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.”

Wednesday
Jul172019

The Commentariat -- July 18, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Kevin Liptak & Barbara Starr of CNN: "... Donald Trump says a US ship 'destroyed' an Iranian drone on Thursday. He said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer and ignored 'multiple calls to stand down. 'Speaking at the White House Trump said the drone was 'threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew' in the Strait of Hormuz and was 'immediately destroyed.' The drone was destroyed using electronic jamming, according to a US defense official. The crew of the Boxer took defensive action after the drone came within a threatening distance of the US ship, the official said. 'This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,' Trump added." With video. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Watching Trump haltingly read from the teleprompter, leaving the viewer/listener with no confidence he has any idea what he's talking about, I couldn't help think of President Obama & other previous real presidents who, even when they mostly read their remarks about national security issues, seemed to know not only what they were talking about but much more than they revealed. We must not forget how real presidents communicate in crises. You can watch Trump in the video accompanying the CNN story & contrast the presentation by Trump -- a former TV star & con-man/professional actor -- with this:

Oh. Actual Populists. Sheryl Stolberg & Jeanna Smialek of the New York Times: "The House voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, delivering a long-sought victory to liberals and putting the Democratic Party's official imprimatur on the so-called Fight for $15, which many Democratic presidential candidates have embraced. The bill would more than double the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour -- about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, or about $10,000 less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. It has not been raised since 2009, the longest time the country has gone without a minimum-wage increase since it was established 1938. The measure, which passed largely along party lines, 231-199, after Republicans branded it a jobs-killer, faces a blockade in the Senate, where Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said he will not take it up." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: On the other hand, Trump & McConnell deserve credit for giving themselves huge tax breaks at the expense of the rest of us. The truth is, Trump's antics are extremely useful to McConnell. Few are paying attention to McConnell's stonewalling of almost every bill the House passes when we're all tearing out hair out over Trump's latest outrage.

Tom Winter & Adam Edelman of NBC News: "The FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump was closely involved in a scheme to hide hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump, court documents from the closed campaign finance case against former Trump-fixer Michael Cohen show. The documents, released Thursday, describe a 'series of calls, text messages, and emails' among Cohen, Trump, Trump campaign aide Hope Hicks, Keith Davidson -- an attorney for Daniels... -- and David Pecker, an executive of the company tha published the National Enquirer." ...

... Kara Scannell & Marshall Cohen of CNN: "Federal search warrants released Thursday detail how Donald Trump and others scrambled in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign to arrange a hush-money deal to hide his alleged affair and contain the fallout from related stories in the press. The internal chaos consumed Trump, then-attorney Michael Cohen campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and even reached campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, according to the documents unsealed by a federal court in New York. After the 'Access Hollywood' tape came out in October 2016, there was a mad scramble inside the Trump campaign to contain the damage and suppress additional allegations of a sexual nature from reaching public view, according to the documents."

Once Again, Trump Denies Reality Caught on Tape. Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Trump on Thursday disavowed the 'send her back' chant that broke out at his re-election rally Wednesday night when he railed against a Somali-born congresswoman, as Republicans in Congress rushed to distance themselves and their party from the ugly refrain. Mr. Trump said he was 'not happy' with the chant, directed at Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a hijab-wearing freshman Democrat whom the president has singled out repeatedly for verbal excoriation. On Thursday he claimed that he had tried to cut off the chant, an assertion contradicted by video of the event. Asked why he did not stop it, Mr. Trump said, 'I think I did -- I started speaking very quickly.' In fact, as the crowd roared 'send her back,' Mr. Trump looked around silently and paused as the scene unfolded in front of him, doing nothing to halt the chorus.... Mr. Trump's effort to dissociate himself from his own supporters reflected the misgivings of his allies, who have flooded the upper echelons of his team with expressions of concern in the wake of a rally that veered into ugly nativist territory.... Among them were House Republican leaders, who pleaded with Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday morning to separate the party from the message embraced by the crowd in Greenville, N.C." Ivanka Trump reportedly got to Daddyo this morning. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Let's not forget Trump's late Wednesday tweet: "Just returned to the White House from the Great State of North Carolina. What a crowd, and what great people. The enthusiasm blows away our rivals on the Radical Left. 2020 will be a big year for the Republican Party!" (Linked below.) IOW, Trump only accepted the notion that a threatening, racist, nativist taunt was not that good a look after advisors & allies begged him to disavow the fascist chant. Up till then he thought it was so great he congratulated the chanters. Then he pretended the chant had nothing to do with him and said he heroically tried to stop it. And I am the Queen of Romania.

... Benjamin Weiser & Ali Watkins of the New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday denied bail for Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing sex-trafficking charges, rejecting his request to await trial under home detention at his Upper East Side mansion. The judge, Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said Mr. Epstein, who owns property in Paris and has a private plane, would be detained in jail until his trial on charges that he sexually abused and trafficked dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s. Judge Berman emphasized Mr. Epstein's danger to the others, particularly his accusers and 'prospective victims as well.'"

~~~~~~~~~~

I have to be out until late afternoon, and there may be newsworthy developments during the late morning/early afternoon in the Trump-Cohen hush-money case & in the Jeffrey Epstein case. So if you come across a good story or these or other matters, please provide a link in the comments, & I'll catch up later. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Daily Beast: "Donald Trump has showered praise upon the crowd who launched into a' Send her back!' chant directed towards Rep. Ilhan Omar during the president's Wednesday night rally in North Carolina..., writing late Wednesday: 'Just returned to the White House from the Great State of North Carolina. What a crowd, and what great people. The enthusiasm blows away our rivals on the Radical Left. 2020 will be a big year for the Republican Party!'" ...

... At 7:52 pm ET Wednesday, Trump is at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, and his racist crowd is chanting re: Rep. Ilhan Omar "Send her back! Send her back!" See MAG's prophetic remark in yesterday's Commentariat. Update: Rachel Maddow pointed out that the Trump crowd, not surprisingly, was "almost all white" even though the population of Greenville is about 30 percent African-American. ...

The crowd at Trump's rally chanting 'send her back' after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I've ever seen in politics. -- Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, in a tweet ...

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise. -Maya Angelou

     -- Rep. Ilhan Omar, in tweet responding to Trump's latest attack

... Contributor Hattie puts Trump's rally in its historical context:

... "Trump Batters Dem Congresswomen on Campaign Trail." Matthew Choi of Politico: "... Donald Trump doubled down on the go-back-to-where-you-came-from trope during a Wednesday rally in Greenville, N.C., laying into the four progressive House members who have styled themselves as the foil to the Republican president. During his first rally since officially relaunching his re-election campaign, Trump spent more of his initial energy focusing on the four new Democratic members ... than his assorted 2020 presidential opponents. The rally was a campaign distillation of the racist tweets he had sent Sunday where he insisted the four members 'go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.' 'They are always telling us how to run it, how to do this,; Trump said Wednesday of the Democratic freshmen. 'You know what? If they don't love it, tell them to leave it.' Save for the occasional heckler, the crowd at East Carolina University seemed to enjoy his new campaign themes, chanting 'send her back.'..." ...

... Tom McCarthy of the Guardian: "Goaded on by the president, a crowd at a Donald Trump rally on Wednesday night chanted 'send her back! send her back!' in reference to Ilhan Omar, a US congresswoman who arrived almost 30 years ago as a child refugee in the United States.... But clearly sensing a political winner -- notwithstanding polling showing that a majority of Americans found his remarks to be offensive -- Trump riffed on the theme at his rally.... Trump's 'go back' tweets were prompted by an appearance before a House committee in which [four] congresswomen testified to inhumane conditions they witnessed during tours of migrant detention facilities in Texas." ...

     ... Delusional Donnie. Marina Pitofsky of the Hill: "President Trump falsely claimed during his campaign rally Wednesday night that he has never 'had an empty seat at any event.' Reporters online were quick to point out that the president's statement is incorrect, with multiple events having open spaces, including Wednesday's rally." ...

... Matt Novak of Gizmodo: "Donald Trump held another neo-fascist rally yesterday in North Carolina.... Online dictionary searches in the U.S. from last night show just how bad things have gotten. Merriam-Webster reports that the most common searches last night included the terms: racism, socialism, fascism, concentration camp, xenophobia, and bigot. The searches are quite a snapshot of what it's like to live in 2019, when toxic xenophobia and hatred are coming not just from the political fringes but from the most powerful man in the country." --s ...

... Mediaite: "... Donald Trump was asked on Wednesday night about whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) should be investigated for possibly marrying her brother, bringing a scandalous rumor from the congresswoman's home state onto the national stage. In response to the question -- from a reporter at OANN, a right wing network best known for pushing conspiracies -- Trump said: 'There's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother. You're asking me a question about it. I don't know, but I'm sure that somebody will be looking at that.'... Without more evidence, the allegation remains unproven.... But for now, the claim that she married her brother is just a rumor -- as Snopes laid out in thorough detail here." Omar has vehemently denied it. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The only things Trump "proved" was that he stays up on right-wing theories and that he's willing to go to almost any lengths to "otherize" nonwhite opponents. ...

... Julie Davis & Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "The House on Wednesday killed an attempt to impeach President Trump for statements that the chamber condemned this week as racist, turning aside an accusation that he had brought 'ridicule, disgrace and disrepute' to his office. But 95 Democrats signaled their support for impeachment, while 137 opposed it -- a dramatic split signaling trouble ahead for a divided party. The 332-95 vote to table the impeachment article drafted by Representative Al Green, Democrat of Texas, constituted the first action by the House since Democrats took control in January on a measure to impeach Mr. Trump, a significant move that Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other party leaders have toiled to avoid. By agreeing to table the article, Ms. Pelosi and the Democrats put off -- at least for now -- a prolonged and divisive debate over whether Mr. Trump's conduct warrants his expulsion." ...

... Peter Baker of the New York Times: "... before becoming president, [Donald Trump] did not believe in 'American exceptionalism,' he said, because America was not exceptional. Instead, it was a 'laughingstock' that was no better than Vladimir V. Putin's Russia. By promising to make America great again, he made it clear that he believed it was not great anymore. That was then. Now the president who trash-talked America more than any other in modern times says anyone who trash-talks America should leave. The president, who took office with an inaugural address decrying 'American carnage,' now says that it is unpatriotic to speak ill of the country. And on Tuesday, he went further, equating attacks on him by his political opponents with attacks on 'the Country, the Flag.'... Assailed for inflaming racial divisions, Mr. Trump this week sought to reframe his attack on the so-called squad of congresswomen into a question of patriotism and loyalty, claiming that they 'hate our country..'" ...

... 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.'" (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Stupid Republican Thoughts. Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "Republican Rep. Mike Kelly (Pa.) on Tuesday weighed in on criticism of President Trump's tweets targeting four minority congresswomen, saying that he is a person of color because he is white. 'You know, they talk about people of color. I'm a person of color. I'm white. I'm an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don't get offended,' Kelly told Vice News before a vote on a resolution condemning the president. 'With a name like Mike Kelly you can't be from any place else but Ireland,' he said. The term 'person of color' is widely used in the U.S. to refer to anyone who is not white or of European descent." ...

     ... Charles Pierce: "The Irish are not Anglo-Saxon, dumbass. They are Celts with a little Scandinavian Viking mixed in.... Also, you're not a 'person of color' because you're white, either. These really are the fcking mole people."

... Susan Page of USA Today: "A clear majority of Americans say ... Donald Trump's tweets targeting four minority congresswomen were 'un-American,' according to a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll. But most Republicans say they agreed with his comments, an illustration of the nation's sharp partisan divide on issues of patriotism and race. More than two-thirds of those aware of the controversy, 68%, call Trump's tweets offensive. Among Republicans alone, 57% say they agree with tweets that told the congresswomen to go back to the countries 'from which they came,' and a third 'strongly' agree with them. All four lawmakers are American citizens; three were born in the USA." ...

... 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]." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Aris Folley of the Hill: "Many on social media have been pointing to a federal guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that identifies the phrase "Go back to where you came from" as language that could violate anti-discrimination laws in the wake of recent attacks by President Trump targeting four lawmakers of color." Among those pointing out the EEOC reg were 's husband), Chris Hayes, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), & Lawrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell wrote, "Trump broke the law and would be fired from any federal job except the one he has." ...

... "The Party of Racist Bastards." Charles Pierce: "Congratulations, George Corley Wallace.... It took a little over 50 years, but you finally did it. You got one of our two major political parties to remake itself in your image. Your deep drilling into the foul national Id has finally come home a gusher. All the demons you unleashed from history are now on the main stage and dancing in perfect rhythm and singing in perfect harmony. It took a little over 50 years, and the effort of a lot of people inside the Republican Party establishment and outside in the conservative movement, but you won, you old bastard. You truly did. Born as the Party of Lincoln, the Republican Party is now yours. It is the party of racist bastards, up and down the scale." Read on. ...

... No, No, They're Not Racists; You Are. Mark Sumner of Daily Kos on how Republican officials & voters have learned to explain away Trump's & their own racist sentiments: Step one: Trump isn't racist, because he didn't mention race. The definition of racism for the modern Republican is completely down to whether someone used a racial epithet. Trump did not say the N-word, so nothing else he could say could possibly be racist according to the Republican rules. Step two: Trump isn't racist; he's just telling it like it is. Step three: Democrats are the real racists, for saying that Trump is racist. Being a racists is a bad thing, but Trump isn't racist because that's already been established in step one and step two. So if Trump didn't say anything about race, then whoever mentioned race first is the real racist. QED. As Reuters reports, Trump's net approval among Republicans rose by 5% following his "go back" tweets and his double-, triple-down aftermath." ...

... Jonathan Chait provides some concrete examples that jibe with Sumner's theory & concludes: "There appears to be no point at which evidence of Trump's racism will compel most Republicans, though. They are only able to process offense at the charge itself. Indeed, the more evidence Trump supplies for the charge, the more offended they become." Chait's recitation of Marco Rubio's both-sides fake excuse is a classic.

Ben Protess, et al., of the New York Times: "A federal judge in Manhattan disclosed on Wednesday that prosecutors have concluded their investigation into campaign finance violations involving President Trump and ordered that they publicly release some of their files.... 'Now that the government's investigation into those violations has concluded,' Judge [William] Pauley wrote, 'it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials.'... The judge's order did not answer one of the lingering questions of the investigation: whether prosecutors in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan still plan to file additional charges in connection with the case. The investigation, which centered on hush money payments arranged during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, already resulted in the conviction of the president's former fixer, Michael D. Cohen." ...

     ... Rachel Maddow said Wednesday night that the government had wanted to delete a great deal of material to :protect private third parties: and "government officials," but Judge Pauley ordered that material to be unredacted because the material prosecutors wanted redacted Pauley wrote, "are a matter of national importance." Maddow also remarked that the only "government official" who was involved in the hush-money scheme was Donald Trump (Mrs. McC: as far as we know). The NYT report notes that "Judge Pauley is still allowing the prosecutors to black out some portions, which he called imited references' to an 'uncharged third-party.' The identity of that person is unclear."

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...." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

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

     ... Update: According to MSNBC, "The 1992 footage of Trump and Jeffrey Epstein was shot by NBC for a Faith Daniels talk show called 'A Closer Look' which profiled the then-newly divorced Trump. During that episode Faith Daniels and Trump describe the circumstances of how he ended up on the show." Those circumstances: at a "Celebrity Show" dinner, Trump walked up to Daniels & kissed her on the lips in front of the paparazzi, & she told him he'd have to pay that off by appearing on her show. Trump's attack of Daniels, as Chris Matthews points out in the segment embedded below, is consistent with what Trump told Billy Bush in the "Access Hollywood" interview. ...

... Joe Nocera in Bloomberg: "Instructed by the court to list his assets, Epstein turned in a financial disclosure form claiming a net worth of more than half a billion dollars. He listed $379 million in cash and investments, and valued his six (yes, six) properties at $181 million. There were no further details. At Monday's bail hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman described the document as 'cursory' and unhelpful.... Plainly, the government will need to dig deep to gain a complete understanding of Epstein's wealth. Under the criminal forfeiture statute, it has the right to take any asset that can be connected to a crime -- in Epstein's case, his properties, if it is proved that underage girls were abused there.... [I]f he acquired any of his wealth from trafficking[, t]hat money could also be taken away by the government.... Paul Cassell, a lawyer representing one of the victims, told the Washington Post that 'it's easy to foresee 160 victims in this case and possibly more.' He added that Epstein's 'exposure' from such lawsuits could exceed $1.5 billion.... [T]he mystery of how Epstein became rich enough to own six properties, plus a private jet, plus all the rest of it remains just that: a mystery." --s ...

... ** Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair: "The Jeffrey Epstein case is an asteroid poised to strike the elite world in which he moved.... Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by 'numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,' according to the three-judge panel's ruling.... Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: 'It's going to be staggering, the amount of names. It's going to be contagion numbers.'... For those in Epstein's orbit, the stakes of exposure are bound to get higher as more and more women come forward. Every day seems to bring new horrors about Epstein's alleged depravity." --s ...

Juan Cole: "It's official. Trump has put US manufacturing, which is about 14% of the US gross national product, into recession, according to AFP. Recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of decline. The recession in manufacturing has many reasons.... But on top of them all came Trump's trade war with China, which tipped the balance.... Trump's support, like that of most Republican candidates, comes from the upper middle class and the rich (along with, in his peculiar case, Evangelical Christians determined to go to hell for hypocrisy). But about 14% of blue collar workers who had voted for Obama switched to Trump, mainly over his promise to restore US manufacturing and to bring jobs home from China.... The 14% of blue collar workers who switched to voting for the Republican Part[y] -- in hopes that their class interests would be served by a billionaire narcissist -- got taken for a ride." --s

... Mike Lofgren, former GOP Congressional aide, in Common Dreams: "In the age of Trump, the wrongdoing has become so blatant, the attitude towards the rest of us so contemptuous, that a presumption of guilt may be the only realistic attitude[.]... In the rarified world at the intersection of oligarchy and celebrity, the rules are different. Trump's presidency and Epstein's arrest have pulled back the curtain -- ever so slightly -- on this twisted world. It is a black pit of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), codes of omerta, sending batteries of lawyers and sleazy detectives to harass people who saw things they shouldn't have, lining up character witnesses, setting up fake charities both as attestation of beneficence and tax dodge." Worth reading.

Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "The House voted Wednesday evening to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for their refusal to turn over key documents related to the Trump administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The citations for two cabinet officials, approved 230-198, will breathe new life into a dispute that has touched all three branches of government over why Trump administration officials pushed to ask census respondents if they were American citizens and what that question's impact would be. Democrats investigating the issue believe that the documents and testimony being shielded would confirm that the administration's long-stated rationale for collecting the data -- to better enforce the Voting Rights Act -- was merely a cover for a politically motivated attempt to eliminate noncitizens from population statistics used to allocate political representation, diminishing Democratic power. The Supreme Court hinted at that theory last month when it rejected the administration's stated reason for adding the question as 'contrived.'... And in an unusual twist, President Trump himself all but confirmed those suspicions earlier this month when he said of the citizenship question, 'You need it for Congress, for districting.'"

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 (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... 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 yesterday, for context.) (Also linked yesterday.)

Kyla Mandel of ThinkProgress: "There is a 'culture of fear, censorship, and suppression' within the Trump administration that is impeding government scientists from doing their best work, former Interior Department policy director and scientist turned whistleblower Joel Clement warned on Wednesday[, s]peaking to lawmakers on the House Science Committee.... But the scientists said that under President Donald Trump, political interference had reached a new level." With multiple examples. --s

One of Those "Great" Border Patrol Agents. Sophie Weiner of Splinter: "A border agent who worked at a child detention facility in Clint, TX allegedly sent harassing messages to the mother of a 12-year-old child who was detained where he worked, according to the Washington Post. The mother filed a complaint with Customs and Border Protection about the alleged incident. The complaint alleges that the agent sent abusive chats and video calls to the undocumented Guatemalan woman living in California while he held her son in detention. The messages included a video of the agent masturbating. The agent apparently asked for her Facebook handle after she was allowed to speak by phone with her son, and she agreed, hoping she might find out more information about his case.... The woman says she met with CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility in May and showed them the Facebook messages. In June, she was reunited with her son for the first time since he was 8 months old."

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tried to win the Senate's consent to approve the House-passed bill, which would reauthorize funding until fiscal 2090. The bill cleared the House in a 402-12 vote last week.... A spokesperson for Paul later told The Hill that Paul 'is not blocking anything,' adding that he is 'simply seeking to pay for it.'" Mrs. McC: Li'l Randy can't help it; he has his principles, you know. Maybe he can take the money from the widows & orphans fund. ...

     ... Update. Justin Wise of the Hill: "... Jon Stewart on Wednesday strongly condemned Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) after he and another GOP senator objected to legislation to extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.... 'It's absolutely outrageous. Pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling, Stewart said on Fox News while appearing alongside 9/11 first responder John Feal." ...

... Nonetheless, Trump & Li'l Randy Think He Would Be a Great Diplomat. Eliana Johnson & Nahal Toosi of Politico: "Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked ... Donald Trump's blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission. Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president's behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea."

Amanda Becker of Reuters: "Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman lawmaker who has clashed with ... Donald Trump and her own Democratic leadership, has sought a meeting with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss their relationship, a Pelosi aide said on Wednesday."

Presidential Race 2020

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 in The Squad as perfect foils until he gets a Democratic nominee to run against." (Also linked yesterday.)

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." (Also linked yesterday.)

Senate Race 2020. Homophobic Alabama. Tim Fitzsimons of NBC News: "Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican contender in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, has set off a new controversy after saying Americans' fixation with 'homosexual activities' has, in part, caused the country's moral decline. Merrill, 55, is running to defeat Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat who won the seat in 2017 after his Republican challenger Roy Moore was accused of soliciting sex from underage girls.... Merrill's remarks about gays come on the heels of several other controversial comments made by Alabama officials, including a mayor who suggested killing gay people and a police officer who mocked a gay teen's suicide.... [Roy] Moore blamed gays, liberals and socialists for the emergence of sexual misconduct allegations against him during his ill-fated first Senate run in 2017." --s

Beyond the Beltway

Puerto Rico. Patricia Mazzei & Frances Robles of the New York Times: "For the fifth consecutive day, [protesters] demanded Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló's resignation. As on Monday, the night ended with chaotic confrontations with the police.This time, there were many more protesters packed into the narrow colonial streets of Old San Juan, including a hardcore group that faced off with the authorities for hours. Police officers in riot gear deployed tear gas and rubber bullets. Ostensibly, the demonstrators were protesting the arrogant and crass exchanges by the governor and his inner circle in a leaked group chat and the corruption of top politicians unveiled by a series of high-profile arrests. But the forceful display on the streets of Old San Juan amounted to a rejection of decades of scandals and mismanagement involving affluent and disconnected leaders who have time and again benefited at the expense of suffering Puerto Ricans."

Way Beyond

France. Elian Peltier, et al., of the New York Times: Paris's Cathedral of "Notre-Dame still stands only because firefighters decided to risk everything, a New York Times reconstruction has found.... This is how it was saved. With lots of graphics.

Reader Comments (26)

MAG,

That was creepy.

May I request that you use your obvious powers of procogntion sparingly or maybe even keep them under wraps, unless your sense of the future (e.g., a resounding Pretender defeat in 2020) will lighten my day.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Re: “Send Her Back!” - MAG’s entry has proven horrifyingly prescient.

This chant seared through me with unprecedented force. And has ever more closely joined The Present with this “look back” at Reichsparteitag Nürnberg, 1933 (thankfully, one minute only in duration).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MaWSTPSA2k

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Ken Winkes,

We may have posted at about the same time. (Or my cellphone screen didn’t notice you ahead of me). I offer my apologies if I’ve now further un-lightened your day. But might I recommend focused, gentle breathing along with wild ‘n crazy uninhibited dance movements with free-flowing expletives as soundtrack? (“Dance like there’s nobody watching.” Or listening.) I have found both helpful.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Hattie,

As the younger set says (or did say a few years back), no worries. And no copyright either.

Have tried two of the three treatments you recommend, to occasional good effect. Uninhibited dance would likely send me to the ER, but thanks for that advice, too.


More generally ( addressed to All), am wondering now that white nationalism has lurched all the way out of the closet (ala Krugman and me, the other day) think we'll soon be seeing MAWA hats?

After all, tho' many refused to admit it three years ago, I thought that's what GREAT really meant all along, and now that there's present proof that outright racism is an effective political weapon (Republican approval of the Pretender increased after his weekend racist tweets, and as Hattie points out we've seen this movie before), what harm would it do a candidate whose supporters admire him because of the way he "tells it like it is" (i.e. anti black and brown).

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

How long 'til the white hoods show up to the rallies?

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Lest we forget how "fiscally responsible" Lil' Randy really is:

https://thinkprogress.org/rand-paul-blocks-funding-9-11-victims-fund-budget-concerns-47acf4efeba8/

There is such a thing as changing your mind because you learned something new.

There is the standard hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another we've come to expect from politicians (and occasionally forgiven in ourselves?).

And then there are Republicans. (See the Mike Lofgren piece above.)

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

"Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it."–– Fintan O'Toole (who is NOT Anglo-Saxon and knows it)

Resistance, I think, is no longer an option, given that both the humanity and the life of the planet are at stake.What we are seeing now, and I don't think I am being over zealous, is a resurrection of discourses of hatred, exclusion, and ultranationalism––not only here but in other countries like Hungary, Brazil, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines and maybe more. MAG's video of Hitler gives us chills but watching a bit of the Trump rally last night gave me a fury and a fear that we can no longer look at this as "Donald's way" with a smirk and a giggle. He is no Hitler but he is fomenting some of the same messages. When I see old shots of George Wallace pontificating his venom I remember how terrified I felt for anyone who wasn't the color of white.

Safari asks when will we see white hoods at the rallies. It has gotten that bad when you have to ask a question like that.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

This just in:
Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN)Iran has seized an oil tanker it claimed was carrying 1 million liters of "smuggled fuel," state news agency Press TV said on Thursday.

The semi-official Fars news agency said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces ambushed the tanker, carrying 12 people on board, on Sunday.
The IRGC have denied seizing any other tankers, Fars said.
It is unclear whether the tanker seized Sunday was the same vessel as one that Iran claimed to have assisted earlier this week.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD: the Hitler video clip was noted by Hattie.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

I heard about 30 seconds of the rally, and some interviews where people "don't think Donald Trump is racist." I agree-- these total morons think racists are people who say n***** or spic or...But not anything as "complicated" as the violation of EEOC guideline speech. Right after the Unfortunate Election, the MSM groups were in competition with each other to see how many people with "economic insecurity" could be talked with, particularly in the south and midwest. It got so glommed up that reporters were talking with reporters. It is the fault of ignorant editors who sent them out there, I guess. But now, it has become crystal clear that this navel-gazing with reportage will continue until forever. They are STILL pointing out the "extreme divisions" in the Democratic Party and leading these idiots to lie like rugs about how much S***-For-Brains has done for the country, keeping us all safer, happier, richer, everything. And the corollary is: Democrats are demons from hell and have no rights to anything. When is someone, anyone, going to say out loud, on teevee, that these rallies ARE fascist celebrations and total fabrications, and the King Crapmeister has come along just in time to reap all of Reagan's festering nastiness? I guess none of these MAGAts possess the ability to read body language or listen carefully-- Mr. Ugly (and rotten dancer, for sure--) telegraphed EVERYTHING from the beginning. These people were so eager for a savior, they took the devil, himself. Nope, I don't feel sorry for them-- let 'em die in emergency rooms en masse. In the end, they get what they deserve.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Over on Meriam-Webster's Twitter page we see this:

"Tonight’s top searches, in order: racism, socialism, fascism, concentration camp, xenophobia, bigot". One commenter saw this as the answer to a possible future Jeopardy question: "What was the Trump Administration known for?"

There are a few other things as well, but that's a start.

Over on its website, M-W notes in its Trending Words section the following: Condemn, Gerrymandering, Concentration Camp, Animus, Held in Contempt, and, appropriately, Folderol, all signifiers of the Trump Debacle. I'm guessing "Howling racist douchebags" made the cut but the M-W editors are just too nice to include it.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: "What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever" Beautifully written and completely frightening.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/send-her-back-battle-will-define-us-forever/594307/

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Self Certified Diplomat Li'l Randy Saves the World.

Well, not before he gets a cheap publicity boost out of this latest bullshit stunt. The littlest Self Certified Sharp Stick in the Eye Poker just cannot go too long without he has to belly his tiny frame up to the bar and orders a double shot of single malt Self-Aggrandizement. As one of congress' most embarrassing opportunists, the Little One, out on the links, importuned another member of the "Look at Me" club (its president) to let him go to Iran to "fix things", because, why?

He'll get his puss on the news, that's why!

But hey, maybe he'll impress the Iranians with past tales of abducting a woman and making her worship Aqua Buddha. They might like that story. Then again, they might see this little asshole coming a mile away and think that Trump is gaslighting them and send him off to the gulf to commune with the captain of an oil tanker.

This is how foreign policy is done now? After slicing a ball off the tee, this jamoke sez "Hey, Donald, how 'bout you send me to Iran?"

"Why sure, Randy". "Oh, look! My ball has mysteriously appeared a foot from the cup. And you thought I hit it into the bunker. Watch me birdie this hole now."

Then again, it's not far from The Decider out on the green one day saying something, something, something about foreign policy (that didn't make sense) then saying "And now watch this!" as he hit his golf ball. Something much more important than world events.

Oh, and after he blocked voting on an emergency bill for 9/11 first responders, one of Li'l Randy's flacks said "He didn't block anything!"

"Ahh....yes. He did. You moron."

These fucking people. Black is white and up is down. I just blocked that bill, but here's my doobie to tell you otherwise.

He'll do well in Iran. They'll love that sort of hippity-hop lying bullshit. I'm sure of it. Maybe they have an orb he can fondle.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Have been reading about the stir at Planned Parenthood and while far from being sure why the organization's president is out, I gather it might have something to do with the recent imposition of Pretender rules that restrict entities that receive federal funds from any counseling in the direction of abortion.

Planned Parenthood will have to sort all this out and I'm sure it will, but my reading has left me with a few questions to sort out too.

The objection to Planned Parenthood all about morality and individual choice, I've heard time after time. Don't want to sully any clean federal money by associating it with what the Pretender's base considers immoral activity. Heaven forbid!, and another front in this long-running campaign against abortion and contraception, certainly don't want to force medical providers or pharmacists to act in any way that offends their consciences.

An argument troublesome for women in some ways, I can see that, and extended as it has been by some of our current courts to areas that don't involve federal funds for abortions or contraception, even a problem for, let us say, partipants in gay marriages who just want a cake.

But I'm not wholly against the idea of the federal government supporting individual conscience in the workplace, because that would mean it would uphold the right of any employee who objects to what his employer demands that cuts across his moral grain.

Like:

Overcharging customers for items?

Shoddy construction work?

Making false advertising claims?

Billing for hours not worked?

Putting defective products on the market (small things like commercial jets, maybe)?


Crazy, I know and the capitalism we know would collapse but it would be interesting.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Anonymous,

Thank you for alerting us to the Adam Swerver piece in The Atlantic.
Superbly written, deeply probing and analyzing.
A most I mportant read.
(And, yes, “completely frightening”)

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Adam *Serwer*!
(Doh!)

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

“And I am the Queen of Romania”
:)
Ms. Parker, Belovéd Patron Saint

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Hats off to you Hattie–Hitler video was yours–-thanks. And D. Parker takes a bow.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I’ve been off-and-on Under The Weather (or the recent local weather - HOT / HUMID - has gotten under me.) The downside, cancelling lotsa my stuff. The upside, able to check-in with Chex more often. Also, devoting to additional radio-listening, with eyes closed, up in my aerie (loft-bed).

Ken Winkes - Perhaps the following might lighten your day? Terry Gross interviews Randy Rainbow, another of my Patron Saints Of Sanity:

https://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/2019/07/17/742628024/fresh-air-for-july-17-2019-satirist-randy-rainbow-remembering-justice-john-paul?showDate=2019-07-17

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

PDPepe -

Was a tad alarmed to read “Hattie” & “Hitler” in such close proximity.
(LOL)

Re: The Nürnberg clip: This content is available to all - and from all - regardless its origin of posting. But your “hats off”to “Hat” is, nonetheless, very sweet.

Cheers.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Lies and Stupidity

So, Trump sez "I tryed to stop those meen people from screeming "Send her back" but it din't werk.

Oh. Too bad, Donny. We all know what a sweet guy you are. You'd never foment hatred or grab pussies or lie about ANYTHING.

Yeah, right.

So first, I watched the Nuremberg rally video. Trump never once tried to stop his racist brownshirts from screeching "Send her back!!!". In fact, he looks positively beatific when his ignorant horde displays its hatred.

Then there's this business about how Generalissimo Trumpo reported that a US warship had successfully shot down a drone. Becuz it was hurting de Navy guys. Duh.

Seriously? A three foot drone posed an existential threat to a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship? 266-by-50-foot (81 by 15.2 m) by 28-foot (8.5 m) high? Not exactly a row boat.

I've never been in combat, but I've been in plenty of fights in my life. And when some weenie-ass sez "C'mon, asshole. Knock this thing off my shoulder, or else", I walk away. Because it's not worth my time to punch out some whiny kid. Also, I'd feel like an asshole. Not Trump. He LOVES punching out whiny kids. Especially cuz he was such a whiny baby himself when it came to military service.

So the Iranians had a drone. Big deal. If it comes into our airspace, whack it. But it's not then necessary to tout your manhoodliness about what a Great President you are because you blew a kid's science project out of the sky, then pretended it was a Yuuuuuuge Military Victory.

Fucking douchebag.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Hattie: Wow! I didn't think anyone would pick up on Marie of Romania.

July 18, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Mrs. Bea McC.

A like-souled acting mate (past tense pursuit) gifted me “Not So Deep As A Well” before deserting NYC for Hollywood. He inscribed “. . I think you will enjoy this . . . “.
(Aiyup!)

It’s a hard-bound copy and second printing from 1937. Both the front and back “endpapers” (???) are Deco-designed. As is the Ex Libris with the original owner’s signature, still pristine and beautifully inked.

Like someone else’s bible, this perches at bedtime’s reach.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

The NYTimes told me more about the Planned Parenthood president's ouster.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/17/us/politics/planned-parenthood-wen.html

The discord was apparently about whether the organization was a health care or political animal.

An expanded version of my comment to the Times:

"Women's health or politics?

In this benighted country where a minority political party wishes to restrict all women's rights to abortion and a significant portion or that minority party would also like to return to the days before pbarmaceutical contraception existed or was available, this is just another in a long list of false dichotomies.

Of course, Planned Parenthood is political.

Look at the word "Planned," which explicitly states that human reproductive practices can and should be planned, just as if we were all really living in the 21st century.

The fight between those who know we're living in the here and now with the options made available by medical science and the ascention of women's rights and those who wish we weren't has nothing to do with women's health.

Some would say it is a matter of morality; others that it is all about women's rights and their position in the social order.

Both are opinions with arguments on both sides, and unless there's a magic pill we might take to resolve them, those arguments must necessarily take place in the political, not the medical sphere."

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

“Hattie: Wow! I didn't think anyone would pick up on Marie of Romania.”

You got some sharp people out here Marie.

Sharp like you read about.

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I dunno what AquaBuddha (aka Rand Paul for those who do not follow Charles P. Pierce)has been smoking recently, but he sure hasn't been paying attention to international affairs. On the other hand I don't suppose Fox News has mentioned that Ayatollah Khamenei has said Iran will not talk to the U.S. until sanctions are lifted. All of them. Unconditionally. He has pointed out that President* Trump and the United States in general are not trustworthy and do not bargain in good faith. What would be the point of talking?

July 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterProcopius
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