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.”

Sunday
Jul212019

The Commentariat -- July 22, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

** Emily Cochrane, et al., of the New York Times: "White House and congressional negotiators reached accord on a two-year budget on Monday that would raise spending caps and lift the government's debt ceiling, likely averting a fiscal crisis but splashing still more red ink on an already surging deficit. If passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, the deal would stop a potential debt default this fall and avoid automatic spending cuts next year. The agreement would also bring clarity about government spending over the rest of Mr. Trump's term.... The agreement, struck by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would raise spending by $320 billion, compared to the strict spending levels established in the 2011 Budget Control Act and set to go into effect next year without legislative action. Spending on domestic and military programs would increase equally, a key demand of Ms. Pelosi, offset by about $75 billion in spending cuts, far lower than the $150 billion in cuts that some White House officials initially demanded. The deal would lift the debt ceiling high enough to allow the government to keep borrowing for two more years, punting the next showdown past the 2020 elections."

Stifling Mueller. Bill Barr's DOJ Is at It Again. Eliana Johnson, et al., of Politico: "Justice Department officials have communicated to Robert Mueller that the department expects him to limit his congressional testimony this week to the public findings of his 448-page report, according to ... official[s] familiar with the preparations. In extensive discussions since the former special counsel was subpoenaed to testify on June 25, department officials have emphasized that they consider any evidence he gathered throughout the course of his investigation to be 'presumptively privileged' and shielded from public disclosure. The Justice Department is 'taking the position that anything outside the written pages of the report are things about which presidential privilege hasn't been waived,' the former U.S. official said. The White House and the Justice Department, meanwhile, have signaled they don't intend to place lawyers in the room during Mueller's highly-anticipated testimony...."

Trump May Show off His Corruption to World Leaders. Jonathan Swan of Axios: "The Trump administration, which next year will host the leaders of the world's most powerful economies for the G7 summit, is down to its final few choices after completing site surveys of possible locations -- and Trump National Doral, President Trump's 800-acre golf club in Miami, is among the finalists." Mrs. McC: Maybe the their members will kick the U.S. out of the G-7 because we now so resemble a third-world nation.

Priscilla Alvarez of CNN: "The Trump administration is planning to expand a procedure to speed up deportations to include undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US who cannot prove they've lived in the US continuously for two years or more. The change casts a wider net of undocumented immigrants subject to the fast-track deportation procedure known as 'expedited removal,' which allows immigration authorities to remove an individual without a hearing before an immigration judge."

Frances Robles & Patricia Mazzei of the New York Times are liveblogging the protests in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "Thousands of Puerto Ricans shut down traffic on a major highway in San Juan early on Monday, assembling for what is expected to be one of the largest protests the island has ever seen against Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló, who has resisted persistent calls for his resignation. People arrived by the busload hours before the demonstration was scheduled to begin, carrying Puerto Rican flags, protest signs and whistles. They broke into chants demanding the ouster of Mr. Rosselló, who said on Sunday that he will not seek re-election in 2020 but will remain in office -- and face possible impeachment."

Austin Ramzy of the New York Times: "A brazen overnight attack by a mob of men with sticks and metal bars who were apparently targeting antigovernment protesters raised tensions in Hong Kong to new levels on Monday after weeks of demonstrations, prompting fears of violence spiraling beyond the authorities' control. Dozens of people, including journalists and a pro-democracy lawmaker, were injured in the assault in and around a train station in Yuen Long, a satellite town in northwestern Hong Kong near the border with mainland China."

Owen Daugherty of the Hill: "The Illinois Republican County Chairmen's Association (IRCCA) shared and later apparently deleted a movie poster-style meme labeling four Democratic minority congresswomen the 'Jihad Squad.' The post was shared on the group's Facebook page early Saturday morning and featured images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib(Mich.).... Mark Shaw, president of the IRCCA, issued a statement Sunday night after the post was deleted. 'I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted,' Shaw wrote in a post on the group's Facebook page. 'I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents.'&" Mrs. McC: "I'm sorry if you're offended that we're racists." ...

... Neil Vigdor of the New York Times: "A Facebook post by a Louisiana police officer suggesting that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 'needs a round' drew criticism on Sunday from officials in the city where he works. The officer, Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the police department in Gretna, La., referred to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, in a post on Thursday as 'this vile idiot.' The post continued, saying she 'needs a round -- and I don't mean the kind she used to serve,' a reference to her past work as a bartender, according to a screenshot of his comment obtained by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans."

     ... ** See Nisky Guy's comment below. The Snopes report Nisky Guy cites is here. Mrs. McC: I tweeted Vigdor & e-mailed the NYT editors to bitch about it. I expect a response. This omission is a real candidate for the "Annals of 'Journalism,' Ctd." header.

Déjà vu All Over Again. Michael Sallah, et al., of BuzzFeed News: "Two unofficial envoys reporting directly to Donald Trump's personal lawyer have waged a remarkable back-channel campaign to discredit the president's rivals and undermine the special counsel's inquiry into Russian meddling in US elections. In a whirlwind of private meetings, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman -- who pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican campaigns and dined with the president -- gathered repeatedly with top officials in Ukraine and set up meetings for Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani as they turned up information that could be weaponized in the 2020 presidential race. The two men urged prosecutors to investigate allegations against Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden. And they pushed for a probe into accusations that Ukrainian officials plotted to rig the 2016 election in Hillary Clinton's favor by leaking evidence against Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chair, in what became a cornerstone of the special counsel's inquiry. They also waged an aggressive campaign in the United States, staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and meeting with key members of Congress as they joined in a successful push that led to the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine after she angered their allies in Kiev."

Alex Seitz-Wald of NBC News: "Alex Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, announced Monday that he will mount a primary challenge against Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee who has been criticized by progressives for not pushing harder for the release of ... Donald Trump's tax returns."

** Jane Mayer of the New Yorker does an autopsy on Al Franken's resignation from the Senate. It was a hit job, & a number senators who called for his resignation admit now they made a big mistake. "A big part of Franken's political problem was the way the story broke. KABC-AM released [Leeann] Tweeden's material on its Web site, giving it the look of a proper news story. In reality, the station, which is owned by Cumulus Media, was a struggling conservative talk-radio station whose survival plan was to become the most pro-Trump station in Los Angeles."

~~~~~~~~~~

Martin Pengelly of the Guardian: "On Sunday, the chairman of the judiciary committee indicated the stakes when he said the 448-page [Mueller] report contained 'very substantial evidence that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours' -- the benchmark for impeachment. 'It's important that we not have a lawless administration and a lawless president,' the New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler told Fox News Sunday. 'And it's important that people see what we're doing and what we're dealing with.'... Trump, who has repeatedly and inaccurately claimed exoneration, said this week he would not watch Mueller's testimony [this week] and accused Democrats of 'just playing games'." ...

... Zachary Basu of Axios: "House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Fox News Sunday that Donald Trump has 'violated the law 6 ways from Sunday' and that he would be indicted if he were not president.' With video. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Trump, desperate, sent Stephen Miller out to cover for him on "Fox 'News' Sunday." I can't stand to listen to 8 minutes of Stephen Miller, but I did read this summary by Josh Israel of ThinkProgress. According to Israel, the interview did not go well. However, contributor Hattie didn't think Chris Wallace put up much of a fight. Israel's post include video of the interview. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

Chas Danner of New York: The "Send her back" chant "confirmed that [Trump's] divisive and xenophobic rhetoric had reached and inspired its intended audience, and reaffirmed Trump's special relationship with that audience and the base grievances which bind them.... The next day, pressured to disavow the chant by concerned GOP lawmakers and Vice-President Mike Pence, Trump didn't even bother coming up with remotely believable lies to explain why he had seemed to savor the moment. Instead, he claimed that everyone's eyes were the real liars, insisting he tried to 'quickly' speak over and cut off the chanting as he was 'not happy' and 'disagreed with' it, and even 'felt a little bit bad' that it had happened. The day after that, Trump decided he was done pretending to distance himself from the racist spectacle he had incited.... Then ... Trump argued that the chant wasn't even racist.... By Saturday, Trump had gone from inspiring his supporters' racism to celebrating it."

... Robert Reich in the Guardian: "The relevant question is not whether Trump is a racist. Of course he is. Or whether he's going to continue bashing these members of Congress, who fill all his demonization boxes: Democrats, females, people of color, a Muslim. Of course he will. The real question is whether the people bankrolling Trump and the Republican party are going to stop this rot before it consumes the politics of 2020, and perhaps more.... Much of the money that's flowing into Republican coffers is coming from the same place it's always come from: Wall Street.... [Wall Street] is delighted with what Trump and Senate Republicans are giving it: tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks. The putative leaders of the American economy owe it to the nation: they must help douse this fire."

... Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: "The president stirs up racial fury in his followers. He blames it on the targets themselves, the media, and the Democrats, but he is the one doing it. Now, whipping up racist crowds to chant racist things isn't a crime (though threatening to send people 'home' does, in fact, appear to violate federal anti-discrimination laws). But the point is that millions of people admire Trump when he says explicitly racist things. His polling numbers rise, as they did this week. Which is why, even though he wants to (occasionally) claim he didn't mean to, Trump is dead set on egging them on. His supporters' intentions have never been more clear. They want to engage in a war over race, immigration, and intolerance. And Donald Trump is not stumbling. He's taking deliberate shots." --s (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Miami Herald Editors: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) "has transformed from Trump critic to a sycophantic cheerleader -- derided by former adviser and Washington Post columnist Max Boot as a 'Trump fan-boy' -- to the point that he's willing to kill Obamacare even though his own state leads the nation in enrollment. The Miami native who some, including us, thought could lead the Republican Party in finding a reasonable path on comprehensive immigration reform and help it broaden its appeal to minorities in America could not find the spine to do more than mildly criticize Trump after his blatantly racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen. Rubio, far from the Republicans' savior, seems just another slick politician with his finger in the wind -- pushing the party deeper into Trump's swamp." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Renuka Rayasam of Politico: "Federal inspectors visiting a California migrant detention center made a shocking discovery last year: Detainees had made nooses from bedsheets in 15 of 20 cells in the facility they visited. The inspection revealed the extent of a largely unseen mental health crisis within the growing population of migrants who are being held in detention centers in border states.... Donald Trump's 2017 decision toreverse a policy that encouraged releasing vulnerable individuals while they await deportation hearings has left U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unequipped to deal with conditions ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia. One estimate puts the number of detainees with mental illnesses between 3,000 and 6,000. Some advocates and lawyers who work with migrants in the facilities say it's probably more. Many of the migrants with mental illness are not stable enough to participate in their own legal proceedings, so they languish in detention. While treatment of immigrants has become an explosive national issue, the plight of mentally ill migrants has scarcely registered." (Also linked yesterday.)

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times: "Iran said on Monday that it had arrested 17 Iranian citizens on charges of spying for the United States and had already executed some of them, Iranian and Western news media reported. At a news conference in Tehran, an official who identified himself as a director of counterespionage in the Intelligence Ministry described the arrests of people he said had been trained by the C.I.A., but he did not name them and gave few details of their alleged spying.... Iran has previously claimed, without elaboration or supporting evidence, to have broken up American spy rings. It made similar announcements in April and again in June this year."

Daniel Lippman of Politico: "The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross, according to four people with knowledge of the inner workings of the department. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary, who has for months endured whispers that he is on the outs, spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain ... Donald Trump's favor, the sources said, leaving his department adrift.... 'He's sort of seen as kind of irrelevant. The morale is very low there because there's not a lot of confidence in the secretary,' said a former outside adviser to Commerce.... 'He's not respected in the building.' Ross doesn't hold routine meetings with senior staffers, according to a person familiar with the department's inner workings and a former outside adviser -- a departure from past practice that one source attributed to the secretary's lack of stamina. 'Because he tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen...,' said the former outside adviser."

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Growing distrust between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office.... Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States fell to $5.4 billion in 2018 from a peak of $46.5 billion in 2016, a drop of 88 percent, according to data from Rhodium Group, an economic research firm. Preliminary figures through April of this year, which account for investments by mainland Chinese companies, suggested only a modest uptick from last year, with transactions valued at $2.8 billion.... A confluence of forces appear to be at play. A slowing economy and stricter capital controls in China have made it more difficult for Chinese investors to buy American, according to trade and mergers and acquisitions advisers. Mr. Trump's penchant for imposing punishing tariffs on Chinese goods and an increasingly powerful regulatory group that is heavily scrutinizing foreign investment, particularly involving Chinese investors, have also spooked businesses in both countries."

Presidential Race 2020. Hayley Miller of the Huffington Post: "Cumulus Media, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the country, blocked [Blair Garner,] one of its country radio station hosts, from airing his interview with 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.... 'The decision was made by local programming management based solely on concerns related to the application of the FCC's Equal Time Rule,' the spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday...." Mrs. McC: Call me skeptical. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think the Equal Time Rule applies. Garner's show is partly a talk show & he regularly does interviews' the ETR exempts talk shows. It also exempts news events, & the fact that Buttigieg was in Nashville on a campaign stop could be characterized as a news event. When CNN runs a clip of Buttigieg saying something on the campaign trail, I don't think 20 other candidates call up demanding equal time. So maybe there's some other reason.

Congressional Race 2020. Chris Sommerfeldt of the New York Daily News: "An insurgent progressive candidate trying to unseat Jerry Nadler in 2020 is making the House Judiciary chairman's dithering stance on impeachment a major pushing point for her long-shot campaign. Lindsey Boylan, who previously worked as a senior adviser to Gov. Cuomo, has been hammering Nadler on social media over his refusal to pull the trigger on impeachment proceedings.... Her latest Nadler-bashing effort is an 'Impeach Trump Now' petition that has spread across social media like wildfire. 'By refusing to impeach Trump, Democratic leaders are violating their oath to defend our Constitution,' Boylan posted along with the petition on Facebook. 'Join me in calling on my NY-10 opponent, Rep. Jerry Nadler, to exercise his authority and stop hiding behind Speaker Pelosi.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Especially after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's surprise upset of the Democrats' No. 4 person in the House, Joseph Crowley, Nadler should be worried. Reports are that he's itching to begin impeachment proceedings, so -- if nothing else -- Boylan's challenge gives Nadler an excuse to hit the "go" button. (At least Crowley was a remarkably good sport. Here he is on election night, after AOC trounced him):

     ... Trump, BTW, tweeted on election night, "... That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he [Crowley] should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!" How's that working out for you, Donnie Boy?

Osita Nwanevu of the New Yorker went to the National Conservatism Conference & found out these so-called conservatives could find a lot of high-falutin "justifications" for excluding immigrants from "shithole countries." Also, David Brooks was there. I knew David Brooks would be there. And to show you what counts for a "conservative intellectual," Tucker Carlson & Sen. Josh Hawley, both of whom need their ears boxed, were featured speakers. ...

... Jennifer Schuessler of the New York Times went, too.

The New York Times has an interactive feature that allows you to see "how your hometown has changed so far and how much hotter it may get." The database goes back to 1960, so if you were born before then, as I was, it will use 1960 as your base. The city where I was born experienced 54 days of 90-degree-plus weather in 1960; today (2017) it was 93 days, so it reached 90 degrees 39 more days in 2017 than in 1960. What global warming?

AP: "Equifax will pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission and others over a 2017 data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other private information of nearly 150 million people. The proposed settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if approved by the federal district court Northern District of Georgia, will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers, a $100 million civil money penalty, and other relief."

Holly Aguirre of Vanity Fair: Residents of St. Thomas Island "say [Jeffrey] Epstein continued to bring underage girls to the [nearby Little St. James] island as recently as this year -- a decade after he was forced to register as a convicted sex offender -- and that authorities did nothing to stop him.Two employees who worked at the local airstrip on St. Thomas tell Vanity Fair that they witnessed Epstein boarding his private plane on multiple occasions in the company of girls who appeared to be under the age of consent. According to the employees, the girls arrived with Epstein aboard one of his two Gulfstream jets.... 'On multiple occasions I saw Epstein exit his helicopter, stand on the tarmac in full view of my tower, and board his private jet with children -- female children,' says a former air traffic controller at the airstrip.... 'One incident in particular really stands out in my mind, because the girls were just so young....'" Mrs. McC: Both St. Thomas & Little St. James Islands are U.S. territories. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Tiffany Hsu of the New York Times: "After Jeffrey Epstein got out of the Palm Beach County jail in 2009..., he began a media campaign to remake his public image. The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost. The Forbes.com article, posted in 2013, praised him as 'one of the largest backers of cutting-edge science around the world' while making no mention of his criminal past. The National Review piece, from the same year, called him 'a smart businessman' with a 'passion for cutting-edge science.' The HuffPost article, from 2017, credited Mr. Epstein for 'taking action to help a number of scientists thrive during the "Trump Era",' a time of 'anti-science policies and budget cuts.' All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times.... The articles in praise of Mr. Epstein came about partly because of an online publishing model adopted by some news organizations that relied on outside contributors who often wrote for little or no pay, with little or no input from editors."

Beyond the Beltway

Michigan. Joshua Eaton of ThinkProgress: "Kathy Zhu was stripped of her title as Miss Michigan on Thursday after the organization found Twitter posts that were racist and Islamaphobic.... Zhu, 20, is vice president of the University of Michigan chapter of the College Republicans and communications director for the Chinese Americans for Trump Movement." --s (Also linked yesterday.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Definitely a candidate to have her ass grabbed by one Donald J. Trump.

New York: Robert McFadden of the New York Times: "Robert M. Morgenthau, a courtly Knickerbocker patrician who waged war on crime for more than four decades as the chief federal prosecutor for Southern New York State and as Manhattan's longest-serving district attorney, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 99." ...

The crap you think of is unbelievable. -- Donald Trump, to participants in a White House meeting of far-right agitators & conspiracy theorists including at least one who promotes Q-Anon, July 11

Yes, it's all very funny, & let's have them over to the White House for a fun chat about the First Amendment & how they can help the Trump re-election campaign. Ha ha ha. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

... Ali Watkins of the New York Times: Anthony Comello, who killed Francesco (Franky Boy) Cali, a leader in the Gambino crime family, on Staten Island in March, "was so deluded by internet conspiracy theories [according to his lawyer,] that he was determined to conduct a citizen's arrest of Mr. Cali and turn the Mafia leader over to the military.... Mr. Comello had become convinced that Mr. Cali was part of the so-called deep state, a cabal of criminals that conspiracy theorists claim controls the United States government. Mr. Comello also believed he was a chosen vigilante of President Trump.... QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory..., played a key role in Mr. Comello's descent into mental instability, his lawyer said." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Okay, maybe your heart isn't breaking because some lunatic pumped 10 rounds into a mob boss, but is this what "due process" now resembles in TrumpsAmerica?

Puerto Rico: "Facing an angry public uprising against his administration, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico announced on Sunday evening that he would not seek re-election in 2020, and would step down as president of his political party. But Mr. Rosselló did not resign the governorship, as tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have demanded.... Far from quelling the furor that has led to more than a week of mass protests in San Juan, the governor's announcement seemed to have th opposite effect: People quickly gathered on the street outside the governor's official residence in the Old San Juan neighborhood and said they were even more determined than ever to oust him."

Texas. Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs of the New York Times: "Texas lawmakers thought they were clear: The bill they overwhelmingly passed allowing the growth and sale of hemp had nothing to do with legalizing pot. But since Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure into law in June, county prosecutors around Texas have been dropping some marijuana possession charges and declining to file new ones, saying they do not have the time or the laboratory equipment needed to distinguish between legal hemp and illegal pot. Collectively, the prosecutors' jurisdictions cover more than nine million people -- about a third of Texas' population -- including in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.... The police and prosecutors in Florida are facing the same problem as their Texan colleagues after the Sunshine State legalized hemp in July."

Way Beyond

Brazil. Dom Phillips of the Guardian: "Indigenous leaders and specialists working with Brazil's nearly one million tribal people have been stunned and disconcerted by the appointment of a federal police officer [Marcelo Xavier da Silva] with strong connections to agribusiness as the new head of the country's indigenous agency.... In June, the outgoing Funai president, Gen Franklimberg de Freitas, said Garcia 'froths hate' for indigenous people and sees Funai as 'an obstacle to national development'." --s (Also linked yesterday.)

Hong Kong. Lily Kuo & Verna Yu of the Guardian: "Police and demonstrators have clashed after hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in the city's largest demonstration in recent weeks. Riot police armed with batons and shields fired teargas to disperse the crowd as protesters ran toward officers who tried to push them back from a main road in the western district near Beijing's liaison office with the city. One demonstrator threw a bottle at police. Officers advanced on the crowd, setting off smoke bombs. Smoke filled the air after several rounds of teargas were fired. Hundreds of protesters ran away in panic. The clashes came after demonstrators defied police orders to restrict the boundaries of their rally, in a new and bold display of support for a political movement that shows few signs of slowing."

Reader Comments (21)

I've got some bad news for Robert Reich. Capitalism has proven itself to be totally amoral & apolitical. Fascism, democracy, dictatorship...it cares only about institutional stability, enforced investor protection laws, strong short term growth and expansion.

The people hoarding all the dollars should have some knowledge of the ideals of civic virtue, the benefits of living free in America as opposed to under the boot of a paranoid Putin or Xi, but alas the Call of Currency Accumulation has drained the treasure seekers of their humanity. Besides, they can always find refuge in Switzerland if the whole system collapses.

The RNC is currently drubbing the DNC in donor dollars. Corporate boards and the plutocrats are clearly giddy with their growing bank accounts where the price of collateral damage to humanity doesn't enter into the equation. Expect A LOT more of this.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/20/dnc-fundraising-june-1424116

@Ken, sorry for bringing forward the bad news. I'll start linking more positive stories once this orange-hued nightmare fades to black.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

I got to meet and greet Mayor Pete yesterday. He talked for about
45 minutes. You could understand every word and agree with
everything he had to say. There was no chanting, no negativity,
lots of hugging and picture taking.
He graciously signed my book (the one he wrote, not me).
Nothing at all like a trump re-election rally.
There is hope out there if we can just get more sane people to vote.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

Safari says: "@Ken, sorry for bringing forward the bad news. I'll start linking more positive stories once this orange-hued nightmare fades to black."

But given that he begins his comments with a clear eyed statement on our system of governance does not portend happy valley scenarios. He's right, of course, which means if we want a drastic overhaul those things called money and power need to be re-evaluated and that, I'm afraid, might be like trying to prevent a blood flow without a tourniquet.

The interview with Miller was not only hypocritical but actually laughable. The only positive was that this pond scum managed to contain himself and not, as he has on other occasions, sound like a deranged looney. His emphasis on his Jewishness–-we can't criticize Israel's treatment of the Palestinians without being called anti-semetic? Really??? Jews have criticized Israel for that and its politics for years. Americans who love their country can't criticize it for its faults, wanting it to be better? Of course they can and should. What Trump has fostered is totally different and how much Miller tried to put a different face on it, he failed and will, eventually, fail along with the man with whom he shares such sterling qualities.

Won't they?

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gayle-king-interviews-the-squad-on-cbs-this-morning-how-to-watch-live-stream-today-2019-07-17/

I hope this link works. Apologies if this has been shown before. It is Gayle King's interview with Tlaib, Omar, AOC, and Pressley.

These young women demonstrate not only an understanding of what representative democracy is, but also use of what we call mature psychological defenses.
I've been thinking about (he whose name shall not be mentioned)'s level of psychologically immature defenses, which are at the level of an infant or very young child, the level of "introjection/projection." The baby "takes in" its mother, literally, with its mother's milk at the breast. It takes several years before the child can differentiate between "being" its mother from "being like" its mother, to the point where one can be angry at momma without risking feeling a threat to oneself. As every parent knows, this occurs at around age 2. One matures into a more nuanced understanding of relationship. It does not take an utter rejection and wish to annihilate someone, one may simply disagree.
One may move on from the blood-red-wish-to-kill level of anger to a more mild objection. One no longer has to simply say "No!," one can move on to "You can have the cookie after you have lunch."
It is no wonder at all that the "squad" is so threatening to the lowlife current occupant of the oval office: they utterly outclass him, without even trying, especially because they demonstrate their more mature level of functioning.
I also loved the fact that Gayle King and the Squad never mentioned the orange bottom sucker at all.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

My frequent whining seems to have prompted an upwelling of sympathy and advice. Hattie tells me to breathe deeply and Safari promises good news ASAP (though he suggests it might be a while before it comes). Others have suggested exercise is the key.

Thanks to all. I do appreciate the concern, and take it as a testament to how many genuninely caring, humorous people occupy this site.

But I fear there is no help to be had. I'm just too far gone.

As proof, I offer my reaction to the Seattle Mariners who are on pace to lose more games than ever before. I used to watch their games occasionally. This year, hardly ever. Told my wife, expecting a loss night after night is just not that much fun....so I don't waste the time.

And there's the difference. I can withdraw from sports when the outcome is predictably grim, but grim as Pretenderland is, it still has me in its grip. I'd like to think it's because the stakes are so high, that politics matters, it is not a game, it's serious business, but maybe I'm merely a lost soul, like the harmless town drunk who would occasionally wander by my house when I was a kid. Harmless he was. as long as he had his fix.

That's why this morning I'm taking a little trip through time, back to the "love it or leave it" land of my teens and early twenties.

I remember those Vietnam years vividly. The division. The rancor. The way in which Nixon successfully rode the emotions generated by those divisions into office. And the lies. All those lies.

And what have we learned? Not much. It is now an almost universally acknowledged that the Vietnam War was a grave mistake, but I'm guessing it's the sons and daughters, the grandsons and -daughters, of those flag-waving "patriots" who are so eager to MAGA, just as dumb as before.

And more recently, a generation removed, there were those who, despite the lesson of Vietnam, wholly believed in all those weapons of mass destruction that Bush II and his gang planted in their brains.

Are they the same people, the same families, breeding true? The ones who wanted to kill gooks and then towel heads to make sure that eveyone knew that American was indeed Great?

Wish I knew for sure. But without knowing their genealogy, I'll have to leave it as this morning's guess.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Ken:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AFf0ysgNiM

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

@Victoria: Thank you so much for reminding us of this interview. I had trouble accessing it so found it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmrfiDbQvbk&frags=pl%2Cwn

These women are so special–-this interview shows once again but in much more detail just how special. I'm not so sure about Gayle's skill at questioning––she seemed somewhat impatient at the depth of some of the answers, especially Pressely's––although it didn't deter from the women's strong voices on their actual mission–-basically to change the system for the better.

I also want to tell you how much I enjoyed your mention of the "introjection projection"––memories of so many books I read about childhood functions. I recall one that relayed a story about a little boy who overhears his parents talk about taking a trip and they say, "We'll fly from JFK on Friday and then fly back the next Friday." This child became depressed and sorrowful because he knew he couldn't fly and he'd be abandoned. Small steps for mankind––and some never leave those attachments.

@Ken: I find, too, that it's difficult to put all this horror on the back burner and as much as I advocate finding solace and warmth in our good fortunes I still find myself tearing up many times a day–-it's like I'm teetering on the brink here. Yesterday I watched one of my beautiful grand daughters frolic in the pool––just celebrated her 14th year of life and I thought of Epstein and how she would be the kind of catnip for the likes of him. Then later I was showing my son old photos of his Irish and German great grandparents whose parents came here in 1858 and became Americans–-both of my great grandfathers fought in the Civil War––and we marveled at the idea of how immigrants formed this country.

And your question, Ken––"what have we learned?"–––I would say, not a whole hell of a lot–-as a nation–-and then we come full circle and count the ways why not and go back to Safari's comments.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Always more things to learn.

Fascinating piece in the new "New Yorker" on the Franken resignation.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/29/the-case-of-al-franken

Bea: What did you think about all that as it was happening? You may have said at the time, but I don't recall.

I do remember standing more or less on the sidelines at the time, wishing I had more information, hoping somehow to salvage Franken and his Senate seat for the good guys, but simultaneously not trusting my own motives.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Revisiting -
“Chris Wallace did not let Stephen Miller gaslight his viewers.”

I had wondered which viewers Josh Israel had been referencing. The Liberals and Progressives? Sure. But The Haters?

Was so busy ranting yesterday (me thinks it time for a mini-getaway from The News), I left little room to articulate my underlying POV.
Here goes:

While Chris Wallace did challenge falsehoods spewing from Miller’s smarmy maw, I doubted that any Trumpettes would have rated him the loser here. In spite of Miller’s repellent beliefs - and physicality - he appeals to his followers cuz (again, IMO) -

I believe that “performance” is what’s meaningful to The Haters. Not content. Whether on camera or podium, it’s the visuals - and the volume - that register with this mob mentality.

Miller sits tall in his seat. Wallace, not so much. Miller’s image - wretch-worthy as it is - “lands” while Wallace’s gently retreats. Miller’s body and facial kinetics - frightening as I perceive them - are, nonetheless, animated by comparison. Plus he interrupts / tries to dominate discussion - like Fearless Leader - while Wallace favors conversational etiquette. And hey - Fuggetabout what’s being said! One would need to *listen* to *hear* what Wallace was putting forth. And why bother investing time in logic or truth when sound, image and conspiracy are far more immediate and stimulating?

And so, in conclusion . . . ;)

running-against-the-clock per usual -
Peace

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHattie

Whitey Still on the Moon

Meant to send this in over the weekend, but The best laid schemes gang aft agley as a certain Scotsman once opined.

Like most space/science geeks, I've been caught up in the celebrations and remembrances of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 expedition. My little guy and I were out in the yard on the morning of the anniversary of the launch at 8:32 (local time) to shoot off our own rocket in concert with the 5,000 rockets blasting off from the space center at Huntsville, Alabama and who knows how many others around the world.

Watching the various documentaries and reading the commemorative articles, I learned a few things last week (and recalled others that had been forgotten). I was unaware of Ed Dwight, the first African-American picked for the Apollo program. Politicians of the, shall we say, southern stripe, were unable to even consider a black astronaut, so he never made it. Support of southern politicians had much to do with the site selection of both the Huntsville and Houston complexes as well. Pork talks.

I was also reminded of the fact that Rev. Ralph Abernathy and a number of Civil Rights workers showed up at the Apollo 11 launch to let people know that the amazing achievement of sending men to the moon was being accomplished with billions of dollars even as children in America were starving.

At the time, we were in the early stages of LBJ's War on Poverty.
It's much different today. Oh, for sure, kids are still hungry. But now we have the GOP War on the War on Poverty, War on the Poor, War on Women, War on Truth, and War on Democracy. The descendants of those politicians who could not abide a black astronaut are hard at work making it even more difficult for poor families to feed their kids, insisting that those on assistance programs jump through hoops that those receiving tens of billions in corporate welfare never have to. They ask and they receive. No questions.

A couple of years ago (pre-Trump), through the work of Gil Scott-Heron, we were reminded that, for many black Americans, while NASA programs might be nice and all, grinding poverty and racism made a moon shot about as close to the truly important things in their lives as, well, the moon itself.

Only now we have a president who is giddily pushing for more and more virulent and violent racism.

As Scott-Heron might say, Whitey (or Orangey) is still on the moon.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Equifax exposes information on 150 million people and is ordered to "provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers." Less than $3 dollars per person, sounds fair.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

Next year’s G7 meeting might (probably will) be at a Trumpy golf course? Sure, why not. More money in his pocket.

But here’s the question. Will Trump hold a stripper contest during the event, or will he bypass the formalities and just get hookers?

Hey, it’s first class all the way at a Trump affair. Not a cheap clip joint for pickin’ up tarts, as Monty Python would say. ‘Course not. His places are very expensive clip joints. Tarts extra.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The next paragraph in the "she needs a round" is the thing that enrages me: "He [the officer] was responding to a post by the satirical website tatersgonnatate.com with the headline 'Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: 'We Pay Soldiers Too Much' ' "

Snopes has rated this statement False, going on to say that Christopher Blair, the operator of the site, is known for producing "a high volume of junk news and misinformation, much of it inflammatory, which he presents as 'satire.' "

And yet, there it lies, on the page in the NYT, with no indication how false it is. The nutjobs are just too damn good at this disinformation stuff.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

Just an observation on our greatest economy ever. I never thought I'd mourn the maturing of a 3% certificate of deposit.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

Always so so many news things to be paying attention to — and between the anniversary of the moon landing and the Miller/Wallace interviews — my aging mind tends to muddle stories and blur the lines between.

For instance, looking at Stephen Miller across the table from Mike Chris Wallace-very light during that interview, what came to mind was Roswell, New Mexico. He reminds me of a space alien come to resemble a human. Well, sort of.

@RAS: Thought the Equifax amount was $700-million, which many have remarkeds as still not enough

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Oh course Trump would claim the ethnically diverse "Squad" members are racists, because they're criticizing a white male, the most endangered species of them all. This charge is absurd to everyone except his order of grievance-fueled white conservatives.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@MAG: You & RAS are both right, but RAS is, uh, more right. The total fine is $700MM, as you say, but only "up to $425MM," as RAS writes, is designated for consumers who may have suffered from the breach.

July 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@Ken Winkes: As I recall, both PDPepe & I stood with Franken. I think I gave up when the sixth or seventh woman came forward (some anonymously) with charges that Franken had sexually accosted them. Can't remember what PD wrote at the bitter end. I was really sorry when he resigned under great pressure from fellow Senate Democrats.

July 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

You are spot on, Mrs. McCrab...I stand corrected. Just read the CNBC story that explains the breakout of the settlement numbers and RAS is more right! Right!.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Thanks, Bea, for the Franken recollections.

About the G-7 at the Doral National should that unlikely venue turn out to host it.

Unlikely as it would be, it would be handy for some. I'm thinking the former G-8 could be assigned a closet from which he could emerge after dark for the real discussions, when no reporters or aides will be present, where no one will take notes, and after whuch the unfotunate translater will be forever sequestered.

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Adding to the comment by RAS. "The company reported revenue of $3.41 billion for 2018, and while its stock dropped in 2017 in the immediate aftermath of the breach, it has since rebounded."

More context on the "record breaking" fines on corporations.

https://www.wired.com/story/equifax-fine-not-enough/

July 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous
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