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June 20: New York Times: "You may be hunched over your phone right now, worrying about reports that young people are growing horns on their skulls from spending too much time hunched over smartphones.... Recent articles by the BBC and the Washington Post have cited a 2018 study in the journal Scientific Reports saying that these bone growths have been turning up more often than expected in people aged 18 to 30. The study suggests that 'sustained aberrant postures associated with the emergence and extensive use of hand-held contemporary technologies, such as smartphones and tablets,' are to blame.... Experts give the report mixed reviews." ...

     ... Update. Uh, it seems one of the authors of the "scientific study" is a chiropractor called David Shahar, who used his own patients as subjects of the study AND, according to Quartz, is "the creator of Dr. Posture, an online store that advertises information and products related to forward head posture. One section tells users how to 'look and feel your best in three easy steps,' which include watching a video by Shahar, downloading at-home exercises, and sleeping with a Thoracic Pillow, which Shahar has trademarked and sold for $195." So hunch over, pick up your phones, & call your friends with the good news that the "study" is more likely a marketing scam than a warning about another dire effect of cellphone use. Thanks to safari for the link.

 

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.”

New York Times: Navy pilots flying along the East Coast of the U.S. spotted UFOs "almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015.... The sightings were reported to the Pentagon’s shadowy, little-known Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which analyzed the radar data, video footage and accounts provided by senior officers from the Roosevelt. Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official who ran the program until he resigned in 2017, called the sightings 'a striking series of incidents.'” In one incident, the UFO flew between two Navy jets "flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach.... It looked to the pilot ... like a sphere encasing a cube."

Mrs. McCrabbie: This actually seems crazy to me:

New York Times: "A shiny stainless steel sculpture created by Jeff Koons in 1986, inspired by a child’s inflatable toy, sold at Christie’s on Wednesday night for $91.1 million with fees, breaking the record at auction for a work by a living artist, set just last November by David Hockney. Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the winning bid for Mr. Koons’s 1986 'Rabbit' from an aisle seat near the front of the salesroom."

Might as well just get this -- it's vintage! it's "authentic"! -- and give it pride-of-place in the front hall. Sure, visitors will think you're tasteless & nuts, but in such a vintage, authentic way.

UPDATE: (May 19): New York Times: Mnuchin would not reveal the identity of his client; i.e., the purchaser of Stainless Bunny is. During an NYT interview, "He was near tears when asked about his son Steve and refused to comment about their relationship. But friends said that he is in an impossible predicament, conflicted over his sense of duty about being a loyal father and his concern as a citizen that President Trump is bad for America."

David McCullough Is a Crap Historian. Rebecca Onion of Slate reviews his book on the history -- okay, make that "hagiographic platitudes" -- about the settlement of the Northwest Territory. "Its success (it is No. 10 on Amazon’s best-seller list for books, as of Friday) shows how big the gap between critical history and the “popular history” that makes it to best-seller lists, Costco, and Target remains.” Mrs. McC: Onion doesn't mention it, but I get the impression all the "settling" was done by men; apparently the women's tasks were of no account. Somehow I don't think most of the "ladies" sat around drinking tea & doing needlepoint in their pretty parlors.

Saturday
Jun152019

The Commentariat -- June 16, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: After contributor PD Pepe shared a beautiful Fathers' Day poem with readers (see in the Comments thread below), I felt compelled to share the magnanimous poetic returns expressed by the POTUS*:

Happy Father's Day to all, including my worst and most vicious critics, of which there are fewer and fewer. This is a FANTASTIC time to be an American! KEEP AMERICA GREAT!

No doubt all the little Trumpbot children will want to share these thoughtful words with their own dear fathers as they all gather 'round the hearth to complain about their measly allowances & press him to buy them ATVs and new rifles.

Gabrielle Bruney of Esquire: "The proud dad of Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron took to Twitter Sunday to wish a happy Fathers Day to his critics and suggest that the public might want him to serve a third term of office -- which would be completely unconstitutional. After starting off his Sunday morning Tweet storm by once again branding The Washington Post and New York Times 'the Enemy of the People,' Trump laid out a fantasy in which Americans might 'demand' that he serve more than his allotted term. 'The [good news] is that at the end of 6 years,' wrote Trump, 'after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!' This isn't Trump's first time suggesting that eight years in office might not be enough for him."

Justin Wise of the Hill: "President Trump late Saturday ramped up his attacks against The New York Times, accusing the newspaper of committing 'a virtual act of Treason' over its report about the U.S. increasing cyberattacks on Russia's electric power grid. 'Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,' Trump tweeted. 'This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.' Trump claimed in a separate tweet that the story was 'NOT TRUE!' 'Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,' he added. 'They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!'" ...

     ... Mrs. McC: As I suspected (see below), the powers-that-be didn't tell Trump about the U.S.'s counterattacks. As the Times report itself notes, "Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister."

Paranoid-in-Chief. Regina Zilbermints of the Hill: "President Trump said former President Obama 'had to know about' what he believes was a 'setup' to prevent Trump from becoming president. Speaking to >George Stephanopoulos...," Trump insisted special counsel Robert Mueller's report cleared him of allegations of collusion with Russia and accused 'lowlifes' in the FBI of working against him."

Chuck Todd, et al., of NBC News: "... Donald Trump's re-election campaign is cutting ties with some of its own pollsters after leaked internal polling showed the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in critical 2020 battleground states, according to a person close to the campaign. The move comes after NBC News obtained new details from a March internal poll that found Trump trailing Biden in 11 key states. Portions of the campaign's expansive March polling trickled out in recent days in other news reports." Mrs. McC: Also too, the campaign needs pollsters who will produce fake poll results that make Trump feel better.

Eric Levitz of New York: "In its new Distributive Financial Accounts data series, the [Federal Reserve] offers a granular picture of how American capitalism has been distributing the gains of economic growth over the past three decades. Matt Bruenig of the People's Policy Project took the Fed's data and calculated how much the respective net worth of America's top one percent and its bottom 50 percent has changed since 1989. He found that America's superrich have grown about $21 trillion richer..., while those in the bottom half of the wealth distribution have grown $900 billion poorer. Notably, this measure of wealth includes liabilities, such as student debt. And it does not include consumer goods..., as economists do not conventionally view such products as wealth assets. But if one did include the Fed's data on the distribution of consumer goods, the wealth gap between the top one percent and bottom 50 would actually be even larger."

The New York Times is liveblogging the Hong Kong protests, which escalated Sunday.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Trump Scandals, Ctd.

John Cassidy of the New Yorker summarizes how Trump's interview with George Stephanopoulos put him in peril, again. ...

If Trump had been President during Watergate, he would have left a business card at the break-in. -- Seth Meyers

How Trump Normalizes Lawlessness. Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday that it would be 'foolish' not to take information from a foreign government pertaining to an election campaign. While Stewart said he wouldn't have said it the way ... Donald Trump did to ABC News -- the president said he would take intel from a foreign government and maybe not alert the FBI -- there's good reason to look at the information they may be offering." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Matthew Choi of Politico: "President Donald Trump on Saturday hyped his forthcoming full interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, excerpts of which shook allies and opponents alike this week when the president revealed he would take foreign help if offered in the lead up to the 2020 election.... In a Twitter thread posted Saturday night, Trump said he had a positive experience with Stephanopoulos, adding that he thought other news outlets misinterpreted his comments.... [The interview] will be broadcast in full on Sunday...." Mrs. McC: Another I-didn't-say-what-I-said "defense." The fault is yours, people; I made brilliant remarks & you dimwits & fakes misinterpreted them.

FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub explains federal election law to dummies. Okay, to a particular Dummy:

Jordan Fabian & Morgan Chalfont of the Hill: "President Trump's declaration that he would accept dirt on his 2020 opponents from foreign governments is threatening his already strained relationships with the intelligence and law enforcement communities. Former law enforcement and intelligence officials said the president's words could hamper efforts to combat foreign interference in next year's elections and that they dampen morale.... The remarks come at a precarious time for an intelligence community that is already subject to an investigation launched by Trump into the origins of the Russia investigation.... 'The Mueller report showed pretty clearly that he has no problem accepting help from inappropriate and likely illegal places,' said John Sipher, a retired member of the CIA's clandestine service.... Trump also does not like to admit fault, and saying he would call the FBI if offered damaging information on a rival would represent a tacit concession that his campaign should have done so when it received offers of dirt on Hillary Clinton from figures linked to the Russian government in 2016."

Chris Rodrigo of the Hill: "Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe said Thursday that it was 'absolutely' time to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Maureen Dowd: "The Trump White House may be a clown show and a criminal enterprise. But it's also an actual presidency. It's turning out to be a genuinely reactionary administration led by a wannabe authoritarian who refuses to recognize constitutional checks on power. The real danger is not the antics but the policies." Mrs. McC: BTW, Dowd reminds us that that nice, dignified Poppy Bush used the State Department to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton, a lapse that is a gross abuse of power. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Eric Geller of Politico: "A tiny federal agency that plays a crucial role in assisting the nation's local election supervisors is gripped by a leadership crisis that has sparked concerns that it is unprepared to play its role in protecting the 2020 presidential race from foreign interference. Brian Newby, the executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, has blocked important work on election security, micromanaged employees' interactions with partners outside the agency and routinely ignored staff questions, according to former election officials, former federal employees and others who regularly work with the agency.... Newby has not only frustrated his own employees and helped create a staff exodus -- nine EAC office directors have left since Newby arrived -- but also angered cybersecurity experts, election integrity activists and state and local officials.... Politico's seven sources ... described Newby, a Republican, as too beholden to the EAC's GOP chairwoman, Christy McCormick, who masterminded his appointment and later spent years denying the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 election. They also said that Newby alienated his agency almost immediately by wading into the issue of a citizenship requirement for voter eligibility...." ...

     ... Rick Hasen, the election-law expert, calls Geller's profile of Newby a must-read.


Cristina Maza
of Newsweek: "Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday cast doubt on evidence that the U.S. government claims is proof that Iran was behind an attack this week on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.... The U.S. Navy later released a video that purported to show members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard sneaking over to the ship in the middle of the night to remove an unexploded mine. U.S. officials claimed this is evidence of Iran's culpability, but Maas argued that the video was insufficient proof to pin the attack on Iran." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Peter Baker of the New York Times: "For any president, accusing another country of an act of war presents an enormous challenge to overcome skepticism at home and abroad. But for a president known for falsehoods and crisis-churning bombast, the test of credibility appears far more daunting. For two and a half years in office, Mr. Trump has spun out so many misleading or untrue statements about himself, his enemies, his policies, his politics, his family, his personal story, his finances and his interactions with staff that even his own former communications director once said 'he's a liar' and many Americans long ago concluded that he cannot be trusted.... Mr. Trump ... himself has assailed the reliability of America's intelligence agencies and even the intelligence chiefs he appointed, suggesting they could not be believed when their conclusions have not fit his worldview." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Juan Cole: "The Washington Post reports that when US Secretary of State 'Benghazi Mike' Pompeo gave his breathless news conference last Thursday to finger Iran for the oil tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman, he indicted Iran for another act of violence at the same time.... On May 31 a suicide bomber attacked a US convoy in Kabul, killing four Afghan passers-by and wounding four American servicemen and at least three civilians. The Taliban were not shy about taking responsibility.... Pompeo painted the incident as one of 'a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American an allied interests.' Pompeo's statement is so embarrassing as to be cringe-worthy. It is either a lie in the service of war propaganda or a display of ... bottomless ignorance.... The Taliban are almost entirely drawn from the ranks of the Sunni Muslim Pushtun ethnic group.... The Taliban, as an extremist group with cult-like beliefs, absolutely hate, abhor and despise Shiites [i.e., Iran's governing religion]."

Don't Tell Trump. David Sanger & Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times: "The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia's grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow's disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.... In a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort 'to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyberoperations against us, "You will pay a price."'" ...

... Because When You Tell Him Anything, He Screws It up. Priscilla Alvarez & Abby Phillip of CNN: "... Donald Trump's announcement on 'Fox and Friends' Friday morning that Tom Homan would be his new 'border czar' appears to have been premature. Homan, a Fox News contributor, was caught by surprise by the announcement, according to a source familiar.... Trump's announcement also caught officials within the White House by surprise.... Two senior White House officials acknowledged the details of a position are still being worked out and conversations are ongoing.... Aides had not finalized the nature and scope of the role and they had not formally vetted candidates, though Homan's name has been floated internally. Among the potential problems associated with the czar role is structuring it in a way that does not run afoul of the statutory responsibility given to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created by Congress."

Here's the "secret letter" Trump was waving around but refusing to share with reporters last week. Jesse Byrnes of the Hill (June 14): "Mexico's government on Friday released a copy of a letter that President Trump touted in front of cameras earlier this week in teasing additional details of a deal reached with the country to stem the flow of migrants heading toward the U.S. The letter, first published by the Mexican newspaper Reforma, states that the U.S. and Mexico 'will immediately begin discussions to establish definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee claims of migrants.'" Trump said "the paper represented an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Actually, no. The letter is a commitment to "begin discussions" about reaching an agreement. In a way, you can't blame Trump for not knowing what he was showing off. True, it is only one page, but the it's typed single-spaced in a normal-sized font, so too much for Trump to read. Trump also claimed to the gathered reporters that "This is one page of a very long and very good agreement for both Mexico and the United States." The letter itself implies that's a Big Fat Lie. There is no "very long and very good agreement." Except in Trump's own mind.

If you'd like to know what Trump thinks about UFOs, George Stephanopoulos asked him and got a very thoughtful answer, of course.

Tierney Sneed of TPM: “Voting rights group say they have found even more evidence connecting a now-deceased GOP gerrymandering consultant to the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question census. The evidence, put forward in a Friday night court filing, is a 2015 email exchange between the consultant, Thomas Hofeller, and a longtime Census Bureau official who went on to become the the chief of staff to the Bureau's director under the Trump administration. In the emails, the Bureau official, Christa Jones, told Hofeller that the public comments were open on a census-related federal notice and suggested that it could 'be an opportunity to mention citizenship as well.' The email came from Jones' personal account.... It was Jones who recommended that the Census Bureau reach out to far-right anti-immigrant activists who could speak favorably about adding the question. She was also a go-to contact at the Bureau for the Commerce Department as it worked to get the question added, a Commerce official said in deposition, according to NPR." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Way Beyond the Beltway

Keith Bradsher & Alexandra Stevenson of the New York Times: "Backing down after days of huge street protests, Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said on Saturday that she would indefinitely suspend a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. It was a remarkable reversal for Mrs. Lam, the leader installed by Beijing in 2017, who had vowed to ensure the bill's approval and tried to get it passed on an unusually short timetable, even as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it this past week. But she made it clear that the bill was being delayed, not withdrawn outright, as protesters have demanded." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Reader Comments (14)

Brian Williams always begins his late night news program with citing how many days Trump has been in office. I don't remember the exact number but by my calculation it's something like 8 hundred something. It has taken this long for many to realize that what we have here is a mob boss who has run roughshod on our government day by day believing that he could take up the office of president, pretend he was actually fulfilling that position faithfully, while doing the exact opposite. We have spent the better part of these many days watching in disbelief, then in horror at what has developed hoping against hope that the truth would out resulting in the outing of him. I think we perhaps have reached that point.

Optimism––such a cheery characteristic.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Since it's Father's Day I wish all you fathers here a good one. Here is a poem I wrote about my husband––an extraordinary man whose fathering has feathered us all:

BEDDING MAN
For Joe

He belonged to the earth in a way
few understood.

Not for nothing would his labor’s love
be lost on us
Who like nestlings under a warm feathered father
protected from wild winds & rains

Would one day take flight away
to find our way back again
& again—

Our mouths full of nesting stuff — small tokens
for glorious beginnings

From 2002

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

It's the day millions of Americans traditionally don their Sunday best and gather with hundreds of others in buildings devoted solely to magical thinking. The day of the week when those same millions willingly, some even eagerly and joyfully, suspend their weekday, workaday incredulity and indulge in the "freedom" that believing anything is possible provides.

This is a large part of the trained audience the Pretender relies on when he denies he has said what he's obviously said.

People do sometimes say something they don't mean to say, or speak words they might regret saying at all, but words, once spoken, have in fact been said, and since Edison scratched sound waves on tin, have been retrievable in more than memory.

You either said it or you didn't.

But what difference does that make to people who in face of all evidence to the contrary, still believe that untrammeled population growth has no effect on the environment, that burning fossil fuels is unrelated to climate change, that capitalism works equally well for everyone, that white folk are just naturally superior or that some god will wave his hand and make it--whatever it is--all right in the end?

No difference at all to those who didn't listen in the first place, didn't notice what was said if they did, or if they noticed, built some excuse (he was misinterpreted, he was joking) for the senselessness of what the Pretender said.

If you believe in the Pretender, every day is Sunday.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@Ken Winkes: Now that was food for thought. As much as Trump & the Trumpbots are wed to social media -- means of "communication" that didn't or barely existed two decades ago -- at the same time they wish to take us back to a time when truth was less provable: before tape recordings and fingerprints & DNA and CCTV. Many of our ancestors came to the country for a truly "new life": one free of the baggage they had accumulated in an Old World. It seems today's Trumpbots want the freedom to be, not who they are, but who they pretend to be. Accountability is a burden, and they find it inherently "unfair."

They also want, alas, a society where a supernatural being of their own construction defines the rules they seek to ignore or escape, where ethnic purity is law and where their own "purity" is superior to and free to exploit and abuse other ethnic groups. They imagine themselves the lords & ladies of the plantations & townhouses & not the dirt farmers & tenement-dwellers who most of their ancestors actually were. This is nostalgia on steroids, hell reimagined as heaven.

June 16, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

“He belonged to the earth in a way
few understood . . . “

Oh-so lovely, PD Pepe, as I recall my own “Daddy” and Other Half. RIP, both.

Cheers, all.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Hattie

The Levitz piece on asset distribution is very interesting. I am glad Bruenig went farther and both asked and answered the question about how including consumer goods changes the equation. Over the years, the right wing response to income and wealth inequality has been: "But look, even poor people have refrigerators now! And TVs!" Bruenig's analysis shows that even if you include the refrigerators and TVs and the 10-year-old Hyundai Sonatas, the bottom half of the country is in even worse shape than the wingers let on.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

Oh those Trumpies! Now the Emperor has said that his supporters might "demand he serve more than two terms as president". I'm wondering what rationale his supreme court will use to get around the 22ns amendment.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee

The 22nd amendment can be repealed. We'll wait and see what
Putin thinks.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

Israeli court convicts Sara Netanyahu for misusing state funds | The Guardian

“Sara Netanyahu . . . has been convicted of illegally misusing thousands of pounds of public funds on lavish meals.”

Owing to shameless Schadenfreude, I find the headline, matched as it is with this less-than-flattering photo, amusing. That she is a Child Psychologist (!?!), not so much.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/16/israeli-court-convicts-sara-netanyahu-for-misusing-state-funds

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Hattie

PD,

Outstanding Father's Day poem. I'm mindful of my own dad who, even though perpetually wrung out by heart problems, dragged himself out of bed every day to go to work so that we wouldn't be without. He was a kind man who toughed it out without complaint and died far too young, the sort of father that makes repulsive, insulting idiots like Trump, who had everything handed to him but still finds it necessary to whine, complain, and jet out clouds of asperity about him like unchecked flatulence, look foolish, small, and doltish in comparison.

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Once again, the little king resorts to one of his tired, ragged scams, a variation on his "people are saying" con. "But what if people DEMAND that I be made president for life? Huh? What then? Could I leave my subjects king-less? Certainly not. Of course, there would have to be some compensation adjustments made were I to agree to such a sacrifice. All enemies would have to be jailed, immediately, for life. The Constitution would have to be amended to allow me carte blanche to do whatever I deem necessary to "keep America great", and, of course, my buddy Vlad would have to be made director of the Federal Elections Commission.

Just consider, for a moment, the legendary hubris required of a cheap, wheedling politician who sees himself as a world historical figure rather than a lying mob boss, in putting forward the suggestion that after he steals the next election, he be made leader for life, the goal ascribed to by all the best authoritarians.

Trump is effectively saying that he will stop at nothing to steal another election and will then agree to the "demands" of his subjects to remain in the palace for life.

Nancy, are you hearing this?

I want to know what Democrats will say after this arrogant crook steals another election then has his minions in congress try to "fix" the Constitution in order to keep him in power. Will Nancy be telling us to "wait and see" then?

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

So okay, I read John Cassidy's piece in the New Yorker (linked above).

Under normal circumstances, I'd have to agree with his conclusion that in Trump's jaw-dropping interview with George Stephanopoulos, he sat on a whoopee cushion full of Gorilla Glue and skunk spray, clutching the latest copies of "Prison Wear Daily" and "Impeachment Today" in his tiny hands.

But these are not anything like normal circumstances.

If John hasn't been paying attention, I'll lay it out for him.

Nothing will happen. NOTHING. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Trump really could murder someone in Times Square and nothing would happen. First, Fox would report that the gun went off by accident, then Hannity would report that the gun was planted, with the safety off, by Michele Obama. Then Breitbart would have a breaking news report stating that the murder victim was a Never Trumper who goaded Trump into shooting him so he could cause problems for the Glorious Leader. What's suicide if you can give Trump a bit of agita for an afternoon of wild tweeting?

The only way anything, at this point, becomes a problem for Trump is if someone--any-fucking-one--holds him accountable for anything in his Domesday Book sized list of high crimes and misdemeanors.

He can do and say whatever he wants. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how outrageous it sounds.

Cassidy should know by now that the Democrats will hold hearings and do semi-investigatey things, but none of that means jack if you're not gonna hold the guy accountable.

And they're not.

And confederates? They want to jail Democrats for daring to even talk about investigations of their crime boss.

So, sorry, John. Trump can do whatever he wants. There will be no punishment. He's talking about a third term, fer crissakes!

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Why not a third term? It’s all “so easy” he can do it in his sleep with help from all the best people—. He’s got all the Confederate judges he needs, and more in the pipeline, the Senate is comatose, and Nancy is willing to wait. Duck soup! Democracy-Schemocrasy —. It’s all good—

June 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

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June 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersensed
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