The Wires

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.”

Thursday
Aug082019

The Commentariat -- August 9, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

David Li of NBC News: "The man accused of gunning down 22 people at an El Paso Walmart last week confessed to the grisly crime and admitted he was targeting people of Mexican descent, according to unsealed court documents Friday. Texas Rangers, responding to the scene in an unmarked car, came up to a vehicle in the left-hand turn lane at an intersection when the suspect surrendered, according to the arrest warrant written by El Paso police Det. Adrian Garcia. 'Agents and police officers at the intersection then observed a male person (defendant) to exit out of the vehicle with his hands raised in the air and stated out loud to the agents "I'm the shooter,"' Garcia wrote." Article includes photo.

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: "The cherry bomb on top [of Trump's visit to Dayton & El Paso] was a photo from first lady Melania Trump's Twitter account that appeared to feature a grinning president with a 2-month-old infant who was orphaned during the El Paso shooting.... That's the president, grinning and giving a thumbs-up, as the orphaned child is held out like a trophy. If words weren't inclined to fail, ghoulish and surreal might serve. This child has no parents because a shooter spouting Trumpist talking points about foreign 'invaders' went to El Paso to kill them. And while the president refused to speak to reporters, who were scolded by the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, in a statement saying that the visits were all 'about the victims' and not a 'photo op,' hours later, Trump released a campaign-style video of his triumphal comforting tour. The baby's parents were both killed trying to protect him.... It appears baby Paul was brought back to the hospital by White House staff for the photo-op." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: One of the biggest lies Trump told during the 2016 campaign was, "I'm going to be so presidential...."

** POTUS* Says Torturing Children Is "a Very Good Deterrent." Maegan Vazquez of CNN: "... Donald Trump on Friday defended recent, large-scale raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and the way the agency dealt with children of the immigrants who were detained. Asked Friday why there wasn't a better plan in place to deal with the children after their parent's arrest, Trump told reporters outside the White House south lawn, 'You have to go in, you can't let anybody know.'... Trump said the raids served as a 'very good deterrent' for undocumented immigrants. 'I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they're getting out,' Trump said Friday. 'They're going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent.'" Mrs. McC: MEANWHILE, in Ravenna, Italy, Dante rolled over, hopped out of his tomb & knocked out a few cantos describing the Tenth Circle of Hell.

John Wagner & Seung Min Kim of the Washington Post: "President Trump on Friday claimed strong congressional support for strengthening background checks for gun buyers, offering an optimistic assessment for passing new legislation that was at odds with public statements from Senate Republicans. 'I think we can do very meaningful background checks,' Trump told reporters shortly before departing for campaign fundraisers in New York. 'I think Republicans are going to be great and lead the charge along with the Democrats.' Trump said that he had spoken with congressional leaders from both parties and asserted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is 'totally on board' with his plans to keep 'sick and demented people' from buying guns. In response, a McConnell spokesman said that he had not endorsed any legislation at this point." The NBC News story, by Adam Edelman, is here. ...

... Quint Forgey of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Friday acknowledged he has spoken in recent days with National Rifle Association officials to ensure the powerful firearm lobby's interests are 'fully represented and respected' in negotiations on gun reform legislation following two mass shootings over the weekend.... Trump called [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi ... Thursday to discuss the universal background check bill, and also spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). 'The President gave us his assurances that he would review the bipartisan House-passed legislation and understood our interest in moving as quickly as possible to help save lives,' Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement." ...

If you’re a good worker, papers don't matter. -- Jorge Castro, undocumented worker on Trump construction projects until April 2019 ...

... Joshua Partlow & David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "For nearly two decades, the Trump Organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin American employees to build fountains and waterfalls, sidewalks and rock walls at the company's winery and its golf courses from New York to Florida.... For years, their ranks have included workers who entered the United State illegally, according to two former members of the crew. Another employee, still with the company, said that remains true today.... The hiring practices of the little-known Trump business unit are the latest example of the chasm between the president's derisive rhetoric about immigrants and his company's long-standing reliance on workers who cross the border illegally." Mediaite has a summary of the Post story here.

Kevin Poulsen of The Daily Beast: "Refugees from the anonymous 8chan forum are flooding into a new censorship-resistant home on the dark web, and inadvertently giving up their anonymity along the way.... The new site, called 08chan (with a leading zero) [set up as a difficult to trace 'peer-to-peer' network], has no affiliation with the original and it's not entirely clear who set it up, but 8chan's diaspora have been flooding in as word of the site spreads through right-wing social media.... There's just one catch. Peer-to-peer networks expose a user's internet address to anyone who cares to look. That's how copyright lawyers catch people trading movies, music and software, and it's how police and FBI agents arrest pedophiles trading child porn online.... [O]nly 41 percent of 08chan's users are using Tor [a program to mask their servers], based on our analysis...." --s

Utah. Josh Israel of ThinkProgress: "Angry constituents of Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) flooded his town hall meeting in North Salt Lake on Wednesday, demanding to know what he plans to do to stop mass shootings and white nationalist terrorism.... When an ... attendee suggested that condemning racism and violence should include condemning a president whose racism is inciting white supremacist violence, the Utah Republican replied that Trump should not be accountable as long as he doesn't commit racist violence himself. 'The president of the United States, as far as I know, hasn't shot anyone,' Stewart answered. Another constituent shouted back that 'Charles Manson never shot anybody either,' referencing a convicted cult leader whose followers did most of the murdering on his behalf." --s

Italy/Russia. Alberto Nardelli, et al. of Buzzfeed: "Gianluca Savoini [a longtime aide to Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is] ... at the center of the storm over a secret plan to fund the far-right party of Italy's deputy prime minister with Russian oil money, shuttled back and forth to Moscow on multiple mysterious trips last year.... BuzzFeed News, Bellingcat, and the Insider can now reveal that a member of Salvini's ministerial staff, Claudio D'Amico, was booked on the same Aeroflot flight as Savoini from Milan to Moscow on Oct. 16 ... the evening of Oct. 18, following the meeting at the Metropol that morning [discussing the secret oil deal]. D'Amico is Salvini's strategic adviser on international affairs. The revelation will ratchet up pressure on Salvini to answer questions about what he knew about the Moscow negotiation.... Savoini's dozens of travel entries over the past five years do not appear in Russia's Central Database for the Registration of Foreigners ... suggest[ing] either that he had a special status awarded upon arrival to individuals who, for example, don't have to go through passport control or that the information was wiped from the database." --s

Jake Rudnitsky of Bloomberg: "[In parts of Siberia, t]emperatures in June and July were the hottest ever charted globally.... The resulting dry conditions fed fires that torched more than 7 million hectares (17 million acres) of Siberian wilderness in just two months. Since the beginning of the year, fires have consumed more than 13 million hectares -- an area larger than Greece.... These unchecked fires are destroying millions of hectares of trees in the world's largest forest, a critical carbon sink, and could further accelerate global warming.... Russia is finally waking up to the threat of climate change, which Putin in 2017 joked could be beneficial for Russia given its reputation for cold weather." --safari: I hope Trump sends rakes. --s

See link designated "NEW" below re: Jerry Nadler's remarking that he is currently conducting an impeachment investigation.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sheryl Stolberg & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Under intense pressure to take action on gun safety in the wake of two weekend massacres, Senator Mitch McConnell ... expressed a new willingness Thursday to consider a measure expanding background checks for all gun purchasers, saying it will be 'front and center' in a coming Senate debate on how to respond to gun violence. 'There is a lot of support for that,' he said. Mr. McConnell, who has strongly opposed background checks in the past, made his remarks in an interview with a Kentucky radio host, Terry Meiners of WHAS in Louisville. While he did not support a bill requiring background checks, his remarks appeared to underscore the possibility of a shift in the politics of Washington's divisive gun debate. Mr. McConnell has refused to take up a background checks bill passed by the House because President Trump has threatened to veto it. But Mr. Trump appears increasingly open to the idea and said recently there is 'great appetite for it.' Mr. McConnell told Mr. Meiners that he had spoken with Mr. Trump and said the president was 'very much open to this discussion.'” ...

     ... The Politico story, by Marianne Levine, is here.

Adeel Hassan of the New York Times: "In tearful videos and images that ricocheted across social media, children whose migrant parents were rounded up by federal authorities in Mississippi pleaded with the United States government to release their mothers and fathers.... On Thursday afternoon, state officials, immigration advocates, and lawyers still did not have a clear picture of what happened to those children, or who took custody of them. The Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services said that no child was in its custody.... On Thursday afternoon, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi said that all detainees were asked if they had a child at school or daycare. Those that did were allowed to call to make arrangements, it said, and federal agents worked with schools to help ensure the children's safety. The office added that in cases where two parents were rounded up, one was released on humanitarian grounds." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If you read the whole story, & stories I linked yesterday about the raids, I think you'll come away with the impression that ICE made little or no effort to keep track of the children whose parents were detained. ICE made no effort to ensure the children were placed in safe accommodations. Their care was literally left to "the kindness of strangers" like the gym owner who opened up his gym as a place they could stay overnight & the residents who brought the children food. (To add to the confusion, it appears the raid took place on the first day of the school year, so their teachers wouldn't even know the children or the parents.) These parents & others ICE detained in Mississippi, BTW, were not, as far as we know, the "criminals, rapists & murderers" Trump likes to characterize. They were working in terrible jobs, probably for low wages, & were contributing to the communities in which they live(d). Shame on us. ...

     ... Sarah Fowler of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger writes a related report. ...

... Update. Sophie Tatum & Mark Osborne of ABC News: "Several hundred individuals arrested during an immigration roundup across Mississippi on Wednesday, leaving their children without parents in some cases, have been released, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said Thursday.... ICE Southern Region Communications Director Bryan Cox ... said on Thursday that none of those detained remain at a processing center, explaining in an email to ABC News that all have 'either been released or custody determination made that they will be held and moved to an ICE detention facility.'... Cox said Thursday that more than 300 were released from custody..., and according to ICE, were 'returned to the place where they were originally encountered.'"

Travel Advisory. Scott Smith of the AP: "The United States often takes a leading role in calling out the world's most dangerous places, warning its people about the risks of traveling to countries that are at war, under terrorist threats, experiencing civil unrest or displaying significant anti-American sentiment. The latest mass shootings have triggered a sharp role reversal, with three countries warning their citizens about the risks of traveling to the U.S. Venezuela, Uruguay and Japan issued warnings to varying degrees following the deaths of 31 people over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. Each warning noted U.S. gun violence.... Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said Venezuela's warning came off more like a 'political jab' than a genuine concern for its citizens' safety. It came hours before Trump signed an executive order that hit [President Nicolás] Maduro's government with yet another round of punishing financial sanctions designed to end his rule.... Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands have not issued new warnings in recent days, but they have longstanding advisories for travelers of mass shootings and gun violence."

Colby Hall of Mediaite: “... Donald Trump is getting criticized for a 30-second video he shared documenting the warm reception he received in Dayton and El Paso following mass shootings last weekend. The professionally shot and edited video was shared on the president's Twitter feed Wednesday evening and features a series of shots of President Trump shaking hands and posing for photos with hospital staffers, though noticeably does not include any images of his meeting with any victims from either mass shooting.... But as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler notes [in a tweet], the press was not allowed to join President Trump during any of his visits, and as a result, the public is only allowed to learn what happened via the tightly curated and slickly packaged information propagated by the White House. Or as he fairly calls it 'propaganda.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Quint Forgey of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Wednesday ridiculed former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and bragged about the crowd size at one of his rallies while visiting medical staff who treated victims of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend.... When one the people Trump was addressing said Wednesday he was sitting in the front row of Trump's rally earlier this year, the president reached out to shake his hand. 'That was some crowd, and we had twice the number outside,' Trump replied. 'And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had, like, 400 people in a parking lot. They said, "His crowd was wonderful."'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Trump Angry His Staff Didn't Allow More Videos of His Acting Like an Ass. Kaitlan Collins of CNN: "Some of ... Donald Trump's own aides conceded Thursday that his visits to two cities in mourning did not go as planned, as a new video revealed he bragged about crowd sizes while visiting patients at an El Paso hospital.... White House officials blocked reporters and their cameras from entering the two hospitals during his visits to Ohio and Texas this week, a move they said was out of respect for the patients' privacy. But according to one person familiar with the President's reaction, the President lashed out at his staff for keeping the cameras away from him, complaining that he wasn't receiving enough credit. Aides had feared a moment like the one that is now going viral -- where the President appears to focus on himself in front of those still recovering from a tragedy." ...

... "Something of a Debacle." Ken Meyer of Mediaite: "New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is quite sure the White House thinks ... Donald Trump behaved disastrously on Wednesday while he was supposed to be consoling the victims of the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Haberman spoke to CNN's John Berman on Thursday to discuss how Trump lashed out at his political enemies while traveling to see the shooting victims in both cities. She began by noting how Trump gave a speech this week to call for unity and condemn white supremacy, and yet, neither the president -- nor his campaign -- is making any changes to their rhetoric.... 'Most [of the White House staff] -- while they would I suspect not say that publicly -- will privately admit that yesterday was something of a debacle. These are not the headlines they wanted to see. They wanted him to go in and behave differently. The goal was to go in and get out with as little news as possible,' [Haberman said.]" ...

... Chris Walker of the Hill Reporter: "Some [observers] found [Trump's] demeanor [during his visits to Dayton & El Paso] -- smiling, giving the 'thumbs up' sign, and acting jovial at times -- to be inappropriate for an occasion where the chief executive has, at times, acted as the 'healer-in-chief.' 'A hospital official tells CNN Trump showed "an absence of empathy" during his visit to El Paso,' [CNN's Jim] Acosta wrote in his tweet."

** Chris Hayes analyzes how Trump has acted on his two biggest campaign promises:

Jana Winter & Hunter Walker of Yahoo! News: "Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement. The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration's Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism. The data in this document, titled 'Domestic Terrorism in 2018,' appears to be what Congress has been asking for -- and didn't get. The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information-sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.... The April 15 document is available online on the New Jersey state government's website."

Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha. Gone Fishin'. Oliver Darcy of CNN: "Facing mounting controversy for declaring the very real problem of white supremacy in America to be a 'hoax,' Tucker Carlson announced at the end of his Wednesday night Fox News show that he will be taking a vacation. 'By the way,' he said, 'I am taking several days off -- headed to the wilderness to fish with my son.'... There is, of course, a long history of Fox hosts heading out on vacation as they become engulfed in controversy for inflammatory comments.... I reached out to Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Anne Dias Roland Hernandez, and Paul Ryan -- the people who make up the Fox Corporation board -- on Wednesday to see if they had any comments about the bold untruths Carlson conveyed to his audience Tuesday night. I did not get any comment back... -- Fox spokesperson Hope Hicks did not provide a comment on behalf of either Rupert Murdoch or Lachlan Murdoch... -- Roland Hernandez answered my call, but when I started to ask my question, abruptly hung up. He did not reply to a follow-up text message." ...

     ... Kellyanne Defends Top White House Consultant Tucker. Jason Lemon of Newsweek: "White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday, arguing that his assertion that white supremacy is a 'hoax' was getting 'outsized coverage' compared to other threats. Conway made the comments during an interview with pundit Eric Bolling on his show America This Week.... "I think perhaps what Tucker is saying, but you'd have to ask him, is that the outsized coverage it gets versus all forms of hate," the Trump administration official said, pointing specifically to the left-wing ideology of Antifa and calling out anti-semitism." Mrs. McC: Lemon's lede is so poorly-written that it conveys something other than what he means to write.

Trump Made Me Do It. Seaborn Larson in the Billings Gazette: "The attorney for a 39-year-old man charged with assaulting a child who didn't take his hat off for the national anthem says his client, compromised by a traumatic brain injury, believes he was acting on an order from ... Donald Trump. Superior resident Curt Brockway was charged Monday with felony assault on a minor. His defense attorney, Lance Jasper, told the Missoulian Wednesday the president's 'rhetoric' contributed to the U.S. Army veteran's disposition when he choke-slammed a 13-year-old, fracturing his skull, at the Mineral County fairgrounds on Aug. 3. 'His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished,' Jasper said.... Charging documents indicate Brockway told the deputy he grabbed the boy by the throat, lifted him into the air and slammed the boy on the ground.... Deputies later learned the boy had suffered a concussion and a fractured skull." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Charles Pierce: "If this guy truly has a traumatic brain injury, that's a viable defense. But his lawyer has gone one step further and is arguing what actually would be Trump Derangement Syndrome.... Look. He's making us all a little crazy. But that isn't a legitimate defense in criminal court. Yet." Thanks to MAG for the link. ...

... Abigail Tracy of Vanity Fair: "While Donald Trump was denying any culpability for inspiring the mass shooter in El Paso, Texas, attorneys for another right-wing terrorist, Cesar Sayoc, were arguing the exact opposite. 'In this darkness, Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump,' attorneys for Sayoc wrote in a court filing for the defendant, who was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of the president.... The Trump Defense, such as it was, did not convince Judge Jed S. Rakoff. In explaining his decision to give Sayoc 20 years behind bars, as opposed to the lifetime sentence recommended by prosecutors, Rakoff said Sayoc's support for Trump was 'something of a sideshow.'.... But the Sayoc case is part of a broader pattern of attorneys invoking President Trump's influence and rhetoric in defense of their clients in criminal cases. There have been at least a half-dozen such cases in the media over the last three years.... The El Paso shooting has amplified a long-festering national conversation about the real-world impact of the president's rhetoric.... And the more Trump talks, the more the risk of radicalization grows." Thanks to MAG for the link.

Shane Harris of the Washington Post: "President Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he will name Joseph Maguire, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as the acting director of national intelligence. Maguire will assume the role Aug. 15, when Sue Gordon, a career intelligence official who serves as the deputy to the director of national intelligence, will resign. Trump announced Gordon's resignation in a tweet Thursday.... In her letter of resignation, Gordon emphasized her years of experience and praised intelligence agency employees. Trump has repeatedly assailed U.S. intelligence agencies and derided their conclusions when they conflict with his.... Trump was reluctant to keep Gordon, regarding her as part of a career establishment of which he has long been suspicious, according to officials with knowledge of the president's views. Congressional Democrats said Trump has pushed out Gordon as part of a plan to bring the intelligence agencies to heel." ...

... Martin Matishak of Politico: Sue "Gordon left a resignation letter for the president with a handwritten note that signaled she was leaving not leaving her post happily. 'I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference,' she wrote, according to a copy of the note provided by the White House.... 'Sue Gordon's retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community,' Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who was adamant that Gordon take the reins when Coats left, said in a statement."

Maggie Haberman: "President Trump said on Wednesday night that he was 'strongly considering' commuting the 14-year prison sentence of Rod R. Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who was convicted of trying to essentially sell President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for personal gain. But after a day of pushback from conservatives and the Illinois delegation of House Republicans, Mr. Trump was having second thoughts, people close to him said. On Thursday night, he said on Twitter that the matter was simply being reviewed.... Aboard Air Force One on Wednesday..., Mr. Trump said, 'I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison.... And it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleaze bags that did it.... And I'm thinking about commuting his sentence.'... [Jared] Kushner said it would appeal to Democrats, according to [an] official." Adam Raymond of New York has the story here.

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Either Kushner is an idiot or he's trolling Democrats. Bringing up Blago of course is a reminder that not every single corrupt politician is a Republican.

NEW. Rachel Frazin of the Hill: "House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that his House panel is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Nadler added that the committee will decide by the year's end whether to refer articles of impeachment to the House floor. 'This is formal impeachment proceedings,' Nadler said in an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett. 'We are investigating all the evidence, we're gathering the evidence. And we will at the conclusion of this -- hopefully by the end of the year -- vote to vote articles of impeachment to the House floor. Or we won't. That's a decision that we'll have to make. But that's exactly the process we're in right now.'"

Katie Benner of the New York Times: "Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director who was fired for statements he made about communications between the F.B.I. and the press, sued the F.B.I. on Thursday, alleging that the dismissal was retaliatory and politically motivated.... [The suit claims that] President Trump 'purposefully and intentionally' pushed the Justice Department to demote and terminate him as part of an 'unconstitutional plan' to discredit and remove Justice Department and F.B.I. employees who were 'deemed to be his partisan opponents.' Mr. McCabe, 51, was also the subject of a scathing Justice Department inspector general report that accused him of violating the bureau's media policy when he authorized the disclosure of information to the press and of misleading investigators about what he had done." The NRP story, by Carrie Johnson, is here.

Greg Walters of Vice News: "House Democrats have procured thousands of documents about the finances of wealthy Russians who might have links to Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing unidentified people familiar with the probe. Those records may provide a back door into learning about Trump's ties to foreign sources of income, and a way around his lawsuits to block Congressional investigations into his finances. The list of banks who’ve handed over information includes Trump's longtime favorite lender, Deutsche Bank, along with Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, according to the report. Trump is waging a legal battle to stop his banks from sharing information with Congress, prompting a courtroom fight that could take months, if not years, to play out -- even if he eventually loses. But getting documents about the finances of Russians could yield insight into Trump's financial history, even while the wrangling over his own records drags on."

Ha! Ben Lefebvre & Nahal Toosi of Politico: "The State Department has put on leave an employee of its energy bureau after reports that he has been an active member of a white supremacist group for more than five years, two sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday. Matthew Gebert, a foreign affairs officer for the department's Bureau of Energy Resources, was linked to the Washington D.C.-area chapter of a white supremacist organization and published racist propaganda online, according to a report published Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate speech.... Former State Department officials expressed surprise that security screenings had not flagged Gebert's involvement with the hate groups. Gebert would have undergone a routine screening before starting his position [in 2013] and another at his five-year work anniversary...." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If you read the SPLC report which safari linked yesterday, you'll know that a State Department spokesperson seemed quite supportive of Gebert's extensive white supremacist activities. The person told reporter Matthew Hayden that State was "committed to providing a workplace that is free from discriminatory harassment and investigates alleged violations of laws, regulations, or Department policies, taking disciplinary action when appropriate." Apparently in light of the attention the El Paso murderer & Donald Trump have drawn to white supremacy this week, the State Department decided having a committed white supremacist on staff might not be such a good idea -- at this time.

Emily Birnbaum of the Hill: "Senate Republicans' campaign arm on Thursday announced it will stop spending money to advertise on Twitter after the social media site locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign account this week. The halt marks an escalation in the conservative battle against the country's largest tech companies, which they claim routinely censor right-wing voices. Critics have insisted there is little evidence to substantiate those claims beyond individual anecdotes." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race 2020

"Biden: If Elected President, I'll Let Mitch McConnell Block Everything." Jonathan Chait: "Joe Biden, touring Iowa, told reporters, in so many words, that his plan is to have an ineffectual, failed presidency. Or, as Biden put it more pithily, 'Ending the filibuster is a very dangerous move.... He is nostalgically trapped in the bygone world of his youth ... and his belief that the institution can be restored to its bygone manners, is a symptom of a more profound disorder that you might call 'Senatitis.'" ...

... Two Days, Two Gaffes. Emma Kinery of Bloomberg: "Joe Biden told a group of mostly Asian and Hispanic voters Wednesday that 'poor kids are just as bright' as white children. The former vice president ... made the remarks to the Asian & Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, where he is on a four-day campaign swing.... He quickly added, 'Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids, no I really mean it, but think how we think about it.'" Mrs. McC: Truthiness? In his much-lauded speech Wednesday, Biden said, "We choose truth over facts." Both MSNBC & CNN played clips of the speech that included that clause, but the hosts who introduced it didn't comment on the nonsensical remark. Please, Democrats, can we have a better candidate?

Matt Stevens of the New York Times: "The entrepreneur and former tech executive Andrew Yang became the ninth Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for the next debates after a new poll of Iowa voters released Thursday showed him earning 2 percent support. Mr. Yang had already met the Democratic National Committee's other debate-qualification threshold by having drawn donations from more than 130,000 people."...

... Andrew Prokop of Vox: "Currently, nine candidates have qualified for debate No. 3: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang. Prokop explains what the qualifications thresholds are & provides a handy Venn diagram of who's in & who's out.

Jonathan Lemire of the AP: "Now is the summer (vacation) of the president's discontent. As Donald Trump prepares to leave Friday for his annual August holiday..., he's confronting a storm of crises, at home and abroad, that could set the course for his upcoming re-election bid. With his poll numbers stalled and his ability to rally the country questioned, he's being tested by an escalating trade war with China that may slow the economy, rising tensions with both Iran and North Korea and, in the aftermath of the latest mass shootings, pressure to act on guns and face accusations of his own role in fostering an environment of hate. The dark clouds are converging as the president's bid for a second term takes on new urgency. Trump exudes confidence but as the two dozen Democrats eager to take his job sharpen their attacks, the White House -- or, for the next 10 days, the clubhouse in Bedminster, New Jersey -- will have to mount a multifront effort rooted in maintaining his base rather than trying to expand it."

News Lede

ABC News: "Police in Springfield, Missouri, arrested a man on Thursday afternoon after he walked into a Walmart, armed with a rifle and wearing body armor. The man, identified as 20-year-old Dmitriy Andreychenko, was arrested for making a terrorist threat, Springfield Police confirmed Friday. Andreychenko was stopped at the scene by an armed off-duty firefighter until officers arrived and took the man into custody, the Springfield Police Department said. A video taken by a witness outside the store shows the suspect with his arms up in the air and what looks like an assault rifle slung around his neck as he's being arrested. It's unclear what the Andreychenko's motive was, but police told ABC Springfield affiliate KSPR that the man was recording himself with his cellphone while walking through the store.... Andreychenko had about 100 rounds of ammunition on him when he entered the store, police told the station."

Reader Comments (25)

@Bea McCrab: here's more to Trump made me do it!

Charles Pierce covered a part of the devil made me do it with his Trump Derangement Syndrome is " Not an Alibi ,"

For a more detailed view read " “The President of the United States Says It’s Okay”: The Rise of the Trump Defense" by Abigail Tracy, over on Vanity Fair "Of course, the dark truth of the Trump era is that this president has brought to the surface dark currents in the United States that used to be somewhat hidden. “It’s more than just the president speaks his words and somebody goes off and commits a crime. I think it is more endemic than that. These people have been out there; they have always been there,” Hollander told me. The real problem is that " Trump “is giving them voice, " he is telling them it’s okay.”

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

The raid on the chicken plants involving hundreds of ICE officers and arresting over six hundred undocumented and documented Hispanic people was staged for affect.
Two officers per day could arrest a few undocumented employees per day making certain no harm was done to children and spouses.
Making certain all procedures were legal and the arrested's legal rights were observed.
The massive raid was designed to harm and cause fear among the undocumented workers while embracing the hatred of the white supremacists.
All Americans are debased by this reprehensible behavior enacted by our administration. We are to blame, we elected this monster.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

From the WaPo Op Ed page

A commissioned US Foreign Service Officer resigns ten years into his career, because he can no longer work for the president*. As Charles Pierce noted the other day in an unrelated story, many people are reaching their "Popeye moment": They's had all they can stands and can't stands no more.

An old Washington joke:
Q: Who is the smartest person in Washington ?
A: An ex-Foreign Service Officer. Smart enough to get in, smart enough to get out.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-can-no-longer-justify-being-a-part-of-trumps-complacent-state-so-im-resigning/2019/08/08/fed849e4-af14-11e9-8e77-03b30bc29f64_story.html

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

I wonder if Seth Meyers (or someone on his writing staff) is an RCer?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Curious this AM about Antifa, which doesn't have a visible presence here in my little Northwest community.

I see the Pretender has talked about labeling it (does it have anything other than an on-line presence? I'm thinking o old jokes about a meeting of anarchists....) Antifa a terrorist organization.

In one sense his doing so would be more than political theater. If you're a capitalist, Antifa is your avowed enemy.

But if you are concerned about Antifa violence, there's little there to cause worry. Some slashed tires, some dyes tossed, some pushing and shoving and fists thrown, definitely some mob behavior I don't favor, but murders in Antifa's name? Not a one.

Some crazies with leftist ideologies or random thoughts? Sure. The Dayton kid was one of them.

But killings in the name of Antifa?

Nary a one.

In the name of white supremacy? Nearly 80 in the last two years.

Now there's an equivalence for you.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@unwashed: Ha ha. I'm pretty sure one of Colbert's writers reads Reality Chex because Colbert often does jokes that mirror something I've written that day. I imagine the writer(s) use Reality Chex to see what-all is in the news that day, but if I write something original (or copy somebody else's funny tweet) worth stealing, the writers have no shame! Haven't noticed Seth Meyers doing the same, but it's possible.

August 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adolfoflores/ice-raids-employers-arrest-charges-immigrants-business

My own Antifa sentiment:

How about deporting the employers?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Politico headline about gun control:

"Trump says NRA views will be 'fully represented' in gun reform talks"

I think he got that adverb wrong. What he means is NRA views will be SOLELY represented. No one else's opinion matters.

Same as it ever was.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I can barely watch (or even read about) little children left on their own by Trump's stormtroopers as their parents are cuffed and dragged off, little children, desperately sad, in tears wondering where mommy and daddy are and what's going to happen to them, alone and hungry with no place to go.

But the "Christians" are okay with this??? They're going to vote for more of this???

This did not have to be this way. It was by choice.

This president is a savage beast. And his ICE brownshirts are right there with him (maybe not all, they're following orders, but it certainly seems as if many of them quite enjoy the infliction of terror and fear in babies and small children).

You don't want certain people here? They're here illegally? Okay, fine. But it doesn't have to be done like this. This is savagery for its own sake. This is an appeal to the haters. To show them you are JUST LIKE THEM. White Supremacist terrorists.

That's who's in charge in this country. Terrorists. And the entire Republican Party is right behind them, all to prove to the other terrorists that you stand with them.

You're either a decent, moral human being, or you're not. Just because you bring ice cream to your grandkid's birthday party doesn't make you a decent person. While other children are scared and hungry and crying because of policies YOU SUPPORT, you cannot in any universe consider yourself a decent or moral person.

You are an unmitigated asshole.

Just like your president.

IMPEACH! Jesus, Nancy, what the fuck are you waiting for????

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

“Under intense pressure to take action on gun safety in the wake of two weekend massacres, Senator Mitch McConnell ... expressed a new willingness Thursday to consider a measure expanding background checks for all gun purchasers..."

A "new willingness"?

Mighty white of you there, Mitch, mighty white.

Or should that be white supremacist? Don't want the racist gun knobbers mad at you, now, do you?

But you know what "willingness" means to Moscow Mitch. He'll think about it. The answer, of course, will be no. The Orange Coward has been given his marching orders by the NRA. There will be nothing of significance regarding background checks. They'll do the same dance they always do: "There are rigorous checks already in place. We don't need anything else if the present laws are followed. Bye now."

Then, after the next mass murder, they'll do what they always do. Lay low for a few weeks until it all blows over. Republicans have learned that they can pretty much get away with anything. No one will hold their feet to the fire. The press has been bullied by right-wing shills to the extent that they'll be the first to blame Democrats for everything.

It's like I've always said. Over here, a Republican is robbing a bank and shooting down innocent people on the way out. Across the way, a Democrat crosses the street before the light turns. Next day the headline is "DEMOCRATS SUPPORT DANGEROUS JAY WALKING!" in other news, a bank was robbed. No further information at this time. Republicans offer thoughts and prayers for the dead.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Mrs McC:
Gunga Din "will be squatting by the coals giving drinks to poor damned souls". Trump will get a drink in hell from Gunga Din.


t

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@Akhilleus: Yes, very convenient for Mitch & the gang to have begun an extended vacation just as the mass murderers struck. By the time they get back in September, Trump will have initiated 17 more crises that will push the gun crisis of the front burner. Despite missing out on that Dallas mansion, Wayne LaPierre is smiling.

August 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/monsanto-parent-bayer-said-to-propose-8-billion-settlement-over-glyphosate-claims/

Eight billion must be the latest standard version of a corporate apology for killing people and screwing up the world.

Wasn't that the Facebook settlement number, too?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Carlyle,

No he won't. I have an in with Gunga Din. No water for Trump. I'll double check that with Mr. Kipling.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Recently came across an article on psychopathy
by Heidi Maibom, a professor of philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. Naturally I was curious to see if a certain well known douchebag comes under this heading. See what you think:

"...psychopaths are selfish, glib and irresponsible. They have poor impulse control, are antisocial from a young age, and lack the ability to feel empathy, guilt and remorse. Psychopaths steal, lie and cheat, and have no respect for other people, social norms or the law...they fail to take responsibility for their actions, but tend to blame others, their upbringing or ‘the system’..."

Hmmm....now who does that remind you of?

One factoid I found interesting is that, according to the NIH, "...more than 90 per cent of male psychopaths in the United States are in prison, on parole or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system."

Here's hoping we can up that percentage by at least one more individual. Although, a quick back of the envelope calculation indicates that, while true psychopaths are apparently rare (about 1 percent of the general population), an extraordinary number of them appear to be collected in Washington, DC as part of the current administration and in a certain political party.

On only a slightly more serious note, every day I think about this, I am still completely flabbergasted that (some) Americans (and the Russian state and Fox "News" along with a fair number of MSM "journalists") put a textbook psychopath into the White House, a psychopath who surrounds himself with other psychopaths, all of whom are supported by more psychopaths (and psychopath wannabes or soon-to-bes).

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Video games are the reason for everything evil happening.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Marie points out that president* racist, went to El Paso purely as a photo op for his own wonderfulness. This is 100% true. Does he give a shit about murdered Mexicans? Fuck no! But he does care about his image.

Can you, in your weirdest, wildest, most drug induced imagination, picture a leader--even down to the leader of a neighborhood watch group--going to a funeral or hospital where victims of a horrific shooting were grasping at life, and smiling and giving a thumbs up, attempting to demonstrate their own personal grandiosity, while victims of a situation THEY helped instigate were at death's door?

Psychopath.

But Trump's amoral cozening is being thunderously supported by even those R's who claim that he needs to be "kinder and gentler". Take, for instance, Our Miss Brooks.

This afternoon, on NPR, Brooks, after being assailed by a laundry list of Trumpian racist tropes and encouragements to white supremacist violence said something like this:

Well, certainly the screed written by the guy in El Paso was bad, but Trump isn't THAT bad. After all, he has never advocated for the murder of Mexicans.

WHAT!???!! Of COURSE he has. His rhetoric is ALL ABOUT killing Mexicans, immigrants and Mexican-Americans who don't look sufficiently "merican" to Trump's White Supremacist horde.

Here's the thing. It doesn't matter if Trump doesn't come right out and say "Kill that wetback" or if his testical cozies in congress, like Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsey, say "Kill those fucking messicans!". What matters is that they wholeheartedly support people who DO say those things. And DO those things.

And under no circumstance do they say "This IS WRONG!" and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

They never will. It's like John Gotti saying, outside a courtroom, that murder is wrong. *sniff-sniff*

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus,

Don't get yourself in a lather.

Why would Russia, Fox News and some Americans put a psychopath in the White House?

Because Putin, who orders hits on his enemies, Fox News talking heads, who encourage anger and division for a living, and America's oversupply of aggrieved haters see the Pretender as one of them.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Here's another good example of why the Ds need a better candidate for President than Joe Biden:

https://www.statnews.com/2017/11/30/joe-biden-drug-pricing/

In the discussion of the US medical care/provision problem, the Ds should spend a lot more time explaining why Medicare Part D (prescription medicines) is a catastrophe and should be repealed. I'm very interested in how the various plans to extend/expand Medicare will cope with prescription drugs.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Howard

I've heard it reported that most of the El Paso victims refused to see Drumpf. Now we know what explains the psychotic behavior. The man can't stand even the slightest criticism without blowing gaskets, and surely he knew his amazingness wasn't welcomed by MULTIPLE people, and there wasn't a thing he or his aides could do about it. Now we know why they banned the press even though Prez* wanted the cameras rolling. So what was plan B? Extremist ego puffing to offset a public mental meltdown.

-Ban the press to limit exposure.

-Produce aMazIng campaign video with the Man Baby front and center.

-Pump out ridiculously, over the top "Rock Star" fandom fabrications to massage his ego.

-Frantic immediate press denials that everything was nothing short of Amazing and the best time had by anyone.

-Video leaks of him massaging his own dead soul speaking to wound victims about Beto's weak parking lot crowd paling in comparison to his Amazing overflow crowds.

-Twitter rage on anyone and everything throughout the day because even having zero amount of shame someone he couldn't allow himself to tweet about how the survivors are such Losers for getting shot & inventing a hero story how he would've knocked the shooter dead with one Jackie Chan leg drop from the top of the chip aisle.

-super happy, giant thumbs up picture with orphaned baby alongside Melanie to share the shame with those closest to him.

He's the littlest person in the world and he's POTUS* of the USA.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Trump gets another "lovely letter" from pen pal and fellow despot Kim. This beggers the imagination. He craps in Trumps mess kit, pees in his diet coke, and Trump claps his hands and goes "Ooooooh!"

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

Trump also literally said that it was Mexico that was sending us their criminals.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

Has Trump or anyone in his administration expressed any condolences to Mexico and it's people after a dozen of their citizens were murdered or wounded in El Paso?

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

RAS,

No. Messicans, to Trump, are non-white subhumans. They are not valued enough to be worthy of condolences.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

https://www.theonion.com/koch-foods-ceo-applauds-immigrant-arrests-as-consequenc-1837107122

One of those whom I believe should be summarily deported featured in "The Onion."

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
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