The Ledes

Monday, November 19, 2018.

CBS/AP: "The death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California increased by one Sunday to 77, while the number of people unaccounted for has decreased to 993 people. The blaze was two-thirds contained as of Sunday night after consuming some 150,000 acres. In Southern California, just outside Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire was 91 percent contained after burning 96,949 acres and killing three people. Dense smoke from the fires has been smothering parts of the state with what has been described as 'the dirtiest air in the world.' Rain is forecast for mid-week, which could help firefighters but also complicate the challenging search for remains."

The Wires
Gubernatorial Results


It's hard to read, but as the Times tally indicates, Democrats have picked up seven gubernatorial seats as of the current projections. Georgia is still too close to call, according to the Times. Republicans are ahead in all three states. Georgia could go to a runoff, but that looks unlikely at this point.

The New York Times' gubernatorial results are here.

Here are state-by-state predictions:

Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is predicted to win the election.

Alaska: Mike Dunleavy (R) is projected to win the election. This is a pick-up for Republicans from an independent governor.

Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has retained his seat.

Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson (R) is predicted to win re-election.

California: NBC News predicts Gavin Newsom (D) will become governor.

Colorado: NBC News predicts Jared Polis (D) will win the governor's seat.

Connecticut: Neil Vigdor, et al., of the Hartford Courant: "Democrat Ned Lamont appeared poised to become Connecticut’s 89th governor Wednesday morning after running up significant margins overnight in some of the state’s largest cities to pull ahead of Republican Bob Stefanowski.

Florida: Andrew Gillum (D) has conceded to Ron DeSantis (R).

Hawaii: Gov. David Ige (D) is predicted to retain his seat.

Idaho: NBC News projects Brad Little (R) will win the governorship.

Illinois: J.B. Pritzker (D) is expected to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

Iowa: NBC projects Kim Reynolds (R) will retain the governorship.

Kansas: Laura Kelly (D) has defeated Kris Kobach (R-Voter Suppression) for the governorship, according to NBC News. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

     Jonathan Shorman & Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star: "Democrat Laura Kelly will become the next governor of Kansas after voters rejected Republican Kris Kobach’s hard-right campaign and embraced Kelly’s promises of moderation and stability. Kelly vowed to put former Gov. Sam Brownback, and the years of budget woes brought on by his signature tax cuts, in the past." ...

     BUT then the Star has two stories about Kobach linked on its front page (the Kelly win is sandwiched between them), including this one about how Kobach, where the headline reads that Kobach has "unlimited potential." Turns out that a quote from Steve Bannon. The Star's lede sez, "... his defeat may do little to curb his future political potential." Nice.

Read more here:

Maine: Janet Mills (D) is projected to win the governorship. This is a flip from the execrable Paul LePage, who says he is moving to Florida "and teach at a university there." After yesterday's showing, Florida deserves him.

     Kevin Miller & Noel Gallagher of the Portland Press Herald: "Democrat Janet Mills won the governor’s race early Wednesday, becoming Maine’s first woman to hold the office."

Maryland: Larry Hogan (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D) is predicted to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

Minnesota: Tim Walz (D) is predicted to take the governorship.

Nebraska: Pete Ricketts (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Nevada: Steve Sisolak (D) is expected to win the governorship. This is a flip from a Republican.

New Hampshire: Chris Sununu (R) will remain governor.

New Mexico: NBC News is predicting Michelle Grisham (D) is expected to win the election. This is a flip from a Republican governor.

New York: Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to win re-election.

Ohio: Mike DeWine (R) has won the race for governor.

Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt (R) is predicted to win the governorship.

Oregon: Kate Brown (D) will retain the governorship.

Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (D) is expected to be re-elected.

Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo is expected to be re-elected.

South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is predicted to win the election.

South Dakota: Kristi Noem (R) is predicted to win the governor's race.

Tennessee: Bill Lee (R) is expected to win the election.

Texas: Greg Abbott (R) is expected to be re-elected.

Vermont: Phil Scott (R) will retain the governship.

Wisconsin: Tony Evers (D) is projected to defeat Gov. Scott Walker (R). Adios, Scotty.

     Patrick Marley & Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "After upending Wisconsin politics and infuriating liberals across the country, Gov. Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term Tuesday to Tony Evers, the leader of the education establishment Walker blew up eight years ago. The Associated Press called the race for Evers about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday based on unofficial returns. The race was so close that Walker's team said a detailed review of balloting and a recount were possible. But an unofficial tally had Evers winning by 1.1 percentage points — a margin that would be too large for a recount if it held."

Wyoming: Mark Gordon (R) is predicted to win the governship.

Kwitcherbitchin. Think things are bad now? They were way worse in 536 C.E. A report in Science explains.

Click on picture to see larger image.

... New York Times: "A celebrated and enigmatic painting of two men and a turquoise pool by David Hockney sold at Christie’s on Thursday night for $90.3 million with fees, shattering the auction record for a living artist and cementing a major broadening of tastes at the turbocharged top end of the market. The price for the 1972 painting, 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),' easily surpassed the previous high of $58.4 million, held by Jeff Koons for one of his 'Balloon Dog' sculptures."

Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times reviews Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming.

Laura Holson of the New York Times: "... a number of artists who have reimagined [Norman Rockwell's] 'Four Freedoms,' most of them spurred by racial and political tension that has divided the country.... Mr. Rockwell’s portraits of Americana in the 1940s and 1950s were quite popular, but largely limited to white, Anglo-Saxon subjects who were friends or acquaintances of the artist. His 'Four Freedoms' series helped boost patriotism in a country on the brink of war, a visual reminder of American ideals. During World War II, they were turned into posters to muster sales of U.S. war bonds. Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, said, 'Rockwell worked for hire and had to address the norms' of The Saturday Evening Post. Later, in the 1960s, the artist joined Look magazine and depicted civil rights and poverty. 'We saw him progressively move toward more representation,' she said. 'But it was an evolution.'... The 'Four Freedoms' series is touring the United States in celebration of its 75th anniversary.... As part of the 'Four Freedoms' tour, the organizers are showing works by contemporary artists inspired by the artist.”

Pops Peterson. "Freedom from Fear." 2015.

In case you've forgotten Rockwell's Four Freedoms, here they are:

Click on picture to see larger image.In fairness to Rockwell, this has to be my favorite "political illustration":

Norman Rockwell. 1964.

Drones over New Hampshire (and apparently a bit of Michigan):

The Aliens Are Coming! The Aliens Are Coming! NBC News: "Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets. Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft. As they say in a paper to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the object 'may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: No mention of it in the story, but here's hoping they will take away our leader. And his friends.

Melanie McFarland of Salon reviews "Shut Up & Dribble," a three-part Showtime documentary which examines "the impact professional athletes have played in civil rights and social justice movements even prior to the NBA’s official formation, as a three-hour rebuttal to one Fox News pundit’s smarmy, uninformed declaration." Here's the trailer:

Dear @real Donald Trump:

You are the only person I know of who has such "a natural instinct for science" that he doesn't have to take classes or run field studies and all to be an expert on any scientific subject. I don't know any @real Apicologists, & even the @real Bee Guy who came out to give these critters a new home said he'd never seen anything like it. That being one of your favorite sayings, and as someone who has a natural instinct for cliched hyberbole, I thought of you right away. Could you tell me what kind of bees make nests like this humungous construction at my house in Florida? Thanks in advance.

-- @fake Bea McCrabbie 

P.S. My house is right down the road from Mar-a-Lago. I hope the Bee Guy took the bees to your place.


The Commentariat -- December 7, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Mike Lillis of the Hill: "House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor Thursday afternoon, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said hours before. The announcement puts the onus on GOP leaders to gather the 218 votes they'll need to pass the measure largely on their own -- a feat they've been unable to accomplish on a long list of budget bills going back to 2011, when they took the House gavel."

Joe Concha of the Hill: "Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) former presidential campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, said early Thursday that President Trump was 'clearly slurring his words' during an announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, adding that 'the impairment is chilling.' 'I don't know the cause of it, but when you combine it with [Sen.] Bob Corker's critique that the president of the United States is unstable, that he's dangerous, when you look at the private comments that are made by members of Congress around his stability, you look at his actions in recent weeks,' said Schmidt.... 'Morning Joe' co-host Joe Scarborough has questioned Trump's mental fitness on several occasions in the past, with the former GOP congressman most recently stating on Nov. 30 that 'people close to him during the campaign' told him 'he had early stages of dementia.'"

Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "Michael T. Slager, the white police officer whose video-recorded killing of an unarmed black motorist in North Charleston, S.C., starkly illustrated the turmoil over racial bias in American policing, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison, after the judge in the case ruled that the shooting had been a murder. The sentence was pronounced in Federal District Court in Charleston about seven months after Mr. Slager pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of Walter L. Scott when he shot and killed him in April 2015. It concluded one of the few cases in which a police officer has been prosecuted for an on-duty shooting."

Ryan Grim of the Intercept: "Progressive radio and television personality Sam Seder will be offered his MSNBC contributor job back and plans to accept, according to multiple MSNBC sources. Seder and MSNBC were set to part ways when his contributor contract expired next year, with reports indicating the departure had to do with a 2009 tweet from Seder surfaced by the far-right provocateur Mike Cernovich. After initially caving in to right-wing internet outrage over the tweet, MSNBC reversed its decision to not renew Seder's contract.... Cernovich is a right-wing provocateur and conspiracy theorist who works in hand-in-glove with white supremacists. Cernovich dug up a 2009 tweet from Seder and claimed it endorsed rape. The tweet was meant as a satirical criticism of accused rapist Roman Polanski's liberal defenders, but MSNBC took Cernovich's bad-faith reading at face value and fired Seder." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Teevee executives are not very bright people & even obvious satire is way over their heads. When there's a possibility that one of these guys is in your audience, be sure to end your remark with "Only kidding!" Sure, it ruins the punchline, but it will save you from being the brunt of ridiculous rumors.


NEW. Loveday Morris & Ruth Eglash of the Washington Post: "Palestinian protesters battled Israeli soldiers on Thursday in Jerusalem, Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one day after President Trump announced that his administration would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Palestinian Authority called for a general strike in Palestinian cities. In Gaza, the Islamist Hamas movement urged its followers to ignite a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel. Shops in Jerusalem's Old City were shuttered. On the edge of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Israeli forces fired dozens of rounds of tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of Palestinian protesters gathering to air their anger over Trump's statement." ...

... Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Trump on Wednesday fformally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City." ...

... NEW. Josh Dawsey, et al., of the Washington Post: "For two decades, U.S. presidents had promised to do what Trump did Wednesday, but they ultimately issued repeated waivers to a law requiring relocation of the embassy. They said they were postponing the issue in hopes that it could be addressed in an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.... Several advisers said he did not seem to have a full understanding of the issue and instead appeared to be focused on 'seeming pro-Israel,' in the words of one, and 'making a deal,' in the words of another.... 'The decision wasn't driven by the peace process,' one senior official said. 'The decision was driven by his campaign promise.'" ...

... Trumpbot Nation. Mark Landler: "For Mr. Trump, the status of Jerusalem was always more a political imperative than a diplomatic dilemma. Faced with disappointing evangelical and pro-Israel backers like [Sheldon] Adelson, or alarming allies and Arab leaders while jeopardizing his own peace initiative, the president sided with his key supporters. In doing so, Mr. Trump invited opprobrium from foreign leaders, who said the move was reckless and self-defeating. He also acted against the counsel of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who worried about anti-American blowback, not least to diplomats and troops serving overseas. Mr. Trump conceded the provocative nature of his decision. But as he has before..., the president on Wednesday seemed to relish playing a familiar role: the political insurgent, defying foreign policy orthodoxy on behalf of the people who elected him." ...

... Josh Rogin of the Washington Post: "The State Department has set up a 24-hour task force to collect information and coordinate response to Trump's speech, which has already caused protests at several U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.... Such a move is typically made to address a security concern or when American lives can be in danger. Examples of past task forces include the Japanese and Haiti earthquakes, the Kenyan elections and the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. ''Trump is putting diplomats as well as American citizens at risk,' one official said. 'He is putting a bullseye on the U.S. and making Israel a target for more violence right before the holidays, which always is a time for high alerts.'" ...

... Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times: "The White House said President Trump's slurred speech at the end of his announcement about Jerusalem was no more than a case of dry mouth.... The slurred word prompted questions on social media about why the president stumbled over the phrase at the end of his speech. Trump regularly ridiculed ... Hillary Clinton over health concerns during the 2016 campaign, repeatedly questioning her stamina and strength." Mrs. McC: Really? Did the "White House" given Trump a physical? This is not a credible explanation. Surely after the screw-up just a few weeks ago, Trump's staff made sure he had water available. So it's something else. ...

     ... In today's thread, Victoria has an interesting & plausible theory about what is causing Trump's slurred speech.

... Pope Pops Trump. Philip Pullella of Reuters: "Pope Francis, speaking hours before ... Donald Trump;s announcement on Jerusalem, called on Wednesday for the city's 'status quo' to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

"Trump Threatens Government Shutdown, Blames Democrats." Jane Timm of NBC News: "... Donald Trump said Wednesday that a government shutdown 'could happen' and blamed Democrats for the looming threat, claiming 'they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into the country, bringing with them crime.' 'Democrats are really looking at something very dangerous for our country. They are looking at shutting down, they want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country,' Trump told reporters at the White House. 'We don't want to have that, we want to have a great, beautiful, crime-free country.' It's the latest swipe at Democratic leaders from the president, who needs the party's help to keep the government open and funded past Friday. And it's an exaggeration of what Democrats have said they want: protections for Dreamers, or recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, who work and live and pay taxes here." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Um, it's not an "exaggeration." It's a lie.

The Russia Report

** It Was Always about the Money. Mark Mazzetti & Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "Michael T. Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, told a former business associate that economic sanctions against Russia would be 'ripped up' as one of the Trump administration's first acts, according to an account by a whistle-blower made public on Wednesday. Mr. Flynn believed that ending the sanctions could allow a business project he had once participated in to move forward, according to the whistle-blower. The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russia. Mr. Flynn had worked on a business venture to partner with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East until June 2016, but remained close with the people involved afterward. On Inauguration Day, according to the whistle-blower, Mr. Flynn texted the former business associate to say that the project was 'good to go.' The account is detailed in a letter written by Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. In the letter, Mr. Cummings said that the whistle-blower contacted his office in June and has authorized him to go public with the details. He did not name the whistle-blower." ...

... The Best People, Ctd. Ryan Hutchins of Politico: "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he was ousted as head of ... Donald Trump's transition due in part to his opposition to the hiring of Michael Flynn.... Christie has long said he had concerns about the retired three-star Army general, though he had never said exactly why.... When Christie was fired on Nov. 11, Flynn and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon tossed binders full of potential personnel picks into the trash to celebrate the departure.... It was ultimately Trump himself who decided to ignore Christie's recommendation against hiring Flynn, two former transition officials had said...."

Manu Raju & Jeremy Herb of CNN: "Donald Trump Jr. would not tell House investigators Wednesday what he and his father discussed after reports surfaced about a June 2016 meeting he had in Trump Tower with Russians, citing attorney-client privilege.... Donald Trump and his son had a conversation this summer after Trump Jr. produced emails about his involvement in the Trump Tower meeting, according to Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and the committee's ranking member who attended the Wednesday session. At the classified hearing, Trump Jr. acknowledged speaking with senior White House aide Hope Hicks to help craft a response to the initial reports, sources said. But Trump Jr. did not provide details about communications with his father and invoked attorney-client privilege because of the presence of attorneys during the exchange with his father." Mrs. McC: As Schiff pointed out in his remarks, there's no such thing as an attorney-client privilege between parent & child, & the presence of lawyers is immaterial. ...

... Manu Raju & Jeremy Herb of CNN: "Donald Trump Jr. told House investigators that he did not communicate directly with his father when confronted with news reports about his June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, according to multiple sources with knowledge of his testimony. Instead, Trump Jr. said he was speaking to White House aide Hope Hicks about how to respond to the reports. He said ... Donald Trump ... was debating between a longer and a shorter statement while the President and Hicks were aboard Air Force One. Hicks was aboard Air Force One and was speaking with Trump while the statement was being crafted.... While aboard Air Force One, Trump took part in crafting his son's initial response to the reports of the meeting, which was sent out through the Trump Organization under Trump Jr.'s name." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Okay, Junior talked to Daddy, but he's not telling what-all they discussed. Then he talked to the woman who steam-irons Daddy's pants (while Daddy is wearing them), but not to Daddy, about what-all would be in "his" response to the press. This makes sense in that it covers for Daddy's participation in obstructing justice, but it doesn't make sense unless he's trying to save Daddy's fat ass. Meanwhile, we see why Hicks got a promotion to communications director; it was a bribe to make sure she'd fall on her sword (or steam iron). It doesn't appear Junior is nearly as good at lying as is his old man. ...

... Sharon LaFraniere & Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "While he refused to recount his conversation with his father, the younger Mr. Trump told the committee about his earlier discussions with the White House adviser Hope Hicks about how to respond to the coming Times article, first published on July 8. His statement said the Trump Tower meeting was primarily about the ability of Americans to adopt Russian children. It made no mention of any promise of incriminating information from the Russian government against Mrs. Clinton.... He said that he was unable to remember a phone call that took place as he was discussing the need for the meeting with a Russian intermediary.... Mr. Trump was also asked about his private Twitter communications last fall with WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy group whose release of a trove of hacked emails rocked Mrs. Clinton's campaign. Mr. Trump told the committee that he considered WikiLeaks to be an independent news organization much like CNN or NBC...." ...

It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. -- CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump appointee, April 2017

... Josh Meyer of Politico: "Congressional investigators are scrutinizing trips to Europe taken last year by several associates of ... Donald Trump, amid concern they may have met with Kremlin-linked operatives as part of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Several people close to then-candidate Trump visited Europe during and after the campaign, including his son Donald Trump Jr., Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and foreign policy advisers Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Jeffrey Gordon.... Their explanations of those trips have not always been forthcoming, and some congressional investigators find their stories suspect.... Trump Jr. flew to Paris late in the campaign to meet with and speak before a foreign policy group with ties to Russian officials."

Sam Thielman of TPM: "TPM has obtained what appears to be the draft opinion article that Paul Manafort allegedly helped to ghostwrite, getting him in hot water with federal prosecutors and potentially the judge in his criminal case.... The draft op-ed, which can be read in full at the bottom of this article, could be described as a love letter to Manafort, crediting him with a number of pro-Western advances in Ukraine.... The op-ed is strikingly similar to the way Manafort has defended himself from charges of propping up a tyrant...." Thielman adds some detail on the possible provenance of the work of fiction. ...

... Jeremy Stahl of Slate: "As a reminder, here are some of the things that Manafort has already been accused of doing in Mueller's indictment related to alleged secret work done on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party: Concealing payments of millions of dollars for pro-Russian lobbying work in Ukraine. Laundering millions of dollars through dummy companies 'to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the United States.' Evading taxes on those millions of dollars. Lying to federal investigators and on federal forms about these activities. Using money from these activities to defraud banks to the tune of millions of more dollars of loans. Those are just the alleged criminal activities we already know about. On Wednesday, it was reported by CNN that more charges could be coming."

Devlin Barrett & Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post: "Republican activists and lawmakers are engaged in a multi-front attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe of possible connections between associates of President Trump and Russian agents, trying to stop or curtail the investigation.... For months, the president and his allies have been seizing on any whiff of possible impropriety by Mueller's team or the FBI to argue that the Russia probe is stacked against Trump.... Several law enforcement officials said they are concerned that the constant drumbeat of conservative criticism seems designed to erode Mueller's credibility, making it more politically palatable to remove, restrict or simply ignore his recommendations as his investigation progresses. Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, one of the president's informal advisers as well as one of hi most vociferous defenders, on Tuesday night called Mueller 'a disgrace to the American justice system' and said his team is 'corrupt, abusively biased and political.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The Hannitys and Nuneses are the ideological descendents of the right-wing perpetrators of the 1940 & '50s "Red Scare," Joe McCarthy & the House Unamerican Activites Committee. The goal of these guys was to ferret out anyone who might have belonged to the Communist party at some time in the past & ruin their careers or imprison them (see Smith Act). Now, as Russia is even more successfully undermining the federal government, these wingers have come full circle & are aiding & abetting Russia. It's mindboggling, but for the fact that then, as now, the objective has been to undermine democratic principles & establish repressive, authoritarian control, especially of non-Christians & people of color (see, for instance, Paul Robeson).

** Thank You for Your Service. Now Go Find a Cardboard Shelter. Arthur Allen & Lorraine Woellert
of Politico: "Four days after Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin held a big Washington event to tout the Trump administration's promise to house all homeless vets, the agency did an about-face, telling advocates it was pulling resources from a major housing program. The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veterans. Instead, the money would go to local VA hospitals that can use it as they like, as long as they show evidence of dealing with homelessness. Anger exploded on a Dec. 1 call that was arranged by Shulkin's Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans to explain the move. Advocates for veterans, state officials and even officials from HUD, which co-sponsors the program, attacked the decision, according to five people who were on the call.... The agency's move came as HUD on Wednesday released its annual survey showing a 1.5 percent increase in veteran homelessness over 2016 -- the first rise since 2010."

Alan Rappeport
of the New York Times: "Republican leaders moved closer on Wednesday to resolving some key differences between the House and Senate tax bills, though several big issues, including the size of the corporate tax cut, remained in flux. As the Senate voted to begin the process of reconciling its tax bill with he House version, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, threw his support behind allowing a more generous state and local tax deduction in the final legislation.... Right now, both bills would only allow taxpayers to deduct property taxes and cap that at $10,000.... Complicating the discussions is the need to ensure that the overall bill stays in the $1.5 trillion bucket lawmakers have budgeted for the cuts. All the changes under discussion would cost money, requiring lawmakers to find ways to offset the effect on the deficit." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: That would be because the whole tax heist is "financed" by ballooning the deficit. But not to worry. The Great American Flim-Flam man has announced the GOP's plan to "fix" that. ...

... AND Away We Go! Jeff Stein of the Washington Post: "House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America's deficit.... 'Frankly, it's the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements -- because that's really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.' Ryan said that he believes he has begun convincing President Trump in their private conversations about the need to rein in Medicare.... As a candidate, Trump vowed not to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. (Ryan also suggested congressional Republicans were unlikely to try changing Social Security, because the rules of the Senate forbid changes to the program through reconciliation -- the procedure the Senate can use to pass legislation with only 50 votes.)" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie Translation: We need tax cuts for the rich so we can make sick people sicker & poor people poorer. It would be great to throw old people out in the streets, but those obstructionist Democrats won't go along.

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.... And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! 'Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.' -- Attributed to Jesus, Matthew 25:35-41

I think he meant "those on the right." -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Helaine Olen of the Washington Post: Susan Collins is either getting hosed on promises made to her (one from Trump, one from McConnell!) re: health insurance or she doesn't care & was just looking for an excuse to vote for the tax heist. Olen writes that the bills Collins wants to get passed & signed into law wouldn't do much to keep ]remiums down (and would be sunsetted after two years anyway), but there's a good chance Congress will ignore her proposed bills. "Will Collins vote for the bill in the end? I'd predict public hemming and hawing and expressions of 'concern' from Collins -- before she goes along and votes yes. Mrs. McC: Olen pretty much pegs Collins as a craven dolt.

The Republicans yell states' rights all the time, but they're hypocrites. The last time Congress passed a bill to impose the laws of one state on a different state, it was the Fugitive Slave Act. -- Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) (slight paraphrase) ...

... Guns for Everybody, Everywhere. Nicholas Fandos: "The House on Wednesday easily passed a sweeping expansion of the right to carry concealed firearms virtually anywhere in the country, putting the fate of the National Rifle Association's top legislative priority in the hands of a divided Senate. To win over Democrats, House Republicans paired the measure, which would require all states to recognize any other state's concealed-carry permit, with a more modest bipartisan fix meant to incentivize better reporting of legal and mental health records to the national background check system. Together, the measures were the first gun-related bill to pass through the chamber since two of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States, in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Tex., in the fall. But the background check measure was not enough to win over most Democrats, nor did it persuade law enforcement officials in some of the largest cities, including New York, who say the legislation would force locales with strict gun laws to bow to places with few or no gun restrictions. Passage in the Senate would almost certainly require 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster...." ...

... Gail Collins: "The gun bill's Republican handlers refused to permit an amendment banning bump stocks. Those are the devices that were used by the gunman who killed 58 people in Las Vegas. But you knew that, right? We now live in a country where average people know what's required if you want to make an assault rifle work like a machine gun.... Liz Cheney [R-Nuts] of Wyoming declared the right to carry a concealed weapon is 'God given.' We will not pursue the question of What Would Jesus Pack."

Yamiche Alcindor & Nicholas Fandos
of the New York Times: "More than half the Senate’s Democrats, including the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, called for Senator Al Franken to resign Wednesday, after a sixth woman came forward to charge that the Minnesota Democrat had made an improper advance on her. 'Senator Franken should resign,' Mr. Schumer said in a statement. 'I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately.' Mr. Franken scheduled an announcement Thursday on his future in the Senate, and Minnesota Public Radio reported that he would be leaving." ...

... Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio: "A Democratic official who has spoken to Al Franken and key aides says Franken will resign his Minnesota Senate seat on Thursday, the official tells MPR News. The official spoke to Franken and separately to Franken's staff. A staff member told the official that Franken had gone to his Washington home to discuss his plans with family." ...

... Matt Shuham of TPM: "Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) denied a report Wednesday that he had decided to resign the following day. Minnesota Public Radio had reported, citing an unnamed Democratic official who had spoken to Franken and his staff, that the senator would resign Thursday. Shortly after the story went live, however, Franken’s office said it was 'not accurate.'" ...

... Maggie Severns of Politico: "Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to appoint his lieutenant governor and close ally, Tina Smith, to Al Franken's seat if the Democratic senator resigns on Thursday, three people familiar with the Democratic governor's thinking said. But that appointment would be just the start of an upheaval in Minnesota. Part of the reason Smith could be heading to the Senate, the sources said, is that she has indicated no interest in running for Congress in the past and would not run for the remainder of Franken's term, which expires in 2020, in a 2018 special election. That would clear the way for a wide open Democratic primary next year if Franken steps down." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: In other words, let's give Republicans every advantage possible, other than just not fielding a candidate at all. Dumb. ...

... Heather Caygle of Politico: "A former Democratic congressional aide said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006, three years before he became a U.S. senator. The aide, whose name Politico is withholding to protect her identity, said Franken (D-Minn.) pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face. The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken's lips. As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: 'It's my right as an entertainer.'... Franken, who has been accused by six other women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them, denied the accusation." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Elana Schor & Seung Min Kim of Politico: "A half-dozen female senators on Wednesday called on Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first of Franken's fellow Senate Democrats to take that step and was quickly followed by Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington and Kamala Harris of California." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Ed Kilgore takes a sober & sensible look at Senate Democrats' sudden decision to urge Franken to resign. "The obvious answer is that Democrats have significantly less leverage over Trump than over one of their own. But clearly some people think Democrats shouldn't unilaterally disarm by disciplining a grabby senator when a grabber of a different order is allowed to run the country. That's an argument Democrats must squarely confront. It would be good if they could get it all straight overnight." See also Jeanne's comment in today's thread. ...

... Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "A vast majority of respondents in a new poll think Congress should investigate sexual harassment allegations made against President Trump. A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday finds 70 percent of respondents think Congress should investigate the allegations. Just one-quarter of respondents think Congress shouldn't investigate the accusations." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The downside for Republicans: they would expose Trump's disgusting serial pussy-grabbing. etc. The upside: the Gross Old Pervs would get real thrills out of "investigating" sexual abuse. Luckily for the rest of us, they work from behind humungous desks.

... Lindsey Bever & Abby Ohlheiser of the Washington Post: "Time magazine has named 'The Silence Breakers' as its 2017 Person of the Year, recognizing the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault and helped force a nationwide reckoning. The magazine calls them 'the voices that launched a movement.' Among them Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, the actresses whose stunning accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; and activist Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, along with the Hollywood star who amplified it on social media, Alyssa Milano." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Here's the Time cover story. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Abettor of the Year. Julia Manchester of the Hill: "White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended President Trump's endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on Wednesday.... 'The president has tremendous moral standards. He has said, the White House has said the allegations are troubling,' Conway told CNN's Chris Cuomo on 'New Day,' after Cuomo said 'the president seems to have no moral standard at play.'" This would appear to be another alternative fact in which the allegations are "troubling" only because the women are all liars (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Lachlan Markay & Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast: "... Donald Trump has privately told confidants over the past week that he firmly believes Roy Moore's innocence and feels no hesitation at all about endorsing the embattled Alabama Senate candidate, three sources close to the president tell The Daily Beast." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

Kelly Weill & Katie Zavadski of the Daily Beast: "Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company are the subjects of a new class-action lawsuit in federal court that accuses them of a pattern of racketeering to cover up Weinstein's alleged serial sexual assaults. The plaintiffs, six women, seek to be certified as a class to sue on grounds of racketeering, civil battery, assault, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. All six women say Weinstein sexually assaulted them when they auditioned for him or met him at a company-sponsored events." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... ** Yes, Harvey Weinstein Is a Crime Boss. Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post: "... as more details about [Harvey] Weinstein's behavior emerge -- most recently in a report from the New York Times entitled 'Weinstein's Complicity Machine' -- the more this legal argument feels like a potent metaphorical description of the people who facilitated and concealed Weinstein's decades of depredation. Weinstein's alleged ability to carry off an astonishing list of crimes depended on the participation of a disturbing number of other people.... Reportedly Weinstein was the boss, and he had a highly organized hierarchy of underbosses, caporegimes, soldiers and associates working under him." ...

... Congressional Races

Jamel Bouie: "Nothing substantive about the [Roy Moore] story has changed since the Post first broke the allegations. Moore's accusers haven't changed their stories, although Moore has changed his story on his memory of the women, first saying he remembered two of them and later denying that he knew any of them. What has changed is Moore's political position. When he appeared weak and likely to lose, senior Republicans kept their distance. Now, with stronger prospects, they're prepared to welcome him into the fold. Call it the Access Hollywood phenomenon.... [Upon the release of the Access Hollywood tape,] Republican leaders moved quickly to distance themselves from [Trump].... As Election Day approached, and the race between Trump and Clinton tightened, Republican lawmakers began downplaying their criticism.... Trump, for his part, responded to the allegations by framing them as part of a global conspiracy to thwart his nationalist movement, echoing the anti-Semitic rallying cries of the alt-right."

Josh Dawsey of the Washington: "President Trump is pushing Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) to run for the U.S. Senate, according to White House advisers. Trump has told advisers that he plans to call LePage, who endorsed him in February 2016, and ask him to jump in against Sen. Angus King in 2018 and offer his endorsement. King is an independent who often caucuses with the Democrats." Mrs. McC: Hey, Maine already has one U.S. senator who's a crave dolt. Why not two?

Andrew Blankstein & Alex Johnson of NBC News: "John Conyers III, a Detroit hedge fund manager named as a possible successor to his scandal-rocked father, Rep. John Conyers, was arrested in Los Angeles this year on suspicion of domestic violence, but prosecutors declined to charge him, according to documents obtained by NBC News." Oh, read on.

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Our candidates for public office are so special.

Outside of Washington, D.C., there is some encouraging news. ...

Beyond the Beltway

Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader: "David Ermold, one of the men denied a same-sex marriage license by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in 2015, hopes to challenge her for the clerk's seat next year, he announced Wednesday. Davis set off an international furor when she denied a marriage license to Ermold and his partner, David Moore, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right for same-sex couples to marry. Davis, who said providing the license violated her religious beliefs, continued to withhold the license, even after a federal judge ordered her to issue it.... The issue was solved when one of her deputies, Brian Mason, agreed to issue licenses, and in 2016 the Kentucky General Assembly established an alternate license." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Now here's a candidate for office whom I can support. Even if Ermold is not particularly fabulous, the poetic justice of his replacing L'il Kim would be a thing of beauty.

He Doth Protest Too Much. Tommy Christopher of Shareblue: "Apparently, when Republican elected officials aren't practicing or enabling sexual predation, they're busy projecting it onto others. At least, that's what appears to have happened this week when state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA) was the victim of a gentle arm-touch during a committee meeting, and lashed out at fellow lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Matt Bradford. As Bradford tried to finish a thought by gently patting Metcalfe on the forearm (over his clothes), Metcalfe went on a rant about how he loves his wife, and doesn't like men, and could he please go molest some Democrats who might like that sort of thing.... A stunned Bradford could only try and laugh it off, but now, the state's Democratic governor, Tom Wolf, is calling on Pennsylvania House leadership to remove Metcalfe from the state's civil rights committee, citing a history of discriminatory statements...." With video.

Way Beyond

Michael Koziol of the Sydney Morning Herald: "Australia has officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on Thursday with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament. Thirteen years after changing the Marriage Act to explicitly forbid same-sex unions, federal politicians voted to undo the last major piece of discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians. It followed last month's emphatic resolution of the Australian public in the postal survey to join the rest of the English-speaking world by embracing marriage equality."

News Lede

Los Angeles Times: "Several homes were destroyed by a wildfire in Bel-Air on Wednesday, and authorities warned of potentially catastrophic winds continuing through at least Thursday. Authorities said high winds -- which could top 50 mph in some areas -- create an 'extreme fire danger.'... The Los Angeles school system has canceled classes at many San Fernando Valley campuses and officials are bracing for more fires across the region. Powerful winds can worsen existing fires but also help fan new ones. About midnight, UCLA canceled Thursday classes 'given the array of uncertainties caused by the fire near campus,' according to an alert posted on the university's website.... Los Angeles police warned Brentwood residents to prepare to evacuate in case a wind shift sends embers westward."

Reader Comments (26)

I just returned from a cruise (Europe) and so I have only heard spotty MSNBC in the cabin, six hours after broadcast, and so have also read very little. To my disappointment, more women have surfaced to sink Franken; I know he is toast, unless he is being very stubborn and brave enough to stay, and I thought he SHOULD resign-- but it seers my soul. The president-of-dolts-and-idiots has admitted nothing, in fact denying video, as he frequently does, in this department, and he is supporting, as is the Gross Old Perverts (thanks, whoever said that yesterday--)organization, the nastiest of pedophiles, inviting him to join the one of the "highest morals" in this crassest of administrations. I therefore believe Al Franken should resign when the creeps in charge do. Why do Democrats always shudder and then do the "right thing" even if it kills them? I know so many have urged Al to resign, but I spit on them. Why should he be sacrificed when the worst go free?? Fie on an ugly scene.

December 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Don't worry about the slurred speech yesterday: it's most likely due to his donepezil (Aricept: for dementia).

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Well, considering that he just tossed out decades of careful thinking about balance in the Middle East in order to satisfy the knuckle staggers and Bible beaters, I was glad to hear little Donnie ask god to bless the Unida Shates, whatever the fuck that is.

Is this what it’s all about now? Making sure the whackos are happy at the expense of everyone and everything else, including national security and the peace process, such as it is? Plus I love the idea being floated that this move will expedite peace in the Middle East. It’s like saying a diet of rotten eggs and moldy bread will improve dietary health. Maybe that’s true in the Unida Shates.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Jeanne: This is a difficult thing, & I like your idea of Franken's resigning as soon as Trump does.

I've found the latest allegations -- which may be what put Senate Democrats over the top, if it was the Time cover -- to be unconvincing.

Who yells, "It's my right as an entertainer!" as a woman flees from an unwanted kiss? I'm guessing no one, including Franken. I think the woman, who would not release her name, is making up at least that part of the supposed incident. Franken has denied the claim.

A writer named Tina Dupuy has a piece in the Atlantic complaining that Franken "groped me, too." But the "groping," it turns out, occurred at a 2008 Obama inaugural party when she asked Franken to post for a pic with her. This is what it was: "He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice." Oh, for Pete's sake. I'm meatier than Dupuy was when the picture was taken, & I can't grab a handful of flesh around my waist. Still, I'm sure I've posed for pictures or otherwise been up close & personal with people who gave me a little hand-squeeze at my waist & there was nothing remotely sexual -- or "diminishing" or "inappropriate," as Dupuy describes it. Probably some of the people who squeezed me were women. I don't remember. They were innocent shared acknowledgments of a happy moment. This is just stupid. The next thing you know, air kisses are going to be labeled sexual assault.

So how is that like Roy Moore's taking a 14-year-old girl to his home, removing their outer clothing, kissing her & asking her to touch his erect penis through his tighty-whiteys? This woman was willing to give her name & identity to the story. One of these things is not like the other.

If the Democrats don't want to be reduced to a party of eunuchs & easily-offended women, they might want to rethink their strategy. Now.

December 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

For your morning pleasure watch Samantha Bee shred shitty media men: Go ahead––it will make you feel a little bit better. But looking back and seeing how these media men interviewed or/and talked about Hillary it's a wonder she didn't turn around and smack them. If and when this country finally has another women running for President I sincerely hope she's as tough as Hillary had to be–––Oh, wait! By that time all men will have changed, won't they? No need to worry.

And Jeanne: I, too, am most disappointed about Franken's demise, again I look at his antics as stupid and adolescent and different in degree in the sexual harassment category. I also wonder if some of these allegations may not be political–––after all Franken's reputation for drilling and killing what needs to be squashed is well known.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Man oh man, that didn’t take long. Trump and the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson haven’t even finished counting up how many millions they’ll be pulling out of the federal coffers and already Ryan is wringing his hands. “How shall we ever pay for this latest victory for freeedom? Oh, I know. We’ll have to kill all those nasty social programs.”

So, not only do the poor and middle class have to pay more in taxes, but now they’ll be getting far fewer services. But what services remain will be paid for by blue states so red state moochers who voted for this calamity can still enjoy women, booze, and movies. Movies ABOUT women and booze. I mean, did you really think Grassley wasn’t talking about lazy-ass, hammock lolling Confederate moochers?

Of course this has been the plan all along. The rich get gold plated everything and everyone else pays for it. You’d think they’d have the decency to at least wait until Christmas was past before announcing the coming demise of essential services millions rely on. Nope, not these mustache twirling motherfuckers. They make Scrooge look like Albert fucking Schweitzer.

The Party of Greed, Mendacity, and Malice, victorious. For now.

GOTV, Democrats! Vote these malicious sons of bitches out of office.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The mundane in my life has blessedly shielded me from the outrage for the last couple of days but had a few moments to survey the news this AM.

Don't have any idea how the Pretender's provocative remarks about Jerusalem square with his position as honorary head of the American Nazi Party, unless in his inimitably canny way he thinks that pissing off the entire Mid East is the best way to eliminate the Jewish Problem. No Israel, no problem. Nothing to it.

And on the slurred speech, yes to Victoria.

A few days back saw the Pretender, I think on the Whitehouse lawn, curling his upper lip when responding to reporters' questions, in a manner that was more an uncontrollable tic than a deliberate sneer. He did it at least twice. It reminded me of my mother's physical reaction to a drug regimen prescribed to control her anxiety attacks. Psychotropic drugs they were.

The lip curl show was noticeable enough for me to mention it to my wife at the time.

As the saying goes.....I'm no doctor, but...

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkea

While I was putting on Bee, Bea was bitching bout the same issue. How far are we going to go on this? I had a male friend that loved to kiss me on the cheek and run his hands over my back and around my waist while making "yummy" sounds. And this was fine with me because I understood it as affection and nothing more. And Bea's last words I totally agree with:
"If the Democrats don't want to be reduced to a party of eunuchs & easily-offended women, they might want to rethink their strategy. Now."

I am most interested in other creatures other than humans and like to read how the lessons we learn from studying these others can apply to man. Take most birds, for instance. The males do not have penises but their ancestors did. Some biologists think the penis was lost because females explicitly preferred males without. Hence–-female birds are the ones in charge. The males have to go to all sorts of trouble building beautiful nests, do lots of preening, all the while looking like a million bucks, color wise before they can copulate with the female who holds the cards as well as the eggs.

Ducks, on the other hand have enormous penises and can force the females ––and they do this sometimes in groups–– and sometimes this harassment ends the life of the female.

Our Harvey's, Charlie's, Bill's, and Moore's, seem to fit more in the duck category whether or not they have big members––their membership in the power club lets them do what they want. Their time has come, however, and the songs of birds can be heard throughout the land which is a good thing as long as we keep our eye on the sparrow who can easily consume all the good seeds we have sown here.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Ryan on health care entitlements. Mr. Ryan, are you aware that the USA is a collective society working under the rules of a constitution?
So how is a health care 'entitlements' for seniors an entitlement since they paid for it their entire lives? How is health care entitlements for the poor not a responsibility of all members of the collective society?
Let me guess. Health care entitlements might cost Mr. Ryan 10 dollars a month. So Mr. Ryan, are you not a member of the American society or are you unaware of what a democratic society consists of?

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Last night while watching the news re:Israel, I turned to my husband and said, "Looks to me like a "wag the dog" maneuver. This morning he sent me this piece from the Atlantic that smells the same thing:

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


In Ryan's world, only the rich are entitled to anything. The rest of us can take a hike. Oh, HE's entitled to plenty as well. Just not us. And most definitely no poor people, who should just go somewhere and die.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Regarding the Franken, et al, situation, it seems to me that Confederates love dearly to force Democrats to "do the right thing" and to do the ethical and moral thing, something they never have to do. If Democrats don't fall on their swords, or do it quickly enough to suit the whackos, they scream "Hypocrites!", a charge they never seem to have to answer, even though hypocrisy is a primary feature of Confederate political life.

Now I'm all for doing the right thing, and as my mum used to say, if you're going to do something, do it for the right reason, not because you're going to get something out of it. But Mum, this is politics. I'm tired of constantly getting screwed over, of doing the right thing but never getting credit--or better yet--political recognition and support for doing so. Are Democrats always like Caesar's wife (although I wouldn't mind them being a little bit more like Caesar now and then)? Certainly not. But at least they try to maintain some form of ethical core and moral backbone. Republicans? There's no moral backbone. In fact, no backbone at all, so they don't worry about it and never seem to suffer for their constant bad actions, whereas Democrats seem constantly to suffer for their good actions.

Franken and Conyers leave. Trump stays and adds another pervert to the Senate to help him out. I know better than to look for fairness in politics, but geez...

Part of the problem is that Democrats, as a party, have tried to take up for those who have no one to speak for them. These people don't have much to give and often don't vote. Confederates, on the other hand, favor the rich and powerful and the Bible bangers, who vote in droves.

We simply have to figure a way to get more people to the polls. Trump supporters are far and away a minority. So are hard core Republicans and their Nazi pals. If everyone who does not believe Trump and the Confederates are working in the best interest of the United States (as opposed to the Unida Shates) showed up to vote, the little king, Ryan, McConnell, and most of their shady cohort would all be vying for jobs on Fox.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

An ice cube on a hot sidewalk...

That's my temporary respect for Susan Collins, evaporating. Right there with any hope that Confederates who trumpeted their concern for a horrifically bad tax scam would walk the walk, the Ron Johnsons and John McCains and Corkers and Murkowskis.

Their "concerns" have been addressed? How? Bribery? Threats? Harsh language?

Towers of Jello. All of 'em. Pay toilets in a diarrhea ward, that's what they are.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Trump/Kushner Peace Plan Working Beautifully!

"Palestinian protesters battled Israeli soldiers on Thursday in Jerusalem, Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one day after President Trump announced that his administration would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Palestinian Authority called for a general strike in Palestinian cities. In Gaza, the Islamist Hamas movement urged its followers to ignite a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel. Shops in Jerusalem’s Old City were shuttered.

On the edge of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Israeli forces fired dozens of rounds of tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of Palestinian protesters gathering to air their anger over Trump’s statement.

'This will be bad,' said an ambulance driver..."

Is that what they call the Peace Dividend?

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

And leave us not forget Australia's historic vote on marriage (not gay marriage, not straight marriage, not any special kind, just marriage).

Let's hear for it the Aussies! An enlightened country that tells the haters and religious nut jobs to leave off.

A former penal colony more civilized than Trump's America. By far. Nice.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I will miss Al Franken. He represents me, a yellow dog, liberal Democrat very well. However, in his absence, we can spread the feces of the Republican Senator child molester across all the
Republicans. They will have no effective response.
A child molester and a pussy grabbing President should be quite a burden for the GOP.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle


That’s the point of an earlier post. They don’t care. Their voters don’t care, their donors don’t care. Trump could appoint Josef Mengele as Surgeon General and there wouldn’t be a peep from congressional Republicans. Enormous cash boxes full of donor bribes and a pandemic of gerrymandering have inoculated them from public opinion. A child molester in the Senate and a confessed sexual predator in the White House? A rainy day causes them more distress.

Nonetheless, Democrats should go on the attack against Moore. And not let up. They should make it absolutely clear that Alabama voters, the president*, the RNC, Fox, and every Confederate in Congress chooses party over country and perversion over decency.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Hang onto your hats, my friends, and read about a very special award ceremony that took place at none other than the Trump International Hotel in D.C. These awards (for work well done) given out by the United for Purpose, an Alt-right wing activist group, were presented by Ginni Thomas, the group's president and wife of that PinPoint Georgia on my mind guy that sits on the S.C. One of the biggest awards was given to James O'Keefe, that arrogant prick who failed recently trying to smear the Wash-Po. Hannity was another winner along with Frank Gaffney–-he of the "Homo-SEX-U-als should be rounded up and killed" darling of the right. If I put these characters in a novel I'd be criticized for "unbelievable scenarios"; again, it appears that "reality is stranger than fiction" still holds water.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I did not hear the speech. But it doesn't matter. Nothing the Democrats do to further the rights of anyone, minorities, women, the poor, the sick, matters. The people in charge are vicious and always victorious. Sacrificing yet another senator's vote won't matter either. The semi-civilized life we used to live is over, with nasty authoritarians doing nothing to help anyone except themselves and their bank accounts. My mother was right: McCarthy was just the tip of the iceberg. We are so screwed. I don't know where to take this anger. (Away from the teevee is a start.) I can hardly bear to hear any more victims lamenting their lot-- my sympathy cup is empty. What's the use of all this moral victory when the end result is a world of total fire and degradation? Congratulations to Dolt45 and "Judge" Roy Moore-- may you both burn in the hell you profess to believe in.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Senator Franken's speech is heartbreaking. Congress is going about this entirely the wrong way. Now that we're maybe going to pay any attention at all to women and men who've been harmed by sexual predators, it' a better idea to actually identify/assess/and guide a coherent response.
What I mean is, House and Senate members, citizens, subject matter experts could, I dunno, have hearings on the nature and scope of the problems (in all industries and institutions, basically) and set a real framework for definitions (a grabby kiss vs. weinstien), and a means for dispensing remedies and punishment. Like the Civil Rights laws, it's huge and we really have no handle on it.
Franken's penalty is disproportionate, IMO. That monster in Alabama should never, ever have been allowed anywhere near a courtroom in any state. There is no consistency nor very little coherence to anyone's response as far as I can tell.
I'm really bummed out, I'm sorry.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFleeting Expletive

@Jeanne: I embedded it above a while ago. The speech is powerful. Al usually leaves me laughing. This time he left me in tears.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Roger Stone is having a realllky nice, long laugh right now. Another decent human being out of the way. Back to muckraking with his white pride gang right after a couple bottles of champagne.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Fleeting Expletive: I've been a feminist for nearly half a century. I agree with every word you wrote.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Thank you so much, Mrs. Bea. I feel like we've come too far, too many women have died without their rights and their opportunities, to not demand and push for justice. Sam Bee really expresses my feelings. What we and media allowed to be on our airwaves (Lauer, Rose, ugh, all the rest) is a crime sitting there in plain sight. We was robbed by institutional assholes, and Hillary Clinton was mugged by the men in media.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFleeting Expletive

Regarding the Jerusalem problem, I have a question.

What does the United States get out of moving the embassy to Jerusalem? What do we get, exactly, doing it in such an aggressive, unilateral way? Do we get any movement from the Israelis on continued settlement building on the West Bank? No. Did we work with Palestinians and get them to at least agree in principle to the move as long as they were able to see something for their side and give something back? No.

For a guy who primps and preens as a Deal Maker, this is no deal. This is a giveaway. This is a losing proposition all around.

We could have, if we had a REAL deal maker, not an ignorant baboon, been able to move things ahead in a real way. Instead, in order to treat extremist Bible beaters in this country to some kind of weird shibboleth laden bestowal, Trump has given extremists on the other side carte blanche to whip up the truly talented killers.

Good job, you piece of shit. review. We get NOTHING out of this. At least the United States doesn't. Trump gets something for himself. He gets to say he kept a stupid, ridiculous, ignorant campaign promise to equally stupid, ignorant supporters. Extremists on the other side get the go ahead to ramp up further violence. The US loses all legitimacy when it comes to any sort of possible peace process. Almost every other nation in the world sees Trump's America as an unreliable, dangerous, illegitimate Potemkin government that is not to be trusted.

But Fox and Breitbart and Trump and the killers and Bibi's extremists win.

What kind of grand deal is that?

More proof that Trump is a loser. A sycophantic, submissive, narcissistic, ignorant, incompetent loser.

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Thank you, Marie. I just listened. Naturally, I am sad all over again-- mostly for us, deprived by stupidity on his part, or by conspiracy, as I suspect, or by no one's knowing what the hell to make of any of it... The great deliberative body is simply a mess.

And Trent Franks resigning should be a bright spot, as his is an enduring idiocy, but I don't take any pleasure in this on this day, when a better man is going also, leaving a large hole for the Democratic party. As Al was a person who actually held the feet to the fire of those being questioned by various committees, he will be greatly missed. I am so mad that his past life has interfered in his present one. And that the fools that are so entirely despicable remain in place... Okay...forward...reluctantly...

December 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne
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