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: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article221168580.html#storylink=cpy

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.

Thursday
Jul122018

The Commentariat -- July 13, 2018

Afternoon Update:

Grand Jury Trolls Trump. Eileen Sullivan & Katie Brenner of the New York Times: "Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The charges came just a few days before President Trump is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland. The 11-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state election boards and other government agencies.... Mr. Rosenstein discussed the charges during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington as Mr. Trump met with Queen Elizabeth II in Britain, creating a bizarre split screen on cable news of presidential pomp and an ongoing investigation that has ensnared some of the president&'s aides." ...

I think they like me a lot in the U.K. -- Donald Trump, Thursday ...

U.K., Friday:

... CBS News: "Hordes of demonstrators converged in central London on Friday, intent on mocking U.S. President Donald Trump on his only full day of business with British leaders on what has been dubbed a 'working visit' to the United Kingdom. The visual cornerstone of the anti-Trump protests on Friday -- which include several organized marches by varying groups -- is a giant balloon depicting the U.S. leader as an angry, screaming orange baby in a diaper, clutching a cell phone with Twitter on the screen."

*****

Donald Trump Embarrasses the U.S. Again. And Again.

Seung Min Kim, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Trump sought Friday to tamp down tensions with British Prime Minister Theresa May, saying the leaders had a 'very, very strong' relationship -- hours after publication of an interview in which he questioned May's handling of 'Brexit,' praised her deposed foe Boris Johnson and threatened to upend the trade relationship between the two countries. 'We want to trade with the U.K., and the U.K. wants to trade with us,' Trump said at a joint news conference with the prime minister on Friday. 'I think she's doing a terrific job, by the way,' he added.The bombshell interview with the Sun, U.S. media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid, landed as Trump was receiving a grand welcome from May, including a black-tie gala and an elaborate outdoor ceremony at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill." ...

Here's today's NYT liveblog of Trump's horrifying adventures abroad. A few lowlights: "The tension and uncertainty surrounding President Trump's trip to Britain reached new heights after the publication Thursday night of a bombshell interview in which he said Prime Minister Theresa May was taking the wrong approach to Brexit, praised her political rival and former foreign secretary, and renewed his feud with the mayor of London.... For the president to criticize and politically undercut Mrs. May, one of his closest international allies, on her home turf is an extraordinary breach of protocol.... Mr. Trump breathed new life into his long-distance, long-running feud with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.... Mr. Khan said he thought it 'interesting that President Trump is not criticizing the mayors of other cities' that have experienced terrorist attacks. That appeared to be a reference to Mr. Khan's faith -- he is among few Muslims serving as mayor of a major Western city...." ...

... The Guardian's liveblog is here. ...

.. Trump Throws More Insults. Sarah Marsh of the Guardian: "Sadiq Khan has hit back at 'preposterous' claims made by Donald Trump, after the US president criticised London's mayor for doing a 'a bad job' on terrorism and crime in the capital.... The US president used an interview in the Sun to reignite his feud with Khan.... 'You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job. Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London. I think he has done a very bad job on terrorism.'... Trump's verbal attack on Khan came after the London mayor refused to block a plan to fly a giant inflatable 'Trump baby' near parliament." --safari ...

The New York Times liveblogged Trump's appalling visit to England on Thursday. "Near the end of a gala dinner that Prime Minister May was hosting for Mr. Trump Thursday night, word emerged that he had given a newspaper interview in which he criticized her handling of the Brexit negotiations and appeared to boost the fortunes of a political rival. If Mrs. May persists in seeking a so-called soft exit from the European Union, Mr. Trump reportedly told The Sun, she can forget about a separate pact with the United States.... 'If they do that,' the paper quoted him as saying, 'then their trade deal with the U.S. will probably not be made.' He had much warmer words for Boris Johnson, the ambitious British politician who just quit as foreign minister in an open break with May. Mr. Johnson, he said, would 'make a great prime minister.'" Nothing like suggesting your host should be deposed, recommending her replacement & threatening her to alter her own government's policies. Or else. Just astounding. ...

     ... Update. Steven Castle of the New York Times has more detail on Trump's interference in the British government's policies. ...

... Pippa Crerar of the Guardian: "In his interview [with the Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun], which breaks all normal diplomatic conventions by criticising his host, Trump warned: 'If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.' He claimed the prime minister ignored his advice on Brexit negotiations. 'I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me,' he said.... Downing Street indicated that the prime minister was prepared to challenge Trump's remarks at the Chequers talks on Friday, which will also cover Russia and the Middle East. May said: 'What we are doing is delivering on the vote of the British people.' As May addressed the crowd of business leaders at Blenheim Palace who had gathered to welcome Trump, protests against the president were under way at the US embassy in London, with thousands more people expected to take to the streets on Friday." ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: Trump's attempts to further destabilize Theresa May's government "were the most undiplomatic remarks in Trump's interview (if not, in the modern history of Anglo-American relations). But they still weren't the most offensive quotes that the president gave to the paper. Here's a quick rundown of Trump's other, incendiary reflections: Immigrants have robbed Europe of its great culture. 'I think what has happened to Europe is a shame. Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was and I don't mean that in a positive way....' Sadiq Khan, the (Muslim) mayor of London, is responsible for terrorism in that city -- because he allows immigrants to live there.... By disrespecting Trump, mayor Khan is disrespecting his own constituents -- because Europeans live in the United States.... The Washington Post is a lobbying firm whose only client is Jeff Bezos.... Trump is more beloved than Abraham Lincoln. 'You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party -- 92 per cent. Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Somebody pull up Lincoln's polling numbers, please. Were those, like, Gallup polls or Rasmussen polls? Or what? Blithering idiot. ...

... Margaret Hartmann: "Donald Trump was invited to a state visit to the U.K. just one week into his presidency, but as he cultivated a feud with one of our closest allies, the trip was repeatedly delayed due to the threat of massive protests and downgraded to a 'working visit' -- meaning Trump would be denied his golden carriage ride. Trump couldn't let this humiliation stand, so he found a way to ensure that the headlines during his trip would focus on his scorching attacks, not the insults hurled at him by large swaths of the British public.... White House officials were reportedly scrambling to figure out what to say to May following the [Sun] interview. 'There's no way Trump will apologize,' a senior U.S. official told the [Washington] Post. 'But we also don't want to blow everything up.' Sarah Huckabee Sanders went with denial, as she often does. 'The president likes and respects Prime Minister May very much,' she said in a statement. 'As he said in his interview with The Sun she 'is a very good person' and he "never said anything bad about her."' She added that Trump ;is thankful for the wonderful welcome from the prime minister here in the U.K.'" ...

... Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura of the New York Times: "The protesters began assembling even before Air Force One touched down outside London on Thursday.... They jeered as the helicopter Marine One took off to ferry Mr. Trump to a black-tie gala dinner outside Oxford with Prime Minister Theresa May. Outside the dinner, at Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born, a heavy police presence kept around 1,000 chanting demonstrators far away as Mr. Trump and Mrs. May, along with their spouses, were serenaded by trumpeters and other members of a military band.... The demonstrations will culminate in a march on Friday -- with the baby balloon flying overhead -- that is expected to be one of the nation's largest rallies since the 2003 protests against the American- and British-led invasion of Iraq.... More than 50 British organizations are involved in the protests, which aim to dog the president at nearly every stop of his visit."

... Annie Karni of Politico: "A day before ... Donald Trump's arrival [in England]..., Steve Bannon ... had set up a bare war room, of sorts, in a conference room at [a London hotel] to confer and conspire with leaders of Europe's surging populist movement. Bannon's goal, he said in a brief interview between meetings, is to help 'contextualize Trump' for a European audience that hates him and a fiery tabloid media culture that he believes doesn't give the American president a fair shake." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Philip Rucker, et al., of the Washington Post: "The NATO summit was concluding on course ... Thursday, with European leaders pleased that their unruly American counterpart had been surprisingly well behaved, if not truly conciliatory.... Then President Trump showed up, a half-hour late and with another agenda. He effectively took a meeting over Georgia and Ukraine hostage by seizing the floor and, one by one, scolding and shaming countries for their defense spending.... Some diplomats said they feared he could well try to withdraw the United States from NATO, rupturing the existing world order. For more than an hour, the transatlantic alliance was caught in the chaos of Trump's making -- until the president called an impromptu news conference to announce that everything, in fact, was just fine.... Thursday's events in Brussels were a signature Trump spectacle, with other presidents and prime ministers cast as bit players in his drama. Trump was unpredictable and unreliable. He was direct and at moments crass with the United States' historical partners, vague on substance and misleading with facts and figures. He grabbed the spotlight for himself, sending the entire Western alliance scrambling to satisfy his whims and desires.... And he declared unprecedented victory, though his partners said little new had actually been agreed upon." ...

... ** David Taylor of the Guardian: "Donald Trump shrouded Brussels in his personal fog of war as he brought confusion and half-truths to the Nato summit, before claiming an imaginary victory over America's allies in a conflict of his own making. As he flew off to the UK on Thursday for the next leg of his European tour, it was left to President Emmanuel Macron of France to correct the record following Trump's freewheeling press conference in which he claimed to have pushed allies into new defence spending commitments. 'There is a communique that was published yesterday. It's very detailed,' Macron said. 'It confirms the goal of 2% by 2024. That's all.' Here is a list of fact checks on some of the US president's claims on Thursday[.]" ...

David Herszenhorn & Jacopo Barrigazi of Politico: "As a NATO summit he threw into chaos wrapped up Thursday..., Donald Trump cheekily declared himself a 'very stable genius.' The other world leaders present mostly begged to differ. Trump's wildly unpredictable performance over two days in Brussels left many European leaders convinced that there is little method to the American president's rhetorical madness, and simply no way to anticipate what he might do next.... Leaders who spent the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency thinking there might be a method to his chaos creation ... now seem to have concluded that it’s just chaos, and that Trump himself may not understand what he's doing.... Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said he confronted Trump, noting that the Danish military had suffered casualties participating in the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan roughly in the same proportion as the U.S. military. In an emotional presentation, Rasmussen told the president that he had attended the funerals and could not accept Trump telling him that Denmark was not doing enough for NATO. 'In direct and clear speech, I have made it clear to him that Denmark's contribution cannot be measured in money,' Rasmussen said." ...

... New York Times Editors: "Now that the smoke has cleared from the NATO summit meeting, the most tangible result is apparent: President Trump advanced President Barack Obama's initiative to keep the allies on track to shoulder a more equitable share of NATO's costs.... It's imperative that Congress, which has abdicated to Mr. Trump on many crucial issues, pass immediately legislation prohibiting him from leaving NATO unilaterally. The Senate had to ratify the treaty when America created NATO, and it should block any move to destroy the alliance that has been an anchor of trans-Atlantic stability over seven decades." ...

... Pastries & Cheese Update: As President Trump ranted against Germany during a NATO breakfast Wednesday, "John Kelly ... began to fidget.... White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders later said that Kelly 'was displeased because he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese.... Asked about how the breakfast went later, [NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg quipped that he had 'eggs and toast and orange juice and some good fruit salad -- and it was paid for by the United States.'" Mrs. McC: Gee, I guess those reports about Kelly's being left out of everything are true.

** Paul Krugman: "Whatever claims Trump makes about other countries' misbehavior, whatever demands he makes on a particular day, they're all in evident bad faith. Mr. Art of the Deal doesn't want any deals. He just wants to tear things down. The institutions Trump is trying to destroy were all created under U.S. leadership in the aftermath of World War II.... What's his motivation? Part of the answer is that anything that weakens the Western alliance helps Vladimir Putin; if Trump isn't literally a Russian agent, he certainly behaves like one on every possible occasion. Beyond that, Trump obviously dislikes anything that smacks of rule of law applying equally to the weak and the strong.... He doesn't want negotiations with our allies and trading partners to succeed; he wants them to fail. And by the time everyone realizes this, the damage may be irreversible." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It's worth noting that more & more often, pundits are referring to Trump as a Russian agent or Russian asset. They usually describe that description as a possibility, as Krugman does here, but it's out there. We should take heed.

Zeina Karam of the AP: "As fighting wanes after seven years of war [in Syria], the U.S. has made curtailing Iran's influence in post-war Syria a strategic objective -- one strongly backed by Israel. Ahead of the much-anticipated meeting, officials from the U.S. and Russia have signaled that a broad framework for such a deal is likely to be the main outcome.... In an interview with CBS news earlier this month, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Iran, not Assad, was the 'strategic issue.'... Diplomacy has gone into high gear ahead of Monday's Trump-Putin summit, suggesting a political deal is in the making." --safari ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Experts, not to mention casual observers, are guessing any "political deal" Trump makes with Putin on Syria would better be described as a "major capitulation."...

...This report should remind us of Adam Entous' New Yorker article detailing the Israeli, Saudi & Emerati attempt to "swap Ukraine for Syria". --safari

House Republicans Embarrass the U.S. Again and Again.

There is a criminal investigation into the Trump campaign and possible crimes related to the 2016 presidential election involving collusion with Russian spies to sell out our democracy and hijack the presidency. My colleagues in the cover-up caucus don't like that criminal investigation, and therefore, they need to identify a villain. Mr. Strzok, tag, you're it. -- Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) ...

... ** Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "The embattled F.B.I. agent [Peter Strzok] who oversaw the opening of the Russia investigation mounted an aggressive personal defense on Thursday, rejecting accusations that he let his private political views bias his official actions and labeling Republican attacks on him 'another victory notch in Putin's belt.'... The fiery hearing, convened by House Judiciary and Oversight committees, devolved into a spectacle almost as soon as it began, as pent-up rage between House Republicans and the F.B.I. broke into the open in spectacular fashion." Mrs. McC: The hearing, which is ongoing at 12:45 pm, is ridiculous. The Republicans seem to be stark, staring mad. I mean that; they're nuts. (Also linked yesterday, but much expanded since initial publication -- the Louis Gohmert part is classic.) ...

... Here's one of many examples of Strzok giving better than he got from the mad dogs:

... Washington Post Editors: "With all its yelling and interruptions, the hearing was a fitting coda to the hyperpartisan farce of an investigation that House Republicans have conducted into the FBI and Mr. Mueller's Russia probe.... The [text] messages are not proof of anything other than Mr. Strzok's personal feelings -- and, in committing them to writing on company equipment, his poor judgment.... In the end, the hearing did more to harm Congress and the FBI than it did to expose wrongdoing.... Mr. Strzok is not the perfect messenger, but he was right about this message: 'Russian interference in our elections constitutes a grave attack on our democracy,' he said. 'Most disturbingly, it has been wildly successful -- sowing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions. I have the utmost respect for Congress's oversight role, but I truly believe that today's hearing is just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart.'" ...

... Philip Bump of the Washington Post: "In a written statement offered before he testified before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday, [Peter] Strzok pointedly noted that there was no effort on his part to keep Trump from winning the White House -- and, further, that he was one of only a few people who could have potentially leaked details from the investigation in an effort to block Trump's victory. 'In the summer of 2016,' Strzok wrote, 'I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign. This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.' This is a nearly impossible point to rebut." ...

... Rick Wilson of the Daily Beast: "Strzok was supposed to be a key in the imaginary conspiracy that Trump's congressional lackeys and media fantasists have desperately tried to write as history. The idea that his text messages poison the entire Mueller investigation was a pillar of their defense of the president. This morning they were going for a quick kill....The Gowdy, Goodlatte, and Gaetz types needed their grandstanding, dick-waving mock outrage to leave Strozk shaking and begging for mercy. Strozk had none of it. In this morning's round he left the Trumpists of the House staggered in their corner, cut and shaky, wondering where Stozok learned to hit back that hard." ...

... Paul Waldman in the Washington Post: Republicans "want us to believe there was an FBI conspiracy to prevent Trump from being elected president, and what did that conspiracy do? First, it mounted a cautious investigation of what nearly everyone now acknowledges was a comprehensive effort by Russia to help Trump get elected, an effort that people on the Trump campaign and even in Trump's own family tried to cooperate with. But then it kept that investigation completely secret from the public.... You will notice that Republicans have not been able to produce any evidence that Strzok or anyone else took any official action that was biased, unfair or inappropriate in their investigation of Russian interference and the Trump campaign.... The idea that the bureau attempted to hinder Trump's election ... is contradicted by everything they did.... We do know, on the other hand, that as one report said just before the election, 'Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.' As one agent put it at the time, 'The FBI is Trumpland.'" ...

... John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "... on Thursday, the Republican members of ... two [House] committees sought to put him on the griddle before the cameras in a joint hearing, only to discover that messing with G-men can be dangerous. It was they and their President who got burned.... Not content with undermining the logic of his inquisitors, Strzok also dared to question their motivation, and even their patriotism.... House Republicans invested what was left of their credibility in a conspiracy theory that was now blowing up in their faces, live on television." ...

... Steve M.: "[T]he dichotomy in the minds of most liberals and leftists [is]: politeness vs. insolence. Keep it civil or get down in the gutter.... But sometimes there's a third choice: righteous indignation. That's what Strzok delivered today. When you respond to Republicans this way, you're in their faces, but you're not challenging order and propriety, you're making a serious claim to represent those things. You're saying that you stand for civility and your adversaries don't.... Opponents of Trump and the Republicans should keep this approach in mind. To be forceful, you don't always have to be uncivil. You can also, in civil but forceful language, accuse the other side of being a threat to civilization." --safari

Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times: "The White House has rebuffed concerns among American intelligence and law enforcement officials and ordered that more lawmakers be given access to classified information about an informant the F.B.I. used in 2016 to investigate possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.... Both the director of national intelligence and the director of the F.B.I. tried to keep the classified documents tightly restricted.... Some American officials believe, in fact, the reason the White House made the decision was to provide political ammunition to President Trump's Republican allies who have argued -- without any evidence -- that the F.B.I. investigation was opened in July 2016 as an effort to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president."

Rachel Weiner & Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post: "Officials confirmed [Paul Manafort] was booked Thursday morning into the Alexandria Detention Center, a complex of brick buildings just off the Capital Beltway and a few blocks from the federal courthouse where he is to be tried later this month on bank and tax fraud charges.... Manafort ... had asked for that trial to be continued in large part because he was being held 100 miles away in the Northern Neck Regional Jail. But he resisted being brought to Alexandria. In the Northern Neck, he had a private phone and computer and did not have to wear a uniform, according to prosecutors. In Alexandria, there are no private electronics for inmates, and Manafort was wearing a green jumpsuit when his mug shot was taken Thursday."

Chris Sommerfeldt of the New York Daily News: "President Trump's former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen bought a $6.7 million apartment in a brand new Manhattan skyscraper less than a week before FBI agents raided his home, office and hotel room in April, according to records and reports." He has a mortgage. Mrs. McC: Could be a problem.


** Carol Leonnig
, et al., of the Washington Post: "Jared Kushner ... lacks the security clearance level required to review some of the government's most sensitive secrets, according to two people familiar with his access. For the first year of the Trump administration, Kushner had nearly blanket access to highly classified intelligence, even as he held an interim security clearance and awaited the completion of his background investigation. But when White House security officials granted him a permanent clearance in late May, he was granted only 'top secret' status -- a level that does allow him to see some of the country's most closely guarded intelligence, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.... Kushner has not been approved to review 'sensitive compartmented information,' better known as SCI. The Central Intelligence Agency determines who can access this information, which primarily involves U.S. intelligence sources and surveillance methods, they said. That has blocked Kushner at times from seeing some parts of the President's Daily Brief, a highly classified summary of world events that sometimes describes intelligence programs and operatives, the people said. Kushner's lack of SCI access suggests that the CIA has not signed off on him receiving that level of intelligence, security experts said."

Bill Allison of Bloomberg: "U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that he would divest all his remaining equity holdings after the government's top ethics watchdog said his failure to sell off assets that could pose a conflict of interest 'created the potential for a serious criminal violation.'... In reports filed in the last month by the Office of Government Ethics, Ross disclosed sales of assets which, the filings said, he had inadvertently failed to sell on time, including at least $20 million worth of Invesco shares. That led the ethics office's acting director, David Apol, to tell Ross in a letter released Thursday that his failure to sell the assets may have 'negatively affected' public trust in the Trump administration." [Open in private window] --safari


AP: "The Trump administration has said all eligible small children separated from their families as a result of its 'zero-tolerance' immigration policy have now been reunited with their parents. But nearly half of the 103 children under the age of five remain separated from their families because of safety concerns, the deportation of their parents and other issues, the administration said.... The officials said 46 of the children were not eligible to be reunited with their parents; a dozen parents had already been deported and were being contacted by the administration. Nine were in custody of the US marshals service for other offenses. One of the children deemed ineligible was identified Tuesday as perhaps being a US citizen, along with their parent who officials have been unable to locate for over a year. Officials declined to provide more information on that case Thursday." ...

... ** Gene Robinson: "The Trump administration's kidnapping -- that's the proper word -- of the children of would-be migrants should be seen as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. Somebody ought to go to jail.... The reasons [the administration gave] for failing to comply fully with [Judge Dana] Sabraw's order sound reasonable, unless you take into account the bad faith with which the administration has conducted this whole sordid exercise.... Given that the intention from the beginning was clearly to frighten and intimidate would-be migrants from Central America, why should anyone believe that the administration is acting or speaking in good faith now?" ...

... Gabriel Stargardter of Reuters: "Mexico is opposed to a U.S. request to make people seeking asylum in the United States apply in Mexico instead, according to a source and a briefing note, in a setback to U.S. efforts to deepen cooperation on immigration before a leftist president takes office.... [D]espite growing U.S. pressure for it to accept the treaty, Mexico views the proposal as a red line it will not cross." --safari ...

... E.A. Crunden of ThinkProgress: "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acknowledged that as of the end of June, up to 1,495 detainees were being kept at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.... The detention facility, which essentially serves as a prison, is located within a Superfund site -- the designation given to areas contaminate by hazardous waste and selected by the EPA for cleanup due to the danger they pose to both human health and the environment.... [T]he facility is one of the largest immigrant detention centers in the country" --safari: Maybe they could chain-gang the 'aliens' and send 'em out for clean-up duties? ...

... Billion $ Babies. Martha Mendoza & Larry Fenn of the AP: "Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually -- a tenfold increase over the past decade.... Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody. Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states." --safari ...

... ** Michiko Kakutani in a New York Times op-ed: "My mother's family was among the 120,000 people of Japanese descent on the West Coast who were dispatched to internment camps during World War II.... History is repeating itself. This time without even the pretext of war, and with added heartbreaking cruelty. Under Mr. Trump's 'zero tolerance' border enforcement policy, nearly 3,000 children were separated from their parents.... Once again, national safety is invoked as a rationale for the roundup of whole groups of people. Once again, racist stereotypes are being used by politicians to ramp up fear and hatred. And once again, lies are being used to justify actions that violate the most fundamental American ideals of freedom, equality and tolerance."


Sabrina Siddiqui
of the Guardian: "Donald Trump has released a letter he received from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un while touting 'great progress' in negotiations between the United States and Pyongyang -- despite reports of a breakdown in talks.... Trump's comments came just hours after North Korean officials failed to show up at a planned meeting on Thursday with their US counterparts to discuss the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean war." --safari ...

... Brett Samuels of the Hill: "North Korean officials reportedly did not show up Thursday at a scheduled meeting with U.S. officials to discuss returning the remains of American soldiers, and instead suggested talking with United Nations military leaders about the issue. Yonhap News in South Korea reported that North Korea asked the United Nations Command to hold 'general-level military talks' about returning the remains of American troops killed in the Korean War. A source told Yonhap that North Korea 'wants a U.S. general to appear at the table to quickly finalize the repatriation issue.'" Mrs. McC: Good. There's a job for John Kelly, who is reportedly useless at the White House. More fun if there's nothing for breakfast but North Korean Potatoes ala Pompeo. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Gangster Regime. Alex Lockie of Business Insider: "A North Korean diplomat reportedly told an Israeli diplomat in 1999 that Pyongyang would provide ballistic missile technology to Iran, a state sworn to destroy Israel, unless it paid up to the tune of $1 billion. North Korea has a long and well documented history of providing weapons technology, including chemical and nuclear weapon infrastructure, to countries like Iran and Syria. While Pyongyang commands a few dozen operational nuclear warheads, according to intelligence reports, its real threat to the world lies not in starting an outright nuclear war, but in selling nuclear weapons to states, or terrorists, that may use them. It's unclear if Israel ever paid North Korea's blackmail, though Israel would later destroy an Iranian nuclear reactor that North Korea was suspected of helping build. [In a report in the Wall Street Journal published Sunday (firewalled), Israel rejected the offer]. --safari

Trade Wars Are Easy to Win, Ctd. Alan Rappeport & Jim Tankersley of the New York Times: "The trade war between the United States and China showed no signs of yielding on Thursday, as Steven Mnuchin the Treasury secretary, told lawmakers there was no clear path to resolution and Beijing blasted the administration over its approach. Mr. Mnuchin, who has tried to avoid calling the trade tensions with China a 'war,' said talks with Beijing had 'broken down' and suggested it was now up to China to come to the table with concessions. President Trump, speaking in Brussels on Thursday, described the trade talks with China as a 'nasty' battle. The Chinese, meanwhile, accused the United States of 'acting erratically' and said the administration had 'blatantly abandoned the consensuses that two sides have reached and insisted on fighting a trade war with China.'"

Frances Robles of the New York Times: "The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plans for a crisis in Puerto Rico were based on a focused disaster like a tsunami, not a major hurricane devastating the whole island. The agency vastly underestimated how much food and fresh water it would need, and how hard it would be to get additional supplies to the island. And when the killer storm did come, FEMA's warehouse in Puerto Rico was nearly empty, its contents rushed to aid the United States Virgin Islands, which were hammered by another storm two weeks before. There was not a single tarpaulin or cot left in stock. Those and other shortcomings are detailed in a FEMA report assessing the agency's response to the 2017 storm season, when three major hurricanes slammed the United States in quick succession, leaving FEMA struggling to deliver food and water quickly to storm victims in Puerto Rico. The after-action report describes an initially chaotic and disorganized relief effort.... The report confirms many of the criticisms that have been leveled at the agency...."

Mark Hand of ThinkProgress: "Among the hundreds of people arrested in North Dakota for protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Native Americans faced the most serious charges.... Activists viewed the federal charges brought against [the] Native Americans as an attempt by the government to exert a chilling effect on indigenous-led resistance to resource extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure." --safari

Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "The federal government has quietly revived its investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy whose abduction and killing remains, almost 63 years later, among the starkest and most searing examples of racial violence in the South. The Justice Department said that its renewed inquiry, which it described in a report submitted to Congress in late March, was 'based upon the discovery of new information.'" (Also linked yesterday.)

Today's Best Headline: "A Family Of Woodchucks Ate Paul Ryan's Car" ...

... Matt Yglesias of Vox: "Speaking to reporters Thursday morning at the Economic Club of Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan had three clear messages on trade: He thinks the Trump administration's trade wars are misguided, he doesn't intend to do anything about it, and he is a deeply dishonest person who is committed to pretending that there&'s nothing he can do about it.... If Paul Ryan and other congressional Republicans who've long supported free trade wanted to write legislation curtailing Trump's ability to invoke spurious national security claims to raise taxes on imported goods, it seems overwhelmingly likely that they would be able to get the votes to do so."

Chris D'Angelo & Alexander Kaufman of Mother Jones: "House Republicans on Wednesday voted to weaken a much-praised 1976 law that helped revive the commercial fishing industry in the United States and bring its fisheries back from the brink of collapse. The bill, introduced by Rep. Don Young(R-Alaska), would remove annual catch limits on numerous fish species and roll back requirements for recovering overfished stocks. Many scientists, fishers and ocean advocacy groups say that will likely result in overfishing.... The measure must still be approved by the Senate, although it's unclear if or when that chamber will take up the bill." --safari

Jay Michaelson of the Daily Beast: "... in a speech given just last year to the American Enterprise Institute, [Brett] Kavanaugh made it perfectly clear that he believes Roe to have been wrongly decided.... 'Justice Rehnquist was not successful in convincing a majority of the justices in the context of abortion either in Roe itself or in the later cases such as Casey, in the latter case perhaps because of stare decisis. But he was successful in stemming the general tide of freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights that were not rooted in the nation's history and tradition,' [Kavanaugh said.]... There is no doubt, reading this 2017 speech, that Judge Kavanaugh believes not just Roe but the entire series of cases of which it is a part to be 'freewheeling' judicial legislation of 'social policy.'" Thanks to Akhilleus for the link. (Also linked yesterday.)

"Fair & Balanced." Frank Dale of ThinkProgress: " On Wednesday, Facebook announced the lineup of its series of news shows produced exclusively for the platform. Nearly half of the scheduled content consists of Fox News programming.... Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the platform would prioritize 'high quality' news. Zuckerberg has seemed sensitive to claims of left-wing bias over the past year, partnering with a right-wing outlet to fact-check stories ... and hiring two major conservative groups to determine whether the platform displays a liberal bias.... In response to questions about why Infowars is still allowed on its platform, Facebook cited free speech." --safari ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This really is appalling. Did Facebook consult with professors at reputable journalism schools to make its programming decisions? Did it have any sort panel of experts to review its choices? Or -- more likely -- did some high-ranking FB techies meet with the "two major conservative groups" & let the "groups" decide what "high-quality news" looks like? The legitimization of Fox "News" is one of the country's biggest problems, frankly, and the Facebook Seal of Approval -- along with the new content that will appear on FB's channel -- goes a long way toward normalizing the abnormal. See also safari's comment below.

Charles Rabin, et al., of the Miami Herald: "Records obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that during the tenure of former chief Raimundo Atesiano [of Biscayne Park, a town near Miami], the command staff pressured some officers into targeting random black people to clear cases.... In a report from that probe, four officers -- a third of the small force -- told an outside investigator they were under marching orders to file the bogus charges to improve the department's crime stats. Only [one officer] specifically mentioned targeting blacks, but former Biscayne Park village manager Heidi Shafran, who ordered the investigation after receiving a string of letters from disgruntled officers, said the message seemed clear for cops on the street." Via New York.

Michelle Van Dyke of BuzzFeed: "A man who was filmed yelling and getting in the face of a woman for wearing a shirt with Puerto Rico's flag has been charged with a felony hate crime. Timothy Trybus, 62, berated 24-year-old Mia Irizarry in June while she was setting up for a birthday party in a Chicago park and wearing the shirt.... The Cook County State's Attorney's Office told the Chicago Tribune the new charges for Trybus come after reviewing the case.... Trybus was arrested and charged Thursday with two counts of felony hate crime, after already having been charged with misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.... County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., told reporters Thursday that [police officer Patrick] Connor [who did noting to help Irizarry despite her repeated pleas] had 'embarrassed many of our law enforcement officers' and 'tarnished the whole department' by not intervening." Connor resigned from the force. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Irizarry posted her video on Facebook, & it eventually went viral, prompting outrage & forcing Cook County to do something. This outcome also forces me to admit that Facebook can be useful. Trybus & Connor would have got away if not for Irizarry's Facebook posting.

Beyond the Beltway

AP: "Maine's fiscally conservative governor says he'd rather go to jail before expanding Medicaid and putting the state in 'red ink.' Gov. Paul LePage made the remark Tuesday during a call-in on WVOM-FM. Nearly three out of five voters last fall voted to expand Medicaid to 80,000 Mainers by July 2. Advocates are encouraging Mainers to sign up. The Republican governor is fighting a court order requiring him to follow the voter-approved law and submit paperwork needed for Maine to receive federal funding. He successfully vetoed a bill to fund Maine's share of expansion with surplus and tobacco settlement funds." Mrs. McC: The best thing would be for the state to expand Medicaid AND send LePage to jail.

Reader Comments (16)

Not in the best of taste, maybe, but you can't question their aim.

http://www.businessinsider.com/duesseldorf-carnival-float-shows-donald-trump-mounted-by-russian-bear-2018-2

Thanks to K. H. for the hint.

July 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Leave us not forget that The Sun, the paper Trumpy used to rip into the prime minister and praise her enemy, the Russian hack Boris Johnson, is a Rupert Murdoch rag. So the little dictator goes to Britain and first thing he does is run to the safety of what is essentially Fox in print. I heard an interview on NPR with Sun editor Tony Gallagher who complained that the American press just doesn’t properly appreciate the Trump greatness. Hannity must be jealous.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

"Facebook Seal of Approval [of Faux News]-- along with the new content that will appear on FB's channel -- goes a long way toward normalizing the abnormal." --Marie

Even worse, in my own experience of Trumpista "friends", they all seem to have embraced their Facebook feeds as their main source of "news" and information in general. When presented with arguments based on a NYT article, or, heaven forbid, Slate or something similar, their favorite response now is: "yeah right, biased sourcing." With Facebook's official embrace of Faux News, when conservatives' eyes aren't glued to their teevees getting their lib-tear dopamine hits, it's now confirmed that that algorithm-induced high will continue when they light up their smartphones. The eyes will never peel away, and that's exactly what the "conservative groups investigating bias" were there for.

The modern GOP message makers are in a special bind: how to enforce a fact-free totalitarian messaging machine in an open democracy. They can't copy the Chinese Firewall model because of that nagging free speech thing. They can't replicate the North Korean model because that would require jailing and killing all competition, while subverting the holy "free market" model. They could aspire to the Putin model of threats, excessive regulations and plausible deniability of journalists thrown off high buildings, but that would take years of heavy work in the slog of misinformation, 24/7 propaganda, constructing a pseudo-reality for its audience to adhere to and embrace over time, while the government side bullies its competitors into submission.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered Commentersafari

HOUSE FUCKERS FLYING CIRCUS:

I have watched many a hearing but yesterday's "let's get Peter Strzok and hang him by his balls" was by far the most bizarre, the most infuriating, but also the most entertaining. The Democrats were splendid, and showed decorum even while they twisted their knives ever so aptly. Somehow the elephants in the room just couldn't–-just wouldn't–-get it through their craw that personal biases could be put on the back burner–-could be left outside the door for FBI agents, for judges, for therapists...but then it wouldn't have made any difference if they understood that because they were after red meat, raw and bloody. What they got instead was a circus where they presented as clowns, desperate to wow the crowd; instead they humiliated themselves revealing their ineptitude and their animus.

Meanwhile in Britain, the mad dog was not an Englishman but our very own president, whose top ratings, he says, soar above those of Lincoln and because he's so beloved he feels "free to be me" which unfortunately fails at even the simplest of protocol. Why do I keep getting a whiff of serious mental imbalance––yes, yes, we've all played around with that, but this man's behavior is not only way off the charts but dangerous. Where is the leash here? The foam around his mouth is dripping on the floors of our allies; the question is will he let Putin lap it up––– will you punk?

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Trump supporters and wannabes are crawling all over the landscape these days and the best way to spot them is to put on your special FindTheRacist glasses.

In Kentucky, a couple of creeps have made it clear that nig...er, um, black people, are both stupid and responsible for economic downturns.

Tax cheat, healthcare denier, and racist Governor Matt Bevin visited West Louisville, a largely black neighborhood and found that there's a chess club. He was astounded. He even made a video about it.

"'I'm going to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club,' Bevin said in the video. 'Not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town.'"

Yeah, because usually those kids are out with AK's gunning down nice old Christian white ladies coming out of church then ransacking their homes and raping their granddaughters, certainly not learning the finer points of the knight fork and the best time to castle.

Response was swift.

"'Bevin...Blacks in west Louisville enjoy chess, tennis, and many other activities not associated with guns and violence,' Donovan Taylor, the secretary for the Chickasaw Neighborhood Association said on Facebook. 'To think less of west Louisville shows your thinking of the residents of the area.'"

Checkmate, Bev.

And on the other side of Louisville, we have good ol' John Schnatter, the papa of Papa John's Racist Pizza. Boy, is this asshole a piece of work. He's a longtime Confederate supporter and donated bigly to Trump and went on a rampage to try to get the ACA killed along with the rest of the running dog hordes on the right. But in addition to being a filthy rich douchebag who thinks poor people should have to curl up and die if they get sick, he's a racist pig.

On a conference call in May he frequently used the N word. And because his business had started to sag last year, he blamed it all on the nig....er, um, I mean black players in the NFL. Papa John is the official NFL pizza chain. Well, WAS. After it came out that he was blaming the protests by black players for the fall off in his business, the NFL said, "Sorry, Johnny. No Papa John's for us."

So Schnatter was forced to resign as Papa John CEO. But in true "Can't lose for winning" wingnut style, the day after his resignation, Papa John's stock prices jumped and Schnatter made an extra $50 million in one day (he owns 33% of the total stock).

Trump hasn't just made racism okay again (Reagan did that). He's made it a requirement on the right.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

So now Trump thinks he's greater than Abraham Lincoln.

The narcissism is out of control along with the desperation and stupidity. He's always taken credit for things others do, but to preen about how he's more popular (ergo 'better') than Lincoln gets us quickly out beyond the fringes of a healthy mental state. More and more I think Marvin is correct that Trump is mentally ill.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Facebook has caved, like so many other media groups have done, to pressure from far-right ideologues who have been beating the "liberal bias" thing to death for over a generation in order to be able to foreground their own propaganda. For the right, fact based is demonstrably "liberal bias". For years--decades now--MSM outlets have bent over backwards to give equal time and privilege to right-wing lies and ideological drivel at the expense of factual reporting.

Now it's Facebook's turn. I thought Zuckerberg was supposed to be smart. After being burned for allowing Russian hackers to hijack his platform he's now turning it over to the same sort of propaganda, just propaganda created by Fox rather than spewed out of a black box troll factory in St. Petersburg.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus,

It's a question of values, not smarts.

Zuckerberg is worth nearly 80 billion dollars and all signs are he likes every penny of it, so naturally he chooses to keep his connections with the monied class (generally America's Right) intact.

But on second thought, maybe he isn't so smart. He wouldn't have to be to perform that easy calculation...

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Worse Than Treason

While we're on the subject of Russian hacking (much more of that to come after the "summit"), it's never a bad idea to remind ourselves of just what is at stake by having a president and a Party of Traitors align themselves with a foreign power and allowing that country's agents to hone their hacking chops on our digital infrastructure with full knowledge and permission (tacit permission is still permission; looking the other way usually means you know what's going on in the opposite direction).

Russia, North Korea, and China have all been hard at work trying their hands at breaking into various soft spots (and a few hard ones) along the digital backbone in this country. But up until now, it's been done on the down low. Getting caught had consequences. Not anymore. Now we have a traitor in the White House who doesn't really care if we get hacked as long as he gets his.

But at this point everything works on the internet. Where I work, if the internet goes down, we can survive for a few hours, but after that, we're screwed. Three quarters of the operations halt immediately. The rest will dry up quickly. Now think of things like power grids, national security features and protections, weapons systems, hospitals, communications. Here's a former NSA hacker talking about what would happen if America's internet went down.

Russia has already tried this sort of thing in Ukraine. They're getting good at it. And now our president is telling them to have at it. And they're not the only ones getting into the act. Iran has their own hacking group. Shit, Kirabati probably has a hacking unit. It is fast becoming the weapon of choice. It's by far the cheapest and most effective way to put the kibosh on another country.

In 1951, one of the better sci-fi films of that period offered a look at what would happen if the world were brought to a standstill. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" offered a look at a how vulnerable a world without electricity could be. The current threat will be worse because we rely on connectivity for so much of our civilization. And the biggest difference is that only one country will be affected. The suckers who get hacked.

But instead of working overtime to protect ourselves from cyber attacks, we have a president who is pissing on our allies and patting himself on the back for being a stable Abe Lincoln genius, while giving the most dangerous proponent of state sponsored cyber warfare free rein.

This is worse than treason. I'm not really sure what to call it, but it is definitely on a plane lower than treason. Treason is what Mitch McConnell does. Trump is orders of magnitude worse.

John Bolton is apparently doing something, something, something, ahead of the "summit" in Helsinki, although it's more like a Craigslist hookup "Accomplished dominant tyrant and murderer seeks fat, not very bright submissive for a little of the old in-out in Helsinki". You already know that Trump has got his "Big Win" speech ready to go. What he won't say is how much farther down the Treason Escalator he descended over those couple of days.

My bet? Very far.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I see that Trump is calling his Sun interview "fake news" again. So, Donald is once again saying that that guy Trump is a liar and not to be trusted. Don't believe anything coming out of Trump's mouth according to Donald Trump. Not the first time he has said this but the one thing that you can take to the bank.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

RAS,

And not for nothin' but they've got that Sun interview on tape!

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Has Fat Boy insulted the queen yet? Is he regaling her with tales of pussy grabbing and raw cupidity. "Hey, Liz, a Trump Tower would be great on top of your castle, whaddaya say? Let's make some money?" But no Mooslims or blacks.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Colbert was outstanding last night. Strzok-Fest 2018!

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

So Mayor Khan is responsible for terrorism in London for allowing immigrants in? He should obviously take a page out of Trump's book and reverse the roles. Trump is the one who inflicts terror on immigrants not the other way around. That is the proper order of the world according to Trump. It's the reason that he suggested murdering family members of suspected terrorists during the campaign.


What does all the republican support (92% or whatever) for Trump truly mean? It means those people at a minimum tolerate child abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse. They tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. Their support for Trump is an implict support for all the things that he represents. I think it is one reason why Trump supporters are so defensive to attacks on Trump. When anyone points out Trump's racism or misogny that reflects badly on those who voted for him and gave him their seal of approval. They don't want to come to terms with what Trump truly is or what he represents so they turn a blind eye to everything he says or does. That way they don't have to deal with the consequences of their choices.

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

Just a simple thought from a simple mind, but wouldn't it be cool for the Trump Baby blimp to end up over in the states? Say somewhere like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade?

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

A-mazing. 12 more Russians indicted and still the Fat Faux Fabulist is going to see his father/king/lord/savior/role model/mentor in Russia. Something so dark about this visit. Kissing his ring? Kissing his a**? Yes, all "Fake news!" that is on tape for all to see and hear. This is a new wave of stupid-- even for him. And for all of middle America: meh--
I gather he and "Teresa May" (no title for her--)didn't discuss the victims of the nerve agent poisoning, and of course, that won't be discussed in Russia--

July 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne
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