The Wires

Washington Post: "Cheap Chinese caviar is flooding the U.S. market, causing prices to plummet, and with it, the product’s cachet. Wholesale prices have fallen more than 50 percent since 2012, down 13 percent just in the past year. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the import price has gone from $850,000 per ton in January 2012 to $350,000 per ton in November 2018." Mrs. McC: This makes me very happy. I love caviar (I've only had the cheaper kind), but I seldom buy it because of the expense. I have some in the pantry now, but I'm going to check the price at the grocery store now in hopes it's something I can enjoy more often. Status symbol? I couldn't care less.

New York Times: "Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday [April 15] to news organizations that uncovered instances of malfeasance and outright fraud in President Trump’s financial past, a nod to journalists’ perseverance in the face of the president’s ever-sharper attacks on a free press. The New York Times received the explanatory reporting prize for an 18-month investigation that revealed how the future president and his relatives avoided paying roughly half a billion dollars’ worth of taxes. The Wall Street Journal won the national reporting prize for disclosing clandestine payoffs by the president’s associates to two women who were said to have had affairs with Mr. Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won the prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, for documenting the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The paper’s in-depth articles revealed a series of failures by local officials and law enforcement that, the paper wrote, cost children their lives."

Medlar's Sports Report. New York Times: "Tiger Woods’s comeback from personal and professional adversity is complete: He captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament on Sunday, snapping a championship drought of nearly 11 years. It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a magical, come-from-behind win for a player who had not won a major championship since his personal life began to unravel on Thanksgiving night in 2009, when a marital dispute led to a car accident and a succession of lurid tabloid headlines. On the golf course, he had a series of back and leg injuries that led to an addiction to painkillers and culminated in pain so searing that, before surgery in 2017, he had questioned whether he could play professionally again." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Oh yeah? Trump can beat Tiger any day.

Tom Jones of Poynter picks the top 25 movies ever about journalism.

New York Times: "For 340 days, Scott Kelly circled the Earth aboard the International Space Station, gathering data about himself." His twin brother Mark Kelly, planted on Earth, did the same. "On Thursday..., NASA researchers reported that [Scott Kelly's] body experienced a vast number of changes while in orbit. DNA mutated in some of his cells. His immune system produced a host of new signals. His microbiome gained new species of bacteria. Many of these biological changes seemed harmless, disappearing after he returned to Earth. But others — including genetic mutations and, after his return, declines in cognitive test scores — did not correct themselves, provoking concern among scientists."

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times: now does his first drafts of columns as well as other traditional writing tasks by speaking into his phone. "I open RecUp, a cloud-connected voice-recording app on my phone.... Every few days, I load the recordings into Descript, an app that bills itself as a “word processor for audio.” Some of my voice memos are more than an hour long, but Descript quickly (and cheaply) transcribes the text, truncates the silences and renders my speech editable and searchable.... New advances — like smarter and more ubiquitous voice assistants; better text-to-speech synthesis; easy-to-use audio and video production apps like Descript and Anchor; and gadgets that burrow the internet into your ears, like Apple’s AirPods and Amazon’s reported forthcoming AirPod clones — point to a profound shift in computing. Soon it might be possible to conduct a large slice of digital life, including work, without being glued to a screen."

New York Times: "In a cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered a new branch of the human family tree. At least 50,000 years ago, an extinct human species lived on what is now the island of Luzon, researchers reported on Wednesday. It’s possible that Homo luzonensis, as they’re calling the species, stood less than three feet tall. The discovery adds growing complexity to the story of human evolution. It was not a simple march forward, as it once seemed. Instead, our lineage assumed an exuberant burst of strange forms along the way.Our species, Homo sapiens, now inhabits a comparatively lonely world. 'The more fossils that people pull out of the ground, the more we realize that the variation that was present in the past far exceeds what we see in us today,' said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Canada, who was not involved in the new discovery."

New York Times: "At 9 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, [April 10,] a group of astronomers who run a globe-girdling network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope are expected to unveil the first-ever images of a black hole. For some years now, scientific literature, news media and films have featured remarkably sophisticated and academic computer simulations of black holes. If all has gone well, the images today will reveal the real thing, and scientists at last will catch a glimpse of what had seemed unseeable."

      ... Update: "Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had observed the unobserveable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.... To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to Messier 87, a giant galaxy in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole several billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light-years into space."

"A commemorative print from 2008 of Mr. Robbins’s original paint-by-numbers creation in 1950, an abstract still-life. His boss then asked him to make something more representational, and an industry was born." CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "Dan Robbins was no Leonardo da Vinci. But he copied one of the master’s basic techniques and thereby enabled children to grow up believing that they, too, could paint 'The Last Supper.' Mr. Robbins, a package designer who died on Monday at 93, helped to conceive what became known as paint by numbers. He copied the idea from Leonardo, who numbered the objects in the background of his paintings and had his apprentices paint them with designated colors. With paint-by-numbers kits, young baby boomers in the 1950s followed the same mechanics as those Renaissance artisans, coloring inside the outlines of images of everything from seascapes and the Matterhorn to kittens and Queen Elizabeth II. The process opened up art to the masses — another notch on the continuum of a limitless democratic American ethos that promised “a chicken in every pot” and 'every man a king.'”

Guardian: "In the 50s, the American art world took itself extremely seriously. Abstract painters such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko painted sublime slabs that were praised in hushed voices. Painting-by-numbers may not have been intended as a parody of this modernist reverence – but it sure looked that way. Robbins designed quaint scenes of farmhouses and mountain valleys that anyone could complete – they were good, solid pictures for good, solid middle-American homes. Yet the relationship between painting-by-numbers and modern art is more complicated than it looks. The earliest kit Robbins devised was a cubist still life in the style of Picasso, for the sharp planes of colour were, he said, easy to adapt. He called it Abstract No 1. It was his boss at the Palmer paint company in Detroit, where he worked as a package designer, who insisted he create homely American scenes instead. Robbins was thrilled when, as he remembered: 'Someone entered a completed Abstract No 1 in an art show and won. The judges were quite embarrassed, but the prize resulted in lots of debate about the concept of art …'”

NBC News: “Researchers who used DNA to identify ... the bones [of] Casimir Pulaski, hero of the Revolutionary War and the pride of the Polish-American community..., are convinced the gallant Pole who died fighting for America’s freedom was either a biological woman who lived as a man, or potentially was intersex, meaning a person whose body doesn’t fit the standard definitions of male or female. That’s the eye-opening takeaway from a new Smithsonian Channel documentary titled 'The General Was Female?,' which premieres Monday and is part of the 'America’s Hidden Stories' series.”

Friday
Apr122019

The Commentariat -- April 13, 2019

Mussolini at least made the trains run on time. Il Trumpo can't do anything right.Trump Tries on His Dictator Suit

Maggie Haberman, et al., of the New York Times: "President Trump last week urged Kevin McAleenan, whom he was about to name as acting secretary of homeland security, to close the southwestern border despite having just said that he was delaying a decision on the step for a year, according to three people.... It was not clear what Mr. Trump meant by his request or his additional comment to Mr. McAleenan that he would pardon him if he encountered any legal problems as a result of taking the action.... Mr. Trump's desire to close the border, despite the legal impediments was a factor in the forced resignation of [DHS Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen. [Trump's conversation with McAleenan] was one of a number of instances in which Ms. Nielsen believed she was being asked to engage in conduct that violated laws, according to several people with knowledge of those discussions." ...

Telling someone to commit a crime and promising a pardon if he does is an impeachable offense. -- Richard Painter, in a tweet ...

... digby: "Trump gets no benefit of the doubt for 'joking' about dangling pardons to people who break the law for him. There's just too much evidence that he's prepared to do it. Recall that on the same visit, Trump told border patrol agents that they should just tell judges that 'we're full' if they the give them any trouble. They took the president seriously enough that they asked their bosses if they should follow his orders and were told they shouldn't break the law. He's testing the boundaries to see how far he can go." ...

... Rafi Schwartz of Splinter: "... no matter how troubling it may be that Trump was reportedly directing government officials to break the law, the fact that he subsequently may have promised a pardon for at least one member of his administration takes things to a whole other level -- one in which the president is actively working to subvert existing laws in pursuit of his monomaniacal anti-immigration ends." ...

... Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "President Trump said on Friday that his administration was 'strongly' considering releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic 'sanctuary cities,'... tweeting, 'Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only.... ....The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy -- so this should make them very happy!' 'We are looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it to be honest with you,' he said on Friday in response to a question about the proposal.... The comments came a day after the administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered. But after the president's Twitter posts on Friday, a White House spokesman said Democrats should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts." ...

... Courtney Kube & Julia Ainsley of NBC News: "When some of ... Donald Trump's top national security advisers gathered at the White House Tuesday night to talk about the surge of immigrants across the southern border, they discussed increasing the U.S. military's involvement in the border mission, including whether the military could be used to build tent city detention camps for migrants, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the conversations. During the meeting, the officials also discussed whether the U.S. military could legally run the camps once the migrants are housed there, a move the three officials said was very unlikely since U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants. The law has been a major limitation for Trump, who wants to engage troops in his mission to get tougher on immigration. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was at the White House meeting Tuesday night and was open to sending more U.S. troops to support the border mission, so long as their assigned mission is within the law...." ...

... Philip Bump of the Washington Post: “The subtext to [reports] that President Trump and his administration wanted to drop migrants entering the United States into 'sanctuary cities' isn’t subtle: The intent was punishment, a form of 'retaliation' against heavily Democratic areas like San Francisco. That idea fits with Trump's depiction of the groups of migrants entering the United States from Mexico being riddled with criminals, gang members and terrorists. But that would likely be at odds with how residents of those cities likely view immigrants -- since those cities tend to be more densely immigrant-heavy than the country on the whole.... A 'sanctuary city' isn't a place where immigrants living in the country illegally have carte blanche to do what they wish. Instead, they are generally jurisdictions where public officials are limited in their ability to inform immigration authorities about people who are in the country illegally. The intent is to encourage immigrants to work with authorities without fear of deportation in situations where that assistance is important, such as criminal investigations." ...

... Libby Watson of Splinter faults journalists for writing stories that implicitly accept the Trump/Miller premise that dumping migrants in large cities would lead to "crimey migrants [doing] a bunch of migranty crimes in those cities.... the framing [of the stories] is left as 'the presence of migrants in cities will be bad for those cities.' And in the end, that just does Stephen Miller's work for him."

Bill Barr Set to Help Trump Deport Immigrants. Tal Kopan of the San Francisco Chronicle: "Attorney General William Barr is ... on the verge of issuing rule changes that would make it easier for a handful of appellate immigration judges to declare their rulings binding on the entire immigration system.... The changes could also expand the use of single-judge, cursory decisions at the appellate level -- all at the same time as a hiring spree that could reshape the court.... Last week, the Justice Department revived a proposed regulation originally initiated during the George W. Bush administration to allow the 21-judge appeals court system that hears immigration cases more latitude to issue cursory opinions without explanation.... Advocates for immigrants and attorneys who work in the system fear the efficiency tools could be used to dramatically reshape immigration law to fit President Trump's political goals. Trump has repeatedly railed against the immigration court system and suggested doing away with it entirely.... 'All of these pieces add up to taking away due process and speeding people through to their deportation in some sort of assembly line substitute for justice,' said Jeffrey Chase, a former immigration judge and former senior legal adviser to the immigration appeals court." ...

... ** AND Another Thing. David Lurie in Slate: “As President Ronald Reagan's first attorney general, William French Smith, wrote in 1981, the DOJ has 'a duty to defend the constitutionality of an Act of Congress whenever a reasonable argument can be made in its support.'... Last month, the attorney general announced that the United States will cease defending any portion of the Affordable Care Act in the courts. Instead, the DOJ will join a number of state attorneys general in challenging the constitutionality of the entire ACA.... This comes after the DOJ stopped defending the constitutionality of the ACA's protection of insurance coverage for those with preexisting conditions last year. In taking the position that the entire ACA is constitutionally void, Barr abandoned a long-standing principle that the Department of Justice is duty-bound to defend the constitutionality of federal laws.... During testimony before Congress this week, Barr stated that he ... feels duty-bound to attack the ACA in the courts because Trump, after failing to convince a majority of the Senate to vote in favor of repealing the ACA, is now eager to see the act nullified by the courts instead. Barr's decision is at direct odds with a policy upheld for decades by attorneys general in Republican and Democratic administrations." ...

... ** Frank Rich: "When you invoke Roy Cohn, you have to specify which Roy Cohn. There's the New York Cohn of the 1970s and '80s, the Mob-connected fixer who enabled Trump's rise, of course. But there's also the earlier, Washington Cohn: the smear artist who abetted Joe McCarthy's witch hunt to expose supposed Commies in the United States Army during the 1950s. The brilliantly perverse achievement of Barr is that he combines both Roy Cohns in a single package. He's a fixer for Trump, as evidenced by his unsupported conclusion that the Mueller report lets the president off the legal hook for his manifold efforts to obstruct justice. But Barr is also the McCarthy-era Cohn, sliming a 'group of leaders there at the upper echelon' of government agencies for spying without offering any specifics or evidence." Read on. Rich also comments on Joe Biden & Pete Buttigieg.

... ** The Audacity of Tyranny. Rick Wilson in the Daily Beast (April 11): "Every great authoritarian enterprise comes to its apotheosis more from the soulless, mechanical efficiency of armies of bureaucrats and police than from the rantings of whatever Great Leader or revolutionary firebrand mounts the podium.... The gray, heavy-set man who sat before two congressional committees over the last two days embodies the triumph of the banality of Washington's bureaucratic class, a droning Kabuki performer leading the House and Senate committees through several hours of monotone testimony intended to disguise the explosive consequences of his appointment as attorney general.... Unlike Watergate, Barr's cover-up is happening in real time and on live television, as the chief law enforcer of the United States promised without a flicker of emotion that he will redact the Mueller report as he sees fit.... As usual, anyone counting on the Democrats not to blow it this week was disappointed."

Mihir Zaveri of the New York Times: "A federal appeals court said Friday that the Trump administration could temporarily continue to force migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay of a lower-court ruling four days earlier that blocked the administration's protocol. The appeals court will consider next week whether to extend that stay -- and allow the Trump administration policy to remain in effect for longer."

Other Trump Scandals, Ctd.

Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post: "An American political consultant whose guilty plea marked the first confirmation that illegal foreign money was used to help fund Donald Trump's inaugural committee was sentenced to probation Friday by a federal judge who cited his cooperation with U.S. prosecutors. W. Samuel Patten, 47, in August admitted steering $50,000 from a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician to Trump's committee in an investigation spun off from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Patten acknowledged he was helped by a Russian national who is a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and the case was referred to prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office in Washington and the Justice Department's national security division."

Andrew Desiderio of Politico: "House Oversight and Reform Committee Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is moving to issue a subpoena to obtain 10 years of ... Donald Trump's financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA, the chairman told members of the panel in a memo on Friday. Cummings plans to issue the subpoena on Monday after Mazars asked for a so-called friendly' subpoena, so that it could comply with the committee's document demands. In his memo, Cummings explained that the committee asked for the records as part of its efforts to corroborate allegations made by Trump's former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen, who told lawmakers in February that Trump artificially inflated and deflated the value of his assets to his personal benefit.... The chairman also used his memo to criticize [ranking Republican Jim] Jordan [Rabid-Ohio] for his 'troubling actions,' accusing the Trump ally of urging Mazars not to comply with Cummings' request for documents."

When politicians attack courts as 'dangerous,' 'political,' and guilty of 'egregious overreach,' you can hear the Klan's lawyers, assailing officers of the court across the South. When leaders chastise people for merely 'us[ing] the courts,' you can hear the Citizens Council, hammering up the names of black petitioners in Yazoo City, [Mississippi]. When the powerful accuse courts of 'open[ing] up our country to potential terrorists,' you can hear the Southern Manifesto's authors, smearing the judiciary for simply upholding the rights of black folk. When lawmakers say 'we should get rid of judges,' you can hear segregationist senators, writing bills to strip courts of their power. -- Federal Judge Carlton Reeves, in a speech Thursday ...

... Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News: "In a highly unusual public rebuke against ... Donald Trump by a sitting member of the federal judiciary, US District Judge Carlton Reeves delivered a speech Thursday calling the Trump administration a 'great assault on our judiciary' and comparing the president's criticism of the judiciary to tactics used by the Ku Klux Klan and segregationists. According to a copy of the speech obtained by BuzzFeed News, Reeves, who is black and sits in Jackson, Mississippi, extensively quoted Trump's tweets and public comments about judges and the courts (the written version includes footnotes making clear who and what Reeves is referring to) and blasted the lack of diversity among Trump's judicial nominees. Reeves spoke at the University of Virginia School of Law, his alma mater, where he received the school's Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law."


Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "President Trump on Friday targeted Representative Ilhan Omar for remarks she made during a speech on civil rights and Muslims in America with a graphic video featuring the burning World Trade Center towers and other images from Sept. 11, 2001, that he tweeted to millions of his followers. The Twitter post from the president stoked and amplified a controversy that has been a focus of conservative news outlets, which have sought to elevate Ms. Omar -- a Minnesota Democrat and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress -- as a political target, as Mr. Trump's re-election campaign begins in earnest." Mrs. McC: It's sometimes difficult to remember, but this is not the way a real president behaves.

All the Best People, Ctd.

Michael Brice-Saddler of the Washington Post: "A federal workplace investigation found rampant sexual harassment and retaliation at AccuWeather, a federal contractor, including groping, touching and kissing of subordinates without consent. AccuWeather's chief executive at the time of the allegations and investigation, Barry Myers, was tapped by President Trump to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.... The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ... determined that AccuWeather, under Myers, fostered a culture ripe for sexual harassment, turned a blind eye to allegations of egregious conduct and retaliated against those who complained.... The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and obtained by The Washington Post. It determined that AccuWeather, under Myers, fostered a culture ripe for sexual harassment, turned a blind eye to allegations of egregious conduct and retaliated against those who complained.... NOAA oversees the National Weather Service, which compiles data used by AccuWeather. [The Post] reported that AccuWeather has previously supported measures to limit what the Weather Service can make public, granting private companies a chance to create their own value-added products using the same information." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: There's a reason Trump, allegedly a chronic sexual harasser, nominates people like Myers.

Andrew Kaczynski & Paul LeBlanc of CNN: "Stephen Moore, who ... Donald Trump announced last month as his nominee for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, has a history of advocating self-described 'radical' views.... In speeches and radio interviews reviewed by CNN's KFile, Moore advocated for eliminating the corporate and federal income taxes entirely, calling the 16th Amendment that created the income tax the 'most evil' law passed in the 20th century. Moore's economic worldview envisions a slimmed down government and a rolled back social safety net. He has called for eliminating the Departments of Labor, Energy and Commerce, along with the IRS and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. He has questioned the need for both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education. He has said there's no need for a federal minimum wage, called for privatizing the 'Ponzi scheme' of Social Security and said those on government assistance lost their dignity and meaning. In other interviews and appearances, Moore repeatedly said he believed capitalism was more important than democracy.... Moore has been a fierce critic of the Federal Reserve and its chairman Jerome Powell. In 2015, he called for abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold standard (Moore told CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday he changed his mind on the gold standard. He told CNN's KFile on Friday he no longer believed in abolishing the Federal Reserve)."

Heidi Przybyla & Julia Ainsley of NBC News: "Senate Democrats are demanding the Department of Justice disclose the full results of an investigation into whether U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is guilty of 'professional misconduct' in his handling of a sex crime prosecution against billionaire Jeffrey Epstein over a decade ago. In a letter obtained by NBC News, Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., are asking the DOJ to 'make public all findings' from its probe into Acosta's handling, as a former U.S. attorney, of a plea agreement in the Epstein case. The agreement allowed the wealthy financier and philanthropist to plead guilty to lesser charges in state court rather than face federal sex trafficking charges involving more than three dozen underage girls."

Catherine Garcia of the Week: "In just two years, Fox News host Sean Hannity went from inviting Julian Assange to fill in for him on his radio show to scrubbing all references to the WikiLeaks founder from his Twitter stream.... The Washington Post's Aaron Blake argues this could all just be a coincidence, saying Hannity's cleansing of all things pro-Assange and WikiLeaks 'appears to have taken place as part of a mass deletion -- not in response to Assange's arrest today.' Tweets about Assange and WikiLeaks may have gotten the boot, but Hannity did elect to keep about eight million references to Jussie Smollett, Hillary Clinton's emails, and 'collusion delusion.'"

Ben Collins of NBC News: "Katie Bouman, a researcher who helped create the first image of a black hole, quickly gained internet fame Thursday for her role in the project after a photo of her went viral.... Bouman, a postdoctoral fellow who will soon be an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, noted in a Facebook post Wednesday that 'no one algorithm or person made this image' and published a photo of the many people she worked alongside.... Bouman's public recognition -- much of it applauding an example of a woman at the forefront of a major scientific effort -- drew attention from misogynist communities on the internet. Some users congregated on Reddit and created videos questioning Bouman' contribution that were then uploaded to Instagram and YouTube. By Friday, falsehoods claiming it was not Bouman but a male colleague who deserved credit for the black hole image overtook legitimate coverage in search results on YouTube and Instagram." See also story linked under Infotainment. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It's worth remembering that a lot of Trump's appeal is to pathetic troglodytes like this: men who can't handle successful women AND who can't handle sciency stuff.

Reader Comments (8)

I once worked with a colleague who laced her language with "to be honest" before she'd go on with whatever she deemed to be honest. I always found this strange–-could it be that without that caveat her other murmurings weren't honest?

I've noticed Tump uses this especially when it's clear he's making up stuff like yesterday when talking about sanctuary cities he said, "We are strongly looking into it, to be honest with you." But we don't need that word to alert us to the blatant foul play this man is used to bombarding us with since he outright tries to break laws, tells others to break laws and for those others if they comply, don't worry, he'll pardon you––honestly.

Today it's raining–-ain't easy to sing away grey skies as those Jewish composers I wrote about yesterday managed to do. I have the sinking feeling that we are up against that wall that–- "it's being built as we speak"––continues to keep us closed off from what we thought was a system that wasn't perfect but was at least operating. Now I'm not so sure.

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

PD: Charlie Pierce has a piece today, sent to my iPhone, that touches on how pessimistic he feels at this point; since there is general law-breaking and suggested lawbreaking by Cheeto Bandito occurring with great frequency, and the head lawman of this country is law-breaking himself, as is Mnuthin' and the IRS commissioner-- It does seem that with the permission of Congress, our country is in a mudpit. I don't ever remember feeling this down about something huge I can't control, although November 2016 came close... Even we pessimists didn't know how bad it would get. Although we had seen unadulterated obstruction since 2009, we did not know that the Congress had sunk as low as it has. When I mentally consign King Donald to the lowest pit of hell, he has plenty of company down there. And I don't foresee any improvement, nor any consequences to be paid. It's a pure rearrangement of society when the chief lawyers charged with making sure the law is followed are themselves crooked, where is the hope?

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

@Jeanne: I used to feel bad for you because you took Trump's malfeasance so personally. Now I feel bad for myself, too, as he and his friends in high places are literally making me sick. I just go around with a knot in my stomach all the time, not because of anything that is happening to me personally, as everything on the home front is all right, but because of the gang of miscreants who are running the country into the ground & the millions of people who are perfectly happy to have it this way.

The hope, I guess, that the "arc of the moral universe bends toward justice" is gone; & now the "hope" is that good people will prevent it from bending too far backwards. The truth is that the country is now "normalized" into a very bad place. We see corruption in plain sight, & the media report on it ever-so-politely, as if cruelty & dirty dealings & cover-ups are "policies." It's disgusting.

Maybe the good news is I'm developing a better understanding of people all over the world. I used to wonder how they could survive living under totalitarian regimes, where the fatcats were stealing everything from people who lacked fundamental freedoms. Now I'm getting first-hand experience at that pinched way of life!

April 13, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Thought up a new word for this malaise -- "Trumptopia". Here's hoping we all survive it.

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNJC

Le plus ça change:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-man-who-saw-trump-coming-a-century-ago/

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWhyte Owen

NJC,

How about Trumpoxia, Trumposis, Trumpalepsy, Trumpopathy, Trumparrhea, Trumpitis, Trumpemia, Trumpalgia, and Trumplegia. Any of which can be at least partially cured by a Trumpectomy. Of course, in almost all cases, damaged tissue will remain. Some residual damage may be permanent, but aggressive excision of the Trumptumor will provide instant relief.

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Marie

My first year in a Master's class in France I had a project to do with an Italian classmate. We were discussing politics and I asked her (naively) how her country could elect and support a leader (Berlusconi) who openly spoke shit on their own country/people. He had been secretly recorded calling Italy a "shitty" country that "disgusted" him because they dared investigate his criminal activities. Sound familiar?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/01/berlusconi-vows-leave-shitty-italy

She just responded that they try to block him out and go on with their lives...

Wouldn't it be grand to run into her again! With our presidunce* that calls the White House a "real dump", overtly demeans half the country, calls everyone not sucking his flabby ass cheeks "treasonous" and lives to dismantle government functions for the sole benefit of shitstain elderly plutocrats who are determined to trash everything for a few more dollars in their already bloated bank accounts they'll die before they can use but at least reat asssured it won't go to any "undeserving" plebes.

On another note, anyone else see our amazing Dear Leader debase our entire nation as mass murderer autocrat Kim Jong-Un dictates to our presidunce* the terms of the next fake diplomacy summit, and Art of the Fraud Donny tweets out praise of Kim accepting to see him? What a loonishly fucking embarrassment, and how far we have fallen on the international stage. I can still feel shock and this one registered bigly when stepping back and watching the clown car that is American leadership on the world stage swerve around on flat tires with Donny driving, Jared shotgun with the map upside down and Ivanka in the rearview mirror smearing her lipstick getting ready for the camera lights.

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@AK Here are two other conditions the first of which, cephalorectosis, is extremely common in the Trump administration.

This gives rise to a malady in people of contrasting political opinions, Optofeceosis, which results in a crappy outlook on said administration.

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee
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