The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

Click on the picture to see larger image.... Low Society News. AP: "... Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were among the guests as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin’s) married a Scottish actress. Mnuchin exchanged vows Saturday night with Louise Linton at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington. Mrs. Trump wore a pink blush dress" CW: which, if you follow Reality Chex, you will know was enhanced by some really costly baubles that remind the bride of Grace Kelly or happy times or something.

New Yorker: "In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers announced that they have pushed back the date of the earliest human remains to three hundred thousand years ago. And the specimens in question were found not in East Africa, which has become synonymous with a sort of paleoanthropological Garden of Eden, but clear on the other side of the continent — and the Sahara — in Morocco." -- CW ...

Washington Post: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows [in Uniondale, N.Y.,] after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and trained tigers." -- CW 

Guardian: "Pippa Middleton [sister of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge --] has married James Matthews in what has been called the society wedding of the year, in front of royalty, family and friends." -- CW

Washington Post: "Two months before Monday’s [May 8] announcement that Sinclair Broadcast Group would pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media and add to its dominance as the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, a top executive at Sinclair beamed a short commentary piece to many of the company’s 173 stations.In the segment, which looks like it belongs in a newscast, Sinclair vice president for news Scott Livingston stands before a wall of video monitors and warns that 'some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.' He accuses the national media of publishing 'fake news stories' — a direct echo of President Trump’s frequent complaint — and then asks viewers to visit the station’s website to share 'content concerns.' The piece was a 'must-run,' meaning news directors and station managers from Baltimore to Seattle had to find room for it.... While partisan coverage is a familiar staple of cable networks — Fox News on the right, MSNBC on the left — it remains mostly unheard of in broadcast TV, where it has generally been accepted that public airwaves should be used in the difficult-to-define public interest.” -- CW 

CNN: "21st Century Fox and the private equity firm Blackstone are in talks to launch a bid for Tribune Media, one of the nation's largest television broadcasting companies, a source with knowledge of the matter said Sunday. The deal currently under discussion would see Blackstone and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox forming a joint venture. Blackstone would provide the cash for the acquisition while Fox would add all its owned-and-operated television stations to the joint venture." -- CW 

New York Times: "Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday. The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet." -- CW 

If you're curious as to how realistic the New York City apartments of TV sitcom characters are -- in terms of what the characters could reasonably afford -- the Washington Post checks out several of the hovels & dream rentals of a number of shows. Kinda fun. CW: My husband & I (he paid the rent) had a fairly spacious two-bedroom with a galley kitchen (dishwasher included!) & dining room plus teensy closets on Washington Square in the 1980s & '90s. NYU owned the building & helped considerably with the rent.

Politico: "Comedian Hasan Minhaj will be this year's entertainer for the White House Correspondents' Dinner later this month, the association's president announced on Tuesday. Minhaj is a stand up comedian and senior correspondent on 'The Daily Show,' where he has performed caustic bits on ... Donald Trump, liberals and others in between. Minhaj has Washington experience already, having performed as host of last year's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner." -- CW 

AFP: "After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature at a jovial, champagne-laced ceremony on Saturday, [April 1,] the Swedish Academy announced. The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old troubadour would use a concert stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October." -- CW 

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Saturday
Jun172017

The Commentariat -- June 18, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Kailani Koenig of NBC News: "An attorney for ... Donald Trump was adamant on Sunday that the president is not under investigation, despite the president's tweets this week referring to one as a "witch hunt.... On 'Face The Nation' on CBS, [Jay] Sekulow clarified that he's so confident that there isn't any investigation into the president because they have not received any notification from the special counsel's office." ...

... CW: I hate to tell Jay, but typically investigative agencies don't tell someone he's a person of interest until they find it necessary to interview him and/or associates who might tell the person the nature of their interviews. I was once told by a credible source that I was "under investigation" by a State Bureau of Investigation, so I called the SBI to find out. They wouldn't say one way or the other. That was decades ago, and to this day, I have no idea if my source was right. It isn't exactly something that concerns me. Sekulow is either bluffing or he's an ignoramus. Or both. ...

... Chris Wallace Is Not Taking Any of Sekulow's BS. Max Greenwood of the Hill: "'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace sparred with Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump's legal defense team, on Sunday over whether the president has become a target of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Sekulow originally denied that Trump had fallen under investigation, but later appeared to reverse that assertion, saying that 'he's being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommending him to take.' 'You've now said that he is being investigated,' Wallace said.... [After some more back-and forth, Wallace said,] 'Well, you don't know that he's not under investigation, again sir.'... 'You're right, Chris, I can't read the mind of the special prosecutor,' Sekulow responded. 'Okay, well good, we're in agreement,' Wallace replied. 'You don't know whether he's under investigation or not.'" -- CW

Jordain Carney of the Hill: "Senate Republicans are clamoring to hear from Loretta Lynch after former FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about her involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are seizing on Comey's testimony earlier this month that he was concerned over the former attorney general telling the FBI to refer to the Clinton investigation as a 'matter,' which resembled the Clinton campaign line. The move could allow Republicans to attempt to pivot away from the investigation into Russia's election meddling -- which top GOP lawmakers have signaled belongs to the Intelligence Committee -- and focus on Lynch, who has long been a target of Republicans." -- CW ...

... Quit Picking on Devin. David Siders of Politico: "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Saturday there 'was never any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians,' casting himself as a victim of media bias and calling on Washington to 'stop chasing Russian ghosts around the closet.'... Nunes, addressing GOP donors in Orange County, said that after searching for any evidence of collusion, 'I said "OK, I don't think there's any collusion here." And what happened to me? All the major papers in the country did a total character assassination on me. Why? Because I was telling the truth, that there was never any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.'" CW: Sorry, Devin, the press didn't assassinate your character; you did it all by yourself with your hilarious midnight run to try to exonerate the president* you were supposed to be investigating. But we'll always be grateful to you for "bumblefucking."

*****

Trump Wishes American Dads a Happy Father's Day Tweets about Himself:

The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,.. -- Donald J. Trump June 18, 2017

...massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C.Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in works! --; Donald J. Trump June 18, 2017

The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That's higher than O's #'s! -- Donald J. Trump June 18, 2017

The Most Unethical President Ever, Ctd. Trump's Middle East "Policy," Explained. David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times: "President Trump has done business with royals from Saudi Arabia for at least 20 years, since he sold the Plaza Hotel to a partnership formed by a Saudi prince. Mr. Trump has earned millions of dollars from the United Arab Emirates for putting his name on a golf course, with a second soon to open. He has never entered the booming market in neighboring Qatar, however, despite years of trying. Now a feud has broken out among these three crucial American allies, and Mr. Trump has thrown his weight firmly behind the two countries where he has business ties, raising new concerns about the appearance of a conflict between his public role and his financial incentives." CW: Not an "appearance"; a straight-out conflict. (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "President Trump fired off another angry tweet this past week repeating his assertion that he has no business interests in Russia. But ... last year, while hacking Democrats' emails and working to undermine the American presidential election, the Russian government also granted extensions to six trademarks for Mr. Trump that had been set to expire. The Trump trademarks, originally obtained between 1996 and 2007 for hotels and branding deals that never materialized, each had terms that were coming to an end in 2016. Despite their inactivity, the Trump Organization sought extensions for the trademarks.... The trademark renewals cast doubt on Mr. Trump's oft-stated insistence that he has no business interests in Russia.... In January, he wrote on Twitter, 'I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA -- NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!'... And on Thursday, he expressed frustration on Twitter over scrutiny of his 'non-dealings' in Russia ... although ... his intellectual property holdings are a valuable commercial interest." -- CW ...

... Fighting ISIS for Fun & Profit. Nicholas Confessore, et al., of the New York Times on Mike Flynn's post-government career as a "consultant" or something to shady clients with suspect motives. "Dozens of interviews and a review of public documents suggest that Mr. Flynn's business was as scattershot as it was ambitious -- and that there were few opportunities he would pass up." ...

     ... CW: Something else the article suggests to me, tho not laid out in the story: If you could buy Mike Flynn for what he was worth & sell him for what he thought he was worth, you'd be rich.

Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: "Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. has withdrawn his name from consideration for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security, an adviser to Clarke confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday.... Clarke was expected to start in a role at DHS at the end of June, but according to one person close to the administration who is familiar with the situation, his appointment had been subject to significant delays that contributed to his withdrawal. Clarke, a vocal supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign, is also a controversial figure. He was accused of plagiarism, and has drawn scrutiny for conditions in his jails that left one mentally ill inmate dead. Trump and Clarke met in Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to Peterson, and they discussed other roles in which Clarke could support Trump." -- CW ...

... Lisa Rein & Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: "Republicans say they are turning down job offers to work for a chief executive whose volatile temperament makes them nervous. They are asking head-hunters if their reputations could suffer permanent damage, according to 27 people The Washington Post interviewed.... Potential candidates are watching Trump's behavior and monitoring his treatment of senior officials.... The White House picked up the hiring pace in May and the first half of June, particularly for positions needing confirmation.... But the Senate has just 25 working days until it breaks for the August recess. At this point, Trump has 43 confirmed appointees to senior posts, compared with the 151 top political appointees confirmed by mid-June in President Barack Obama's first term and the 130 under President George W. Bush...." -- CW

David Mack of BuzzFeed: "Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) have resigned, furious at what they say is the new administration's regressive health policies and a lack of care shown by President Trump." -- CW ...

... Scott Schoettes, one of the six who resigned, explains why in a Newsweek opinion piece. -- CW

Corey Bennett of Politico: "Democrats are uniting behind a simple message about Russian hacking during the 2016 election: Donald Trump doesn't care. Even as the president lashes out at the series of Russia-related probes besieging his administration, Democrats say Trump has yet to express public concern about the underlying issue with striking implications for America's democracy -- the digital interference campaign that upended last year's presidential race. The president missed a self-imposed 90-day deadline for developing a plan to 'aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks,' stayed silent after Moscow-linked hackers went after the French election and publicly renewed his own skepticism about the Kremlin's role in the digital theft of Democratic Party emails during the presidential race.... On Capitol Hill, Trump and his team have declined to support a Republican-backed effort to hit Russia with greater penalties for its digital belligerence.... Instead, Trump tapped a commission led by Vice President Mike Pence to investigate an issue that elections experts call vastly overblown -- voter fraud, something the the president has baselessly alleged resulted in millions of illegal voters casting ballots for Hillary Clinton in November." -- CW

Barbara Starr, et al., of CNN: "Seven missing sailors from the USS Fitzgerald were found dead in flooded berthing compartments following the warship's collision with a merchant vessel, a US Navy official said. The Navy's 7th Fleet said searchers found the bodies Sunday morning, Japan time, after the guided-missile destroyer returned to its base in Japan." -- CW ...

... Anna Fifield & Thomas Gibbons-Neff of the Washington Post: "U.S. and Japanese forces joined in air-and-sea search missions Saturday for seven American sailors missing after their Navy destroyer and a much-larger container ship collided off the coast of Japan. The damaged USS Fitzgerald reached its home port at Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, after emergency efforts at sea to control flooding." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Graham Bowley & Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times: "The judge presiding over the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial declared a mistrial Saturday after jurors reported being hopelessly deadlocked. The exhausted jurors had been deliberating since Monday, sometimes for as much as 12 hours a day. The mistrial, which Mr. Cosby's lawyers had supported, means that prosecutors will need to decide whether to retry Mr. Cosby on the charges at a later date." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Way Beyond the Beltway

Prashant Rao of the New York Times: "The London police said on Saturday that the death toll from the inferno at the Grenfell Tower in west London had risen to 58. The announcement by Cmdr. Stuart Cundy, who said the toll was still expected to rise, came as Queen Elizabeth II made note of the country's recent struggles. 'It is difficult to escape a very somber national mood,' the queen said in a statement to mark her official birthday -- an occasion that typically does not result in any public comments from the monarch. 'In recent months, the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies.'" -- CW

Reader Comments (5)

Today, being Father's Day, there is much reflection on men in general, specifically the raising of these males. Andrew Reiner has a piece in the NYT's on "Talking to Boys The Way We Talk To Girls" (see link below–– some of the comments will curl your hair) and related coverage: "How to Raise a Feminist Son" along with "The Fear of Having a Son."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/well/family/talking-to-boys-the-way-we-talk-to-girls.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth&region=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below

In this age of recognizing LBTG's the questions professionals and parents struggle with become much more complicated and fraught with problems. And as interesting as these probes may be perhaps treating human beings as equal human beings might just solve a lot of the controversy over gender handling.

Be that as it may, my mind naturally goes to the group of men that have been ousted as sexual predators just in the last year: Alles, O'Reilly, Cosby, and of course our very own "Dear Leader" plus the recent shooting by a man that had been accused of domestic violence: (the link between mass shooting & domestic violence). We have also had a lot of recent discussion about how women are being treated in the work place–-Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren being shushed by males as one example.

In the case of Cosby, a hung jury is frustrating but since the jurors were only instructed to deal with this one case it's understandable, say some, that a few doubted the woman in question because of her frequent changed testimony. Yet, here we have dozens of women with similar allegations but are unable to testify. One journalist writing about this said Cosby's use of the word "friends" for the pills he gave to his victims reminded him of Sweeney Todd's use of the same word for his razors that slit the throats of his victims.

On the bright side: Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's here–-enjoy the adulation of your grateful children.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

The Newt "says POTUS can't even obstruct justice despite impeaching Clinton for it."

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/06/17/newt_gingrich_now_says_the_president_technically_can_t_even_obstruct_justice.html

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If that's the criterion, Newt has one of the biggliest minds ever -- uuuuuuuge. But not as bigly as Le Donald's, of course.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterD.C.Clark

@D.C. Clark: Yeah, I have that story up in another window, & I debated about linking it. The gist is that tho Newt says Trump is incapable of obstruction of justice, he staked his sorry career on impeaching Clinton for obstruction of justice for lying about an affair with a staffer even as Newt himself was having an affair with a staffer not his wife.

We all suspect that in the pictionary, a snapshot of Newt is posted next to the definition of "hypocrisy," so I generally ignore Newt's BS. I'll admit that Elliot Hannon's piece in Slate pointed out an instance of hypscrisy so egregious that it might be worth revisiting for those who have forgotten Newt or are too young to remember him from his "glory days." But in the end, I decided to follow my unwritten rule of passing on any sentence that begins, "Gingrich says."

Marie

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

Re: Rasmussen Poll. The Morris poll was taken last evening at a
retirement party for a U.S. Army officer friend. About 40 people
were present, a mixed group of mostly locals. The president's*
approval rating stands at 0% as of 11:00 P.M. last evening.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterForrest Morris

DJT's people do come with interesting résumés! First the caddy, then the wedding planner, and now the this guy:

Per Wikipedia: "Sekulow is also an accomplished musician and is the leader of the "Jay Sekulow Band" ... Sekulow's band has produced a Christmas album, a studio album along with several remakes of about a dozen classic rock songs by groups such as Styx, James Gang, Kansas, Three Dog Night, Argent etc.[citation needed] ...Sekulow plays both the drums and guitar."

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG
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