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

Vanity Fair: "... Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times chief book reviewer and Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been, by a wide margin, the most powerful book critic in the English-speaking world, is stepping down.... Kakutani said that she could neither confirm nor comment. But sources familiar with her decision, which comes a year after the Times restructured its books coverage, told me that last year’s election had triggered a desire to branch out and write more essays about culture and politics in Trump’s America." -- CW 

... Washington Post: "... investigators believe they have discovered the 'smoking gun' that would support a decades-old theory that [Amelia] Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were captured by the Japanese: a newly unearthed photograph from the National Archives that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan — and their plane — on an atoll in the Marshall Islands.... Gary Tarpinian,  executive producer of the History documentary, told the Today show that they believe the Koshu, the Japanese merchant ship in the photo, took Earhart to Saipan, where she died in Japanese custody." -- CW 

Summer Beach Reading. James Hohmann of the Washington Post suggests Al Franken's Giant of the Senate. Hohmann's column hits some of the highlights. CW: Let us be thankful that Donald Trump is incapable of learning the lessons Franken learned from his team. If Trump were half as bright as Franken, he would be a succesful president & very effective dictator.

Politico: "MSNBC has parted ways with anchor Greta Van Susteren after just six months on air, as her show failed to live up to the network's ratings expectations. An MSNBC executive said the decision to remove the former Fox News host was purely for business reasons, based on ratings." -- 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 

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Saturday
Mar182017

The Commentariat -- March 18, 2017

** Trump's Lies, Insults & Inability to Apologize Undermine International Relations. Peter Baker & Steven Erlanger of the New York Times: "President Trump provoked a rare public dispute with America's closest ally on Friday after his White House aired an explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Britain's spy agency had secretly eavesdropped on him at the behest of President Barack Obama during last year's campaign. Livid British officials adamantly denied the allegation and secured promises from senior White House officials never to repeat it. But a defiant Mr. Trump refused to back down, making clear that the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for because his spokesman had simply repeated an assertion made by a Fox News commentator. Fox itself later disavowed the report. The rupture with London was Mr. Trump's latest quarrel with an ally or foreign power since taking office." -- CW (The story, linked yesterday, has been extensively updated.) ...

     ... CW: I hate to say it, but mike pence, whom I abhor, would make a far, far better president than Trump, who should be locked away in a secure gold throne room & never heard from again. ...

... CW: Thanks to NJC for linking this ad. I'm calling my doctor Monday morning:

... Josh Barro of Business Insider: "Obviously, a stupid and gratuitous diplomatic spat with the British is not going to lead to an exchange of nuclear saber rattling. But Trump's delusional thinking, unwillingness to admit fault, and fragile male ego are not limited to his relations with our close allies. What I most fear about Trump's presidency is that he will blunder into a nuclear war. If he does, it will look something like this, but with a less-forgiving country than Britain.... [The fear] is that Trump will create a chain of unnecessary provocations, escalating situations that should be de-escalated, until we end up in a nuclear exchange -- perhaps even one in which we are making the second strike.... Of the unacceptable tail risks of the Trump presidency, this is by far the scariest and most unacceptable." -- CW ...

... ** THEN There's This. Mark Landler of the New York Times: "Near the end of his meticulously formal, utterly impersonal news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trump finally sought a sliver of common ground with his guest: They both, he said, had been wiretapped by former President Barack Obama. Ms. Merkel did a barely perceptible double take, busying herself by shuffling her notes. She smiled thinly and said nothing, as if she had resolved not to get drawn into Mr. Trump's political dramas. It was like that throughout Mr. Trump's first meeting with Ms. Merkel on Friday, an awkward encounter that was the most closely watched of his young presidency and took on an outsize symbolism: the great disrupter confronts the last defender of the liberal world order.... [Trump] demanded that America's NATO allies pay back 'vast sums of money from past years' and vowed that the United States would no longer be out-negotiated on trade deals by Germany.... Ms. Merkel pointed out that Germany does not actually negotiate its own trade deals with the United States." Read on. CW: Lock him up. See also commentary on the press conference near the end of yesterday's thread. ...

... Jenna Johnson & Karla Adams of the Washington Post: "President Trump's unproven allegation that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower in New York ahead of the election blazed a new path of political disruption Friday as he dragged two foreign allies into his increasingly thin argument that he is right.... The controversy is scheduled to continue into a third week, with [James] Comey set to testify Monday before the House Intelligence Committee. He has been asked to clarify whether the FBI is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election and alleged links between the Trump team and Russian officials. On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee received a set of documents from the Justice Department in response to its request for materials regarding Trump's accusation. The panel did not reveal whether the documents substantiate or refute the president's wiretapping claims." -- CW ...

... Manu Raju & Tom LoBianco of CNN: "Two government officials told CNN Friday evening that the classified report the Justice Department delivered to House and Senate investigators does not confirm ... Donald Trump's allegations that President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the campaign." -- CW ...

... Madeline Conway of Politico: "Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, said Friday that President Donald Trump should apologize to former President Barack Obama for accusing him of ordering an illegal wiretap of his phone lines, given that there is no public evidence to support it." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Gail Collins finally decides Trump isn't all that funny: "Imagine what would have happened if, at some point over the last two weeks, the president had just casually conceded that he had been misinformed about the wiretap thing. His health care plan wouldn't look any better. His budget wouldn't have been more defensible. But we'd feel slightly less terrified that the nation's security is in the hands of a nut job." -- CW

Yes to Making the ObamaCare Replacement Bill Even Worse. Thomas Kaplan & Robert Pear of the New York Times: "President Trump and conservative lawmakers in the House agreed Friday to significant changes to Medicaid that could impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid beneficiaries in some states and limit federal funds for the program, as Republican leaders tried to rally balking lawmakers behind legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 'I want everyone to know, I'm 100 percent behind this,' Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he met with House members in the conservative Republican Study Committee. At a news conference hours later, the president predicted, 'It's going to be passed, I believe -- I think substantially and pretty quickly.' On Capitol Hill, the outlook was far less clear." -- CW ...

... Jessie Hellmann of the Hill: "The chairman of the [righty-right wing] Republican Study Committee on Friday endorsed the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill that is speeding toward a vote in the House. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said he is now a 'positive yes' on the bill after a meeting Friday morning with President Trump and Vice President Pence where changes to the legislation were discussed. Walker and other members of the RSC asked that work requirements be added to the bill, along with giving states the option to block grant Medicaid." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Maybe the SCROTUS Is Just an Ignoramus. Ezra Klein: "... does Trump really know what's in the bill he's passing, or trying to pass?... I collected and read absolutely everything Donald Trump has said publicly about the AHCA [CAHCA].... Trump has a very limited set of talking points on health care, and he repeats the same words and sentences constantly.... Trump seems confused about what the GOP bill does. It is possible, of course, that he knows more than he is saying, and has decided to simply say things that aren't true. But it's also possible he's being spun by more ideologically motivated advisers.... Trump has bought into a caricature of Obamacare's condition...." CW: Trump is a professional liar. He knows the outlines & doesn't care. ...

... Osita Nwanevu of Slate: "Paul Ryan: I've Been Dreaming About Kicking Poors Off Medicaid Since I Was a Drunk Frat Boy." That's the headline, and it's accurate. Next, expect to see Jesus-boy-friend-of-the-poor show up at a free clinic with photographers in tow, don some scrubs & pretend he's performing an appendectomy on a poor person in a reprise of his soup kitchen stunt of 2012. -- CW ...

... GOP Governors Try to Ruin Ryan's Dream. Anna Edney & Zachary Tracer of Bloomberg: "Four Republican governors told top lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate that they oppose the current GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that they want Congress to preserve an expansion of the Medicaid health program for poor Americans. In a letter Thursday, governors from Ohio, Nevada, Michigan and Arkansas wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan and said the legislation the House is considering 'does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out, and shifts significant new costs to states.' They said the bill 'does not meet' goals set out by President Donald Trump about state flexibility and making sure people are covered." -- CW ...

... CW: A week ago, we learned Anthem, one of the nation's largest health insurance company, backed CAHCA, at least in part. Surprise, surprise, the company has ulterior motives aplenty. David Leonhardt of the New York Times: "Anthem appears to be providing political cover to the administration at the same time that company officials are lobbying the administration for a favorable decision on another matter. It's pretty brazen." Leonhardt provides the details. Trump & Tom Price don't look too good, either.

... Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "Trumpism ... take[s] fiscal irresponsibility to a new level. Like 'Ryan Republicans' -- defined for nearly a decade by the budget plans of Representative Paul D. Ryan, now House speaker -- Mr. Trump is promising multitrillion-dollar tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent. Unlike Ryan Republicans, Mr. Trump says there will be no compensating reductions in Social Security and Medicare, the entitlement programs that are -- along with insufficient revenues -- driving projections of unsustainable federal debt as the population ages and claims benefits. (The president used to say Medicaid was off-limits, too, until the Republican health care proposal took aim at the program for the poor and disabled.) What Mr. Trump proposes to cut is the relatively small 15 percent share of total federal spending that nonetheless covers most government operations, other than the Pentagon and entitlement programs. That so-called nondefense discretionary spending includes a raft of programs that disproportionately benefit 'the very people that President Trump said would be his priority, people who have been left behind by today's economy or live in distressed urban or rural communities,' said Robert Greenstein, president of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Among them: opioid-addiction treatments and training for workers whose jobs were lost to offshoring." -- CW ...

... Trump's Budget Says American Families Freezing to Death Is Insignificant. Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post: "Among the many federal programs slated for elimination in Donald Trump's budget is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), a Health and Human Services Department initiative that provides close to 6 million low-income households with help for their heating and cooling bills. Compared to other income support programs that serve similar populations,' the budget states by way of rationale, 'LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.'... A number of federal and private academic reports on the program's efficacy have had generally positive things to say about the program's efficacy.... LIHEAP's most recent report to Congress, for fiscal year 2014, shows that the program helped 5.7 million households with their heating bills, 673,000 with cooling, and another 1.7 million or so households with 'crisis' situations where the program intervened when power to the house was about to be shut down.... Recipient families are low income, and tend to skimp on spending elsewhere to keep the lights on." -- CW ...

... Sabrina Tavernise & Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "In two days of interviews with beneficiaries of programs at risk in 11 states, many people said they did not see themselves reflected in Mr. Trump's vision for the government. And some felt surprise at what has been left out." -- CW

Screw the Kids, Too! Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of the Washington Post: "Days after a report on federal student loans revealed a double-digit rise in defaults, President Trump's administration revoked federal guidance Thursday that barred student debt collectors from charging high fees on past-due loans. The Education Department is ordering guarantee agencies that collect on defaulted debt to disregard a memo former President Barack Obama's administration issued onthe old bank-based federal lending program, known as the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. That memo forbid the agencies from charging fees for up to 16 percent of the principal and accrued interest owed on the loans, if the borrower entered the government's loan rehabilitation program within 60 days of default." CW: Thanks, Betsy!

Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times: "The Justice Department told a federal court on Friday that President Trump should be able to fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arguing the structure of the controversial independent watchdog is unconstitutional. The brief, filed in a case in which a New Jersey mortgage company is challenging the bureau's authority, is a reversal of the position taken by the Obama administration. It had strongly backed the agency, which was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law and was one of Obama's signature accomplishments." CW: Thanks, JeffBo!

Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post: "The Trump administration filed court papers Friday hoping to salvage its second version of a travel ban after two judges in separate cases this week found that it probably violated the Constitution. The Justice Department filed papers in federal court in Maryland, setting up a new legal showdown in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, located in Richmond[, Virginia]. This week, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued orders against the travel ban, finding that it violated the First Amendment by disfavoring a particular religion. If the Justice Department had appealed the Hawaii order, the case would have gone to the same San Francisco-based appeals court that rejected an earlier version of the travel ban. William Jay, a former Justice Department lawyer specializing in appellate cases, said the government may have a very simple reason for challenging the Maryland case first: The judge there issued a preliminary injunction, which is more easily appealed in federal courts than temporary restraining orders like the one issued in Hawaii." -- CW ...

... Heather Caygle of Politico: "Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly struck a defiant tone in a meeting with House Democrats Friday, lawmakers said... 'I'm the best thing that happened to DACA.... it is still on the books,' Kelly said about the Obama-era executive order that shields undocumented immigrants brought here as children from deportation. 'If you don't like the law we are enforcing, and I don't like many of them, please, please, please change the law,' Kelly added, according to multiple sources in the room. A number of Democrats left the caucus-wide confab visibly frustrated, saying Kelly wasn't actually answering questions. 'He's literally talking in circles,' said Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.). 'It's pretty damn frustrating.' Congressional Democrats requested the meeting with Kelly, with many deeply concerned President Donald Trump plans on mass deportations of undocumented immigrants." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... CW: Yeah, right. Even if Democrats could get a law through Congress liberalizing treatment of undocumented immigrants, they could never get enough Republican votes to override a Trump veto. ...

... Greg Sargent: "A new CNN poll out this morning tests one of the fundamental tenets of the Trump and Bannon worldview in a very illuminating way. It finds that large majorities reject the basic idea that undocumented immigrants who have been in this country for a long time -- and have not committed serious crimes -- should nonetheless be subject to removal.... A whopping 90 percent favor allowing those who have been working here 'for a number of years,' know English, and are willing to pay back taxes to stay and eventually apply for citizenship. Only nine percent want them deported. And 60 percent say the government should prioritize legalizing those working here illegally over deporting them.... It's the latest sign of a larger trend that goes like this: Little by little, the narrative that President Trump and his top adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, have been telling about what is happening in this country is getting translated into concrete policy specifics. And Americans are recoiling from the results." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Darren Samuelsohn of Politico: "The Trump Organization will wait until 2018 to make its first annual donation to the U.S. Treasury on any profits it earns from foreign government officials who stay at one of ... Donald Trump's luxury hotels, a company official said Friday. Trump and his lawyers promised in January to voluntarily give away the hotel profits as part of an ethics agreement aimed at avoiding a constitutional prohibition on receiving payments from foreign governments." -- CW

Nathan Layne, et al., of Reuters: "A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records. The buyers include politically connected businessmen.... People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well.... None of the buyers appear to be from Putin's inner circle.... The tally of investors from Russia may be conservative.... The glimpse inside the condominium dealings offers a look at how the wealthy in Putin's Russia use foreign property to stow cash." -- CW

Devlin Barrett: "The husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is poised to be nominated to lead the Justice Department's civil division, a powerful post overseeing the federal government's lawsuits on a wide variety of issues, including defending President Trump's executive order on immigration. White House officials plan in coming days to announce the nomination of George Conway, a New York lawyer...." -- CW

Robert Faturechi of ProPublica: "Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president's health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office. Tom Price, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearings for investments he made while serving in Congress. The Georgia lawmaker traded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in health-related companies, even as he voted on and sponsored legislation affecting the industry.... Price could have violated the STOCK Act, a 2012 law signed by President Obama that clarified that members of Congress cannot use nonpublic information for profit and requires them to promptly disclose their trades. The investigation of Price's trades by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which hasn't been previously disclosed, was underway at the time of Bharara's dismissal, said the person." -- CW

Secret Service Still Dangerously Incompetent. Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: "A California man who climbed over the White House fence last week managed to roam undetected on the grounds for about 17 minutes, as Secret Service agents appeared to ignore several alarms, officials said Friday. The new details indicated that the episode was more serious than the Secret Service had originally stated. A Republican lawmaker said it also suggested the Secret Service's security measures remain inadequate two and a half years after a series of lapses tarred the agency and led to major upheaval. In a separate episode, officials also reported Friday that a Secret Service laptop was stolen from an agency vehicle in Brooklyn. But the Secret Service said in a statement about the theft that agency laptops are fully encrypted and 'are not permitted to contain classified information. The fence-jumping episode took place on the night of March 10, and President Trump was inside the White House residence at the time." CW: Because, I mean, who would have thought someone would break into an unattended car & steal stuff? ...

... The Washington Post story, by Spencer Hsu & Devlin Barrett, is here. -- CW ...

... Denis Slattery, et al., of the New York Daily News: "Authorities are frantically searching for a Secret Service-issued laptop-- containing floor plans for Trump Tower, information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and other national security information -- that was stolen from an agent's car in Brooklyn, police sources told the Daily News Friday.... Sources and neighbors said the thief stepped out of a dark-colored sedan, possibly an Uber, and darted into [Secret Service agent Marie] Argentieri's Bath Beach driveway about 3 a.m. He grabbed the computer, a backpack, and other goods and walked away, sources said.... Other items stolen include 'sensitive' documents, an access keycard, coins, a black zippered bag with the Secret Service insignia on it and lapel pins from various assignments.... An agency-issued radio was also taken, according to Politico. The coins and bag were later found." -- CW

Tom Vanden Brook of USA Today: "The military scandal involving sharing of sexually explicit images of troops has expanded beyond the private social media site Marines United to a slew of gay pornography web pages with images of men wearing military uniforms engaged in sex acts.... The Marine Corps is not the only service affected. Images of men in the uniforms of sailors, soldiers and airmen also appear on an array of Tumblr sites. Similar to the Marines United case, it is unclear whether men appearing in the images -- some photographed engaging in sex -- provided consent to have their images shared publicly.... The Pentagon has established a joint military task force to handle the growing investigation, said MaryAnn Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service." -- CW

Louisa Loveluck of the Washington Post: "The United States said Thursday that an airstrike on an al-Qaeda meeting site in Syria killed 'several terrorists,' but reports emerged Friday that dozens of civilians may have died in the same attack. A brief statement from the U.S. Central Command said it struck a 'meeting location' in the northwestern province of Idlib, which it described as 'a significant safe haven for al-Qaeda in recent years.' Separately, a U.S. official said the strike was based on verified intelligence and targeted al-Qaeda groups gathered to discuss future operations." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Beyond the Beltway

Katie Zezima of the Washington Post: "The Florida Senate passed a measure this week that would strengthen the state's so-called 'stand-your-ground' law, shifting the burden of proof from defense attorneys to prosecutors in pretrial immunity hearings. The controversial changes to the state's self-defense law passed the Senate 23 to 15 along party lines." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

News Lede

New York Times: "Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock 'n' roll's potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90." -- CW ...

... Berry's Rolling Stone obituary is here. The front page of RS currently has several related stories.

Reader Comments (15)

I have a dream. The UK cancels Trumps visit and BANS him from entering their country.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

So the Keystone Cops who run the Secret Service are no better under a "tough manly man" whom they should all admire presumably, given what appeared to be a systemic hatred of having to protect the previous president. That was the guy many of them apparently (given the tell all books written by Confederate agents) considered unfit for the job. This opinion was, no doubt, developed while they were demonstrating their own fitness for the positions they hold by getting drunk on the job and banging hookers while "protecting" the president in foreign countries.

Are all Confederates craven, incompetent louts, or is that just the general impression they try to give off so as to cloak their actual superior powers?

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@ Marvin, I have an opposing view. I think the Brits should invite SCROTUS for a state visit complete with televised parades and a yuuuge rally.

But then on the big day nobody shows up.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

@Ak: ...and the answer is: One. Craven, incompetent louts.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

" ... CW: I hate to say it, but mike pence, whom I abhor, would make a far, far better president than Trump, who should be locked away in a secure gold throne room & never heard from again."

When it has come to this––and indeed, it has come to this, then by gum, we better gear ourselves up for an absolute abattoir for the next four years. To rid ourselves (impeach) from a loon and have another lesser loon–––but one who would at least act presidential (and that cookie in his pocket would probably never be activated)––is nothing but another American horror story but dressed up in bespoke suits, knows how to behave, and would cost the federal government far less money.

Is there NO ONE in the Frumpy Trumpy cabal that could tell him how to pronounce Angela Merkel's name? Not only does he not shake her hand––scum bag!––but he can't even bother to learn how to say Angela? This woman, from what I've read, is not a fuzzy, warm, cozy kind of person. She's not for lots of kissy cheeks or big old bear hugs (remember how she recoiled when Bush came up behind her and started giving her a neck rub) but with Obama whom she liked and admired she was warmer and given to a few arm squeezes. Yet here she was willing for photo shots of handshakes and was rebuked by a president she needs to work with, but probably finds unhinged and strange. Not good for Germany––not good for us.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

delusional, deranged, nut job: the words for today's news. But it's early.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

A bit of comic relief
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXUlhT3-r0c&feature=youtu.be

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNJC

A preference for Pence's finger on the nuclear button?

I understand the sentiment, but this morning I'm looking at it another way.

As long as the Pretender, not the more plausible seeming Pence, is the Repugnant's figurehead, each day his unmistakably infantile antics will diminish the Right in the estimation of all (here and abroad) who are not committed (as in should be) Trumpbots.

The Repugnants chose to be tied to the Pretender. Albeit reluctantly, they did capitulate and invite him to the dance, so I'm thinking it's only just that they be required to dance with him for a long time, the longer and closer their embrace seems to the public the better.

Pence is a wacko, assuredly, but so was Reagan, and his smiley face did a lot a damage from which we have never recovered.

Maybe we're all better off (the minor issue of nuclear holocaust aside) when the head wacko is out of the closet, even if he's just in the bathroom, tweeting.

Maybe related, read this AM (SumOfUs, org) that over 1400 advertisers have stopped advertising on "Breitbart."

Was at a Lewis Black performance last night. He asked how many in the audience had heard of Breitbart before the election. There were only a smattering of the hundreds in the theater who had.

Another instance where wackos would be better off in the closet?

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Tillerson's jet fueled hypocrisy makes my skin shrivel. This from the interview (Erin Pike, Independent Journal Review) transcript in answer to a question about human rights:

"Well, that is one among several issues attached to North Korea, but also attached to a broader, I think, view that we would want to take with China regarding treatment of people under that broad category of human rights. The American people’s commitment to human rights and championing of people the world over — it’s embedded in everything we do."

http://ijr.com/2017/03/827413-transcript-independent-journal-reviews-sit-interview-secretary-state-rex-tillerson/

This shitstain made the billion $ deal for Exxon with Equatorial Guinea despot and family in 2014.
"Today, Equatorial Guinea has the highest GDP per capita of any sub-Saharan country, yet nearly two-thirds of the population lives in extreme poverty. Spending on health, education and other social sectors remains below the Central Africa regional average....Instead of benefiting the people, oil revenue is subsidizing the lavish lives of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema — in power since 1979, when he had the former president executed — and his extended family. This lifestyle includes mega-mansions, yachts, sport cars and luxury goods around the world, as well as the vast trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia collected by Obiang’s eldest son, the nation’s vice president and heir apparent."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/02/01/how-our-incoming-secretary-of-state-helped-to-enrich-africas-nastiest-dictatorship/?utm_term=.df117b0bf508

As Della Reese said in Harlem Nights, "Kiss my entire ass."
I continue to believe that Kushner is the shadow SOS, Tillerson is merely the stupid frontman, like the guy in the band who can't sing but looks the part.

Oh and welcome Angela Merkel, now the leader of the free world.

A bit of lighthearted. The story in pictures of Esther and her dads, a miniature pig but wait......

https://www.buzzfeed.com/remysmidt/oink-pig-oink-pig?bftwnews&utm_term=.uoVMORooP1#.oiQD5Jqq1G

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Were that "all confeds craven, incompetent louts but I watched Mulvaney unveil the new budget. It was like watching the unveiling of America's own 'Beast of Buchenwald'. The lack of human empathy was breath-takingly chilling. And there are thousands more like him anxious to get in there and help destroy your government.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCowichan's Opinion

The Justice Administration.

Hey, there's a guy in NY who's investigating us.

Really? Who?

Yeah, some fuckin' foreign sounding name. I can't even pronounce it. Bararararara something. Who knows? He's looking at how Price made a bundle off companies he had inside information on.

Price? Our Price? The guy the boss put in to help kill Obamacare and to help us shut up anyone who whines about how it's actually working and keep people from realizing that our plan looks like the body of a dead cat on the side of the road after the buzzards have been at it?

Yup.

Shit. That's bad.

That's not all. Word is he might be looking into how much the boss is banking off foreigners who want to make nice with him by piling on the dough.

Whoa. That's really bad.

No shit. What do we do?

Can we whack him?

Hmmm....I doubt it. That might look bad. But don't mention that to the Big Man. He might go for it.

Well, okay then. Let's fire his foreign ass and call it a blow for freeedom and the Constitution, or some lame-ass crap like that. Besides he's not white, right?

Hey, sure. That bullshit always works with the rubes. Consider it done. And no, he's not white. Heh-heh. Steve will love us fragging a brown guy. He's probably not even Christian either. Fuckin' heathen asshole.

Oh, and while we're at it, let's hire Conway's husband to....er....umm...I dunno, something that will cover our asses.

Aren't you concerned that someone will see this as an end around, you know, justice, or something?

Justice? Are you fucking kidding with that "justice" shit? Who do you think hired you?

Oh yeah. Sorry. Hey, don't tell him I said that, okay?

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Cowichan,

My comment from yesterday about Mulvaney, on the heels of his smart-ass response, "What did they expect?", to someone who asked about the reaction of Trump supporters who rely on the programs he's butchering.

"I came across this video of Mick Mulvaney, who is shaping up to be one of the more despicable douchebags in an enormous bag full of douches in the Trumpado administration, teaching a Trump supporter who has just learned that his family is about to lose their health insurance, that his grandma won't be getting food anymore, that his community is losing tens of thousands of dollars in federal money, and that, sorry, but coal ain't coming back, so that Trump and his wealthy pals can get another enormous tax break, that he made a huge mistake, but now has to live with it, because Trump.Doesn't.Really.Give.A.Shit.About.Him."

These people don't even care that they're backstabbing the voters who got them there. A sociopath doesn't care about you just because you jumped in the river and saved him from drowning. He's just as happy to slit your throat later if he finds some short-term benefit in it.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

In response to trump's immigration bans and the subsequent increasing frequency of Canadians of darker hue being turned back at the US border, the Canadian Girl Guides have announced a decision to cancel all trips to the US.
"We wanted to remain inclusive and diverse and that all girls get to go on trips, not just some girls. Guiding is a sisterhood and it's very important to us to stick together."

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCowichan's Opinion

Despite the denials, DFT must like: " Fake News " On Friday, the White House posted a link to what – upon first glance – appeared to be a favorable review of the Trump's "skinny" budget proposal that would add more than $50 billion in new defense spending by slashing other federal programs..

The White House blog site linked to the " Washington Post story" with a flattering headline.

According to John Schoen at cnbc.com It was, after all, titled "Trump's budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why."

But... the article was, in fact, a parody piece lambasting the new budget blueprint.

By Friday afternoon, the link was deleted from the White House Web site.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

MAG,
Re your post above:

Didn't take his joke seriously (after all it was a joke) but during the performance my wife and I attended last night, Lewis Black claimed that Christians, unlike Jews, lack the gene for sarcasm.

Wonder if there's now a religious test for WH website attendants.

March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
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