The Wires

Public Service Announcement

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday
Jul162019

The Commentariat -- July 17, 2019

Late Morning Update:

Jim VandeHei & Mike Allen of Axios: "It might seem like improvisational madness when President Trump tells American citizens in Congress to 'go back' where they came from, but those close to Trump say there's a lot of calculation behind his race-baiting.... It's central to his 2020 strategy, they say. Trump's associates predict more, not less, of the race-baiting madness.... Trump sees the four progressive women ... as perfect foils until he gets a Democratic nominee to run against." ...

... Qusay Speaks. Quint Forgey of Politico: "Eric Trump said Wednesday he supported his father's racist Twitter post, which the House formally condemned in a resolution the previous evening. He called the so-called squad of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) an 'absolute clown show.' 'I love the tweet, "If you don't love our country, get out. Leave,"' Eric Trump said. 'You know, if you complain about our country, you know, go to somewhere -- go experience somewhere else in the world. I have seen a lot of the world, right? We have it so great in America. America is doing so well.'" ...

... Sanjana Karanth of the Huffington Post: "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has written specific rules that protect people, mostly immigrants, against employment discrimination on the basis of their national origin.... 'Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person's foreign accent or comments like, "Go back to where you came from," whether made by supervisors or co-workers,' it [reads]."

Lifestyles of the Rich & Sleazy. Jack Bohrer of NBC News: A "November 1992 tape in the NBC archives shows Donald Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, now a private club, more than a decade before Epstein pleaded guilty to felony prostitution charges in Florida. At one point in the video, Trump is seen grabbing a woman toward him and patting her behind.... The future president was largely surrounded by cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills, in town for a game against the Miami Dolphins.... Trump is seen talking to Epstein and another man while they watch the women on the dance floor. Trump noted the presence of an NBC camera to Epstein, and both point out women...." ...

... The old tape begins at about 3:05 min. in:

Alan Feuer of the New York Times: "Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison, ending one of modern history's most brutal and notorious criminal careers. The life sentence, mandated by law as a result of the severity of Mr. Guzmán's crimes, was handed down in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where the kingpin was convicted last winter of drug, murder and money laundering charges after a sprawling three-month trial. As some of the federal agents who had chased him for years looked on from the gallery, Judge Brian M. Cogan issued the life term and Mr. Guzmán, 62, was hauled away to prepare himself -- pending an appeal -- for spending the rest of his life behind bars."

Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "[Currently] Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer ... runs the [defense] department temporarily while Trump's permanent choice [for Defense secretary], Army Secretary Mark Esper, awaits Senate confirmation. Meanwhile nearly two dozen senior civilian positions remain unfilled by Senate-confirmed appointees. Temporary officials like Spencer now occupy the most crucial roles at the Pentagon, including the top three positions: secretary of defense, deputy secretary of defense, and chief management officer. Twelve senior roles within the secretary's office are vacant in total...But the staffing problem is not isolated to the Defense Department's central division. The Army and Air Force lack permanent civilian leaders. Trump's choice to be chief of naval operations withdrew his nomination last week, creating another vacancy for the White House to fill...>. The wave of vacancies has left the Pentagon without relevant policy advisers or Senate-confirmed leaders during a time when the White House is responding to a myriad of foreign policy challenges[.]" --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Yes, but Pentagon leaders are superfluous. The main function of Trump's generals is to come to the White House to tell Trump, "Sir, you were right all along. Thank you for setting us straight, Sir." Then the toughest men you've ever seen openly weep with gratitude for the stable genius. (See Daniel Dale post, linked below, for context.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law. -- John Paul Stevens, dissent, Bush v. Gore ...

** Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times: "John Paul Stevens, whose 35 years on the United States Supreme Court transformed him, improbably, from a Republican antitrust lawyer to the outspoken leader of the court's liberal wing, died Tuesday at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 99." ...

... Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: Stevens' "death is more than just the vanishing of a generational landmark; it's his ideology, his understanding of the Constitution, that's disappearing, too. And that's the gravest loss to the country."

Julie Davis of the New York Times: "The House voted on Tuesday to condemn as racist President Trump's attacks against four congresswomen of color but only after the debate over the president's language devolved into a bitterly partisan brawl that showcased deep rifts over race, ethnicity and political ideology in the age of Trump. The measure passed nearly along party lines, 240-187, following one of the most polarizing exchanges on the House floor in recent memory. Only four Republicans and the House's lone independent, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, voted with all Democrats to condemn Mr. Trump. I know racism when I see it, I know racism when I feel it, and at the highest level of government, there's no room for racism,' thundered Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, an icon of the civil rights movement who was nearly beaten to death in Alabama in 1965.... Among other things, the resolution declares that the House 'believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger,' that 'those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations,' and that the House 'is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin.'" ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Appropriately enough, Republicans chose Steve Scalise (La.) to make their closing argument against the resolution. As Mehdi Hasan of the Intercept wrote this week, "... in 2002, Scalise, then a Louisiana state representative, attended and spoke at a convention of the white supremacist European American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by David Duke..., the Holocaust-denying former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as 'perhaps America's most well-known racist and anti-Semite.' Scalise later said he 'regretted' -- but did not technically apologize for -- attending the EURO event. When Louisiana-based political reporter Stephanie Grace first met Scalise, he likened himself to Duke. Grace recalled, 'He told me he was like David Duke without the baggage.'" The Democrats chose one of the great civil rights leaders of the 20th century. ...

... Meg Wagner, et al., of CNN: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking from the House floor today, called President Trump's continued defense of his remarks 'shameful' and added that the 'comments are racist.' While addressing the House of Representatives during the debate over a resolution calling for members to condemn Trump's racist tweets, she quoted former President Ronald Reagan: 'If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.' She added that the Democratic House caucus 'will continue to respond to the attacks on our members which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Juliegrace Brufke of the Hill: "Republicans on Tuesday demanded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) remarks blasting President Trump's comments about four minority congresswomen as racist be removed from the record, freezing action on the floor ahead of a House vote condemning Trump.... After [Rep. Doug] Collins [R-Ga.] asked Pelosi if she would like to rephrase her comments, Pelosi said she had cleared them with the parliamentarian in advance." Mayhem ensued. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Paul Blest of Splinter: "Welcome to the United States, where it's somehow considered more taboo to publicly describe a racist as a racist than actually saying something racist.... On Tuesday, Pelosi ... exposed one of the dumber and more pernicious rules of decorum in the House of Representatives.... Even before Pelosi finished her speech, GOP Rep. Doug Collins asked ... asked that Pelosi's comments be struck from the record.... After much commotion Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver -- who was presiding over the session -- essentially said 'fuck it' and left.... House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer took the gavel and ruled Pelosi's words out of order, but Democrats voted down an attempt from Collins to strike Pelosi's words from the record. According to GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Pelosi has been barred from speaking on the floor for the rest of the day." ...

... Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times makes note of some takeaways from the condemnation vote. ...

... Kellyanne Goes There. Matt Wilstein of the Daily Beast: Andrew “Feinberg, a reporter for the website BeltwayBreakfast.com, asked [Kellyanne Conway] which countries ... Donald Trump was referring to when he suggested Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar -- all U.S. citizens — should 'go back' to where they came from. Instead of answering that question, Conway asked him, 'What's your ethnicity?'... After Conway shares that her ancestors are from Ireland and Italy, the reporter said, 'My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I'm asking you.'" Mrs. McC: In fairness to the lovely Kellyanne, she was having a bad day. Besides working for Trump, "In that same Fox interview, Conway distanced herself from her husband George Conway, whose latest Washington Post column is headlined: 'Trump is a racist president.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... looks like Trump's 'Lock Her Up' campaign slogan will be replaced with 'Go Back to Where You Came From.' -- MAG, in today's Comments

... Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The president's latest defense of his tweets telling the lawmakers to 'go back' to their home countries, even though they are all U.S. citizens, came hours before the House is set to vote on a resolution condemning them as racist. 'Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!' Trump tweeted. Trump condemned the 'so-called vote' on the resolution as a 'Democrat con game,' sending a message to Republicans to vote against the measure. 'Republicans should not show 'weakness' and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat,' he tweeted." Mrs. McC: Trump's assertion is partially true inasmuch as bones are not capable of harboring or expressing racist thoughts. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Aris Folley of the Hill: "Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who was born in Taiwan and is a naturalized American citizen, shared Tuesday that despite the fact that he served in the U.S. military and has been a member of Congress since 2015, people still tell him to 'go back' to China. 'I served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and currently serve in the U.S. House of Representatives,' Lieu said in an op-ed published in The Washington Post. 'Yet I still experience people telling me to "go back" to China or North Korea or Japan. Like many immigrants, I have learned to brush off this racist insult." ...

... Greg Sargent, via digby: "Trump just unleashed a new tweetstorm aimed at the four nonwhite congresswomen he has been targeting, accusing them of 'vile' and 'hateful' and 'pro-terrorist' rhetoric, and bashing the Democratic Party for refusing to take on the 'Radical Left.' Trump sees this as a winner, claiming that he cleverly forced the party to defend Ocasio-Cortez and 'the Squad,' and this is 'Not good for the Democrats!' Some pundits have endorsed this idea, suggesting this is the turf Trump wants 2020 fought upon. Similarly, Trump campaign operatives tell The Post's Jacqueline Alemany that this is brilliant politics. One claims Trump's attacks 'reinforced in the minds of many Americans that the Democratic Party is the party of AOC and Omar.' Trump advisers made this same boast in 2018[.]... Indeed, it's worth recalling that Trump allies made an almost identical boast in the runup to the 2018 elections." ...

     ... digby: Some of Trump's advisors "are trying to move him toward attacking socialism instead of women of color but it's not going to work. For him, it's all about racism --- because he's a racist and he believes his base voters are too. And sadly, he is right. They are. And now they expect their president to 'tell it like it is' which means dogwhistling is not going to be enough." ...

... Lili Loofbourow of Slate: "It's bad enough to suggest that loyal American citizens should leave the country they serve. It's uncomplicatedly racist to suggest that American citizens who aren't white are therefore not American. But this last point is in some ways scarier: Trump is comparing elected representation to foreign interference. For nonwhite Americans, wanting to improve your country is evidence that you hate it. For nonwhite Americans, criticizing America is anti-American.... For all that Trump wants to make this a story about Democrats embracing each other, this was actually the week Trump fully embraced white supremacy without hinting or hedging. Time will tell whether the 'people who agree with him' -- with white nationalists a group that he now cozily includes -- will be outnumbered by those who prize American dissent." --s ...

... Brendan Morrow of the Week: "House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday insisted that President Trump's tweets telling four minority congresswomen to 'go back' to where they came from were not racist. McCarthy in a press conference was asked whether Trump's weekend tweets were racist, to which he flatly responded, 'No,' saying that "this is about ideology" and criticizing the so-called 'squad' that Trump attacked while not offering a specific defense of the language used. McCarthy also said he will vote against the resolution condemning Trump's tweets...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Justin Baragona of The Daily Beast: "Republican Senate candidate Kris Kobach left CNN anchor Chris Cuomo gobsmacked Tuesday night when he had to seriously think about whether he'd continue to support Donald Trump for president if he openly admitted to being a racist, saying he'd have to weigh who Trump was running against." --s ...

... Katie Rogers of the New York Times: "Those who study language and rhetoric say the president's 'go back' comments -- or, at least, the sentiment behind them -- have roots beginning as far back as the 1600s, when dissidents were banished from American colonies for advocating total religious freedom. Later, a set of laws passed in 1798 allowed the deportation of noncitizens who were considered dangerous, were from hostile nations or had criticized the federal government.... More than 4,800 ... people who wrote to The New York Times to share their own experiences with the phrase...." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: "... the moment one examines what 'anti-American' means [to Trump & other Republicans]..., the true color of Trump's nationalism becomes plain. After all, none of the congresswomen in question have said that they 'hate America.' They've merely expressed dissatisfaction with its present state and challenged popular conceptions about its past -- prerogatives of citizenship in a free society that Donald Trump has never denied himself. The mogul centered his presidential campaign, after all, on the assertion that America was no longer great. He described the United States as 'the suckers of the world,' and said that 'we are like, in many cases, a Third World country.'... He has expressed contempt for American prisoners of war, said that George W. Bush did not keep us safe, questioned whether the U.S. government was more 'innocent' than Vladimir Putin's, and declared that America had done 'a tremendous disservice to humanity' in the Middle East. Clearly then, neither Trump nor his defenders believe that dissent is inherently unpatriotic.... Trump has made the color of conservative nationalism more plain to the naked eye. But a tacit faith in white Christian Americans' superlative claim to national belonging has always been native to the creed."

Fox "News" Sets White House Agenda. Again. Aaron Rupar of Vox: "... Donald Trump threatened to launch a treason investigation into Google in a Monday morning tweet for allegedly working with the Chinese government -- based on an 11-second Fox News clip containing no evidence whatsoever. The president cited unsubstantiated allegations made by billionaire investor and Facebook board member Peter Thiel on Monday's installment of Tucker Carlson's Fox News show. Thiel, it's worth noting, is a longtime Trump supporter and adviser.... At 7:46 a.m., Trump tweeted, '"Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese Government." @foxandfriends A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone. The Trump Administration will take a look!' Trump's tweet was posted about an hour after a Fox & Friends news segment featured an 11-second clip of Thiel's interview with Carlson.... When Carlson lightly pushed Thiel for some evidence to back up his claim about Google being infiltrated, 'Thiel [said] he was just "asking questions."'... Thiel has been publicly critical of Google for years." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: So here's how your federal government works now: (1) A Fox "News" guest makes an unsubstantiated claim against a nemesis. (2) Trump tweets. (3) A Trump factotum jumps & initiates a multi-million-dollar investigation.

** The "Sir" Tell: Trump's Imaginary Minions. Daniel Dale of CNN: "I've fact-checked every word Trump has uttered since his inauguration. I can tell you that if this President relays an anecdote in which he has someone referring to him as 'sir,' then some major component of the anecdote is very likely to be wrong. Lots of people do call Trump 'sir,' of course. But the word seems to pop into his head more frequently when he is inventing or exaggerating a conversation than when he is faithfully relaying one. A 'sir' is a flashing red light that he is speaking from his imagination rather than his memory. In poker parlance, it's a tell. Trump has told false 'sir' stories on all manner of subjects: health care, the Middle East, the courts, unions and -- just last week -- both tariffs and social media. But no genre of Trump story is more reliably sir-heavy than his collection of suspiciously similar tales about macho men breaking into tears of gratitude in his presence." Dale cites several examples, then fact-checks them out of existence, making for a rather fun read.

Two Corinthians. Maggie Haberman & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Furious after he was criticized by evangelicals for stumbling in his reference to a book of the Bible during the 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump lashed out at 'so-called Christians' and used an epithet in describing them to a party official, according to a new book. Mr. Trump's anger was aroused after he stumbled in an appearance at Liberty University by referring to Second Corinthians as 'Two Corinthians' as he was competing for the votes of evangelicals...." Mrs. McC: This story is a day old, but I decided not to link it yesterday because I was annoyed that Haberman & Martin refused to tell us what "epithet" -- or as they also referred to it, "the most vulgar of terms" -- Trump used. Fortunately, Lawrence O'Donnell said last night that Trump complained about "fucking evangelicals."

Jeremy Herb & Ashley Killough of CNN: "Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas on Tuesday introduced his articles of impeachment against ... Donald Trump, which will force the House to take up the measure later this week. Green's resolution is unlikely to lead to an actual vote on impeachment in the House, but he can force the chamber to act on it under House rules within two legislative days, creating a dilemma for House Democratic leaders and the moderate Democrats who have largely tried to avoid the issue of impeachment. While Green said Tuesday that he wants an up-or-down vote on articles of impeachment, the House has several options to dispose of his effort, though they each have drawbacks."

Shut Yo' Mouth, Roger Stone. Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News: "A federal judge on Tuesday issued an order prohibiting Roger Stone ... from posting anything on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter after finding he violated her previous order limiting what he could say publicly about his case. Pointing to a series of Instagram posts and statements from Stone referring to his case and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that Stone was 'determined to make himself the subject of the story.' Once again, the judge said, she was forced to address behavior that 'has more to do with middle school than with a court of law' -- an apparent nod to comments she made at a previous hearing in former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's case." ...

      ... Rachel Maddow said that within two hours of the order, Roger Stone's wife got on Instagram to discuss the case.

Jacqueline Thomsen of the Hill: "A federal judge in New York on Tuesday signed an order permanently blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, days after President Trump gave up on his efforts to get such a question on next year's census. The order, signed by Judge Jesse Furman, was jointly drafted by the parties opposing the citizenship question." ...

... Tucker Higgins of CNBC: "Three civil rights groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the Trump administration's new asylum rule, which bars asylum claims from most noncitizens who travel through another country on their way to the United States. The rule was published in the federal register on Tuesday and was supposed to take effect immediately. The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco. The suit alleges that the rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act as well as federal laws governing administrative procedure."

"William Barr Is a More Subdued Version of Donald Trump." Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly: "It is Attorney General William Barr's job to ensure that all citizens in this country are treated equally, something we've never lived up to. Rather than take up that job responsibility, he just joined his boss in blaming those who are speaking up and fighting for our ideals. In doing so, Barr demonstrated what it means to engage in white identity politics, which is actually the breeding ground for hate and must be rejected. The danger posed by people like Barr is that they do so in a way that sounds reasonable, but conveys the same racist message we hear from Trump." LeTourneau cites a speech Barr gave Tuesday a Summit on Combatting Anti-Semitism at the Justice Department.

All the Best People, Ctd.

Eliana Johnson of Politico: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern about sending one of his top arms control negotiators, Andrea Thompson, to head a U.S. delegation meeting with Russia's deputy foreign minister this week after it was revealed that she had failed to disclose her [personal & financial] ties to the boyfriend [Paul Erickson] of Russian foreign agent Maria Butina. So Pompeo dispatched his deputy, John Sullivan, to lead the delegation instead..., which now includes Sullivan, Thompson and other senior U.S. officials ... attending the strategic security dialogue in Geneva ... to talk ... about arms control.... Thompson failed to alert her superiors that Erickson officiated her 2017 wedding ... and ... that her husband, David Gillian ... had wired Erickson $100,000 for an allegedly fraudulent investment scheme in which Gillian and others were allegedly defrauded by Erickson -- a transaction laid out by the FBI in court filings.... Thompson [is] one of the last remaining acolytes of the president's first national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn[.]" --s

Caleb Ecarma of Mediaite: "Republican operative Jason Miller, the former communications chief for the Trump campaign and transition team, said he hired numerous prostitutes and visited 'hand job' massage parlors as recently as a few months ago in a new videotaped deposition. Miller made the admission while testifying on May 30 in Washington D.C. in connection to his lawsuit against the digital media company Gizmodo -- a case that is being litigated in Southern Florida's District Court. Despite Miller's counsel calling for a protective order to make the deposition confidential, a redacted version was made public on July 11." Mrs. McC: These encounters may or may not be illegal, depending upon the venue and, ah, circumstances of employment. In any event, they're not a good look.


Emily Holden
of the Guardian: "Donald Trump's leases of public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling could lead to the production of more climate-warming pollution than the entire European Union contributes in a year, according to a new report. The Wilderness Society estimates heat-trapping emissions from extracting and burning those fossil fuels could range between 854m and 4.7bn metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, depending on how much development companies pursue. The 28 nations in the European Union produced about 4bn metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2014[.]" --s

Tierney Sneed of TPM: "The ACLU has won its legal war with the Trump administration over a census citizenship question, but it's not backing down from its demand that certain administration officials be sanctioned for allegedly false testimony in the case. In a court filing Tuesday evening, the ACLU alleged that top Trump administration officials in the Justice Department and Commerce Department 'engaged in litigation conduct that is nothing less than a fraud on the Court.' The ACLU is requesting that the court order 60 days of discovery -- or let the ACLU piggyback on the discovery that may move forward in a separate census case -- 'to determine the scope of potentially sanctionable conduct and the identities of the culpable parties.'" --safari: More of this please!

Josh Israel of ThinkProgress: "U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) helped honor an Islamophobic former state lawmaker on Friday, at an event ... theme[d], 'Defending Religious Freedom and America's First Amendment.'... Gardner praised former Colorado state Senate President John Andrews (R) for teaching the public about limited government.... Andrews then delivered an 18-minute diatribe, warning that freedom of religion should not apply to devout Muslims and warning that Marxism and Islam are America's enemies." --s

Presidential Race 2020

Sanford on the Path from the Appalachian Trail to the White House. Caitlin Byrd of the (Charleston, S.C.) Post & Courier: "Almost a year after ... Donald Trump urged voters to reject Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman [and governor] is considering a Republican presidential run of his own against Trump in 2020. Sanford, in an interview Tuesday with The Post and Courier, confirmed he will take the next month to formulate a potential run against Trump as a way of pushing a national debate about America's mounting debt, deficit and government spending."

Jason Lemon of Newsweek: Jess McIntosh, "a former adviser to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has said that 2020 hopeful Joe Biden is 'dangerously close to using Republican talking points' and sounds like ... Donald Trump when he discusses Medicare for All.... On Monday..., Biden announced his plan to add a public option to the ACA if he were elected president. This would expand Obamacare, and allow it to cover more Americans, but it would fall short of creating a universal healthcare system...." Mrs. McC: Biden is definitely stuck in a time warp. Last week, Biden told Chris Cuomo that scrapping ObamaCare and "starting over would be, I think, a sin." I found his view disqualifying, not because Yeah, Obamacare was a "big fucking deal," but digging in on a flawed system is just the kind of "that's the way we always did it" "reasoning" that marks a poor leader.


Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times: "Planned Parenthood on Tuesday removed its president after less than a year in the job, seeking new leadership at a time when abortion rights have come under increasing attack from statehouses and Republicans in Washington. The sudden ouster reflected a widening disagreement between the president, Leana Wen, and the board of directors over her management style and which direction to steer one of the nation's leading women's reproductive rights groups. Her departure followed a series of negotiations that appeared to end acrimoniously on Tuesday. In a Twitter post, Dr. Wen said her fate had been decided at a 'secret meeting,' which the organization disputed."

The Shelter/Concentration Camp Scam. Kim Barker, et al., of the New York Times: Juan Sanchez, "the leader of the nation's largest provider of migrant shelters for children [-- Southwest Key --] was paid $3.6 million during the charity's most recent tax year, even as the nonprofit organization came under intense scrutiny for its high compensation packages for executives and for its decision to accept children separated from their families by the Trump administration.... Over the past decade, Southwest Key has been awarded almost $1.9 billion in federal funds to care for unaccompanied minors." along with three other highly-paid executives, stepped down after the NYT ran an article in March about possible mismanagement of Southwest Key.

Katie Benner & William Rashbaum of the New York Times: "The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against a New York City police officer [Daniel Pantaleo] in the death of Eric Garner, ending a yearslong inquiry into a case that sharply divided officials and prompted national protests over excessive force by the police, according to three people briefed on the decision." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Pete Williams & Minyvonne Burke of NBC News: "According to a senior Justice Department official, U.S. Attorney General William Barr made the final decision not to charge Pantaleo, choosing to follow the recommendations of Brooklyn prosecutors.... A medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, saying the chokehold was the cause. The chokehold is prohibited by the New York Police Department." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Alan Pyke of ThinkProgress: "Attorney General William Barr made the final decision not to charge [officer Daniel] Pantaleo personally, a DOJ spokesperson told ThinkProgress 'after being briefed by [Eastern District of New York staff] and the Civil Rights Division.' He sided with the office that routinely works with NYPD over the civil rights specialists in his own department who have steadily insisted that Pantaleo's conduct was criminal for years. The spokesperson referred further queries about the nature of Barr's thinking to the office that has opposed the charges, which the Washington Post reports won the argument in part by noting Pantaleo's chokehold of Garner only lasted seven seconds.... Though Pantaleo has faced no criminal consequences, the bystander who filmed [Eric] Garner's dying protestations that 'I can't breathe!' was later targeted by police and prosecutors for retaliation."

Pilar Melendez, et al., of the Daily Beast: "An attorney representing Jeffrey Epstein accusers said Tuesday that at least one woman has come forward to say she was abused while the financier was on work release as part of his lenient 2007 plea deal. Lawyer Brad Edwards said Epstein was allowed to have visitors while he was supposed to be working during the 13-month sentence. 'It was not for some business arrangement and it was for... improper sexual contact,' Edwards said, adding that the new accusers said they were under 21, though they may not have been minors."

E. A. Crunden of ThinkProgress: "New research shows that communities in coal country are at an increased risk of fiscal collapse. The data is the latest blow to President Donald Trump's ongoing but faltering efforts to rescue the industry and its workers. Local governments dependent on coal are failing to account for the financial implications of the industry's demise.... That trend is likely to worsen should the federal government take action to curb carbon emissions, which would be likely if a Democrat were to triumph in 2020." --s

Beyond the Beltway

Puerto Rico. Patricia Mazzei of the New York Times: "Facing intense pressure to resign, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló addressed Puerto Rico on Tuesday, the morning after tumultuous street protests shook the capital of San Juan, and refused to step down despite what he acknowledged was widespread public discontent.... Mr. Rosselló appeared to be buying time politically to try to remain in power, perhaps hoping the public furor would die down."

Way Beyond

U.K. Ayshaw Tull of Channel 4 News: "Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips has admitted she secretly worked for Cambridge Analytica on its controversial 2017 election campaign in Kenya [after a secret recording of her surfaced]. Ms Phillips -- a prominent member of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party and former Head of Media for Ukip -- made the admission to Channel 4 News after initially strenuously denying any involvement with the disgraced data firm, and pressurising journalists to drop the story.... The controversial 2017 Kenyan election contest was marred by misinformation with fake news spread across the country via the Internet and on smartphones. President Kenyatta's opponent Raila Odinga was smeared with a series of viral videos, including one notoriously depicting apocalyptic scenes if he were to win the election. Cambridge Analytica strenuously denied any involvement with the content, and any role in negative political campaigning in Kenya." --s

Reader Comments (20)

Just a guess, but looks like Trump's "Lock Her Up" campaign slogan will be replaced with "Go Back to Where You Came From."

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

The DC clusterfuck masquerading as governance is not helping any side. Drumpf only excites his already loyal mouth breathers, Dems tear their hair out, and average Joes and Janes flip the channel in utter disgust.

Whatever "strategy" Dems have right now, it's not working. Granted, they're trying. The unprecedented obstruction & indifference to subpoenas has never been seen, and the corrupt DOJ means laws can hardly be enforced. Relying on "the courts" sounds like a fools errand and a great way to run the clock out on any meaningful oversight. Unless Dems start jailing/sanctioning/fining these lawless bastards, NOTHING will change.

We desperately need to learn how to orient the news cycle, but there is the problem of the fire-breathing, shameless blowhard to deal with. Given the overt racist embrace of the GOP, I'm wondering if a good strategy right now would be to embrace & constantly compare Obama's 8 scandal-free years in office with the shambolic angry uncle he's been replaced with. Not only would this infuse the narrative with fresh memories of a Democratic-led Washington anchored in sanity, stability and international respect, but it would also further expose the blatant hypocrisy of the GOP who were absolute obstructionist at every turn. Obama beats Trump in literally every respectable category. We should point that out, and build the next election around a "big tent" strategy of a diverse coalition and push it as an extension of the Obama years. Finally, putting Obama front and center for now would have the added effect of sticking a giant finger in the eye of the rising tide of outright, unrepentant racists and white supremacists, teasing them further out of their caves and exposing them for the degraded lowlifes they all are.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

... and the Stones' "You can't ... " will be replaced with The Beatles' "Get back"

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

It is beyond infuriating, and infinitely sad that this pompous racist has a better than 50-50 chance of being re-elected. With the filling of the courts with men who know only to say "YES SIR, MR TRUMP! we may be seeing scenes where opposing candidates are imprisoned or barred from running for office. He's cranking up the hate and fear machine and with GOP support the next year will be eventful to say the least..

I am fearful for what this country may become.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

It appears my Native American friends support trump on one issue.
"Go back to where you came from"

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Can't see why the Pretender regime has it in for Puerto Rico.

Looks like when it comes to govering philosophies, both are cut from the same cloth, use the same plays, and play by the same rules.

Brothers with different mothers?

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@Ken Winkes: Aah, you're missing the point. Only whitey-white scammers need apply. Also, it really, really helps to be a white Republican scammer.

July 17, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@Bobby Lee

I share the fear. Counseling myself to just relax, sit back, and enjoy the unreeling Pretender Follies works better for me some days than it does on others.

But not all news is grim. The Pretender still has only about one third of the country behind him.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/17/trump-tweets-poll-unamerican-offensive-partisan-divide/1748737001/

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

It's great that the Brits are honoring Alan Turing with the new 50pound
note, but looks like it's sort of a bait and switch. People will praise
us for honoring a man who probably shortened the war and
probably saved lots of lives in the process. And they will forget
that we had him chemically castrated for loving who he loved.
It'll never happen again say they. Sure.
Or am I just being cynical?

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

Forrest,

I don't think you're being overly cynical at all. In this Age of Trump when the Straight Hate Agenda has taken over the Republican Party, anything is possible, especially, as Bobby Lee notes, the courts are being packed with running dog, boot licking Trumpists. Discrimination is all the rage now on the right and anyone who says different will be investigated as a traitor.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

TO "SIR" WITH LIES:
Dan Dale done leave out "love" ––good for him to see that "sir" whistle–-our ears will be pricked for it from now on.

Chris Hayes had Mark Sanford on last night and asked what would be the most important issue for him as a candidate: Debt and deficit was the answer. WHAT? Chris shouts–-are you kidding? No, Mark says, we should all be concerned about the debt and the deficit (I doubt very seriously that the majority of Americans are concerned) But--but--stammers Chris–-with climate, immigration and heath care number one for most you are going to stress the debt and the deficit? You betcha, says the man who takes long walks on long trails. So Chris has fun with reminding Mark that when Democrats are in the W.H. Republicans are ranting and raving about D&D, but when Republicans are running the ship they don't give a hoot and raise both exponentially. This didn't move Mark who just smiled like an Appalachian Wolf hound.

And then we have our old friend Thomas Friedman who has written a piece in the Times warning the Democrat hopefuls that they are barking up the wrong tree and will actually help Trump win the election:

"I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was...

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option...

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care...

And I was shocked by how feeble was front-runner Joe Biden’s response to the attack from Kamala Harris — and to the more extreme ideas promoted by those to his left."

So there you have Tom's tirade telling us how shocked––a word I find almost amusing given that we associate it with Casablanca and gambling––but that the word has been appropriately used for the carnage that we see continually erupting since whats-his-name became president. But back to Tom––he does have answers: He wants the Democratic candidates to use the safe messages––jobs, equality, and regular health care. If we veer off on these way-out agendas we will lose and Trump will triumph. He may have a point to ponder on––I'm not totally dismissing him––but I think we wait for more definitive signals on what this country is ready for.

A word about Doug Collins (R-GA) the slick willy who asked Nancy to "rephrase her comment" yesterday. This guy sits as co-chairman on many of the immigration hearings that I watch and is constantly in a "bull-dog" state of mind––crying foul, accusing others of grandstanding, ––"This is a damned circus! Mr. Chairman," he yells but Nadler or Cummings, without batting an eye, carry on. He, along with Jim Jordan, make for the boisterous brothers in arms––truly the elephants on parade.

John Paul Stevens: It will be a long time before we see the likes of him again. So glad he had such a long bench/shelf life–-and continued to write excellent essays in TNYRB.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

As Trump continues his nativist, racist rants and nary a soul on the right dares to stand up to him (mostly because they agree with him), it's worth remembering that there's a certain amount of nativism baked into the Constitution. No one born outside the country can become president.

It's also worth remembering that plenty of non-native born men and women played vital roles in the war that gained us our independence and allowed the founders to write that constitution (rather than all being hanged).

Also, think of all the Americans in 1789 who were not born here. And if you want to be technical not a single one of those founders were born in the United States. Not one. George Washington wasn't born in the US either. There was no United States until after the war. Before that, all of them were citizens of Britain.

And here's another thing. If the idea was to ensure that the president's loyalties were to this country and not somewhere else, the present occupant of the Oval Office short circuits that idea. Trump is the most disloyal president in history. (I had originally written "perhaps" but decided it wasn't true. He IS the most disloyal.)

So the fact that someone is born here is no guarantee of loyalty to the country. Trump is loyal only to himself. The country exists to honor, indemnify, and enrich him. That's it.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Had a thought this morning whilst working on a bonsai (my mind
really wanders). What if the pee tapes are actually P tapes and
someone assumed that the P stood for pee.
If it is actually P tapes, P could stand for a lot of things, like paddle,
or pornographic, or proctological, or prostitute, or like his old friend
who likes little girls, pedophile. Who knows.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

Forrest,

Whatever is on those tapes, I’m betting Daddy Vlad breaks them out at parties now and then for his oligarch and ex-KGB pals over vodka and Cuban cigars for a good laugh at the moron who barks when they say so.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: Yeah, even Bill Kristol is woke now that he's an MSNBC contributor. He asked (rhetorically) yesterday, "Why doesn't Trump tell Bernie Sanders to go back to where he came from?"

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

It's no surprise that the junior Pretender confuses his father with the country, but I'm betting he did not fall victim to that logical fallacy when the president was black.

He must have been smarter then.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

They Just Make Shit Up

So Qusay sez 95% of Americans agree with his old man's racist tirades.

Really? Where does this number come from? His ass?

Let's break that down. Non-Hispanic whites make up about 62% of the population. In order to get to Qusay's mythical 95%, you have to assume that every one of that 62% is a racist just like Fatty and Qusay. But you're still short 33%. So now you have to assume that a large number of non-whites and non-Hispanic whites love being told to go back to where they came from.

Sure.

But these assumptions also mean that there are only a tiny number of non-Hispanic whites who aren't racists, and that a very large number of black and brown people hate themselves enough to agree with President White Supremacist and wish they would go back where they came from. Or somewhere that isn't the US of A.

Stoopid. But then consider the source. And as a tiny lagniappe to Qusay's ridiculous lies, here's Kellyanne bristling that anyone would call her boss a racist by demanding to know the ethnicity of the reporter who posed the question. It's like talking to idiots. Yesterday some jamoke from Fatty Central was on NPR. The host asked this idiot why Trump's racist statements weren't racist. His answer? Democrats are horrible people. They love terrorists and hate America.

Say what?

Q. What day is it?
A. I like peanut butter.

But this is now what passes for smooth political discourse on the right.

They just make shit up.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

If you're gay or lesbian and you live in Alabama....Oooofah...good luck. You're gonna need it.

So here in the state that loves them a child molester, being gay is horrible.

Here's Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R-natch), running for the senate and hoping to knock off Doug Jones who beat that above-mentioned child molester (who is also running again), proclaiming what's wrong with the country.

Homosexuals.

Yup. I know. What a surprise. Merrill complains that there are no good TeeVee shows anymore. You know, like "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke". The simple answer is "Because it's not 1959 anymore", but Merrill's answer is because people are too concerned with "homosexual activities".

Oh. Really? Like what? Walking? Talking? Grocery shopping? Washing the car? Cutting the grass? Which ones? I'm curious. Seriously. He's pissed that Megan Rapinoe is considered a superstar in the soccer world and is getting too much publicity. Oh well, Johnny, she only helped win the World Cup for the SECOND FUCKING TIME IN A ROW! But that's not important, is it? What's Chester doing on Gunsmoke? That's what he wants to know. "Will Little Joe finally get a new jacket?"

What he's really pissed about (along with most other confederates) is the fact that members of the LGBTQ communities are not being shunned and spat upon as they deserve. They can live their lives openly and do normal stuff without being beaten up or murdered. He's pissed that they are not in the closet and asking his permission to cross the street.

This is the exact same mindset as Trump who hates that black and brown people--especially women--have the temerity to think they're as good as he is. And say so publicly!

But Alabama? Hoo-weee. This is where a mayor says killing gays is a great idea and where a deputy makes fun of a gay teen who committed suicide.

It's okay to lure little girls into sex, but "homosexual activities"? No way, Jose. "Look over there. That gay guy walked into the Piggly-Wiggly. Just like that!"

Jesus.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Alabama, number 46 in education, right next to two other anti-ed
states, Mississippi and Louisiana. But they're tops in the SNAP
program and really high in the porn downloading category.
But I guess that's my fault that they have such bad stats. Blame
the LGBTQs, works every time, at least in the little minds of their
constituents.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

More news from the Pretender's foreign policy funhouse.

Looks like we might be headed to another NAFTA 2.0.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/17/trump-iran-deal-obama-1417801

Lotsa whoop-de-doo and not much else from the master of the art of the broken deal.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
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