The Wires
The Ledes

Sunday, August 18, 2019.

AP: “The death toll from a late-night suicide bombing at a crowded wedding party in the Afghan capital rose to at least 63 on Sunday, including women and children, officials said. The local Islamic State (IS) group's affiliate claimed responsibility for what was the deadliest attack in Kabul this year. Another 182 people were wounded in the Saturday night explosion, government spokesman Feroz Bashari said. Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualty toll as families began to bury the dead. Some helped to dig graves with their bare hands. Kabul residents were outraged as there appears to be no end to violence even as the U.S. and the Taliban say they are nearing a deal to end their 18-year conflict, America's longest war.”

Public Service Announcement

July 27: NBC News: "If your information was compromised during the massive 2017 Equifax data breach, you could be entitled to up to $20,000." The article provides info on how you can claim your share of the restitution fund. Mrs. McC: I might give it a crack. I know my personal info was compromised during the period of the Equifax breach, but I'm not sure Equifax was the source of the breach. So I might give this a crack. 

Washington Post: "the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships were no different — especially Sunday night, the final night of the two-day [U.S. Gymnastics Championships]..., [Simone] Biles aced a skill no other woman (and only two men in the world) has successfully landed in competition — a triple-twisting, double somersault that capped the first tumbling pass of her floor routine like a cymbal crash":


Washington Post: White Southern plantation visitors who pay good money "to learn about the history of life on a plantation" are very upset guides mention slavery. Mrs. McCrabbie's recommendation: put on your MAGA caps & hoop skirts, watch the first 10 minutes of "Gone with the Wind," & practice saying "Fiddle-dee-dee."

Here's one for contributor Jeanne. "Margaret Atwood joins Deborah Treisman to read and discuss 'Corrie,' by Alice Munro, from a 2010 issue of the [New Yorker] magazine":

Nick Schager in the Daily Beast: "Premiering on Netflix and in select theaters on July 24, The Great Hack is the most enraging, terrifying and — I don’t use this term lightly — important documentary of the year. Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim..., its subject is the Cambridge Analytica data scandal—a story that’s galling on the surface, and infinitely more bone-chilling when one considers its far-reaching ramifications. That’s because Cambridge Analytica’s deceptive and criminal relationship with, and conduct on, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform had world-altering consequences: helping launch the Brexit movement, and successfully aiding the election campaign of Donald Trump.” 

Guardian: “The businessman Arron Banks and the unofficial Brexit campaign Leave.EU have issued a legal threat against streaming giant Netflix in relation to The Great Hack, a new documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the abuse of personal data. The threat comes as press freedom campaigners and charity groups warn the government in an open letter that UK courts are being used to 'intimidate and silence' journalists working in the public interest. In a joint letter to key cabinet members, they call for new legislation to stop 'vexatious lawsuits', highlighting one filed last week by Banks against campaigning journalist Carole Cadwalladr.”

AP: "MAD, the long-running satirical magazine that influenced everyone from 'Weird Al' Yankovic to the writers of 'The Simpsons,' will be leaving newsstands after its August issue. Really. The illustrated humor magazine — instantly recognizable by the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman — will still be available in comic shops and through mail to subscribers. But after its fall issue it will just reprint previously published material. The only new material will come in special editions at the end of the year."

Hill: "The Democrats beat the Republicans in a high-scoring 14-7 win Wednesday [June 26] night in the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game. It was the Democrats' 10th win in 11 years."

New York Times: "... the Library of Congress has named [Joy Harjo] America’s new poet laureate. She will take over for Tracy K. Smith, who has held the position for two years.... Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the 23rd poet and first Native person to be selected for the role."

New York: "The mass of the metal 'anomaly' beneath the moon’s largest crater is five times greater than the big island of Hawaii, and according to a new study from scientists at Baylor University, it could contain metals remaining from an ancient asteroid impact, weighing in at around 4.8 quintillion pounds."

New York Times: "A skeleton in Siberia nearly 10,000 years old has yielded DNA that reveals a striking kinship to living Native Americans, scientists reported on Wednesday. The finding, published in the journal Nature, provides an important new clue to the migrations that first brought people to the Americas. 'In terms of peopling of the Americas, we have found close to the missing link,' said Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and a co-author of the new paper. 'It’s not the direct ancestor, but it’s extremely close.'... The DNA of [a group scientists call] the Ancient Paleo-Siberians is remarkably similar to that of Native Americans. Dr. Willerslev estimates that Native Americans can trace about two-thirds of their ancestry to these previously unknown people.”


The Commentariat -- August 7, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Michael Shear of the New York Times is following Trump on his no-apologies tour. "In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump quoted a conservative television news outlet's reporting that 'the Dayton, Ohio, shooter had a history of supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA.'... Before he departed on Wednesday, he dismissed criticism about his use of divisive language. 'I think my rhetoric brings people together,' he said.... Before leaving, he lashed out at the mayor of Dayton, calling her a supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders and of antifa, a radical leftist group.' The president also rejected calls to abandon the way he talks about immigrants, saying that 'illegal immigration is a terrible thing for this country' and insisting that 'we have very many people coming in. They are pouring in to this country.' Mr. Trump also used language that echoed his 'both sides' comments after the neo-Nazi rallies in Charlottesville in 2017, saying on Wednesday that 'I'm concerned about the rise of any type of hate. I don't like it. Any type of supremacy, whether it's white supremacy or antifa.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The chance that Whaley is an Antifa supporter is somewhere around zero. But Trump is happy to condemn people for completely invented reasons. It's false charges like this, coming from a president*, that incite violence.

The Trump Family Idiots. Remember way back this morning when we read that Ivanka Trump tweeted made up stuff about Chicago, killing off people who had been wounded? Well, this morning Brother Junior went on Fox "News" & likened Julian Castro to the Dayton mass murderer because he had republished a publicly-available list of Trump donors in San Antonio. Of course there is nothing wrong or murderous with publicizing information the government provides, and even if there were, Julian Castro didn't do so. His brother Joaquin did, though. Philip Bump of the Washington Post reports. Worth a read, right to the end, where we learn Junior complained that Instagram "hit" him -- deleted his post -- just because he compared aspiring immigrants to animals in the zoo.

Darren Sands of BuzzFeed News: "Cory Booker stood in the well in the hallowed halls of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday morning and challenged Americans to act on the country's gun violence epidemic, just days after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed at least 31 people and brought the country to a grieving halt. Booker offered a lyrical and, at times, spirited speech that presented an intersectional message on the dangers that white supremacy and gun violence pose to America."

Abha Bhattarai of the Washington Post: "Hundreds of white-collar Walmart employees are expected to walk out Wednesday afternoon to protest the retailer's gun policies after shootings at two company stores left 24 people dead. Workers at Walmart's e-commerce offices in San Bruno, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Brooklyn are taking action to urge the world's largest retailer to stop selling guns and discontinue donations to politicians who receive funding from the National Rifle Association. Walmart sells guns in about half of its 4,750 U.S. stores, making it one of the nation's largest retailers of firearms and ammunition.... Organizers also started a petition to call on company executives to stop selling firearms. As of Wednesday morning, it had more than 28,000 signatures." After learning of the employees' plans, Walmart suspended at least one of the organizers' email & Slack accounts. USA Today has the story here.

Brett Samuels of the Hill: "President Trump on Wednesday said he's 'all in favor' of background checks for weapon purchases in the wake of recent mass shootings, but threw cold water on the prospect of banning high-powered weapons that have been used in several massacres. 'I'm looking to do background checks,' he told reporters. 'I think background checks are important. I don't want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate. Sick people. I'm all in favor of it.' He indicated there would be little movement on legislation to ban high powered weapons like the one used in Dayton and other mass shootings. 'You have to have a political appetite within Congress and so far I haven't seen that,' Trump said." ...

... Anita Kumar of Politico: "... Donald Trump this week said his administration has done 'much more than most' to help curb mass shootings in the United States.... [But] his administration has actually eased gun restrictions over the past two and a half years. Federal agencies have implemented more than half a dozen policy changes -- primarily through little-noticed regulatory moves -- that expand access to guns by lifting firearms bans in certain locations and limiting the names on the national database designed to keep firearms away from dangerous people. The administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn New York City restrictions on transporting handguns outside homes. And it pushed to allow U.S. gunmakers to more easily sell firearms overseas, including the types used in mass shootings." In describing the minimal gun-control measures Trump did take in response to earlier mass murders, "William Vizzard, who spent nearly three decades at the ATF, described the restrictions as modest. 'On a scale of 1 to 100, they're about a 2,' he said."

Stephen Brown of the New York Daily News: "The founder of Students for Trump pleaded guilty Tuesday to running a $46,000 scam in which he posed as a lawyer and gave legal advice. John Lambert, 23, created a website for a fake law firm called Pope & Dunn and claimed to be Eric Pope a graduate of NYU Law School with a finance degree from the University of Pennsylvania and 15 years of experience in corporate and patent law, prosecutors said."


Jill Colvin of the AP: "... Donald Trump is bringing a message aimed at national unity and healing to the sites of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton [today]. But the words he offers for a divided America will be complicated by his own incendiary, anti-immigrant rhetoric that mirrors language linked to one of the shooters. It is a highly unusual predicament for an American president to at once try to console a community and a nation at the same time he is being criticized as contributing to a combustible climate that can spawn violence.... Trump, who often seems most comfortable on rally stages with deeply partisan crowds, has not excelled at projecting empathy, mixing what can sound like perfunctory expressions of grief with awkward offhand remarks.... In ... El Paso, some residents and local Democratic lawmakers said Trump was not welcome and urged him to stay away.... In Dayton, Mayor Nan Whaley said she would be meeting with Trump on Wednesday, but she told reporters she was disappointed with his scripted remarks Monday responding to the shootings." ...

... Brett Samuels of the Hill: "President Trump may face a cool reception Wednesday from local leaders in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, when he travels to each city in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings. Democrats in both cities have indicated they're not crazy about the president visiting, particularly in El Paso, where the suspected gunman allegedly published an anti-immigrant manifesto that echoed some of Trump's own language. Mayors of both cities said they intend to greet Trump out of respect for his office, but appeared less than enthusiastic about welcoming him.... 'He is the president of the United States,' El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) told reporters on Monday. 'In that capacity I will fulfill my obligations as mayor of El Paso to meet with the president and discuss whatever our needs are in this community.' Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) struck a similar tone Tuesday, telling reporters she will greet Trump in her official capacity as mayor and offering a biting response when asked if the president was visiting too soon. 'He's the& president of the United States,' she said. 'He does his calendar, I do mine.'" ...

... Paul LeBlanc of CNN: "Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas on Tuesday said she declined an invitation to join ... Donald Trump on his upcoming visit to El Paso, Texas, as the city recovers from a mass shooting. 'I declined the invitation because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit, said Escobar, who represents El Paso. 'I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words & actions have caused our community and country.'... Escobar, who told MSNBC Monday that Trump wasn't welcome in her community, tweeted that she requested a phone call with the President to 'share what I have now heard from many constituents' but was told he was 'too busy.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: "Too busy"? Why, just the day before Trump had promised his "unfailing support" for the people of El Paso & Dayton/Toledo. That executive time sure keeps Trump "busy." ...

... Toluse Olorunnipa, et al., of the Washington Post: "The grief and sorrow in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso have begun to give way to anger and frustration in advance of President Trump's planned visits Wednesday, with local leaders and residents increasingly vocal in their assertions that presidential condolences, thoughts and prayers will not be enough. People are signing petitions, planning protests and, in Dayton, organizing a demonstration featuring an inflated 'Baby Trump' to express their discontent with a president whose anti-immigrant rhetoric was echoed by a gunman who killed 22 people in El Paso.... The open repudiation of a visiting president in the aftermath of a mass tragedy was striking Tuesday as a growing chorus of critics made clear that Trump would not be universally welcome during a pair of condolence visits that will take Air Force One from the Rust Belt to the southern order." ...

... The Unwelcome, Deadbeat Visitor from Hell. Matthew Adams & Robert Garrett of the Dallas Morning News: "Ahead of a Wednesday visit to El Paso..., Donald Trump still owes the city more than $500,000 for his expenses related to his February rally. Trump is scheduled to visit El Paso in the wake of the Aug. 3 shooting that left at least 22 people dead. The Federal Aviation Administration advised pilots of a presidential visit later this week to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.... The Center for Public Integrity ... reports that the total with late fees is now $569,204, according to a July 18 invoice to the Trump campaign. 'It's ridiculous and unconscionable. The city of El Paso is an economically challenged community,' El Paso County Commissioner Dave Stout said of the Trump camp's failure to pay.... 'He's going to be throwing salt into the wound -- a very, very deep wound. And this community needs healing, not Donald Trump, Stout said.... Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents El Paso [and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke], also said Trump isn't welcome." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

Mitch Smith, et al., of the New York Times: "The gunman who killed three people and injured 13 in Gilroy, Calif., had a 'target list' of religious institutions, Democratic and Republican political organizations, and federal buildings, the F.B.I. said Tuesday, announcing that it had opened a domestic terrorism investigation. The suspect had been exploring several 'competing' violent ideologies, said John F. Bennett, the F.B.I. special agent in charge in San Francisco, at a news conference. Mr. Bennett said investigators had not yet uncovered a motive and were trying to determine which ideology, if any, the gunman had ultimately subscribed to, and if anyone had helped him prepare for the shooting. The list also included courthouses and the garlic festival, Mr. Bennett said.... The gunman, Santino William Legan, 19, fired 39 rounds in the shooting at the garlic festival on July 28, Scot Smithee, the Gilroy police chief, said Tuesday. Police found a 75-round drum magazine and five 40-round magazines near the gunman, who killed himself after being shot multiple times by the police, Chief Smithee said." This linked article is a liveblog also containing updates on the El Paso & Dayton massacres. ...

     ... Dayton: "Todd Wickerham, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s Cincinnati field office, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the investigation into the mass shooting in Dayton on Sunday had 'uncovered evidence that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies.' He added that no evidence had been found suggesting a racial motivation for the shooting." Mrs. McC: I heard on a news broadcast that six of the Dayton victims were black.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: "New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet acknowledged Tuesday that his newspaper messed up with a front-page headline over its lead story on ... Donald Trump's Monday televised address.... 'TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM,' blazoned the four-column headline at the top-right of the front page of the Times' first edition -- a strangely credulous framing of an appropriately skeptical story by Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman.... Trump, who spent the weekend offering 'thoughts and prayers' and tweeting attacks on 'fake news' among other perceived enemies from his New Jersey golf club, gave his stiffly delivered speech on TelePrompTer in the aftermath of two mass shootings that have left 31 dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio -- to which the 45th president mistakenly referred as 'Toledo' at one point in his remarks.... [The headline] was a mistake that immediately prompted widespread criticism from high-profile Trump detractors once images of the paper's front page surfaced online Monday night; it also provoked attacks on the Times'; political coverage generally, and even vows to cancel subscriptions.... A Times spokesperson emailed: 'The original print headline was clearly flawed and was changed for all editions after the first' -- the earliest edition of the ink-on-paper Times that is distributed out of state and nationally." The story contains remarks from several prominent opinionators. ...

... Amanda Marcotte of Salon: "No one actually believes Donald Trump opposes racism. Not his critics. Not his supporters. Not anyone who tries to live in the zone of 'objectivity.' Trump's racism is a immoveable fact of life.... And yet, somehow, the media continues to struggle to accurately convey to American audiences this reality, which is that when Trump, a racist and a liar, says anti-racist things, he's just a racist who is currently lying. This problem was illustrated Monday, when the New York Times previewed a headline about Trump's response to two recent mass shootings that read, 'Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism', causing an explosion of outrage in response, and causing the newspaper of record to scramble, changing it to 'Assailing Hate But Not Guns' in the second print edition and the much more accurate 'Shootings Spur Debate on Extremism and Guns, With Trump on Defense' for the online edition.... It wasn't just the New York Times. CBS, NBC, ABC, and the Washington Post all ran headlines saying Trump condemned racism without noting that he didn't really mean it.... One exception that points the way for other outlets was the CNN headline that read, 'Trump condemns "racist hate" and white supremacy but does not acknowledge his own rhetoric.'" ...

... "Members of the Press, What the Fuck?" ...

     ... Brandon Conradis of the Hill: "President Trump late Tuesday night responded to criticism from former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), who has repeatedly assailed the president in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. 'Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O'Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement - & be quiet!' Trump tweeted.... The president's remarks come shortly after O'Rourke, a 2020 presidential contender, announced he would be attending an event on Wednesday to pay tribute to the shooting victims and counter Trump's visit to the city.... In response to Trump's tweet, O'Rourke said, '22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I.'" Mrs. McC: Beto has had his "phony name" since his parents gave it to him when he was an infant. Here's Beto pretending to be Hispanic ca. 1974:

A vast swath of Democratic voters are pretty angry at the media. They see a racist liar in the White House and a media too afraid to call him a racist or a liar. They see a media obsessed with Trump voters who like his rhetoric and little interest in those targeted by his rhetoric. I think Beto's comments spoke to a feeling that media as currently constructed is not up to the moment we are living in. -- Dan Pfeiffer, former Obama advisor ...

... Charles Pierce: "There was a loud banging on pots and pans all over the electric Twitter machine last night when The New York Times front page coverage of Monday's presidential* address popped up with the headline: Trump Urges Unity Against Racism[.] For reasons that are plainly obvious -- and for people who are plainly oblivious -- this headline is dangerously unmoored from our present reality.... I wasn't worried because I knew the president* and the rest of the folks down at Camp Runamuck quickly would squander the free ride given to them by the Times. Sure enough, the president checked in with his favorite morning show, Three Dolts On A Divan, and retweeted some wisdom from Dolt No. 3." Thanks to MAG for the link. ...

... Here's What Brassilocks & the Three Dolts Were Complaining About. Quint Forgey of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked former President Barack Obama over the latter's statement on the weekend's mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, tweeting edited quotes from Fox News hosts to make his point and again claiming he is 'the least racist person' in the world. '"Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control,"' Trump wrote online. '"Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres." @kilmeade @foxandfriends'." Mrs. McC: Uh, Donnie, I think you & your Fox Friends missed the point: President Obama never stoked white nationalist wet dreams. Also, Obama didn't name you; you & your Friends clearly decided the shoe fits. For once you-all were right about something. See also Akhilleus' commentary in yesterday's Comments thread. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: As for the Toledo speech itself, Akhilleus had the best characterization yet of Trump's delivery: "He read like he was trying to translate an eye chart.... The whole thing looked like a hostage video." See Akhilleus' full comment in yesterday's Comments. ...

... Justin Baragona of the Daily Beast: "Three days after a Texas man allegedly killed 22 people in El Paso after apparently posting a manifesto complaining of a 'Hispanic invasion,' Fox News host Tucker Carlson said white supremacy is not a problem in the United States and is actually a 'hoax' and a 'conspiracy theory.' Carlson, who regularly spouts the same anti-immigrant 'invasion' rhetoric the El Paso shooter is believed to have espoused in a racist manifesto, hit back against those who say President Trump's rhetoric on immigration may have emboldened the suspected shooter.... The FBI said last month that the majority of domestic terrorism cases they've recently investigated are versions of white supremacist violence." ...

     ... Sabrina Tavernise, et al., of the New York Times: "Law enforcement officials have sounded the alarm for months: Homegrown terrorism, including by white supremacists, is now as big a threat as terrorism from abroad. But the mass shooting in El Paso last weekend, the largest domestic terrorist attack against Hispanics in modern history, has made it glaringly clear how poorly prepared the country is to fight it.... Even before the shootings [last weekend], which left at least 31 people dead, officials said that preventing attacks from white supremacists and nationalists would require adopting the same type of broad and aggressive approach used to battle international extremism. 'We need to catch them and incarcerate them before they act on their plans,' Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, said in an email interview. 'We need to be proactive by identifying and disrupting potential terrorists before they strike, and we can accomplish that by monitoring terrorist propaganda and communications.' Under current federal law, that is difficult." Mrs. McC: Sorry, Tucker. ...

     ... Quint Forgey of Politico: "The FBI Agents Association on Tuesday demanded that members of Congress codify domestic terrorism as a federal crime, warning it poses 'a threat to the American people and our democracy.'... The statement from the association, which represents more than 14,000 active and former FBI special agents, follows the Justice Department's announcement Sunday that it is treating the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, as a case of domestic terrorism.... In a televised address Monday..., Donald Trump said the administration has 'asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism.'" Mrs. McC: Sorry, Tucker.

Sheryl Stolberg
of the New York Times: "Congressional Republicans, under intense pressure to respond to this weekend's massacres, are coalescing around legislation to help law enforcement take guns from those who pose an imminent danger -- a measure that, if signed into law, would be the most significant gun control legislation enacted in 20 years.... The House, under Democratic control, passed far more ambitious bills in February that would require background checks for all gun purchasers, including those on the internet or at gun shows, and extend waiting limits for would-be gun buyers flagged by the instant check system. But those bills have run into a blockade that Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has erected for House bills he opposes." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: A "red flag" law (which Lindsey Graham is already trying to water down to ineffectual state grants) is basically a "mental health" law. It might not be a bad idea, but there's no reason to think such a law would have prevented the most recent mass murders, much less those that are inevitably in our future. Let's face it; most elected Republicans condone mass murder with assault weapons. Their "thoughts & prayers" are really centered on their hopes that the NRA will give them an "A" rating & a big campaign contribution. If you read Stolberg's full report, you'll discover another masterpiece of both-siderism. She treats Republicans' fake efforts to put a band-aid someplace on a bullet-ridden body as a perfectly legitimate way to address a domestic terrorism crisis. ...

... Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker: "There is a 'significant link' between gun violence and cowardly politicians, a new study from the University of Minnesota asserts. The study, which is raising eyebrows with its startling conclusions, finds that the most reliable predictor of gun violence is the 'prevalence of quiveringly fearful politicians in positions of power.'" ...

... A Tiny Crack in the Red Line. Jackie Borchardt of the Cincinnati Enquirer: "The Republican congressman who represents Dayton is calling for several gun control measures after nine were killed in a mass shooting there Sunday. Rep. Mike Turner said Tuesday he backs a ban on sales of military-style guns, magazine limits and 'red flag' legislation to identify dangerous individuals and remove their firearms. Turner has an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association and last year earned the organization's support for opposing a ban on semi-automatic firearms, commonly called 'assault weapons.'... Turner's daughter and a family friend were at a bar across the street when the shooting unfolded." Mrs. McC: As is usual with Republicans, something bad has to happen to him or to a friend or family member before he moves to help others. ...

... MEANWHILE... Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast: "Just days after mass shootings left at least 31 people dead, a bipartisan group of congressional staffers is set to go on an outing to shoot skeet alongside gun lobbyists. The event comes every year.... According to its website, the event is scheduled for August 6.... A source familiar with the event said the 'associated industry supporters' typically include members of the firearms industry, officials from the NRA, NRA lobbyists, and lobbyists working for gun companies.' They routinely attend the event to socialize with congressional staff. A second source familiar said NRA officials are not expected to attend this year." --s (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: But will they use assault rifles? Okay, they might. Luckily, it's pretty hard to kill a clay pigeon. ...

... John Seewer of the AP: "Facing pressure to take action after the latest mass shooting in the U.S., Ohio's Republican governor urged the GOP-led state Legislature Tuesday to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats. Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio needs to do more while balancing people's rights to own firearms and have due process during a press conference Tuesday. He outlined a series of legislative actions he wants the Legislature to take up to address mental health and gun violence.... Protesters once again shouted 'do something' -- a refrain chanted during Sunday's vigil honoring the victims -- at DeWine at the start of his Tuesday announcement.... His calls for action could be an uphill battle for the Legislature, which has given little consideration this session to those and other gun-safety measures already introduced by Democrats. DeWine's Republican predecessor, John Kasich..., also unsuccessfully pushed for a so-called red flag law on restricting firearms for people considered threats." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Sophia Tesfaye of Salon: "The Nebraska Republican Party called for Republican state Sen. John McCollister to register as a Democrat after he wrote that the GOP is 'enabling white supremacy.' Ryan Hamilton, the head of the state Republican Party, called for McCollister to 'tell the truth about his partisan views and re-register as a Democrat' on Monday after he called out the party for being 'complicit' to 'obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party.'... Hamilton's statement came just months after he vowed to crack down on racism in the party after an aide to Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts was caught posting wildly racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic comments on a far-right YouTube page run by a far-right activist labeled a white nationalist. McCollister called out his own party after a shooter who published an anti-immigrant screed on the far-right hate repository 8chan killed 22 people and injured dozens of others at an El Paso Walmart in an attack he said was in response to the 'Hispanic invasion of Texas,' echoing the frequent rhetoric of President Trump and Fox News." ...

... ** Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "Though the Supreme Court has been cautious since 2008 in expanding gun rights, there is every likelihood that the new conservative majority will frustrate federal or state legislative efforts to insure gun safety. In other words, even if Congress or states manage to pass laws restricting gun rights -- including limits on assault weapons or even requiring universal background checks -- there is a real possibility that a majority of the Justices will overturn these laws as violations of the Second Amendment.... But even the Court usually bends with public and political opinion over time, and that change may yet happen on guns. The grim lesson of recent weeks is that the need for that transformation has never been greater." See also Patrick's comment in yesterday's thread & Ian Millhiser's post on Bart O'Kavanaugh, also linked a couple of days ago.

Brianna Sacks & others of BuzzFeed News report on El Paso Walmart employee Gilbert Serna who shepherded about 150 people to safe places while the mass murderer was still shooting.

"Ivanka Trump: Let's Focus On the Shootings My Dad Isn't Responsible For." Bess Levin of Vanity Fair: "So on Tuesday..., [Ivanka Trump], attempting to shift the focus from shootings for which her dad can be directly blamed, to ones for which she thinks he bares [sic. "bears"] zero responsibility. 'As we grieve over the evil mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, let us not overlook that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year,' Trump wrote on Twitter. 'With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground in the Windy City- and little national outrage or media coverage- we mustn't become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day.'... The first daughter's concern might've seemed at least slightly sincere had she expressed it at any other time than while her father is taking heat for whipping racists into a frenzy and creating an environment in which they believe it's okay to go on killing sprees if their targets are of the nonwhite variety. (Her previous mentions of the Windy City mostly center around promoting spa treatments and cocktails at the Trump Hotel Chicago, plus a photo op with the new mayor.) It would also carry a bit more weight if her father's comments about 'inner city communities' weren't filled with dog whistles, or if he actually had a plan to reduce the number of gun-related deaths in Chicago by restricting access to firearms, which of course he does not. ...

     ... [Oh. Wait:] "... Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago fact-checked Ivanka's tweets ('It wasn't a playground, it was a park. It wasn't seven dead. It wasn't 52 wounded in one incident, which is what this suggests'.)..." Mrs. McC: According to the Chicago Sun-Times, seven people were wounded in the drive-by shooting, not shot dead as Ivanka claims. I suppose Lightfoot & I look silly suggesting any member of the Trump Family Liars get her facts straight before Twitter-whining about something that didn't happen. The violence in Chicago is horrible, and I linked to a news story on the Chicago park shooting this weekend, but it is understandable that mass shootings with multiple fatalities receive more attention than has the Chicago drive-by.

Trump Negotiates Another Great Deal. Surprise! He Lied. You Lose. Ellen Ioanes of Business Insider: "According to Air Force Magazine..., Donald Trump's new Air Force One fleet will cost a total of $5.2 billion, up from the 2016 estimate of $3.2 billion. Two Boeing 747-8s are being converted into VC-25s.... They will serve as the 'flying White House' starting in 2024, although Trump requested that they be ready for use in 2021. Trump had boasted that he struck a deal with Boeing to lower the cost of renovating the jets, which were originally built for a now defunct Russian airline, by $1 billion. Boeing will be paid $3.9 billion to build the jets for the White House. The additional $1.3 billion comes from associated costs, like building hangars for the new jets."

Joshua Goodman & Deb Reichmann of the AP: "The Trump administration froze all Venezuelan government assets in a dramatic escalation of tensions with Nicolás Maduro that places his socialist administration alongside a short list of adversaries from Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran that have been targeted by such aggressive U.S. actions. The ban, blocking American companies and individuals from doing business with Maduro's government and its top supporters, took effect immediately Monday and is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere in more than three decades, following an asset freeze against Gen. Manuel Noriega's government in Panama and a trade embargo on the Sandinista leadership in Nicaragua in the 1980s." (Also linked yesterday.)

Vanessa Grioriadis of New York has a long bio on Ivanka Trump. Some highlights: "In her 20s, she said her favorite book was Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and she had modeled herself on its capitalist heroine, Dagny Taggart.... [T]he No. 1 thing friends from her past say about her: She isn't a 'mean person' or a 'bad person' but is simply afflicted with the same disease of narcissism as her father.... In 2003, when Paris Hilton's sex tape was leaked on the internet, Donald wouldn't stop talking about it, saying, 'Paris is laughing all the way to the bank, she's got the last laugh, she's marvelous.' Ivanka could not believe her father was not only idolizing an airhead heiress caught blowing a guy on a night-vision video but encouraging her to follow Paris's lead.... [According to a friend] 'She really has no idea she's privileged. She genuinely thinks she's earned everything she has. She goes on and on all the time about how hard she works.'" --s (Also linked yesterday.) See commentary in yesterday's thread.

Eric Tucker of the AP: "A veteran FBI agent who wrote derogatory text messages about Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the bureau caved to' unrelenting pressure' from the president when it fired him. The suit from Peter Strzok also alleges he was unfairly punished for expressing his political opinions, and that the Justice Department violated his privacy when it shared hundreds of his text messages with reporters."

Fred Imbert & Silvia Amaro of CNBC: "Stocks rebounded on Tuesday from their worst day of the year after China's central bank indicated it plans to keep its currency at a level stronger than some investors had first feared, easing tensions about the nation using the yuan as a weapon in the trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 311.78 points higher at 26,029.52. The S&P 500 rose 1.3% to 2,881.77, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed nearly 1.4% to 7,833.27. Tuesday's gains helped the Dow snap a five-day losing streak, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose for the first time in seven sessions."

E. A. Crunden of ThinkProgress: "A government climate scientist who says the Trump administration buried a groundbreaking report he authored has left the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in protest over the 'political views' top officials allegedly imposed on his work. Politico reported Monday that Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist who worked at USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for more than 20 years, quit due to an increasingly political atmosphere at the agency.... USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has similarly dismissed global warming as 'weather patterns.'... Ziska told Politico that the reason the study was buried is down to political ideology and the administration's unwillingness to embrace established climate science." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Presidential Race 2020

Michael Brice-Saddler & Alex Horton of the Washington Post: "The 44 names Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) tweeted late Monday ... [are] all constituents in his district, and they all donated the maximum amount to President Trump's campaign this year. The congressman and brother of presidential hopeful Julián Castro said the people listed -- including retirees, business owners and other individuals whose names are public record -- were 'fueling a campaign of hate.'... Castro, who also serves as chairman for his brother's presidential campaign, spent much of Tuesday deflecting intense criticism from GOP lawmakers and others. They contended that Castro was 'targeting' the listed donors by tweeting their names to his thousands of followers, a serious accusation in the aftermath of two weekend mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead and many more wounded.... In several tweets Tuesday, [Joaquin] Castro said the names he posted were publicly accessible and that his tweet was not a 'call to action.'" A Politico story is here.

Will Sommer of the Daily Beast: "Two signs promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory are visible in a video from Donald Trump's presidential campaign, marking the latest link between the president and followers of the fringe movement that the FBI recently described as a potential source of domestic terror. The signs, which were first noticed by Vox reporter Aaron Rupar, appear in a close-up shot in a 'Women for Trump' video posted by Trump's campaign late in July. Around halfway into the video, the first sign appears, with Trump's 'Keep America Great' slogan and a 'Q' taped onto it. Another shows 'Q''s replacing the O's on a 'Women for Trump' sign.... The campaign video will ... be likely interpreted by the Q community as a cryptic acknowledgement by Trump that their beliefs are real." Mrs. McC: Look for KKK hoods in the next round of Trump campaign ads.

Ariane de Vogue of CNN: "... Donald Trump sued California Tuesday challenging a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before they can appear on the state's primary ballot. The federal lawsuit from Trump and his campaign is the latest move by the President to resist efforts to turn over his tax returns.... A second similar lawsuit was also filed Tuesday by Republican voters along with the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of California who argue that this a political maneuver that takes voting rights away from Trump's supporters.... Legal expert Rick Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, said the state law is of 'uncertain constitutionality.'"

Presidential Race or Senate Race or Something. Jeff Zeleny & Alex Rogers of CNN: "John Hickenlooper, who has struggled to break through the crowded Democratic presidential field, spoke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer late last week about running for the Senate from Colorado, a race he has resisted joining but is keeping an open mind about, a top aide tells CNN. 'He is still in the race for president, but he hasn't closed the door to anything,' said Peter Cunningham, the communications director for the former Colorado governor.... Schumer wants [Hickenlooper] to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner, who is among the potentially vulnerable Republicans in 2020."

Congressional Races 2020

Team Mitch on How to "Get Involved with Republican Politics." Shira Feder of the Daily Beast: "After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for a photo posted on Facebook of a group of young men wearing 'Team Mitch' shirts shown choking and groping a cardboard cutout of the Democratic congresswoman, the Senate majority leader's campaig manager initially responded by saying, in essence, boys will be boys. The campaign ultimately ended up condemning the image as 'demeaning.' In a statement, Kevin Golden said the media is using the image to 'demonize, stereotype, and publicly castigate every young person who dares to get involved with Republican politics,' adding that 'these young men are not campaign staff, they are high schoolers.'" Mrs. McC: So "choking and groping a Congresswoman" = "getting involved with Republican politics." Good to know.

Top GOP Congressman Says Rich Jews Bought Congress. Marcy Oster of the Forward: "A letter sent by National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer to party members identified three 'left-wing radicals' that he says 'bought control of Congress for the Democrats.' They are all Jewish. Emmer represents Minnesota’s Sixth District in the U.S. House. The Minneapolis-based American Jewish World newspaper first saw the letter, which is said appears to have been circulated in March, in July and reported on it Friday. The letter on Emmer's letterhead says 'the news of impactful, real progress on turning our nation around was undercut by biased media and hundreds of millions of dollars of anti-Republican propaganda put out by liberal special interests, funded by deep-pocketed far-left billionaires George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. ... These left-wing radicals essentially BOUGHT control of Congress for the Democrats.'... The letter employs the anti-Semitic trope that rich Jews use their money for power and control."

Gubernatorial Race 2020. Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune: "U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is returning home to Utah, where he is reportedly weighing another run for governor. Huntsman sent ... Donald Trump a resignation letter Tuesday and plans to move back to the Beehive State in October.... The resignation is effective Oct. 3, Huntsman said."

... Un Magnifique Chateau pour LaPierre. Carol Leonnig & Beth Reinhard of the Washington Post: "Documents indicate that the National Rifle Association planned to purchase a luxury mansion in the Dallas area last year for the use of chief executive Wayne LaPierre, according to two people familiar with the records. The discussions about the roughly $6 million purchase, which was not completed, are now under scrutiny by New York investigators. The transaction was slated to be made through a corporate entity that received a wire of tens of thousands of dollars from the NRA in 2018, according to the people.... The New York attorney general's office is now examining the plan for an NRA-financed mansion as part of its ongoing investigation into the gun lobby's tax-exempt status, in which it has subpoenaed the group's financial records, the people said....

Via Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post.

... "One property that was considered, according to a person familiar with the plans, was a 10,000-square-foot French country estate with lakefront and golf course views. The four-bedroom, nine-bath home in a gated golf course community northwest of Dallas resembles a French chateau, with a stately boxwood-lined drive, a formal courtyard, vaulted ceilings and an antique marble fireplace, according to its online real estate listing." The Week has a story here. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Meanwhile, some of the dues-paying NRA members who would pay for the mansion probably live in shacks & trailers.

Way Beyond the Beltway

North Korea. Reuters: "North Korea has fired two unidentified projectiles into the sea from South Hwanghae province, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.... The [North Korean] foreign ministry said the [U.S./South Korean] military drills were violations of diplomatic agreements and added that North Korea had remained unchanged in its commitment to resolve the issues through dialogue, but 'will be compelled to seek a new road as we have already indicated,' if South Korea and the United States continue with hostile military moves." --s (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Kim Tong-Hyung of the AP: "North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises."

Poland. Vanessa Gera of the AP: "Claims that Russia orchestrated a political scandal that helped bring Poland's right-wing government to power are getting revisited as the country prepares for another election. Five years ago, unflattering recordings of Polish politicians secretly made at two Warsaw restaurants were leaked to newspapers. The resulting 'Waitergate' scandal helped topple a pro-EU government in 2015. An investigative Polish journalist and a formerly fugitive multimillionaire have recently provided fresh fuel for the idea that Waitergate was a prelude to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Reporter Grzegorz Rzeczkowski argues in a new book that Russian intelligence services bugged the restaurants on behalf of the Kremlin." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Beyond the Beltway

New York. Vivian Wang of the New York Times: "The pitched six-week battle for the Democratic nomination for Queens district attorney finally ended on Tuesday, when Tiffany Cabán, whose bid galvanized progressive activists nationwide and exposed deep rifts within the left, conceded to Melinda Katz, the favorite of the state party's establishment. The result was a vindication for the Queens Democratic Party, which was left reeling last year after the defeat of former Representative Joseph Crowley by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

Reader Comments (18)

There appears to be some talk about passing state-level gun laws (if they can hold up against SCOTUS), but there's another obstacle that hasn't been considered: lawless law "enforcement".

I'm old enough to remember states passing gun laws and then local sheriffs declaring that they just wouldn't enforce the new laws. We need officials to fire these idiotic assholes straightaway if any of them try pulling similar charades next time around.

One example from Washington:

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

RIP Toni Morrison. A terrible time to lose such a voice, but if we pay attention, she's still talking to us.

Speaking of which, there's this: "Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."

In the same way, referring to the Racist in Chief, you're either a decent human being or you ain't. Attempting to appear decent when it's convenient or politically necessary (and, by the way, failing miserably at both) ain't decency at all.

And how 'bout this? "Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

When the RIC starts in with calling people dirty and murderers and rapists, those terms convey information about him. They say nothing about those whose lives he is trying desperately to demean and upend.

Farewell, Toni. And thanks.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I've been hearing (in addition to Princess Ivanka's lies) shouts about how Democrats are trying to weaponize the dead (and still dying) from the El Paso and Dayton mass murders.

The current trope goes something like this. Democrats are only concerned about the victims of gun violence when they can use tragedies for their own purposes. Look at all those shootings in Chicago (subtext: shootings by black people--don't forget: that's B L A C K P E O P L E, okay?). Democrats don't give a shit about those because they can't try to weasel gun control out of those killings (again, which were not done by decent white people).

Okay, a couple of things about this. First, Democrats most definitely care about all shootings, all gun violence, or haven't these people been paying attention to the calls for gun control going way back to the Brady Bill and before? The Brady Bill, for those who remember its passage, was virulently opposed by most all of these people now whining about how we don't need gun control and Democrats are being opportunistic only about mass murders they can blame on white people (Trump voters).

Sorry, Charlie. It ain't so. Democrats have been working for gun control--for ALL guns, for decades.

Second, if it appears that murders like the El Paso mass killings are put in a different category, they are. For a couple of reasons. For one, we're talking here about the use of frighteningly efficient killing machines. Also, as in the El Paso killings, we're talking about the rise of a particularly frightening and disturbing movement in violent white supremacy.

As I've said before, handgun violence, like we see in drive by shootings in many places, including Chicago, is the most prevalent form of gun related mayhem. But it extends far beyond the inner cities racists like Tucker Carlson and Trump love pointing to in order to draw attention away from the thousands of other shootings that take place far from any black neighborhood or inner cities. These include domestic violence shootings, accidental shootings by small children playing with available handguns, morons who shoot themselves accidentally, and suicide victims.

All of these have many different sources and reasons.

White supremacy is much different. Why? Because it's supported by the president, his entire party, and the entirety of right-wing media. This is a time bomb that has already started going off, in slow motion, perhaps, but picking up steam with every new racist tweet, taunt, and racially motivated lie.

Democrats are right to point this out. And those, like Princess Ivanka, who try the "Oh but look over there. Black people are TERRIBLE!" ploy are complicit in staving off addressing this scourge.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@AK: Yes, Ms Morrison––great lady, and a writer of true grit and struggles. And you're right––her voice is needed now more than ever but we will always have it down in her books.

THE GERMAN INVASION ( A very different kind)

Yesterday my son and his wife plus three lovely daughters ascended on us from Germany and will be spending the rest of the month here and in New York. I tell you this so you won't think I died or gave up the good fight since I won't be commenting for awhile (so she says). I will try and keep on top of things nevertheless and continue to say, as my boy Beto said: "What the fuck????????"

Keep the peace people.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

In addition to their tragedies of this past weekend the cities of El Paso and Dayton must now pose for presidential photo ops. Be strong!

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

Akhilleus: May I post your Toni Morrison comment on my facebook page? It's wonderful.

The gun nuts would have us believe that these killings are simply the price we have to pay for living in a free society. We have to accept these gun deaths because we can't impose on a law-abiding citizen's right to own a handgun, an assault weapon, a high capacity magazine, or whatever sort of arsenal he (and they are overwhelmingly men) wishes to accumulate.

What utter bullshit.

There's this narrative that's been built around the second amendment that people have bought into - and cynically exploited by five members of the USSC - that says the right to keep and bear arms exists so that citizens could take up arms against their own government should that government ever descend into tyranny.

Pardon me for repeating myself, but what utter bullshit.

The constitution provided the citizenry with a way to throw off a tyrannical government without resorting to violence: elections. The United States also had no standing army in 1787 because the founders felt, and rightly so, that standing armies were the tool used by tyrannical governments to subdue the citizenry.

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty...The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” James Madison

The people's protection against a tyrannical government was the very fact that the government did not support a standing army.

The first clause of the second amendment reads, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

Because the United States did not have a standing army, the constitution also had to provide a way for the country to raise an army should one ever be needed. Your right to keep and bear arms is contingent upon your willingness to be part of the militia. In other words, it doesn't exist so that you can take up arms against the government. Quite the contrary. The right to keep and bear arms exists so that we can take up arms in support of the government, if necessary.

We are literally being held hostage in our country by the small minority that believe they have the right to terrorize us with their weapons, and the gun manufacturers, and their enablers in Congress. Today, pretty much everyone in America understands that we are all under house arrest; that, should we decide to venture out in public, we are at the mercy of the gun nuts.

So they have their freedom, but what about the rest of us?

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSchlub


You go right ahead. Propagation of the fraudulence and nastiness of the Orange Menace, especially compared to a great soul like Morrison's can't help but strengthen the nation.

And you are correct about the utterness of the bullshit surrounding the Second Amendment. Gun knobbers (and even Supreme Court Justices--thinkin' 'bout you, Nino) conveniently forget that part about "well regulated militia" and zoom in on "My rights" which means my rights, and those of my fellow nuts, to stock up enough weapons and ammo to invade Poland supersede your right to live without fear of being shot, in case one of us wakes up one day, has a Zagnut Bar, goes postal, kills the whole family then heads out looking for more hard targets.

It's patently ridiculous that more guns equals more safety. In fact, statistics from every single country in the world, collected over decades and decades, point to exactly the opposite conclusion.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

It's (ironically) refreshing to have this national debate on hate and racism right now, but it's far too Drumpf-based and doesn't attempt to make any links with this scourge of white nationalist extremism and the explosion of so-called "militias" a.k.a. white ammosexual groups during the Obama years. In fact, little to no discussion has linked Drumpf's entire presidency as a massive overreaction of white America backlash to the perceived progress of an African American presidency. Can there be any doubt when Drumpf's only true "policy" he's ever had, besides self-enrichment, was the complete dismantling of Obama's achievements. And this wasn't his sole focus either. The entire GOP, the national vehicle of white male grievance, was lazer-focused on erasing Obama's legacy from the history books. If they get their way, they'll surely slander him in the high school history books to be written by racist dentists in Texas.

According to the Soutern Poverty Law Center in 2016: "The [militia] movement grew explosively after President Obama was elected, from 42 groups in 2008 to a peak of 334 in 2011 before declining in recent years."

And now all these desperate white guys are armed to the gills, envious of others' achievements while they sit listening to Rush Limbaugh in the woods with their friends, lamenting their lost "place" in the world.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Taking bets on how many lies Trump will tell as he descends on El Paso and Dayton to remind everyone that “no one has done more than me”, blah, blah, blah.

You know how when you run up a big bill you won’t be allowed to run up another one until you pay the first? El Paso should insist that President Klansman pay that half million dollar bill he ran up the last time he used the city as a prop for his reelection campaign before they let him in today.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Yeah. I think El Paso should throw a few Denver boots on AF1 after it lands. Pay up, Fatso.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

I thought the question a reporter posed to Beto O'Rourke -- "Is there anything the President can do to make things better?" -- which caused Beto to respond "What the fuck???" (video above) had to be the stupidest press question of the week.


I was just listening to a presser Sen. Sherrod Brown & Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley gave this afternoon. A reporter, seemingly seriously, asked them (and I'm paraphrasing as accurately as I can),

"Aren't Democrats and Republicans both to blame because there were mass murders when Obama was president, too?"

Brown & Whaley put him in his place, but I'll bet that idiot wasn't convinced. When news reporters are that stupid & ignorant, we can't expect ordinary people to be any wiser.

August 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@unwashed: Maybe El Paso could impound AF1 for back bills & auction it off, starting bids at a minimum of whatever their total bill is after Trump dumps on the city today. Then Mnuchin -- because you know he will -- can charge Trump for the loss. Let Trump take the bus.

August 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie


People like that guy in Dayton aren't reporters. They're fiction writers. Questions like that indicate that people have already written their stories and are just looking for a quote or two to add to their preconceived story line. This isn't, of course, a new thing in JournoLand, but it's become more the norm than the exception. Especially on the right (and, distressingly, in the MSM) where the goal is either to bolster any lie Trump and the Republicans settle on (which is dicey because Trump's lies can change hourly) or straining mightily, like this pixel-stained wretch, to maintain the baleful fantasy that both sides are to blame, are the same, are equally guilty of laying the groundwork, or actively supporting, the latest malaise.

Fick-shun. Not reportorial exactitude. Disinterest, not engagement with an interest in truth and accuracy.

The perfect fertilizer for the Petri dish of lies from Republicans, Fox, etc.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


Have a wonderful and relaxing visit with your family.


It all does come down to the issue of right and wrong, doesn't it?

And while there might be some legitimate disagreement over certain issues--I'm thinking of abortion, which is to some an absolute no-no, akin as it is in their eyes to murder--even there considerations of right and wrong should dictate the manner in which we treat those we disagree with.

What the Right has done over the years is label all who disagree with them about the distribution of resources (the economic model we adopt), race, religion, sexual orientation, and un-reregulated access to weapons (the Big Five) as evil or somehow less than human, thereby turning common and traditional notions of morality upside down and encouraging and justifying mistreatment of anyone who disagrees with them about anything.

For years now, that mistreatment has mostly taken the form of lying (OK in a Good Cause) about everything from the inherent inferiority of certain races to the "ripped from the womb" lie about abortion to indisputable facts about climate change. Occasionally it led to the extreme of murder, as in the cases of abortion providers snuffed by True Believers (again OK in a good cause), but outright physical violence was not SOP.

Today it seems the lies and other dirty political tricks are not nearly enough. Violence, thuggery, and even murder are being legitimized by the Right, if not explicitly, certainly more directly than by winks and surreptitious nods. Not only does a growing subset of its supporters, not to mention its titular head the Pretender himself, use violent tropes in their language directed at their political enemies, especially when those opponents are people of color, but the Right refuses to get the guns used with increasing frequency against those opponents under some kind of control. The Right wants its supporters to be physically intimidating, angry, armed and dangerous.

By espousing racism, greed, dishonesty and intolerance, the Right has placed itself in a moral cul de sac. There is no retreat. It cannot recant without abandoning the base it has taught and encouraged.

It can only double down on all its bad behavior. Its nasty means have become its ends…

Which is a longer way of saying, as the Right becomes more extreme (and they have no other way to go) things are likely to get worse.

I’d say they need to be slapped down…and soon…..or is that too violent?

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes


Better than "shot down".

And you're absolutely right about the intimidation rampant on the right. Just look at the Orange Menace. When in trouble, threaten, cajole, castigate, lie, and promise retribution of a most insidious and vicious nature.

And just recall the open carry thugs a few years ago strutting around restaurants and playgrounds daring anyone to say anything to them, or showing up at locations where Obama was scheduled to visit or to speak, decked out in their best Wayne LaPierre swim trunks....oh, wait, sorry...I meant camo uniforms, ammo belts, and as many weapons as could be strapped to or dangled from their person, guns, dark sunglasses and confederate flags ever present.

The message here, as brutally thuggish as it is, is "Don't fuck with us because if you rub us the wrong way, we will KILL YOU. And your darkie president too." There is no other way to interpret such exhibitions of weaponry and grievance-fueled phony macho bullshit (otherwise known as fear of the other and lack of confidence in your ability to hold a civilized conversation and make your point without the threat of fatal violence should you not be able to hold up your end of the argument).

In schoolyards, at least when I was a kid, if the bullies lost an argument (usually to the smarter kids), one typical recourse was to call them names, then beat them up, as long as their gang was around to protect them and offer drooling yelps of encouragement.

On the right, things haven't changed much since the fifth grade. Their Glorious Leader acts just the same way. But like most bullies, he is also a fearful coward. Fearful of what he doesn't understand, frustrated that he can't mount a reasonable and logical argument that doesn't involve name calling and lying, and cowardly because when backed into a corner, he will usually cry "uncle", then later, after departing, tell his cronies how he kicked the shit out of that wussy kid.

We are being run (over) by a fifth grade bully. The big difference between now and the fifth grade is that these days, members of his gang walk around strapped.

Strapped, simple, and stupid. Great combo.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Wurds Mattah

President KKK: 'I think my rhetoric brings people together...'

Seconds later...

President KKK: 'Hey, fuck you, Mayor Whaley, you Democrat bitch, and all who voted for you. You suck, they suck, and you all hate 'merica.'

Bringing people together.

Because that's what the Trumpies do.

Fer sure.

And not for nothin', but I find it constantly useful to visit the dictionary to re-examine words, the definitions and etymologies of which I am sure I know by heart.


Here's the problem. After a while, we encounter a word so often implanted within the architecture of a sentence with a certain definitional embouchure that we assume that's what it means, in the vast majority of applications. Now, we may be somewhat correct when some words have migrated toward slightly different understandings within the zeitgeist, if not exact definitions, by which they then assume the latest and greatest garment, throwing off their original habiliment.

But this doesn't mean we "know" the meaning of the word.

Take, for example, a word like "nonplussed". For a long time, I used this word to describe someone who was pretty much unperturbed in the presence of stupid bullshit or whacky cracks in the universe of the mind.. A thing happened and Anne was nonplussed. She couldn't care less. But my somewhat lazy understanding of the word elides it's primary (no. 1) definition: (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.

Not at all close to "Well, I'm not really too concerned about it". But that's how it goes sometimes. So I tend, more and more these days, to revisit the meaning of words and phrases I'm "wicked sure" I know like the folds on the knuckles of my right hand.

The reason for this seemingly arcane concern being, since all of us out here live and die by the printed word, we should really have a good handle on our lexical crowbars.

So, when Trumpskyev employs a phrase like "my rhetoric", he is implying that his words are eloquent, effective, and persuasive. To which I am sure my professor of comparative literature in college, Harry Levin, would say "What an undiluted anti-aphoristic load of smelly, disease-ridden crapola".

Okay, well maybe Harry wouldn't have put it quite that way, he was a pretty strait-laced dude, but he was a stickler for rhetorical accuracy and efficacy.

Unlike President "Bess Wurds".

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Think I know who this thug voted for (if he voted at all) in 2016.

A real tough guy. Wonder if he tweets, too.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Say what?

Can't take a compliment?

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
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