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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.

Monday
Jun242019

The Commentariat -- June 25, 2019

Afternoon Update:

Caitlin Dickerson & Zolan Kanno-Youngs of the New York Times: "The Customs and Border Protection agency's acting commissioner, John Sanders, will step down in early July as the government's primary border enforcement executive, a federal official said Tuesday, a development that comes as the agency faces continuing public fury over the treatment of detained migrant children. The news of the resignation came shortly after agency officials disclosed that more than 100 children had been returned to a troubled Border Patrol station in Clint, Tex., a location where a group of lawyers who visited recently said hundreds of minor detainees had been housed for weeks without access to showers, clean clothing, or sufficient food."

Katie Rogers & Annie Karni of the New York Times: "Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's loyal and sometimes combative communications director, will replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders as White House press secretary, the first lady announced on Tuesday. She will also take on the added role of communications director, a job that has been vacant since the departure of Bill Shine in March, and will keep her role with Mrs. Trump."

Melanie Zanona, et al., of Politico: "Federal prosecutors have accused Rep. Duncan Hunter of improperly using campaign funds to pursue numerous romantic affairs with congressional aides and lobbyists, according to a new court filing late Monday night. The Justice Department alleged that Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife Margaret Hunter illegally diverted $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including to fund lavish vacations and their children's school tuition. Monday's court filings also spell out allegations that Hunter routinely used campaign funds to pay for Ubers, bar tabs, hotel rooms and other expenses to fund at least five extramarital relationships." You might want to read on just for the fun of it.

Oregon. Will Sommer of The Daily Beast: "While the Oregon Senate walk-out has earned national headlines, this isn't the first time the state's conservatives have gone wild. Over the past few years, Oregon Republicans have fought vaccines and brought in militias as their private security. Even as they're increasingly marginalized in state government, Oregon Republicans have grown more extreme.... Oregon's political divide falls between its western urban centers and its more rural eastern parts, according to John Temple, the author of a new book on militias..., 'Oregon is an interesting snapshot of the U.S. as a whole — that divide,' Temple said.... Oregon ... was the only state whose original constitution forbid non-white people from living there." --s

Brazil. Tom Phillips of the Guardian: "Since the far-right leader [Jair Bolsonaro] took office in January, his foreign policy team has set about pulverizing decades of diplomatic tradition: cuddling up to rightwing nationalists including Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán; irking China, and jettisoning its position as a climate crisis leader; infuriating longtime Middle Eastern partners by embracing Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel and threatening to move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem. All this under a Bible-bashing pro-Trump foreign minister who claims global heating is a Marxist conspiracy and Nazism is a movement of the left.... In interviews with the Guardian, doyens of Brazilian diplomacy described their bewilderment, unease and indignation at seeing such a cherished ministry -- and their country's place in the world -- turned on its head." --safari: The parallels between the two "melting pots" of the Americas is fascinating.

~~~~~~~~~~

When I spoke to the president, I said, look, I'm a mom, I have five kids, seven, nine grandchildren. And children are scared. You're scaring the children of America. Not just in those families, but their neighbors and their communities. You're scaring the children. -- Nancy Pelosi, relating her Friday conversation with Donald Trump ...

... Martha Mendoza & Garance Burke of the AP: "The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso Monday, said Rep. Veronica Escobar after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection.... 'How is it possible that you both were unaware of the inhumane conditions for children, especially tender-age children at the Clint Station?' asked Escobar in a letter sent Friday to U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner John Sanders and U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost.... Escobar said some were sent to another facility on the north side of El Paso called Border Patrol Station 1. Escobar said it's a temporary site with roll-out mattresses, showers, medical facilities and air conditioning. But Clara Long, an attorney who interviewed children at Border Patrol Station 1 last week, said conditions were not necessarily better there." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: This is like a shell game where the con man moves around real-life children instead of balls, only instead of the children ending up under one of the cups to they surprise of the mark, they are lost forever in the system. Every one of the con artists, from Trump on down to workers who did not report these atrocities should wind up in prison, where they are allowed to bathe only once a month, sleep on the concrete floor with only a mylar "blanket" to cover them, get only cold MREs to eat, & receive no medical attention. ...

... Ed Kilgore of New York: "... it's remarkable how erratic and politically insensitive Team Trump has been in dealing with the lethal impression that it is deliberately mistreating children as a sort of extreme version of a deterrent to future migrants. The administration has presented four quite different but equally irresponsible strategies in just the last week or so: 1. Deny any responsibility for decent conditions[.]... 2. Move the kids around[.]... 3. Blame Democrats[.]... 4. Blow everything up with mass deportations[.]" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Kilgore didn't mention that Trump is specifically, repeatedly -- and falsely, of course -- blaming President Obama.

Clara Long & Nicole Austin-Hillery of Human Rights Watch in a CNN opinion piece report on "the devastating and abusive circumstances" they observed in their visits to children in US border facilities. "... more children are in immigration custody because over the last several years the government has slowed down the rate at which children are reunified with their families. The government has sought to use children in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities as bait to arrest and deport the family members who come forward to care for them, according to a report by advocacy groups The Women's Refugee Commission and the National Immigrant Justice Center." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: It is worth pointing out here that although Donald Trump disparages the FBI -- the federal government's principal law enforcement agency -- he has again and again commended the "great and incredible and fantastic" Border Patrol & Customs agents (the BP union supported him in 2016). He knows what those "great and incredible and fantastic" agents are doing to children (or he should), and he's good with it. Besides being an (alleged) rapist, he's a proven child abuser.

Edward Wong of the New York Times: "President Trump announced on Monday that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation's leaders and the crippled Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran. He said the order would bar Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and his office from access to the international financial system. The Treasury Department said it also was imposing sanctions on eight Iranian military commanders, including the head of a unit that the Americans say was responsible for shooting down an American drone last Thursday." ...

... Patrick Wintour of the Guardian: "Iran says the US decision to impose sanctions on its supreme leader and other top officials is 'idiotic' and has permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.... Speaking in a live television address on Tuesday, [Hassan Rouhani, the country's president,] added: 'You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?' The White House was 'afflicted by mental retardation', he said." --s ...

     ... Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Eric Hananoki of Media Matters: "During CNN's 'breaking news' coverage of the conflict between the United States and Iran, CNN political commentator David Urban advocated for a missile strike against Iran.... The network didn't disclose to viewers that Urban is a lobbyist for numerous defense contractors. Urban appeared on the June 20 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, where he advocated for striking Iran with a missile. CNN, Urban, and host Jake Tapper didn't disclose during the segment that Urban has extensive financial ties to military contractors." --s

Tim O'Brien of Bloomberg: "... President Trump was never going to become 'presidential.' It was inevitable instead that he would find himself most interested in frequenting the corridors of power that allowed him to operate independently.... In Trump's case it's uniquely perilous because no president in the modern era has been as ill-informed, unhinged and undisciplined as the current one. None has been as needy, nor as willing to playact without remorse while making the most consequential of decisions.... Trump has given the world a trifecta of sorts in recent weeks involving trade with Mexico, a military strike in Iran, and government raids on the homes of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Trump launched all three episodes with public threats and bravado showcased on Twitter, embroidered them with promises of imminent and decisive action, and tethered them to the notion that complex challenges can be solved with blunt force wielded by a single man. He then abruptly abandoned all three provocations just before they were to take effect.... The only real difference between what he's doing now and what he was doing in his businesses decades ago is who it affects." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I can't get over the idea that Trump is remarkably stupid. I think every president -- including Trump, of course -- wants to be the Best President Ever. Yet Trump guaranteed from the get-go that his presidency would be a failure (see, for instance, Axios's report on the helter-skelter Trump transition). Trump can point a stubby finger at others till it falls off; the failure of his presidency is all his doing. Update: See Akhilleus's correction in the Comments below.

The Trump Scandals, Ctd.

Judy Kurtz of the Hill: "A star-studded cast -- including John Lithgow, Alyssa Milano, Alfre Woodard, Annette Bening and many others -- will perform in a play based on the Mueller report. The performers will take the stage Monday for 'The Investigation: A Search For The Truth in 10 Acts,' a play written by Robert Schenkkan. The work by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Schenkkan is based on special counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.... The event is being hosted and livestreamed by LawWorks.... The performance comes just days after a Washington theater announced it would host an 11-hour reading of the second volume of Mueller's report that deals with possible obstruction of justice committed by President Trump." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie (Monday afternoon): According to the LawWorks website, the play is to be performed on Monday, June 24 (i.e., yesterday) beginning at 9 pm EDT. You can stream it on the linked page. I can't tell from the site whether or not you can watch the play later. ...

     ... Update. The live performance has ended. According to the site, "A replay will be available shortly." Mrs. McC: I really enjoyed the show! John Lithgow was great as angry, inarticulate, lying Trump & Joel Gray was a funny Sessions. Those left-wing, liberal elite actors do the country proud. So far the arts are surviving Trump.

New, Credible Rape Allegation against Trump Finally Makes the Front Page of the NYT Online. Donald Trump, Discerning Rapist. Peter Baker & Neil Vigdor: "President Trump on Monday again denied assaulting a columnist for Elle magazine in the dressing room of a high-end clothing store more than 20 years ago, asserting just hours after she aired her explosive accusation on television that he would not have assaulted her because 'she's not my type.' Mr. Trump said that E. Jean Carroll, who wrote for years for Elle magazine, was 'lying' when she said that he threw her up against a wall and forced himself on her in the mid-1990s, and he insisted that he did not know her. 'I'll say it with great respect,' he said in an interview with The Hill, a Capitol Hill news organization. 'No. 1, she's not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, O.K.?'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: No. !, Carroll was & is a beautiful woman. No. 2, since when are rapists choosy? This is just the Liar-in-Chief adding insult to injury. ...

... Lara Takenaga of the New York Times: "After an article last week reported the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape allegations against President Trump, some readers accused The Times of downplaying the story.... Dean Baquet, the executive editor [of the Times] ... said the critics were right that The Times had underplayed the article, though he said it had not been because of deference to the president.... Mr. Baquet said he had concluded that it should have been presented more prominently, with a headline on The Times's home page.... The fact that a well-known person was making a very public allegation against a sitting president 'should've compelled us to play it bigger.'" ...

... MEANWHILE, at That Bastion of Great Journalism, the New York Post. Oliver Darcy & Marianne Garvey of CNN: "The New York Post's former top editor [Col Allan], a supporter of President Trump and an old lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch who returned to the conservative tabloid as an adviser in early 2019, ordered the removal of a story about writer Jean Carroll's sexual assault allegations against President Trump, two people familiar with the matter told CNN Business. The Post's story about Carroll's sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid's website on Friday afternoon.... A wire story by the Associated Press which had been published on the Post's website was also removed.... Stories about Carroll's accusation against Trump remained online at The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, two other news organizations overseen by Murdoch." ...

... Jon Allsop of the Columbia Journalism Review: "Despite the litany of claims against Trump, Carroll is only the second woman to publicly accuse him of rape. Her account is graphic and detailed; was corroborated by two friends who recall Carroll telling them about it at the time; and echoes what Trump told Billy Bush, in the Access Hollywood tape, about grabbing women 'by the pussy.' You'd think, then, that it would have been a much bigger story over the weekend. Many commentators were furious that it was not.... As Media Matters for America's Katie Sullivan pointed out, Carroll's claim did not make the front page of Saturday's New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, or Chicago Tribune; The Washington Post did put it on A1, but did not lead with it. Also on Saturday, Nieman Lab's Joshua Benton calculated that the story was not among the 164 articles featured on the Times's homepage; it appeared there later on, but the Times tagged it in its books section, and even there it was downplayed. As of [Monday] morning, the story is all but absent from the homepages of major outlets." ...

... It's Just a Woman's Issue. Amanda Marcotte of Salon: "This should be an incredibly serious story, deserving of at least the wall-to-wall coverage and outrage that greeted Bill Clinton for his icky-but-consensual affair with Monica Lewinsky.... Part of the problem, no doubt, is that there's so much horrible stuff happening right now.... But that's not the full explanation, as many of these papers front-paged much less important stories.... Also noteworthy is that the M.O. Trump described to [Billy] Bush -- taking a woman shopping and then 'mov[ing] on her like a bitch' -- is what Carroll says he did to her.... It's become clear that Republican voters do not care if their leaders are sexual predators.... They don't believe [Trump is] innocent. They just don't care if he's guilty. And they think women who speak out about sexual violence are being spoilsports.... It also matters that Trump is a sexual predator because it clearly matters to the Trump opposition. The reason the biggest protest in American history was the Women's March stems directly from women's outrage that the nation elected a shameless sexual predator.... I suspect ... the main reason the media is underplaying this story is that women are still not taken seriously as full citizens and participants in our democracy." ...

... Megan Garber of the Atlantic: "The attrition of attention when it comes to Carroll's story -- 'media fatigue,' CNN's Reliable Sources put it -- is in its own way shocking but not surprising. It is yet more proof, as if any were necessary, of how commonly women's stated experiences, particularly when the statements threaten the fragile order of things, are reflexively dismissed. Once again, the woman offers up her pain -- as testimony; as evidence; as fodder for change -- and, once again, that pain is met with a shrug. Once again, those who have an interest in disbelieving her -- including, in this case, Trump himself &-- mention money and fame as her probable motivations for coming forward. Once again, the woman's story is consumed and abstracted and diffused into the acrid air.... In Carroll's case, a perverse kind of paradox has set in: The sheer number of women who have accused the president of misconduct seems to have helped diminish the impact of her accusation.&"

Bob Brigham of the Raw Story: "Attorney General Bill Barr killed seven different investigations started by special counsel Robert Mueller just ten days after he submitted his report. CNN's Katelyn Polantz had filed a request to unseal documents related to the special counsel's investigation and on Monday the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed. Chief Judge Beryl A Howell ordered the release of multiple documents, [one of which] shows seven cases that were closed on April Fools Day -- only ten days after Mueller submitted his report." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I don't know that Brigham's implication is accurate. The "Case Closed" designations could be housekeeping, or it may be that Mueller meant to abort these investigations & asked DOJ to take care of the formalities. If Barr really shut down on-going, viable investigations, this should be a big story, and it isn't. I'm linking it just in case there's some there there. Polantz, in her report on the court releases, refers only obliquely to the cases still open as of April 1.

Steve Holland of Reuters: "... Donald Trump's senior adviser Kellyanne Conway will not testify before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee this week on her alleged violations of the Hatch Act, the White House told the panel's chairman on Monday.... The Oversight Committee has said it would vote on a potential subpoena if Conway does not testify before lawmakers on Wednesday." ...

... Betsy Woodruff of the Daily Beast: "The Trump-appointed ethics official who called for Kellyanne Conway's firing last week is set to defend that decision in congressional testimony on Wednesday. Henry Kerner, the chief of the White House's Office of Special Counsel, has submitted testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in which he criticizes Conway for allegedly breaking the law by politicizing her post as White House Counselor.... 'Ms. Conway's conduct reflects not a misunderstanding of the law, but rather a disregard for it,' [Kerner will testify].... Kerner's plan to appear at the hearing, which was confirmed by a senior Democratic committee aide, is a significant move, given that a host of administration officials have recently stiff-armed congressional testimony requests and subpoenas." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Conway & the White House have been defending her political remarks on First Amendment grounds, but inasmuch as she reportedly plans to be a no-show at the Oversight Committee hearing, maybe she & they should be thinking more about her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Jordan Fabian & Saagar Enjeti of the Hill: "President Trump on Monday declined to say he has confidence in Christopher Wray and stressed that he disagrees with the FBI director, who has said he does not believe there was spying on the president's 2016 campaign. 'Well, we'll see how it turns out,' Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Hill when asked about his level of confidence in Wray. 'I mean, I disagree with him on that and I think a lot of people are disagreeing. You may even disagree with him on that.'... The president recently gave [AG William] Barr the authority to declassify information related to the origins of the federal investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Trump has long claimed the probe will show there was improper surveillance on his campaign, an assertion denied by intelligence and law enforcement officials."


Alan Rappeport
of the New York Times: "The Treasury Department's internal watchdog has agreed to look into why designs of a new $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will not be unveiled next year. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, last week asked the Treasury Department's inspector general to open an investigation following Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's announcement at a May Congressional hearing that designs of the new $20 would be unveiled in 2026 instead of 2020 -- the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. Mr. Mnuchin, at the hearing, would not commit to Tubman being featured on the note, diverging from the plan and timeline set by the Obama administration and leaving the decision to a future Treasury secretary. Treasury's inspector general, in a letter to Mr. Schumer dated June 21, said that the review of the $20 will be included in an already-planned audit of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's process for designing new notes and security features."

Asawin Suebsaeng of the Daily Beast: "Jason Miller, a former top campaign aide and close adviser to Donald Trump, has left his job as a managing director at Teneo, a prominent consulting firm, days after launching a profanity-laced tirade directed at a top House Democrat.... Miller's departure from the firm comes just a few days after he went on a raging tweetstorm at House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY), in which he called the New York Democrat, among other things, a' fat fuck.' 'He's a fucking scumbag. Anyone obsessed with attacking innocent Hope Hicks should take a long walk off a short pier,' Miller posted to Twitter late last week.... Miller's anger had been sparked by Nadler's questioning of former Trump aide and confidante Hope Hicks during closed-door testimony several days prior. During that testimony, Nadler had referred to Hicks as 'Ms. Lewandowski.' The congressman later insisted it was a slip of the tongue, but his repeated use of the wrong surname led to the impression that he was referencing an alleged 'affair' between Hicks and one-time Trump campaign chief Corey Lewandowski.... [Teneo] "has close ties to the Clintons." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Not only are Miller's rage-tweets highly unoriginal, roly-poly Miller has a lot of nerve referring to anyone as a "fat fuck."

Presidential Race 2020

Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times: "I had the chance to watch Biden campaign three times over the weekend, when almost the entire Democratic field descended on Columbia.... Seeing Biden on the stump often feels like watching an actor who can't quite remember his lines. Even if you don't support him, it's hard not to feel anxious on his behalf.... His performance was unnerving.... Donald Trump, of course, also speaks in gibberish, but with a bombastic unearned confidence; rather than flailing around for the right figure he makes one up. Biden, by contrast, was just shaky. And while there's great affection for him on the ground, there's little excitement. You can see why his campaign has been limiting his public events and why he's been avoiding the press.... Anyone convinced that Biden is the safe choice should go see him for themselves." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: There are reasons Biden flamed out early in his previous runs for president. (One is that Biden is not a great speaker for he does well in small crowds [as pundits & I have observed]. I think that's because in a conversational situation, we are used to having our friends make misstatements & grasp for words; a politician can't get away with that in a crowd.) We should hope that Biden is once again an also-ran in 2020. Yesterday, I heard or read a pundit note that one reason Barack Obama chose Biden as his running mate in 2008 (that is, 11 years ago) was that he was too old to have presidential ambitions in 2012 or 2016, so he would be a good VP, not a self-serving, aspiring candidate.

New York columnists Zak Cheney-Rice, Benjamin Hart & Ed Kilgore discuss South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's mishandling of race relations in his city, specifically in regard to a recent white-cop-on-black fatal shooting.

Senate Races 2020

Cristina Cabrera of TPM: "Democratic Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon on Monday launched her campaign to challenge incumbent Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Citing her experience with battling former governor Paul LePage (R), Gideon said in her announcement video that 'getting things done for Mainers are what we're elected to do, not falling in line behind the demands of someone else.'... 'It doesn't matter if that person is LePage, Mitch McConnell, or Donald Trump,' said Gideon, pointing at Collins' votes in favor of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the GOP's massive 2017 tax cuts."

Eleanor Watson & Nicole Sganga of CBS News: "Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc announced Monday that he would run for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, setting up what may be one of the marquee congressional races of 2020. Bolduc, who spent 32 years in the Army, said at his announcement that the current leadership in Washington haven't secured the border, addressed student debt, or ended the opioid crisis. Although Bolduc is running as a Republican, he did not refer to President Trump in his speech. Bolduc told the crowd that he has nothing against Shaheen, who has been in the Senate since 2009, but that 'she has been a part of failed leadership in Washington for too long.' Bolduc also said that he would not 'engage in personal destruction' as a candidate." Mrs. McC: He sounds like a guy who has no idea how the Senate works. So, perfect.


Ari Berman
of Mother Jones: "A federal judge in Maryland found on Monday that the Trump administration's addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census might have been motivated by a desire to reduce the political clout of Hispanics and said he would reopen the case, if given the opportunity, to rule on late-breaking smoking-gun evidence. With the Supreme Court set to rule on the citizenship question by the end of the week, this sets up another longshot scenario where the question could be invalidated.... Thomas Hofeller, the GOP's longtime gerrymandering mastermind, had pushed for a citizenship question in order to draw new political districts that he said would be' advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.' Hofeller ghostwrote a key section of a Justice Department letter requesting the question, which was approved by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and told the administration to argue that it was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, when Hofeller had already concluded it would hurt Hispanic voters."

Paul Demko of Politico: "The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge from health insurers who argue the federal government owes them hefty Obamacare payments, stoking the possibility the Trump administration could be forced to pay out billions of dollars for a law it's tried to dismantle. The insurers claim they are due money from an Obamacare program helping companies that attracted sick and expensive customers in the early years of the law's insurance marketplaces. The justices' decision to take the case means it will reconsider an earlier appellate court ruling that the federal government isn't on the hook for the payments.... The insurers' case involves the Affordable Care Act's risk corridors program.... Republicans balked at spending taxpayer dollars to cover the program's deficit -- decrying it as a bailout for insurers -- and blocked the federal government from making payments. That contributed to skyrocketing premiums in the ACA's fledgling marketplaces after they launched in 2014, and it also helped push many nonprofit insurers seeded with Obamacare funds into financial collapse."

Richard Wolf of USA Today: "A federal law requiring longer prison sentences for using a gun during a 'crime of violence' is unconstitutionally vague, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday.... Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court's four liberals and wrote the decision. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered a fiery dissent for the court's other conservatives. The Justice Department had warned that if the law was struck down, it 'will inundate courts with collateral-review petitions by some of the most dangerous federal prisoners and will frustrate efforts to prosecute current and future violent criminals.' That argument was reinforced by Kavanaugh's dissent, which labeled the 5-4 ruling 'an extraordinary event in this court.'... 'In our constitutional order, a vague law is no law at all,' [Gorsuch] said in announcing the verdict from the bench."

Rafi Schwartz of Splinter: "As the debate over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's characterization of American migrant detention facilities as 'concentration camps' enters its second, aneurysm-inducing week, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has entered the fray.... In a press release posted to its website on Monday, the museum wrote that it 'unequivocally rejects efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,' and directed readers to a six-month-old essay that cautions against 'careless Holocaust analogies [which] may demonize, demean, and intimidate their targets' and 'distract from the real issues challenging our society, because they shut down productive, thoughtful discourse.'... If, as the museum claims, 'efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events' are to be unequivocally rejected, then what's the point of learning about the Holocaust in the first place? As rabbi Danya Ruttenberg succinctly put it last week in the Washington Post: '"Never Again" means nothing if Holocaust analogies are always off limits'... As Ocasio-Cortez herself explained, concentration camps are not the sole province of Nazis. It's the museum itself (along with plenty of bad-faith Republicans) that made the leap from 'concentration camps' to 'Holocaust analogy' without for a moment recognizing -- or at least admitting -- the term's well-established historical independence from the Nazi's treatment of European Jewry." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The Smithsonian article (Nov. 2017) on the history of concentration camp (linked last in the excerpt of Schwartz's post) is quite interesting. Some of those historical camps were very much like the camps in which Trump has put migrants & their children.

Damian Carrington of the Guardian: "G20 nations have almost tripled the subsidies they give to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite the urgent need to cut the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis. The bloc of major economies pledged a decade ago to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies.... China and India give the biggest subsidies to coal, with Japan third, followed by South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia and the US. Global emissions must fall by half in the next decade to avoid significantly worsening drought, floods, extreme heatwave and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. But emissions are still increasing, with coal-fired power the biggest single contributor to the rise in 2018." --s

Damian Carrington: "The world is increasingly at risk of 'climate apartheid', where the rich pay to escape heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers, a report from a UN human rights expert has said. Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law." --s

Beyond the Beltway

Kentucky. Tom Loftus of the Louisville Courier Journal: "Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Monday ruled the [Kentucky Governor] Bevin administration intentionally violated the Kentucky Open Records Act in refusing to release a copy of an economic analysis of the administration's 2017 pension reform plan. In a 19-page final order in the case, Shepherd ordered the economic analysis be released and -- because the violation of the open records law was willful -- directed the state to pay $72,833 in attorneys' fees and costs to the person who requested the record." --s

Reader Comments (11)

“I didn’t rape her because she’s not my type”??

So, wait. If she was his type he would have gone full Cossack on her? That’s his defense? “She’s not the kind I usually try to rape.” Not “I don’t assault women”?

Trumpbots must be soooo proud. Especially all those Evangelicals. He must be their kind of guy.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The Trump ploy of trying to blame Obama for his Torture of Small Children policy is a typically weak-ass excuse for someone who tries constantly to paint himself as a hard-ass maverick who goes his own way and doesn’t abide by weenie Democrat rules. If Trump were as much a tough guy as he pretends to be, breaking a “rule” this draconian should be just his meat.

But he’s not tough. He’s a weak, stupid, racist bully who doesn’t have the guts to stand by his own hardcore, inhumane, and illegal position on handling the most vulnerable pawns on his cheap, gaudy chess board of hatred and atrocity.

He’s just a lying pansy.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Marie,

I’m not sure your idea (or my idea) of what it means to be the Best President Ever is the same as that harbored by little donald. I think, for him, the definition of that phrase is one who can greedily line his own pockets with impunity, use taxpayer monies and his exalted position to attack his enemies, demand that everyone worship him as a god, inflict his warped beliefs on hundreds of millions, lie incessantly, revel in his own wonderfulness, threaten, bully, cajole, and assault any who dare to question his intellect, qualifications, and abilities.

For Trump, BPE doesn’t necessarily include abiding by constitutional rules, legal guidelines, or actually doing the job he was “elected” to do.

I suppose according to that train of thought, he IS the Best President Ever.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: Excellent point on the definition of BPE. Since Trump knows nothing about history, he likely has no idea what makes a great or very good president. He almost certainly thinks that bullying others is evidence of "strength," thus making him the "strongest" president (or one of the strongest) ever. As Tim O'Brien wrote, Trump has no capacity to be "presidential."

June 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

I think I must protest. How dare that little GOP skunk call Jerry Nadler a "fat fuck." Jerry reportedly lost tons of weight sometime ago. That term should ALWAYS be reserved for the treasonweasel.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Gary Hart's foray into fooling with Donna's heart cost him a possible presidency; Bill's bungling bit with a young intern almost did him in (since the R's couldn't find anything damaging in the Whitewater probe sexy times were catnip to them). In both these instances the liaisons were consensual. It's almost inconceivable that we now have a president* who has been accused of sexual harassment by over a dozen women, has made payments to two others, has been caught on tape bragging about his conquests, has now been accused of rape and this wasn't on the front pages of notable papers???????

And yeah, I'm with Akhilleus' "she's not my type" crap. This is not the first time he said this. The woman who accused him of putting his hand up her skirt while she was sitting next to him on a plane got the same brush-off when Trump saw a picture of her. The implication of his statement does indeed lead to a "full Cossack" if these women had been his type. What the hell kind of nitwit would suddenly thrust his hand or any other part of his person on a woman for the hell of it? I mean this as a serious question––oh, I just remembered–-"when you're a star they let you do it." Case closed.

At least we are finally exposing the horrific situation in the housing of hundreds of immigrant children. And this, too, was lied about.

Do you remember when we used to call Chuck Todd "Upchuck" because he did such a terrible job reporting and then when he was promoted as the big shot at "Meet the Press" he seemed (since I never watched it, this is only by hearsay) to polish his performances and did a reasonably good job. Well––looks like it's back to UPChuck once again. Vox has a hay day with Chuck's interview with Trump––sounds to me like Todd was being a timid Toady, void of substance and confrontation of any kind.
https://www.vox.com/2019/6/24/18715361/trump-chuck-todd-meet-the-press-interview-explained

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD Pepe: Yeah, Trump's "type" is someone he imagines won't fight back, or hasn't the strength to overpower him, & won't tell.

When my great aunt was in her 70s, a young man broke into her house & assaulted her with the intent to rape her. She said the only reason he didn't finish the job is that she began saying "Hail Mary"s aloud during the attack & it put him off. I'll hazard a guess that a woman some 50 years his senior was not that would-be rapist's "type," either, except to the extent he was sure he could overpower her.

P.S. The major papers now have plenty of female reporters, but they seem to have few women at the top (Jill Abramson didn't last long as exec editor at the Times). The women can report their hearts out (and they do), but if their stories are buried, as the papers did with the Carroll story, they won't be read. It isn't enough for the media moguls to pat themselves on the back for covering what they surmise are "women's issues"; they need women at the top to girlsplain what news is.

June 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Think of "nationalism" as narcissism extended.

To a narcissist, nothing beyond self matters. Such a view of life is a fantasy, because narcissism's limited view blinds us to the reality that others not only exist but that they affect us in all kinds of ways by their very existence. Some of those others may even believe that their lives are equally as important as our own.

It should be obvious that the kind of absolute independence implied by both narcissism and nationalism is a physical impossibility, that the boundaries of both the self and nations are largely artificial constructs that ignore reality's complexity.

As individuals, we draw in air, food and water, convert it to energy and biomass and return its remnants, and eventually all of what remains of ourselves to the larger world. Even the magical thinking of religion has enough sense to tell us that.

The entire geologic, biological and human history of the planet makes a similar mockery of artifically imposed borders and boundaries, and the depth of that mockery has only increased as physicial barriers like mountain ranges and oceans now do little to hinder human movement.

Nationalism and narcissism have much more in common than their initial letter. They share the same impulse, the same limited point of view, the same denial of reality, and they are both nuts.

Today's question: In 2019 are all nationalists narcissists?

I'm thinking they are.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

It's hard to imagine the wild incompetence a second Drumpf administration would exact in the country. The Pres* who claims to have the "best people" is finding his pool of talent smaller and smaller. Who in the hell would want to work there after reelection besides hardcore ideologues trying to push their own agendas to the detriment of the common good. I have a feeling the whole place will be filled with lifetime energy and pro-pollution lobbyists and the term will end with the images of the Mississippi River on fire.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@safari: A good point that hadn't occurred to me. Just today there are stories that Trump is sick of his 4th chief-of-staff, but Mulvaney will probably get to stay because Trump wouldn't be able to find anyone willing to take his place.

So in Trump 2.0, many positions would remains unfilled (as they are in Trump 1.0), all the appointees would be "acting" (as so many are now) since none will be able to get through a cursory FBI check, much less a Senate confirmation -- and few could even make it thru a Google check. Their average tenure would be a measure of months, not years. And as you say, all the "acting" people will be corrupt, even more so since they would know they won't last long. We'll look back on "tactical pants" & Queen Anne dining sets as quaint reminders of the good old days when Cabinet officials were merely profligate spenders of taxpayer money & not necessarily taking money under the table as fast as possible.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

This cluster bump on roller skates of an administration is accomplishing one thing. We are creating a generation of Latin Americans who will actively hate the United States. We will be paying for generations to come.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBobby Lee
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