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 9, 2018

Afternoon Update:

Say, Let's See How Much Damage Trump Can Do in 20 Minutes of Chopper-Chat:

Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "President Trump said on Friday that he has not yet spoken to the new acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, about the special counsel investigation.... Mr. Whitaker, who now oversees the investigation, has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president, according to people familiar with the relationship. 'I don't know Matt Whitaker,' Mr. Trump told reporters as he left Washington for a weekend trip to Paris. 'Matt Whitaker is a very highly respected man.'... Mr. Trump on Friday said Mr. Whitaker 'was confirmed at the highest level' when he served as the United States attorney for the Southern District of Iowa during the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Trump incorrectly asserted that [Robert] Mueller had not been confirmed by the Senate.... Mr. Mueller has been confirmed by the Senate several times -- to become the head of the F.B.I.; to serve as the United States attorney for the Northern District of California; and to serve as the assistant attorney general at the Justice Department in 1990. The special counsel position is not one that requires Senate confirmation." ...

... Jonathan Chait: "Two days after he hired a transparent political hack to run the Justice Department, President Trump has failed to come up with a remotely plausible cover story. 'I didn't speak to Matt Whitaker about' the Russia investigation, Trump told reporters this morning, 'I don't know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker has a great reputation and that's what I wanted.' None of those things are [Mrs.McC: IS!] true. Whitaker does not have a 'great reputation.' He lost a race to be the Iowa Republican Senate nominee in 2014, and spent the next few years working for a scam patent company that was shut down as a fraud while getting Trump's attention by engaging in low-rent pro-Trump punditry that he leveraged into a chief of staff job. Trump does know Whitaker, and has spoken about the Russia investigation with him." Chait elaborates on this last point, then goes on to mention this:

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Chait doesn't say so, but I will: It's not because Phillip works for CNN that Trump attacks her; it's not because the question she asked was impertinent or irrelevant; it wasn't; it's because (a) she's a woman & (b) she's a black woman. Tom Boggioni of the Raw Story reports that in the same chopper-presser: "... Trump insulted well-respected White House correspondent [April] Ryan as a 'loser' who 'doesn't know what the hell she is doing.'" ...

... Andrew Prokop of Vox lists more reports of the "close" relationship between Trump & Whitaker -- the guy Trump suddenly claims he "doesn't know" -- and the irregular way Trump appointed Whiteaker. "All of this stinks to high heaven. And Trump's comments did nothing to clear up that stink." ...

... Caitlin Oprysko of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Friday called the delay in tallying ballots in Florida 'a disgrace' and sought to tie the ongoing vote count to a conspiracy he claimed exists to undermine Republicans by Democratic operatives. Speaking to reporters before he left for Paris for a World War I commemoration, Trump slammed the hold-up in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties that's thrown the state's gubernatorial and Senate races into flux.... 'If you look at Broward, and Palm Beach to a lesser extent, if you look at Broward County, they have had a horrible history and if you look at the person, in this case the woman, involved, she has had a horrible history,' Trump said, referring to Brenda Snipes, Broward's election supervisor who Gov. Rick Scott ... sued this week for access to ballot information. 'All of a sudden they're finding votes out of nowhere,' Trump claimed Friday, noting that Scott's lead in the Senate race has been narrowing with each batch of votes reported by the two heavily Democratic counties. Trump said that the situation should be 'cautiously' examined because of what he said was a suspect hiring by Scott's opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson. As part of the recount effort, Nelson retained attorney Marc Elias, who has ties to ... Hillary Clinton.... In a tweet aboard Air Force One, Trump called Elias Democrats' 'best Election stealing lawyer,' and claimed that it was only after Elias arrived that Broward 'miraculously started finding Democrat votes,' while offering no proof to support either accusation.... In a subsequent Twitter post, Trump ... wrote, 'I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!'..." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I guess I should mention Dr. Snipes is black. ...

... Will Sommer of the Daily Beast runs down Republican freak-outs over the state races that are tightening even as Republicans were ahead on election night. Mrs. McC: I like the way Sommer puts Rick Scott's stunt in perspective: "In other words, the state governor used his state-funded official residence to launch legal action against his own state's election officials about an election he was a candidate in." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Greg Sargent is thinking what I was thinking: "In the run-up to Election Day in 2016, Donald Trump repeatedly and flatly declared that the outcome of the election would be legitimate only if he won.... In retrospect, this previewed much of what we are seeing right now, in the biggest stories of the moment: The battles underway over the vote-counting in the Florida and Georgia contests; the appointment of a Trump loyalist as the new acting attorney general; the White House's promotion of an apparently doctored video to justify punishing a reporter; and the tactics Trump employed to try to retain the GOP congressional majority. On Thursday night, Trump tweeted: 'Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!'... This 'big corruption scandal ...' is that Democrats want the votes to be fully counted in Democratic areas." Read on. As Sargent writes, "All of this is likely to get much, much worse."

Michael Shear & Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times: "President Trump proclaimed on Friday that the illegal entry of immigrants across the southern border of the United States is detrimental to the national interest, triggering tough changes that will deny asylum to all migrants who do not enter through official border crossings. The proclamation, issued just moments before Mr. Trump left the White House for a weekend trip to Paris, suspends asylum rights for all immigrants who attempt to cross into the United States illegally, though officials said it was aimed primarily at several thousand migrants traveling north through Mexico in caravans.... Mr. Trump's proclamation drew on the same powers to control the nation's borders that he cited when he banned travel from several predominantly Muslim nations shortly after becoming president. The Supreme Court upheld a later version of that ban after a nearly year-and-a-half legal fight. The new proclamation is certain to spark a similar legal battle."...

... Noah Lanard of Mother Jones: "Trump's proclamation flouts the plain text of US immigration law, which states that migrants are eligible for asylum 'whether or not' they arrive 'at a designated port of arrival.' But, as with his travel ban last year, Trump is using a section of US law that gives him broad power to temporarily ban groups of people from coming to the United States if he deems their entry to be 'detrimental' to the national interest."

AP: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was released from the hospital Friday [link fixed] after having been admitted for treatment and observation after fracturing three ribs in a fall. Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the 85-year-old justice is 'doing well' and working from home."


Springtime for Trump. Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Following this week's midterm elections, President Trump ousted his attorney general, seized control of the Russia investigation for a partisan loyalist and suspended the credentials for a journalist he deemed too adversarial. And that was just the first 24 hours.... After voters delivered a mixed verdict in the first national referendum of his presidency, Trump has been unbound, claiming more of a popular mandate than exists -- 'very close to a complete victory,' as he put it Wednesday -- and moving swiftly to press some of the buttons he had previously resisted pressing. 'All of the guardrails are off and the rule of law is under an unprecedented threat,' said Joyce White Vance, who served as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.... 'This is a unique moment in this administration where the president has thrown down the gauntlet,' Vance said. 'We have this dangerous convergence of walking away from the rule of law and walking away from the First Amendment at the same time.'"

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "The Trump administration, invoking national security powers meant to protect the United States against threats from abroad, announced new rules on Thursday that give President Trump vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses the border illegally. Administration officials declined to say who will be affected by the new rules, but it is widely expected inside the government and by advocate groups that Mr. Trump intends to deny asylum to migrants from Central American nations, some of whom are marching toward the United States in a widely publicized caravan. The president ... is expected to announce on Friday which countries the rules will apply to."

** 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." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

Josh Marshall: "Presidents have not infrequently used so-called recess appointments to install cabinet secretaries who could not get Senate confirmation or couldn't even receive a vote -- though the courts have now greatly restricted that power.... But what happened yesterday is different from all those cases. This is perhaps the first time when a President has installed a cabinet secretary without senate confirmation for the specific purpose of committing a corrupt act." ...

... ** Neal Katyal & George (Mr. Kellyanne) Conway in a New York Times op-ed: "A principal officer [i.e., one who reports only to the president & whose appointment is subject to the Constitution's appointments clause] must be confirmed by the Senate. And that has a very significant consequence today. It means that Mr. Trump's installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It's illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.... Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone the process of Senate confirmation, there has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whether he has the character and ability to evenhandedly enforce the law in a position of such grave responsibility. The public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker's only supervisor is Mr. Trump himself, and the president is hopelessly compromised by the Mueller investigation." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: As the writers point out, Trump tweeted agreement with this principle when it suited him. In any event Katyal & Conway make such a compelling argument that it seems most likely that some entity will bring a legal challenge against Whitaker's appointment. MEANWHILE, as you learn more about Whitaker's "qualifications," some of which are outlined below, do remember that Donald Trump hires All the Best People. I know it's hard to pick a Lie of the Year with thousands to choose from, but All the Best People is right up there. ...

... Sharon Kelly of DeSmog Blog: "Whitaker ... served for three years as the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which describes itself as 'a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas.' FACT has come under fire for its own lack of transparency, with the Center for Responsive Politics calling attention to FACT's funding, which in some years came entirely from Donors Trust, an organization also known as the 'Dark Money ATM of the Conservative Movement' and whose own donors include the notorious funders of climate denial, Charles and David Koch.... 'In other words, an organization "dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency" gets 100 percent of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency,' the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in 2016.... In 2016, Whitaker earned $402,000 as FACT's director and president, according to the organization's tax filings. That followed reported compensation from FACT for Whitaker of $63,000 in 2014, and $252,000 in 2015. His work included advocacy for causes backed by the fossil fuel industry." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: $400K/year is damned good compensation for a dimwit. Also, I think it's unfair to pick on a person for his appearance. But it isn't wrong to pick on a person for choosing a particular appearance, and Matt Whitaker has chosen to look like the baddest dude at a Nazis R Us convention. As it turns out, this may be an instance where appearance is not deceiving. ...

... Betsy Woodruff, et al., of the Daily Beast: "Over the past three years, [Matt Whitaker] used his position as the executive director of conservative government watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) as an opportunity to become a right-leaning political pundit, penning opinion pieces in USA Today and the Washington Examiner, and appearing regularly across conservative talk-radio shows and cable news. The majority of Whitaker's media appearances focused on the promotion of one argument: Liberals in government are working to undermine Americans in a variety of troubling and unproven ways. And no one is a bigger threat than Mueller. Before joining the DOJ, Whitaker was one of the biggest critics of Mueller's probe, dubbing it 'political' and criticizing its mere existence in numerous media appearances. During interviews with right-wing radio hosts over the last two years, Whitaker admonished Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for appointing Mu[e]ller last year, characterizing the probe as a drain on department resources, and suggesting the special counsel's allies were leaking information designed to make him 'look productive and on top of things.' He expressed sympathy for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty as part of Mueller's investigation, and in one interview last year, Whitaker said that 'the real Russian ties were with Hillary Clinton.'" ...

    ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Finally, Trump has an AG who will investigate Hillary's collusion with Russia. ...

... Andrew Kaczynski of CNN: "The new acting attorney general who is expected to have oversight over special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has expressed deep skepticism of the probe, including calling Mueller's appointment 'ridiculous' and 'a little fishy.'" ...

... Cameron Joseph of TPM: "Matt Whitaker ... has been friends with former Trump adviser Sam Clovis since they both ran for the Senate in 2014.... [Whitaker] later became Trump's 2016 campaign co-chairman and briefly served as the White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.... Clovis told TPM that he and Whitaker had developed a solid friendship during that campaign and that he'd used Whitaker as a sounding board during his work on Trump's 2016 campaign.... [T]his is a rather curious case of worlds colliding. Clovis at one point was interviewed by Mueller's team.... Clovis left the Trump administration in May and returned to Iowa after having to withdraw as Trump's nominee to be the USDA's chief scientist, potentially because he was questioned by Mueller's team.... [Clovis] said he thought it would be best to let the Mueller investigation conclude without any meddling" --s ...

... Josh Marshall: "TPM Reader AF puts together the pieces[. S/he start by citing] this CNN story: '"It was [Sam] Clovis, no stranger to TV and radio himself, who encouraged [Matt] Whitaker to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get President Donald Trump's attention, according to friends who Whitaker told at the time. Whitaker was hired as a CNN legal commentator last year for several months, before leaving the role in September 2017 to head to the Justice Department as chief of staff to now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Through his CNN role, where he was deeply critical of the Mueller probe, Whitaker got to know Trump, who saw him on TV and later met in person." So it looks like he was hired (seemingly at Clovis' encouragement at least at some level) as a CNN Commentator right around the time [FBI Director James] Comey was dismissed (May 2017), and within a couple months of Sessions recusing himself (Mar 2017). He floated a way to stop Mueller by reducing the special counsel's budget in July 2017, wrote about the overreach of the Mueller investigation in August 2017, and was hired as chief of staff to Sessions in September of 2017[.]'" --s ...

... Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress: "In a 2014 interview, the man Donald Trump just picked to run the Department of Justice [Matthew Whitaker] appeared to claim that Social Security is unconstitutional and that basic labor laws like the minimum wage must be struck down. Yet he also seemed to argue that the Supreme Court should not decide constitutional cases at all.... At best, this [interview] suggests that the man running the Justice Department does not understand some very basic legal concepts. At worst, it indicates that he has a disorganized mind that is unable to keep track of what he said just a few seconds ago.... Either Whitaker is a man of no conviction beyond 'the right should always win,' or he lacks the knowledge and intellectual capacity to do his job." --s ...

... ** Whitaker Questions Court Rulings All the Way Back to 1803. Charlie Savage of the New York Times: "The acting attorney general, Matthew G. Whitaker, once espoused the view that the courts 'are supposed to be the inferior branch' and criticized the Supreme Court's power to review legislative and executive acts and declare them unconstitutional, the lifeblood of its existence as a coequal branch of government. In a candidate Q. and A. when he sought the Republican nomination for senator in Iowa in 2014, Mr. Whitaker indicated that he shared the view among some conservatives that the federal judiciary has too much power over public policy issues. He criticized many of the Supreme Court's rulings, starting with a foundational one: Marbury v. Madison, which established its power of judicial review in 1803.... Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School constitutional law professor, said that Mr. Whitaker's expressed views of the Constitution and the role of the courts 'are extreme and the overall picture he presents would have virtually no scholarly support' and would be 'destabilizing' to society if he used the power of the attorney general to advance them." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: If there's any settled law, it's Marbury v. Madison. And if there any settled consensus about Whitaker, it's that he's dumb as a post. Echoing Millhiser, Tribe says Whitaker holds an "internally contradictory" and "ignorant" legal philosophy. ...

     ... Update. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post is refreshingly blunt: "The acting attorney general of the United States is a crackpot. Reasonable people can differ over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Maybe there's some space to debate the New Deal-era cases that cemented the authority of the regulatory state. But Marbury? This is lunacy. For any lawyer -- certainly for one now at the helm of the Justice Department -- to disagree with Marbury is like a physicist denouncing the laws of gravity.... If you thought the big worry about Whitaker was how he would handle special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that might be just the beginning." ...

... White House "Surprised" by Whitaker Criticism. Kaitlan Collins & Betsy Klein of CNN: "There is a growing sense of concern inside the White House over the negative reaction to Matthew Whitaker being tapped as acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions' abrupt firing. Whitaker ... has faced criticism since Wednesday afternoon's announcement for his previous comments on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Several senior officials told CNN they were surprised by the criticism, and believe it could potentially jeopardize Whitaker's chances of remaining in the post if it continues to dominate headlines.... Whitaker's standing ultimately depends on the President. But continued negative coverage will get Trump's attention." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This is hilarious. Staff had no idea a guy with Whitaker's radical, partisan views & cheesy background would be met by a "negative reaction"? Are they all as stupid as Trump?

... 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...." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... 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." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News on arguments in the suit which Andrew Miller, a former associate of Roger Stone, has brought to try to quash a subpoena that Robert Mueller's team issued him. Mrs.McC: From what you learned in reading Katyal & Conway's argument above, you'll easily understand Mueller's argument in the Miller suit.

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." (Also linked yesterday.)

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that President Trump cannot immediately end the program that shields from deportation young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will settle the question. The Trump administration has asked the justices to add it to the docket for this term. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was begun in 2012 by President Barack Obama and has protected nearly 700,000 people brought to this country as children.... in 2017..., then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions advised the Department of Homeland Security to end the program, saying it was probably unlawful and that it could not be defended in court. But a number of courts around the country have ruled that the administration's reasoning was incorrect and kept the program in place. Like the other courts, the panel did not question the administration's power but faulted its approach."

jeff sessions is the only confederate monument trump was willing to take down. -- Clint SmithJeff Sessions' Parting Shot at Civil Rights. Katie Benner of the New York Times: "Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has drastically limited the ability of federal law enforcement officials to use court-enforced agreements to overhaul local police departments accused of abuses and civil rights violations, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. In a major last-minute act, Mr. Sessions signed a memorandum on Wednesday before President Trump fired him sharply curtailing the use of so-called consent decrees, court-approved deals between the Justice Department and local governments that create a road map of changes for law enforcement and other institutions. The move means that the decrees, used aggressively by Obama-era Justice Department officials to fight police abuses, will be more difficult to enact."

Fred Barbash & Allyson Chiu of the Washington Post: "A federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project designed to connect Canada's tar sands crude oil with refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The judge, Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana, said President Trump's State Department ignored crucial issues of climate change in order to further the president's goal of letting the pipeline be built. In doing so, the administration ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires 'reasoned' explanations for government decisions, particularly when they represent reversals of well-studied actions. It was a major defeat for Trump, who attacked the Obama administration for stopping the project in the face of protests and an environmental impact study. Trump signed an executive order two days into his presidency setting in motion a course reversal on the Keystone XL pipeline as well as the Dakota Access pipeline."

Laurie McGinley of the Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration, alarmed by a huge increase in vaping among minors, is expected to impose severe restrictions on the sale of most e-cigarettes products throughout the United States -- actions that will likely have a significant impact on an industry that has grown exponentially in recent years with little government oversight. As soon as next week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes -- the majority of vaping products sold -- in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to senior agency officials.... The agency will also impose such rules as age-verification requirements for online sales."

Election 2018

Paul Krugman: "... economic and demographic trends have interacted with political change to make the Senate deeply unrepresentative of American reality.... We are increasingly a nation of urbanites and suburbanites. Almost 60 percent of us live in metropolitan areas with more than a million people, more than 70 percent in areas with more than 500,000 residents. Conservative politicians may extol the virtues of a 'real America' of rural areas and small towns, but the real real America in which we live, while it contains small towns, is mostly metropolitan.... The Senate, which gives each state the same number of seats regardless of population -- which gives fewer than 600,000 people in Wyoming the same representation as almost 40 million in California -- drastically overweights those rural areas and underweights the places where most Americans live.... So what happened Tuesday ... wasn't just an accident of this year's map or specific campaign issues. It reflected a deep division in culture, indeed values, between the American citizenry at large and the people who get to choose much of the Senate." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Also see Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms," under Infotainment. Except no one is wearing either a cowboy hat or a MAGA cap, they represent "Senate America."

Alabama & West Virginia. Alice Ollstein & Rachel Roubein of Politico: "Two states approved ballot initiatives to limit or ban access to abortion, part of a wave of actions that could accelerate a Roe v. Wade challenge before the Supreme Court's new conservative majority. On Tuesday, Alabama became the first state in the nation to enact what opponents call a 'personhood clause' in its constitution, recognizing 'the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.' That makes it possible for the state to ban abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure includes no exemptions for abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.... West Virginians approved a measure stripping from the state constitution any abortion rights protections." --s

Arizona. CBS/AP: "Democrat Kyrsten Sinema pulled ahead of Republican Martha McSally on Thursday in the Arizona Senate race by a margin of 2,000 votes. This marked the first time that Sinema has pulled ahead of McSally in the days since the election. An additional 120,000 outstanding ballots were made available from Maricopa County Thursday. The county encompasses Phoenix and some of the state's liberal enclaves. There are an 345,000 ballots that needed to be counted per a knowledgeable source with the Arizona Secretary of State's office. Republicans filed a lawsuit Wednesday night to challenge the way some Arizona counties count mail-in ballots, as election officials began to slowly tally more than 600,000 outstanding votes in the narrow U.S. Senate race. The task that could take days."

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." (Also linked yesterday.)

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." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Patricia Mazzei of the New York Times: "Looming recounts in top Florida election contests, including the bitterly fought races for Senate and governor, erupted late Thursday into a fiery feud as Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican nominee for Senate who claimed victory on Tuesday, sued local elections officials in two of the state's largest counties and accused them of 'rampant fraud.' Standing on the steps of the Governor's Mansion, Mr. Scott announced on Thursday night that his Senate campaign had sued the Democratic elections supervisors of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. He then asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which he helps oversee as governor, to investigate them."

Georgia. Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "Brian Kemp, the Republican who has claimed victory in the Georgia governor's race, said on Thursday that he was resigning as secretary of state, removing himself from the process of determining whether he had in fact been elected. With some ballots still to be counted, his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, is just shy of enough votes to force a runoff. Ms. Abrams has not conceded, and The Associated Press and other major news organizations say the race is still too close to call. Mr. Kemp attracted mounting criticism during the campaign for his management of an election in which he was also a candidate.... Mr. Kemp made no mention of the elections process on Thursday in his resignation letter to the outgoing Republican governor, Nathan Deal, saying he was resigning because he wished 'to focus on the transition to my gubernatorial administration.'" ...

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

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. (Also linked yesterday.)

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." (Also linked yesterday.)

North Dakota. Danielle Mclean of ThinkProgress: "In a unified effort to rebuke North Dakota's restrictive voter ID laws and defend their right to vote, the state's Native American population showed up to the polls in record numbers on Tuesday.... According to the North Dakota Secretary of State's website, 1,464 ballots were cast in Sioux County, where Standing Rock is located. That's out of just 2,752 eligible voters. That beat the previous record of 1,257 ballots cast in 2016, according to the Bismarck Tribune. And almost 84 percent of Sioux County ballots were cast for Heitkamp.... Ultimately, and in spite of restrictive laws that complicated the voting process for them, North Dakota's Native Americans by and large made a point with high turnout. And community leaders are hoping turnout only goes up in future elections." --s

Juan Cole: "More progressive Democrats in the House must be prepared to fight like hell against the Pelosi-Schumer establishment, which will try to make them quiescent and go along with corporate priorities. What 2016 showed is that that platform is a formula for humiliating defeat and irrelevance. Democrats have to stand for something or people won't bother to vote for them. Here is the proposed Cole Progressive Platform for the next two years [in 11 points.]" --s

Grumpy Old Men Face Their Future. Dan Spineli of Mother Jones: "When the next speaker takes the gavel in January -- whether it is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as is widely assumed, or someone else -- they will preside over the most diverse and progressive Democratic caucus in history.... Sitting across the aisle from this energized group of freshman lawmakers will be the most partisan, unabashedly radical group of Republicans ever assembled in the House. With no interest in challenging Trump, this newly-elected crop of Republicans is expected to include more members of the far-right Freedom Caucus than took office in 2016." --s

Juan Cole: "With some 100 congressional victories, women staged a pink wave in the face of Trump's tone of misogyny and feckless patriarchy. But what is interesting is that the pink wave isn't exclusively white, exemplifying difference feminism more than the old Second Wave. For the first time in history, two Native American women will enter the House of Representatives, after 241 years. One of them is gay. And the youngest woman ever elected to the House is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Perhaps the most remarkable stories are the two Muslim women elected to the House, one from Minneapolis (Ilhan Omar of Somalia) and the other from Detroit (Rashida Tlaib of Detroit but ultimately Palestine).... They aren't only women, and Muslims, but also refugees. They are Donald J. Trump's worst nightmare and the antithesis of what he thinks America is or should be, if you listen to his rhetoric." --s

** All Hands on Deck. Joshua Green of Bloomberg: "The Nov. 6 elections ended two years of ... what will likely be -- despite its exhausting, near-constant chaos -- the smoothest period of Donald Trump's presidency. Really. Things will get even rockier from here.... One reason Trump supporters such as [Steve] Bannon fear Democratic oversight is that Republicans have spent years broadening and weaponizing the already formidable powers of the House majority party.... In addition, Democrats will have weapons they previously lacked. Taking a page from Judicial Watch and other conservative litigation shops, which bedeviled the Obama administration, progressives have created their own groups, including American Oversight, that will use lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests to pry documents from the Trump administration to aid Democratic investigators.... [A]s House Democrats showed a decade ago, oversight power can point a path forward and lay the groundwork for legislative gains." --s

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. (Also linked yesterday.)

Melanie Schmitz of ThinkProgress: "A shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California Wednesday night is being called the worst mass shooting the country has seen -- in the past 12 days.... The shooting in Thousand Oaks is the worst mass shooting since October 27 ... when a gunman stormed into the conservative Jewish Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing 11 people.... The two shootings mark the 297th and 298th mass shootings in the United States since the start of 2018, according to the Gun Violence Archive." --s

Beyond the Beltway

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." (Also linked yesterday.)

Way Beyond

Complicit. Bethan McKernan & Patrick Wintour of the Guardian: "Aid agencies and medical staff on the ground in Hodeidah[, Yemen,] have begged the international community to intervene to stop the violence in the besieged Yemeni city, as coalition and Houthi rebel forces struggle to gain the upper hand ahead of a planned ceasefire at the end of the month. 'The violence is unbearable, I cannot tell you. We're surrounded by strikes from the air, sea and land,' said Wafa Abdullah Saleh, a nurse at the barely functioning al-Olafi hospital in the Houthi-controlled city centre.... 'Even if we try our hardest we cannot treat patients because we lack the necessities for basic operations.'" --s

News Lede

New York Times: "Firefighters in opposite ends of California fought back fast-moving blazes on Friday as wildfires raged out of control near major cities, forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes and damaged hundreds of buildings. Dozens of homes were destroyed in Thousand Oaks -- the city grieving from the deadly nightclub shooting earlier this week -- and the authorities ordered the evacuation of parts of Malibu, the affluent community west of Los Angeles that is home to many Hollywood celebrities, as the fire raced through the hills and canyons above the Pacific Ocean. No part of the fire was under control, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The fire also shut down the 101 freeway, a major transportation artery connecting Los Angeles with points north."

Reader Comments (28)

Just in: A shooting in N.C. school this morning––no details as yet:

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD Pepe: Fortunately, it was a water heater acting up, (a white one.)

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

At the end of the Balloon Juice story above, an OG Jerry is credited but since there were no comments for today I went back to yesterday's and found Jerry who gave us an interesting take on his dealings with Republican leaning co-workers. I join Akhilleus in praising him for the way he handled "the big guy" and wish that it would work out that way for the many. But looking at the larger picture the great division in this country has a dark history and I fear that although it may be mitigated it will continue until something like a great catastrophe brings us all together––-Reagan suggested invasion from another planet–-"little green men." When you're pissed about life in general you find a scapegoat.

Michelle Obama has written a book that has come out today–-I forget the name–-but understand that she holds Trump culpable for the pain and strain she and family went through because of the "birther business." The threats that she and her girls received because of this caused great consternation and her fear that someone would shoot her husband was an ongoing fear. She says she will never forgive Trump for this and this coming from someone whose belief system fosters forgiveness.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Oh, thank you Forrest––-all I can say is praise Jesus! ––and to think it was a white water heater that went on the fritz–-just too much hot water, I guess, which is like too much hot air?

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

A more sunny view of things than circumstances may call for, but reading Egan this AM did make me feel good.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

So I just read Egan, Ken. I thank you for that bit of sunshine. Yes, there are up-sides as we saw in this election and I do feel optimistic but we have so many hurdles to climb over and given the role money plays in this theater of the absurd it's going to be a tough slog. and it's this kind of mindset that stifles that momentum:

"“I can’t really say that anything he says is true,” a Wyoming Trump supporter told us a few days ago, “but I trust him.” That mind-set explains why President Trump revved up the mendacity machine to 30 lies a day in the seven weeks leading up to the midterm elections."

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Today is the 29th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin wall
after 28 years of dividing East and West. It's now just a tourist
Will tourists come to visit trumps wall a hundred years from now
and marvel at the beautiful barbed wire?
Hopefully there will be a plaque dedicating it to the worst president*
who ever lived.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

It may be Springtime for, I mean Trump, but it ain't no sunny summer day for Democrats. Not yet anyway.

With plans underway to investigate the spray tan out of the Orange Monster (good), a battle for the Speaker's gavel is imminent (good? bad? maybe both).

I'm curious to see what youse guys think about this.

To Pelosi or not to Pelosi? That is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the minds of Democrats
To suffer the slings and arrows sure to come from Foxbots
(with Pelosi)
Or to take arms against the old guard and by opposing, boot them (perhaps to die).

Here's the problem as I see it. It's very possible that we have two years to do something. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, election rigging, and the many and various modes of anti-democratic ratfucking beloved by Confederates will all still be active in 2020. And the Orange Monster will be up for re-election meaning every dirty trick in the book as well as a few Russian books will be in play. We don't have anything like an insuperable majority in the House and depending on the vagaries of fate (and the ignorance, malevolence, and election fraudulence of Fatty), and the fickleness of the media, we could be looking at a very small window of opportunity here.

That being said, do we go with one of the Young Turks? Normally I'd be all for new blood, especially given the listlessness of Democrats over the last 15 years or so. But Pelosi has been uncommonly skillful in working the troops and keeping people in line during a very difficult time in Congress for Democrats (can't say the same about Schumer however). She knows how things work, where the levers of power are and where the bodies are buried. It's not gonna take her six months to a year to get up speed as it would with any newer, younger power center.

Maybe put some of these new people on important committees right away so they can learn the ropes. It's a certainty that we will need new blood to keep the process moving beyond 2020, but right now do we have the luxury of bringing in a new team? Especially when a whole new crop of bloodthirsty Nazis will be moving in on the other side.

I dunno.

I could be persuaded that Pelosi is not right for the job if I thought it wouldn't take a year or more for the new guys to figure it out. Whoever they are, they're also going to have to take on the most unlawful, cheating, conniving, lying 'president' in history as well as his goosestepping brownshirts in Congress. Pelosi is not one to be fooled by bullshit maneuvers. Maybe she can play a role as wartime consigliere to whomever Democrats do decide to hand the reins of power.

Whatever they decide, the fate of not just the Party, but the country, is riding on how Democrats handle themselves over the next 24 months.

What you guys think?

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I think I just discovered another good reason not to have a Facebook account. For some reason, Facebook sent me an e-mailed notification of messages that had been sent to me.

Well, there were seven from an old, old friend. The messages dated from 2014-2017, and in them the friend accused me of stealing her yearbook. The messages got nastier & nastier. The last time I saw the friend would have been in the mid-2000s, say 2006, so I can't imagine how in 2014 she could have got the idea I stole or "borrowed" her yearbook, but needless to say, I did not. (The messages made me so crazy I went & checked my yearbook to make sure it was mine. It was.) Still, it's very upsetting to see these old messages & learn that my friend has been seething at me for doing something I definitely did not do.

It is clear from the messages that my friend knew who I was when she wrote them & didn't have me mixed up with someone else. And the quality of the messages suggests she hasn't lost her marbles (just her yearbook!)

If I had gotten that first message as an e-mail instead of as a FB message (wherever they may be in my mysterious FB account), I would have nipped this thing in the bud in 2014. I feel sorry for my friend -- and for myself.

November 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

It's just hysterical that two of the most vote suppressing bastards in the country, Rick Scott and Brian (Lock up the Voting Machines!) Kemp, are now crying foul and screaming about fraud at the polls.

Charlie Crist, the governor preceding crook and financial fraudster Rick Scott, approved restoration of voting rights for over 150,000 felons after they served their time. Scott, in almost eight years has authorized voting rights restored to 3,000. Had Florida continued on with the rate of restoration seen during the Crist years, that would mean over 300,000 new voters, meaning that, very likely, neither Scott nor De Santis would have won.

The answer? Voter suppression, natch.

Same answer in Georgia. I'm running for governor. Against a black woman? Solution? Make it as difficult as possible for black people to vote, or any Democrat, for that matter. And even better? I get to decide who votes! Perfect.

But now those same masters of electoral ratfucking are screaming about...electoral ratfucking.

Pardon while I get a new hanky. My previous three are hanging on the line to dry.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

PD and All,

Yeah, that money thing, does matter, especially when it's attached as it too often is to the darker elements of our humanity.

A local instance, from here in still mostly rural Skagit County WA.

I've reported of the home rule, freeholder election, more for amusement's sake than any other, but there is a serious element to what occurred. Since the home rule campaign was an attempt to pry open the relatively closed, un-democratic three commissioner system, it was unsurprisingly met with immediate opposition by the local Republican Party. But while all politics may be local, the money in politics certainly is not.

Among others, local issues include a long-standing struggle over water and fishing rights. The Indians who live at the mouth of the Skagit have used their casino money and settled treaty rights to restrict water access, unfairly in the minds of the farmers and developers upstream.

Additionally, as I have mentioned in other posts, our Hispanic population has grown considerably. A large portion of our added population in the last thirty years has dark skin.

These two factors added a distinct racial element to the charter effort. In addition to their anti-democratic tendencies, their reluctance to embrace change, Republicans these days don't hesitate to act on and even display racial animus.

That's why the Skagit charter measure drew relatively big money from outside sources. The anti's had nearly sixty thousand dollars to spend on newspaper inserts and tv ads. The pro group had about a quarter of that. Much of the anti money came from one man, William Doddridge, TrumpPac co-founder, who lives part time in Anacortes, WA. Owner? of something called The Jewelry Exchange (I've seen ads for it), with a personal fortune of a quarter billion, he contributed 37,000 dollars to local races himself and apparently shepherded more outside money into the county's contests.

In the race between a D state representative candidate and her opponent, much of that money went to the R, in whose campaign race was never far below the surface. Fortunately, the R lost.

In short, not that we needed another lesson on the subject, but even here in small town American there's a ton of money from all over rushing to support the party of rancor and resentment.

Is it the people or the money? Or a link between the two? Something to think further about.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

One more thing about crook and liar Rick Scott (who looks more and more like the National Enquirer bat boy every day).

Had he not been so rich and well connected, he could have done hard time for the fraud he perpetrated on the Medicare system, stealing money that was earmarked to help Americans with their healthcare.

As it was, Columbia/HCA, the "healthcare" company run by Scott was hit with what at the time was the largest government fraud settlement in history, $1.7 billion.

Had he been a run of the mill grifter, con-man, and crook and not a big shot in a $1,000 suit, he would have been spending the last 10 years or so in a different kind of suit, the jump kind, and he'd be the one going up before a board of assholes begging to have his voting rights restored, having to answer questions about his sex life and how often he goes to church (Christian, of course).

But now he's screaming fraud and demanding to be given something else he doesn't deserve.

Another Confederate asshole.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Marie: Sorry to hear about that F.B. snit––am glad I left it long ago.

AK: In our family we have a saying that many times has proven to be the right solution: "Go with what you know." Here's what Norm Orstein has to say about this matter. I agree with him that this is not the time to change horses in the race–-go with the leader that has proven her mettle.

"The desire for generational change and new blood is understandable. But image and public presentation are only a small part of the qualities needed in a speaker. The ability to shape and carry out an agenda; to give committees and subcommittees freedom while maintaining coherence; to understand the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the members, knowing when to push and when to back off; to have tactical and strategic skills, especially when showdowns like potential shutdowns are looming; to negotiate effectively with a president and leadership counterparts in both House and Senate—all these are deeply important qualities in a speaker. Simply being young and fresh, or being able to speak to white working-class voters, or fitting demographic checklists, or being good on television—laudable political traits all—are not attributes that alone meet the standards set by Nancy Pelosi."

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


Another reason for the Trump-Ryan-McConnell enormous tax cut for their billionaire buddies. More filthy lucre in the coffers means more available to hand back to R's for more scurrilous shenanigans. So look for even more tax breaks for the wealthy.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


Yeah, that's my thinking as well. Ornstein is correct. I forgot about the looming shutdown. We really can't have newbies trying to figure out who all the players are and who is likely to do what to whom. Pelosi doesn't need scorecard to tell who's who. And when faced with some new Trump bravado, she has the steel and the know-how to puncture his fat ass.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

My read on why there's been such venom directed at Nancy Pelosi and Angela Merkel is that they're old women. Ambitious young men absolutely hate old women in power and want them dead, not just out of power. So the muttering machine starts, then the slurs, then the action. Both politicians are masters of their craft, but who cares? The young men want their time and they want it now!!!

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Can't wait for Fatty to attack Michelle Obama for her memoir.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

In some ways I see the the next two years as a battle between the House and the Senate, not just against the Orange Turd. Pelosi may be the best anti-McTurtle.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

Could we not advocate a compromise in the Pelosi contiuum? That she take under her wing a prototype or two? At least someone she might mentor to take her place when/if the dust settles?

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNJC

@Akhilleus: Since you asked. I'd like to see Nancy Pelosi be speaker for long enough for the jerks at Time magazine to put her on the cover -- something they've never done even tho she was the first female speaker &, in the view of many, the best speaker in modern times.

Then, after a month or two, I'd like to see her turn over the gavel to Beto O'Rourke. Oh, you say, but he won't be a member of the House. Doesn't matter. There's no Constitutional requirement that the speaker be a member of Congress, and Beto has been (still is) in Congress, so he kinda knows how the place works. Then we can see how he handles a lot of responsibility. And how he deals with Mitch & the Trumpster.

Obviously, this is not going to happen, but road-testing a presidential candidate with the speakership is not a bad idea.

November 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Who did he know, when did he know him, and, um, well, um, he didn't really know him after all, but he's a good guy...hold on a sec...I'll get back to you on that...

So Fatty appoints a loser, con-man jamoke who thinks the Supreme Court should rank somewhere alongside the DC night court, a guy who has been running an obscure, dark money operation that purports to practice transparency for the sole purpose of ratfucking enemies of right-wing billionaires, as the highest law enforcement official in the country. Then it comes out the this guy is a loser con-man jamoke who thinks the Supreme Court should rank somewhere alongside the DC night court, and has been running an obscure, dark money operation that purports to practice transparency for the sole purpose of ratfucking enemies of right-wing billionaires.

Suddenly, Fatty doesn't even know the guy. Never heard of him, never met him. Who? What's his name again?

"...only two days after selecting him to be in charge of the Justice Department, Trump is saying he doesn’t know Matt Whitaker:

'Matt Whitaker, I don’t know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions... And he was always extremely highly thought of, and he still is. But I didn’t know Matt Whitaker. He worked for Attorney General Sessions.'"

Some guy who worked for that asshole Jeffbo.

Except that...

Here's Lying Fatty less than a month ago on GOP TV:

"'I can tell you Matt Whitaker's a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.'
Interview: Donald Trump Calls in to Fox and Friends - October 11 via @YouTube"

Matty he hardly knew ye.

So, question. Why would he appoint a guy he never met and claims--now--that he doesn't really know? For attorney fucking general??

He must think people are as stupid as Uday, Qusay, and Young Jared.

Well, now that I think of it, he did get some people to vote for him.

Just more of the same bullshit. What a shitstorm of a circus. No one knows anything, they never bothered to do a background check on this jerk (you could do it easily in a few minutes), and now they're all surprised that Trump is appointing a complete idiot with a con-man pedigree.

To run the Justice Department.

Well, that's not quite accurate. He's appointed this loser to kill the Mueller investigation.

Here's the deal. Trump knows Whitaker. He talked to him to make sure he wasn't going to pull a Sessions on him, ie, recuse himself (which he has to now) before he can pull Fatty's bacon out of the fire. But now it comes out that he's appointed a complete moron and suddenly he doesn't know the guy.

Just another day in paradise. With the idiots.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Whitaker is a proven fraudster, so in this person the Pretender doesn't even know what's not for the Fraudster-in-Chief to like?

And, Bea, thanks for the "IS!"

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I don't think that Sessions is getting enough credit for helping Whitaker get his job. Who the hell would hire this dumbass for their chief of staff of the Justice Department in the first place? Apparently no one in the Trump administration does background checks or maybe they do. I'm not sure which is scarier.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRAS

@RAS: You beat me to it. I'm sure Whitaker had to get a security clearance check to become chief-of-staff to Sessions. So much of what we're finding out now via a so-far free press would have been known to Sessions: the fraudster business, the phony, dark-money-funded pundit scam -- and most likely some dodgy stuff the press hasn't found. And Sessions hired him anyway.

November 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Oh, to be that black reporter lady when the president* tells her "you
ask a lot of stupid questions."
My reply would have been that I ask questions the public is
interested in having answered. It's you, mr. president* who gives
the stupid answers.
Of course, I'd probably be in jail, or shot.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

@forrest morris: Maybe Sarah Sanders would snap your neck with the the lanyard that held your press pass. For you, an unpleasant way to go, but for her, film she could doctor to prove you assaulted her.

November 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Concerning the Pelosi debate, I say give her the gavel back for now, but with a caveat that she needs to train a few new stars in special weekly sessions to get a new generation up to speed. McConnell is going to ratfuck like a rockstar in his last gasp at power, and Pelosi is obviously the best foil to McConnell fuckery. Beyond that, I'm sure (or hoping) that with her thick skin, she's going to provoke Trump into wild misogynistic attacks at her, peeling off even more women from his white power electoral base. I hope she has fun leading his by the nose around Washingron, hogging up teevee time of Donny Diapers, and sending his coded message to sell his inferiority complex while on the boob tube staring him down with that dainty smile of her.

Make his life hell Nancy.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Not to worry. I learned at an early age
how to fight back. Got beat up a lot for having a Texas accent,
like at 10 years old in the back woods of Michigan. Northern
Michigan is a lot like Alabama or Mississippi, or was, could have
changed but that's still where the Michigan militia comes from.
Men and their guns.

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.