The Wires

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (September 22): In March the Department of Justice described criminal cases involving nearly $700 million lost [to fraud] in the previous year by about two million people. The ones hit hardest by this kind of fraud are over 70, and they experience an average loss of $41,800, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports.... Some of the newer tactics for defrauding older people focus on Social Security, grandparenting and employment searches." ~~~

~~~ Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I have received a number of calls recently warning me I was about to lose my Social Security card, an eventuality that is highly unlikely. I have always just hung up on these automated calls, but yesterday, I decided to bite. When the "real person" came on the phone, he identified himself as a Social Security officer, certainly breaking the law right there. "Really?" I said. "How are you going to prove you're a federal government official and not a scammer?" He immediately hung up. Maybe this gang of crooks will stop calling me (tho probably not).

New York Times: "Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have both won this year’s Booker Prize, it was announced at a ceremony on Monday, after the judges for the literary award rebelled against its rules. 'We were told quite firmly that the rules state you can only have one winner,' Peter Florence, the chairman of the Booker judges, said at a news conference. But the 'consensus was to flout the rules and divide this year’s prize to celebrate two winners.' Evaristo, who won for her novel 'Girl, Woman, Other,' is the first black woman to win the Booker Prize. 'I hope that honor doesn’t last too long,' she said in her acceptance speech. Atwood, who won in 2000 for 'The Blind Assassin,' was considered a front-runner this year for 'The Testaments,' the sequel to her 1985 dystopian classic, 'The Handmaid’s Tale.'”

We are amused:

The Hollywood Reporter has a list of this year's Emmy Award winners.

The End of the Amtrak Dining Car. Washington Post: "Amtrak says it is reinventing its dining service on long-distance trains, killing the traditional dining car to create more 'flexible' and 'contemporary' dining options. The carrier says the change, starting this fall on the one-night routes east of the Mississippi River, is driven by the desire to save money and lure a younger generation of new riders — chiefly, millennials known to be always on the run, glued to their phones and not particularly keen on breaking bread with strangers at a communal table. With the transition, Amtrak is doing away with the traditional onboard kitchen, switching to serving prepackaged meals and easing restrictions on the traditional serving times. The change allows the railroad to cut costs associated with cooking aboard and keeping up with the white-tablecloth service that was once known to rival high-end restaurants and clubs." ~~~

     ~~~ Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I realize many of you are too young to have experienced this, but once upon a time, traveling by train & plane was glamorous. People dressed up to travel, and those who had train roomettes dressed for dinner. My then-husband & I once had a roomette when we traveled from Juarez to Mexico City, & the experience was absolutely fabulous; so was the cuisine in the dining car. Now, it's sensible to dress in the most comfy clothes in anticipation of getting squished into a teeny "economy class" airline seat. The photos accompanying the WashPo story show people wearing casual dress in the white-tablecloth dining room, & the men are too gauche to remove their billed caps. P.S. to American tourists: nobody more messes up a photo of an historic site than a bunch of yahoo sightseers ambling around in their sloppy travel outfits. Then:

CNN: "The US Navy has finally acknowledged footage purported to show UFOs hurtling through the air. And while officials said they don't know what the objects are, they're not indulging any hints either. The objects seen in three clips of declassified military footage are "unidentified aerial phenomena," Navy spokesperson Joe Gradisher confirmed to CNN.The clips, released between December 2017 and March 2018 by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, appear to show fast-moving, oblong objects captured by advanced infrared sensors.In footage from 2004, sensors lock on a target as it flies before it accelerates out of the left side of the frame, too quickly for the sensors to relocate it. Two of the videos, both from 2015, contain audio from US fighter pilots attempting to make sense of what they're seeing."

New York Times: "A solid 18-karat gold toilet, titled 'America' by its creator, Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen early Saturday [September 14] from an exhibit at Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace and family home of Winston Churchill.... The artwork is based on a common Kohler toilet and was created by a foundry in Florence. The work’s value was not disclosed, but [Guggenheim artistic director Nancy] Spector described it as 'millions of dollars’ worth of gold.'... The police said in a statement that they were investigating the burglary and that a 66-year-old man had been arrested but not charged. The toilet has not been recovered. Jess Milne, a detective inspector, noted that the toilet had been plumbed to the building, so the theft 'caused significant damage and flooding.' He said the police believed a 'group of offenders' using at least two vehicles was behind the theft." the Hill's story is here.

Modern Art. CNN: "Hillary Clinton's emails ... have become art -- and the former secretary of state herself went to take a look.The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee looked through printed copies of her emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office's Resolute Desk during a visit Tuesday to an art exhibit in Venice, Italy, titled 'HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails,' according to the exhibit's creator and curators. 'Hillary Clinton spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice,' American poet and artist Kenneth Goldsmith tweeted Wednesday. 'She is pictured here at a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk, stacked with her emails.' Francesco Urbano Ragazzi -- the collective name for two men who are working as the exhibit's curatorial team -- told CNN that Clinton came in for a private tour of the exhibit Tuesday morning."

... Related Washington Post story here.

     ... Thanks to NJC for the lead.

Monday
Jul082019

The Commentariat -- July 9, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

Daniel Dale of CNN: "... Donald Trump shared a fake quote from former Republican President Ronald Reagan on Twitter on Monday. Trump passed along a tweet from an obscure account that called itself 'The Reagan Battalion,' which appeared to be impersonating a well-known conservative account of the same name. The copycat account had fewer than 300 followers at the time Trump promoted it. Its tweet read: 'Dear weak Conservatives, never forget that you are no match for "we the people," and our president.' Attached to the tweet was a photo of Trump and Reagan shaking hands -- with a supposed Reagan quote superimposed on top. 'For the life of me, and I'll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president,' the supposed quote read. 'Cute! Trump wrote in his own tweet above the photo.... While the photo is real, the supposed quote is fake. Ronald Reagan never said [that] of Trump.... The fake Reagan quote has been debunked by fact-checkers since 2016, when it began spreading in pro-Trump circles on Facebook." Twitter suspended the account after Trump promoted the fake quote.

I have never met a young man with more potential than Donald Trump. He is destined for greatness. I am sure Her Majesty the Queen will come to admire him & summon him to Buckingham Palace for his wise counsel. -- Winston Churchill, 1963

France is destroyed, but the United States will prosper under a great Germanic leader called Drumpf 200 years hence. -- Napoleon, 1817

In the year 2020, the leader of a great American nation will erect a great wall around the mighty mass of the far-off promised land. He will close otheboarders on land and close all beaches to protect his great land. -- Nostradamus, 1559

Rupam Jain of Reuters: "The U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan wound up on Tuesday the seventh round of talks he has held with the Taliban in Qatar, after signs of progress in efforts to end the longest war the United States has ever fought. The U.S. envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, met Taliban officials briefly a day after a delegation of Afghan citizens and the militants agreed on a 'roadmap for peace', in particular a joint call to end civilian casualties in the 18-year war."

Barr to Protect Trump from Epstein, After All. Chris Strohm of Bloomberg News: "Attorney General William Barr won't recuse himself from involvement in the new charges filed against Jeffrey Epstein by federal prosecutors in New York, according to a Justice Department official. Barr made the decision on Tuesday after consulting with career ethics officials at the department, said the official, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive matter. Barr considered whether he would have to recuse himself from the case because Epstein previously hired lawyers from a law firm where Barr had worked. But Barr has recused himself from any retrospective review of the Justice Department's 2008 decision letting Epstein avoid prosecution on federal sex-trafficking offenses and the decades of prison time that he could have faced if convicted." Related story linked below.

Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "The House Judiciary Committee will vote [Thursday] to authorize a bevy of new subpoenas on the Trump administration's practices of separating families from their children at the border and on President Trump's possible obstruction of justice, summoning some of the biggest names to surface in Robert S. Mueller III's investigation.... Among the targets are Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general; Michael T. Flynn, the president's first national security adviser; John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff; Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller; Corey R. Lewandowski, Mr. Trump's former campaign manager, and David J. Pecker, who as the head of American Media took part in a hush money scheme.... The committee will also authorize subpoenas for Jared Kushner...."

Jacqueline Thomsen of the Hill: "The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that President Trump cannot block Twitter users from his official account, finding that the practice is discriminatory. The ruling upholds a lower court ruling that also found Trump cannot block the Twitter users.... The judges wrote 'that the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.' The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University had brought forward the lawsuit on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by Trump on Twitter."

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday said that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta should resign over a 2008 plea deal involving financier Jeffrey Epstein and that if he doesn't, President Trump should fire him. 'I am calling on Secretary Acosta to resign,' Schumer said during a Senate floor speech. 'It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta's ability to lead the Department of Labor....'"

Rebecca Falconer of Axios: "The U.K.'s ambassador to the U.S. has the 'full support' of the prime minister, a spokesman said in a statement to news outlets. He made the comment after President Trump said he'd 'no longer deal' with ambassador Kim Darroch over leaked cables showing he criticized Trump."

Caitlin Oprysko of Politico: "Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer announced he will mount a bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president on Tuesday, an about-face after saying earlier this year he would not run."

David Koenig of the AP: "H. Ross Perot, the colorful, self-made Texas billionaire who rose from a childhood of Depression-era poverty and twice ran for president as a third-party candidate, has died. He was 89. Perot, whose 19% of the vote in 1992 stands among the best showings by an independent candidate in the past century, died early Tuesday at his home in Dallas surrounded by his devoted family, family spokesman James Fuller said."

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 13 News in Axios: "Israel's newly appointed minister of education, Rafi Peretz, said at a cabinet meeting on July 1 that the rate of intermarriage among U.S. Jews is 'like a second Holocaust,' according to three people who were in the room.... Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, is the leader of a bloc of ultra right-wing religious parties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was personally involved in forming this political bloc, which also includes the Jewish supremacist 'Jewish Power' party. If Netanyahu wins the upcoming elections, Peretz will likely stay on as education minister."

~~~~~~~~~~

Arden Farhi & Kathryn Watson of CBS News: "President Trump touted his administration's environmental stewardship in a speech in the East Room Monday. It's a topic the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates bring up almost daily, but not one Mr. Trump often addresses. But [Trump] ... did not mention climate change.... In his speech, the president claimed his administration is working diligently to improve the environment, insisting the environment and economy go hand-in-hand. The environment can't be strong without a strong economy, Mr. Trump said. The president did tout the importance of forest management to prevent fires in California [Mrs. McC: get out the vacuum cleaner!], and blasted the 'Green New Deal.'" ...

... Gaslight! Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones: "There were so many lies strung together in...Trump's environmental speech from the White House on Monday, it's a challenge to fact-check." --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Every word was a lie, including "and" and "the." Here's a ferinstance Leber cites: "'From day one, my administration has made it a top priority to make sure America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet,' Trump said. 'We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water. And that's what we're doing.' This statement is wrong not just because Trump has rolled back so many environmental protections in half a term, but because the US does not actually have the cleanest air and water in the world. Pick your pollution, and the US has often trailed behind other wealthy countries -- 10th on overall air quality and 29th on water and sanitation, according to Yale's Environmental Performance Index. Switzerland is number one."

"Donald Trump: Not That Smart!" Nick Martin of Splinter: "... Donald Trump may not be a 'super genius' after all. On Monday, the Washington Post published an interview with James Nolan, an 81 year old former admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania who played a role in ferrying Trump from Fordham University to Wharton, Penn's acclaimed business school. Nolan was a longtime friend of Fred Trump Jr., Donald's older brother, and in 1966..., Nolan ... said Fred called him up to beg the now-president's way into the school. Since then, three of Trump's children have followed in his footsteps -- Donald Jr. and Ivanka went to Wharton and Tiffany went to Penn for undergraduate.... Trump has bragged that his degree from the school is 'like super genius st[u]ff' and that it's 'the hardest school to get in.'... Nolan made clear that during his sit-down with Trump, it was clear he wasn't dealing with a particularly smart individual. 'It was not very difficult,' Nolan told the Post.... The acceptance rate for transfer students was around 40 percent.... 'I certainly was not struck by any sense that I'm sitting before a genius. Certainly not a super genius.'"

... But He Is a Thin-skinned Bully! Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Trump lashed out on Monday at Britain's ambassador to the United States, saying the White House would no longer deal with him after the publication of confidential cables in which the ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch, disparaged Mr. Trump's administration as 'clumsy and inept.'... 'I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him.' Mr. Trump's statement came close to declaring Mr. Darroch persona non grata -- an extraordinary breach between the United States and one of its closest allies.... Mr. Trump's criticism, delivered in a pair of midday tweets, escalated the tensions between the United States and Britain that erupted after the cables were published on Saturday by a British tabloid, The Mail on Sunday. The president broadened his criticism to include Prime Minister Theresa May, whom he accused of botching Britain's negotiations to leave the European Union."...

The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new prime minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with! -- Donald Trump, in a tweet Monday

Wow! I'll bet Queen Elizabeth is thrilled to hear she impressed Donald Trump. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

... Peter Ricketts in the Guardian: "The scandal surrounding the reporting from British ambassador Kim Darroch in Washington is not that he was sending home his unvarnished analysis: that's what good ambassadors have done for centuries. It's that someone inside the British system deliberately amassed a stash of his assessments, then chose the moment of maximum impact to leak it. This was not a spontaneous decision to make public a single document: it required premeditation and therefore an agenda.... Some people in the system are abusing their access to national security information to pursue political goals without any thought for the damage to the county's interests or reputation." --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Leakers always have motives. Sometimes their motives are altruistic, but probably more often than not their objectives are self-serving. I suspected from the git-go that the leaker here wanted to embarrass the current government for the purpose of promoting a right-winger like, say, Boris Johnson. And Trump, who favors Johnson, was more than willing to go along, exacerbating the embarrassment into an international incident. I'm hardly alone in this suspicion ...

     ... Robert Mackey of The Intercept: "Donald Trump's tweet, lashing out at Britain's ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, for writing private assessments of the American president's shortcomings ... was so predictable, it looked to some observers like the intended outcome of a plot, hatched in London, to depose the ambassador in Washington by leaking his confidential briefing notes on the 'uniquely dysfunctional' administration of a man unable to brook criticism.... Speculation as to what that agenda might have been was fueled by the fact that the collection of confidential memos from Darroch to senior officials in London was turned over to Isabel Oakeshott, a pro-Brexit journalist who is known to be close to Nigel Farage and his most important financial backer, Arron Banks." --s ...

... Here's the front page of today's Times of London, to which unwashed refers in today's Comments:

... Lee Moran of the Huffington Post: "The front cover of Tuesday's edition of The Times of London has gone viral for what many people believe is trolling of ... Donald Trump."

Kyle Cheney & Andrew Desiderio of Politico: "The White House has blocked a third witness who provided crucial testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller from describing the chaos she witnessed in the West Wing as ... Donald Trump sought to assert control over the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. 'The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based executive branch confidentiality interests that are implicated,' former top White House aide Annie Donaldson repeated more than 200 times in written responses to the House Judiciary Committee, according to a transcript released Monday.... Donaldson provided some of Mueller's most compelling evidence: voluminous contemporaneous notes describing an atmosphere of chaos in the West Wing as Trump careened between damaging revelations in the Russia probe."

Jesse McKinley of the New York Times: "As the battle over President Trump's federal taxes intensifies in Washington, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a bill on Monday to allow congressional committees to access the president's state tax returns. The bill requires state tax officials to release the president's state returns for any 'specified and legitimate legislative purpose' on the request of the chair of one of three congressional committees: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation.... The Ways and Means Committee ... has said previously that it remains focused on pursuing Mr. Trump's federal tax information.... Legal challenges could await; Mr. Trump has previously said that he is ready to take the fight over his federal tax returns to the Supreme Court. But there have been several amendments made to the New York bill to address potential legal concerns, according to the bill's supporters, including broadening its focus to cover an array of public officials, federal executive branch employees and political party leaders." ...

... Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post: "Congressional Democrats could get some of ... Donald Trump's personal tax information thanks to a new law signed Monday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ― but they don't seem terribly interested.... State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D), who authored the New York bill, told HuffPost he received no input from congressional Democrats while drafting the bill and hasn't heard from anyone on Capitol Hill about getting the documents. 'I can understand why they would want to test the federal waters first,' Hoylman said. 'But if they don't want to wait for the court challenge and the appeals process to complete itself, they could take advantage of this route New York has provided them today.'"

Tami Abdollah of the AP: "The Justice Department on Monday challenged a federal judge's decision to allow a case accusing ... Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency to move forward, asking an appeals court to take up the case instead. Justice lawyers asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overrule a federal judge and instead allow for a mid-case appeal or to dismiss the case outright, calling the case dealing with a Revolutionary War-era clause 'extraordinary.' The government lawyers also want the court to suspend legal discovery recently approved by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, which would force Trump-related entities such as his New York and D.C. hotels, Trump Tower, the Trump Organization, and Mar-a-Lago Club to turn over business tax returns, receipts and other documents."

Caitlin Oprysko of Politico: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday unveiled a new Commission on Unalienable Rights, a panel he said is aimed at providing him with 'an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.' The panel will be headed up by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and ... a social conservative who has been a prominent anti-abortion voice, which could lend credence to the concerns among human rights activists that the commission is a ploy to undercut LGBTQ and women's rights under the guise of religious liberty." --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: When a Trump administration official suddenly shows an interest in "human rights," you can bet his plan is to curtail them.

Blatant Corruption. Scott Bronstein, et al. of CNN: "In the summer of 2017, Arizona developer Mike Ingram's proposed housing and golf course project in the desert was facing a road block because of a decision by the Department of the Interior. A field supervisor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service had determined that it was 'reasonably certain' that threatened and endangered species could be harmed. But that decision suddenly changed following a secret breakfast meeting at a Montana hunting lodge between Ingram -- a donor to President Donald Trump and co-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- and David Bernhardt, then the Trump administration's deputy Interior secretary. Following the meeting, which did not appear in Bernhardt's official calendar and has not been previously reported, the field supervisor says he was pressured to reverse his decision.... The meeting is one of at least 11 interactions Ingram had with top officials at the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration[.]" --s

ObamaCare in Jeopardy. Again. Abby Goodnough of the New York Times: "A federal appeals court panel will hear arguments Tuesday on whether a federal judge in Texas was correct in striking down the Affordable Care Act, a case with enormous stakes not only for millions of people who gained health insurance through the law but for the political futures of President Trump and other candidates in the 2020 elections.... The case ... was filed by a group of Republican governors and attorneys general against the federal government, which carries out the law. But the Trump administration refused to defend the full law in court and this spring said it agreed with the ruling that the law's requirement for people to buy insurance was unconstitutional, and that as a result, the entire law must be dismantled. That has left a group of 21 states with Democratic attorneys general to intervene to defend the law, along with the House of Representatives, which entered the case after Democrats won control of the chamber last fall." The appeals court is questioning whether or not the Democratic attorneys general & the House even have standing to defend the law. ...

... Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times: "As they push a federal court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration lawyers are arguing the law is no longer workable because Congress eliminated a penalty on people who don't have health insurance. But for months, senior administration officials and lawyers have been making the exact opposite case in other settings, a review of government reports, court filings and public statements made by Trump appointees shows. In fact administration officials, including White House economists, this year repeatedly have hailed the strength of insurance marketplaces created by the 2010 law. And in stark contrast to their claims in federal court in New Orleans, they have stressed that the 2017 legislation eliminating the so-called mandate penalty has had little to no impact on markets and consumers, let alone on the broader healthcare law, often called Obamacare or the ACA.... University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley, who has closely tracked litigation related to the healthcare law, said federal courts are usually reluctant to pry too deeply into inconsistencies in how government officials justify their actions. The Trump administration, however, is testing the limits of this restraint, he said. 'Courts can get pushed to the point where they say this is too much to swallow.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: For an even better explanation of this doubletalk, see Akhilleus's commentary yesterday. See also Ian Millhiser's post linked below. And you wonder why DOJ attorneys are jumping ship.

Katie Thomas & Katie Rogers of the New York Times: "A federal judge ruled on Monday that the Trump administration cannot force pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list price of their drugs in television ads, dealing a blow to one of the president's most visible efforts to pressure drug companies to lower their prices. Judge Amit P. Mehta, of the United States District Court in the District of Columbia, ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services exceeded its regulatory authority by seeking to require all drugmakers to include in their television commercials the list price of any drug that costs more than $35 a month. The rule was to take effect this week."

Jessica Holdman of the Charleston, S.C., Post & Courier: "In a visit to South Carolina on Monday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the Trump administration will present a legal work-around that will allow a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 Census. Speaking to reporters after a scheduled stop at a federal prison, Barr said, 'I think, over the next day or two, you'll see what approach we're taking and I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census.' He did not provide details in his brief remarks. Barr also expressed little concern for the pending testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller to federal lawmakers next week on his investigation into U.S. election interference by the Russian government.... 'It seems to me the only reason for doing that is to create some kind of public spectacle,' Barr said. 'If (Mueller) decides he doesn't want to be subjected to that, the DOJ will certainly back that.'" Mrs. McC: Sounds like Barr went to South Carolina to threaten the rule of law & Congressional oversight. ...

... Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress: "Late last month, the Supreme Court determined that the Trump administration lied about its real reason for wanting to add a question to the 2020 census form asking if each respondent is a U.S. citizen. Less than two weeks later, as a team of lawyers led by the ACLU laid out in a remarkable brief filed in a federal district court, Trump's Justice Department is entangled in an entirely different web of deceit. The brief, moreover, references a forthcoming motion for sanctions against the government attorneys who litigated this case.... Ultimately, the fate of any sanctions against these lawyers -- and of the citizenship question itself -- is likely to be decided by Chief Justice John Roberts." --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I think we now know why the lawyers on the case quit & Bill Barr had to come up with a new "team" to pursue the cases. ...

... Andrew Desiderio & John Bresnahan of Politico: "House Democratic leaders plan to move forward with criminal contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas for documents related to the 2020 census, senior Democratic aides said Monday. Being held in contempt by Congress will be an embarrassment for the Trump administration officials but it won't lead to many tangible consequences."

Juan Cole: "The United States is already at war with Iran, squeezing its economy down to nothingness. If another country tried to do this to the US just on a whim and with no UN or international-law basis, the US would certainly launch a war over it.... Trump did this to Iran despite Iran's adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).... In 2019, Iran's economy under US sanctions will shrink an incredible 6%. Aljazeera English reports that 'the rial, plummet[ed] by about 60% over the past year. Inflation is up to 37% and the cost of food and medicine has soared by 40% to 60%, according to EU figures.' Note that Trump's sanctions are unilateral. They haven't even been approved by Congress, and are actively rejected by the United Nations Security Council." --s

Mehdi Masan of The Intercept: "The New York Times interview [by MoDo, of Speaker Pelosi criticizing the progressive wing] is yet another reminder for liberals and leftists that if they want to oppose Trump, they have to oppose Pelosi too. Think I'm exaggerating? Consider three recent -- and shameful -- episodes. First, the rape allegations [by E. Jean Carroll] against the president.... Pelosi's response to a reporter who asked her for comment a whole six days later? 'I don't know the person making the accusation ... I haven't paid that much attention to it.'... This, my dear liberals, is your (feminist) champion. Second, the crisis at the border [when] ... Pelosi 'capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and dropped her insistence on stronger protections for migrant children'... Third, Trump's tax returns.... Trump lawyers are citing Pelosi's refusal to impeach him as [one of] their defense[s] in court.... Pelosi has become a Trump enabler too." --s

Red Badge of Honor. Corky Siemazsko of NBC News: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said recently he opposes paying government reparations to the descendants of American slaves, has a family history deeply entwined in the issue: Two of his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, U.S. census records show. The two great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, owned a total of at least 14 slaves in Limestone County, Alabama -- all but two of them female, according to the county 'Slave Schedules' in the 1850 and 1860 censuses." --s ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It seems McConnell, who has boasted about a number of his ancestors & relations, has kept secret his slave-holding forebears.

Presidential Race 2020

Elana Schor of the AP: "Rep. Eric Swalwell on Monday became the first candidate in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary to exit the campaign, saying he would run for reelection to his California congressional seat next year. Swalwell, 38, announced his exit in his home district, describing his decision as 'the beginning of an opportunity in Congress with a new perspective' influenced by his 3-month-long presidential bid. The four-term congressman's White House effort never progressed significantly with voters, a fact Swalwell acknowledged on Monday...." Mrs. McC: Or, as a headline in the confederate Washington Free Beacon put it, "Swalwell to Announce He Ran for President."

Holly Otterbein of Politico: "Donald Trump's campaign is injecting itself into a battle to lead Pennsylvania's Republican Party -- a race with serious implications for the president's reelection hopes.... The fight for the state's vacant Republican chairmanship was triggered when Val DiGiorgio resigned from the position two weeks ago amid a scandal involving racy texts and allegations of sexual harassment. The episode set off fierce jockeying and backbiting within the state GOP.... They argue that Trump's advisers are unnecessarily taking sides in a local feud and could exacerbate longstanding power struggles within the state GOP." --s

** Presidential Election 2016. "The True Origins of the Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory." Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News: "In the summer of 2016, Russian intelligence agents secretly planted a fake report claiming that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for Hillary Clinton, giving rise to a notorious conspiracy theory that captivated conservative activists and was later promoted from inside President Trump's White House, a Yahoo News investigation has found.... Over the course of the next two and a half years, the Russian government-owned media organizations RT and Sputnik repeatedly played up stories that baselessly alleged that Rich, a relatively junior-level staffer, was the source of Democratic Party emails that had been leaked to WikiLeaks. It was an idea first floated by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.... At the same time, online trolls working in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the Internet Research Agency (IRA) -- the same shadowy outfit that conducted the Russian social media operation during the 2016 election -- aggressively boosted the conspiracy theories." Among those pushing the fake story along were Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, & Fox "News."

Senate Races 2020

Kansas. Lachlan Markay of The Daily Beast: "Kris Kobach's U.S. Senate campaign is off to an inauspicious start. The former Kansas secretary of state, a Republican, officially declared his candidacy in a filing with the Federal Election Commission on Monday. But the filing misspelled his first name. The campaign amended the error an hour later. Kobach is running to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts." --s

Kentucky. Daniel Desrochers of the Lexington Herald-Leader: "Former Marine Corps fighter pilot Amy McGrath announced Tuesday that she wants to challenge U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November 2020, ending months of speculation about whether she'd try to take out one of the most powerful political figures in the country. In a three-minute video on social media and on the MSNBC show Morning Joe, McGrath touched on familiar themes from her failed 2018 bid to defeat U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington -- her military service, healthcare, gridlock in Congress -- while painting a bullseye on McConnell, blaming him for the dysfunction in the nation's capital."


Ali Watkins & Vivian Yang
of the New York Times: "Federal prosecutors unsealed the new charges on Monday accusing [Jeffrey] Epstein, 66, of running a sex-trafficking operation that lured dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to his Upper East Side home and to a mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., according to an indictment. Mr. Epstein, 66, is accused of engaging in sex acts with minors, some as young as 14, during naked massage sessions, then paying them hundreds of dollars in cash, the indictment said. He also asked some of the girls to recruit other underage girls. 'In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach,' the indictment said." The indictment, via the NYT, is here. (This is an update of a story linked below.) Mrs. McC: In a press conference, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said he would ask the court that Epstein be detained because he is "an extreme flight risk." Berman also acknowledged that "investigative journalists" were instrumental in bringing the new charges. Epstein will appear in court later today. ...

     .... CNN liveblogged Berman's presser. ...

     ... Update: Michael Sisak & Jim Mustian of the AP: "Epstein, who was arrested Saturday as he arrived in the U.S. from Paris aboard his private jet, was brought into court Monday in a blue jail uniform, his hair disheveled, and pleaded not guilty. He was jailed for a bail hearing next Monday, when prosecutors plan to argue that the rich world traveler might flee if released." ...

... Timothy O'Brien of Bloomberg: "In an interesting twist, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan has pu its public corruption unit in charge of the Epstein case -- not, as might be expected, its human-trafficking team (although the latter unit is being consulted reportedly). It's likely, at least in part, that the case is being handled by corruption prosecutors because of a controversial and lenient plea deal struck between Epstein and federal law enforcement officials [led by Alexander Acosta] in Florida back in 2008.... For a while Trump was more than just a casual acquaintance of Epstein. The financier was a member of Trump's Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, and the men dined at one another's homes.... Although a court filing says Mar-a-Lago eventually dumped Epstein from its ranks after he approached an underage girl there, Trump has generally spoken about Epstein fondly -- to me and to others. During the 2016 presidential campaign, an unidentified young woman filed a suit against Trump in which she alleged that he raped her when she was 13 at a party at Epstein's Upper East Side townhouse in Manhattan. Trump denied the claims and the woman later dropped the suit because, her lawyer said, she was intimidated by death threats." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: O'Brien hypothesizes that Epstein may try to flip, which could make things "uncomfortable" for Trump. ...

... ** Ali Watkins: "A trove of lewd photographs of girls, discovered in a safe inside the financier Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan mansion the same day he was arrested, is deepening questions about why federal prosecutors in Miami had cut a deal that shielded him from federal prosecution in 2008.... The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said late Monday night that Mr. Acosta should resign because of the 'unconscionable agreement' that he made with Mr. Epstein in 2008." ...

... Christine Zhao of Newsweek: "Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced his recusal from the high-profile Jeffrey Epstein case because his former law firm once represented the convicted sex offender.... Following Barr's comments, several prominent people following the case, including Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director for counterintelligence, noted that Barr's headmaster father, Donald Barr, had once hired Epstein to teach at the private Dalton School in New York." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Seems to me Barr recused himself to inoculate himself against any efforts by Trump to get him to quash the case against his dear old friend Epstein & against the obvious implication that Acosta minimized the case for corrupt reasons. ...

... Julia Arciga of the Daily Beast: "Former President Bill Clinton said Monday he knew nothing about Jeffrey Epstein's 'terrible crimes' and tried to downplay the time he spent on the billionaire's private plane. In a statement issued hours after Epstein was arraigned on a sex-trafficking indictment, Clinton said he took 'a total of four trips' with the financier in 2002 and 2003 -- to Europe, Asia and Africa. It's not clear how many flights were involved in each trip or how that number would square with flight logs that reportedly show Clinton on 26 flights on Epstein's plane between 2001 and 2003. Gawker reported in 2015 that the logs also appear to show Clinton on a 2002 domestic flight between Miami and Westchester County, with Epstein also on board.... The statement said Clinton made 'one brief visit' to Epstein's apartment in New York -- alongside a 'staff member and his security detail' -- in 2002. The two men also met at Clinton's Harlem office 'around the same time' as the apartment visit, the statement said.... As The Daily Beast reported, a former charity of Epstein's, the C.O.U.Q. Foundation, donated $25,000 to Bill and Hillary Clinton&'s charity in 2006 and was recently listed among past and present donors on the Clinton Foundation's website."

... New York Times Editors: "Even in the relatively sterile language of the legal system, the accusations against Mr. Epstein are nauseating.... In addition to short-circuiting federal charges, the plea agreement [Alex Acosta engineered in 2008] killed an F.B.I. investigation and granted immunity to any' co-conspirators.'... Mr. Acosta and his former team members [should not] be allowed to wave off the tough or awkward questions that are likely to arise going forward." ...

... Vicky Ward, in the Daily Beast, details her reporting on Epstein for Vanity Fair in 2002, including the part where then-editor Graydon Carter excised the part of her story that covered the accusation that Epstein had molested a teenaged girl." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The title of Ward's profile of Epstein, BTW, was "The Talented Mr. Epstein," a riff on the 1999 film "The Talented Mr. Ripley," based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith. Ripley is a liar & a fraud, who murders people when they threaten his schemes. The film got mixed reviews, but it's one of my faves. ...

What is so amazing to me is how his entire social circle knew about this and just blithely overlooked it.... All mentioned the girls, as an aside. -- Vicky Ward, to Michelle Goldberg ...

... Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times: "The Epstein case is first and foremost about the casual victimization of vulnerable girls. But it is also a political scandal, if not a partisan one. It reveals a deep corruption among mostly male elites across parties, and the way the very rich can often purchase impunity for even the most loathsome of crimes.... Among the mysteries of the Epstein case are why powerful prosecutors of both parties treated him with such leniency." Read the whole column for the particulars. ...

Matthew Haag of the New York Times describes Epstein's luxury Manhattan townhouse.

... Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha. Maxwell Tani & Andrew Kirell of the Daily Beast: "Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz is a frequent Fox News guest, but for some reason the network never seems to ask him about his involvement in a high-profile case that continues to make news. On Nov. 28, 2018, when the Miami Herald revealed that, in 2008, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers, a group that included Dershowitz, had pressured then-U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta -- now serving as Donald Trump's labor secretary -- into negotiating a sweetheart plea deal for the billionaire financier, who was accused of molesting more than 100 underage girls. Since that news broke, Dershowitz has appeared on Fox News a total of 27 times. Not once has anyone on the network asked him about his client or his connection to the secret plea deal a judge has since declared illegal."

David Corn of Mother Jones: "While Americans feel 'an increasing alarm' about climate change, according to a survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, scientists have been coping with this troubling data for decades -- and the grinding emotional effects from that research are another cost of global warming that the public has yet to fully confront.... Are scientists, then, canaries in a psychological coal mine? Is understanding their grief important because their anxiety could become more widespread within the general population?" With lots of interviews with climate scientists. --s

Rosanna Xia of the Los Angeles Times: "Miami has been drowning, Louisiana shrinking, North Carolina's beaches disappearing like a time lapse with no ending. While other regions grappled with destructive waves and rising seas, the West Coast for decades was spared by a rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water.... Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water's edge.... More than $150 billion in property ;could be at risk of flooding by 2100 -- the economic damage far more devastating than the state's worst earthquakes and wildfires. Salt marshes, home to shorebirds and endangered species, face extinction. In Southern California alone, two-thirds of beaches could vanish." --s

Moira Donegan in the Guardian: "The talent pool for female soccer players in America appears bottomless.... The US has found itself with a huge number of phenomenally talented female soccer players: how did we get them? In large part, we got them through policy, in particular the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Shepherded into law by Congresswoman Patsy Mink of Hawaii, the title IX provision of the act was a response to feminists' push to close a loophole in the Civil Rights Act of 964 that allowed federally funded schools, colleges and universities to discriminate by sex.... Taken as a whole, title IX's success in creating discrimination-free educational environments for women and girls is spotty at best. But the athletic non-discrimination provision has been a massive success in encouraging American girls to play sports." --s

Way Beyond the Beltway

Philippines. Hannah Ellis-Peterson of the Guardian: "The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is carrying out a 'large-scale murdering enterprise' and should be investigated by the UN for crimes against humanity, according to a new Amnesty report into his so-called war on drugs." --s

Reader Comments (22)

The grinding emotional distress affecting environmental scientists highlighted in the David Corn piece (linked above) must have skyrocketed while listening to President Dirty Water tout his credentials as a protector of the environment. It wouldn’t be unlike the victim of a sexual assault having to listen to her attacker strenuously deny all charges, and then proclaim himself to be a gentleman blessed with impeccable manners and an innate feel for civility at all times. Or perhaps like a child abuser who rejects such a charge because, he claims, he’s such a great humanitarian and proponent of human rights. Or a barely literate dimwit who claims the mantle of super genius. Or a traitor who betrays his country and his oath of office on a daily basis with protestations of his supreme patriotism. Or like...

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Looks like Bill Clinton's meeting on a plane with Loretta Lynch may not be the worst mistake he ever made on a plane.

May be too late, but I'd recommend trains, maybe.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

It seems to me the DOJ is knocking itself our to protect Trump the person as well as Trump the President*. Although Justice officials routinely defend presidential orders (as well as Congressional laws), it seems unusual to me that DOJ is going all-in on the emoluments case. Trump's decision not to put his businesses in a real blind trust and his continued receipt of profits from these businesses are personal decisions Trump made about his private businesses, unlike, say, his orders banning people from Muslim countries from visiting the U.S. In other words, DOJ is defending Trump against personal acts, not just against official acts.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if earlier Justice officials ever protected real presidents from personal problems, but I can't recall any off the top of my head. In some cases, DOJ seems to have done just the opposite. For instance, the DOJ did not protect the Clintons in the Whitewater matter; to the contrary, AG Janet Reno appointed a special counsel to investigate the Whitewater deal.

I see where there's an argument that Trump's decision to rake in the dough from his private businesses is government-related, but it seems like something Trump ought to have to defend with his own money, not with ours.

Can anyone shed more light on this?

July 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

It would be funny if...

Only a Trump appointee would need a special commission to explain human rights to him.

And only a Trump appointed human rights commission would start with the idea that those rights are only for humans who agree with them.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Ken Winkes: But maybe not private railroad cars owned by sexual predators.

July 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Yesterday's LTTE, written at my granddaughter's summer school, which went well except when a three year old began to miss her mother about half way through...No tears though, just reassurance from the other children and a call to her mother who, after a short delay, came to pick her up. Wish I'd had that option available when I was a high school principal.

Since I just submitted a letter will have to hold this one for at least a week before sending it to the paper, but except in detail one week's summary of Pretender news is so much like all the others, it probably makes no matter...

I know week to week my indignation quotient remains much the same.


"The British ambassador to the United States recently made headlines by describing Mr. Trump as “clumsy and inept,” and wrote, “I don’t think this Administration will ever look competent.” (Vox.com)

To those who follow the administration’s antics, the shock was not in the judgment. It was in the ambassador’s negative judgment becoming public.

But it’s far too easy to conclude Trump’s administration is simply inept.

Take the Wall, for instance.

Four years after Trump began his barrage of promises about the wall, Mexico has not paid a dime, and only 13 miles of new wall construction have begun (bbc.com). But physically present or not, the Wall remains a potent symbol of his promise to keep brown people out of the United States.

Because he knows that his reelection depends on the votes of everyone who shares his same fear of brown, we’ll surely hear much more about the Wall in the next two years. When it comes to building racial and informational walls, Trump and his administration are experienced contractors.

Information from the Trump administration is most often wrong, misleading or entirely missing. His response to his own administration’s reports of deplorable conditions at migrant detention centers immediately brought more claims of “hoax,” “phony,” and “fake news”(newyorktimes.com).

Trump’s coal lobbyist EPA administrator said, "Air pollution has continued to decline under President Trump’s leadership.” Again, not true. Pollution’s gotten worse (time.com).

Trump’s budget cuts frequently target federal workers devoted to uncovering and communicating fact. Hundreds of Dept. of Agriculture scientists doing critical work are currently being encouraged to leave their jobs (washingtonpost.com).

Then there are Trump’s high walls of privacy and executive privilege. No tax returns. No college grades. No White House testimony to Congress. None.

Instead, more walls to divide people, keep them ignorant, and for a president to cower behind."

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Ken,

I’m recommending shanks mare.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus,

I think you might have it. Bea's right. Trains don't cut it either.

Thought "by sea" at first but images of shipboard bacchanalia came too readily to mind, as did an old ditty about Clyde, a blue-eyed cabin boy.....and I dropped that idea, fast.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

This is good.

"Editors at the Rupert Murdoch-owned British newspaper positioned a photograph and story about a dancing cockatoo with yellow hair next to its lead news story about Trump’s vow to quit dealing with the British ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch."

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

AK, Ms. Bea and Ken: yes, a thousand times. I resisted the urge to heave a Dansko at the flat screen when someone on MSNBC replayed the Greatest Liar of All Time extolling his interest in "crystal clear/clean water" loudly and confidently. I heard on NPR that approximately 50 of 80+ regs have been destroyed so far, with more to come, and since the EPA is helmed with a coal lobbyist, why, we simply needn't worry if we choke to death or die of some loathesome bacteria in the drinking water...it's in play. We just have to wait.

Meanwhile, Fatso doesn't invite the GB diplomat to his soirees anymore-- you can bet that makes the diplomat sooo saaaad...

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

I had an interesting conversation with one of my customers. He proudly proclaimed that by running this country like a business, Trump is "MAGA".
I agreed with him and mentioned the "CEO" just ordered his pay cut and eliminated his neighbors job.
"Gotta control cost you know".

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

@Marie: Re: The Talented Mr. Ripley"––-one of my favorites, too. Here's Janet Maslin's review––she liked it too!
https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/film/122499ripley-film-review.html

@Dan: This customer of yours is typical of many who see Trump with rose colored glasses and even when they hear or read the REAL it doesn't budge them––and partly I think because they have made him THEIRS–-it's like a religious belief –-you hang onto it for dear life and because you can't go further in examining these beliefs for fear of a truth that would be too tough to take you continue on the path of that picture above today of the ostrich with its head in the sand.

Another conversation:

Person One: We have the cleanest air and the mostest sparkling clean water in all the world–-number one! in all the world.

Person Two: Where did you get that information pray tell?

One: From the man himself–-said it in a speech.

Two: He lied––he was giving you wrong information (proceeds to tell One the truth).

One: So I'm to take what you're telling me over the President? What the fuck, man, you better get it together–-bad business what you're doing.

Two: Would you like me to give you the scientists' papers on this? I can rustle them up for you.

One: Nah, won't be necessary––I don't read that shit–-too hard to understand for a lay person–-plus I don't trust those guys––they just want to save some animal or something.

And the Lord appeared to the wise men and said, "blessed are they that see the star that will guide them on their way to salvation." Amen

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@Dan Lowery & @PD Pepe: Yeah, I'm beginning to think that Trumpbots should not be deemed "low information voters" but "fake information voters."

July 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Bea,

I'd break it down this way.

Some stupid.

More ignorant.

Most would rather not know.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Same as it ever was...

The disgusting Epstein Affair will, only momentarily, blow a hole in the inner sanctums of power and money through which pass the connected, the vicious, and the vile.

I heard an interview with Vicky Ward this morning, the reporter whose Vanity Fair story was bowdlerized by Epstein water boy Graydon Carter, then VF's editor. Carter, like so many circled wagons surrounding Epstein over the years, was in full "Protect My Rich Friend" mode at the time. And although it's for certain that he, like Bill Clinton, and very shortly, President PussyGrabber, will deny any knowledge of Epstein's doings, it's a lead pipe cinch that they all knew, or at the very least, had some idea of what was going on.

Ward pointed out that Carter excised the parts about Epstein abusing young girls in exchange for Billionaire Jeffrey granting him a nice picture to use in the article. (The NPR interviewer, Steve Inskeep, was appropriately appalled. "He killed the part about Epstein's sexually abusing young girls in order to get a prettier article?")

I'm reminded of Edith Wharton's tale of elite New York society in the 1870s, "Age of Innocence". Everyone knew everyone else. And they all knew what was going on, or at least suspected it. There were no secrets, not for long. But they knew how to protect their own. Outsiders, like the gauche, new money climber Julius Beaufort, could be cast aside when his own business failings inconvenienced their lives of tight control, but insiders, like Newland Archer's girlfriend, May Welland, were surrounded by crenelated walls with archers at every port.

The richer the insiders were, the more leeway they got socially. They could be weird or eccentric, but as long as they had the pedigree, the connections, and the money, they got away with a lot.

But it's much different today. Yes, the same protective blanket is available, but now big money and connections will buy off the law as well as stave off social approbation. And any of those who traveled in Epstein's circle who claim not to have any idea of what was going on are either too stupid to talk to, or lying.

They knew. And they either pretended not to, or let it happen, or figured they didn't "really know" enough to do anything about it. And I understand that politics is a funny business and sometimes you have to consort with people you would never invite over to have a beer with and watch a baseball game, but a serial child molester?? Really? At the very least, even if you suspected it, tell him "No thanks, Jeffy, I can afford a plane ticket on my own. Thanks, but no thanks. Keep your fucking private jet." Is it really worth it? As my mother used to say, you can never buy back your reputation. After all, we're not talking about a guy who cheated on his wife or had suspect business practices, this guy is a child molester.

It's not like I thought of people like Graydon Carter and Bill Clinton as paragons of respectability, but Jesus. The same for all those lawyers. Whatever good deeds Alan Dershowitz may have done way back when he was a supposed to have been a crusading liberal lawyer, are set far aside after his complicity with ensuring that this piece of shit got a cushy non-sentence sentence for raping little girls. Fucking pigs, all of them.

I guarantee that there are guys doing years of hard time for far less than what Epstein was up to, guys whose souls are far less defiled than his, but Alan fucking Dershowitz and Alex Acosta and Graydon Carter aren't stepping up for them, to make sure they get to leave prison whenever they want, go to work, take a stroll in the sunshine, then go home after a few months and start raping little girls again, are they?

And after this is all over. It will all go back to the way it was before. The rich, the venal, the connected, the mighty, are protected. Vulnerable, underage girls get their innocence stolen and their reputations ruined. The poor get a pickaxe in the head. But the Donald Trumps? The Jeffrey Epsteins? They get the moon.

At least for a while.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: You got me to wondering why New York's "second tier" society accepted Epstein but not Trump. The answer, I'm guessing, is that Epstein bought his way in. Trump donated to politicians' campaigns, but only when it was in his direct interest to do so. Unlike Epstein, who made many strategical charitable donations, Trump gave very little to charity, and New York society runs on charity events. Trump insinuated himself into these events; Epstein no doubt was invited because the organizers expected -- and got -- contributions.

Epstein & Trump were both boys from the boroughs, but the child predator had more class.

July 9, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Marie,

Sounds entirely plausible. Guys like Epstein and Trump might both be greedy, but Trump is both greedy and miserly.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

There are big crises afoot-- the ACA possibly going down (after the congress tried how many times??) by way of a judge, and disgusting Barr rallying around the Monster, taking the Injustice Dept. with him, and many many more problems, too damn many to list, and we all have to think about a piece of sludge like Epstein... Where, oh where is Lorena Bobbitt when we need her?

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

I have no facts, but I suppose also that Epstein made a lot of money for his friends by investment tips and favors. Whereas Trump's money-making ventures don't seem to have enriched NY society folk.

Down in Texas they used to say that money's like manure, not good for anything until you spread it around.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

News of the death of H. Ross Perot prompted a slightly different remembrance on my part.

For some reason, it's much easier for me to remember Dana Carvey's Ross Perot than Ross Perot's Ross Perot. Especially in this hysterically memorable clip.

Pace, Ross.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

In terms of why Trump was never accepted wherever he tried to insinuate himself into Society, one must always remember the "creepy" factor:
I had a friend who lives on PBI (Palm Beach Island), who told me that the very wealthy people on the "Island" thought that drumpf was a low class creep, and would have nothing to do with him. When they refused to admit him to the yacht club which is opposite to his property and on the shore of PBI, he built a huge flagpole and put up the Yuuugest american flag. The neighboring property owners sued him for destruction of the view. Eventually the flag got smaller at about the time Maralago became his exclusive "club." But the locals still ignore him. They say he is a creep. Money is not mentioned. And there are not that many charity balls on PBI itself. More for the downtown people.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Susan Collins teams up with Lindsey Graham to raise campaign cash. Heading into a tough 2020 re-election campaign, Maine's senior senator formed a joint fund-raising group with her Republican colleague from South Carolina (Portland Press Herald) : " what a lovely couple they make. "

Immediately prompted me to write a check to the campaign. That is, the Sara Gideon(D) for Maine campaign.

July 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMAG
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