The Ledes

Monday, November 20, 2017.

New York Times: "The Argentine Navy disclosed on Monday that the crew of a missing submarine had been ordered to return to its home port on Wednesday after reporting a battery failure. The revelation was the first official confirmation that the Navy had known since Wednesday — when the submarine vanished — that the vessel was contending with equipment malfunction and might have the lost the ability to propel itself.... A multinational effort is underway to try to locate the submarine and its 44-member crew, amid mystery about what happened to the vessel.... The disclosure about mechanical failure is likely to add to fears that the crew has been lost."

New York Times:"Della Reese, the husky-voiced singer and actress who spent almost a decade playing a down-to-earth heavenly messenger on the CBS series 'Touched by an Angel' and became an ordained minister in real life, died on Sunday night at her home in Encino, Calif. She was 86."

New York Times: "Charles Manson, one of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century..., died on Sunday in Kern County, Calif. He was 83 and had been behind bars for most of his life."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, November 19, 2017.

Tennessean: "Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida...."

New Yorker: Thomas Hargrove, a retired journalist, is developing an algorithm to solve serial murders. Interesting & not a bit nutty. Hargrove's research suggests that the number of serial killers still out their doing their jobs is much greater than police departments realize (or will admit -- serial killers are bad for local tourism). Also too, the percentage of murders that get solved has dropped precipitously in the last half-century.

Donaldo da Trumpo. Guardian: "On Wednesday, a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for $450.3m, rocking the art world.... On Thursday, that same art world was given a reality check, when a sketch by the less celebrated Donald Trump sold for just $6,875 at an auction in Los Angeles. Trump’s untitled piece, which depicts the Manhattan skyline, barely cleared its minimum price of $5,000.... The president took on his project in 2009 for a charity event. Trump seems to have used either pencil or ballpoint pen for the piece, which measures 8in x 5in. The sketch shows what appear to be skyscrapers, alongside something representing the Empire State Building. Nate D Sanders, the auction house handling the sale, presented the sketch in a 15in x 18in frame, along with a signed photo of Trump."

New York Times: "After 19 minutes of dueling, with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room, Leonardo da Vinci’s 'Salvator Mundi' sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million with fees, shattering the high for any work of art sold at auction. It far surpassed Picasso’s 'Women of Algiers,' which fetched $179.4 million at Christie’s in May 2015. The buyer was not immediately disclosed." ...

... New York Times critic Jason Farago calls the painting "a proficient but not especially distinguished religious picture from turn-of-the-16th-century Lombardy, put through a wringer of restorations.... The painting, when purchased at an estate sale in 2005 for less than $10,000, was initially considered a copy of a lost Leonardo, completed around 1500 and once in the collection of Charles I of England. [Some experts still think it's a copy.] Over time, its wood surface became cracked and chafed, and it had been crudely overpainted.... Cleaned by the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini, the painting now appears in some limbo state between its original form and an exacting, though partially imagined, rehabilitation."

A D.C. Hotel for Liberals. Bloomberg: Eaton Workshop will open an anti-Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., late next spring. It's the "world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement."

Mike Isaac of the New York Times, in an article written in all tweets: "On Tuesday, [Twitter] said nearly all of its 330 million users would now be able to tweet with 280 characters, the exact total in this paragraph.... The only Twitter users who will remain at 140 characters are those who post in Japanese, Korean or Chinese, the company said. Those languages have alphabets that typically allow for the expression of more thoughts in fewer characters...."

Travel Advisory. New York magazine: "Oh Good, Southwest Airlines to Host Live Country-Music Concerts on Flights."

Monday
Sep112017

The Commentariat -- September 11, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Somini Sengupta of the New York Times: "The Trump administration has backed away from some of the most stringent penalties it had sought to impose on North Korea, in an apparent effort to draw Russian and Chinese backing for a new raft of sanctions over the country's nuclear weapons advances. Whether the administration will garner the support of Moscow and Beijing when the new sanctions come up for a vote Monday evening at the United Nations Security Council remains to be seen. More important, it is wholly unclear whether additional sanctions will persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile tests."

Update: Scott Pruitt Is Still a Phony Prick. Lisa Friedman of the New York Times: "Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms.... 'To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced,' Mr. Pruitt said to CNN in an interview ahead of Hurricane Irma, echoing similar sentiments he made when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas two weeks earlier. 'To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida,' he added.... For scientists, drawing links between warming global temperatures and the ferocity of hurricanes is about as controversial as talking about geology after an earthquake.... Ben Kirtman, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Miami..., said he believes failing to discuss climate change hurts Florida and the entire country.... President Trump has derided climate change as a hoax. Mr. Pruitt has declared that carbon dioxide emissions from cars, power plants and other sources are not the primary contributor to global warming, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. The E.P.A. has removed many mentions of climate change from its website and is rolling back regulations aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Science, & reality in general, are still left-wing conspiracies as far as wingers are concerned. See also Jonathan Chait's post, linked below. Anyway, I'm more than happy to have Pruitt remind folks I'm "insensitive." ...

... Paul Krugman: "... thanks to Trump's electoral victory, know-nothing, anti-science conservatives are now running the U.S. government. When you read news analyses claiming that Trump's deal with Democrats to keep the government running for a few months has somehow made him a moderate independent, remember that it's not just Pruitt: Almost every senior figure in the Trump administration dealing with the environment or energy is both an establishment Republican and a denier of climate change and of scientific evidence in general.... Today's right-wing intellectual universe, such as it is, is dominated by hired guns who are essentially propagandists rather than researchers.... When people like [Rush] Limbaugh imagine that liberals are engaged in a conspiracy to promote false ideas about climate and suppress the truth, it makes sense to them partly because that's what their friends do.... We are now ruled by people who are completely alienated not just from the scientific community, but from the scientific idea -- the notion that objective assessment of evidence is the way to understand the world. And this willful ignorance is deeply frightening. Indeed, it may end up destroying civilization."

Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter: "Pope Francis has questioned ... Donald Trump's commitment to pro-life values, suggesting that his administration's recent decision to end a program protecting undocumented young people from deportation is contradictory.... The pope said he is especially worried about young people who become detached from their roots and lose hope in the future.... Francis also said during the press conference that political leaders have a moral responsibility to follow scientists' recommendations and reduce carbon emissions in order to stem the effects of climate change. The pope said that whoever denies that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet 'needs to go visit the scientists and ask them.'" Mrs. McC: Francis is somewhat confused about the effects rescinding DACA would have on families, but it will certainly break up families.

Anita Kumar of McClatchy News: "A major construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on the latest Trump golf club development in Dubai despite a pledge from Donald Trump that his family business would not engage in any transactions with foreign government entities while he serves as president. Trump's partner, DAMAC Properties, awarded a $32-million contract to the Middle East subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation..., according to news releases.... The companies' statements do not detail the exact timing of the contract except to note it was sometime in the first two months of 2017, just as Trump was inaugurated and questions were raised about a slew of potential conflicts of interest between his presidency and his vast real estate empire."

Bryan Schott of UtahPolicy.com: "Sources tell UtahPolicy.com that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is preparing to run for Senate in 2018 if Sen. Orrin Hatch decides to retire.... So far, Hatch has not made up his mind as to whether he'll run for an eighth term in 2018. He has previously said he was planning on running as long as his and his wife's health holds up." Mrs. McC: I'm pretty sure Steve Bannon can come up with a raging winger alternative to Romney.

Lydia Wheeler of the Hill: "The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Trump administration's request to temporarily lift restrictions on the president's travel ban. In a one-page order signed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court temporarily blocked the part of last week's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that barred the government from prohibiting refugees that have formal assurances from resettlement agencies or are in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program from entering the U.S. Kennedy said that part of the decision is stayed pending the receipt of a response from the state of Hawaii. That response that is due by noon on Tuesday. The Supreme Court's decision came less than two hours after Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall filed a request for a stay."

*****

Jennifer Peltz of the AP: "While the U.S. contends with the destruction caused by two ferocious hurricanes in three weeks, Americans also are marking the anniversary of one of the nation's most scarring days. Thousands of 9/11 victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and others are expected to gather Monday at the World Trade Center to remember the deadliest terror attack on American soil."

Noah Weiland of the New York Times: "In his first extended interview since he left the White House last month, Stephen K. Bannon was unsparing in his criticism: calling out top Republicans, West Wing staff, the 'pearl-clutching mainstream media,' special counsel investigators and the Roman Catholic Church. He even singled out President Trump, labeling his firing of James B. Comey ... the biggest mistake in 'modern political history.' Pressed by the interviewer, Charlie Rose, Mr. Bannon said that had Mr. Comey not been fired, the Justice Department investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia's election interference would not have been handed over to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The assertion, made in an online-only segment of a wide-ranging '60 Minutes' interview that aired on Sunday night, was perhaps the most extraordinary of many criticisms made by Mr. Bannon.... Mr. Bannon said he planned to be the president's 'wingman outside for the entire time' he is in office." ...

... Ashley Parker of the Washington Post: "President Trump's former chief strategist who left the White House in August -- declared war Sunday against the Republican congressional leadership, called on Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, to resign, and outlined his views on issues ranging from immigration to trade. [Steve] Bannon, in an interview on CBS's '60 Minutes,' accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) of 'trying to nullify the 2016 election.'... He blamed them for failing to repeal and replace former president Barack Obama's signature health-care law and made clear that he would use his Breitbart perch to hold Republicans accountable for not helping Trump push through his agenda.... He also seemed to criticize the president's recent decision to rescind protections for 'dreamers' -- those 690,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as young children -- while giving Congress six months to devise a legislative solution. The move, he said, could cost Republicans the House in the 2018 election." ...

... Margaret Hartmann of New York: "Bannon described embracing the GOP Establishment as the 'original sin of the administration,' explaining that the Trump team felt in the days after the election that they would need their help to govern. However, their deal with congressional leaders to spend Trump's first year in office repealing Obamacare, enacting tax reform, and passing an infrastructure bill quickly went off the rails." ...

... Here's a tiny portion of the interview. What's the matter with Bannon's eyes?:

... Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "... Donald Trump's closest allies are planning a slate of primary challenges against Republican senators, potentially undermining the party's prospects in 2018 and further inflaming tensions between GOP leaders and the White House. The effort is being led by Steve Bannon, Trump's bomb-throwing former chief strategist, who is launching an all-out war against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment. Bannon has begun holding private meetings with insurgent challengers, vowing his support. He's coordinating with conservative mega-donor Robert Mercer, who is prepared to pour millions of dollars into attacks on GOP incumbents. Bannon has also installed a confidant at an outside group that is expected to target Republican lawmakers and push the Trump agenda." Among the GOP lawmakers Bannon hopes to "primary" are Senators Dean Heller (Nev.), Jeff Flake (Az.), Bob Corker (Tenn.) Roger Wicker (Miss.) & Luther Strange (Ala.). ...

... Manu Raju of CNN: Bob Corker hasn't decided whether or not to stand for re-election.

Evangelical Trump. Ben Protess, et al., of the New York Times: "The Trump administration opened the door to allowing more firearms on federal lands. It scrubbed references to 'L.G.B.T.Q. youth' from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking. And, on the advice of religious leaders, it eliminated funding to international groups that provide abortion. While these initiatives lacked the fanfare of some of President Trump's high-profile proclamations -- like his ban on transgender people in the military -- they point to a fundamental repurposing of the federal bureaucracy to promote conservative social priorities.... The overhaul is unfolding behind the scenes in Washington at agencies like the Health and Human Services Department, where new rules about birth control are being drafted, and in federal courtrooms, where the Justice Department has shifted gears in more than a dozen Obama-era cases involving social issues. The turnabout stems in part from lobbying by evangelical Christians and other conservative groups. In interviews, these groups said they have regular discussions on domestic and foreign policy with the administration -- more so than during the presidency of George W. Bush...." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: This from an administration where the Top Guy said he was impressed by two Corinthians & occasionally consumes "little crackers" during the Eucharist.

Jonathan Swan of Axios: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has told associates he wants to put the entire National Security Council staff through a lie detector test to root out leakers. It's unclear whether this will ever happen, but Sessions floated the idea to multiple people, as recently as last month. Sessions' idea is to do a one-time, one-issue, polygraph test of everyone on the NSC staff. Interrogators would sit down with every single NSC staffer (there's more than 100 of them), and ask them, individually, what they know about the leaks of transcripts of the president's phone calls with foreign leaders. Sessions suspects those leaks came from within the NSC, and thinks that a polygraph test -- at the very least -- would scare them out of leaking again." ...

     ... Margaret Hartmann: "Sessions wouldn't be the first Trump administration staffer to resort to desperate measures to crack down on leakers. In February then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer performed an unannounced phone check on his staff. They got back at him by informing the press of the incident."

White House Shares Fake Irma "News." Because These People Are Really Stupid. Abby Ohlheiser of the Washington Post: "The viral hoaxes targeting those looking for information about Irma online began early, with a viral map last week that showed the hurricane following Hurricane Harvey's path, headed straight toward Houston.... Dan Scavino, the White House's director of social media, has been re-posting videos and photos he appears to have pulled from social media showing the destruction in Miami all day.... One isn't from Irma, or Miami[.]... The airport replied to Scavino within minutes, letting him know he was wrong[.]... This video ... [is] at least a few weeks old. Here it is on a YouTube channel -- one that, it's worth noting, has been known to re-use old footage for new disasters before -- from August. That video claims to be from Mexico City's airport. Scavino's tweet suggested he had shared videos like this one with President Trump and Vice President Pence. Scavino later deleted the tweet." Ohlheiser lists some other fake viral stories that Scavino missed.

Jonathan Chait: "The only problem in American politics is the Republican party" because it has sealed itself off from reality. Either party could be captured by its extremists, as the GOP has been. "But the fact is that the Democratic Party is fundamentally accountable to the mainstream news media. And that media play try to follow rules of objectivity that the right-wing alternative media does not bother with."

Ian Kullgren of Politico: "In his first nationally televised interview since his diagnosis in July, [Sen. John] McCain discussed with CNN's Jake Tapper some of the details of his battle against glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. At times, the 81-year-old, sixth-term senator was somber, upbeat and reflective about his storied career, which has included two presidential runs and more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after his Navy jet was shot down. 'You know, every life has to end one way or another,' he said.... 'I'm facing a challenge,' the Arizona Republican said on CNN's 'State of the Union.' 'But I've faced other challenges, and I'm very confident about getting through this one as well.'"

CBS News has more on Jane Pauley's interview of Hillary Clinton. She was so confident she would win, "the Clintons had acquired the house next door [to their Chappaqua, New York, home], to accommodate White House staff and security during a second Clinton Administration. At a dining room table in that house, she wrote about 'What Happened.'" ...

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Hunter Walker & Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News: "The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). As part of the probe, Yahoo News has learned, the bureau has obtained a thumb drive containing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents -- material that could potentially help prosecutors build a case that the news agency played a role in the Russian government 'influence campaign' that was waged during last year's presidential election and, in the view of U.S. intelligence officials, is still ongoing. The emails were turned over by Andrew Feinberg, the news agency's former White House correspondent, who had downloaded the material onto his laptop before he was fired in May. He confirmed to Yahoo News that he was questioned for more than two hours on Sept. 1 by an FBI agent and a Justice Department national security lawyer at the bureau's Washington field office.... It is not clear whether the agent and prosecutor who questioned Feinberg were acting as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's broader investigation into Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign."

Lucia Graves of the Guardian: "Dozens of reporters, editors, and copy staff have left the [Wall Street Journal] in the past year, an exodus attributable to a combination of buyout incentives, poaching and frustration with management.... The talented staff that remain still produce memorable journalism. But when it comes to covering Trump -- according to interviews with 18 current and former Journal staffers, some of whom have provided the Guardian with previously unpublished emails from [Editor-in-Chief Gerry] Baker -- many say this is no thanks to management. 'The Journal has done a lot of good work in covering the Trump administration, but not nearly as much as it should have,' another recent departee said. 'I lay almost all of that at Gerry's doorstep. Political editors and reporters find themselves either directly stymied by Gerry's interference or shave the edges off their stories in advance to try to please him (and, by extension, [publisher Rupert] Murdoch).'"

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: For decades, the Journal was well-known for having an excellent newsroom & horrifying right-wing editorial pages. Graves' reporting makes crystal-clear the editorial view has forced its way into the newsroom. That's a real loss for journalism. And there's this: Gerry Baker is a British subject, not a U.S. citizen. Murdoch became a U.S. citizen in 1985 (so he could buy U.S. media outlets). At the time, he gave up his Australian passport because neither country allowed dual citizenship. But both countries allow dual citizenship now, so it's possible Murdoch has quietly regained his Australian citizenship. In any event, since Baker is at least in theory running the show, maybe the WSJ should be covered by the U.S.'s foreign agents registration law.

Way Beyond the Beltway

"Echoes of Charlottesville." Katie Shepherd of Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon): "Police in Vancouver [B.C.] [Sunday] afternoon arrested a man after a Patriot Prayer rally when he nearly ran his truck into a crowd of antifascist counter-protesters.... A black Chevy Silverado with Oregon plates and two large American flags and several small flags hanging from its windows (along with a Confederate flag decal displayed on the back window of the cab) drove up to the marchers.... As the crowd parted to clear the way..., protesters filled the street behind it and started throwing rocks and water bottles at the truck. The driver suddenly put his vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward the protesters. As he sped up, people jumped out of the street.... The protesters ... changed their path to escape the truck.... However, the truck re-appeared cutting the marchers off.... After the man was arrested, a group called the 'Proud Boys' drove down Columbia Ave and sprayed pepper spray out their windows at protesters in the street. The counter-protesters lobbed rocks at their truck. Police stopped the Proud Boys, but did not detain them.... Reporters nearby say the Proud Boys [later] crashed into a police vehicle." The march was originally planned for Portland.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "Hurricane Irma brought ripping winds, tornadoes and storm-surge flooding to much of Florida's lower half on Sunday, as its slow-moving core battered the state's west coast from Key West to Tampa. The massive storm -- which had menaced Florida for days, and triggered evacuation orders covering 5.6 million people -- made two official landfalls on Sunday before being downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Monday. The first landfall, at about 9:10 a.m., was over the Florida Keys, an isolated string of islands that had rarely felt more alone than on Sunday. Irma hit them as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds near 130 miles per hour."

The Miami Herald's Hurricane Irma page is here. ...

... Links to Tampa Bay Times stories are here ...

Reader Comments (27)

Bannon's conjunctivae are uniformly slightly erythematous. His eyelids are also reddened. It looks like the color itself is heightened because Bannon is, contrary to his usual practice, well made up: no more very pale skin with a lotta blotches. It looks sorta like dry eye to me.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Or drunk eye...

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

According to WebMD.com and other sites, red eyes, particularly lower lids can result from rubbing one's eyes too often to a bacterial infection of some kind. Actually, I'm on board with Akhilleus on his diagnosis.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

I guess I don't get why Bannon is furious with the GOP congresscritters-- is it because they don't pull to the right enough? It surely isn't because they are deeply beyond Reagan/right wing memes and worship and Bannon-lovers worry about their being TOO right? The sooner the MSM lets Bannon return to his particular swamp/state of obscurity the better. My daughter said NOPE-- we aren't watching him-- so we spent the evening catching up with Netflix.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Remember that most of Bannon's "ideas" are actually him pushing Robert Mercer's ideas. Bannon being "crazy" is actually Mercer's Theatre, while he hides behind the curtains.

Mercer funds Breitbart, i.e. Bannon. Mercer pays to foment racial hatred and division. Mercer supports Neo-Nazis and Klansmen. Mercer is too much of a coward to come out wearing his KKK hood, and is happy to have Bannon's fuck-it-all appearance as the ultimate deflection shield.

Mercer provides the Trump admin.'s data. Mercer surely designs political strategy through these data collections, then passes it through the diseased mind of Bannon, who then whispers in Trump's ear.

Robert Mercer is the disease, Steve Bannon is the vehicle, Trump just steps on the gas.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the 'biggest mistake in modern political history'

Schwalb: Trump hiring of Bannon was the 'biggest mistake in modern political history'

Bannon thought he would be the functional POTUS. Didn't work out. Now he wants to seriously damage Republicans. Why? Because it's all about Bannon. No surprise.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Okay, it sounds like Bannon is angry he was fired/let go, so he doesn't like the other people around Trump, and he has declared war on Rs because they aren't crazy enough, per his own puppet master Mercer. Gotcha-- thanks. I knew I was missing something, and I had not connected Mercer directly.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Bannon is possessed by the devil, thus, we are seeing that darkness and evil in his eyes.

Too much?

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

So Bannon will be out there supporting the Pretender's governing agenda?

Like Safari, I wonder what that might be?

A social agenda based on white superiority in an increasingly non-white country? Seems a losing proposition to me.

An economic agenda slanted to the already wealthy in a country already experiencing the greatest inequality in sixty years? Even if economics had nothing to do with the Pretender's victory and it was all race as some have recently suggested, that tax plan ought to be a doozie once it's out there to contradict the administration's occasional populist flourishes, and I haven't heard of any worker representatives at the NAFTA re-negotiation table, only the succession of anti-worker decisions by the Justice and Labor Departments. Can't help but think even some Trumpbots will notice and, really, there aren't all that many coal miners among them.

And the reference to evangelicals above: Aside from being so obviously cynical coming from "the most unethical administration ever," the appeal to evangelicals is an appeal to another shrinking group; in other words, another rearguard, finger in the dike action.

Can't penetrate the mishmash of Bannon's brain, so don't know what he really has in mind for us, but what I see so far in the White House he left behind is a government whose entire agenda is defined by indecency, personal resentment or by outright denial.

Pope's "Whatever is, is right," rendered rather by this administration as "Whatever is, really isn't."

Nothing but ego and delusion, but reality, like hurricanes, is bound to intrude.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I love these comparisons, so here's mine:
Mercer is typhus, Bannon is the village waterspout which spews the typhus, Trump is the illness spreading through the population.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

In the WaPo, a story about how the millibar demons in the eye are causing the hurricane, end of days, etc. One WaPo commenters notes nope, it all started because the Cubs took the series last year.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/09/10/theres-no-one-else-you-can-point-to-how-disasters-elicit-talk-of-gods-wrath-and-end-times/?hpid=hp_no-name_hp-in-the-news%3Apage%2Fin-the-news&utm_term=.c1d4d2c08a85

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

There is no value in the rantings of a delusional drunk. I agree with @safari. Mercer has had his hands on almost every aspect of our government as well as other governments. I also believe he is the most likely, through Cambridge Analytics, to be the person who is receiving any voter data from states.

Interviewing Bannon on camera is a farce that illustrates the wholesale shift from journalism to reality TV, Jerry Springer style. As long as a network gets ratings, the Bannon rants on camera will continue.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@Diane: I, too, agree with safari and glad he brought the Mercers back into the fold: Mercer is the guy that was first backing the creep that was running for congress and was asking for everyone's urine for some experiment he was doing. When the creep didn't win Mercer and his wife Rebecca ( and she is the one whose voice is the loudest) backed Cruz and then sauntered over to Trump. These are merciless people.

Re: the Coates' piece from yesterday. I'd like to add a few tidbits:

One evening at Princeton in 1958, Robert Oppenheimer and William Faulkner were receiving awards. Oppie could talk to just about anybody about anything, but Faulkner found conversation difficult with strangers. Oppenheimer engaged Faulkner in conversation telling him that he had recently seen a television play based on one of Faulkner's short stories and asked what he thought of T.V. as a medium for the artist.

"Television is for niggers" said Faulkner.

So given that response are we prepared to believe that the Faulkner who said that might also have something important to say about Black-White conflict in American history? To understand that for many white southerners nothing changed with the end of slavery except slavery.

Coates' piece should stir the political pot to a boiling point but I doubt it. He is one voice and as strong as it is, there are others that need to be heard as loudly. Atheists are a minority in this country that are still reviled, still shut out, still silenced. Transgender individuals, whether black, brown or white might be banned from military service and we are not screaming foul as we should have years ago when blacks weren't even integrated in the service.

Equality my foot––we've never had that.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I have been ashamed to admit I have never read any Faulkner, but, PD, after your tidbit, maybe I will say I am PROUD to have never read Faulkner. In the main, reading Southern writers is probably challenging, unless they are contemporary. We sure live in tricky, messy times...

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

Mmm, Mercer. I wonder if the other RM is sneaking a peek behind that curtain.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterunwashed

@PD Pepe: Faulkner didn't speak in public often, maybe because he was prone to making grotesquely racist statements -- like that time he said he was as against forced racial integration as he was against forced segregation, and "if it came to fighting I’d fight for Mississippi and against the United States even if it meant going out into the street and shooting Negroes." And, yeah, the interviewer probably cleaned up what Faulkner really called "Negroes."

I hadn't heard the Oppenheimer story, but I've heard others where Faulkner made casual racist conversation (to Northerners).

At the same time, he gave money to Martin Luther King, Jr., & belonged to a white church that was active in the civil rights movement. (Faulkner died in 1962, just as the civil rights movement was finally having a national impact.)

And of course much of his writing examines the racist South, and one can read into that what one wants.

So was Faulkner a racist? Well, yes. But he was no George Wallace. and no Donald Trump, for that matter

September 11, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Climate change denial in America: two forms

Political: Gimee da money!
Social: Are those scientists the ones that say the earth is more than 6000 years old?

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

@Marvin S.: You make an excellent point. It isn't just that Republicans get away with lying because they work in a closed system where their voters only hear the same lies they're telling on Fox "News" or Limbaugh or Alex Jones. It's also that, as you suggest, their base was predisposed to believing ridiculous, anti-science, non-rational "explanations" for any number of natural phenomena & other stuff before turning on the teevee.

September 11, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

On Coates, an anticipatory screed from an occasionally wild Thom Hartmann:

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/17/why-the-gop-sides-with-the-klan-and-the-nazis.

This time Hartmann doesn't seem wild to me.

Last November the evil portents of the economy, the electoral college and gerrymandering's disproportionate weighting of white votes aligned with the Republican Party's rampant racism and their favorite one-issue enthusiasms like abortion anathema and untrammeled gun rights--and the Pretender and his cohort were the result.

The point? Two-fold.

The election was not all about racism, tho' its stain was very much present in the result.

And today's racists are Republican patsies, little different from the hundreds of thousands of Southern home boys who died to protect the rights of their planter overlords to remain very rich.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@PD. The news about the Mercers is even worse. Rebekah is his daughter, not wife. That means the evil legacy will live on.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

George Monbiot, British journalist, gets into the gritty truth why "climate change" is largely absent from MSM, in this video from Democracy Now linked below. He breaks down the ugly truth in just answering the first question, then adds in lots of good tidbits. He proposes that the term "climate change" is completely misleading and perverted in itself. He also makes a very good point on Pruitt's remarks about not "politicizing" the hurricanes, by pointing out that his desire to skirt pesky reality is a political decision itself.

Reading the Krugman article, it's sad to say that it's not just the anti-science GOP that is ratfucking the populace's understanding of the grave threats that global warming provoke. The entirely submitted corporate media is wholly implicit as well. And the fact that serious reports emerged saying that authorities apparently felt it necessary to tell people not to shoot at the hurricane shows just how fucking stupid a portion of our populace is. Good luck actually trying to explain the complex machinations of global warming to a moron like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siladGzSKJI

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@Marvin and Mrs B: Pardon if this Kurt Anderson piece is already linked, but seems to me a bullseye. And a fine companion to Coates.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWhyte Owen

Dear Bea McC: I beg to differ with your headline.
Update: Scott Pruitt Is Still a Phony Prick.

There's nothing phony about the Prick. He's a real one!

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Let 'em Die.

Climate change denier and science skeptic, Scott Pruitt (which is the same as describing someone who insists that anyone who doesn't believe the universe is geocentric needs to be forced into a flat earth straight jacket) and pretty much everyone else in the irrational, ignorant Trump Administration, demands that no one be allowed to speak of climate change in the midst of one of the worst climate change disasters in recorded history.

This is like the British Parliament, in 1854, insisting that Dr. John Snow, whose research determined the cause and the solution to outbreaks of cholera that had killed thousands in London, ignore the fact that the epicenter of cholera epidemics stemmed from contaminated drinking water at the Broad Street pump. Snow, after assiduously mapping the deaths occurring from cholera, was able to pinpoint the source, a water pump that had been poisoned by an effluence of fecal matter, came up with a plan for a sewer system based on science rather than superstition (the then popular, Confederate-style theory of "bad air"--which today would be blamed on "blah air"--as the one and only origin of the many fatalities), a plan which saved perhaps tens of thousands of lives.

Dr. Snow's science based research resulted in a sewer and fresh water system that ended the cholera outbreaks and provided London's residents the promise of life rather than a swift, ignorant, and painful death.

It's an absolutely stunning devolution from the thought processes of the mid-19th century--a plan that preceded the Civil War by a decade--that present-day Confederates insist that science based planning is somehow evil and that even talking about science is antithetical to what's most important: making sure Confederate imbeciles are elected to every political post possible.

The Age of Trump: Let 'em Die if They Don't Vote for Us. Oh, and even if they do....they can die, because...oh, who knows?

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Diane: thanks for the correction––yes, Rebekah (I misspelled) is indeed Mercer's daughter, not his wife. Her siblings are Jennifer & Heather Sue ( saying this name aloud begs for a lyric or a ditty) and so far nary a peep from them and so far Rebekah has not blessed this land with child from her loins (or do we just use that term in regards to males?)

@ Jeanne: In a Southern Literature course, which was one of the best courses I ever took, we read Faulkner among many other Southern writers. I'd encourage you to give him a try. It's the old separating the artist from their work syndrome. There are plenty of flawed artists who have given us brilliant works.

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Wearing my words matter, words really really matter hat, I agree with Pruitt, we need to expunge climate change from our lexicon. This phrase was forced on us to avoid the term, and the fact of, global warming. For the people who love to tell it like it is, let's return to global warming. Or more accurate descriptors - global disaster?
I read some research on the effects of a one degree celsius increase in the temperature on a small part of the ocean floor. The change in the balance of life forms able to live with such a likely change was dramatic. We have no idea how life on earth will rebalance with such temperature changes. Sure the climate has changed continuously over the millennia (though it's funny how the same people who believe in a six thousand year old earth also believe that millions of years of climate change is just normal, no big deal). This slow change has given some life forms the time they need to genetically modify, adapt and/or migrate. But the climate has never changed so rapidly and concomitantly with seven billion people living within "country borders" who all want to survive. Even with past open migration and slow change, mass extinctions of plant and animal species have occurred. And will.

Yes, Ak, let 'Emery die even if they do vote for us, not because who knows, but because who cares? If they don't have enough money to board the private jet to the secure estate, who cares?

I agree about the Mercers. Very frightening. Knowledge is power. Money + Knowledge = Absolute Power?

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

The Coates article was a very thoughtful and thought provoking essay. It has also generated some very insightful commentary, I have been reading the posts and comments on TPM. Somehow I seem to largely agree with all of them, even though they look at things each slightly differently. I think that gender is a major issue as well as race. Listening to the rhetoric during the 2008 election, I thought that the Dems placed many voters between a rock and a hard place - a Woman or a Black, which to hate more? We got the answer. With a white backlash, we are seeing many "white" "nationalistic" voters who seem frightened that they are becoming an ethnic minority "in their own country" - perhaps because they know how they treated ethnic minorities? As if African American and Hispanic citizens aren't (at least) as entitled to call the US their own country as "whites" are. The perplexing question is invariably how people could vote for Obama and then frump. I wonder if Obama was such an anodyne "black" candidate that some could vote for him, certainly over the woman, and over the failed Cons. Life is all about context. Obama was less an African American than a (Kenyan) son of a white mother brought up by white grandparents in largely white society. One could watch and listen to BO and be oblivious to the colour of his skin. Perhaps why right wing sites often darkened his skin colour in photos. Ignorance engenders fear but it was hard to continue hating someone we got to know as well as we did BO during the election cycle. Michelle Obama, whose background was more traditionally African American, was treated to even more vitriolic and racist attacks than was BO in my estimation.
I agree with the commenter who thought Dems should be bolder. Arguing against equal opportunities and treatment under the law, and the Constitution, should be sold as arguing for drowning kittens. What have the Cons ever done for you? Have they provided services, roads, libraries? Why do that want to take away your rights - voting, healthcare, social security, public education? Why are they criminals, involved with Russian and American mafia, Russian spies, and secretive organisations (Cambridge Analytica) to subvert American taxation, justice and news? Why do they have contempt for American laws (emoluments, business fraud, Arpaio)? Why are they allowing (foreign) companies to poison land and water and to reduce safety oversight (in coal mines and chemical plants) for American workers? Why do they have contempt for American workers, hiring cheap foreign guest workers and underpaying contractors? What are they hiding in their tax returns?
I sincerely hope I have not been insensitive in language or ideas here. I don't really know what to think about this vital subject, but engage on it we clearly must. Our chances of surviving future crises diminish greatly if we choose not to accommodate each other and adapt to the changing pressures and demographics occurring world wide.

September 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGloria
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.