisle on sensible immigration legislation. That would begin with what got this entire discussion started: a deal to protect the Dreamers.... No matter what the final package looks like, it needs to get to the floor and be put to a vote — which depends on Paul Ryan and ... Mitch McConnell embracing higher principles than fear of their Tea Party rebels."

Silly "News." Things are getting a little 'Real Housewives' around the White House.... President Trump’s first and third wives, Ivana and Melania, respectively, on Monday had a very public war of words — and his second wife, Marla Maples, is getting some shade out of the spat, to boot.... To promote her new book, 'Raising Trump,' about parenting Trump’s three eldest children, Ivana Trump gave a Monday interview to 'Good Morning America' in which she ... [said] 'I’m basically first Trump wife. Okay?' Ivana Trump said. 'I’m first lady.' She offered faux sympathy for Melania Trump, saying  'I think for her to be in Washington must be terrible.' (She had less subtle insults for her ex’s second wife, Marla Maples. 'A showgirl' was her epithet of choice.)... Melania Trump took a page out of her husband’s playbook, the one that famously decrees he hit back harder at anyone who takes a swing. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, dispatched a crisp response dismissing Ivana’s remarks as 'attention seeking' from someone who just wants to sell books and making clear that Melania Trump does not, in fact, hate her Washington life.”

YouTube videos "ended up becoming grist for a network of Facebook pages linked to a shadowy Russian company that has carried out propaganda campaigns for the Kremlin, and which is now believed to be at the center of a far-reaching Russian program to influence the 2016 presidential election. A New York Times examination of hundreds of those posts shows that one of the most powerful weapons that Russian agents used to reshape American politics was the anger, passion and misinformation that real Americans were broadcasting across social media platforms.... The Russians also paid Facebook to promote their posts in the feeds of American Facebook users, helping them test what content would circulate most widely, and among which audiences.... Boosted by Russian accounts, the material was quickly picked up by other American users of Facebook, spreading the posts to an even bigger audience." ...

... Google has found evidence that Russian agents bought ads on its wide-ranging networks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. The findings from an internal inquiry draw Google further into the growing investigation of how social networks and technology services were manipulated by the Russian government to spread misinformation and sow division during the 2016 election. Using accounts believed to be connected to the Russian government, the agents purchased $4,700 worth of search ads and more traditional display ads, according to a person familiar with the company’s inquiry who was not allowed to speak about it publicly.... Google found a separate $53,000 worth of ads with political material that were purchased from Russian internet addresses, building addresses or with Russian currency.... It is not clear whether any of those were connected to the Russian government, and they may have been purchased by Russian citizens.... The messages of those ads spanned the political spectrum."

Beacon of Liberty: Torture Edition. Larry Seims of the Guardian: "274 documents the CIA and Pentagon were forced to declassify and release during pre-trial discovery...These documents, many of them scheduled to be entered as exhibits at trial, provide the fullest picture yet of what the three men suffered in that secret CIA dungeon – and of how fatefully their lives intersected with the rise and fall of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the men who designed the torture regime." Read on if you've got a strong stomach --safari (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) 

Senate & Gubernatorial Races:

He's Breaking up That Old Gang of Theirs. Jonathan Swan of Axios: "Steve Bannon and his allies are planning a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. And only one Senator running in 2018 will get a free pass: Ted Cruz. Breitbart's Washington Editor Matt Boyle writes [Monday] that conservatives are 'running or actively seeking out' serious primary challengers for every incumbent Republican senator running in 2018 except the Texan. Bannon once said he successfully weaponized a human being in Matt Boyle. So Boyle's stories are a useful guide for what Bannon and his outside groups — funded by billionaires like the Mercers — are planning. Here are the races and candidates Boyle teases as part of Bannon's push to support 'America First' candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races nationwide[.]" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It's tempting to be grateful to Steverino, but as we all know, some of his deplorable candidates will win both their primaries & general elections. You may have heard of Donald Trump. Also, too, the primaried senators & governors will move even further to the right, so they may take their new oaths with a promise to deport anyone who can't prove s/he's among the Descendants of the Bastard Kings of England. BTW, there used to be such an organization, & I would qualify. It's the only one of those Look-at-Me-I'm-Whitey-White-White organizations I once considered joining -- because I loved the name.

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced on Monday morning that she will run for reelection in 2018. 'I am running for reelection to the Senate. Lots more to do: ending gun violence, combating climate change, access to healthcare. I’m all in!' Feinstein said in a tweet."

Erik Schelzig of the AP: "Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she 'stopped the sale of baby body parts.' A Twitter representative told the candidate’s vendors on Monday that the statement was 'deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction[']: Twitter said the Blackburn campaign would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted. While the decision keeps Blackburn from paying to promote the video on Twitter, it doesn’t keep it from being linked from YouTube and other platforms. Blackburn took to Twitter to urge supporters to re-post her video and join her in 'standing up to Silicon Valley.'”

Funny how people who accuse their rivals of being unpatriotic worship men who engaged in armed rebellion against the United States. -- Paul Krugman ...

... Where the Confederacy Rules. Paul Krugman: "If you want to understand why policies toward the poor are so different at the state level, why some states offer so much less support to troubled families with children, one predictor stands out: the African-American share of the population. The more blacks, the less compassion white voters feel.The story gets even clearer if you look at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.... Until recently, Virginia seemed to be emerging from some of the darker shadows of its history. The state is becoming more ethnically diverse, more culturally open; it is, you might say, becoming more like America.... Ed Gillespie, the G.O.P. candidate, is trying to pull off an upset by going full-on Trumpist, doing all he can — with assistance from the tweeter in chief — to mobilize the white nationalist vote.... Virginia is now the most important place on the U.S. political landscape — and what happens there could decide the fate of the nation."

Medlar's Sports Report:

Kevin Draper & Ken Belson of the New York Times: "Jemele Hill, the 'SportsCenter' host on ESPN whose tweets last month calling President Trump a white supremacist caused the White House to call for her firing, was suspended on Monday for once again running afoul of the company’s social media policy. After the Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, said Sunday that he would bench any players who 'disrespect the flag,' Hill suggested on Twitter that fans who disagreed with Jones’s stance should boycott Cowboys advertisers." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So it's okay if a rich white guy makes a political statement, but not okay if a black woman responds with a political statement. Seems fair. ...

... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: "ESPN doesn’t deserve to retain the services of Jemele Hill.... Proof? On Monday, the Disney-owned sports-broadcasting colossus suspended Hill for issuing an insightful tweet about the NFL, a league that ESPN supposedly covers.... With his own autocratic announcements about the consequences of kneeling, [Cowboys owner Jerry] Jones is sounding a lot like an NFL stand-in for Trump, a position that’ll harden some attitudes around the league."

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet srespond to Sharon Waxman’s allegations, linked here yesterday, that Times editors killed her 2004 story on Harvey Weinstein. Baquet said, in part, "... if you read her own description, she did not have anything near what was revealed in our story. Mainly, she had an off-the-record account from one woman." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: According to Waxman's account, that's not true: "As head of Miramax Italy in 2003 and 2004, Fabrizio Lombardo was paid $400,000 for less than a year of employment. He was on the payroll of Miramax and thus the Walt Disney Company, which had bought the indie studio in 1993.... According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs, among other things.... I had people on the record telling me Lombardo knew nothing about film, and others citing evenings he organized with Russian escorts." As I recall, Baquet is a consistent defender of questionable NYT editorial decisions, including crap the Times had to amend four times its initial story about Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Waxman's reporting may or may not have required more sourcing to meet NYT standards, but accurately claiming that her report wasn't as deep or as broad as last week's NYT report on Weinstein is a phony excuse for squelching a narrower report. ...

This is a Donna Karan dress, which -- given the hat & handbag -- she apparently thinks is just right for the office. Asking for it?... Bonnie Malkin of the Guardian: "Fashion designer Donna Karan has come to the defence of film producer Harvey Weinstein by praising the movie mogul and saying women who dress sensually are asking for trouble.... On Sunday, Karan, who is also a friend of Weinstein’s, told the Daily Mail that he was 'wonderful'. Karan said women must consider if the way they dress suggests they are 'asking for it'. 'I think we have to look at ourselves,' she said on the red carpet at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles.... Weinstein’s alleged conduct has been condemned by his friends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, who called the claims 'horrifying' and “inexcusable'.”

"Capitalism is Awesome", Ctd. Joseph Cox of The Daily Beast: "Danny Manupassa sells everything the paranoid might need. As the director of PI-Products, he offers infra-red cameras, reinforced, security-focused doors to stop burglars armed with electric drills and saws, and even professional bug-sweeping services to find hidden microphones in cars. But this thirtysomething entrepreneur’s main business — the one that has led to him being the center of a cross-border investigation into organized crime — is selling privacy-focused mobile phones...A Daily Beast investigation shows the widespread use of these devices by serious criminals, connections between crooks and some of the people that sell the phones, and the intense rivalry playing out across the industry." --safari (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) 

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The massive, fast-moving California wildfires that have killed at least 15 people came with hardly any warning, spreading into neighborhoods when residents had gone to bed, unaware that they would have to flee for safety. Many of them, officials said, have nothing left to come back to." ...

... Los Angeles Times: "The death toll from the Northern California fires continued to rise Tuesday, reaching a confirmed total of 15 as multiple fires scorched upward of 100,000 acres. Sonoma County alone has received about 200 reports of missing people since Sunday night, and sheriff’s officials have located 45 of those people, said county spokeswoman Maggie Fleming. The majority of the fatalities are from Sonoma County, where huge swaths of the city of Santa Rosa were leveled by the Tubbs fire. Nine people have died in Sonoma County as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, Fleming said. Two people have died in Napa County, three in Mendocino County and one in Yuba County, Cal Fire officials said."

Sunday
Oct082017

The Commentariat -- October 9, 2017

Lisa Friedman & Brad Plumer of the New York Times: "The Trump administration announced Monday that it would take formal steps to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming. At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions."

Beacon of Liberty: Torture Edition. Larry Seims of the Guardian: "274 documents the CIA and Pentagon were forced to declassify and release during pre-trial discovery...These documents, many of them scheduled to be entered as exhibits at trial, provide the fullest picture yet of what the three men suffered in that secret CIA dungeon – and of how fatefully their lives intersected with the rise and fall of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the men who designed the torture regime." Read on if you've got a strong stomach --safari

"Captialism is Awesome", Ctd. Joseph Cox of The Daily Beast: "Danny Manupassa sells everything the paranoid might need. As the director of PI-Products, he offers infra-red cameras, reinforced, security-focused doors to stop burglars armed with electric drills and saws, and even professional bug-sweeping services to find hidden microphones in cars. But this thirtysomething entrepreneur’s main business — the one that has led to him being the center of a cross-border investigation into organized crime — is selling privacy-focused mobile phones...A Daily Beast investigation shows the widespread use of these devices by serious criminals, connections between crooks and some of the people that sell the phones, and the intense rivalry playing out across the industry." --safari

Mrs. McCrabbie: In today's thread, Akhilleus links the most famous moment in the the Army-McCarthy hearings. Here's Edward R. Murrow's response to it. You can substitute "Trump" for "McCarthy," & Murrows' remarks ring true today:

*****

On Columbus Day Weekend, Trump Pays Tribute to the Explorer
Who set in motion the American tradition of White Europeans abusing & exploiting Native Americans:

.... Of Dreamers & Schemers. Michael Shear of the New York Times: "The White House on Sunday delivered to Congress a long list of hard-line immigration measures that President Trump is demanding in exchange for any deal to protect the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, imperiling a fledgling bipartisan push to reach a legislative solution. Before agreeing to provide legal status for 800,000 young immigrants brought here illegally as children, Mr. Trump will insist on the construction of a wall across the southern border, the hiring of 10,000 immigration agents, tougher laws for those seeking asylum and denial of federal grants to 'sanctuary cities,' officials said. The White House is also demanding the use of the E-Verify program by companies to keep illegal immigrants from getting jobs, an end to people bringing their extended family into the United States, and a hardening of the border against thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America.... The demands were developed by a half-dozen agencies and departments, officials said. But among the officials behind the demands are Stephen Miller, the president’s top policy adviser, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions...." ...

... Margaret Hartmann of New York: "... the White House has sent congressional leaders a list of immigration demands that is almost the complete opposite of what [Trump] told Democrats [Schumer & Pelosi] he was looking for in exchange for extending DACA.... The drastic shift from Trump requesting a moderate increase in border security to demanding Congress essentially enact his entire immigration platform would be enough reason to distrust anything he says about the future of DACA.... A letter sent with the list, which was signed by President Trump, states: 'These findings outline reforms that must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.' But according to The Wall Street Journal, Trump officials 'stopped short of saying the White House would insist on them,' and said the president is not issuing any veto threats."

Larry Summers Has Had Enough of This Shit: "The Trump administration’s tax plan is not a plan. It is a melange of ideas put forth without precision or arithmetic. It is not clear enough to permit the kind of careful quantitative analysis of its expected budget costs, economic effects and distributional implications that precedes such legislation in a serious country. It is clear enough, however, to demonstrate that the claims of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Kevin Hassett are some combination of ignorant, disingenuous and dishonest. Hassett, whose job is to stand up for rigorous apolitical economic analysis, had the temerity last week to accuse the Tax Policy Center — staffed by many of the most distinguished tax analysts in the country — of issuing 'scientifically indefensible' 'fiction.' He and his colleagues should look in the mirror.... We know enough to say that a tax-reform plan along the lines of the administration’s sketch would not substantially increase economic growth, would blow out the budget deficit and would make the United States an even more unequal place.”

Trump Says He Doesn't Care Much about Health Care. Julia Manchester of the Hill: "President Trump praised health care block grants on Saturday, saying they allow the states to focus on health care, but said he would rather focus his energy on tensions with North Korea than 'fixing somebody's back or their knee.'" Mrs. McC: That is, Trump seems to think medical care is rather superfluous & pretty much all about chiropractic. he'd rather focus on calling Little Kim names and/or maybe starting a nuclear war. Way more fun. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

** The New York Times Editors have updated their "Republican's Guide to Presidential Etiquette" "to ensure that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans never forget what they now condone in a president." As the editors note, the standards have changed drastically since Barack Obama was president. ...

... Paul Waldman: "Despite his belief that he's a master dealmaker, Trump has shown himself utterly incapable of the things Washington dealmaking requires, including mastering the issue at hand and building and managing relationships with members of Congress whose own interests are often in conflict even within each party. So the agenda flounders, and one major issue after another winds up being shaped by Trump's personal whims and resentments.... [For instance,] Trump distrusts [Rex] Tillerson because, according to The Washington Post, 'Trump believes his top diplomat often seems more concerned with what the world thinks of the United States than with tending to the president's personal image.'... For this president, everything is personal. The purpose of the State Department isn't to represent the United States to the world but to tend to Trump's personal image."

Mrs. McCrabbie: I'll let Akhilleus report this one: "The Dauphin, le petit mikey pence, walked out of an NFL football game today, just as fast as his little legs could carry him, because he can't stand African American players advocating for their rights." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... In yesterday's thread, Akhilleus went on to reiterate how senseless mikey's own little protest is. Sadly, Akhilleus just doesn't get it. Behaving or dressing in a way confederates deem "patriotic" applies only to black people. Remember how riled everybody -- including ABC "News" -- by the fact that then-Sen. Obama often left the house without wearing a flag pin in his lapel? I checked the Googles & found dozens of photos of der Trumpus dressed in a suit with no flag pin in sight. Yet no one ever questioned his patriotism because of his shockingly flagless lapel. Nevah. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Update. Worse than We Thought. The mikey Protest Was a Trump-directed Made-for-TV NFL Opening Show. And You Paid the Production Costs. Cindy Boren of the Washington Post: "The plan had been for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the Indianapolis Colts game at which Peyton Manning’s number was to be retired.... The former governor of Indiana and his wife, wearing a Manning No. 18 jersey, left Lucas Oil Stadium after the national anthem, following instructions from President Trump after a number of San Francisco 49ers players, as they usually do, took a knee during the anthem. 'I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled,' Trump posted on Twitter. 'I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.'... Pence left after more than a dozen members of the 49ers took a knee during the anthem, as many NFL players have done to raise awareness of social injustice and racial inequality. Members of the Colts stood for the anthem with arms linked.... Assuming a total flight time of six hours..., the tab for the flight alone would have topped $250,000.... [Other costs include] Secret Service agents deployed from the local field office; police to provide security along the motorcade route and at the perimeter of the event; an ambulance for the motorcade; and extra trauma teams on hand at a local hospital, among others — with many earning overtime wages for working on a Sunday.” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If Trump's campaign doesn't pay all the costs for this stunt, this misuse of taxpayer money is one of many grounds for impeachment to be added to the list. mikey could be impeached, too, but please, not while Paul Ryan is next up. ...

... Peter King of Sports Illustrated points out that pence has been a Peyton Manning fan for a long time, yet the purpose of this trip to from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then on to California, was made for the purpose of upstaging Manning, whose jersey was to be retired during a half-time ceremony. ...

By now I think we all get it: Donald Trump is the savior of American values from the dusky hordes. -- Kevin Drum ...

... Chas Danner of New York has a pretty good summary of how the whole outrageous pre-planned pence "protest" went down.

Jonathan Martin & Mark Landler of the New York Times: "Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like 'a reality show,' with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation 'on the path to World War III.' In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts 'like he’s doing "The Apprentice’ or something.' 'He concerns me,' Mr. Corker added. 'He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.'... Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. 'I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,' Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview.” ...

... Philip Rucker & Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on Sunday called the White House 'an adult day care center' after President Trump attacked him in a morning Twitter tirade. Trump alleged in a trio of tweets that Corker 'begged' him for his endorsement, did not receive it and decided to retire because he 'didn't have the guts' to run for reelection next year. In response, Corker (Tenn.) tweeted, 'It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.'... Trump's public lashing of a fellow Republican comes after Corker made headlines last week when he starkly suggested that the national security team provides the president with badly needed adult supervision." Thanks to Marvin S. for the lead. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said 'NO' and he dropped out (said he could not win without... ..my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said 'NO THANKS.' He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! -- Donald Trump, lying his way trhough a series of tweets, Sunday ...

... Eli Watkins & Manu Raju of CNN: "Trump tweeted Sunday morning in a series of posts attacking Corker that he denied the senator's request for an endorsement -- a claim denied by Corker's chief of staff, Todd Womack, later in the day. 'The president called Senator Corker on Monday afternoon and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek reelection and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times,' Womack said in a statement. Trump told Corker he was going to endorse him the day the Tennessee Republican announced his intention to retire, two sources familiar with the discussions said." ...

... Jonah Shepp of New York: "That Corker is the only Republican openly remarking on the irresponsibility of this behavior is, frankly, an indictment of the rest of the party.... Let’s not give Trump’s Republican critics too much credit here: They had enough evidence to know exactly what kind of erratic person they were hitching their wagons to last year, and went ahead and endorsed him anyway. Perhaps Corker will think twice the next time he has the urge to help someone get elected president and then try to change everything about them afterward."

The Fish Rots from the Head. Drew Harwell, et al., of the Washington Post: "The Trump administration, one of the wealthiest in modern U.S. history, is facing widening criticism over travel expenditures among some of the billionaires, budget hawks and business executives who head federal agencies. Inspectors general have opened at least five investigations into charter or military flights by Cabinet officials amounting to millions in federal spending.... 'The tone is set at the top,' said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.... 'When you have a president who is visiting his private resorts every weekend at great cost to taxpayers, it is not surprising that Cabinet members are using private jets to get to standard meetings.'”

Addy Baird of ThinkProgress: "Republican Facebook employees embedded with the Trump campaign to help the then-candidate fine tune ads on the platform, according to an interview with Trump campaign digital media director Brad Parscale...Parscale tells 60 Minutes that the campaign ran an average of 50,000 to 60,000 ad versions every day, with different designs, colors, backgrounds, and words. Some days, Parscale says, they peaked at 100,000 different ad iterations...There is some irony in how successful the embeds were, Parscale says, saying that Facebook and other social platforms were invented by “very liberal people” on both coasts, while they used the platforms to get a Republican in the Oval Office." --safari ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Baird also reports that "Parscale also says he heard the Clinton campaign, which also used Facebook advertising extensively, did not use embeds and turned down Facebook’s offers to have employees essentially join the campaign." The very idea that a business with the breadth of Facebook would secretly embed employees in political campaigns to actively help one candidate over another is shockingly undemocratic (even tho I can't think why it might be illegal), even if that candidate weren't Trump. 

Connor O'Brien of Politico: "In an interview on ABC's "This Week," FEMA administrator Brock Long brushed off criticism from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has slammed the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria.... 'We filtered out the mayor a long time ago. We don't have time for the political noise,' Long said." Mrs. McC: Yeah, there really is no reason to listen to a woman, even one who knows what she's talking about because she's been there & seen it. A valuable female official would be one who stayed inside the air-conditioned hurricane center & got coffee for the men having meetings. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Antibiotic Apocalypse. Robin McKie of the Guardian: "Scientists attending a recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported they had uncovered a highly disturbing trend...[R]esistance to [antibiotics] is spreading across the globe...The danger, say scientists, is one of the greatest that humanity has faced in recent times. In a drug-resistant world, many aspects of modern medicine would simply become impossible." Read on. --safari (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Megan Twohey of the New York Times: "The Weinstein Company fired one of its founders, Harvey Weinstein, on Sunday, after a New York Times investigation uncovered allegations that he had engaged in rampant sexual harassment, dealing a stunning blow to a producer known for shaping American film and championing liberal causes." ...

... Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Sharon Waxman of the Wrap writes that in 2004, when she worked for the New York Times, she reported on some of Weinstein's antics, but Times editors stripped the story of sexual allegations after pressure from Waxman himself & from movie stars Matt Damon & Russell Crowe: "I simply gagged when I read Jim Rutenberg’s sanctimonious piece on Saturday about the 'media enablers' who kept this story from the public for decades. 'Until now,' he puffed, 'no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish.' That’s right, Jim. No one — including The New York Times.”

Way Beyond the Beltway

Rod Nordland of the New York Times: "More than a thousand Islamic State fighters ... fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up ... in [an] interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq. For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in to Kurdish officials at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Ledes

Los Angeles Times: "At least 10 people have died and at least 1,500 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed as more than 14 fires ravaged eight counties throughout Northern California on Monday, authorities said. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported seven fire-related deaths late Monday. In addition, two died because of the Atlas fire in Napa County, said a CalFire spokesperson. One person died as result of the Redwood Valley fire in Mendocino County."

New York Times: "Richard H. Thaler was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for his contributions to behavioral economics.mProfessor Thaler, born in 1945 in East Orange, N.J., works at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. The Nobel committee, announcing the award in Stockholm, said that he was a pioneer in applying psychology to economic behavior and in shedding light on how people make economic decisions, sometimes rejecting rationality."

Saturday
Oct072017

The Commentariat -- October 8, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Mrs. McCrabbie: I'll let Akhilleus report this one: "The Dauphin, le petit mikey pence, walked out of an NFL football game today, just as fast as his little legs could carry him, because he can't stand African American players advocating for their rights." ...

     ... Akhilleus goes on to reiterate how senseless mikey's own little protest is. Unfortunately, Akhilleus just doesn't get it. Behaving or dressing in a way confederates deem "patriotic" applies only to black people. Remember how riled everybody -- including ABC "News" -- by the fact that then-Sen. Obama often left the house without wearing a flag pin in his lapel? I checked the Googles & found dozens of photos of der Trumpus dressed in a suit with no flag pin in sight. Yet no one ever questioned his patriotism because of his shockingly flagless lapel. Nevah. ...

     ... Here, BTW, is what Obama said in 2007 regarding display of a flag pin:

I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead I’m gonna’ try to tell the American people what I believe what will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.... Somebody noticed I wasn’t wearing a flag lapel pin and I told folks, well you know what? I haven’t probably worn that pin in a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time. My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on your lapel than what’s in your heart. And you show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals and that’s what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals

Antibiotic Apocalypse. Robin McKie of the Guardian: "Scientists attending a recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported they had uncovered a highly disturbing trend...[R]esistance to [antibiotics] is spreading across the globe...The danger, say scientists, is one of the greatest that humanity has faced in recent times. In a drug-resistant world, many aspects of modern medicine would simply become impossible." Read on. --safari

Trump Says He Doesn't Care Much about Health Care. Julia Manchester of the Hill: "President Trump praised health care block grants on Saturday, saying they allow the states to focus on health care, but said he would rather focus his energy on tensions with North Korea than 'fixing somebody's back or their knee.'" Mrs. McC: That is, Trump seems to think medical care is rather superfluous & pretty much all about chiropractic. he'd rather focus on calling Little Kim names and/or maybe starting a nuclear war. Way more fun.

Philip Rucker & Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on Sunday called the White House 'an adult day care center' after President Trump attacked him in a morning Twitter tirade. Trump alleged in a trio of tweets that Corker 'begged' him for his endorsement, did not receive it and decided to retire because he 'didn't have the guts' to run for reelection next year. In response, Corker (Tenn.) tweeted, 'It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.'... Trump's public lashing of a fellow Republican comes after Corker made headlines last week when he starkly suggested that the national security team provides the president with badly needed adult supervision." Thanks to Marvin S. for the lead.

Connor O'Brien of Politico: "In an interview on ABC's "This Week," FEMA administrator Brock Long brushed off criticism from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has slammed the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria.... 'We filtered out the mayor a long time ago. We don't have time for the political noise,' Long said." Mrs. McC: Yeah, there really is no reason to listen to a woman, even one who knows what she's talking about because she's been there & seen it. A valuable female official would be one who stayed inside the air-conditioned hurricane center & got coffee for the men having meetings.

Rod Nordland of the New York Times: "More than a thousand Islamic State fighters ... fled their crumbling Iraqi stronghold of Hawija. Instead of the martyrdom they had boasted was their only acceptable fate, they had voluntarily ended up ... in [an] interrogation center of the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq. For an extremist group that has made its reputation on its ferociousness, with fighters who would always choose suicide over surrender, the fall of Hawija has been a notable turning point. The group has suffered a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria, but the number of its shock troops who turned themselves in to Kurdish officials at the center in Dibis was unusually large, more than 1,000 since last Sunday."

Antibiotic Apocalypse. Robin McKie of the Guardian: "Scientists attending a recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported they had uncovered a highly disturbing trend...[R]esistance to [antibiotics] is spreading across the globe...The danger, say scientists, is one of the greatest that humanity has faced in recent times. In a drug-resistant world, many aspects of modern medicine would simply become impossible." Read on. --safari

*****

Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "President Trump continued to make vague threats toward North Korea on Saturday.... 'Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid ... hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work! Trump tweeted in two messages on Saturday afternoon." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Clearly, Trump thinks agitating another thin-skinned loon with control over a nuclear arsenal -- you know, someone just like Trump -- is a great strategy.

Politico: "Trump on Saturday said he and [Rex] Tillerson have had some disagreements at times but that they have 'a very good relationship.' He added, however, that 'sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher.'" ...

... Brent Griffiths of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Saturday continued to criticize NBC News over the network’s reporting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him a 'moron' earlier this summer, and its subsequent reporting on chaos that engulfed the administration in its wake. '"More.@NBCNews is so knowingly inaccurate with their reporting,' Trump wrote on Twitter. 'The good news is that the PEOPLE get it, which is really all that matters! Not #1'" ...

... Thin-skinned Loon Can't Take the Late-Nite Heat. It's So Unfaaaair! Daniel Politi of Slate: "... Donald Trump is sick and tired of the 'anti-Trump' bend of late-night hosts and he went on a little Twitter rant against them on Saturday morning.... 'Late Night host are dealing with the Democrats for their very "unfunny" & repetitive material, always anti-Trump! Should we get Equal Time?' [AND] ... 'More and more people are suggesting that Republicans (and me) should be given Equal Time on T.V. when you look at the one-sided coverage?'... It seems Trump was referring to the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present different points of views on controversial issues. But that rule was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987. And it’s actually something that Republicans like.... . Late Night host Seth Meyers wrote back on Twitter: 'We'd love to have you! Studio located at 15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica.'” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Oh, wouldn't you love to see Fox "News" being subjected to the Fairness Doctrine? Roger Ailes would rise from the grave in protest.

Mike Allen of Axios: "President Trump telephoned Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday in an effort to revive health-care legislation, Republican sources said. Trump was seeking 'a path forward on health care,' a GOP source said." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Jesse Byrnes of the Hill: "... Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Saturday he told President Trump that Democrats would be open to stabilizing the health-care system, but that another push to repeal and replace ObamaCare was 'off the table.' 'The president wanted to make another run at repeal and replace and I told the president that's off the table,' Schumer said in a statement on his call with Trump on Friday, news of which the president confirmed in a tweet. 'If he wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions. A good place to start might be the Alexander-Murray negotiations that would stabilize the system and lower costs, Schumer added." (Also linked yesterday.)

Robert Pear of the New York Times: "Stymied in his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is poised to issue an order that could ease some federal rules governing health insurance and make it easier for people to band together and buy coverage on their own, administration officials said Saturday.One official said the directive could move the president a step closer to one of his longstanding goals: allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines." ...

... Peter Orszag of Bloomberg (March 2017) explained numerous reasons that allowing groups to buy insurance across state lines would not lower costs, or as Trump claimed during the campaign, result in "great health care for a fraction of the price." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: One big difference between Trump & Mussolini is that Mussolini actually delivered on his promises. He did not just "make the trains run on time," he literally "drained the swamp(s)" & initiated yuge physical infrastructure & social welfare programs. If you look back at Trump's constantly repeated promises to different groups that "We're going to take care of you," you see a pattern of a guy who tries to imitate Mussolini but has no interest in actually delivering on Il Duce's public programs. Il Donaldo is nothing but a wannabe Benito. Trump is really only interested in achieving the extreme downsides of Fascism. Think about that.

Congressional leaders fear ... Donald Trump’s staff are exploiting the president’s busy schedule to push their own agenda and undermine his pledge to protect Dreamers. According to four political operatives working closely with Republicans, leaders in both the House and Senate characterized some of the White House’s demands, which have yet to go public, as 'poison pills,' saying they are impossible to achieve and that the White House staffers’ intent is to scuttle the deal for political gain. The focus of their ire is on Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser, who drafted the principles and has been behind several other controversial White House initiatives, including the ban on travel from several Muslim-majority nations. He is one of the few hard-right conservatives remaining in the White House after the departure of Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon. 'We use to joke about President Bannon. Now it's President Miller,' one senior lawmaker said in a meeting about the White House’s immigration and border security demands." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Yo, DiJiT, are you listening? This story is a plant. Republicans are telling you  they want Miller to go. He used to work for that nice fellow Jeff Sessions. I'm sure JeffBo can find him a place at DOJ. Maybe infiltrating white supremacist groups. Should be easy; Miller already has all his charter-membership cards. ...

... Bob Brigham of the Raw Story: "Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein described the Trump administration as 'unlike anything I have seen in 50 years in Washington' while reporting that Republicans are privately assessing ... Donald Trump as unfit for office.' 'What there is a sense of, people I talk to in the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill, is that the wheels are coming off this presidency,' Bernstein told CNN New Day anchors Poppy Harlow and Chris Cuomo. 'In the White House, there is an attempt by those closest to the President — especially [Chief of Staff John] Kelly, especially the military leaders — to try to constrain the president from his own inclinations to say wild things, to act irresponsibly. It’s almost as if there’s a protectorate around the President,' explained Bernstein.... Bernstein said the 'big story right now' is Republican members of congress and military leaders and the intelligence community, 'many of them have lost confidence in this president.'” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: What could happen within months is that John Kelly rounds up Cabinet members, GOP Congressional leaders & mike pence & urges a 25th Amendment solution. Since Trump has insulted all of them except pence (who is already prepping for the top job), I don't think this will be a tough call.


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article177613721.html#storylink=cpy

Matt Apuzzo & Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "White House officials once debated a scorched-earth strategy of publicly criticizing and undercutting Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian efforts to disrupt last year’s election. Now, President Trump’s lawyers are ... cooperating with the special counsel in the hope that Mr. Mueller will declare in the coming months that Mr. Trump is not a target of the Russia inquiry. Mr. Trump has long sought such a public declaration. He fired his F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, in May after Mr. Comey refused to say openly that Mr. Trump was not under investigation. The president’s legal team is working swiftly to respond to requests from Mr. Mueller for emails, documents and memos, and will make White House officials available for interviews. Once Mr. Mueller has combed through the evidence, Mr. Trump’s lawyers plan to ask him to affirm that Mr. Trump is not under investigation, either for colluding with Russian operatives or for trying to obstruct justice." ...

... Julian Borger of the Guardian: "Nine months after its first appearance, the set of intelligence reports known as the Steele dossier, one of the most explosive documents in modern political history, is still hanging over Washington, casting a shadow over the Trump administration that has only grown darker as time has gone by. It was reported this week that the document’s author, former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, has been interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Senate and House intelligence committees are, meanwhile, asking to see Steele to make up their own mind about his findings. The ranking Democrat on the House committee, Adam Schiff, said that the dossier was 'a very important and useful guide to help us figure out what we need to look into'. The fact that Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators has far-reaching implications.... As every passing month brings more leaks, revelations in the press, and more progress in the investigations, the Steele dossier has generally gained in credibility, rather than lost it.”

Most Depressing Op-ed of the Weekend. Doug Sosnik in a Washington Post op-ed: "More than half of Americans don’t think Donald Trump is fit to serve as president, yet he has a clear path to winning reelection. If Trump isn’t removed from office and doesn’t lead the country into some form of global catastrophe, he could secure a second term simply by maintaining his current level of support with his political base." Sosnik is a Democratic strategist. (Also linked yesterday.)

A Demented World of Their Own. Derek Hawkins of the Washington Post: "Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) still seems swayed by the 'false flag' theory of the white supremacist violence [at Charlottesville]. In an interview with Vice News that aired Thursday night, Gosar suggested that the rally was 'created by the left' and carried out by an 'Obama sympathizer. The congressman also brought up a thoroughly refuted claim that [George] Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who survived Nazi occupation during World War II, had collaborated with the Third Reich, prompting a strongly worded condemnation from a Soros spokeswoman. Gosar’s remarks also drew a stream of criticism on Twitter. 'Will other Republicans rebuke him,' asked Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard. 'If not, is this a party to which one can belong?' 'That drip-drip-drip of anti-Semitism,' wrote science writer Steve Silberman.” (Also linked yesterday.) 

April Glaser of Slate: "More than 90 percent of people on the island of Puerto Rico don’t have power, and more than 80 percent don’t have access to wireless cell service, according to the most recent advisories from FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission.... On Friday, the FCC gave Alphabet, Google’s parent company, permission to launch its internet balloon project over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dubbed Project Loon, the idea is that by flying massive balloons over the islands, Loon will beam down emergency internet service and help get people back online. Loon has permission to fly 30 of its balloons for up to six months over the affected areas."

Beyond the Beltway

"Very Fine People." Julia Manchester of the Hill: "White nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday less than two months after one person was killed and dozens were injured when violence broke out after the 'Unite the Right' rally. White nationalist leader Richard Spencer led a group of roughly 30 white nationalists, who gathered at Emancipation Park, according to the Charlottesville's CBS affiliate.... The group carried tiki torches and chanted 'You will not replace us,' by a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the park. They also reportedly said, 'we will be back.'... 'The left wing establishment is built around anti-white policies,' Spencer told the group. The group also chanted 'The South will rise again' and 'Russia is our friend.'"

Way Beyond

Nicola Slawson & Ben Quinn of the Guardian: "Eleven people have been injured after a minicab driver struck pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum in west London, sparking a major security alert. Scotland Yard said nine of those hurt were taken to hospital after the incident in Exhibition Road, South Kensington, at about 2.20pm on Saturday. No injuries were thought to be life-threatening or life-changing. Those taken to hospital included the driver of the the black Toyota Prius, who is under arrest and in custody at a north London police station. Police said the incident was a road traffic investigation and not a terrorist-related incident."

News Lede

CNN: Hurricane "Nate weakened to a tropical storm early Sunday as it moved farther inland over Mississippi and Alabama, the National Hurricane Center said.The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and "rapid weakening is anticipated," the center said. Nate made its second US landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, shortly after midnight local time Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane.... Just hours earlier, Nate had made its first US landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana, with winds of 85 mph the National Hurricane Center reported Saturday night."