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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.

Sunday
Jun162019

The Commentariat -- June 17, 2019

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

McConnell Finally Finds a Bill He Likes -- And It's Trump's. Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pledging to force a vote on President Trump's $4.5 billion request for emergency border money, regardless of whether or not the GOP can reach a deal with Democrats. McConnell told Fox News's 'Fox & Friends' during an interview on Monday that he was planning to bring up a 'freestanding' deal in an effort to force Democrats to go on the record either supporting or blocking the request for humanitarian aid legislation." Mrs. McC: No doubt this is McConnell's way of making sure his wife keeps her job at Transportation funneling money to Kentucky.

Sarah Wilson of WFTV Orlando: "Road closures have already begun in downtown Orlando [for Donald Trump's Tuesday night rally], and dozens of Trump supporters have already set up chairs and tents to claim their spots in line outside the Amway Center. The first supporters said they got into line at 4 a.m. Monday."

ScotusBlog's live updates of this morning's Supreme Court decisions is here. I'll link stories when they become available.

Punt! Mark Sherman of the AP: "The Supreme Court decided Monday against a high-stakes, election-year case about the competing rights of gay and lesbian couples and merchants who refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings. The justices handed bakers in the Portland, Oregon, area a small victory by throwing out a state court ruling against them and ordering judges to take a new look at their refusal to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The high court's brief order directs appellate judges in Oregon to consider last term's Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker from Colorado who would not make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The court ruled that baker Jack Phillips was subjected to anti-religious bias in the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's determination that he violated state anti-discrimination in refusing to bake the couple's wedding cake. The Oregon appellate ruling came before the court's decision in Phillips' case."

Pete Williams of NBC News: "The Supreme Court declined on Monday to change the longstanding rule that says putting someone on trial more than once for the same crime does not violate the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy -- a case that drew attention because of its possible implications for ... Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The 7-2 ruling was a defeat for an Alabama man, Terance Gamble, convicted of robbery in 2008 and pulled over seven years later for a traffic violation. When police found a handgun in his car, he was prosecuted under Alabama's law barring felons from possessing firearms. The local U.S. attorney then charged Gamble with violating a similar federal law. Because of the added federal conviction, his prison sentence was extended by nearly three years."

Lawrence Hurley of Reuters: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Republican legislators in Virginia a defeat, leaving in place a ruling that invalidated state electoral districts they drew because they weakened the clout of black voters in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The justices, in a 5-4 decision, sidestepped a ruling on the merits of the case. They instead found that the Republican-led state House of Delegates lacked the necessary legal standing to appeal a lower court ruling that invalidated 11 state House districts for racial discrimination. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat and the state's top law enforcement official, opposed the appeal and argued that the Republican legislators were not entitled to act on behalf of the state in the case." ...

     ... Jacqueline Thomsen of the Hill: "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. Mrs. McC: A somewhat weird collaboration, on the face of it. ...

... The New York Times story, by Adam Liptak, is here.

~~~~~~~~~~

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

Happy Fathers Day to all, including my worst and most vicious critics, of which there are fewer and fewer. This is a FANTASTIC time to be a 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. ...

... Okay, so maybe it's worse to get a Fathers Day message from someone who, in the tweet, describes himself as "America's Dad." That would be Prisoner No. 123456, Bill Cosby. ...

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

Look, Article II [of the Constitution], I would be allowed to fire Robert Mueller. Assuming I did all the things... Number one, I didn't. He wasn't fired ... But more importantly, Article II allows me to do whatever I want. Article II would have allowed me to fire him. -- Donald Trump, interview with George Stephanopoulos

Sadly, Trump probably believes this. Funny he didn't mention that Article I allows the Congress to evict him after he does whatever he wants. -- Mrs. Bea McCrabbie ...

... Sarah Burris of the Raw Story: "... Donald Trump tweeted out once again that he doesn't know the difference between a man hired to do opposition research and an entire country intruding on an election to sway the result. In a Sunday Twitter rant, Trump proclaimed that if Republicans had done something like that, 'there'd be hell to pay.... It would be a scandal like no other!'... The problem for Trump is that the Republicans did actually pay for the first portion of the dossier< Christopher Steele wrote. 'Fusion GPS was hired by Republicans to do opposition research, they were hired back [by] the Democratic Party to do opposition research,' added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Steele dossier." Emphasis added. ...

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

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: As I suspected, 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." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

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." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

ABC News now has released the full transcript of George Stephanopoulos's interview of Donald Trump. ...

... Here's the part where Trump rudely kicks Mick Mulvaney out of the Oval for having the temerity to cough while King Donald was speaking:

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If this CNN video doesn't show up on your browser (I get it in Chrome but not in Firefox), Aaron Rupar of Vox has the video here. Update: The CNN video came up on Firefox after I unblocked third-party cookies. I may be sorry. ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: In the cough-cough episode, it's impossible to know what Trump means by his "beautiful financial statement." Jessica Campisi of the Hill: "President Trump said ... that he believes his 'financial statement' will be turned over 'at some point.' Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that the Senate is 'after my financial statement,' adding that 'at some point, I hope they get it.' 'You going to turn it over?' Stephanopoulos asked. 'At some point, I might,' Trump said. 'It's a fantastic financial statement.' He added: 'I look forward to, frankly, I'd like to have people see my financial statement because it's phenomenal.'" As far as I know, the Senate has not asked for Trump's "financial statement," especially inasmuch as Trump has released five financial statements -- a/k/a "financial disclosures" -- since he began running for president, as required by law. These financial statements are merely overviews, describing assets & debts in broad ranges; they are not tax returns. The House Ways & Mean Committee has lawfully asked for six years of Trump's tax returns; the IRS & Treasury Department have refused to turn them over, and last week the DOJ provided a fake rationale for the refusal. According to the New York Times last month, "President Trump's family business saw its overall revenues decline modestly in 2018, according to his annual financial report released Thursday, suggesting a disconnect between the Trump brand and the still-growing national economy."

Tom Boggioni of the Raw Story: "According to a report in the Washington Post, GOP leaders are at an impasse with the White House on future budget concerns..., which is leading to fears of another government shutdown. The report states, 'GOP leaders have spent months cajoling President Trump in favor of a bipartisan budget deal that would fund the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing this fall, but their efforts have yet to produce a deal. At issue is the interference of Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney who many in Congress believe has his own agenda that may not reflect what the president wants -- meaning all their work could go for naught." The WashPo story is here.

Tom Boggioni: “Addressing a report from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel recommending White House counsel Kellyanne Conway should be fired for flagrant violations of the Hatch Act, the Washington Post editorial board hammered ... Donald Trump's confidante over her smirking response. 'Conway is well-versed in long-standing ethics law that bars federal employees from engaging in partisan politics while on the job,' the editorial begins. 'Restrictions of the Hatch Act have been spelled out to her in formal training, individual conversations and multiple written communications by the Office of White House Counsel. She simply doesn't care that she violates the law." Blah, blah, blah.... Let me know when the jail sentence starts," she quipped to a reporter.... Even worse than her breathtaking arrogance is that the president she works for -- and on whose behalf she regularly and belligerently violates the Hatch Act -- cares even less about the rules,' the editorial continues."

Darren Samuelsohn & Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Democrats investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice are eyeing a new strategy to break the president's all-out oversight blockade: calling witnesses who never worked in the White House. Key lawmakers tell Politico they hope to make an end run around Trump's executive privilege assertions by expanding their circle of testimony targets to people outside government who nonetheless had starring roles in Robert Mueller's final report. That includes presidential confidants like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Other Russia-related figures who never served in Trump's administration and would make for prime congressional witnesses include Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.... 'These people could be called without any reasonable shred of a claim of executive privilege,' said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a pro-impeachment member of the Judiciary panel that's leading the obstruction probe.” ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I don't think this tack has a high likelihood of success. What's legal & illegal doesn't bother this President, White House & DOJ much. They "just say no," and make up some risible legal argument to support their refusal to cooperate. As Samuelsohn & Cheney report, "The president's lawyers, in an unrelated matter, appeared to lay the groundwork for an effort to block even outside advisers from speaking to Congress about their interactions with Trump and his inner circle by arguing that even some people who don't work for the White House can be subject to claims of executive privilege." If all else fails, the witnesses can take the Fifth even if, like Lewandowski, they prevented rather than committed a crime.

Megan Specia of the New York Times: "Iran announced on Monday that it would soon exceed the limits on the nuclear fuel it is permitted to possess under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year, leaving the door open to an 'unlimited rise' in Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium and potentially triggering another flashpoint with Washington. The announcement by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization was the country's latest signal that it will abandon the pact unless the other signatories to the deal help Iran circumvent punishing United States economic sanctions imposed by President Trump. The threat seemed aimed primarily at the European signatories, to convince them to break with Washington and swiftly restore some of the economic benefits of the deal to Tehran. After the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal, the Trump administration imposed severe economic sanctions that have discouraged any outside companies from doing business with Iran. More recently, it followed that up with measures to all but cut off Iran's revenues from oil sales, the lifeblood of its economy."

Jamie Ehrlich of CNN: "Former late night host and 9/11 first responders advocate Jon Stewart said Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never been compassionate in his congressional dealings when it comes to passing health care packages for first responders. 'In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010,' Stewart said on 'Fox News Sunday.'... 'He has always held out until the last minute, and only then after intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it,' he said."

Abby Goodnough of the New York Times: "... hundreds of volunteers around the country [are] working with National Nurses United, the country's largest nurses' union, to build grass-roots support for the single-payer bill, a long shot on Capitol Hill and a disruptive force in the party.... A single-payer health care system would more or less scrap private health insurance, including employer-sponsored coverage, for a system like Canada's in which the government pays for everyone's health care with tax dollars. Democrats not ready for that big a step are falling back on a 'public option,' an alternative in which anyone could buy into Medicare or another public program, or stick with private insurance -- a position once a considered firmly on the party's left wing.... [Swing-district Democrats, in particular,] fear the 'socialism' epithet that President Trump and his party are attaching to Medicare for all."

Presidential Race 2020

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. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

AP: Authorities say a man has died after a shooting involving a police officer in South Bend, the Indiana city where Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is mayor. Buttigieg said he changed his campaign schedule to return to South Bend on Sunday and hold a late night news conference. He said that the circumstances of the death would be thoroughly investigated, and called on any witnesses of the shooting to come forward and speak to investigators.... Buttigieg also canceled a trip Monday to New York for an LGBTQ event, according to the campaign."


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." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Michael Sainato of the Guardian: "AT&T is among several large corporations whose CEOs announced support of the Trump tax cut bill by claiming if the legislation passed, their companies would ensure workers reaped benefits from it. But a report published on 22 May by the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan thinktank for members of Congress, found the tax cuts did not significantly affect the economy or boost wages, but benefited investors more than anyone else. 'The evidence continues to mount that the Trump-GOP tax cuts were a scam, a giant bait-and-switch that promised workers big pay raises, a lot more jobs and new investments, but they largely enriched CEOs and the already wealthy,' said Frank Clemente ... of Americans for Tax Fairness. He noted only 4% of the US workforce saw any sort of pay increase or bonus from the tax cuts. Meanwhile, data collected by ATF shows corporations have cut thousands of jobs since the tax cuts were passed, while using tax windfalls to buy back $1tn of their own stock, which primarily benefits corporate executives and wealthy investors since half of all Americans own no stock."

Way Beyond the Beltway

Hong Kong. Daniel Victor & Keith Bradsher of the New York Times: "Protesters poured into the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday with renewed determination and a lengthening list of demands, rejecting the government's retreat on a contentious extradition bill and extending the political crisis gripping the semiautonomous territory. Hong Kong's embattled leader, Carrie Lam, shelved the bill on Saturday and followed that up with a rare apology the next day, actions that pro-democracy activists dismissed as too little, too late. And the sheer size of the demonstration -- organizers gave an unverified estimate of close to two million of the territory's seven million people -- made clear the public remained unsatisfied.... The marchers resolve is sending tremors to Beijing, where President Xi Jinping's carefully nurtured image of strength and competence is being put to the test." ...

... Update. Christopher Bodeen & Tassanee Vejpongsa of the AP: "Demonstrators in Hong Kong gathered Monday outside the office of the city's leader, demanding that she step down for the crisis over a highly unpopular extradition bill that has tested the durability of China's promises to respect the former British colony's quasi-autonomy. The mostly young protesters blocked a street near the city's waterfront as they stood outside the office of Chief Executive Carrie Lam chanting calls for her to cancel the proposed legislation."

Israel. Oliver Holmes of the Guardian: "Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel's prime minister, has been convicted of illegally misusing thousands of pounds of public funds on lavish meals. A Jerusalem court on Sunday accepted a plea bargain in which Netanyahu agreed to admit to a lesser charge than the original fraud accusations. She will pay about $15,000 (£12,000) in fines and reimbursements to the state. The sentencing ended one of the long-running cases against the family. However, Benjamin Netanyahu still faces the prospect of three corruption indictments later this year that may end his decade as leader and even result in a prison sentence. He denies all charges."

News Ledes

Dallas Morning News: "A man in a mask, combat gear and glasses was shot and killed Monday morning in downtown Dallas after he opened fire with an assault rifle outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. No one else was injured. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno identified the shooter as Brian Isaack Clyde, 22 at a news conference on a street corner near the federal building. Clyde died at the scene and was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, after police responded to an active shooter call, officials said."

New York Times: "Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, collapsed and died while on trial in a Cairo courtroom on Monday, Egyptian state television reported. Mr. Morsi, 67, won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012 as a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, but was removed from power a year later in a military takeover. He was on trial on espionage charges when he fainted and died, Egyptian television said."

New York Times: "Gloria Vanderbilt, the society heiress who stitched her illustrious family name into designer jeans and built a $100 million fashion empire, crowning her tabloid story of a child-custody fight, of broken marriages and of jet-set romances, died on Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 95." ...

Reader Comments (16)

NEW RULE: Thou shall NOT cough when the dear leader is speaking. He doesn't like it! Period. This also, I imagine, goes for sniffling, blowing one's nose, scratching one's nose and maybe even looking amazed at what comes out of the D.L's mouth. This little bit of the interview with George S. shows what a petty, miserable son of a bitch this guy is–-those beady eyes and pursed lips irritated at Mulvaney for coughing while HE, master of the Universe is not only speaking but Lying as he does so.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/donald-trump-mick-mulvaney-cough_n_5d071c36e4b0304a1211d5f6

"He is shriveling like a seedpod in the sun, when he moves you can hear the bones rattle." Wolf Hall

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I think the coughing incident only shows that DiJiT considers an interview to be a performance, and any time a scene is marred by a prop fail, flubbed lines or incidental noise, the director yells "cut" and you do it over. Ideally, later on, editors cut, splice and modulate audio and visual to make you look strong, wise and adept.

He is still unhappy that he can't control that process as much as he would like. He is still working on trying to grab control, inch by inch, over his public image. And he can control sycophants like Mick.

Too late. Unedited footage reveals a piggish moron.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Notice the heavier than usual spray tan on the little king during his ABC interview. We haven't had a president since Nixon who loves the trappings of power as much as little donnie.

I'm betting he's unaware of Nixon's palace guard uniforms. Remember that crazy bullshit? Nixon, it seems, wanted a more European look for his personal security retinue. Perhaps late Weimar Republic or maybe early Marx brothers.

If little donnie gets wind of that, who knows what kind of megalomaniacal costumes he'll demand for his own personal palace guards. Maybe something like this, except with HIS ROYAL MAJESTY KING TRUMP plastered across the chest.

His plan to renovate Air Force One with a gaudy, god-awful new paint job, Roman bath, on-board brothel, digital golf simulator, remote Fox studio for live shots of him doing presidenty things, special Egg-Zecutive Time cabin with waterbed, and a lounge area papered wall to wall with fake magazine covers of the Donald's stern orange puss looking all presidenchul and in-chargey has been nixed.

A Democrat on the committee, Joe Courtney (D-CT), in charge of this immense waste of money said "Back off, Jack".

He's on the hit list now.

Wait til the palace guards find out.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Trump Financial Statement

I M Rich. Now leave me alone.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Dumpster:
‘Do you want to do that a little differently then?’

@ Patrick:
<< I think the coughing incident only shows that DiJiT considers an interview to be a performance, and any time a scene is marred . . . you do it over. >>

Precisely! Yet on set, it’s the director who stops the momentum. Not the “talent”.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Hattie

Hattie: he thinks he is the director and the talent, the bride, the corpse, and the oscar winner riding with the roses at the derby. There is only him.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Speaking of things Trump knows nothing about...

We all know that knowledge of history is not considered vital or even vaguely useful for Trump and the confederates (except for the made up kind), so it's probably good for those recently fired pollsters that the little king is not aware of how the Church handled the inconvenient information being passed along by Galileo concerning their most dearly held belief in the centrality of earth. Invalidating the geocentric model of the universe brought a conviction on heresy charges and house arrest for the rest of his life.

Tell certain people something they don't want to hear and that shooting the messenger thing could become all too real.

On a more serious note, the fact that Trump will go to such lengths to stave off facts in favor of a fantasy reality he sees in his head gets us into such a dangerous minefield it's hard to believe we are not at war somewhere.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Would someone please tell me why CNN persists in having a Licensed Horrible Idiot, AKA Mr. Frothy, on their shows? I did not watch, as I am unable to watch the Sunday showz without destroying the blameless flat screen, but just seeing his smarmy face on other blogs sends me to drink-- Apparently he and Jennifer Granholm got into it, but why should she have to counter disgusting Santorum at all? Is it because Jake Tapper is R-lite?
And how 'bout the glorious news about Bibi naming stolen land Trump Acres, or something like that...? Just the beginning of the Dear Leader's ascent to monarchy... Next up: granite statues to take the place of all those Robert E. Lees in the country-- I think that fits with the grand uniforms and the garish airplanes-- All I can think of is some Peter Sellers satire, starring Dumpster himself in uniform with many ribbons and medals, strutting and twirling a baton of some sort--or maybe he will wear that bowler he was given--

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

It only requires a little thing, but still--STILL--MSM outlets refuse to provide that extra effort.

In the Newsweek piece (linked above) referencing the little king's declaration that Article II allows him to "do anything I want", I was waiting, in vain as usual, for that simple statement "No. Article II does not allow the president to do whatever he or she wants". (My first thought was Article II of what? Surely not the US Constitution.)

But no, instead we get command of military, blah, blah, blah, and legal experts argue about blah, blah, blah.

Fer crissakes. Just come out and say it. He lied again. OR, even worse, he has no idea what the Constitution says or what it means.

How hard is it to say "By the way, dear readers, the Constitution of the United States of America does NOT allow the president to whatever he wants". It's simple.

If he said "I could have done whatever I wanted about Bob Mueller", that might be a place to argue about why and how a special counsel can be fired and by whom. But that's not what he said, and I think he truly meant that he thinks the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants. About anything.

The continuing run of weasel words and slippery slope writing does not help anyone but Trump and his band of crooks and traitors. By opting for obfuscation rather than clarity, only the Trump Crime Family benefits. Can't we, for once, handle these things with simplicity instead of winding up the It's Difficult Machine. We don't have the luxury of debating these things anymore. Trump is a crook and a traitor. He has long since lost the right to benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt.

Does this sound like picayune kvetching? I'm sorry. It's not. We're at an existential crisis showdown. Instead of instantly firing back, we've got people debating the usefulness of such an action, the caliber of bullets, the muzzle velocity of the weapons and whether it's the right thing to do, how children might be affected, and whether our pets might be traumatized by aggressive return of fire, and how much we should temper any response so as not to hurt anyone's feelings or cause undue consternation.

Meanwhile Trump is loading up the cannons with grapeshot for another broadside on the Constitution.

C'mon people. Jesus.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Instead of getting rid of the 22nd amendment to the US Constitution,
I think what we need is an addition to the effect that there will be no
nepotism. No daughters, no sons-in-law, no 3rd cousins.

Here's a word for Jeanne to use in a sentence: treasonweasel.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforrest.morris

Glad top hear the Pretender's concern (get out of the room when you're coughing, Mick!) for his own perfectly tremendous health still extends to the rest of the country. I'm assuming anyway it is that concern for others which must have motivated his recent, renewed attention to a better, cheaper healthcare plan for everyone.

Can't wait to see it. I'm guessing it will be another one pager.

BTW, anyone heard or read about the present status of what was it, the Amazon? Walmart? plan? reported on a few months back?

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Ken,

If you were sitting in a meeting and a friend or colleague started coughing, you’re first reaction (in fact, that of any normal, decent person) would be “Are you okay? You need some water?”, something along those lines.

Not the little king. “You’re bothering me. Get out!”

“Asshole” doesn’t come close.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

You don't suppose that Mick, chief of staff treasonweasels (thanks, Forrest!!)was choking on the latest lies being blandly fed to George, do you? Nah, they swallow everything they are given, and gladly.

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

My guess is that Gorsuch and Thomas joined the Virginia decision, saying the House of Delegates lacked standing, as a way of avoiding ruling on the actual question of districting discrimination. Treasonweasels everywhere!

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

NiskyGuy,

My other thought on the "standing" problem is that winger judges often use that as a way of booting entire cases out of court, especially if it's a group taking issue with some corporation's nefarious doings.

"Sorry, you don't have standing. See ya."

June 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: You're right about "the continuing run of weasel words and slippery slope writing," but it seems to be getting sporadically better. Even reports as barebones as those from the Hill or as both-sidery as those by NYT's Peter Baker will sometimes contain pushback against Trump's false claims.

But it's a catch-or-catch-can thing. I usually try to let the report speak for itself when the pushbacks are direct & effective, but more often than not still, it is I, not the reporters, who call bullshit. Lots of times the reporters don't even bother to do the he-said/she-said thing, just letting Trump's wild assertions stand alone. Maybe their feelings are, "Everybody knows this is idiotic/hilarious," but no, everybody doesn't know.

June 17, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie
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