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.”

Sunday
Apr142019

The Commentariat -- April 15, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

The redacted Mueller report will be released to the public & the Congress Thursday morning, per MSNBC. This is the day before the Easter holiday, the day before Passover, and Congress will be adjourned. Just coincidental, I'm sure. ...

     ... Update. Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post: "The Justice Department expects to release on Thursday a redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's report on President Trump, his associates and Russia's interference in the 2016 election, setting the stage for further battles in Congress over the politically explosive inquiry. Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the department, said Monday that officials plan to issue the report to Congress and the public on Thursday morning."

... Bill Barr Has Only One Songbook. Ryan Goodman in Just Security: "On Friday the thirteenth October 1989..., news leaked of a legal memo authored by William Barr. He was then serving as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). [The memo] ... concluded that the FBI could forcibly abduct people in other countries without the consent of the foreign state. The headline also noted the implication of the legal opinion at that moment in time. It appeared to pave the way for abducting Panama's leader, Gen. Manuel Noriega. Members of Congress asked to see the full legal opinion. Barr refused, but said he would provide an account that 'summarizes the principal conclusions.'... When the OLC opinion was finally made public long after Barr left office, it was clear that Barr's summary had failed to fully disclose the opinion's principal conclusions."

"I Alone." Manu Raju, et al., of CNN: "Republicans on Capitol Hill are raising alarms at the White House's resistance to congressional demands, fearing ... Donald Trump is bolstering the power of his office at the expense of Congress. The White House has stonewalled House Democrats on nearly all aspects of their sprawling investigations into the President, refusing to provide documents as requested by committee chairmen, preventing former White House officials from complying with Democratic demands and fighting subpoenas pertaining to the US Census and the administration's handling of the security clearance process.... In the past few months, Trump pushed for [Republicans] to return to the politically risky fight to replace the Affordable Care Act. He considered nominees key Republican senators don't want for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. And he pulled another -- Ron Vitiello to lead US Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- that Republicans actually liked.... The White House has also ignored the growing concerns from GOP senators over Trump's reliance on acting secretaries to run his Cabinet, a move that allows them to avoid the Senate confirmation process and his officials to temporarily escape nomination hearings intended to get their positions on the record and accountable to oversight." ...

... Andrew Desiderio of Politico: "... Donald Trump's attorneys are warning of potential legal action if an accounting firm turns over a decade of the president's financial records to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Trump attorneys William S. Consovoy and Stefan Passantino are urging Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena that Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) plans to issue on Monday for Trump's financial documents, calling it a politically motivated scheme to take down the president." ...

... Eric Levenson of CNN: "In attacking the fight to obtain Trump's tax returns, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders argued that members of Congress aren't smart enough to understand them anyway. But three Democratic members of Congress are trained as certified public accountants -- professionals licensed by their states to do just that. The Congressional Research Service said there are 10 accountants in this Congress, including two senators and eight House members.... [For instance,] Rep. Brad Sherman of California is a tax law specialist and a CPA, and he was an instructor at Harvard Law School's International Tax Program, according to his biography. He sits on the House Committee on Financial Services."

~~~~~~~~~~

Many Happy Returns of the Day

Democrats Are So Stupid. Michael Burke of the Hill: "White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that she doesn't think members of Congress are 'smart enough' to look through President Trump's tax returns. 'Frankly I don't think Congress -- particularly not this group of congressmen and women -- are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump's taxes will be,' she said on 'Fox News Sunday. My guess is that most of them don't do their own taxes and I certainly don't trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything'..." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Apparently Democrats are so dumb they don't know to hire tax experts to review the returns. Maybe that's because they are so many Democratic members of Congress who are women & minorities, the "type" of people who throw their hands up when it comes to managing money. BTW, Sarah, you ignorant slut, freshman Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) wrote a textbook on"Modern Consumer Law," so I'll bet she, among some other members, can read & analyze a tax return -- even a complicated one. ...

... Chas Danner of New York: "It's not yet clear what purpose Sander's guessing game and lawmaker-intelligence assessment was intended to serve. She called the endeavor 'a dangerous, dangerous road' and championed the protection of Trump's privacy, yet also leaned back on his absurd ongoing claim that his tax returns remain in some perpetual state of audit, and that's why he continues to be the only president in decades to hide his taxes ... (but would totally share them if he could)." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: IOW, Trump would love to share his returns with the guy at the end of the bar, but Congressional Democrats are too dumb to read & interpret them.

Thomas Kaplan, et al., of the New York Times: "Senator Kamala Harris of California disclosed 15 years of tax returns on Sunday, providing a detailed picture of her finances. Several other Democratic presidential candidates have also released years of returns, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has pledged to release 10 years of returns by Monday." The reporters compare the 2018 returns of candidates Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand & Jay Inslee. "The returns showed that in recent years, they earned substantially more than a vast majority of American households."

Alexandre Tanzi of Bloomberg: "Newly available net worth data from the Federal Reserve suggests that the 'left-behind' contagion has spread to all Americans aside from the top 10 percent. While still wealthier overall than most other groups, even the upper-middle class is feeling the pinch of income stagnation. The growth rate of this group's incomes is lagging behind that of those both lower and higher on the socioeconomic ladder.... As of the end of 2018, net worth as a share of the U.S. total had shrunk considerably for the upper middle class." --s

Other Trump Scandals, Ctd.

John Bresnahan & Heather Caygle of Politico: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms 'are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar, her family and her staff' after a tweet by ... Donald Trump. Trump on Friday shared an edited video of Omar superimposed over images of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 'We will never forget,' the president wrote on Twitter.... Pelosi's announcement highlighted what has become an extraordinary situation -- the speaker of the House is worried about the safety of one of her members after a statement by the president of the United States. An Omar aide said on Sunday that 'there has been an increase in threats' against the Minnesota Democrat after Trump's tweet." ...

... Ian Kulgren of Politico: "... Donald Trump has 'no moral authority' to talk about 9/11, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Sunday. 'He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could have used it to help rehabilitate himself. And that's why we appropriated it, why I got Congress to appropriate that money,' Nadler said on 'State of the Union' on CNN. 'To use it for his own small business of 40 Wall Street, he has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.' Nadler was referencing how Trump's company accepted post-9/11 funding for a building that had not sustained any damage. Trump said the building qualified because his company had suffered economic losses in the aftermath of the terrorist attack. The funding came from the Empire State Development Corp., New York's economic development agency, and was intended for small businesses. Trump targeted Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) last week for comments she made about discrimination of Muslim Americans after 9/11. Conservative pundits latched on to one portion of Omar's comments -- in which she referred to the attacks by saying that 'somebody did something' -- to argue that Omar was minimizing tremendous human loss. Trump responded by tweeting a graphic video of the Twin Towers collapsing juxtaposed with Omar's comment, earning criticism from Democrats for targeting a Muslim woman." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "As long as President Trump has focused on what he said was the danger lurking at the southwestern border, he has also talked about the supposed threat from one specific group already in the country: Muslims.... Now..., Mr. Trump is seeking to rally his base by sounding that theme once again. And this time, he has a specific target: Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Mr. Trump and his team are trying to make Ms. Omar, one of a group of progressive women Democratic House members who is relatively unknown in national politics, a household name, to be seen as the most prominent voice of the Democratic Party, regardless of her actual position.... On Monday, Mr. Trump will visit Minnesota -- ... [his] decision to appear there is a calculated choice." ...

... it's a good thing that the president is calling her out for those comments. -- Sarah Sanders, on ABC News' "This Week," Sunday

... Chris Wallace Shares Pelosi's Concerns. Tommy Christopher of Mediaite: "Donald Trump's attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MI) was so 'horrible' that Fox News' Chris Wallace did not feel 'comfortable' playing more than 5 seconds of it as he interviewed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. On this week's edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace interviewed Sanders on a range of subjects, including the inflammatory video that Trump posted in order to attack Omar, which many have called an incitement to violence.... 'Why is the president comfortable putting out horrible images like that,' Wallace asked [Sanders], and added 'does he worry at all about inciting violence against Muslims in general, or Ilhan Omar in specific?' Sanders replied that 'nothing could be further from the truth,' but went on to call Rep. Omar's remark 'disgusting and abhorrent.'"

Bloviator-in-Chief Completely Exonerates Himself. Annie Karni & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "The case was closed for President Trump on March 24, the day Attorney General William P. Barr delivered to Congress his four-page summary of the special counsel's 300-plus page report. 'No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,' Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that day. And in the weeks that followed, the president's message of vindication and revenge on his political antagonists has only intensified, as he has expressed no interest in reading the full report and leveled charges of treason against Democratic lawmakers. Mr. Barr's letter effectively emboldened Mr. Trump, aides said, even as they prepare for new details to emerge from a redacted version of the report -- expected this week -- that could renew questions about the president's fitness for office, and even as some of them cringe at Mr. Trump's choice of the word 'exonerate.' (Privately, they admit, they would prefer he use the word 'vindicate.')" ...

Oh Noes! Will the villainous black guy jump out of the bushes & attack the nice old, fat, white supremacist guy?... Devlin Barrett & Rachel Bade of the Washington Post: "For two years, President Trump's most devoted allies have struggled to legitimize their accusations that the FBI conducted political spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 -- at times openly feuding with Republican leaders over their grievances with the investigation of Russia's election interference. But on Wednesday, those assertions received their biggest boost yet, and from an unlikely source: Attorney General William P. Barr, who told a Senate subcommittee, 'I think spying did occur, yes.'... Trump's allies in Congress have seized on Barr's testimony to once again demand an 'investigation of the investigator.' The president's reelection campaign, meanwhile, is selling T-shirts depicting former president Barack Obama lurking in thick green shrubbery with a set of spy glasses. An advertisement circulated Friday night read: 'AG Barr believes the Obama Admin illegally spied on Pres Trump. We Need Answers! Fight Back!'... For those who worked on the Russia probe and other high-profile political investigations, Barr's words were a below-the-belt attack. Current and former law enforcement officials have denied engaging in political spying, and they've said the investigation was conducted professionally based on available evidence." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: What more ideal Trump campaign ad than one with a scary black man lurking in the bushes?

David Corn, et al. of Mother Jones: "When Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrested for allegedly sneaking into President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club on March 30, appeared in court on Monday, a portion of the proceedings focused on a mysterious Chinese businessman named Charles Lee, who has ties to the Communist Party and the Chinese government and who appears to be at the center of this episode. A Mother Jones investigation of Lee has uncovered more questions about his business ventures and background." --s (Also linked yesterday.)


Rachel Frazin of the Hill: "President Trump tweeted on Saturday night that his administration has the legal right to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities and demanded it happen. 'Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities,' he wrote. 'We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!'" (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... The Confederate Presidunce*. Josh Israel of ThinkProgress: "President Donald Trump confirmed Friday he was considering 'placing' undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities as political retribution for Democrats opposing his immigration policies.... This isn't the first time Trump has tried to target blue districts.... [S]o far, acts that attempt to favor states and localities that backed him in 2016 and disfavor those that did not, have been a hallmark of his presidency.... In January 2017, he issued Executive Order 13768 which attempted to ensure that [so-called 'sanctuary cities'] 'are not eligible to receive Federal grants.' The order was deemed to be an illegal overreach in a 2 to 1 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Trump's 2017 tax bill...included provisions that favored Trump states over Clinton states.... Trump has frequently targeted California.... Earlier this year, amid massive forest fires, he tweeted that he was instructing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stop providing assistance. (It's not clear whether he has actually done this, despite the threats.).... Trump attempted to block all emergency funding from going to Puerto Rico, according to a January 2019 article in The Washington Post, attempting to send their disaster relief money to Florida and Texas instead." --s (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Also too, isn't it lovely to reminded on Tax Day that Trump's tax "reform" bill also targeted Americans living in mostly-blue states by drastically reducing the deduction for local & state taxes. ...

... Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "Homeland Security chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Sunday that he sees no way for President Trump's idea to transfer detained migrants to 'sanctuary cities' to be legal.... 'More importantly, this is again his manufactured chaos that he has created over the last 2 years on the border.'" (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: This New York Times story by Eileen Sullivan & Michael Shear is ostensibly about Donald Trump's "frustration" with his own appointees who aren't out there slapping around enough immigrant children. But clearly the reporters' sources have had it with white supremacist Stephen Miller,. His portrait, as drawn, is of a monster. ...

... Mike DeBonis, et al., of the Washington Post: "House Democrats are sharpening their focus on White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller, with key lawmakers saying he should be brought before congressional committees to testify about his role in recent policy controversies.... 'Steve Miller, who seems to be the boss of everybody on immigration, ought to come before Congress and explain some of these policies,' [Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)] said in a CNN interview.... Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border security, facilitation and operations, said in an interview that Miller needs to come before her panel to 'make his case for these terrible policies to the American people instead of being this shadow puppeteer.'"

Conor Finnegan of ABC News: “When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration would designate a branch of Iran's military as a foreign terrorist organization Monday, he said, 'The Trump administration is simply recognizing a basic reality.' But critics say they are concerned that it may also be part of an effort to bend reality enough to provide legal justification for armed conflict with Iran.... The foreign terrorist organization, or FTO, designation [may be] part of laying the groundwork for strikes on Iranian forces, especially in Iraq or Syria where they may encounter U.S. troops." Mrs. McC: You know Trump wants to be a war president*.

Alex Emmons of The Intercept: "President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that if the U.S. does not sell weapons to the Saudis, they will turn to U.S. adversaries to supply their arsenals.... But a highly classified document produced by the French Directorate of Military Intelligence shows that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen..., meaning that the Saudis and UAE would have to replace large portions of their arsenals to continue with Russian or Chinese weapons.... The catalogue of weapon systems is just one revelation in the classified report ... being published in full by The Intercept, Disclose, and four other French media organizations. The report also harshly criticizes Saudi military capabilities in Yemen.... And it suggests that U.S. assistance with Saudi targeting in Yemen may go beyond what has previously been acknowledged." --s

Trump's Swamp, Ctd. Ben Lefebvre & Annie Snider of Politico: "The National Archives and Records Administration gave the Interior Department until late April to address Democrats' allegations that newly confirmed Secretary David Bernhardt may have been destroying his official calendars, according to a letter Politico obtained Friday.... Bernhardt's existing daily schedule shows that the former fossil fuel and agriculture lobbyist has met with representatives of former clients who stood to gain from Interior's decisions, but the department has released few details about his activities during about one-third of his days in office. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) requested the NARA probe.... The Senate confirmed Bernhardt as Interior secretary by a 56-41 vote Thursday, overriding Democrats' questions about his ethics." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Trump's Swamp, Ctd. David Dayen of The Intercept: "Betsy Devos's Education Department quietly dropped requirements for risky for-profit colleges to set aside funds in case the schools closed, according to documents from a lawsuit filed last year. Two of the for-profit networks subsequently shut down without owing the Education Department any money; in one case, the department actually gave $10 million back to a for-profit on the brink of bankruptcy. Not only did this deprive taxpayers an offset to costs associated with refunding loans, but it also extended the life of the for-profit colleges, allowing them to enroll more students into a doomed enterprise that wasted time, money, and effort, and delivered them nothing of value." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Allyson Chiu of the Washington Post: "President Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Sunday night on Twitter following a CBS '60 Minutes' interview during which she recounted standing up to him and reiterated her opinion that he is unfit for office and knows it. 'There's nobody in the country who knows better that he should not be president of the United States than Donald Trump,' Pelosi told CBS's Lesley Stahl.... In the wide-ranging interview, Pelosi touted Democrats' achievements in their first 100 days in control of the House of Representatives while also discussing last December's heated Oval Office showdown over funding for Trump's border wall, her now-famous State of the Union clap and the power she holds in her current position.... 'Such a "puff piece" on Nancy Pelosi by @60minutes, yet her leadership has passed no meaningful Legislation,' he tweeted, accusing Democrats of only investigating 'crimes that they instigated & committed.' It is unclear exactly what 'crimes' Trump was referring to, but in the past he has suggested Hillary Clinton and Democrats be investigated for colluding with Russia. 'The Mueller No Collusion decision wasn't even discussed-and she was a disaster at W.H.,' Trump added, referencing last year's fiery border wall spat.... The scathing tweet is a departure from Trump's usual approach to Pelosi, one of his most vocal critics." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: "A puff piece"? I watched parts of the interview, & I thought Stahl was so aggressive that I didn't link or embed the video. Stahl repeatedly asked Pelosi why Democrats hadn't gotten anything done, pretending (I hope) that she (Stahl) had no idea that Mitch McConnell was sitting on stacks of legislation Pelosi passed in the House, & of course Trump wouldn't sign it even if McConnell pushed it through the Senate. Stahl's performance was embarrassingly harsh, IMO, bordering on stupid.

Presidential Race 2020

Zeke Miller of the AP: "... Donald Trump's reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press. The haul brings the campaign's cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign." Mrs. McC: The better to produce more of those nice racist T-shirts.

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Pete Buttigieg, the young Midwestern mayor whose presidential bid has been an unlikely early focus of attention from Democratic voters and donors, kicked off his campaign on Sunday and proclaimed his hometown's revival was the answer to skeptics who ask how he has the 'audacity' to see himself in the White House. At a rally inside a partly rebuilt factory, once owned by the automaker Studebaker and now being turned into glass-sheathed offices for tech and other businesses, Mr. Buttigieg said, 'I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing nothing like Studebaker would ever come back, but that we would, our city would, if we had the courage to reimagine our future.' If elected, Mr. Buttigieg, a 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, would represent a series of historic firsts: the youngest president ever and the first who is openly gay."


Mark Townsend
of the Guardian: "Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon advised Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini to attack the pope over the issue of migration.... During a meeting in Washington in April 2016, Bannon -- who would within a few months take up his role as head of Trump's presidential campaign -- ... 'advised Salvini himself that the actual pope is a sort of enemy...,' said a senior League insider with knowledge of the meeting[.] ... After the meeting, Salvini became more outspoken against the pope.... Bannon has steadily been building opposition to Francis through his Dignitatis Humanae Institute, based in a 13th-century mountaintop monastery not far from Rome. In January 2017, Bannon became a patron of the institute, whose honorary president is Cardinal Raymond Burke, an ultra-conservative who believes organised networks of homosexuals are spreading a 'gay agenda' in the Vatican. The institute's chairman is former Italian MP Luca Volontè, on trial for corruption for accepting bribes from Azerbaijan." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Way Beyond the Beltway

Italy. Rachel Donadio of The Atlantic: "I've seen this movie before, but not about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on President Donald Trump's ties to Russia. No, I saw the one that was set in Italy and starred Silvio Berlusconi. Like so many other American remakes, the one with Trump is bigger and louder, and the male lead wears rather ill-fitting suits. But the version I witnessed foreshadowed the current American predicament and offers some insights into what can happen to a democracy when image becomes disconnected from reality.... From the outset, Berlusconi faced judicial investigations.... While ordinary people didn't have the time or interest to follow Berlusconi's legal tangles, the press became obsessed with them. So much so that it lost track of -- or maybe never had any interest in -- covering the country's underlying problems.... What finally drove Berlusconi from office wasn't a political opposition ... or legal trials.... It was the European debt crisis." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

News Ledes

New York Times: "Notre-Dame cathedral, the iconic symbol of the beauty and history of Paris, was scarred by an extensive fire on Monday evening that caused its delicate spire to collapse, bruised the Parisian skies with smoke and further disheartened a city already back on its heels after weeks of violent protests.... Around 500 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly five hours. By 11 p.m. Paris time, the structure had been 'saved and preserved as a whole,' the fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said. The two magnificent towers soaring above the skyline had been spared, he said, but two-thirds of the roof was destroyed." ...

... Guardian: "Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been devastated by a ferocious blaze that has destroyed the spire of the centuries-old landmark. Firefighters were rushing to try to contain a fire that has broken out at the cathedral, which police said began accidentally and was linked to building work at the site. Flames burst through the roof of the cathedral -- one of France's most visited places -- and quickly engulfed the spire, which collapsed. Smoke could be seen billowing from the top of the medieval cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France and one of Paris's most-visited monuments. A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Flames leapt into the air beside the two bell towers said a Reuters correspondent who witnessed the fire."

Reader Comments (24)

Saw the NYTimes ran an opinion piece on the same subject the last few days (now down), but this Vox item on the subject came earlier in the week:

https://www.vox.com/2016/5/19/11705746/tax-records-public-norway

Why not make everyone's taxes public?

My own feelings are a bit mixed on the issue, but I have been toying with the thought for years. The secretive manner in which we treat money may be an acknowledgement that money is indeed the "filthy lucre" I commonly heard it called by a generation older than my own, and shedding daylight on filth does work as a disinfectant.

More to the amusing point of it all, the Pretender wants more Norwegians? Maybe the color of their skin appeals, but not their culture of transparency....not so much.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

The most overtly corruptible presidunce* is pulling in wads of cash (and funneling a good part of it into his businesses and lawyer fees), while deregulating everything, selling off federal lands for bargain prices, and devoting any and all resources to appeasing the top .1%.

Anyone see a correlation here?

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Ken Winkes: I dunno. I definitely do not consider myself a "private person," but I still don't want the neighbors knowing how much money I make & to whom I give it away. I have never told even close friends what my income is, though I've indicated I'm able to live comfortably, if modestly, without worrying if I'll be able to buy groceries when I empty out the larder. But then only if someone asked if I was "doing okay." And I don't think anyone has ever told me what their annual income was or where it came from, tho some have given me a general idea.

I have freely told people that I've lived in poverty in the past, but that's only to let them know I can empathize with them with first-hand experience if they tell me they're going thru hard times -- and I don't want them to feel embarrassed by their straits. Or to make a political point, as in, "The year I earned $7,000, I paid more taxes than President Nixon." (That was true, tho I worked only part of that year, & -- partly because Congress got hold of Nixon's taxes! -- Nixon later ponied up. Here's a December 2018 Politico story summarizing Nixon's tax troubles.)

April 15, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@safari: Yeah, Trump believes that the purpose of government is to allow the few people with "very good brains" like his to exploit the public & the public's land. In a way, I'm surprised he hates regulation, because his only successes have been in cheating the regulations & the regulators to take more than is legally allowed & give back less than is legally required.

April 15, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

I believe DiJiT (and the 1% going back to the 1860's, the first gilded age) think that the purpose of government is to protect the ability of property owners to hold and increase their property.

Think about the ramifications. Just about every political or governmental effort they make radiates from that desire.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Buttigieg's 2020 campaign is built on grand talk and small successes says Alex Shephard who gives us a good run-down on Mayor Pete's small successes (which don't seem too small to me) and shows us a video of that grand talk.
https://newrepublic.com/article/153565/pete-buttigieg-2020-declares-president-south-bend

"For all of Buttigieg's experience managing large teams, the Senate is likely a better school for understanding the issues that move national politics. But Buttigieg's career took hold by focusing on smaller issues rather than big ones and the people of South Bend say it worked."

This brought to mind something Larry McMurtry wrote about his father:
He recalls going back and forth with his father in a battered pick-up along the Texas dirt road known as Sam Cowen Rd. when he was a youth. "what Proust was to me, the grasslands were to my father. He was a country man , lifelong and had a country man's eye for the small variables of landscape. I have looked at many places quickly ––my father looked at one place deeply."

Larry finds as he ages and contemplates his place here on earth, that it's important to move slowly. So much can pass you by by not seeing it clearly and not delving into it deeply.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Ken,

I have to say, I don't have much money, or much in the way of investments, but I would prefer to keep what I do with that money to myself. Making everyone's taxes available would certainly satisfy a certain pecuniary voyeurism, but I do like the general idea of privacy. (Of course wingers prefer privacy for most matters except in the case of a woman's right to make decisions about her own life.) Tax returns can also include information about medical expenses, something most people feel should be kept from the eyes of nosy neighbors.

But here's what I think might not be bad. Making certain line items of tax returns available. For instance, income. The Vox article makes a point of transparency in such matters supporting improvements in labor markets. I know where I work, compensation is a state secret. Unless you work in payroll, you have no idea what other people make and that's the way the company likes it. Because knowing that the schmuck down the hall who sits on his ass all day and disappears when things start blowing up makes almost double the amount of the people who run into the fire and put it out would be pretty bad for morale. Not to mention bothersome to general managers who would then have to make the case for why Schmucko makes so much and does so little.

I would make an exception for one class of people: politicians. You run for office, I want to see how much you make, where it comes from and what you do with your money. All that makes a difference in how you view, help develop, influence, and vote on public policy.

One reason Trump wants desperately to keep his returns harder to see than the Higgs boson.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

My admittedly mixed thoughts about the lengths to which we go to keep our money and money matters secret likely originated long ago, my freshman college year in fact, when I encountered Norman O. Brown, who had things to say like this:

"In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known - that the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness."

Any possible equivalence of money and crap aside, it does seem to me that the unsavory too often predominates in money's pursuit, and bringing such questionable behavior to light would do more social good than harm. An argument could also be made that in these days of the rampant inequality that is driving its own golden spike into the heart of our democracy, the more information available about who has what and how they got it, the better.

Like Bea, I dunno either, but believe it's worth thinking about, and not only on tax day. In our culture, where money and its pursuit are such driving forces, the entire issue (not limited to the Pretender's returns) demands a closer look.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Re money and tax returns: I figure the less I know about others' position in society with regard to how much money they have/make the better. But I am totally on board with people who are "my" employees having transparent money reports-- I want to know exactly what AK says: how they made it, where they got it, where it is turning up in the public eye, and how it is being used to the public good. Or not. Cheeto is not a private citizen. People like Liarby Huckajesus do not deserve the benefit of any doubt, because they KNOW that Cheeto IS a bandito, and a really good one, and they simply do not care. Anything we want to know about him is in those returns, and Barr knows it also, I'm sure. It's the NOT CARING that gets my goat. As long as they can cheat and maim and be vengeful, it's all good. There must be a vision there, but that I do NOT want to see.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

@Ken: Looks like you and I were encountering the same people at probably the same time: Veblen, Galbraith and today you mention Brown with whom I got in very cozy with for awhile.

As far as money and taxes: "Money makes the world go round"–-twas always true, will continue to be until the END times when Jesus ends it all and then...seriously though, I agree with thee and Marie on both your comments.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Fear's the Way We Die

The other day, Marie wrote something, a seemingly offhand comment, that has stayed with me for days. It came back again this morning on the way into work as I recalled the increasing attacks against immigrants, the cruel and cynical use of human beings as disposable pawns in a political game, and the dramatic rise in death threats against Rep. Ilhan Omar, as the haters and fear mongers go after her and after those they don't consider "real Americans".

Marie wrote "All names are American". It's almost too simple a statement, too easy to gloss over on the way to the next sentence. But in four words, it encapsulates what the entirety of America, the American Experiment, and with it, the best hope for the future of the planet, means at its core. It really is that powerful.

The idea that America is a place that doesn't care where you come from or what your name is or what religion (if any) you practice, is unique in the political history of the planet. It's what has made America so strong, so vibrant. And its opposite construction "Only certain names are American"--a poisonous formulation guaranteed to weaken, to sicken, and eventually to kill America--is the idea pushed by Trump, the Republican Party, and almost the entirety of the right-wing media machine.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a wild-eyed idealist. I recognize the gravitational pull of history and tribal connections. When I first moved to the South, I was asked by someone about my religion. I told him that I was raised Catholic. "Catholic?" he said, "...why you ain't even Christian!" I resisted the urge to remind him that Catholics were the only Christians for about 1500 years. It wouldn't have made my case any stronger. In fact, it probably wouldn't have registered. Liberals and agnostics and atheists also have tribal connections and strong ties.

But the importance of "All names are American" is the insistence that history and parochial tribal fealty can be overcome by the vision that we are all part of the same tribe: humanity. But there's a catch, and I don't mean to sound preachy here or simplistic, but the active ingredient in this formulation is respect. Respect of others, for their backgrounds, their differences.

The teaching of disrespect, of hatred and fear, what the Trumps preach, dissolves what Lincoln once referred to as the mystic chords of memory. Memory, in this case, not of our shared history as Americans, but as human beings. Does this go against the hard-bred suspicion of one tribe against the other that has inured and conditioned thousands of generations of our species?

Yes! It most certainly does. But it's not just possible, it's necessary.
Last night I watched the first installment of what looks like it could be an excellent rendition of Hugo's masterpiece, "Les Miserables". It included one of my favorite scenes in the book, involving Jean Valjean's theft of silverware from the rectory of a country church.

The gendarmes drag Valjean back to the church to have the monsignor identify the stolen items, guaranteeing the ex-prisoner a return to the galleys. Instead, the priest tells the stunned authorities (and an equally astonished Jean Valjean, who, at this point in his life, always expects his fellow humans to treat him like dirt) that the silver was a gift.

Then comes the keeper. The priest asks Valjean if he believes that kindness and love can change a person. The question seems like some kind of trick or some impenetrable koan to Valjean. He replies in the negative. A very assertive negative. But the seed has been planted. Inception has been achieved. And it will change his life, and the lives of everyone he comes into contact with thereafter.

It IS possible. But it takes leaders to help with the inception. The right kind of leaders. Does Mayor Pete have a long resume of upper level government achievement? No? Well, neither did Trump. Or George W. Bush. But what he does seem to have is the ability to inspire. Not the sort of things that Trump inspires: hatred and fear, but something very much in short supply today: respect. And even, love.

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of my favorite songs, "Get Together", written by Chet Powers (known then as Dino Valenti, a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the mid-60s). The recording made by the Youngbloods is the one everyone remembers, and it's a pip. But the lyrics are what knock you down, right out of the block:

"Love is but a song to sing
Fear's the way we die."

Love versus fear. The human condition writ simply.

Trump and those who worship and support him, preach fear. They preach hatred. They preach the antithesis of getting together. They preach that "Only some names are American".

And that's the way we die.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I guess I'd make a good communist. I'd be happy to work for a company where everybody -- from the CEO to the mail guy -- made the same salary & got the same benefits. There could be incentives & disincentives that would alter an employee's pay. For instance, working overtime would raise your pay, or you could receive a piece of the profits from an innovation you devised.

If my first job was in the mail room & I was offered a "better" job, would I take it? Sure. I'd get my "status" boost from the better job rather than from the paycheck. What if I started at a "professional" job that required a particular level of experience or education. Would I resent the mail guy because he didn't have to spend any time or expense learning to be an accountant or an engineer? Nope. I'd be damned glad I had a job I liked & was good at doing rather than thinking it was terrible that I wasn't earning any more than the guy who held a job I'd rather not do (sorting mail).

We should recognize people for what they contribute, not on how much money they garner in making that contribution.

April 15, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

So here are the options after listening to Sanders' stoopid reason for making sure no one ever sees Trump's returns.

First, she's an idiot. I don't think that's true, although she gives a good impression at times. She's not an idiot.

Second, she thinks Trumpbots are idiots and will believe anything she says. This is very possible. In fact, it's likely. She doesn't really care what the majority of the country thinks (those not infected by Trumpitis), because stoopidity doesn't work on most of them (at least I don't think so).

Is there a third option? Maybe she's insane.

Nah...she just thinks she can get away with tossing out any old bullshit.

So here's the question for Sanders. You've got a pain. A big one. You go to the doctor. She runs a bunch of tests and hands you a lengthy DDX. Do you email it to your dad so he can interpret the data, you know, the guy who sez how diabetes can be cured by eating cinnamon buns? Do you show it to your boss for his opinion, you know, the guy who was so surprised that healthcare can be difficult? How about the guy who parks your car when you visit a swanky restaurant. "Hey, pal. Can you tell me what 2.3 to 5.3 gm/dL. Hct means? Is that bad?"

Hell, no. You ask an expert. A doctor, or an NP.

When your car acts up and the mechanic starts talking about vacuum advance, do you simply wonder why a vacuum is asking for money up front of its next check? Hell, no, you ask an expert.

Same with tax returns.

She only sounds like an idiot. In reality, she's just another shill.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Yeah, Bea, that's your problem. You haven't tied money or any form of material wealth closely enough to your ego, and in America that automatically makes you a subversive, even a..shhh now, a communist.

Picture it this way: How many times a day do you (any of us here at RC) think of your bank accounts? The value of your home(s)? If we're " comfortable," as you say, and we don't have to worry about food, shelter, transportation and our health, I'm guessing seldom or not at all.

What do we think about? Our families. The future. The state of the world. Politics, certainly, maybe how we might accomplish the kind of "uplift" Mencken made such delightful fun of (or how delightful the fun he made of it was), or how we might "better" use the time we have remaining in this day, this life.

Or we might think of how we could improve something we've written, or pause to take admiring pleasure in any well-crafted sentence, our own or other's, all of these sources of happiness, like many others entirely divorced from dollars and cents, available to everyone who is able to be moved by them.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Re American names, Viet Thanh Nguyen, former (are they really ever "former" Vietnamese refugee and author of the excellent book "The Sympathizer," writes that his name is just as American as any and so he has declined to take an "American" name, even though many of his peers have. Who is to say what is an American name?

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRockygirl

The contention, by Trump and his acolytes and sympathizers that looking at his tax returns will provide Democrats the necessary information they need to "bring him down" makes a direct correlation, intended or not, between those returns and what they seem to believe is an assured defenestration of the Dear Leader. Must be something there. Both in the belief and in the returns.

As the Bushies used to say whenever pesky liberals took them to task for their illegal, warrantless surveillance of Americans, "If you got nothin' to hide, you got nothin' to worry about".

I guess that doesn't work if you're a Republican.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I love the way people use their american names. From the man who insisted that his name was already american ("piush") so it didn't need to be changed, to the woman whose last name was "lav-wa-see-ai" (Lavoissier) and was spelled that way, to the man whose last name was Tatro. I took it at that and only later learned the transliteration (Tetreault). There's a lot in an american name. I've always been interested when someone has an unusual name, and have asked about the name as a conversation starter. Now, I'm not so sure about this. It's possible that the other person will feel uncomfortable or attacked.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Brennt Paris?
OMG oui.
Notre Dame is engulfed in flames.
really.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Victoria,

Sometimes adjustments to one's name can be both a professional as well as a personal choice.

The British soprano Maggie Teyte was born in England but made her bones at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Her surname was Tate but in France that was often pronounced Tah-tay, so she changed it to allow Francophones to more closely approximate the name she was used to.

Here she is singing three songs by Debussy (with whom she studied). The accompanist is the great Alfred Cortot.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Demonstrably, spying was involved in the 2016 election. It was used by, encouraged, quoted, and 'touted' by DJT, his campaign, and the Republican party. I believe it was and is reprehensible. We also have become aware that the Federal government was 'spying' on the numerous contacts of Trump, his advisers, and his family with Russian agents, much of which was not detected until post election.

We have seen President Trump appoint people inimical to the operation they were placed in charge of, both Cabinet and agencies. Those folks, who had a modicum of competency, respect and/or integrity, all seem to have been fired or left the government, as well as others leaving because of scandalous behavior. Their positions filled by incompetents or sycophants, many 'temporary'.

We have seen Trump's embrace of dictators, actions to inflame middle east politics, irritate allies, undercut the US economy by applying tariffs, encourage the Fed to accelerate inflation, stuff the Fed and the Judiciary with ideologues inimical to progress,and so much more contravening our values and 'norms'.

And then we hear there is a reasonable possibility that the 'Donald' could be re-elected! I am so depressed.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrownie38

So so sad about Paris.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

In an earlier post I mentioned Victor Hugo and his novel "Les Miserables", with a shout out to Hugo's acknowledgement of the poor and those whose social status required them to be jailed for a third or more of their lives for stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving children, at the same time as the contemporary Trumpian class was lauded for their theft of millions, and just as the Gilded Age here in America was coming into full flower.

This afternoon we hear that the primary location of one of Hugo's earlier novels, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, is on fire and collapsing. Hugo's book served as a spring board for the renovation and restoration of one of the great medieval landmarks of Western Civilization. Trump tweets that it's too bad, then offers one of his never-to-be-ignored solutions ('ONLY I CAN SAVE IT') that the French should be using flying water tankers to drop thousands of gallons of water--on an 850 year old building undergoing renovations to keep the medieval structure from collapsing.

Yeah. Great idea, Donald. Remember, this is the fire expert who, during the California wildfires last year castigated the state for not raking the forest like they do in Finland. A reg'lar Smokey the Fucking Bear.

But leave us not forget the primary theme of Hugo's novel about the pitiful bell-ringer of Notre Dame, Quasimodo. He was able to see beauty, strength, and faithfulness in a man whose outward appearance made him an outcast. Just think of how Trump talks about those he considers unsightly. He treats them like dogs. Remember his outrageous comments about Carly Fiorina?

Notre Dame is more than a religious icon. It's a monument to what humans can achieve, humans without benefit of modern tools and techniques. Visiting most medieval cathedrals, one can see family marks carved into keystones, marks made by a several generations of stone workers, grandfathers, fathers, sons, all working to complete a grand project that elevated not just their faith, but the ability of humans to scratch the surface of the sky.

Trump must be wondering why someone didn't slap their name on the facade and turn it into condos.

It'd make them a ton of money.

Because that's the only thing that matters to him. And his party.

Bon chance, les Français. Rebuild and restore. Ce soir, nous sommes tous Français"

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I'm so confused. During the nomination and Senate kubaki confirmation process, all the Very Serious People on teevee could do was shower praise on "institutional", "man of integrity" Bill "crow" Barr.

Not that the mask is off (again!) we find out he didn't only pardon who whole Adams Family of GOP spooky operatives in the Iran Contra Affair, but he also has a solid history of twisting words of memos and hiding bodies long enough that he and his horde can skip town scot free.

And how is that not a SINGLE Democrat brought up this latest revelation of memo massacring during the confirmation hearings? Is the Democratic party that royally inept that they couldn't dig up what a journalist could find with a bit of research? It only happened in 1989, most of the Dems interrogating him were alive and politically conscious at that very moment. Were they somehow in on the sham, putting "institutional integrity" before a serious and necessary take down of a hired legal hit man? I don't see any other answer but Dems dropping the ball, for the umpteenth-time, and the GOP elite drunk on champagne as they etch another win of political subterfuge.

We're gearing up for war with our extra padded kid gloves while we get shanked on all sides.

April 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Akhilleus: I've had MSNBC on most of the afternoon, & several anchors have said firefighters in Paris "are trying every firefighting method they know of EXCEPT dumping from the air thousands of gallons of water on the venerable cathedral.

In case you're wondering how Trump would fare in a crisis, the answer is in his helpful suggestion to Paris firefighters: any "remedy" he might suggest for any crisis would be disastrous. "He alone will fuck it up."

April 15, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie
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