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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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Sunday
Mar192017

The Commentariat -- March 20, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Matthew Rosenberg, et al., of the New York Times are live-updating James Comey's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. "The F.B.I. is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government -- and whether there was any coordination, Mr. Comey said. Mr. Comey said that it was unusual for the F.B.I. to confirm or deny the existence of any investigations, but that in unusual circumstances when it is in the public interest, the bureau will sometimes discuss such matters.... Mr. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, 'We have no information to support' President Trump's assertion on Twitter that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.... He then explicitly denied having any indication that Mr. Trump was wiretapped by British intelligence at the request of Mr. Obama." -- CW ...

... The Washington Post story, by Ellen Nakashima & others, is here. "Under questioning from the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Comey said no president could order such surveillance. He added the Justice Department had asked him to also tell the committee that that agency has no such information, either.... Just hours before the start of the hearing, Trump posted a series of tweets claiming Democrats 'made up' the allegations of Russian contacts in an attempt to discredit the GOP during the presidential campaign. Trump also urged federal investigators to shift their focus to probe disclosures of classified material." The Post has live video of the hearing. -- CW

The Washington Post is liveblogging Neil Gorsuch's Senate confirmation hearing. Merrick Garland's name keeps coming up. The Post is running live video of the hearing.

Like many of us, Frank Rich has "no sympathy for the hillbilly." Thanks to MAG for the link. He explains himself, in detail. -- CW

Jessica Elgot of the Guardian: British Prime Minister "Theresa May will trigger article 50, the formal mechanism for starting negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union, on Wednesday 29 March, the prime minister's spokesman has confirmed. The UK's permanent representative to the European Union, Sir Tim Barrow, notified the EU on Monday morning that a letter should be expected on that date. The move will put the UK on course to leave the EU on the same date in 2019." -- CW

*****

President Paranoia's Spy Ring. Lisa Rein & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "Most members of President Trump's Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged -- above all -- with monitoring the secretaries' loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration. This shadow government of political appointees with the title of senior White House adviser is embedded at every Cabinet agency, with offices in or just outside the secretary's suite. The White House has installed at least 16 of the advisers at departments including Energy and Health and Human Services and at some smaller agencies such as NASA, according to records first obtained by ProPublica through a Freedom of Information Act request. These aides report not to the secretary, but to Rick Dearborn, the White House deputy chief of staff for policy, according to administration officials.... They're on another mission: to monitor Cabinet leaders and their top staffs to make sure they carry out the president’s agenda and don't stray too far from the White House's talking points...." -- CW

CW: In another profound & deeply insightful statement, the SCROTUS said Sunday that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was "acting very, very badly." Thank you, Mr. President*, for helping us understand the complexities of the North Korea dilemma.

Brits: "We Are Not Amused by Trump's Lies & Insults." Peter Westmacott, former U.K. ambassador to the U.S., in a Guardian op-ed, on Sean Spicer's false assertion that British intelligence had "tapped Trump's wires" at the behest of President Obama, & Spicer's conflicting stories on whether or not the U.S. had apologized: "Gratuitously damaging [the intelligence relationship between Britain and America] by peddling falsehoods and then doing nothing to set the record straight would be a gift to our enemies they could only dream of. The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, is heading to Washington this week. He needs to make very clear that this is not a game." -- CW ...

... Lawrence Douglas of the Guardian: "Incredibly, Trump has never had to pay a political price for his malign speech, shameless evasions and legion lies.... Until now.... The British are now trying to teach Trump a ... hard lesson ... [on] the consequences of his inflammatory speech.... But Trump is a stubborn or dull pupil. In refusing to utter a word of regret, much less apology, he is sticking to his tried and true script. Apologies are recognitions of mistake and Trump by his own lights commits none. And yet whether he acknowledges it or not, his words are costing him -- not with his core supporters or his minions in the media, but with the coordinate branches of government and abroad." -- CW ...

>... Germans: "We Are Not Amusedby Trump's Lies & Insults." Jacopo Barigazzi of Politico: "German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected accusations by ... Donald Trump that Berlin owes NATO and the United States 'vast sums' for defense.... 'There is no account where debts are registered with NATO,' the defense minister said in a statement, questioning how military spending was calculated and arguing that a country's financial commitment to the military alliance is not the only measure. 'Defense spending also goes into U.N. peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against ISIS terrorism,' von der Leyen said.... In an interview with the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung newspaper to be published Monday, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also hit back at Trump's comments, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported." -- CW ...

... Paul Krugman: "... Mr. Trump's pathological inability to accept responsibility is just the culmination of a trend. American politics -- at least on one side of the aisle -- is suffering from an epidemic of infallibility, of powerful people who never, ever admit to making a mistake.... When you're committed to a fundamentally false narrative about government and the economy, as almost the whole Republican Party now is, facing up to facts becomes an act of political disloyalty.... But what's going on with Mr. Trump and his inner circle seems to have less to do with ideology than with fragile egos.... In reality, of course, inability to engage in reflection and self-criticism is the mark of a tiny, shriveled soul -- but they're not big enough to see that.... We can at least hope that watching Mr. Trump in action will be a learning experience -- not for him, because he never learns anything, but for the body politic." -- CW

As far as wiretapping, I guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps. -- Donald Trump, to Angela Merkel, in their joint press conference last Week ...

... Leaker-in-Chief. Bob Cesca of Salon: "It's probably a good thing he included 'perhaps' in there, because the rest of his statement appears to have confirmed the authenticity of a National Security Agency (NSA) document spirited away by Edward Snowden and published in the German newspaper Der Spiegel. Specifically, back in October 2013, we learned that Merkel's cellphone had allegedly been wiretapped by U.S. intelligence. The Obama White House, however, never confirmed the veracity of that report. Obama merely pledged there wouldn't be any wiretapping of Merkel during his administration.... Therefore, Trump seemed to have confirmed that NSA had indeed hacked Merkel's phone. If so, his seemingly offhand comment was another significant breach of national security." -- CW

Simon Denyer of the Washington Post: "While his boss was goading China over Twitter, new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been trying to build a constructive and 'results-oriented' relationship with the leadership in Beijing.... But some critics say Tillerson has bent too far, handing Beijing what Chinese news media reports are calling a 'diplomatic victory.' After meeting China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, Tillerson voiced Chinese catchphrases about the relationship, including the avoidance of conflict and confrontation and the need to build 'mutual respect' and strive for 'win-win' cooperation. The phrase 'mutual respect' is key: In Beijing, that is taken to mean each side should respect the other's 'core interests.' In other words: The United States should stay away from issues such as Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong -- and in principle almost anything China's Communist Party deems a vital national security concern. Increasingly, that also appears to include China's territorial claims in the contested waters of the South China Sea." -- CW

Matt Apuzzo, et al., of the New York Times: "Russia's campaign to disrupt last year's presidential election has spawned a tangle of inquiries with competing agendas and timetables, and with little agreement on the most important things that should be investigated.... The overlapping investigations have, in some cases, already been plagued by partisan sniping and misdirection by Mr. Trump, raising questions about whether there can ever be a full public accounting of the scope of Russia's campaign to influence the election in November. Monday will bring the first public intelligence committee hearing on Russia since then, when the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the director of the National Security Agency, Michael S. Rogers, will testify before the House panel." -- CW ...

... House Trump Backer: The SCROTUS Lied. Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that there was no proof in new documents provided to Congress by the Justice Department on Friday to support President Trump's claim that his predecessor had ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower. 'Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, but there never was, and the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction,' Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said on 'Fox News Sunday.' He added, 'There was no FISA warrant that I'm aware of to tap Trump Tower' -- a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a federal law that governs the issuance of search warrants in U.S. intelligence gathering. Nunes spoke a day before his panel holds its first public hearing on alleged Russian attempts to interfere in last year's presidential election -- a subject that is certain to include discussion of contacts between Trump campaign figures and Russian operatives.... On ABC's 'This Week,' another Republican on the House Intelligence Committee ... Will Hurd (Tex.), a former clandestine agent for the CIA ... called on Trump to apologize for accusing Obama of ordering an illegal wiretap." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Ian Kullgren of Politico: "The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday there was 'circumstantial evidence' of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials -- and 'direct evidence' of deception. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, appearing on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' said he was 'surprised' to hear former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper say there was no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials." -- CW ...

...GPS. Tim Mak of The Daily Beast: "Nothing in House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's background indicates a natural interest in espionage -- and his three degrees in agriculture and agricultural business suggest a very different passion. In fact, the man charged with oversight of our nation's spies is a dairy farmer. But after eight terms in Congress, the low-key congressman has risen to become the head of one of Congress' most secretive panels. As a close ally of former Speaker John Boehner, he was appointed to the committee in 2011, and rose quickly to become the chairman in 2015...Nunes also believes his agriculture background informs his work on intelligence due his familiarity with various farming technologies that have overlap with intelligence, such as the Global Positioning System." --safari

Travis Gettys of RawStory: "The New York attorney general has hired a top public-corruption prosecutor to focus on President Donald Trump. Attorney General Eric Scheiderman, a Democrat, tapped prosecutorHoward Master to serve as senior enforcement counsel and work on cases involving Trump and his administration, as well as other high-level public corruption cases, reported the Wall Street Journal.... Master previously served under former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara ... Scheiderman's office is expected to explore whether it has legal standing to challenge Trump on the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause." --safari

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: "... it is not the proper job of journalists to provide favorable coverage but rather to hold powerful figures accountable. But that doesn't get you far these days, at least in terms of access. So we'll be taking note of what does." Sullivan cites some examples: Trump seems to think "fair coverage" comes in the shape of Tomi Lahren, a white, hot-looking 24-year-old racist who appeared on Hannity's show to say Trump was doing "something amazing." Subsequently, Trump phoned Lahren and talked for 15 minutes "about me personally" & thanked her for giving him "fair coverage." Dickhead.

Erin Dooley of ABC News: "President Trump's approval rating has fallen to 37 percent -- the lowest of his fledgling presidency, according to Gallup. His disapproval rating rose correspondingly, hitting 58 percent. At this point in his first term, President Obama's approval rating was hovering in the low 60s, while President George W. Bush's was in the mid-50s. (Obama's approval rating would later sink to a low of 40 percent, while Bush bottomed out at 25 percent.) In fact, Trump's current approval rating is lower than any other commander-in-chief at this point in his first term since Gallup started tracking the issue in 1945, the year Harry Truman took office." -- CW

The only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail if they don't have it. And we are not going to do that. -- Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday ...

... Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "In January, President Trump said a plan to replace ObamaCare would include the goal of having 'insurance for everybody.' 'There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it,' Trump said during an interview with The Washington Post. 'That's not going to happen with us.'" -- CW ...

... CAHCA Hot Mess, Ctd. Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "The Republican health-care plan moving rapidly toward a crucial House vote this week is likely to be changed to give older Americans more assistance to buy insurance, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Sunday. 'We think that we should be offering even more assistance than what the bill currently does,' Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a 'Fox News Sunday' interview, in which he confirmed that House leaders are eyeing a Thursday vote on its passage. Meanwhile..., Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he and two other conservative leaders — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus -- met at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in an attempt 'to fix this bill.'" -- CW ...

... Emily Hazzard of Think Progress: Paul "Ryan wants members of Congress to vote on the updated bill before they know what its impact on constituents will be. The House will still vote on Thursday, before the CBO has a chance to make another assessment.... House Republicans selected Keith Hall, a deeply conservative economist who served in the Bush administration, as CBO director in 2015. Current Trump appointee Tom Price, then chairman of the House Budget Committee, praised Hall's 'impressive level of economic expertise and experience' at the time of the announcement.... Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote Ryan last week and demanded he give the CBO an opportunity to analyze the changes health care bill before any floor vote." CW: Sorry, Nancy, even when Republicans put their own lackey in the CBO's chair and insist he use their own fake scoring criteria, they're still afraid of the consequences.

"Empty Suits." Cleve Wootson of the Washington Post: "... voters in Lexington, Ky., have been clamoring for the state's congressional representatives — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Garland 'Andy' Barr -- to tackle constituents' questions in person. They even booked a venue for Saturday and hand-delivered town hall invites to the politicians' offices. The legislators were a no-show, but that didn't stop things. Instead of McConnell, Paul and Barr, organizers propped up three mannequins wearing suits. They called it the 'Empty Suits' town hall." --CW

Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker profiles Chuck Schumer. CW: Actually, interesting.

**"No Sympathy for the Hillbilly". Frank Rich of New York: "While many, if not most, of those in #TheResistance of the Democratic base remain furious at [Trump] voters, the party's political class and the liberal media Establishment are making a concerted effort to convert that rage into empathy.... But for those of us who want to ring down the curtain on the Trump era as quickly as possible, this pandering to his voters raises a more immediate and practical concern: Is it a worthwhile political tactic that will actually help reverse Republican rule? Or is it another counterproductive detour into liberal guilt, self-flagellation, and political correctness of the sort that helped blind Democrats to the gravity of the Trump threat in the first place? While the right is expert at channeling darker emotions like anger into ruthless political action, the Democrats' default inclination is still to feel everyone's pain...After the debacle of 2016, might the time have at last come for Democrats to weaponize their anger instead of swallowing it?" Read on. --safari

Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch are set to begin on Monday, as Republicans seek to install the court's next conservative stalwart and Democrats decide how aggressively to push back." CW: If you enjoy having a smooth operator lie to you, these hearings are for you! ...

... Dahlia Lithwick of Slate: Judge Gorsuch's "jurisprudence shows he values religious people's beliefs above all else." -- CW...

...Brandy Zadrozny of The Daily Beast: "President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, reveled in his identity as an outsider at Columbia University...He also really liked his frat.... Gorsuch's own fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta -- known more commonly as FIJI -- welcomed him as a freshman in the spring of 1986 and he remained an active member until his early graduation in 1988. According to school newspaper reports and interviews with former Columbia students, FIJI's reputation was unrivaled among Columbia's 12 other fraternities at the time -- defined by accusations of hard-partying, racism, sexism, and date rape." --safari

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "A federal judge in Hawaii who issued a temporary restraining order against key parts of ... Donald Trump's revised travel ban last week has turned down a Justice Department request to narrow the injunction. In a ruling Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson rejected a federal government motion asking the judge to limit his injunction to the portion of the travel ban executive order that restricts travel to the U.S. by citizens of six majority-Muslim countries." -- CW ...

... Cindy Carcamo of the Los Angeles Times: "In the never-ending political and rhetorical war over illegal immigration, immigrants usually have received most of the blame, while businesses have gotten a relative pass -- from enforcement and vitriol alike.... For all President Trump's tough talk on deportations and building a wall on the Mexican border, his executive orders on immigration so far make no mention of targeting employers. Nor did he mention employers when, in his first address to a joint session of Congress, he renewed his pledge to build the border wall. Though Trump's rhetoric on illegal immigration is unusual compared with previous presidents, his basic approach to enforcement is not." -- CW

Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post: "... seven current or former Navy officers who have pleaded guilty in an epic corruption and bribery scandal but are still eligible for generous retirement benefits, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. The Navy has yet to make a final determination on how much the other convicted officers will receive. How the Navy decides to act could have repercussions for dozens of others who remain under investigation for their entanglements with Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based defense contractor who resupplied U.S. warships in Asia for a quarter-century." -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Julia Kollewe of the Guardian: "Uber president Jeff Jones left the taxi-hailing firm after just six months in the job because working at Uber was incompatible with his values, he said. Jones's departure is the latest blow to the San Francisco-based company, after revelations of a secret programme to evade law enforcement, allegations of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, and a string of departures of high-level executives." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Papers, Please. Christine Mai-Duc of the Los Angeles Times: When four American Latinas went to an upscale Huntington Beach, California, restaurant, their waiter told them he couldn't serve them till they gave him "proof of residency." One of the women posted an account of the experience on her Website & on Yelp. The restaurant, Saint Marc, soon fired the waiter & apologized to the women & offered them some concessions. ...

     ... CW: Huntington Beach is in right-wingy Orange County, so no doubt the waiter was an enthusiastic Trumpbot. Aside from being racist & xenophobic, the waiter's demand doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. Restaurants are part of the tourism business, and they serve "non-residents" all the time.

Tom Boggioni of RawStory: "A retired police chief from Greenville, North Carolina harshly criticized immigration officials who pulled him out of line, stripped him of his possessions and detained him due to his name [Hassan Aden]...According to Aden after handing his passport over he was told that someone was using his name and that he had had to be cleared.... Aden said that he was not allowed to leave or contact his family at the same time an official told him he wasn't being detained. [Aden wrote on Facebook] 'He had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge -- but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion,'...The retired police chief then warned anyone can be profiled, even when they can prove they are also in law enforcement." --safari

Yucatan Times Editors: "What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13. During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial 'Build That Wall' chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers...This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country.... Several Mexican tourists on board the ship expressed their annoyance, but the Americans did not stop at all and continued singing the racist hymn. This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people." --safari

News Lede

New York Times: "David Rockefeller, the banker and philanthropist with the fabled family name who controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade and wielded vast influence around the world even longer as he spread the gospel of American capitalism, died on Monday morning at his home in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He was 101." -- CW

Reader Comments (16)

Trump is projecting his own behavior onto others yet again. Not that Kim Jong Awful isn't acting very very badly. But Trump is acting very very VERY badly. More importantly, his actions are dangerous to us. He insulted Merkel and Germany as well as the UK in the last few days. Now he's installed snoopers and minders in Cabinet Secretaries' offices. They're not looking for deviations from policy, they're reporting any personal slights or insults to Trump. It's straight out of the North Korean playbook. Trump is a raging paranoid, an added feature to his malignant narcissism. Portraits of Trump in all goverment offices and public spaces can't be far behind.

Trump is so obviously corrupt, ignorant, incompetent, a character disorder and a liar. Its like the Republicans are afflicted with tertiary syphillis and no one noticed until it was too late.

March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

When I've heard Mulvaney speak, he seemed bright enough. He speaks clearly and sounds as if he can actually add and subtract. But those darn Repugnants fooled me once again.

Let's see now. Universal health coverage would require throwing people in jail?

Aside from the fact that we already have the largest prison population in the world. all receiving some form of government-financed healthcare (wonder how Mulvaney factors into his abstruse equations that form of socialized healthcare we're offering to more and more of our citizens and non-citizens every day), is he saying that those now over sixty five also face a Medicare/jail choice?

Why would the situation have to be different for someone sixty four? Or twenty five?

It's a puzzle.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Mulvaney's comment says it all about the GOP view of healthcare. Healthcare is a business. It has nothing to do with health or care.
Why don't we support the auto industry by making it a law that if you don't own a car you go to jail? No? Because to Republicans, the auto and health 'industries' are the same. Make money.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

The Huff Post reports that "Donald Trump supporters are now boycotting Hawaii". That should cost Hawaii about 2-3 tourists a year.

I wonder how many tourists will be boycotting America this year?

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I'm hearing many people saying (I know how trumpian that sounds) that they will be giving the US a miss for a while. There are reports in the not fake news media of a significant "trump slump" amounting to a loss to US tourism industries of $185m already. I guess this is the fat ugly bum bringing home the bacon. Speaking of which, why aren't there demands that he and his family of mendacious, avaricious narcissists bring all their manufacturing jobs back to the US, as they are demanding Carrier, Toyota, etc do?

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

Mathew Phelan, who has been covering Breitbart and its affiliates since 2012, gives us "Inside Trump's Breitbart Brain." He begins with seminal moments in the evolutionary prehistory of Trump's relatively constant and unswerving matrix of political beliefs and shows how Bannon captured and crafted them into an ideology all his own. Good stuff here:

https://newrepublic.com/article/140956/inside-trumps-breitbart-brain

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Okay, class. A question.

Raise your hand if you think Jimmy (OMG the emails!) Comey will appear before the committee investigating the Trump-Russia ties and the Russian interference with the presidential election on Trump's behalf and say, as he did about the Clinton emails, that such ties "raise questions".

Hmmm....okay...s'what I thought. Nary a hand in the air.

Now, kids, raise your hand if you think Comey will come before the committee and say there is no way that any wrongdoing could possibly have taken place, and give President* Trumpy a clean bill of health.

Okay. So now raise your hand if you think this Confederate run dog and pony show will find anything amiss regarding the Trump-Putin love fest that put Trump in the White House.

I'm afraid you're right.

Meanwhile, in another DC dungeon, Confederates will gather today to pretend that Neil Gorsuch, who got his seat as an appeals court judge purely through the efforts of Confederate power brokers and billionaire donor Philip Anschutz (why do I think of "anschluss" whenever I hear that name?), who motivated that great legal mind, The Decider, to put him on the bench, is sterling SCOTUS material and NOT a Confederate lackey (so stop saying that!) who will reliably produce far-right, religious based decisions to aid his party in their effort to control everything from thought to thumbscrews.

Just another day in the Great Confederate Experiment.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Several articles linked here on RC this morning clearly demonstrate the value of being white, rich, and arrogant.

You can pretty much do whatever you want. You can even be the president.

Trump, a thrasonical fraud of the first order, was born into wealth, had even more wealth handed to him, told everyone how hard he worked to get rich (all those tabloid headlines), and proceeded to live a life of grandiose lies and scams that, due to the confluence of his skin color, his immunity to truth, his daddy's money and connections, his inability to accept responsibility, his very real understanding of self-promotion and the use of his name to attract money while never paying back (or out) any of his own, conferred upon him immense wealth and fame with zero sense of moral obligation or the need for ethical behavior.

He rode his fame (and infamy) all the way to the White House because of an equally fraudulent political party, his fondness for outrageously inflammatory lies, and a media that thought its job was to thrill the rubes--and themselves--with tales of the rich and famous.

He's discovered that he never has to pay a price for these lies. And even if he is eventually impeached and disgraced, he'll blame others and paint himself as the heroic victim, and millions will see him as such and hate those who bring down their hero, no matter how despicable he is.

It's a pretty amazing demonstration of how far you can get by being a rich, white, connected, lying asshole, as well as a tacit acknowledgement of the special privileges allotted by the media and the public for the wealthy and the, shall we say, "colorful". Let's face it, it's more than a little maddening now to listen to Jeff Zucker whine about his journalistic integrity after working day and night to hand Trump as much positive free publicity has he could manage for years, and especially during the run up to the election.

The last two Confederate presidents gained that office through no more than being rich, white, lying assholes.

Wonder who'll be the next one? There are plenty out there.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Here at the equinox, does Marred a Lago now become the Spring White House?

Guess we'll have to wait for Sean Spicer to clue us in as to the king's decision. Just after they explain to him what the equinox is. He might try to re-brand it.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Dahilia Lithwick's piece (linked above) outlining Neil Gorsuch's affinity for sticking it to any American not aligned with the Christian right or large corporations, has an equally important point to make: Democrats, simply by showing up for hearings to elevate this guy to the Supreme Court, have given up any high ground they had (and it was indeed some seriously high ground) by surrendering to the malevolent (and unconstitutional) scheming of Confederate traitors like Mitch McConnell who refused to allow so much as a hearing for the much more qualified Merrick Garland.

McConnell must be patting himself on his spineless back today. Once Democrats set foot in the hearing room, Gorsuch is guaranteed a spot on the court, and practically no last minute revelation will be enough to keep him off. Confederates are almost entirely immune from scandal these days.

Game over.

A lot of days it really sucks to have these people represent us.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: One question: which days doesn't it suck to have these people "represent" us? Christmas? Your birthday? The fifth Tuesday in February? Unless you're a rich, narcissistic, nasty white guy, I can't think of any days.

Marie

March 20, 2017 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: American assholes chanting "Build the wall" on spring break in Mexico. We need one of two actions here. One, the US adopts the Chinese model and bans any flagged dumbasses from ever leaving our borders again. Or, the Mexican government writes up some new legislation officially deporting and blocking entry for life on Mexican territory.

The first one will never pass muster with Trump in charge. The second option could be a boon for the unpopular Mexican president because his citizens would take absolute glee in watching their teevees across the nation as drunk, shirtless fratbros are thrown into police vans handcuffed and then never seen again. I'm so embarrassed by our fellow paisanos.

Even walking around Paris these days and picking up American accents I always have to give the sly side-eye and judge their book by their covers: Trump voters? Likely. Evacuate premises.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Rich takes all that stuff bumping around in my head and turns it into a well reasoned, elegant essay. For me, he is just the best political essayist writing today. I only wish he wrote more frequently.

Rich in less elegant terms: "Screw those stupid racist Trump voters and move on."

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

His poll numbers are dismal, and now this! Latest list out from Forbes shows DFT now tied in 544th place with 19 others: " dropping 220 places on the billionaire list " ...Donald Trump’s net worth has fallen by $1 billion in the past year, dropping all the way down to a paltry $3.5 billion.

The numbers " Forbes " came up with are nowhere close to the $10 billion net worth Trump claims.

Which, New York magazine writer, Adam K. Raymond notes is why no one should be surprised if the “failing Forbes” is the next “fake news” organization in the president’s crosshairs.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Bernie Sanders offers crash course in how to build party unity--

Newsweek 03/20/17:
Last month, Sanders ally Keith Ellison lost the race for the leadership of the Democratic Party to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. And when asked by The New York Times earlier this month what the Democratic Party stood for, Sanders struggled to provide an answer.

“You’re asking a good question, and I can’t give you a definitive answer,” he said. “Certainly there are some people in the Democratic Party who want to maintain the status quo. They would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats.”

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

I think the fact that Trump is under investigation for being complicit in Russian meddling in our election as well as his monetary benefits from Russian deals are excellent reasons to postpone/stall the SCOTUS candidate hearings until there are findings. Someone who might be that corrupt (tongue in cheek) should not be allowed to nominate a SCOTUS justice. It adds to the argument that the nomination is illegitimate based on the refusal to conduct hearings for Garland.

March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
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