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September 9: The New York Times reports that Equifax is doing nothing to protect you if hackers to its system gained access to your personal information. In fact, Equifax has a plan to make money on your misfortune. Reporter Ron Lieber has some suggestions about what you can do to protect yourself from Equifax & its hackers. Equifax is providing no good way to find out if you've been affected; it is apparently just trying to hook as many suckers as it can into getting a "free" account, but you can bet it won't stay free. Read the story if you'd like to feel helpless & enraged.

On Request:

David Remnick of the New Yorker remembers its publisher S.I. NewHouse, Jr.

Janet Malcolm of the New Yorker profiles Rachel Maddow. Mrs. McC: Maddow was right the first time about the canisters.

The New Yorker has links to Lillian Ross's stories here. The New Yorker is subscription-only but allows non-subscribers to read six stories a month, so if you're not a subscriber, you may want to open the page in a private window.

Mrs. McCrabbie: When the Emmy folks are looking to give out prizes next year, they should think Jimmy Kimmel.

Some highlights of the Emmys:

... To watch the whole monologue, go to YouTube & type something like "stephen colbert monologue emmys". There are quite a few pirated copies up right now, but CBS will certainly take them down, so none will be posted here. The Washington Post has some of the transcript here.

Former star of "The Apprentice" finally gets his Emmy:

Kim Weeks in the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton revealed this week she turned to an esoteric breathing technique popular among yogis to heal from her devastating election loss.... By bringing this kind of breath work into the mainstream, Clinton has introduced the world to a practice that has both proven mental and physical health benefits.... In nadi shodhana, the process of literally alternating breathing between the right and left nostril also helps balance the right and left brain, the right and left lungs, and the right and left sides of the body. Alternate nostril breathing has been shown to slow down a rapid heart rate and to lower blood pressure." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Okay, I tried it. I can do the left nostril but not the right. That stressed me out.

Hill: "Melissa McCarthy brought home an Emmy this weekend for her memorable impression of former press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live. The actress won an Emmy for best comedy actress on a comedy series at the Emmy’s creative arts awards Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The awards are a precursor to the main show next weekend." Spicer panned McCarthy's impression.

New York Times: "Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, plans to step down from the magazine in December after a 25-year tenure, leaving the role that established him as a ringmaster of the Hollywood, Washington and Manhattan power elite. Mr. Carter’s influence stretched from the magazine and entertainment worlds into finance, literature and politics, where President Trump, a target of Mr. Carter’s poison pen for decades, still bristles at the mention of his name. One of the few remaining celebrity editors in an industry whose fortunes have faded, Mr. Carter — famous for double-breasted suits, white flowing hair and a seven-figure salary — is a party host, literary patron, film producer and restaurateur whose cheeky-yet-rigorous brand of reporting influenced a generation of journalists.... Spy[a magazine Carter co-founded,] took special glee in attacking Mr. Trump, whom the magazine memorably deemed a 'short-fingered vulgarian.' (The insult stuck: just last week, Mr. Trump referred to his 'too big' hands during a visit to Houston.)"

New York Times: "Tronc, the publisher of The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, announced on Monday that it had acquired The Daily News, the nearly 100-year-old tabloid that for decades set the city’s agenda with its gossip, sports and city coverage. The deal represents the end of an era for The News, which was long a voice for New York’s working class. It may also signal the end of the political influence of its owner, the real estate magnate Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who often used the paper’s bold, front-page headline — known as 'the wood' — for commentary about candidates and politicians, locally and nationally."

Guardian (Sept. 4): "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced. The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum."

Tuesday
Oct102017

The Commentariat -- October 11, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Cliff Clavin Is Still Running the Country:

Why Tillerson Called Trump a Moron. Courtney Kube, et al., of NBC News: "... Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s.... The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide U.S. forces and operations. It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a 'moron.'” ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: This decline [in the nuclear arsenal] was the product of deliberate policy, and mandated by disarmament treaties.... And, anyhow, America already has enough atomic firepower to end most — if not all — human life. From the perspective of a status quo nuclear superpower, the value of an international norm against proliferation would seem obvious. But not from the perspective of our commander-in-chief. As Trump examined the chart’s downward slope, none of these considerations flickered in his mind.... NBC News’ dispatch suggests that Trump’s advisers talked him down from this illegal and exorbitantly expensive request.... Earlier in his term, Trump reportedly asked his military advisers three times, in an hour-long meeting, why the U.S. doesn’t make greater use of its nuclear weapons.... On Tuesday night, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reported that a 'very prominent Republican' had told him that he and his colleagues ... that if Trump ever 'lunged' for the nuclear football, chief-of-staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might 'tackle' him." (Sherman's post is linked below.) ...

Another day, another casual threat from the president of the United States to abuse the powers of his office in order to stymie reporting that he doesn’t like. -- Matt Yglesias ... 

... Threats of a Moron. Peter Baker & Cecilia Kang of the New York Times: "President Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.... Mr. Trump objected to the report in two messages on Twitter later Wednesday and threatened to use the authority of the federal government to retaliate.... 'Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a "tenfold" increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!... With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!' The comments immediately drew criticism that the president was using his office to undermine First Amendment guarantees of free speech and free press. And, in fact, the networks themselves — and their news departments — do not hold federal licenses, though individual affiliates do. 'Broadcast licenses are a public trust,' said Tom Wheeler, who until January was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by President Barack Obama. 'They’re not a political toy, which is what he’s trying to do here.' In suggesting that a broadcast network’s license be targeted because of its coverage, Mr. Trump once again evoked the Watergate era....” ...

... Inae Oh of Mother Jones: "Trump’s threat to use the federal government to shut down critical media follows his recent suggestion of creating 'equal time' for conservatives to level the playing the field against late-night TV hosts who mock him. It’s unclear how Trump’s suggestion would work, as only television stations are subject to FCC licensing, not the networks." ...

... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: Trump's Twitter habits "expose just how predisposed is the president toward gutting the First Amendment, and just how little he understands how it works." Wemple goes on to explain what-all Trump would have to do to "challenge their license." It's an impossible task, & even if he & his minions by some magic made it happen, MSNBC -- which of course is not a broadcast channel so the FCC doesn't regulate it. And NBCNews.com could become the most popular site on the Internet, with many a spinoff. ...

... Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair: "... now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview — in which the Republican senator described the White House as 'adult day care' and warned Trump could start World War III ... brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is 'unstable,' 'losing a step,' and 'unraveling.'... According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, 'I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!' (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision.... Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment — the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, 'What’s that?'”


Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Lloyd Grove
of the Daily Beast: NBC News spiked Ronan Farrow's story detailing multiple charges by women that Harvey Weinstein had sexually abused them. A few said he raped them. The New Yorker published the story Tuesday. Now, Farrow & some media critics on the one side & NBC News on the other are engaged in a they-said/they-said dispute about why NBC News wouldn't publish Farrow's report. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I'm not buying big media outlets' claims – NYT one day, NBC News the next – that they spiked stories on Weinstein because the stories weren't fully-reported. When a reporter hands an editor a potential blockbuster that needs work, the editor gets the work done, either by the reporter who developed the story or by a more experienced reporter. It happens every day twice a day at big news outlets.

*****

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Trump escalated his attack on Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday by ridiculing him for his height, even as advisers worried that the president was further fracturing his relationship with congressional Republicans just a week before a vote critical to his tax cutting plan. Mr. Trump gave Mr. Corker, a two-term Republican from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a derogatory new nickname — 'Liddle Bob' — after the two exchanged barbs in recent days. He suggested Mr. Corker was somehow tricked when he told a reporter from The New York Times that the president was reckless and could stumble into a nuclear war.... 'The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!'... A Times reporter interviewed Mr. Corker by telephone and recorded the call with the senator’s knowledge and consent. Mr. Corker’s staff also recorded the call, and he said he wanted The Times to do the same." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Obviously, Trumpelthinskin has no idea that a making stupid, grade-school attack show that he is a lot liddler than Corker. The only ways Trump is bigger than Corker all have to do with his ass, both physically & metaphorically. What an embarrassing twit. ...

... Washington Post Editors: "One avenue [of disposing with Trump] open to Congress would be to remove the president from office. If indeed Mr. Trump is so reckless that he could set the nation 'on the path to World War III,' as [Sen. Bob] Corker said Sunday in an interview with the New York Times, this possibility can’t be dismissed.... But Congress is not ready to consider such an option — nor, in our view, should it be.... First, Congress should seize the initiative on issues where it knows Mr. Trump is wrong.... Second, congressional leaders can offer a contrast to what Mr. Corker described as the 'adult day care center' at the White House simply by presiding over their branch with institutional dignity and respect for tradition. This would include letting Democrats have a say in the debate, in implicit contrast to the president’s contempt for those who disagree with him."

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "President Trump proposed an 'IQ tests' faceoff with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the nation's top diplomat reportedly called the president a 'moron' and disparaged his grasp of foreign policy. In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump fired a shot at Tillerson over the 'moron' revelation, first reported by NBC News and confirmed by several other news organizations, including The Washington Post. 'I think it's fake news,' Trump said, 'but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.'” See also yesterday's commentary. ... 

... Mrs. McCrabbie: Tillerson should accept the challenge: back in the old days, there actually was a category called "moron," & I'd expect Trump to qualify. Not sure about Tillerson. AND there's this: if Trump is so innately smart, why does he act so stupid? I'm way more impressed with someone who isn't the certified genius Trump claims to be, but who applies the intellectual gifts s/he has & employs them usefully. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

David Ignatius of the Washington Post: "Skeptics say that on major issues — Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Russia — the Trump administration hasn’t explained clear, systematic plans for achieving results. Even where there seems to be a coherent diplomatic strategy, as on North Korea, the president often undercuts it with Twitter storms or personal tirades.Because so many key political positions haven’t been filled at the State Department, the interagency process that’s supposed to decide and implement policy is something of an 'empty suit,' veteran officials say. European diplomats say they have been frustrated by the difficulty in finding Trump officials with whom they can frame policies on shared concerns, such as Iranian misbehavior. Trump seems weirdly pleased at the many vacant policy positions — evidently not understanding that the vacancies prevent effective action." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: That's because President Dimwitty -- who repeatedly claims he has a very high IQ -- thinks that He Trvmpvs sets foreign policy & he can accomplish this in 140 characters -- 280, if the situation is complex & requires insulting somebody.

BBC News: "Hackers from North Korea are reported to have stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, said the information was from his country's defence ministry. The compromised documents include wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea. They also include reports to the allies' senior commanders. The South Korean defence ministry has so far refused to comment about the allegation. Plans for the South's special forces were reportedly accessed, along with information on significant power plants and military facilities in the South."

Nicole Perlroth & Scott Shane of the New York Times: "Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs. What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies. The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers."

Tom LoBianco & Eric Tucker of the AP: "Even as ... Donald Trump’s advisers encourage him to accept the realities of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, longtime friends and allies are pushing Trump to fight back, citing concerns that his lawyers are naive to the existential threat facing the president. Trump supporters and associates inside and outside the White House see the conciliatory path as risky.... Instead, they want the street-fighting tweeter to criticize Mueller with abandon. The struggle between supporters of the legal team’s steady, cooperative approach, and the band of Trump loyalists who yearn for a fight, comes as the Mueller probe begins lapping at the door of the Oval Office. Mueller, who is investigating the firing of former FBI director James Comey and other key actions of the Trump administration, has signaled that his team intends to interview multiple current and former White House officials in the coming weeks and has requested large batches of documents from the executive branch." ...

... Jeff Cox of CNBC: "...  Donald Trump 'likely obstructed justice' when he fired FBI Director James Comey and could face impeachment, according to an analysis from the Brookings Institution. The liberal-leaning think tank released a 108-page report on the issue Tuesday. In the analysis, Brookings concludes that even though Trump had the authority to fire Comey, he could not do so if the intention was to get in the way of an ongoing investigation. 'Attempts to stop an investigation represent a common form of obstruction. Demanding the loyalty of an individual involved in an investigation, requesting that individual's help to end the investigation, and then ultimately firing that person to accomplish that goal are the type of acts that have frequently resulted in obstruction convictions,' Brookings analysts Barry Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen wrote." ...

... Ali Watkins of Politico: "Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, informed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he will not be cooperating with any requests to appear before the panel for its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and would plead the Fifth, according to a source familiar with the matter." Mrs. McC: Huh. As Trump asked in September 2016, "The mob takes the fifth.... If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" So what's the problem, Carter?

Matt Shuham of TPM: "White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday refused to back away from ... Donald Trump’s incorrect claim that America is 'the highest taxed nation in the world.'... At a press briefing Tuesday, Sanders said Trump meant to say that America was the 'highest taxed corporate nation' among 'developed economies across the globe.'” Sanders got in a back-and-forth with a reporter for One America News Network, who kept asking Sanders why Trump kept repeating a false claim if he "meant to say” something else. ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: The reporter, Trey Yingst, asserted that Sanders' interpretive reading of Trump's remark was accurate. It isn't. According to PolitiFact, & many other analysts, 'the United States’ corporate tax rate doesn’t appear to be the highest once deductions and other exclusions are taken into account." But the point here is that Sanders is justifying one of Trump's lies by pretending he said something he didn't say. Trump wants individuals to believe we're the highest-taxed in the world, and we're absolutely not. But, you know, boo-hoo-hoo, all the blah people are taking white people's money & spending it on booze & bling.

Alana Semuels of the Atlantic: "The Trump administration has long portrayed the Clean Power Plan, a signature Obama-era initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as a policy overreach that was bound to cost the economy jobs and constrain economic growth.... In announcing Monday he would repeal the Clean Power Plan, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said that the reversal was a way of listening to the needs of businesses. Regulations 'ought to work with folks all over the country and say, how do we achieve better incomes by working with industry, not against industry,' Pruitt said Monday, in Hazard, Kentucky.... But the Clean Power Plan, which which would have required states to meet certain individualized targets to limit emissions from existing power plants, was ... supported by a wide array of businesses.... 'It was really just a small minority of businesses that were against it,' John Quigley, the former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told me.... The companies supporting the Clean Power Plan are among the biggest employers in the country, and also contribute the most to economic growth...."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on how the Trump administration uses "religious liberty" to discriminate against LGBT rights. "In February, the Trump Administration rescinded protections allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. In May, President Trump signed an executive order directing his Attorney General to support and defend religious-freedom laws like the one in Mississippi. In July, Trump tweeted out a ban on transgender service members. In September, the Justice Department filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. This month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued detailed guidelines based on Trump’s religious-freedom executive order and, separately, instructed U.S. Attorneys to stop interpreting federal law as protecting transgender employees from discrimination on the basis of sex. This timeline is probably missing something; reversals in L.G.B.T. rights have been unremitting.... In the nostalgic campaign that got him elected, Trump promised to take his voters back to an imaginary past in which they felt better, more secure, and generally more great than they do in the present. Nothing communicates Trump’s commitment to the past as effectively as reversals of L.G.B.T. civil-rights progress — arguably the most rapid social change in American history."

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The Trump administration on Tuesday approved a federal disaster declaration for California in response to wildfires that have swept across the state. Vice President Pence announced the decision during a meeting in the state capital of Sacramento with emergency responders. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) had requested federal assistance to combat the deadly fires."

Jim Tankersley of the New York Times: "The Republican tax rewrite unveiled this month aims to jump-start economic growth in part by establishing a 25 percent tax rate on small businesses and other firms that operate as pass-through entities, a cut from the top rate of 39.6 percent that such business owners pay now. But [an] abandoned experiment in Kansas points to how a [similar] carve-out intended to help raise growth and create jobs instead created an incentive for residents, particularly high earners, to avoid paying state income taxes by changing how they got paid. The [Kansas] tax package reduced state revenue by nearly $700 million a year, a drop of about 8 percent, from 2013 through 2016, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, forcing officials to shorten school calendars, delay highway repairs and reduce aid to the poor. Research suggests the package did not stimulate the economy, certainly not enough to pay for the tax cut. This year, legislators passed a bill to largely rescind the law, saying it had not worked as intended.... Participation at the federal level could be far more dramatic — with tax benefits dwarfing those enjoyed in Kansas." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Congressional Republicans -- at least the ones promoting the pass-through exemption -- know exactly what they're doing. The pretense that they believe making rich people richer will improve the economy is a joke -- and the laugh's on us.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Supreme Court Tuesday night dismissed one of the challenges to a now-expired version of President Trump’s travel ban, and the legal battle over his latest efforts to ban some immigrants will need to start anew. There were no noted dissenters from the court’s decision not to hear arguments about the travel ban, although Justice Sonia Sotomayor would have left the precedent of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit’s ruling in place. The court’s order did not mention a second ruling, by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit."

Medlar's Sports Report:

NFL Owners Cave to Bully-in-Chief. Ken Belson of the New York Times: "As the president continues to harangue the [NFL] over the anthem, and a number of fans across the country express displeasure with the handful of players who continue to kneel during the anthem, a growing pool of owners is trying to defuse the politically charged issue, even if it means confronting the players the owners previously sympathized with.... [League Commissioner Roger] Goodell, who said previously that players had a right to voice their opinions, is siding with the owners opposed to letting the players demonstrate. The owners plan to meet next week to establish what to do about the anthem gestures."

Alex Shephard of the New Republic: "ESPN got played by Donald Trump. "... whatever you think of the validity of [Jemele] Hill’s suspension, the idea that sports are being politicized solely by the left is laughable. Two weeks ago, the president of the United States made national anthem protests an issue again by tweeting about them; two days ago, the vice president of the United States made national anthem protests an issue again by traveling several hundred miles to leave a football game 90 seconds after it began." Mr. McC: If you consider the round-trip (Nevada to Indiana to California), it was actually several thousand miles, & I think pence left before the game began.


Brooks Barnes
of the New York Times: "In a statement, the Walt Disney Company said it was 'unaware of any complaints, lawsuits or settlements' regarding the sexual behavior of [Harvey] Weinstein, who left Disney in 2005 to found the Weinstein Company, another film and television studio. Disney’s statement added that Mr. Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, who co-founded Miramax, had 'operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy.'... Hillary Clinton released a statement saying she was 'shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.' Mr. Weinstein has been a longtime donor to Democratic candidates, and he hosted a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton at his Manhattan home last year.... Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, also released a statement about Mr. Weinstein, saying that 'any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.' The Obamas’ older daughter, Malia, was an intern at the Weinstein Company this year. Also on Tuesday, Georgina Chapman, Mr. Weinstein’s wife, told People magazine that she was leaving him. And the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts said it had decided to reject his earlier pledge to fund a $5 million endowment for female filmmakers.” ...

... Jodi Kantor & Rachel Abrams of the New York Times: "When Gwyneth Paltrow was 22 years old..., film producer Harvey Weinstein hired her for the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.' Before shooting began, he summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting.... It ended with Mr. Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she said. 'I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,' she said in an interview, publicly disclosing that she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award. She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. 'I thought he was going to fire me,' she said. Rosanna Arquette, a star of 'Pulp Fiction,' has a similar account of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, as does Judith Godrèche, a leading French actress. So unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Ronan Farrow, in the New Yorker, details many similar stories, and worse. "Three women ... told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex.... [Some Weinstein] employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein’s places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Weinstein Abuse Shocks Wingers. Steve M.: "I'm seeing a lot of right-wing self-righteousness in response to the Harvey Weinstein story.... We all know, of course, that conservatives have circled the wagons around their own sex abusers -- Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and of course the president of the United States. But there was also conservative media complicity with Harvey Weinstein himself." Steve cites the case of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was wearing a wire when Weinstein admitted he groped her, but conservative outlets like Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, & Britain's Daily Mail smeared her. "... it was the "liberal media" that brought down Weinstein, in part because the conservative press really doesn't do journalism. But the Gutierrez story didn't require a lot of shoe leather. It was in plain sight -- yet the right-wing press either ignored the opportunity to go after Weinstein or simply sullied his accuser's name. So spare me the lectures, conservatives."

Way Beyond the Beltway

Raphael Minder & Patrick Kingsley of the New York Times: "The Catalan secession crisis took a confusing new turn on Tuesday night, after the leader of Catalonia [Carles Puigdemont] made a perplexing speech in which he appeared to declare independence from Spain, before immediately suspending that decision to allow for more 'dialogue' with leaders in Madrid."

News Lede

New York Times: "The fires ravaging California’s wine country since Sunday night — part of an outbreak of blazes stretching almost the entire length of the state — continued to burn out of control Tuesday, as the toll rose to at least 17 people confirmed dead, hundreds hospitalized, and an estimated 2,000 buildings destroyed or damaged."

Reader Comments (17)

Is there any truth to the rumor that Liddle Bob Corker now refers to the Toddler-in-Chief as "Tubby"?

Since we're now in a post-truth era, it's obviously OK for me to just make up shit like this.

October 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbowtiejack

Bowtiejack,

I understand "Tubby" is Melania's pet name for President* Portly, as in "Not tonight, Tubby, take those little hands off me. Go find someone else to grab."

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

"Tubby", I'm sure it's true. If it isn't, it should be. Corker is a bum like his colleagues, but, and here's what differentiates us libtards from the Cons, we don't disagree with someone just because they're a Con. We disagree with them because of their fetid utterances. But when one gets something right, we're happy to give credit! Likewise with Tillerson's "moron".

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

You're all confused. What happened was this.

Corker, as he has said, has had numerous conversations with Trump. One day Trump invited him to the residence. Corker showed up, but Trump had forgot about the scheduled meeting.

When Corker walked into the residence, he found Trump playing with squishy Teletubby dolls. (His babysitters try to keep sharp objects away from him.) Trump had the orange one (which sported an odd pompadour) beating up the purple one, the black one, the brown one & the pink girly one.

Corker was aghast & has related the story confidentially to other senators. Somewhere in the multiple retellings of the moment, as will happen, "Teletubby" got foreshortened to "Tubby."

And that's the truth -- or the truth, Trump-style, at least.

October 11, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Wait...weren't Teletubbies supposed to make kids gay? That great American soothsayer Jerry Falwell used to say so. He was fearful of the one called Tinky Winky, I thinky. Wonder if they have the same effect on fat old homophobic morons? If Air Force One starts making unscheduled stops at P-Town, we'll know for sure. Better alert the residents that Tubby might be on the way. Lock the doors and stay inside!

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

"I thinky." Oh, Ak, I love your wit!

Nice relief for me as I have just finished reading the WaPo's article on Trump friend and "...big money enabler " Thomas Barrack on their long-standing and beautiful relationship.

—It was Barrack who persuaded Trump to hire political operative Paul Manafort — whom Barrack first met in Beirut 40 years ago — for the presidential campaign.

—Barrack was shocked by what he said. (when) Trump said Mexico was sending “rapists” and other criminals to the United States, and said he would build “a great wall” that Mexico would pay for.

Barrack thought to himself, “ ‘Oh my God, where are we going with this? What did he just say?’ Which I continue to say, by the way. It is shocking to me that he would talk that way because he is not that way.”

Shocked! shocked I tell you!

—"...he's better than this."
.
.
.
Nah! Trump shows us exactly how bad he is.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

MAG,

A Barrack Trump likes? I didn't think that was possible.

Truly though, Trump likes anyone who can make him money, or assist in massaging his gigantic ego (the only thing big about him).

The other day we were talking a bit about legendary scumbag, attack dog, and evil macher, Roy Cohn and his connection to Donald Trump's rise. It would be worthwhile, for anyone interested, to read a piece written in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner, published a few months ago. Brenner has known Trump for many years and has written several long pieces about this self-aggrandizing con man, notably one detailing a few months of his life back in the 90's when things were falling apart and Trump was calling each new disaster a massive win for himself.

(Brenner is an excellent writer; sure of narrative style, well sourced, and a fine story teller. Too many long articles, which one feels obliged to read for whatever reason, feel like a barefoot slog through the snow to Moscow with Napoleon. Brenner's stuff leaves you wishing for a few more graphs when she's finished.)

Trump has famously declared that he will "drain the swamp". He knows from swamps, that's for sure. He's the original swamp creature. Palling around with Cohn put Trump smack in the middle of a sleazy swamp of churlish, backstabbing, money grabbers and power brokers. You may recall a while back when the Trouble With Paul began, Trump claimed he barely knew Manafort. Another lie. In fact, Trump was introduced to Manafort and that other creep Roger Stone, through Cohn way back in the early days of the Reagan Disaster.

"...Stone soon seized the moment to cash in. After Reagan was elected, his administration softened the strict rules for corporations seeking government largesse. Soon Stone and Paul Manafort, Trump’s future campaign manager, were lobbyists, reaping the bonanzas that could flow with Favor Bank introductions. Their first client, Stone recalled, was none other than Donald Trump, who retained him, irrespective of any role Manafort might have had in the firm, for help with federal issues such as obtaining a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to the Atlantic City marina to accommodate his yacht, the Trump Princess.

'We made no bones about it,' Stone recently said. 'We wanted money. And it came pouring in.' Stone and Manafort charged hefty fees to introduce blue-chip corporations—such as Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.—to their former campaign colleagues, some of whom were now running the Reagan White House. It was all cozy and connected—and reminiscent of Roy Cohn."

And that's just the tip of the shit pile sticking up from the swamp water.

And here's Brenner's acute observation of Trump back in the 90's:

"I thought about the ten years since I had first met Donald Trump. It is fashionable now to say that he was a symbol of the crassness of the 1980s, but Trump became more than a vulgarian. Like Michael Milken, Trump appeared to believe that his money gave him a freedom to set the rules. No one stopped him. His exaggerations and baloney were reported, and people laughed. His bankers showered him with money. City officials almost allowed him to set public policy by erecting his wall of concrete on the Hudson River. New York City, like the bankers from the Chase and Manny Hanny, allowed Trump to exist in a universe where all reality had vanished...

I wandered down to the pressroom on the fifth floor to hear about Trump’s testimony. The reporters sounded weary; they had heard it all before. 'Goddamn it,' one shouted at me, 'we created him! We bought his bullshit! He was always a phony, and we filled our papers with him!'"

The sad thing is? They're still doing it!

That second piece, from the 90's, also has an interesting bit about how Trump kept a copy of Hitler's speeches on-hand, for inspiration and late night reading. But I'm not sure about that. Trump only reads stuff about himself. Still, the anecdote about him greeting people in his office by clicking his heels and shouting "Heil Hitler!" is chilling, even if it was supposed to be a joke. Maybe Richard Spencer heard about that story.

As for this particular Barrack whom Trump seems to like...I'm not sure I can believe anyone who claims to be surprised by Trump's actions and statements, especially someone who supposedly has known him well for decades and has witnessed his flim-flam and his lies and unethical shenanigans close up. And leave us not even mention the fact that Barrack was a player in the Reagan sandbox, one of the most unethical administrations in American history, one in three Reagan guys, it seemed, were indicted, convicted, or under investigation. It was a Who's Who of con men, nest-featherers, liars, traitors, and thugs. It was a Come one, Come all for the scammers and thieves. And Barrack was working with one of of the worst: James Fucking Watt!! The guy who wanted to sell off National Parks to be strip mined. The guy who did to Interior what Pruitt is now doing to the EPA.

Trump is not "better than this". THIS--a horror show of egotistic bluster and hateful rhetoric--is what he is.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The Lies Just Keep on Comin'

Another morning drive time interview that made me want to swerve into oncoming traffic.

The latest audio dungpile was built during a Steve Inskeep interview (on NPR) with Rep. Warren Davidson (R-natch) from Ohio. They really should offer "BIG LIE alerts" for viewers so those piloting several thousand pounds of steel down a highway at 70 mph don't all of a sudden feel the urge to hurt someone.

So here's the same old tired canard about how ginormous tax cuts (especially for those patriotic, American minded rich people--the "job creators") will result in yuuuuuuge windfalls into federal coffers. Really! Inskeep mentioned a recent study by tax professionals suggesting that the middle class will get screwed by this "plan". Davidson shrugged this off.

First, he whined, given that these experts are probably Democrats, they can't be believed on the face of it. Facts be damned. Second (and this is somewhat true), there isn't much of a plan yet so who can say for sure that the middle class will be picking shards of broken glass out of their collective ass for the next 25 years? Okay, fine. If that's the case, then how can you say, with complete certainty, that huge tax cuts for the rich will generate untold trillions in revenue? Because that's what Trump and the Tax Cut Confederates are all saying. If your plan is written on the corner of the table of contents of your dog-eared copy of "Atlas Shrugged", how can you claim there's enough there to guarantee your bullshit?

This sort of thing is getting to be SOP for the scammers. Toss out a hint of a "plan", promise it will save trillions, balance the budget, end unsightly toenail fungus, and cure cancer. But if anyone tries to suggest that it won't, scream that there's not enough information yet so how dare anyone criticize the Master Plan.

Just as a sidebar, why is it that Confederates are so enamored of "simple"? They want a tax plan--supposedly one that will restructure the entire tax code--on three pages of paper, double spaced. They want people to be able to file their taxes on a post card. Their most unkillable, hoary bullshit about tax cuts and promised revenue growth, the Laffer Curve, was written on a cocktail napkin.

I have nothing against simple, don't get me wrong. Ockham knew what he was talking about. And maybe at some point, Einstein could jot down the essence of Special Relativity on a page or two. But here's the difference. He didn't just leave it at that. He filled in the details. And he did not declare immunity from criticism. Davidson and Trump and all the other tax cut hyenas have no interest in details. They want cuts and they're happy to promise Shangri-la to anyone who goes along.

But we've tried this trickle down bullshit. For a LOOOONG time. It has never worked. It ain't workin' now.

So please, just come out and say, "We don't really give a shit in hell about the American middle class, they can go fuck themselves. We're in Washington to help the rich so they can donate more money to us so we can stay here forever and fuck things up, but good!"

I'd have a lot more respect for these scumbags if they just told the truth.

Now you'll excuse me, but I have to select the exact spot on the median strip to plow across on the ride home.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@AK: Well, as Marie Brenner noted in that Vanity Fair piece (which I had read along time ago, but worth a reread): "“Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.

So, the lies they do keep on comin'.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

@Akhilleus: You're still so out of it. Why do you think the orange one was beating up the purple one? (What upset the evangelicals was that there was a purple one -- they were certain the purple one was gay. Maybe so. I do think the rainbow colors of the Teletubbies was an existential threat to both homophobes & closeted [and not-so-closeted] white supremacists.)

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

The articles on the threat to NBC miss the point. The person issuing the threat is not the POTUS, he is the TRUMP! What does that constitutional crap have to do with him.
And note, he is not claiming to be the dictator. He doesn't need that. And its too bad Einstein is not around. The Trump would go after his IQ too.
Sooo special, unique, perfect. And of course, seriously mentally ill.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I'm here to say that I believe trvmpvs has a very high IQ.
Doesn'tt IQ stand for idiocy quotient?

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

Anent that "equal time" bit. Heading to the local paper today. It's not much but it's all I could do.

"I see the President doesn’t think late night TV hosts have been fair to him and the Republicans. Saying the shows have been too one-sided, he wants “equal time.”

Aside from his apparent ignorance that television’s equal time rules apply only to campaigns, I’m left wondering again what Mr. Trump is really thinking.

Is he thinking the run of Republican ideas are above criticism? In his mind, does “equal time” mean equal praise?

If their actions were so praiseworthy, why did Senate Republican repeatedly attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in the dark, without public hearings and before accurate estimates of their effects could generated?

Social Security Works reports that last Thursday "On a party line vote, the House just passed a budget that cuts Medicare by nearly $500 billion and Medicaid by up to $1.5 trillion, along with raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67.”

These are today's Republicans at work, clearing the way for their intended massive tax cut for the rich. Does the President want more late-night publicity and praise for that?

When the government is already withdrawing financial support for seniors and for disabled adults and children, does the President really want the its latest draft mission statement that promises to serve and protect “Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception" to receive even wider notice?

Does he wish even more attention paid to his childish Twitter rants? Don’t they already get enough?

Does it never occur to him that his behavior makes him a ready butt of humor and criticism, and that millions don’t like or respect him because his bullying and name-calling are simply not very likable?

Last week when I overheard a little girl whine, “It’s not fair!” I understood her feelings.

But then, she was only eight."


BTW, these are mostly rhetorical questions.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

"It was soon after the meeting broke up that officials who remained behind heard Tillerson say that Trump is a 'moron."

I really wish "fake news" NBC could actually get their facts straight. Details matter. The truth is Tillerson called him a FUCKING moron, the worst of all kinds. Let the truth be free.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Ken,

C'mon, you know as well as I do that Trump doesn't give a flying black bat shitting in the dark if Republican "ideas" are criticized. He only cares that HIS ideas are criticized.

And how weird is it that President* Portly believes that people should, of course, be nice to him? Late night comics (and even those with comedic pretensions who comment on political blog sites) LIVE for the sort of off the charts stupidity such as he provides--by the truckload--on a daily basis.

Just think of what the media landscape would be like were an Order for Trump Obsequiousness and Praise be legalized as law of the land.

Here is what King Trumpy is hoping for, something similar to old school Soviet flummery and treacly sycophancy, as illustrated in this Clive James review of a bio of Leonid Brezhnev, written by a committee of groveling Commie stooges:

"Monumental progress in probing the outer limits of tedium has been made by the time the hypnotised reader has slogged through more than two hundred pages of ideological prose at its most glutinous. Unable to believe that the Institute could keep down the pace, I read the whole thing from start to finish, waiting for the inevitable slip-up which would result in a living sentence. It never happened. That the book could be read from any other motive seems highly unlikely. Even the most rabid Brezhnev fan would be catatonic by the end of the first chapter."'

Compare that to a five minute monologue of Jimmy Kimmel wondering why Trump thinks letting poor children without insurance die is an idea worth touting to his Confederate base. James paints a picture of life in Trump World without a First Amendment, a country in which only the most cringingly servile representations of Trump would be allowed:

"What you have to imagine is being forced to listen, your whole life long, to stuff like the following paragraph, chosen at random from page 61 of the life story of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee.

'The plenum once again proved convincingly the CPSU’s monolithic unity, its stand on Leninist principles, and its political maturity. It demonstrated the fidelity of the Party and its Central Committee to Marxism-Leninism and expressed the unswerving determination of Communists to adhere to and develop steadfastly the Leninist standards of Party life and the principles of Party leadership, notably that of collective leadership, and boldly and resolutely to set aside every impediment to the creative work of Party and people.'"

Fuckin' hell. Kill me now.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

A thought...

Remember when the little king was so incensed at all the leaks coming out of the White House that he was blowing skid marks on his tightie-whities on an hourly basis? And 'member how he swore he would tear out all snitchers, root and branch and never allow them to bask in the light of his genius ever again, cross his heart and hope to lie?

Um...still seems like a waterfall of leaks gushing out. He would need a brigade of little Dutch Boys to stop those leaks. Everyday there are stories that say things like "According to 275 people working in the White House, Donald Trump, today, threw his teddy bear into a West Wing fireplace, tearing out its stuffing after watching Rachel Maddow parse his latest misspelled tweets."

I'm wondering why those threats of water boarding and banishment from the presence of the Glorious Leader haven't worked as advertised.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Wow! Boy Scouts to admit girls!!
Canada doesn't have boy scouts, just 'Scouts', cause girls have been admitted for the last 40 odd years. These days you need only be human to qualify.

October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCowichan's Opinion
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