The Wires

Washington Post: "Cheap Chinese caviar is flooding the U.S. market, causing prices to plummet, and with it, the product’s cachet. Wholesale prices have fallen more than 50 percent since 2012, down 13 percent just in the past year. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the import price has gone from $850,000 per ton in January 2012 to $350,000 per ton in November 2018." Mrs. McC: This makes me very happy. I love caviar (I've only had the cheaper kind), but I seldom buy it because of the expense. I have some in the pantry now, but I'm going to check the price at the grocery store now in hopes it's something I can enjoy more often. Status symbol? I couldn't care less.

New York Times: "Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday [April 15] to news organizations that uncovered instances of malfeasance and outright fraud in President Trump’s financial past, a nod to journalists’ perseverance in the face of the president’s ever-sharper attacks on a free press. The New York Times received the explanatory reporting prize for an 18-month investigation that revealed how the future president and his relatives avoided paying roughly half a billion dollars’ worth of taxes. The Wall Street Journal won the national reporting prize for disclosing clandestine payoffs by the president’s associates to two women who were said to have had affairs with Mr. Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election. The South Florida Sun Sentinel won the prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, for documenting the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The paper’s in-depth articles revealed a series of failures by local officials and law enforcement that, the paper wrote, cost children their lives."

Medlar's Sports Report. New York Times: "Tiger Woods’s comeback from personal and professional adversity is complete: He captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament on Sunday, snapping a championship drought of nearly 11 years. It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a magical, come-from-behind win for a player who had not won a major championship since his personal life began to unravel on Thanksgiving night in 2009, when a marital dispute led to a car accident and a succession of lurid tabloid headlines. On the golf course, he had a series of back and leg injuries that led to an addiction to painkillers and culminated in pain so searing that, before surgery in 2017, he had questioned whether he could play professionally again." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Oh yeah? Trump can beat Tiger any day.

Tom Jones of Poynter picks the top 25 movies ever about journalism.

New York Times: "For 340 days, Scott Kelly circled the Earth aboard the International Space Station, gathering data about himself." His twin brother Mark Kelly, planted on Earth, did the same. "On Thursday..., NASA researchers reported that [Scott Kelly's] body experienced a vast number of changes while in orbit. DNA mutated in some of his cells. His immune system produced a host of new signals. His microbiome gained new species of bacteria. Many of these biological changes seemed harmless, disappearing after he returned to Earth. But others — including genetic mutations and, after his return, declines in cognitive test scores — did not correct themselves, provoking concern among scientists."

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times: now does his first drafts of columns as well as other traditional writing tasks by speaking into his phone. "I open RecUp, a cloud-connected voice-recording app on my phone.... Every few days, I load the recordings into Descript, an app that bills itself as a “word processor for audio.” Some of my voice memos are more than an hour long, but Descript quickly (and cheaply) transcribes the text, truncates the silences and renders my speech editable and searchable.... New advances — like smarter and more ubiquitous voice assistants; better text-to-speech synthesis; easy-to-use audio and video production apps like Descript and Anchor; and gadgets that burrow the internet into your ears, like Apple’s AirPods and Amazon’s reported forthcoming AirPod clones — point to a profound shift in computing. Soon it might be possible to conduct a large slice of digital life, including work, without being glued to a screen."

New York Times: "In a cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered a new branch of the human family tree. At least 50,000 years ago, an extinct human species lived on what is now the island of Luzon, researchers reported on Wednesday. It’s possible that Homo luzonensis, as they’re calling the species, stood less than three feet tall. The discovery adds growing complexity to the story of human evolution. It was not a simple march forward, as it once seemed. Instead, our lineage assumed an exuberant burst of strange forms along the way.Our species, Homo sapiens, now inhabits a comparatively lonely world. 'The more fossils that people pull out of the ground, the more we realize that the variation that was present in the past far exceeds what we see in us today,' said Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at Lakehead University in Canada, who was not involved in the new discovery."

New York Times: "At 9 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, [April 10,] a group of astronomers who run a globe-girdling network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope are expected to unveil the first-ever images of a black hole. For some years now, scientific literature, news media and films have featured remarkably sophisticated and academic computer simulations of black holes. If all has gone well, the images today will reveal the real thing, and scientists at last will catch a glimpse of what had seemed unseeable."

      ... Update: "Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had observed the unobserveable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.... To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to Messier 87, a giant galaxy in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole several billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light-years into space."

"A commemorative print from 2008 of Mr. Robbins’s original paint-by-numbers creation in 1950, an abstract still-life. His boss then asked him to make something more representational, and an industry was born." CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "Dan Robbins was no Leonardo da Vinci. But he copied one of the master’s basic techniques and thereby enabled children to grow up believing that they, too, could paint 'The Last Supper.' Mr. Robbins, a package designer who died on Monday at 93, helped to conceive what became known as paint by numbers. He copied the idea from Leonardo, who numbered the objects in the background of his paintings and had his apprentices paint them with designated colors. With paint-by-numbers kits, young baby boomers in the 1950s followed the same mechanics as those Renaissance artisans, coloring inside the outlines of images of everything from seascapes and the Matterhorn to kittens and Queen Elizabeth II. The process opened up art to the masses — another notch on the continuum of a limitless democratic American ethos that promised “a chicken in every pot” and 'every man a king.'”

Guardian: "In the 50s, the American art world took itself extremely seriously. Abstract painters such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko painted sublime slabs that were praised in hushed voices. Painting-by-numbers may not have been intended as a parody of this modernist reverence – but it sure looked that way. Robbins designed quaint scenes of farmhouses and mountain valleys that anyone could complete – they were good, solid pictures for good, solid middle-American homes. Yet the relationship between painting-by-numbers and modern art is more complicated than it looks. The earliest kit Robbins devised was a cubist still life in the style of Picasso, for the sharp planes of colour were, he said, easy to adapt. He called it Abstract No 1. It was his boss at the Palmer paint company in Detroit, where he worked as a package designer, who insisted he create homely American scenes instead. Robbins was thrilled when, as he remembered: 'Someone entered a completed Abstract No 1 in an art show and won. The judges were quite embarrassed, but the prize resulted in lots of debate about the concept of art …'”

NBC News: “Researchers who used DNA to identify ... the bones [of] Casimir Pulaski, hero of the Revolutionary War and the pride of the Polish-American community..., are convinced the gallant Pole who died fighting for America’s freedom was either a biological woman who lived as a man, or potentially was intersex, meaning a person whose body doesn’t fit the standard definitions of male or female. That’s the eye-opening takeaway from a new Smithsonian Channel documentary titled 'The General Was Female?,' which premieres Monday and is part of the 'America’s Hidden Stories' series.”


The Commentariat -- November 8, 2018

Late Morning/Afternoon Update:

William Cummings of USA Today: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in the hospital after falling in her office Wednesday night, the Court announced in a statement on Thursday. Ginsburg, 85, went home after the fall but continued to experience 'discomfort overnight' and went to George Washington University Hospital early Thursday. Tests revealed she fractured three ribs and she 'was admitted for observation and treatment,' according to the statement." Thanks to PD Pepe for the lead.

** Devlin Barrett, et al., of the Washington Post: "Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation.... The two people close to Whitaker also said they strongly believe he would not approve any request from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to subpoena the president.... While Whitaker is now Mueller's ultimate supervisor, it was not immediately clear whether that meant [Deputy AG Rod] Rosenstein would step aside. Justice Department officials said that under normal circumstances, the deputy attorney general would likely play an active, hands-on role in overseeing such a high profile probe, and they had no reason to believe that Rosenstein would now be cut out." ...

... Adam Silverman of Balloon Juice: "... Special Counsel Mueller has been planning for something like this to happen. As such he has contingency plans in place and for each contingency plan he has multiple sequels (to use DOD planning terminology). I would expect to see a bunch of indictments, either previously sealed ones or ones prepared and waiting to go, to be dropped in short order. I would also expect that whatever could be farmed out to the Federal prosecutorial districts, such as the Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as to the state level, such as NY state, Maryland, Virginia, and DC will be handed off to them. Whitaker will have limited ability to interfere with anything Mueller hands off or farms out to the Federal prosecutorial districts and no ability at all to interfere with state or DC prosecutions.... I also expect, just as we saw with Sessions, that a selected leak or two from the intel community will be quickly released as warning shots across Whitaker's bow." Thanks to OGJerry for the link.

Major Garrett of CBS News: "Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being considered to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, two sources familiar with the matter tell CBS News. President Trump forced Sessions out as the nation's chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, one day after Democrats captured the House in the midterm elections. No decisions are expected soon, and the list of those being considered -- which also includes Rudy Giuliani, outgoing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and former Attorney General William Barr, who served under President George H. W. Bush -- is likely to grow in the coming days...."

Evan Perez, et al., of CNN: "As he was preparing to remove Jeff Sessions as attorney general..., Donald Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller.... Among the questions Mueller has asked the President to provide written responses on are queries about [Roger] Stone and his communications with then-candidate Trump, according to a source briefed on the matter....Trump made clear once again in a news conference Wednesday he believes the investigation is a waste of time and money. 'It's a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,' Trump said.... Mueller's team has begun writing its final report, multiple sources told CNN.

Matthew Choi of Politico: "Prominent CNN personalities on Thursday accused White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of posting an altered video to suggest CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta inappropriately made contact with a White House intern over control of a microphone. Sanders posted a video Wednesday of Acosta maintaining his grip on a microphone as a White House intern tried to take it from him during a news conference with ... Donald Trump. Sanders used the video as justification for the White House revoking Acosta's press access Wednesday evening -- a move that was met with immediate and fierce condemnation from other journalists. On Thursday morning, CNN's Matt Dornic, vice president of communications and digital partnerships, and Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent, both claimed the video had altered speeds to make Acosta seem more aggressive and the intern more demure.... Dornic and Stelter suggested the video might have come from the far-right website InfoWars, which has been booted from mainstream social media sites for peddling inflammatory conspiracy theories."

California. Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times: "California Republicans lost two House seats in Tuesday's midterm election and could surrender more as tens of thousands of ballots are counted in four other contests that remain too close to call. The party has an exceedingly small chance of holding the seats of Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Jeff Denham, historical voting patterns suggest. Two other Republicans, Rep. Mimi Walters and Young Kim of Fullerton, hold thin leads over their opponents that could also vanish."

Florida. Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times: "As the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson appears headed to a statewide recount, both candidates are mobilizing teams of lawyers and legal skirmishes are well underway. Thursday dawned with Scott leading Nelson by just more than one-fourth of a percentage point. The candidates for agriculture commissioner are much closer, divided by 0.06 points, and in the contest for governor, Ron DeSantis' advantage of 0.52 over Andrew Gillum was close to the threshold for a mandatory machine recount. In a fierce scramble for votes that's expected to soon intensify, thousands of provisional ballots cast by people who didn't have IDs, or who voted at the wrong precinct, are already the focus of both sides in the Senate race."

Georgia. WSB-TV Atlanta: "Karen Handel [R] has conceded the Georgia's 6th Congressional District race to Lucy McBath [D] Thursday morning."

Mrs. McCrabbie: Here's one I forgot:

New York. Dan Mangan of CNBC: "Rep. Chris Collins, the Republican recently indicted on federal insider trading charges, will retain his House seat representing New York's 27th District, NBC News has projected. The three-term incumbent -- the first House member to have endorsed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump -- apparently defeated Democrat Nate McMurray, an attorney, in the Buffalo-area district. Collins had suspended his campaign in August after being arrested. But he relaunched his campaign in mid-September after efforts by the Republican Party to replace him on the ballot failed." Mrs. McC: GOP voters do love their allegedly crooked reps.

North Carolina. How Gerrymandering Works. Brian Murphy of the Raleigh News & Observer: "To critics of the state's Republican-drawn congressional districts, which have been declared unconstitutional by a panel of three federal judges, Tuesday's results provided another example of a broken redistricting process, protecting Republicans from a strong showing by Democrats.... Across the state, Republican candidates for Congress won 50.3 percent of the vote and Democrats won 48.4 percent of the vote, according to a News & Observer analysis of vote totals. Democrats did not have a candidate in Eastern North Carolina's 3rd district, won by Republican incumbent Rep. Walter Jones. But Republicans kept their 10-3 edge in the state's House delegation."

Alan Feuer of the New York Times: "After a six-month investigation, prosecutors said Thursday that they would not pursue criminal charges against Eric T. Schneiderman, the former New York State attorney general who resigned in May after four women accused him of assaulting them. The decision not to file charges was announced in a statement issued by Madeline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, who was asked by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to investigate the case shortly after Mr. Schneiderman left his post. Ms. Singas said the women who accused Mr. Schneiderman of abuse were credible, but there were legal hurdles to bringing charges. She did not elaborate on those obstacles, except to say that some of the accusations were too old to pursue under state law."


Trump Has Kelly Fire Sessions; Replaces Him with Collusion Apologist, Mueller Critic. Peter Baker & Katie Benner of the New York Times: "President Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him with a loyalist who will now take charge of the special counsel investigation into Russia's election interference, a defiant move just a day after a midterm election loss. Mr. Sessions delivered his resignation letter to the White House at the request of the president and Mr. Trump tapped Matthew Whitaker, Mr. Sessions's chief of staff, as acting attorney general. In that capacity, Mr. Whitaker assumes control of the Russia investigation, raising questions about the future of the inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. In a column for CNN last year, Mr. Whitaker wrote that Mr. Mueller would be going too far if he examined the Trump family's finances.... John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, called Mr. Sessions before his postelection news conference on Wednesday to tell the attorney general that Mr. Trump wanted him to step down, the administration official said. Mr. Trump, who did not speak with Mr. Sessions himself, then ducked questions about Mr. Sessions's fate at the news conference. Mr. Sessions then had his letter, which was undated, delivered to the White House. Mr. Whitaker has previously questioned the scope of the investigation." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Adam Goldman & Edward Wong of the New York Times: "Inside the Justice Department, senior officials, including Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, have viewed Mr. Whitaker with intense suspicion. Before his current job at the Justice Department, Mr. Whitaker, a former college football tight end, was openly hostile on television and social media toward the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and was seen by department officials as a partisan and a White House spy.... People close to the president said Mr. Whitaker first came to the attention of Mr. Trump because he liked watching Mr. Whitaker express skepticism about aspects of Mr. Mueller's investigation on television.... Mr. Whitaker has the support of Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee." ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Appearing on CNN in July 2017 -- before he became Sessions's chief of staff, the position he occupied before Wednesday -- Whitaker mused about a scenario in which Trump might fire Sessions and replace him with a temporary attorney general. Whitaker noted that federal regulations still gave the attorney general power over the budget for a special counsel. That temporary replacement, he then said, could move to choke off Mueller's funding.... 'The President is absolutely correct,' Whitaker said after Trump suggested that Mueller investigating his finances would cross a red line. 'Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing.' He has also downplayed the idea that anything illegal was done at the Trump Tower meeting, saying, 'You would always take the meeting.' Whether any of this will come to pass, we don't know. But comments like these could now be hugely consequential. Update: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Whitaker should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, in light of the above commentary." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Betsy Woodruff, et al., of the Daily Beast: "It's been a meteoric rise for [Whitaker]..., an ex-prosecutor and failed political candidate who less than two years ago was the head of a little-known conservative nonprofit with designs on a judgeship in his home state of Iowa. Through that nonprofit, and with the help of a PR firm later tied to a bizarre conspiracy theory, Whitaker ran interference for Sessions at one of the most fraught moments in his tumultuous time as attorney general.... 'Whitaker is on record as being more interested in propping up Trump than in upholding the rule of law,' one DOJ trial attorney told The Daily Beast. 'It's hard to have confidence that he'll do anything other than what the president had said in his tweets.'" ...

... Rekha Basu of the Des Moines Register (May 2014 & republished yesterday): "If elected to the U.S. Senate, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view, and specifically a New Testament view, of justice. 'If they have a secular world view, then I'm going to be very concerned about how they judge,' Whitaker said at an April 25, 2014, Family Leader debate.... As a lawyer, one might expect him to know that setting religious conditions for holding a public office would violate the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. He was effectively saying that if elected, he would see no place for a judge of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or other faith, or of no faith." ...

... Brittany Shammas of the Miami New Times: "Whitaker is a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, but he was also involved in a Miami-based invention-marketing company the Federal Trade Commission shut down last year after calling it a scam. Whitaker not only sat on the board of World Patent Marketing but also once sent a threatening email to a former customer who had complained after he spent thousands of dollars and did not receive the promised services.... World Patent Marketing collected almost $26 million by promising starry-eyed inventors it would turn their inventions into best sellers." Mrs. McC: You can see why Trump wouldn't find Whitaker's history as a scam artist in the least disqualifying. His little venture was, after all, just another version of Trump "University." ...

... ** Mikhaila Fogel & a host of others in Lawfare: "The firing of Jeff Sessions and his replacement on an interim basis by a man who has expressed open hostility to the Mueller investigation and in whose loyalty President Trump has expressed confidence marks a major moment in the course of the Russia investigation. It is a profoundly dangerous moment: The president fired the attorney general, as he once fired the FBI director, for plainly illegitimate reasons: because the attorney general acted appropriately on an investigative matter in which Trump himself has the deepest of personal interests.... Yes, the president has the raw power to do this. But as was the case with the firing of James Comey, it is an abuse of the power he wields." The article discusses numerous aspects of the situation. ...

... Rosalind Helderman, et al., of the Washington Post: "A Justice Department official said Wednesday that Whitaker would assume final decision-making authority over the special counsel probe instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.... As acting attorney general, Whitaker could sharply curtail Mueller's authority, cut his budget or order him to cease lines of inquiry. Within hours of his appointment, there were mounting calls by congressional Democrats and government watchdog groups for Whitaker to recuse himself, citing critical comments he made about Mueller's investigation. Furious Democrats ... also promised to investigate Sessions's forced resignation and suggested Trump's actions could amount to obstruction of justice if he intended to disrupt the criminal probe. 'There is no mistaking what this means, and what is at stake: this is a constitutionally perilous moment for our country and for the President,' Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) said in a statement. He is set to take over in January as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that would oversee any impeachment proceedings." ...

... Post Mortem. Matt Ford of the New Republic: "Sessions's departure marks an ignominious end for one of the president's most effective Cabinet members. Not since A. Mitchell Palmer was the nation's attorney general so singularly focused on imposing his own ideological vision on the rest of the nation. In the U.S. Senate, Sessions's strident restrictionist views on immigration had been relegated to the ideological fringes. But as attorney general, he enjoyed unparalleled influence over the machinery of American immigration and wielded it against those hoping to build a better life for themselves in the United States. His greatest policy triumph amounted to systemic child abuse.... The great tragicomedy of Sessions's downfall is that it came not from his objectionable decisions, but from a wise one."

Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times: "President Trump lashed out at journalists during a surly and contentious news conference at the White House on Wednesday, renewing his attacks on the news media as 'the enemy of the people' just moments after pledging an end to partisan politics in the wake of a grueling midterm election. In tense exchanges on live television, Mr. Trump denounced [CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta] as 'very rude,' sternly told several reporters to 'sit down,' and at one point stepped away from his lectern, suggesting that he was prepared to cut off the session -- a rare formal East Room news conference -- because of queries he disliked.... 'CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,' the president said. 'You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn't be working for CNN.' He added, in a reference to the White House press secretary: 'The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way.' Jabbing a finger in the reporter's direction, he said, 'When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.'" Trump also excoriated two black female correspondents, April Ryan & Yamiche Alcindor. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... ** Watch Trump dismiss Yamiche Alcindor of NPR & accuse her of asking a "racist" question:

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is a guy who dares to call reporters "rude." I know we have come to expect Trump's insane behavior, but it still shocks the conscience. ...

     ... Update. Noor Al-Sibai of Raw Story: "The White House is suspending the press credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after he angered Donald Trump during a press conference earlier in the day by asking why the president refers to the Latin American migrant caravan as an 'invasion.' 'As a result of today's incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters." In her statement, Sanders falsely, IMO, claimed Acosta manhandled a female intern. Rather, the woman, an intern, physically assaulted Acosta. But you decide:

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I can't emphasize enough how serious this is. The "incident" that got Acosta's press pass pulled was "Trump doesn't like question." His verbal assaults on the press have been dangerous enough. Actually shutting out a reporter for asking serious questions moves Trump right into dictator territory. This is ratcheting up the assault on the First Amendment to battery. The White House Correspondents Association -- not exactly known for its bravery -- should go really hard against the Trump administration. This incident may not get a lot of attention because of the Sessions firing & other news stuff. But pulling Acosta's press pass is one of the worst things the administration has done.

     ... Update. Peter Baker of the New York Times: "When Mr. Acosta tried to re-enter the White House on Wednesday evening for a live shot for his network, a Secret Service officer asked him to hand over his 'hard pass,' which grants journalists access to the compound. Mr. Acosta captured the episode in a grainy video on his cellphone and posted it to Twitter. Sarah Huckabee Sanders..., who has also repeatedly clashed with Mr. Acosta during televised briefings at the White House, announced the decision, claiming falsely that Mr. Acosta had placed 'his hands on a young woman' who was responsible for giving the microphone to reporters asking questions.... A review of the video from the news conference did not suggest that Mr. Acosta put his hands on the woman, and a reporter who was present said that the White House account was not true.... The decision to yank Mr. Acosta's credentials, effectively denying him access to the White House and the president's staff, was a nuclear-level response by the president and the administration's communications staff after more than two years of escalating tensions between the CNN correspondent, the president and the president's aides.... Olivier Knox, the president of the White House Correspondents' Association, urged the White House to reverse its decision.... The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in, as well. 'It is unacceptable and un-American for the president to expel a reporter for doing his job aggressively.'" ...

... White House Turns to Conspiracy Theorist to Smear Acosta. Jeet Heer: "To bolster the case against Acosta..., Sarah Sanders posted an edited video of the incident where the action is generally slowed down but speeds up right before the moment of contact, to create the false impression of a deliberate jab on the part of Acosta.... As Ashley Feinberg of The Huffington Post notes, the source of the doctored video Sanders posted seems to be Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of, a notorious conspiracy theory website." Mrs. McC: Next, Alex Jones will replace Acosta in the White House press corps. ...

... During Presser, Trump Name-checks Republicans Who Didn't "Embrace" Him. CBS News: "... Mr. Trump began by framing the results [of the election] as a 'success' and emphasizing his role in helping the GOP maintain control of and even gain seats in the Senate. 'We saw the candidates I supported achieve tremendous success last night,' Mr. Trump boasted. 'We picked up a lot,' he said. The president also talked about Republican candidates ... who eschewed the Trump "embrace," and he suggested this may have been a contributing factor to their losses. 'On the other hand you had some that decided to let's stay away, let's stay away,' Mr. Trump said. "They did very poorly. I'm not sure that I should be happy or sad. But I feel just fine about it. Carlos Curbelo. Mike Coffman. Too bad, Mike. Mia Love.... But Mia Love gave me no love, and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia. And Barbara Comstock was another one I mean I think she could have won that race, but she didn't want to have any embrace. For that I don't blame her. But she uh, she lost, substantially lost. Peter Roskam didn't want the embrace, Erik Paulsen didn't want the embrace and in New Jersey I think he could have done well but didn't work out too good. Bob Hugin, I feel badly because I think that's something that could have been won, that's a race that could have been won. John Faso. Those are some of the people that you know decided for their own reason not to embrace whether it's me or what we stand for, but what we stand for meant a lot to most people.'" Mrs. McC: Bizarre. ...

... Erica Werner & Damian Paletta of the Washington Post: "President Trump and newly empowered congressional Democrats appeared to be on a collision course over the release of the president's tax returns, as a top Democrat signaled he would demand the information under federal law and Trump insisted he would attempt to block any release. Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), expected to become the chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, plans to insist Trump voluntarily release his tax returns, he said in an interview. If Trump doesn't, then Neal will file a legal request with the Treasury Secretary that would require the returns be disclosed to a small group of people on Capitol Hill. He predicted the matter would end up in federal court. At a news conference Wednesday, Trump said his tax returns were already under audit and therefore he would not release them. He said he might consider releasing them at a later date, something he has said since at least 2016.... If Neal formally requests Trump's tax returns, the request would go to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Federal law stipulates that Mnuchin 'shall' turn over the tax returns and doesn't appear to give him much flexibility. It also doesn't appear to give the White House the power to intervene."

... ** Greg Sargent on both Sessions' firing & Trump's "startlingly unhinged performance at a news conference.... There is a tendency after big electoral victories such as the one last night to grow a bit complacent, to imagine that a semblance of normalcy has been restored. In multiple ways, Trump reminded us today that we can't relax even for a second." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Peter Baker & Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "George W. Bush saw a 'thumpin'.' Barack Obama saw a 'shellacking.' Donald J. Trump sees a 'Big Victory.' Never one to admit defeat, even in the face of a major setback, President Trump wasted little time on Wednesday morning trying to frame his party's election losses.... 'Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!' [-- Trump, in a tweet.] But ... he quickly went on offense against the newly elected Democratic House, threatening to retaliate if the opposition uses its new subpoena power to investigate him for corruption and obstruction of justice.... 'If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level,' he wrote. 'Two can play that game!' Then, in a head-spinning pivot, Mr. Trump shortly afterward endorsed Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, for House speaker and even volunteered Republican votes if she cannot muster enough in her own caucus." (Also linked yesterday.)

Buh-Bye, "Operation Faithful Patriot." Luis Martinez & Elizabeth McLaughlin of ABC News: "The day after a midterm election in which ... Donald Trump played up the Pentagon's mission to provide logistical support along the southern border, the Pentagon said Wednesday it will no longer publicly refer to the mission as Operation Faithful Patriot. Instead, the deployment of active duty troops will be referred to as what it's always been: a border support mission." Mrs. McC: Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

David Graham of The Atlantic: "[T]he [electoral] outcomes still tell us something about the strengths and weaknesses of the president's campaign strategy -- and, more important, about the slog that's ahead for the next two years in Washington, as Democrats harry Trump from their perch in the House. The result is arguably much worse for Trump personally than for the Republican Party as a whole.... Democrats have expressed frustration with the Trump administration's stonewalling of requests for information over the past two years. Now they will be able to demand it. For a White House that has seen effectively no oversight from the Republican Congress, this will be a rude shock." --s

Jim Newell of Slate: "It may have felt like such a meh-bleh night for Democrats, then, because it was -- relative to expectations heading into Election Day.... Expectations got out of hand.... The Democratic Party hit rock bottom after the 2016 election, when they lost the presidency to television character Donald Trump, and then had to find some way to regroup quickly enough to face a fantastically gerrymandered Republican House and the worst imaginable Senate map. They took the House within one election and grinded out Senate races where they could, even if they couldn't save some of the ones that they had little business holding in the first place. They'll have governors ready to veto Republican gerrymanders after 2020 in crucial states that they didn't hold the last time. As bleh as it all might feel, it's a start." --s

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) is up by a teensy bit with 88 percent reporting, according to the NYT. He's been losing in most of the earlier returns. Update: The AP has projected Tester as the winner. (Also noted yesterday.)

House count as of Wednesday evening:

Dan Spinelli of Mother Jones: "Four years ago, Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as part of the Tea Party revolution that would eventually topple Speaker of the House John Boehner and pave the way for Donald Trump's presidential bid. Now former CIA agent Abigail Spanberger has defeated Brat and will be the first Democratic representative from Virginia's 7th District in more than four decades, NBC News and the Cook Political Report confirmed Tuesday night. Brat, once the darling of Breitbart and the insurgent conservative movement, aligns with the far-right House Freedom Caucus." Thanks to Akhilleus for the lead. (Also linked yesterday.)

Florida & Georgia. Jonathin Vankin of the Inquisitr: "As the United States Senate race in Florida headed to a recount, the governor's race there on Wednesday morning also looked likely to go to a recount of its own even though Democrat Andrew Gillum, as The New York Times reported, gave a concession speech on Tuesday and Republican Ron DeSantis ... declared victory.... According to April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Gillum's representatives as of Wednesday morning said that his losing margin was only about 15,000 votes.... Ryan also reported that the NAACP planned to investigate 'voter irregularities' in Florida -- as well as in Georgia where Democrat Stac[e]y Abrams trailed by less than 1 percent of the vote and believed that she would gain in ballots yet to be counted...."

** Tim Craig of the Washington Post: "... Democrats expanded their influence in state capitols on Tuesday, flipping more than 300 state legislative seats while also claiming a majority of the nation's attorney general offices. The Democratic gains mark a significant turnaround for a party that had been losing clout in state legislatures for nearly a decade, allowing Republicans in many states to loosen restrictions on firearms, push through new voter-identification laws and weaken environmental regulations. Democrats had also ceded enormous power to Republicans to redraw congressional boundaries. The victories -- buoyed by an apparent net Democratic pickup of seven governorships -- will also help fortify the party's efforts to use states as a firewall against President Trump, including through coordinated lawsuits against the administration." ...

... Bryce Covert in a New York Times op-ed: "Democrats ... seized control of seven legislative chambers, flipping the State Senates in Colorado, Maine, and New York; the House in Minnesota; and both chambers in New Hampshire. Connecticut's Senate, previously evenly split, is now held by Democrats. They broke Republican supermajorities in Michigan and Pennsylvania's Senates and both chambers in North Carolina.... While Democrats in the House will now most likely act as a bulwark against a number of Republican policy goals, the real action will continue to be at the state level."

White Power Politics. Adam Serwer of The Atlantic: "It's fashionable in the Donald Trump era to decry political 'tribalism,' especially if you're a conservative attempting to criticize Trump without incurring the wrath of his supporters.... But calling this 'tribalism' is misleading, because only one side of this divide remotely resembles a coalition based on ethnic and religious lines, and only one side has committed itself to a political strategy that relies on stoking hatred and fear of the other.... A large number of Republican candidates, led by the president, ran racist or bigoted campaigns against their opponents. But those opponents cannot be said to belong to a 'tribe.' No common ethnic or religious ties bind Heitkamp, Campa-Najjar, Delgado, or the constituencies that elected them. It was their Republican opponents who turned to 'tribalism,' painting them as scary or dangerous, and working to disenfranchise their supporters." --s

Daily Beast: "Former Rep. Stephen Stockman (R-TX) was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for orchestrating a scheme to defraud donors and using the money for personal and campaign use, according to a Justice Department press release. Stockman was charged with 23 felonies back in April -- including wire fraud, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and money laundering -- after he and his co-defendants solicited $1,250,571.65 in donations from charities and their leaders. Stockman and the others then laundered the money before using it for a personal and campaign expenses."

Linda Greenhouse: "The Trump administration's treatment of the Supreme Court as a wholly owned subsidiary is one of the most compelling dramas now unfolding in Washington. Whether this drama plays out as comedy or tragedy is up to the court.... I've been more than a little amused by the administration's frantic and largely failed effort to enlist the justices in keeping the public from learning how the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census actually came about."

News Ledes

Los Angeles Times: "A gunman threw smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of hundreds inside a Thousand Oaks bar that is popular with college students Wednesday night, leaving 12 dead including a Sheriff's sergeant shot trying to stop the carnage. The massacre occurred at the Borderline Bar & Grill, with the assailant firing wildly into the crowd. In addition to the dead, 10 other people may have been injured, according to Sheriff Geoff Dean, who added that it's too early to know if the shooter took his own life. The gunman burst into the bar around 11:20 p.m., cloaked in all black. Ventura County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer entered the bar first and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, whose identity was not immediately known. Helus was shot several times and died at an area hospital early Thursday morning, according to Dean."

Slate: "The gunman who killed 12 at a crowded country bar in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long of Newbury Park, California. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Thursday that Long was a former Marine and that sheriff's deputies had been called to Long's home in April. They found him 'somewhat irate and acting irrationally,' according to the Associated Press. A mental health crisis team was then dispatched to Long's home but concluded he did not need to be taken into custody, Dean said. The other incident in which Long came in contact with the Ventura County sheriff's department listed Long as the victim of assault at a bar."

Reader Comments (22)

Treason, authoritarian jackbooting, whatever you want to call it, the Orange Monster should be in jail, or more likely, as an enemy of the people, hanged. That little girl was directed to grab the mik out of Accosta's hands. Every time I think I could not hate 46-1 (thanks, Pete, master of shade) more, he does himself better. Racist, woman-bashing piece of nazi crap, he is total vermin. Thanks, trumpparty.

November 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Another mass shooting. Authorities confirm 12 dead inside a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California. The shooter, dressed all in black, walked in and started killing. He is dead as well.

Another star goes up on the NRA Hall of Fame Shooters wall. It’s the 307th (!!) mass shooting this year.

Get ready for thoughts and prayers but nothing else.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


We witness a president conduct a press conference unlike anything we've seen before ––clearly displaying his fury at the results of the election but pretending it was a great victory for him but knowing the time has come for some "come to Jesus moments" where he will be exposed as the charlatan that he is. Since he can't deal with confrontation, especially from any reporter, he insults and bans one of them from attending any pressers–––like a dictator–-no, AS a dictator. No sooner than we can catch our breath, we hear he has fired Sessions (a miserable little man) and put in charge for the time being a guy ( a real somofabitch) he watched on CNN touting exactly what he wants to happen––crush the Mueller probe. This is monumental so we forget about the ousting of a reporter and concentrate on the A.G. debacle. And bam! this morning we are hit with another shooting––which we will do nothing about.

Perhaps I'm being over the top here but I fear the ramifications of these incidents and think we have come to some kind of end-road–-some kind of having to take only one path to retain our sanity and get control of what has clearly been a complete breakdown of our government.

And over on my right the Duke and Duchess greet me every day with their lovely smiles––a renewal of sorts, I suppose.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

To top it all off just read that the superior Ruth G. fell and broke three ribs and is in hospital.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

So it's now official. Acosta is America's best reporter.

And when I saw the first moment of the press conference on the news last night, I thought it was SNL.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Operation Faithful Patriot, eh? Isn't that a tad redundant? It sounds like something a 10 year old would come up with. I bet it came straight from the Fat Dictator himself. Of course, although these people use words as stilettos and pipe bombs, they rarely seem to have any sort of understanding of how language works. A patriot, by definition, is faithful. In fact, the concept of fidelity is baked into the definition.

Idiots. How about Operation Unstable Faux Patriot?

Much more accurate, not to mention lexically correct.

But the word patriot appears so often in connection with right-wing scams and screeds that it's become almost a sure sign that the person or persons invoking it are anything but. Just another way for wingers to insist that they are the True Patriots, even though Job One for these traitors is to undermine American democracy and the Constitution.

That's Trump to a T.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: And speaking of bad descriptors, I'm sick of "journalists" who describe each & every Trump stunt as "shattering norms." "Shattering norms" is wearing white shoes after Labor Day; it is not defenestrating the Constitution & the rule of law.

November 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

The attempt by Liarbee Sanders to use a doctored InfoWars video to "prove" that Jim Acosta accosted (sorry, couldn't resist) a Blight House intern is all of a piece with the Trumpy Standard. If facts aren't in your favor, manufacture new ones.

Meanwhile, in another corner of the blasted earth that is Trump Land, supporters of the Fat Dictator are trying to "prove" that Trump fan and attempted mass murderer Cesar Sayoc is actually a Democrat running an undercover operation to make Fatty look bad.

A picture of Sayoc with an old soccer teammate is being circulated in Trump World as proof that Sayoc was palling around with a billionaire Democratic donor. There's also a Photoshopped image floating around "proving" that Sayoc is a registered Democrat.

Interestingly, there's a huge tell in the fake voter registration information. Whoever created this image was too stupid to ratchet back his or her own hatred and ignorance. It says that Sayoc was registered to "democrat party". Hahahahaha. Morons. There IS no "democrat party". The phrase exists only in the warped, bigoted brains of Confederates. No real Democrat would use this stupid, stupid, insulting phrase. Only wingers.

The lies never stop. The conspiracies never stop. The ignorance grows. Look for Fatty to pull these pictures out soon as proof positive that his super fan is actually a Democratic operative.

His goosesteppers will stop at nothing to help out the Fat Führer.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Have the computer back, but still have email trouble, so instead of replying to the few mails I should respond to, tilted at the Bret Stephens' windmill this AM.

"The Times invites me to share my thoughts. I wish Mr. Stephens had shared his.

Behind the screen of words, what does he really think about the Trumpism he says he detests or about the Resistance he chides?

Let's start with the issues, just three of them for this morning. There are more.

Abortion. A certain element in the country wishes to tell all women they must give birth once they are impregnated. More do not. A reasonable compromise? Let women choose. The Right's "compromise?" Outlaw abortion for all. Where's the bridge? Legislate birth at seven months?

How about arrant racism, white supremacy and nationalism? Which bridge does Mr. Stephens have in mind for the many who support Trump because he has deliberately elevated these lowlifes to national prominence? The nation's initial "compromise" on race devolved into a bloody civil war. Nonetheless instead of working to heal that divide, Mr. Trump uses it as a political tool. Pray tell, Mr. Stephens, what's your compromise with racists?

Economic inequality? I'd expand Social Security and increase, not diminish, taxes on the rich. Republicans won't. They gleefully legislate for people with money, not for those who don't.

Could Republicans help with your "bridge" by raising taxes on the wealthy just a little? Apply the Social Security tax, now limited to wages only, to all income, maybe? Are those the kinds of bridges you have in mind?

You say all these issues are imaginary barricades, which the Left should abandon.


November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes


Google "Trump shatters norms" and you get 440,000 hits. A popular trope but, as you suggest, woefully inadequate.

He's not shattering norms. You'd have to know what those norms are first. What he is doing is pissing on decency, shivving civility, flinging lies and insults like certain monkeys fling bits of fecal matter. He has gone far beyond demagoguery. He is now firmly in the realm of authoritarian despot.

And yet there are still media outlets too squeamish about calling him what he is. I still run across plenty of "untruths" and "questionable statements" and "unsupported assertions". He's a dangerous, unhinged liar.

Call him that.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


Wingers of all stripes (especially ones who should be wearing them) are now lecturing Democrats on the absolute necessity of civility and bipartisanship and of not going off on investigative sprees. Let's all be bygones and we can all get along. Kumbaya, everyone.

Sure, like they did when there were seventeen Benghazi investigations going on, and the Orange Monster demanding that Russia hack Clinton's emails and the FBI reopen their investigation. Both demands were met.

But now Fatty is warning that if anyone dares to look into his criminal actions, treason, and malfeasance he'll investigate them right back. Hmmph.

Well, Fatty, if what you're threatening to investigate was serious enough (implied security breaches), why haven't you already been doing it? If you do it just because someone is investigating you then it's not serious, is it? It's just peevishness and revenge.

And suddenly the Fat Führer is talking about getting along with Democrats. Sure. But what he means by "getting along" is what he means when he demands that the press treat him "fairly". He means do what I say and shut up. And don't ask me any questions I don't like.

We'll see how this all plays out, but don't expect the finger wagging and lecturing and games-playing on the right to end anytime soon.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Had a breath-holding moment this morning when I heard on the radio that RBG was in the hospital.

She's 85. If something happened to her while this fucking Nazi was still in office, we would be good and truly screwed. For many, many years. The Supreme Court is already solidly Confederate. One more Heil Trumper and they might as well close up shop. Don't even bother with hearings. Just hand down pro-winger decisions while sitting in bed watching Fox talk about how great it is to have their own court. Just mail it in.

So get better, Notorious One. We need you. Even if it's to put a boot up the ass of the Trump Rubber Stamps.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Adam L Silverman at Balloon-Juice had the best take/analysis on what will happen to Matthew Whitacre when he meets with Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller (and the DOJ Ethics people). I remembered that something similar happened to Sessions, causing him to recuse himself. Adam talked me down off of the ledge.

A Few Thoughts on the Mueller Investigation

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOGJerry

Went to breakfast this morning; there was a woman waiting, loudly declaiming something about "everyone" liking trump's policies, how everything will be a fight now...and something something "killing babies" and that did it. Husband said no one is "killing babies". She said yes we were; he said "They aren't babies." She said "typical Democrat." He asked if she had noticcd on Faux that the "caravan" had disappeared from the airwaves and she and her friend stated that all those miserable people could come live with us; her friend chimed in with "wouldn't you rather they do this legally?" and we tried to tell her that they were requesting asylum, a lengthy process, and it was legal. But then they got to sit down and we ended that spectacular encounter. There is no changing ignorant minds. She loves the guy, and we absolutely detest him and all of them. Ain't no bipartisan, anymore, ever. No reason to talk to them except they were loud in a public place-- yuck.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne


Thanks for that link. Very informative. A bit further down the page however was an intimation that racist loser and liar Kris Kobach might be the next AG. It wouldn't surprise me a bit. Word that Chris Christie is being considered is pure Trump trolling. He loves to stick it to Christie. If Charlie Brown Christie lines up to kick this football he deserves the pratfall after Fatty-Lucy pulls it away. Again.

Kobach makes more sense. A lying, scheming fraud whose connection to law and order is about on a par with Trump's, meaning none at all.

The points made in this article, re: Whitaker, are all logical and make perfect sense, but we're not dealing with logic here. Trump has outlawed it, as well as good sense. But we'll see.

Good link anyway. Thanks.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


There really is no common ground with some of these people. Last week, I believe, I added a comment about how, during a seemingly civilized conversation with a red state denizen about baseball, I was informed in no uncertain terms that kids today can't enjoy that sport anymore because immigrants have destroyed it.


Don't even try to figure it out.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Figure it out: probably all those guys named "Jesus" born in the Caribbean and playing MLB. Not only are they brown&black Spanish speakers, but they have the gall to call themselves "Jesus?" And they're paid a lot more than your red state denizen.
(This is satire)

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Remember Sam Clovis? You can't forget him, once you've seen him. Some say Trump likes him because standing next to him makes even Trump look thin. As a Trump campaign op, it was Clovis who chose George Papadapolous and Carter Page to join the campaign and pushed them to pursue Russia ties. Clovis long ago lumbered back to Iowa, having failed in his bid for a high level political appointment. But he keeps popping up in the Trump/Russia saga. Turns out he is a close pal of Whitaker, who managed Clovis' 2014 campaign for Iowa state treasurer. (He lost.) Back then, Clovis was loudly defending Russia's seizure of Ukrainian territory.

Josh Marshall muses about "Matt Whitaker’s Small Russia Probe World." A short piece, worth clicking mostly for the photo of these two illustrious gentlemen, Clovis sporting belt and suspenders - both under significant stress.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMonoloco

@Ak: As bad as the ReThugs are, I don't think that they would be so bold and stupid as to try and confirm K(K)K as AG (but then again, they prove me wrong so many times on that front). I can see the pretender* appointing him as head of Homeland Defense.

@Ak & Jeanne: On common ground; there ain't none! A personal story follows and I apologize in advance that this is a little long, but I want to share it. Although I live in blue California our home is in a 55+ community in the north part of San Diego. It is a sea of red here. When we find that a neighbor is a fellow Dem, we whisper about it. Anyway I'm a retired Army officer and now volunteer as a Docent aboard the USS Midway Museum. With over 1.4 M visitors last year, I meet with people from all over the world. And even though, by my estimate, 80% of my fellow "shipmates" are Republicans, I like them and enjoy working and having fellowship with them. The ship's official policy is "No Political Discussions Aboard the Ship"! But the ReThugs just can't help themselves. I've heard enough Hillary, Obama and Pelosi jokes and comments to last a lifetime. I've sent official complaints to the head of the docent group, and he sent out reminders of the policy but nothing has really changed. I stopped working on certain watches because the head docent leads the political joke session at every pre-brief.

I communicated with one of the regulars (typical ReThug - 6'8" 280 lbs) on my watch, after he had asked me and another docent (while we were waiting on guests to arrive at our station) if "we loved the way Sarah Sanders stuck it to the media as much as he did?" In my private email communication to him I reminded him of the no politics policy and requested that he never involve me in another discussion such as that. He emailed an apology and asked me to remind him if he started astray again.

Then a couple of weeks ago at our debrief (wine and cheese time after we close the ship) he started a discussion about how important he thought it was that CA-50 reelect Duncan Hunter. We couldn't have a Democrat elected. I didn't say anything as another fellow docent took him on saying how stupid it was to push for an indicted crook to be elected. The offender replied that all politicians were just like that to which the guy who had protested responded "That's even more stupid!" I thought that was the end of it but the next week the big guy asked the debrief group if anyone wanted to place a bet on the mid-term results. I called out his name to him as a warning and he responded "Jerry, we're just joking!" But the conversation continued on and one other fellow said "All Democrats are stupid!" and the fellow next to him said "All Democrats should be killed!" These comments were made by people I know, like and have worked with for three years. But complying with the ship's policy I said nothing at that moment. But I was so despondent that I couldn't even share what had happened with Dear Wife when I returned home that night. I went to bed immediately, very unusual for me and wasn't able to share the story until the next morning.

I'm not quick on responses to serious matters so I took a couple of days to think through what action I would take. Since I wasn't going to quit but had to do something, I email the big guy and told him that I was going to ask for time to discuss the incident at the next pre-brief, that I was going to use his name and although he didn't normally attend the afternoon pre-brief, I recommended that he attend so that he could respond if he wanted to. He wasn't there but I said what I wanted to say. My presentation received a round of applause, and I received many private thanks (probably the 20% non-Republicans) who totally agreed with me. As I was going to my watch station I met the big guy and asked if he had read my email. He hadn't so I gave him a printed copy. Things were icy with him at the debrief but nothing said, political or otherwise. But two days later I received his response, which he sent to the Docent Management. It seems his wife and daughters had read my letter to him (he doesn't have a personal account, just used his family account) and had ripped him big time. (He's probably the same at home as at work.) Anyway, he hadn't said what I quoted him as saying. I was just one of "the old guys" on the ship who causes problems. I "started and participated in lots of political discussion" and I was eavesdropping on a private conversation! So Trumpian!

At last Sunday's pre-brief he asked to address the watch and then went at me with a repeat of his comments above. Oh, I forgot to mention that before the meeting I sought him out to discuss and prevent the open meeting blowup but that he had turned his back and walked away from me. Anyway after he had blown himself out I took the floor and responded, pointing out his falsehoods and said "let's take this to management". He replied that he had already sent his response to the docent manager.

To end this too long story I'll share that I'm the guy who brings in and prepairs the debrief food and drinks every week for the approximately 25 watch standers (they donate to offset my costs). I do this to build team spirit and fellowship. I don't think that they know that I'm a Democrat because we Dems want to spend other peoples money and have other people do our work, doncha know?

I've shared this story because even though we're not going to be able to change many (or any) minds or hearts, on a one-to-one basis it may be possible to have a positive effect. And at the end of the debrief the "big guy" came up to me, stuck out his hand and asked for peace. He said "I like you Jerry, I really like you."

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOGJerry


Your story raises an issue that we should all keep in mind, and I don't offer this as an ameliorative in the face of R bullying and aggression, but as a way of saving our souls from a descent into the same black hole that too many of them have decided to call home.

I don't know why this guy decided to ask for peace and let you know that he "really likes you", but perhaps he senses that he went too far.

It's important to recognize that Trump supporters are human beings as well, even if they don't demonstrate that by their unwavering support for the most heinous, inhuman, racist, bigoted policies.

I have to remind myself of this all the time because I am surrounded by Trumpists. Some of them, outside the political spectrum, are decent people. But under that umbrella, they feel compelled to rip Democrats and liberals for any and every thing they say or support, even policies that would benefit them!

This is the "What's the Matter With Kansas" conundrum. This morning on NPR I heard a story about the difference between rural, suburban, and urban voters in states where Democrats have made inroads. The reporter brought up the issue of rural R's feeling disenfranchised and downtrodden because of economic inequality. SO....they vote Republican!!!!!! My response (and I admit I yelled out in an extremely indecorous manner) was that the PEOPLE YOU VOTE FOR ARE THE ONES SCREWING YOU!! Don't you get that?

The other thing I thought of while reading your story is that so many R voters, especially this big galoot you write about, tend to be bullies. They expect that they can say whatever they want, no matter how insulting, with no consequences. This is the Fox Effect. We can be dicks because we're right and anyone who disagrees with us is an asshole and a traitor.

Where I work, this is a standard. R's routinely gather en masse and rip Democrats. It doesn't matter that there may be Democrats present. They really don't care. And I've noticed a marked increase in these screamfests since Fatty was elected. A while back one woman, in response to the forwarding of some InfoWars bullshit, responded that this was way off base. The management, sensing a possible lawsuit (none was threatened, she was just saying 'keep your shit to yourself') issued a mealy-mouthed response indicating that "all sides" needed to calm down, as if a single Democrat in the building had been doing this as well.

So let me say that I admire your civility and your fortitude and the polite way in which you called out those who don't feel that civility is expected of them as well.

Good man.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


"Clovis sporting belt and suspenders - both under significant stress."


My favorite line of the entire day. Well done.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Rachel Maddow had a segment last night where she pointed out all the Trump hugs that did not turn out so well in spite of the embrace.

November 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRAS
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