1. says

    [It’s bound to happen one day – a moment of fatigue or distraction will throw my humanity into doubt.]

    Another of several cabinet nominees who shouldn’t be anywhere near government is Betsy DeVos.

    questioned by Tim Kaine
    questioned by Maggie Hassan
    questioned by Bernie Sanders
    a longer discussion on All In with Chris Hayes

    And then there was the comment about needing guns in some schools due to “potential grizzlies”…

  2. says

    Walter Shaub at OGE is responding admirably to the challenge he’s facing, including a public warning from Reince Priebus about how he “ought to be more careful.” Here’s his response to Jason Chaffetz’ demand that he appear in a closed hearing about his office’s recent actions. His letter seems to make clear that he has the law on his side – his public statements are not just appropriate within his mandate but actually called for as part of his office’s “Mission and Responsibilities”: as he says, “A core function of OGE is to educate the public about government ethics and ‘promote transparency of the executive branch ethics program by raising the visibility of the ethics program and OGE, and by ensuring that ethics information is publicly available’.” This is also what the public rightly expects, and Chaffetz’ and Priebus’ shadiness is becoming increasingly evident to all.

  3. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Apparently, grizzly attacks in schools must be very common: DeVos wants guns in schools. And the reason she gives?

    “I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he is talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies,” [DeVos] said. (from CNN)

    Well, yeah. How many people, in or out of school, were killed by grizzly bears last year? Well, not sure about last year, but according to Wikipedia , from 2010 to through June of 2016, 11 people were killed by brown bears in all of North America. The attacks happened in the Shoshone, Gallatin, Bridger-Teton National Forests, Yellowstone National Park, Chichigof Island in Alaska, one in Alberta and one in Northwest Territories.

    So. The fear of brown bear (grizzly bear) attacks means we should have guns in schools. Which will lead to how many more gruesome and grizzly school killings?

    Trump wants DeVos to head the Department of Education? Why?

    Oh. Right. Destruction of public education, destroying the teacher’s unions, funelling money to for-profit and for-prophet ‘education’ companies . . .

  4. says

    I recommend Ogvobis’ comment #500 in the previous chapter of this thread. The personal story highlighted the expectations some people have when it comes to Trump and deregulation of business.

    Also recommended, SC’s essay about Alfred Hugenberg in Hitler’s rise. See comment 5.

    In other news, Trump is preparing lies about his inauguration preemptively. From Steve Benen:

    […] the president-elect spoke at a pre-inauguration event last night […]

    “I also want to tell you, you know, so many people are talking about what’s going on and now they’ve just announced we’re going to have record crowds coming.”

    As a rule, whenever Donald Trump uses the word “they,” look out. In this case “they’ve” announced “record crowds” are coming to the Republican’s inauguration, but there’s been no such announcement. “They” don’t appear to exist outside of Trump’s imagination.

    […] What we’re witnessing is a preemptive falsehood: the president-elect is laying the groundwork for an untrue claim about his inauguration that Trump seems very likely to make soon after he takes the oath of office.

    Indeed, he’s already told related falsehoods, such as, ”All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.” This wasn’t remotely true, but Trump made the claim anyway.

    And speaking of false claims, CNN reported that two senior Trump transition officials said yesterday that the president-elect wrote his own draft of his inaugural address.[…]

    Look, if a politician and his/her team are going to make bold claims, they have to be at least somewhat plausible. In this case,Donald Trump didn’t write his own books. He has literally no background in speechwriting. He’s never demonstrated any real interest in, or appreciation for, the written word. His communication skills are … how do I put this gently … outside the norm. […]

  5. says

    An update on the latest iteration of Trump demanding credit for creating or saving jobs he had nothing to do with.

    General Motors confirmed yesterday that it’s making another major investment in domestic manufacturing, which will save or create about 1,500 jobs. [Trump takes credit.]

    […] GM officials stressed that the latest moves were in the works for months and, in some cases several years, and were not a reaction to criticism by president-elect Donald Trump. […]

    Investment decisions of this magnitude and involving changes to manufacturing operations are typically the result of several years of study and require months of consideration by a company’s board of directors, noted David Cole, director-emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a discussion this week. That would suggest that the latest GM investment project began as far back as 2014.

    [Trump complained on Twitter that NBC News’ report was “biased.”[…] He said any reports that fail to acknowledge Trump’s role in recently announced job creation are “FAKE NEWS” — the all-caps appeared in the original — adding that the jobs “came back because of me!” […]

    The president-elect’s fragile ego notwithstanding, the relevant facts are plain and unbiased. As a Slate report explained with additional details, there’s literally nothing to connect Trump to GM’s announcement. […]


    From Steve Benen, here is a list of Trump’s past lies about job creation:

    […] Jan. 9, 2017: Trump demanded credit for a Fiat-Chrysler announcement about new investments in Michigan and Ohio. In reality, the announcement was part of a project the company initiated a year ago.

    Jan. 3, 2017: Trump demanded credit for a Ford decision about scrapping plans for a new assembly plant in Mexico. In reality, the announcement “did not actually reverse the central decision the automaker announced last April.”

    Dec. 28, 2016: Trump demanded credit for expanded Sprint hiring. In reality, those jobs were announced long before Election Day.

    Dec. 7, 2016: Trump demanded credit for a domestic Softbank investment. In reality, the investment was initiated months earlier.

    Nov. 17, 2016: Trump demanded credit for Ford’s decision to keep a Lincoln SUV plant in Kentucky. In reality, Ford hadn’t intended to close the Kentucky plant in the first place. […]

  6. says

    So it appears there are a few of these related to Trump on this enigmatic FBI Twitter feed today. Most prosaic explanation is that they’re routinely closing out some FOIA requests, but the timing and the history of the account will lead to speculation.

    …Also, now that I look a bit more closely, the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Shuttle FOIA matters – along with some other interesting requests (one appears to be redacted) – are still listed as open in the list, so…no idea.

  7. says

    So here are the FOIA requests that are still listed as open in the document tweeted by the FBI Records Vault:

    Trump, Donald – correspondence regarding intelligence briefings
    Trump Castle
    Trump Tower
    Trump Village
    Communication between Donald J. Trump and the FBI’s New York Field Office
    Trump Management
    TRUMP, DONALD [one of several variations]
    Trump Foundation
    Trump SoHo
    Trump Shuttle
    Trump Taj Mahal (2 requests listed as open – one says something about Interpol and is the only one listed as sub-type “Consult”)

    Just above the line for “Requests Containing the Phrase Trump” is the redacted line, with the annotation “b6” in the right margin. Below that in the margin is the annotation “b7c”. I don’t know whether the second pertains to the “Requests pertaining…” line or the redacted line above, or what their administrative meaning is. (Those are the only marginal notes.) I’m also not sure what to make of the listings at the end with dates rather simply “open” or “closed.”

  8. says

    SC @9, let’s hope that dozens of investigative journalists are doing their jobs, and that the appropriate people are responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Does look a bit strange, though — consider the timing.

    Could just be a response to high public interest in the FOIA list.

    In other news, about 375 health care experts signed a statement asking Congress to reject Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price.

    […] “Not only is Congressperson Price accused of compromising himself with insider knowledge concerning stock trades on the health care market, but he has long advocated for changes in our health care system that will have devastating consequences for millions of Americans.”

    Signatories include faculty from some of the United States’ most prestigious medical schools, and the list is still growing. Yesterday, the letter had been signed by 200 — as of publishing time, the count is now at 375.

    […] Price is an outspoken advocate of repealing Obamacare. Last year, he was the architect of the Empowering Patients First Act (EPFA), a replacement plan that Obama vetoed after Republicans passed it. Yet despite its flashy name, the experts point out that Price’s plan would actually result in less coverage at a higher cost for many Americans. […]

    Price’s plan also would also lower the standard of care that insurance companies are required to provide. It would roll back the protections for people with preexisting conditions and the requirement that insurance plans cover preventative care and reproductive health. It would also allow insurance companies to establish annual and lifetime limits on coverage.

    Price is also a big opponent of Medicare, suggesting a privatization scheme that will drastically increase healthcare costs for elderly Americans, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation. He also supports letting hospitals bill people for the difference between what Medicare will pay and what the hospital charges, which is currently illegal. […]

    Price also supports turning Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over to the states. He proposes to give the states a fixed dollar amount — not tied to inflation — as funding, and to end federal oversight of the programs. […]

    And finally, Price is a big proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood, has said he doesn’t think that women need help paying for birth control, and has consistently voted against civil protections for LGBT individuals.

    In sum, say the health researchers, “Tom Price’s nomination would seriously compromise the health and well being of growing numbers of Americans.”

    “We implore the Congress to reject Tom Price’s nomination to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, and to force the Trump administration to find a more responsible person to administrate this important federal agency.”


  9. says

    More tape of Trump (in 2015, during the campaign) saying he’d met Putin and talking about his interactions with Russian oligarchs when he went for the Miss Universe pageant in 2013. (I don’t know if it’s been authenticated.)

  10. says

    SC, Putin said he didn’t meet with Trump. ““I’ve never met him. I don’t know what he’ll do on the world stage. So I have no reason either to criticise him, or to defend him.” January, 2017. Link
    Just some of what Trump said:

    October 2015: “Have you ever met Vladimir Putin?” Savage asks.

    “Yes,” Trump answers, emphatically.

    “You have?” Savage follows up.

    “Yes, a long time ago. We got along great, by the way.”

    Savage then asked, “If you win the presidency, do you feel you can do business with Vladimir?”

    “Yes, I do. I think I would get along very well. […]

    November 2015: While in Moscow during the Miss Universe content, Trump gave an interview to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts — who was co-hosting the event — in which, when asked whether he had a “relationship” with Putin, he replied: “I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.” He later said in a National Press Club speech in November 2015 that while in Moscow for the Miss Universe contest: “I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.”

    July 31, 2015: I’ve never met him,” Trump said then. “I have no relationship with Putin. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. I never met him. … I mean if he’s in the same room or something. But I don’t think so.”

    “You’ve never spoken to him on the phone?” Stephanopoulos followed up.

    “I have never spoken to him on the phone, no,” Trump replied. “Well, I don’t know what it means by having a relationship. I mean, he was saying very good things about me, but I don’t have a relationship with him. I didn’t meet him. I haven’t spent time with him. I didn’t have dinner with him. I didn’t go hiking with him. I don’t know — and I wouldn’t know him from Adam, except I see his picture and I would know what he looks like.”
    November, 2015: “I got to know him [Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, and we did very well that night.”
    July 2016: “He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.”

  11. says

    I had forgotten – there was supposed to be an internal investigation of that Twitter account.

    The marginal codes I mentioned above- b6 and b7c – apparently pertain to information withheld for reasons of privacy, the first related to medical records and the like and the second to criminal history records.

    In 1989, the Supreme Court issued a landmark FOIA decision in United States Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, (20) which for the past fifteen years has governed all privacy-protection decisionmaking under the Act. The Reporters Committee case involved FOIA requests from members of the news media for access to any criminal history records — known as “rap sheets” — maintained by the FBI regarding certain persons alleged to have been involved in organized crime and improper dealings with a corrupt Congressman. (21) In holding “rap sheets” entitled to protection under Exemption 7(C), the Supreme Court set forth five guiding principles that govern the process by which determinations are made under both Exemptions 6 and 7(C) alike:…

  12. says

    Betsy DeVos says states should be able to choose whether or not they comply with Federal laws that protect disabled students:

    The hits keep on coming at secretary of education nominee Betsy DeVos’ confirmation hearing Tuesday. The Trump pick to lead America’s classrooms appeared to get tripped up when answering a question from Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine about whether all schools receiving federal funding should be required to comply with the requirements of the 1990 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.

    “I think that is a matter that is best left to the states,” DeVos replied.


    Slate link

  13. says

    What Trump thinks he should do in relation to the White House Briefing Room: “We have to just pick the people that go into the room.”

    Uh, no. You don’t pick.

    The White House Correspondents’ Association fills the seating assignments in the briefing room. “The WHCA assumed responsibility for assigning the seats in the briefing room over the last two decades at the request of both Republican and Democratic administrations, who were mindful of the potential appearance of playing favorites if they assigned the seats themselves,” said WHCA President Jeff Mason.

  14. says

    Trump likes short intelligence briefings, preferably presented as bullet points, and also read out loud to him (the preference for verbal briefings was noted earlier):

    Trump said he likes his briefings short, ideally one-page if it’s in writing. “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you.”

    President Obama read the daily intelligence briefs and he asked follow-up questions in writing. George W. Bush preferred oral reports. I think Trump doesn’t even want daily briefings. Less frequent briefings so as not to waste his valuable marketing-Trump time are likely. Or, as he has already done, Trump may just assign Mike Pence to take the briefings. That leaves Trump free to say whatever ignorant thing he likes, with no facts getting in the way.

  15. says

    President Obama presided over his final press conference in the White House briefing room today. Here is an excerpt:

    […] Having you [reporters] in this building has made this work place better. It keeps us honest, makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we’re able to deliver on what’s been requested by our constituents.

    My hope is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselve. And to push this country to be the best version of itself. […]

    So different from Trump’s plan to “just pick the people that go into the room.” See comment 18.

  16. says

    Here is another excerpt from President Obama’s final press conference:

    […] I think we’re going to see people of merit rise up from every race, faith, corner of this country because that’s America’s strength. If in fact we continue to keep opportunity open to everybody, then yeah. We’re going to have a woman president, we’re going to have a Latino president, we’ll have a Jewish president, a Hindu president. […]

    I worry about inequality. […]

    I worry about, as I said in response to a previous question, making sure that the basic machinery of our democracy works better. We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote rather than easier. And that dates back. There is an ugly history to that that we should not be shy about talking about. […] Yes, I’m talking about voting rights. […]

    The notion that there are a whole bunch of people out there who are going out there and are not eligible to vote and want to vote. We have the opposite problem. We have a whole bunch of people who are eligible to vote who don’t vote.

    […] you know, when we feel stress, when we feel pressure, when we’re just fed information that encourages some of our worst instincts, we tend to fall back into some of the old racial fears and racial divisions and racial stereotypes. We’re going to have to make sure that we in our own lives and our own families and workplaces do a better job of treating everybody with basic respect. […]

  17. says

    Another excerpt from President Obama’s final press conference:

    […] In a democracy, sometimes you’re going to win on those issues [the normal back and forth, ebb and flow, of policy] and sometimes you’re going to lose. But there’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake. […]

    I’d put in that category if I saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion. I’d put in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise. I’d would put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent, or the press. And for me at least, I would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them some place else. […]

  18. says

    As Tabby Lavalamp noted in the “Nothing matters anymore” comment thread Canadian businessman and regular on ABC’s Shark Tank Kevin O’Leary is running for the leadership of Canada’s federal Conservative Party. You can get an idea of where his beliefs lie in the following exchange from a 2014 episode of CBC News Network’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange.(O’Leary left the show in August that year) When asked about the fact that the 85 richest people in the world had as much money as the bottom half of the world’s population he said:

    It’s fantastic, and this is a great thing because it inspires everybody, gets them motivation to look up to the one percent and say, ‘I want to become one of those people, I’m going to fight hard to get up to the top.’ This is fantastic news, and, of course, I applaud it. What can be wrong with this? I celebrate capitalism. Don’t tell me that you want to redistribute wealth again, that’s never gonna happen … it’s a celebratory stat. … If you work hard, you might be stinking rich one day

  19. says

    Last year, Oklahoma tried to pass more anti-LGBT legislation than did Texas. You have to work hard to beat Texas when it comes to being anti-LGBT.

    Some of Oklahoma’s anti-LGBT bills failed, but even worse legislation in being introduced this year. State Senator Joseph Silk introduced SB 197, which he calls “Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act.”

    […] SB 197 ensures that no one ever has to provide any services used in or to promote “a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior.”

    […] denials [of service] will be immune to any civil claim or governmental penalty. In fact, if someone tries to sue or the government takes an adverse action against the person who discriminates, that person will actually have a claim to “recover all reasonable attorney fees, costs, and damages” incurred as a result of the “violation.” […]

    There is virtually no limit to what “specific lifestyle or behavior” an Oklahoma wedding vendor could imagine to justify refusing service to a person. As written, the law would make it legal for them to discriminate against vegetarians, people with tattoos, people who tweet in ALL CAPS, people who are left-handed, people who enjoy shopping at Target, or people who enjoy the musical Oklahoma! a bit too much, as examples. […]

    Silk’s bill is only one of many “religious liberty” bills state legislatures will likely introduce this year, but its breadth makes it one of the most extreme ever.

    Think Progress link

  20. says

    timgueguen @24, does Kevin O’Leary realize that 85 rich people does not equal 1% of earth’s human population?

    In other news, Trump bragged about photos of Bikers for Trump, but didn’t realize that he was bragging about fake or misleading photos.

    “I saw the Bikers for Trump — boy they had a scene today,” Trump said. “And they had a scene today where they had helicopters flying over a highway some place in this country. And they had thousands of those guys coming into town.” […]

    And they get on that Harley, usually Harley, made right here in America […]

    Nope, not an accurate picture, pun intended.

    […] The photo from the Twitter handle @YoungDems4Trump showing sleeveless men in the foreground dates from at least 2013, likely from a 9/11 Commemoration Day event. It was also made into a meme labeled “100,00 bikers at Trump Rally. Not one arrest” in May 2016.

    The video from Twitter handle @nia4_trump similarly has uses undated and unverified footage showing green grass in the background. As it’s winter, it’s difficult to pinpoint where this footage was taken in terms of location and date. The video was also uploaded by a group called “Bikers 4 Liberty,” which Cox [Bikers for Trump founder] calls a “scam group.”

    The photo from Twitter handle @WikiFleekMemes claiming that 200,000 bikers were on their way to D.C. is also fake. The origin of the photo comes from a 2013 blog post on bikers on the Spanish website Hoy. […]


  21. says

    The governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, signed HB 1523 last April. The bill was a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It covered housing, employment, medical treatment, public accommodations, adoptions, and marriage licensing. That is all a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. A U.S. District Judge blocked implementation of the law last June.

    What we are seeing now is Bryant, with a small army of lawyers, striking back. Bryant and his lawyers are unhinged religious right-wingers. Their brief proves it. Here are some excerpts:

    Bryant’s attorneys argue that homosexuality is not immutable. […] Obergefell v. Hodges […] was wrong, and many gay people actually choose to be gay. […]

    The brief alleges that the three beliefs protected by HB 1523—that same-sex marriage and premarital sex are wrong and that transgender identity is a lie—are “not ‘religious’ beliefs.” This assertion would surprise the bill’s authors, who described their measure as “AN ACT … TO PROVIDE CERTAIN PROTECTIONS REGARDING A SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF” and referenced “religious belief” 22 times in its text. […]

    The brief refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of transgender identities, instead repeatedly referring to “transgender behavior.” […]

    Bryant’s attorneys write that “there is nothing a federal court can do to remove an endorsement of religion that appears in a duly enacted law.” That would be news to the multiple Supreme Court justices who have voted to strike down a law for endorsing religion. […]


    It’s supposed to be a legal brief, but it reads like a religious rant.

  22. says

    “FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump”:

    The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.

    The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said.

    Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

    A key mission of the six-agency group has been to examine who financed the email hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The London-based transparency group WikiLeaks released the emails last summer and in October.

    The working group is scrutinizing the activities of a few Americans who were affiliated with Trump’s campaign or his business empire and of multiple individuals from Russia and other former Soviet nations who had similar connections, the sources said….

  23. says

    One of the many reasons that the presidential election turned out so badly: a new Pew Research survey shows that Fox News was the top source voters watched for election-related news.

    Here are the stats for Trump voters:
    40% say they relied on Fox News
    8% relied on CNN
    7% relied on Facebook
    6% relied on NBC
    5% relied on local news

    Here are the stats for Clinton voters:
    18% relied on CNN
    9% relied on MSNBC
    8% relied on Facebook
    8% relied on local news
    5% relied on The New York Times
    3% relied on Fox News


    Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network in 2016.

  24. says

    And they get on that Harley, usually Harley, made right here in America […]

    From what I’ve gleaned from Google U. (so treat skeptically) they’re put together in the US from parts manufactured in a number of countries.

  25. says

    Kawasaki will no longer advertise on, or participate in any way with “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” The Japanese motoring company cited the reality show’s connection to Donald Trump as the reason for no longer participating.

    […] Once we understood the concerns of American citizens, we have taken the approach of agreeing not to participate in the show in the future as long as Mr. Trump is involved as an executive producer.

    How could we support a show that was essentially created by Mr. Trump and who was still involved?’ The concerns from our own customers, as well as the #grabyourwallet campaign did seize the attention of our executives. […]


  26. says

    Bad news — another uptick in violence with a racist undertone: dozens of Jewish community centers received bomb threats. The threats were spread across the USA. It looks like an organized campaign of intimidation. There were more than twenty threats today alone. This is a continuation of threatening activities that have been taking place over the past few weeks.

    HuffPo link

  27. blf says

    SC@30, Harley-Davidson has(? had?) a factory in Brazil, at least, albeit to the best of my knowledge, they’ve always had, and still have, at least one factory in the States. I presume most units sold in the States are screwed-together in the States.

  28. says

    “Utahns want Chaffetz to probe Trump conflicts, ethics official responds to Chaffetz”:

    Utahns overwhelmingly want Rep. Jason Chaffetz, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to investigate President-elect Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interests — an endeavor Chaffetz has strongly resisted.

    A new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and Hinckley Institute of Politics found 65 [I think it’s 63 – SC] percent of registered voters surveyed in the state support such a probe, compared to just 31 percent opposed.

    The poll comes out amidst ongoing friction between Chaffetz and a top federal ethics official critical about Trump’s handling of his widespread business interests, including foreign ties to Russia….

  29. says

    From the New York Times:

    When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

    In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

    From The Daily Beast:

    In recent years, the trend has been to appoint a Secretary of Energy with real technical expertise. President Bush appointed Samuel Bodman, who had a distinguished career as an MIT-trained chemical engineer before making a fortune in the private sector. President Obama upped the ante, appointing Berkeley’s Steven Chu and MIT’s Ernest Moniz to the position. Both are physicists. Chu has a Nobel Prize.

    Moniz played a critical role in putting the brakes on Iran’s nuclear weapon development.

    Rick Perry studied animal husbandry at Texas A&M University, where he was also a cheerleader.

    Nevertheless, Sean Spicer held a press conference today during which he extolled the high quality of Trump’s cabinet picks. He also assured us that Trump and his team are ready to go on day one, or day three, or whatever.

    Rachel Maddow pointed out that Trump will enter office with gaping holes in major agencies, including the National Security Council.

    Hillary Clinton’s team had a plan to fill all of the National Security Council slots quickly. Clinton knew what she was doing.

  30. says

    Rick Perry gave an opening statement at his Senate confirmation hearing. Here is an excerpt:

    I have learned a great deal about the important work being done every day by the outstanding men and women of the DOE. My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.

  31. says

    From the New York Times, part of an article/interview with President Obama that focused on his love of books:

    […] Last Friday, seven days before his departure from the White House, Mr. Obama sat down in the Oval Office and talked about the indispensable role that books have played during his presidency and throughout his life – from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship, to his youth when they helped him to figure out who he was, what he thought and what was important.

    During his eight years in the White House – in a noisy era of information overload, extreme partisanship and knee-jerk reactions – books were a sustaining source of ideas and inspiration, and gave him a renewed appreciation for the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition.

    Here is an excerpt rom a Trump interview with Axios co-founders Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei. Trump was asked what book is on his nightstand, and he held up a book on his desk, “Adams v Jefferson,” by John Ferling. The reporters asked if Trump would recommend reading it. “No, I wouldn’t,” Trump replied.:

    Q: Is there [a book] you actually like that you’d recommend?

    TRUMP: I like a lot of books. I like reading books. I don’t have the time to read very much now in terms of the books, but I like reading them. This one is just one that just came out. [Trump holds up a book about himself.] CNN. The CNN book just came out.

    During the presidential campaign, Trump was asked about reading books several times. Just before election day, he answered the question by naming two of his ghost-written books: “Surviving at the Top” and “The Art of the Deal.”

    We already know that Trump does not want to read briefing reports. Kellyanne Conway once admitted that to get Trump’s attention, one needed to speak to him through the TV. Apparently, she is sometimes speaking to Trump when she is interviewed on a TV program.

  32. says

    “Elijah Cummings: ‘If the public knew what Congress knows’ they would boycott the inauguration too”:

    ep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Thursday asserted that the general public would boycott Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration if they had access to classified information about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

    “You’ve got to understand that members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” Cummings said. “And I can tell you over the last week or two, the classified briefings that I have been to, and if the public knew what members of Congress know…”

    Cummings argued that Congress needed to move forward with an investigation into the role both Russia and FBI Director James Comey played in influencing the U.S. election so that more information could be released to the public….

    (Cummings is attending, but supports those who are boycotting.)

  33. says

    “Trump Team Plans to Eliminate National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities”:

    The Hill has gotten a first look at the federal budget in the works by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, and it is, to put it mildly, brutal.

    In an effort to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, the plan calls for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEA). In addition, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would be privatized.

    The NEA’s current budget is $146 million, which, according to the agency, represents “just 0.012% … of federal discretionary spending.” The NEH also has a budget of $146 million. The CPB receives $445.5 million. By comparison, the budget for the Department of Defense is $607 billion.

    The website notes that the Trump budget is modeled after a plan published last year by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank “that has helped staff the Trump transition.” That plan calls for the elimination of many more government programs, including the Minority Business Development Agency, Violence Against Women Grants, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Hill adds that Trump’s plan also aligns with a 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee, which is a caucus representing a slight majority of (172 out of 247) House Republicans….

  34. says

    “Congress moves to give away national lands, discounting billions in revenue: Though recreation on federal lands creates $646bn in economic stimulus and 6.1m jobs, Republicans are setting in motion a giveaway of Americans’ birthright”:

    In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.

    At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn in economic stimulus from recreation on federal lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.

    Essentially, the revised budget rules deny that federal land has any value at all, allowing the new Congress to sidestep requirements that a bill giving away a piece of federal land does not decrease federal revenue or contribute to the federal debt.

    Republican eagerness to cede federal land to local governments for possible sale, mining or development is already moving states to act. Western states, where most federal land is concentrated, are already introducing legislation that pave the way for land transfers.

    In 2015, Bishop and fellow Utah representative Chris Stewart formed the Federal Land Action Group, a congressional team with the specific intent to come up with a framework for transferring public land. “Washington bureaucrats don’t listen to people,” Bishop said in a statement. “Local governments do.”

    But Rowsome argues that’s a populist message without any popular support, pushed by a small faction of legislators with support from industries like mining and energy. Despite the Republican message that Washington has overstepped in designating national parks and monuments, a 2016 study found that 95% of the American public believes that National Parks are worth protecting and 80% said they’d be willing to pay higher taxes to do so.

    “Western Republicans that are perpetuating the idea are very well funded by the oil and gas industry during their campaign,” Rowsome said. “It’s special interests wielding power for an agenda that will advance their goal. Nearly 90% of BLM lands are already open, but they can’t stop trying to get more.”…

  35. says

    “How He and His Cronies Stole Russia”:

    …Since 2000, Russia has been ruled by a revanchist, revisionist elite with origins in the old KGB. This elite had been working its way back to power since the late 1980s, using theft on a grand scale, taking advantage of the secrecy provided by Western offshore havens, and cooperating with organized crime.

    Once in power, the new elite sought to maintain control using the same methods that the KGB always used to maintain control: through the manipulation of public emotion, and by undermining the institutions of the West, and the ideals of the West, in any way that it can. Based on its record so far, it has every reason to expect continued success.

  36. says

    “Investigators on the Trump-Russia Beat Should Talk to This Man”:

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced it was commencing an investigation of Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign that would include an examination of connections between Russia and the Trump camp. And a veiled but public exchange between Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the committee, and FBI Director James Comey during a hearing on January 10 suggested the FBI has collected information on possible ties between Trump associates and Russians and may still be probing this matter. So with subpoena-wielding investigators on this beat, here’s a suggestion: The gumshoes ought to talk to an American from Belarus named Sergei Millian, who has boasted of close ties to Trump and who has worked with an outfit the FBI suspected of being a Russian intelligence front. If they haven’t already….

  37. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    The District of Columbia (aka Washington, DC) has, not surprisingly, a highly progressive government. There is, for example, a longstanding ban on firearms (partially overturned by the Supreme Court), legalized marijuana, funding of abortions, and physician assisted suicide.

    However, the US government has jurisdiction over DC, and can overturn any law it wants to. In practice, that hasn’t happened much over the past 40 years. But Republicans in Congress, those champions of small government and local control, will every now and then threaten to overturn one law or another. Usually those threats don’t go far, but now that the gop has control over the Congress and the Presidency, their knives are out and they’re ready to cut.

    Congressional Republicans are making an aggressive push to gut the District’s progressive policies, introducing bills in recent days to repeal the heavily Democratic city’s gun-control measures, undo its new law allowing physician-assisted suicide and ban the District from using local tax dollars to provide abortions for poor women.

    The bills have begun arriving on the eve of President Obama’s departure from the White House, where he has stifled repeated attempts to pass similar measures with a veto threat.

    Those decisions will soon be in the hands of President-elect Donald Trump, and conservative House members said they think that Trump will not impede the will of a newly emboldened ­Republican-led Congress.

    All the more reason to push for DC statehood.

  38. Hj Hornbeck says

    Sorry Americans, but it appears you’ll be without a government in less than two days.

    Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far.

    The Atlantic’s Russell Berman had a good story two weeks ago about how far behind Trump was. Since then? If anything, it’s getting worse — he’s added only two of those 28 since Jan. 5. As Berman reported, the Partnership for Public Service suggested a president should have “100 Senate-confirmed appointees in place on or around Inauguration Day.” At this pace, he won’t have 100 nominees by the end of February, let alone having them confirmed and hard at work.

    Hopefully no foreign government tries to hack the place, either.

    Much of the speculation focuses on the [National Security Council], which plays the vital role of coordinating foreign policy and national security within the White House. NSC aides refine and advise the president on competing policy options generated throughout the federal government.

    But the Trump team has also not yet announced any appointments below the Cabinet level for the departments of State or Defense, leaving many more important posts open days before Trump’s inauguration.

    “This isn’t getting attention it deserves. Who will run and implement policy? Right now there is a big vacuum,” Max Boot, a military historian and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted Tuesday.

    All the work that Obama’s transition team put in appears to have been wasted.

  39. blf says

    Bangladesh’s plan to allow some child marriages is ‘step backwards’:

    Bangladesh will be taking a step backwards in efforts to end child marriage if parliament approves changes to a law that would permit girls below 18 to be married in special cases, a global alliance of charities said last week.

    The nation has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, despite a decades-old law that bans marriage for girls under 18 and men under 21.


    The proposed law was open to abuse since it gave no definition of the term “special cases”, Girls Not Brides [a coalition of more than 650 charities] said.


    Along with Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Guinea, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, Bangladesh is among the eight countries with the highest rates of child marriage, despite moves to strengthen law enforcement and toughen penalties against the crime.

    In 2011, 32.5% of girls aged between 15 and 19 were married compared with 37.5% a decade before, said Girls Not Brides, citing data from Bangladesh’s Bureau of Statistics.

    [… G]irls face a greater risk of rape, domestic violence and forced pregnancies — which may put their lives in danger — as a result of being married as children.

    Child brides are often denied the chance to go to school, are isolated from society and forced into lives of economic dependence as wives and mothers.


    The accompanying older(Nov-2015) photo-essay, Escaping child marriage in Bangladesh is heartwarming.

  40. says

    Hornbeck @50, Republicans, including the Trump team, are already blaming Democrats for the parlous condition of the transition. (That is, they are throwing blame around whenever they are not busy claiming the opposite: that everything is going well and they have it all under control.)

    I think the Trump team just really goofed up. They dived into deep waters and drowned. Hillary was ready to fill those 690 positions. Trump is woefully unprepared to do the same.

  41. says

    This is good news. It is uplifting news, and man do I need some uplifting news on a day when the media is covering Trump flying here and there, and Trump appearing at the Lincoln Memorial. Donna Carpenter, the woman that co-owns Burton Snowboards is paying for some of her employees to attend the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

    Carpenter is offering $250 toward a plane ticket, plus two nights in a hotel for each employee attending the march. Carpenter has talked about women’s rights before:

    […] I have been working on the issue of gender equality at Burton for 13 years now. It’s been a passion of mine to find more women leaders internally and externally, and to make sure that women feel that they’re as much a part of the snowboarding community as men are.

    Thirteen years ago, less than 10 percent of our leaders were women and now it’s over 40 percent. My senior team is fifty-fifty. It’s made us a better company. All the men appreciate that we’re more family-friendly, and that we’ve started to look at employees more holistically. When you address women’s issues, you address work-life balance and quality of life. […]

  42. says

    As Steve Benen so aptly put it, “A good move borne of desperation.”

    President-elect Donald Trump has asked roughly 50 senior Obama administration appointees to remain in their posts after his inauguration to ensure continuity in government, his incoming White House press secretary said Thursday. The officials include the highest-ranking career officials at key national security agencies like the Pentagon and State Department.

  43. says

    Steve Mnuchin forgot to mention his pocket change: $100 million in assets.

    He also forgot to mention that he directs an investment fund located in a tax haven. Democrats called Mnuchin on his failure to disclose those little, insignificant items. /sarcasm

    Steven T. Mnuchin is President-elect Trump’s pick to be Treasury secretary.

  44. says

    “Arizona lawmaker would keep some students from voting”:

    …HB 2260 would make it illegal to use a dormitory address “or other temporary college or university address” like an apartment to register to vote. Instead, Arizona law would presume these to be “a temporary address with intent to return to some other permanent address.”

    Thorpe’s legislation also comes just months after voters in Flagstaff approved an initiative to eventually move that city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    What Thorpe proposes would have statewide effect on candidate, bond and initiative elections in communities with public and private colleges with students in residence on or near the campus.

    Separately, Thorpe has crafted HB 2124 to not only bar local communities from ever enacting their own “living wage” laws higher than the state minimum, but also retroactively repeal what Flagstaff voters approved in November.

    And he proposes in HB 2255 to make it illegal for individuals and businesses who do not reside in Arizona to contribute money in support or opposition to ballot measures.

    Thorpe declined to speak about any of his proposals….

    This is the same guy pushing the bill I mentioned on the previous thread to cut funding for universities teaching social-justice courses.

  45. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Given the likely rainy waither, my wife and I have a cheer for the inauguration plan to cheer, “William Henry Harrison, William Henry Harrison…”

  46. says

    “Republican Lawmakers in Five States Propose Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest”:

    On Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington will kick off what opponents of the incoming administration hope will be a new era of demonstrations against the Republican agenda. But in some states, nonviolent demonstrating may soon carry increased legal risks — including punishing fines and significant prison terms — for people who participate in protests involving civil disobedience. Over the past few weeks, Republican legislators across the country have quietly introduced a number of proposals to criminalize and discourage peaceful protest.

    The proposals, which strengthen or supplement existing laws addressing the blocking or obstructing of traffic, come in response to a string of high-profile highway closures and other actions led by Black Lives Matter activists and opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Republicans reasonably expect an invigorated protest movement during the Trump years.

    In North Dakota, for instance, Republicans introduced a bill last week that would allow motorists to run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway as long as a driver does so accidentally. In Minnesota, a bill introduced by Republicans last week seeks to dramatically stiffen fines for freeway protests and would allow prosecutors to seek a full year of jail time for protesters blocking a highway. Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that are deemed “economic terrorism.” Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protestors and would make it easier for businesses to sue individual protestors for their actions. And in Iowa a Republican lawmaker has pledged to introduce legislation to crack down on highway protests….

  47. Saad says

    SC, #69

    I’m not worried. All those people who stand up for free speech will take care of this.


  48. Hj Hornbeck says

    More on the transition:

    At a White House function Monday for Obama aides who have served for all eight years of the administration, senior officials were heard wondering aloud whether to expect any contact from the Trump administration before they packed their desks and vacated their offices.

    “People running major offices in the White House currently have had no contact with their successors,” said one person who attended the function. “It is stunning. And we always kept thinking they’re going to have a plan, they’re going to come through at the last minute. We’re less than 48 hours away. This should be concerning to anyone.”

    Buried at the end is this little tidbit:

    Unlike his predecessors, Trump hasn’t named a decorator to assist in redesigning and personalizing his private living quarters and the Oval Office.

    The National Gallery of Art, which has lent artwork to White Houses dating back decades, say they haven’t received any requests from Trump or his team. Meanwhile, the selection of 20th Century art the Obamas used to decorate their own living quarters has been returned.

    Even Trump can’t picture himself in the White House, I guess.

  49. blf says

    How to Trump-proof your life […] (video): “[…] Donald Trump will become president of the United States. If this cold, hard fact doesn’t fill you with joy and relief, then you may need to Trump-proof your life. Follow our easy steps”. In summary, transcribed from the video:

    (1) Join a group…
    (2) Donate to a group…
    (3) March! (Protest!)
    (4) Pressure elected officials…
    (5) Bolster your data security…
    (6) Support independent media…
    (7) Protect youself…

    The video includes short explanations, links and suggested contacts, &tc…

  50. says

    Hornbeck @71, Trump is already calling Mar-a-Lago “the winter White House.” I think Trump considers his home in Trump Tower in New York, and his place in Florida, as the real centers of power. He is too ignorant to comprehend the centers of power in Washington D.C.

    I saw a report that Melania will have a “glam room” in the White House. It will be dedicated to her hair and makeup needs.

  51. says

    A better thing to watch than Trump’s inauguration: Rachel Maddow discussing Obama’s legacy of extraordinary accomplishments.

    The video is 16:19 minutes long.

    Maddow makes the point that if these accomplishments mean anything to us, we are now in “Defense Mode.”

    After a long intro that talks about the background of Supreme Court Justice Sotamayor, Maddow shows with data, graphics, and lists the really astounding good that was accomplished by President Obama.

    Here is a link to the video documenting the legacy of accomplishments that is really the summary version of the first link above, without all of the Sotomayor background.

  52. hjhornbeck says

    Elijah Cummings, dragging Jason Chaffetz:

    This week, Director [Walter] Shaub sent you a letter agreeing to meet – again – but requesting this time that the meeting be held in public. He made it clear that he would participate even if you did not agree, but his strong preference was for transparency. Given the misrepresentations that have been made about Director Shaub to date, one can hardly blame him.

    In response to this letter, your office has now informed Director Shaub that you have withdrawn your subpoena threat and that you will not force him to participate in a transcribed interview. That is a positive step in the right direction. However, your office has also informed Director Shaub that you will not agree to a public meeting. Instead, your office scheduled a closed-door meeting on Monday with just you, Director Shaub, and myself.

    And he footnoted extensively! Barely know the guy, but I love’m already.

  53. hjhornbeck says

    Scenes from Deplorable America an inauguration, via Jared Yates Sexton:

    Everywhere you go people in Trump and Clinton gear are segregated, staring daggers. Not a comfortable scene by any measure.

    Man in Trump gear with family, walking by protestors: “Got to make sure I don’t drop my wallet so a bunch of faggots don’t bump up on me”

    This isn’t about government. This is about winning.

    People are saying, in so many words, that this is about spitting liberals and multiculturalism. They’re celebrating it openly.

    This isn’t about left and right, Democrat or Republican, this is about two very different strains of Americans. It’s about prideful hate.

    Such a weird divide. Trump supporters are just jubilant. So many downtrodden protestors. Couldn’t be a better metaphor for 2017 America.

  54. hjhornbeck says

    [insert bemused cackling]

    Several people noticed and remarked on Twitter that the image featured above Trump’s new account is actually from a Getty photo taken on January 20, 2009, as the nation welcomed President Barack Obama to the helm.

  55. says

    Remember all those times when we were told, (or were hoping), that Trump would stop being so ignorant and obnoxious and start being more presidential? Remember when we hoped that, against all evidence, Trump was capable of learning?

    All of those hopes are dashed. Trump is the president, but he still can’t give a speech that unites people. He is still in doom-sayer mode just as he was during the campaign. And he still thinks that inner cities [translate to “black communities] are hell holes. Here is an except from Trump’s “I am the King of the World” inauguration speech that featured ultra bleak pictures of all the problems the king has to solve:

    […] Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

    “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. […]

    “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

    “One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. […]

    Barack and Michelle Obama had to sit through that.

    Fresh off the presentation of Obama’s accomplishments (see comment 78), Trump’s rhetoric comes off as not just gloomy and demagogic, but also false.

    And since when is our education system “flush with cash”? That sounds like Betsy Devos’ dream about pilfering from public education funds.

    Trump’s inauguration speech was similar to his Republican convention speech. Trump is the real dystopian nightmare.

    Trump also continued to pretend to be anti-elite, pro-working-man, etc. while he was standing there backed up by the billionaires and millionaires that make up his cabinet.

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When I took a car in for a minor repair, Trump was talking about there are people in DC finally listening to people.
    Yep, he is listening to the people who want to pilfer the US lands and Treasury, all the while ignoring the voices crying for healthcare protection. Sounds to me like he is listening only to the delusions in his mind, and is incapable of actually listening to what people desire.

  57. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Trump chose a homophobic, Islamophobic pastor to deliver his private pre-inaugural sermon.

    But hey, at least he gave equal time to anti-Semites.

    During Donald Trump’s campaign for president, the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, asked him to stop using the phrase “America First” to describe his foreign policy views. As the ADL explained, the slogan was used by people who warned, ahead of World War II, that Jewish Americans were pushing the U.S. to enter the war because they put their own interests ahead of the country’s.

  58. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I stopped with one diptych of Obama bing sworn in on one half and Drumph being sworn in the other half. Obama is a big smile while Trump has a grumpy face. To me that said it all.
    Trump is NOT happy to be President. He’ll act out his pain on all of us.

  59. says

    Nerd @87, I think Trump hears himself talk, and he also hears the voice of Steve Bannon inside his head.

    Followup to Hornbeck’s comments 84 and 85. On another subject, here is some of Wonkette’s coverage of the fact that the White House website has been purged of gays and climate change:

    Terrific news, America! Climate Change is over! So is Global Warming! Unfortunately, LGBTQ people have also ceased to be — at the White House website, at least.

    We warned you as the Inauguration was just ending, when a sharp Twitter user noticed a change at the Department of Labor: “It’s only been 25 min and the Dept. of Labor’s report on Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights has been taken down.”

    For the moment, they haven’t taken down the Labor Department’s page busting myths about increasing the minimum wage. Give them a few hours. […]

    We decided to do a little looking around ourselves, with variations. No LGBT, LGBTQ, gay rights, or marriage equality in the White House any more. But there is one hit for “gay”: a single use of the old correct meaning of “happy,” exactly as the New Order would have it.

    And, yes, “climate change” is also gone, as is “affordable care act”. On the other hand “radical Islamic terror” has been added.

  60. says

    An excerpt from Wonkette’s live blog of Trump’s inauguration:

    […] 4:04 Rachel Maddow just WENT THERE, noting that this will be the first inaugural parade with a huge military aircraft flyover since Truman in 1949, and commenting that Trump’s fascination with military parades is “embarrassing” that the “only president with no public service or military experience being the one who most wants to show off the military, when your only military experience was getting deferments … I mean, you got multiple deferments from the war that happened when you were in your prime, and you want to show off the military once you’re in office? I hope there’s another explanation.” Kudos for not playing along with Chris Matthews’s giggling “you think it’s a small hands thing?”

    4:12 Trump is approaching his probably illegal hotel. Will he get out and walk? Will he just go in and take a nap? Slap around a bellhop?

    4:18 Donald Trump has emerged from his vehicle and…HE SEES HIS SHADOW! 4 MORE YEARS OF FASCISM! […]

    empty grandstands right in front of the White House. So much for the paid seat-fillers! WEAK! PATHETIC!

  61. says

    “Report: ‘Net neutrality’ foe Ajit Pai is new FCC head”:

    President Donald Trump has reportedly picked a fierce critic of the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules to be chief regulator of the nation’s airwaves and internet connections.

    Citing unidentified people, Bloomberg and Politico both reported Friday that the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will be Ajit Pai, an old hand at the agency. Pai’s chief of staff, Matthew Berry, declined to comment. Neither Trump administration spokesman Bryan Lanza nor FCC spokesmen immediately replied to requests for comment.

    Pai is one of the two Republican commissioners on a 5-member panel that regulates the country’s communications infrastructure, including TV, phone and internet service.

    The Republicans’ FCC majority would help them roll back pro-consumer policies that upset many phone and cable industry groups, including net neutrality rules that bar internet service providers from favoring some websites and apps over others….

  62. says

    “Trump Lays Down His Law: In a terrifying speech, the new president made clear that freedom and justice are not his concern”:

    Trump seems virtually unaware that presidential powers have constitutional limits or that judges strive to apply neutral law regardless of the named parties. He seems uninterested in the fact that governmental checks and balances make us all more free. He is unburdened by the knowledge that protest, assembly, and a free press are the cornerstones of liberty. So nobody should be surprised that not a word about the courts, the law, or the Constitution were uttered today, or that law to him means “law enforcement officers” and nothing more. We should be terrified, though.

    This was a speech that seemed to conflate freedom with patriotism: The most soaring sentence of the oration posited that the “bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.” That is not a statement about the rule of law, nor is it a tenet of constitutional democracy. It is a pledge of fealty, in which the law—real justice—finds no place…. It was a speech with no mention or awareness of the fact that the president’s power derives from the Constitution to which he swore an oath this morning, or that the people’s freedom derives from the same….

  63. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    I just got an email that there was a new document in my eOPF folder — all of the documents concerning pay, grade, insurance, etc. Logged. Just a notification that my ‘Self-plus-1″ insurance change was active as of January 8 (saving me about $30.00 a month (thank you ACA (yeah, think that’ll last?))). On the welcome page, up at the top, in a really hard to read font, it read, “A new day for federal workers.”

    Yeah. That’s what has me scared.

  64. hjhornbeck says


    Per @womensmarch organizers, they’re increasing today’s turnout estimates to 500,000 participants. Be patient & kind! #WomensMarch

    1. My train to the inauguration; [a few people standing]
    2. My train to the Women’s March — or it was supposed to be, but it was too full for me to get on.

    And according to NPR,

    Sister marches have been organized in all 50 states, and in countries around the world. They have been organized to express solidarity with the aims of the original march: opposition to President Trump’s agenda, and support of women’s rights and human rights in general.

    Given the quirks of time zones, many of those marches kicked off before the event that inspired them. In Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Bangkok, Delhi, Cape Town, and other cities, protesters have already broken out their signs and pink hats in solidarity. […]

    There were even “marchers” in Antarctica. Linda Zunas, a reseacher in a remote corner of the continent called Paradise Bay, told The Independent that she organized a group of 30 people with banners reading “Penguins for peace” and “love from seven continents.”

    I hope a few Republicans are getting second thoughts…

  65. says

    Trump’s new Attorney General and some other members of the Justice Department are not yet in place, but the Trump administration has moved to delay a hearing in Texas on a voting rights case.

    I would add this delay to the accounting of bad news that PZ posted in the “Stop tolerating the intolerable” thread. Expect the Republicans to push harder than they already have to give a free pass to legislation that is “racially motivated” and that will restrict voting rights. The “racially motivated” quote comes from a United States District Court judge in the southern district of the Corpus Christi division of Texas.

    Maddow link. The video is 6:01minutes long.

  66. says

    Trump plagiarized the Bee Movie for some of the text he read at his inauguration speech.

    Bee Movie:

    We are one colony — and their pain is our pain. their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one hear, one hive, and one glorious destiny.

    Trump’s inaugural speech:

    We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

    From Chrissy Teigen:

    @paulythegun @nuitnah I just watched bee movie 4 times. On each tv in the house and can verify it is the same quote and on each tv

  67. says

    I suspected as much. A White House official confirmed that Trump’s inaugural speech was written by Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. Republicans elected Steve Bannon, and he has a writer to help him puppet-master the Orange Dumpster Fire.

    Trump’s apocalyptic inaugural address was pure Steve Bannon, and a White House official now confirms that it was written by Bannon and Stephen Miller. In another of those weird recent attempts to draw historic parallels between Trump and Andrew Jackson, Bannon is quoted as saying, “I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House. It’s got a deep, deep root of patriotism.”

    But if you read Jackson’s first inaugural address, it is full of the modesty, humility, self-deprecation and traditional appeals to our better nature that are historically associated with presidential inaugural addresses. There is nothing in it on par with Trump’s “American carnage.”

    Delivered in March 1829, almost 188 years ago, it contains little evidence of the characterological traits of Jackson’s that define his historic persona. It’s subdued. Whatever you think of the controversies Jackson went on to ignite in his two terms as president, it began with a speech that gave dutiful nods to history, declined to elevate the self, and placed his own moment within the continuum of his predecessors. It was a thoroughly anti-Trumpian address. Here’s the full text (the Library of Congress has images of the handwritten draft) […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  68. says

    The crowd size estimates:
    Trump 2017: 250,000
    Obama 2013: 1,000,000
    Obama 2009: 1,800,000
    Women’s March 2017: 500,000

    Yes, that’s right, twice as many people attending the Women’s March rally as attended Trump’s inauguration.

    The Women’s March requested 1,000 more bus permits than were needed for Trump’s inauguration.

    The crowds of people walking to the Women’s March went on for blocks and blocks.

    From Laura Litvan:

    D.C. Metro says as of 11 a.m. 275k people rode. That’s 8 times more than typical Saturday and 82k more than same time yday #WomensMarch

    Lots of good photos and some videos are available at Think Progress

    So much more fun to watch the Women’s March than it is to tune in to coverage of Trump looking uncomfortable in church.

  69. says

    It’s amusing to see some of the signs being carried by women in other countries:
    “Trump in a BLERT.”
    “A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance” [with drawing of Princess Leia]
    “Uteruses before duderuses” [#womensmarchlondon]
    “Trump is a bad Arl Arse!”
    “Scouse solidarity with our sisters in America”
    “Women for Climate Justice, The women’s Global Call for Climate Justice” [Paris]
    “A woman is somebody, not some body” [Paris]
    “Don’t make America hate again.” [Paris]

    Translation needed for “Arl Arse” and “Blert”.

  70. Hj Hornbeck says

    Interesting news, from Chicago:

    Initially, organizers estimated the event would draw 22,000 people and later said it would be closer to 50,000 for the Women’s March on Chicago — one of more than 200-plus such across the globe aimed at sending a message to newly minted U.S. President Donald Trump: that women’s rights shouldn’t be ignored.

    Unfortunately, they got it wrong.

    While the rally will go on, the march portion of the Women’s March on Chicago has been canceled after a mushrooming crowd of 150,000 packed the downtown event Saturday.

    “Our march route is flooded. There is no safe way to march. We are just going to sing and dance and make our voices heard here,” rally and march co-chairwoman Ann Scholhmer told the crowd at Jackson and Columbus drives just before 11 a.m.

    This is the general trend across the US; Twitter is filling up with crowd shots that put Trump’s inauguration to shame, and each is in a different city.

  71. says

    From an unidentified little girl carrying a sign in the Women’s March: “I can vote in 11 years and my vote will count.!”

    From an unidentified young white man wearing a pink hat: “Raised by Women.”

    On the other hand, there were a few anti-feminist protestors, all of them men:

    Self proclaimed anti-feminist men came out to protest the protest, attracting some attention from #womensmarch

    One guy held a sign that read “Wives, submit yourselves […]”. Women and men who were part of the Women’s March surrounded the anti-feminists to give them the finger. Nice photo at the link.

  72. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wives, submit yourselves

    “obey” by either party was not in the marriage vows the Redhead and I exchanged. Which is the way it should be, and is if you aren’t a bigot.

  73. says

    From Elizabeth Warren at the Women’s March in Boston:

    Now we can whimper, we can whine, or we can fight back. Me, I’m here to fight back. […]

    The fact is that the playing field has been tilted badly in favor of those at the top for a generation now. And now, President Trump and the Republican Congress are ready to ram through laws that will tilt it even harder. […]

  74. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    I keep running across Trump lying about things that are minor, inconsequential. I was reminded of this quote (attributed the Albert Einstein but I’m not sure of the provenance):

    “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”

  75. says

    Other signs from the Women’s March

    “My arms are tired from holding this sign since the 1960s.”

    “I can’t believe I still have to protest this fucking shit.”

    “Girls just want to have FUN…damental rights”

    “I’m not usually a sign girl but geez”

    Two little girls held a sign that read, “You can’t comb over racism.”

    From Antartica: “Penguins for Peace.”

    Meanwhile, Libertarians 4 Trump posted images and text that claim women are marching to put their fellow women in burkas and in chains.

    From the rightwing there are also a lot of postings that fall into the category of “women are being attacked with acid in Muslim countries, and you are complaining about the cost of birth control.” Another major rightwing category of comments is represented by, “Women’s March What a lame attempt to undermine our President. Our President has so many women in the White House and Cabinet. Look at facts!

    From the religious rightwing: “Please pray especially for adults who are leading children to consort with the powers of darkness at the #WomensMarch today.

    Just so I don’t have to end this post with rightwing rubbish, here’s a good sign from the Women’s March in San Francisco: “So bad, even introverts are here.”

  76. says

    Using his old account, Trump tweeted this on his today: ““I am honered to serve you, the great American people, as your 45th President of the United States!”

    Twelve minutes later, he deleted the tweet with the spelling error and posted a corrected version. He then posted the same message on his new @POTUS twitter account, with the correct spelling.

    Trump may have broken the law when he deleted the first tweet. The Presidential Records Act requires all communications from or received by the president to be preserved.

    A lot of other people are preserving the first tweet, including elementary-school-age children, who seem to get a lot of pleasure out of catching the error.

  77. says

    Another sign from the Women’s March, this one held by a youngish white guy: “SUPER CALLOUS FASCIST RACIST EXTRA BRAGGADOCIOUS”

    A woman wore this sandwich board-like sign: “Good science doesn’t lie. Bad presidents do.”

    A young man of indeterminate race, and wearing a pink hat, held this sign: HEY DONALD YOUR WIFE SAID “STOP BULLYING”


    A few more:

    “SEX OFFENDERS CAN’T LIVE IN GOVERNMENT HOUSING” [illustrated with a drawing of the White House]

    From what looks like a married couple, the woman holds a sign that says: BITCHES GET SHIT DONE #FuckTrump; and the man hold a sign that says: I ALSO FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS.

  78. says

    A few estimates of crowd size from Women’s Marches:
    500,000 + in Washington D.C.
    300,000 in NYC
    150,000 in Chicago
    125,000 in Boston
    50,000 in Austin, TX
    15,000 in St. Louis
    10,000 in Portland, ME

  79. says

    This is a followup to comment 114.

    Regarding that plagiarized cake design:

    […] Tiffany MacIsaac, owner of Washington’s Buttercream Bakeshop, posted a photo and explanation.

    According to an interview with the Washington Post, MacIssac got a call from a client asking the bakery to recreate the 2013 inauguration cake. She told them that she would prefer to use it as inspiration, but she told the Post that the client insisted on replicating it.

    She said that she did not want to discriminate against the client, but that she would be donating the money from the cake to the Human Rights Campaign.

    “I’m a small-business owner and one of the things I’m very, very proud about is that I don’t discriminate,” MacIsaac told the Post. “I would never turn someone away based on their age, their sex, their sexual orientation, their political views. It’s just not the way we operate.”


    This might fall into the category Ogvorbis was highlighting earlier: it’s the little things.

  80. says

    Thanks, microraptor @117, for the correction.

    In other news, holy crap! Sean Spicer went off the deep end in the press conference he gave today:

    […] “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said with emphasis. “Both in person and around the globe.”

    He accused the media of “deliberately false reporting” both with regard to photos of the crowd that were published as well as crowd estimates.

    “No one had numbers. Because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out,” Spicer said.

    “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” he added. […]

    Crowds at Trump’s inauguration didn’t appear to measure up to those at Barack Obama’s inaugurations, according to the D.C. metro authority’s initial ridership estimates.

    Spicer hit the assembled White House press corps with some different numbers, though: He claimed that 420,000 people used the D.C. metro on Trump’s Inauguration Day, compared to 317,000 for Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

    Those numbers simply don’t match up with what Metro has reported. According to the Washington Post, Metro said 570,557 people took trips on Friday in total, compared with 1.1 million trips at Obama’s 2009 inauguration and 782,000 at his 2013 inauguration.

    Sounds like Spicer made shit up.

    Aerial photos of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration had shown much open space on the National Mall when compared side-by-side with an aerial photo of Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

    Spicer told reporters in the White House briefing room that Trump’s inauguration was the first to use floor coverings to protect the grass on the National Mall. He said that aerial photos framed around the area of those floor coverings were misleading because the coverings had the effect of highlighting spaces where people were not standing.

    That’s true about the floor covering, however, all media coverage I saw took that into account. Furthermore, Spicer himself praised a side-by-side photo presentation by The New York Times which plainly shows more people at Obama’s inauguration. And, yes, you can easily tell where people are standing when the floor coverings are there, and, more importantly, when they were not there. OMG can you ever see the difference: Look for yourself, link

    You should watch Spicer give this statement, which was not a press conference (no questions were taken). Spicer blew a gasket. He is lying and he is scolding the media. Scroll down at the link for the video. This display of pique and stupidity is terrible, awful.

    Talking Points Memo link

    Earlier in the day, Trump had also excoriated the press during a speech he gave when he met with employees at the CIA.

    On his first full day in the White House, President Trump went to the CIA presumably to try and offer an olive branch to members of the intelligence community he often maligned over their conclusions that Russia had conspired to influence the U.S. elections.

    Instead, he falsely denied that he had ever criticized the agency, falsely inflated the crowd size at his inauguration on Friday, attacked the media and told intelligence officers gathered to, “Trust me. I’m like a smart person.” […]

    “There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump,” the president boasted, referring to himself in the third person.

    He said that the agency sometimes hadn’t gotten the backing they deserved from the White House, and promised that “you’re going to get so much backing, maybe you’re going to say, ‘please don’t give us so much backing'” — adapting a line he said many times during the campaign.

    He ended his remarks by telling those gathered that, “I love you. I respect you. There’s nobody I respect more. You’re going to do a fantastic job. We’re going to start winning again, and you’re going to lead the charge” in helping combat ISIS. […]

    Referencing his “running war with the media” and calling them “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” — a line which got laughs and applause from the crowd of CIA officers — he claimed that the press had misreported what he’s said in the past.

    “They sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community,” Trump said. “And I just wanted to let you know, the reason you’re the No. 1 stop, it is exactly the opposite, and they understand that.”

    I guess likening the intelligence community to “Nazis” was just a joke, eh? And accusing former CIA Director Brennan of leaking damaging information was also just a joke?

    But Trump continued bashing the media, launching into a tirade claiming that the crowd sizes during his inauguration yesterday were being misrepresented.

    “We had a massive field of people. You saw that. Packed,” he said. “I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, they show an empty field. I said, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, it looked like a million, a million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.”

    “It went all the way back to the Washington Monument,” Trump claimed. […]

    […] according to aerial photos and multiple NPR reporters on the ground, the crowd was nowhere near the Washington Monument. The mall area near the monument was sparsely populated, and Trump didn’t offer any verification for where the 1 million to 1.5 million estimate came from, or for knocking down one news report’s estimate that there were only 250,000 people in attendance.

    NPR link

    Holy crap. I think that Trump and his team know that they cannot really compete with reality so they have decided to continue their campaign to discredit the real journalists who bring us the facts.

  81. says

    Spicer did not mention the many Women’s Marches that took place today except to mention that the crowd sizes were not reported accurately.

  82. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Re the crowd size at the inauguration, check out tomorrow’s Doonesbury (can’t find it online, but we get the Sunday WaPost comics on Saturday). And keep in mind that it was drawn in advance. Hilarious!

  83. says

    Daily Kos also covered the fact that Trump visited the CIA and delivered some whopping lies.

    Just one of bits Trump dropped at the CIA:

    We had something like a million and a half people. It went all the way back to the Washington Monument. Then I turn on the media and they say we had 250,000 people. That’s not bad. But it’s a lie. … We caught them. We caught them in a lie, and it was a beauty.

    His other whopper:

    I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. They made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. … exactly the opposite.

    Trump also repeated to the CIA that “we should have kept the oil,” referring to Iraq. He followed that up with “Maybe we’ll have another chance.” [shudder]

    One thing is clear. As Mark Sumner put it: “Apparently Trump’s Twitter account is part of the dishonest media.” That twitter account is full of Trump’s many denigrating comments about the intelligence community.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Trump told the CIA that the rain miraculously stopped while he was delivering his speech. Nope. No true.

  84. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Trump’s speech at the CIA pissed off at least one former director.

    Former CIA Director John Brennan is “deeply saddened and angered” at President Donald Trump after the commander in chief addressed CIA employees at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on Saturday, Brennan’s former deputy chief of staff says.
    Trump spent much of his speech — which he gave in front of a memorial wall that honors the 117 CIA officers who have fallen in the line of duty — focusing on the size of the crowd size at his inauguration, his appearance on magazine covers and saying he “has a running war with the media.”

    “Former CIA Director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes,” Nick Shapiro said in a statement. “Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself.”

  85. says

    What a Maroon @123, I’m so glad to seeing that some people are standing up to Trump. A lot of people let him get away with despicable behavior. It may just be me, but it seems like more and more people are calling out the lies and the bad behavior.

    I wonder how long it will take Trump to realize that most people don’t like him?

  86. says

    These are the crowd size estimates that come from a former director of crowd logistics:

    Trump 2017: 250,000

    Obama 2013: 1,000,000

    Obama 2009: 1,800,000

    Dan Gross is now a New York City deputy communications director.

    In that twitter feed, Dan Gross also debunks the “blame it on the weather” excuses for the relatively small crowd at Trump’s inauguration. Gross also points out that the protest in NYC last night surpassed the Trump “concert” which was held the day before the inauguration. (14,000 vs 10,000)

    Gross thinks that the low turnout for Trump simply corroborates his low approval rating.

  87. says

    I meant to note in comment 125 that Dan Gross said he was being “generous, very generous” with the 250,000 estimate for the size of the inauguration crowd.

  88. says

    This is a followup to comment 118.

    Kellyanne Conway defended Sean Spicer by saying that Spicer wasn’t lying, he was presenting “alternative facts.”

    “On this matter of crowd size, I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives,” Conway told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s “Meet The Press.”

    “You did not answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood,” Todd interrupted. “Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.”

    “No, it doesn’t. Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck,” Conway replied. “You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point really is—”

    “Wait a minute. Alternative facts? Alternative facts?” Todd interjected, looking incredulous. “Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true.”

    Conway tried to interrupt, but Todd continued.

    “Look, alternative facts are not facts,” he said. […]

    As the President’s press secretary, Spicer has an obligation to try to tell the truth, and to try to get the facts to the press. I now wonder if part of his anger, and his I’m-about-explode demeanor stemmed from being forced to stand at the podium in the White House press room and lie his ass off. I might be giving Spicer too much credit.

    But, in the interview, it sounded like Conway almost said that someone was giving Spicer alternative facts.

  89. says

    Ah. The tactics have shifted. The new argument from Team Trump is that crowd size is not really important.

    Uh, then why did Trump make crowd size part of his speech at the CIA? And why did Spicer make it a major portion of his first official statement to the press? And why is Reince Priebus still employing the old tactic of claiming that the media is lying about the crowd size? No message discipline? Keeping everyone on the same Lie Train is hard?

  90. says

    Representative Mike Pompeo is Trump’s nominee to head the CIA. This is Pompeo sneaking waterboarding and other crimes against humanity in by the back door:

    […] “If confirmed, I will consult with experts at the Agency and at other organizations in the US government on whether the Army Field Manual uniform application is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country,” he wrote. The Army Field Manual currently prohibits the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture.

  91. says

    More crowd size analysis, this time it comes from crowd experts Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still from Metropolitan University in the U.K.

    […] They estimate that, based on available photos and videos, around 160,000 people were on the National Mall during the inauguration. Altenburg and Still added that the women’s march drew 470,000 people on the Mall.

    Trump falsely said on Saturday that more than a million people showed up to the inauguration and that the crowd stretched all the way back to the Washington Monument. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer bashed the media for its reporting on the crowd size, saying falsely that “this was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period both in person and around the globe.”


  92. says

    More proof, as if we need it, that Sean Spicer and Trump lied and then lied again about crowd size.

    The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) says it had its second-busiest traffic day ever for Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, with 1,001,616 rides on the capital’s subway system. […]

    WMATA’s busiest day was in 2009, when former President Barack Obama’s inauguration drew 1.1 million rides. […]

    Metro said it saw higher ridership for the march than for President Trump’s inauguration one day before.


  93. says

    The marches yesterday – including my local event – were great. Exceeded all expectations. I talked to friends/family at different ones and they were all amazed and inspired.

    (Were there any marches in Russia? There weren’t any listed on the sister-marches page, but I thought that might be for security reasons…)

    In breaking and other news:

    It’s being reported that the Trump administration will announce tomorrow that they’ll move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

    Graham and McCain will vote for Tillerson.

    Trump has chosen this guy to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

    Chuck Todd showed some spine in his interview with Kellyanne Conway this morning, particularly in his response to her desperate remark about “alternative facts.”

    Reactions to Trump’s appalling spectacle of an appearance at the CIA, and to his general attitude tooward the IC, have not been positive.

  94. Saad says

    Lynna, #132

    This is extremely worrying. Just imagine what else they will lie about. They’re lying boldly and unashamedly about something that is so clearly false and so easily verifiable by the public and the press. Wait until they start lying about things that the media can’t easily check and things that the public has no chance at all of checking.

  95. says

    Two observations:

    The CIA appearance and the press speech were at once utterly outrageous and…predictably boring. Yes, they were autocratic spectacles, but of the same type we’ve seen for months. Trump’s bombast is a shtick, and it’s already tiresome. His pathological narcissism, dishonesty, vindictiveness, and craving for affirmation are also well known at this point and to be expected. He makes the same false claims over and over – all that changes are the people/entities/organizations/institutions slotted into the “enemy” box. His camp’s spin is the same as the Kremlin’s and its themes are just picked up by his propaganda network and Twitter/comment trolls. The lying and attacks are shocking, but also monotonous. I can read a tweet and almost always predict the line the Trumpists will take. It’s the spectacle of authoritarianism but in a culture that’s already been saturated with spectacle for decades. Yawn. Their policies and administrative actions will be horrifying and harmful and need to be reported and opposed at every turn, but the whole act has already worn thin.

    Also, people keep talking about how Trump is successfully using the press as a foil, but I think we forget that Trump’s attacks could well have the same effect on the press’s side. They’re not all that unpopular, and much of their current unpopularity (among all but diehard Trumpists) stems from their general obsequiousness to power and also their failure to be tough enough on Trump during the campaign and their treatment of Clinton. Most people recognize the need for a free press and will support a media that insists on the truth, refuses to be a court stenographer, and investigates and exposes the powerful. Especially if Trump, who is extremely unpopular, continues to make easily disprovable claims and they focus on getting and telling the real story their credibility and support should rise.

  96. says

    “Conway: ‘We’re going to have to rethink our relationship’ with press”:

    A top aide to President Trump said on Sunday that the new administration is going to “rethink” its relationship with the press.

    “Chuck, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here,” Kellyanne Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” after host Chuck Todd asked about press secretary Sean Spicer’s criticism of the press one day earlier….

    The press should be rethinking their relationship! Don’t air press events live or even necessarily attend, don’t book these propagandists and known fabricators as guests, be more aggressive in calling out their spin and showing the reality, pay attention to the gutting and silencing of independent government information and ethics agencies, cultivate leaks, show solidarity with targeted journalists and outlets, demand independent verification of any administration claims before reporting them, and assume all pronouncements to be untrue until they can be verified.

  97. says

    SC @136, good points.

    For some time, Trump and his team got an almost free pass when they threatened members of the press with various punishments. Some media organizations took at least a baby step back when they were threatened. I don’t think Trump and his team will get away with that much anymore.

    When Conway says, “Chuck, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here,” she is threatening Chuck Todd and NBC with less access to her and to the rest of the Trump administration. It’s a bullying tactic.

    See also comment 127 for the Chuck Todd vs Kellyanne Conway debate over facts and “alternative facts.”

    Even if the Trump team tries to punish Todd for standing up to Conway, I don’t think they can really harm him.

  98. says

    “Trump Promised to Resign From His Companies — But There’s No Record He’s Done So”:

    At a news conference last week, now-President Donald Trump said he and his daughter, Ivanka, had signed paperwork relinquishing control of all Trump-branded companies. Next to him were stacks of papers in manila envelopes — documents he said transferred “complete and total control” of his businesses to his two sons and another longtime employee.

    Sheri Dillon, the Trump attorney who presented the plan, said that Trump “has relinquished leadership and management of the Trump Organization.” Everything would be placed in a family trust by Jan. 20, she said.

    That hasn’t happened.

    To transfer ownership of his biggest companies, Trump has to file a long list of documents in Florida, Delaware and New York. We asked officials in each of those states whether they have received the paperwork. As of 3:15 p.m. today, the officials said they have not.

    Trump and his associates “are not doing what they said they would do,” said Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “And even that was completely inadequate.”…

  99. says

    The petition calling on Trump to release his tax returns is well past the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger an official response. The petition currently has 158,700 signatures.
    White House Petitions page for this petition.

    That system for online petitions was set up by President Obama. What Trump will do with it is unknown. I think people should continue to add their names to the petition. Trump is sensitive to public sentiment.

    The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

  100. blf says

    Trump is sensitive to public sentiment.

    Eh? I’d say: Teh trum-prat is contemptuous to what he is told is public sentiment, except when what he is told he perceives as what popped into his head when he was told.

    Shorter version: If it didn’t pop into his head at the current time, it is false. It must be false, since it isn’t the latest thing which popped into his head.

  101. says

    One more sign from the Women’s March: “OH SHIT HE’S NUTS”

    In a followup to comment 140, here is Kellyanne Conway’s response when questioned about the petition:

    The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.

    That’s the answer they give to a lot of troubling questions: Trump won, so it doesn’t matter.

    That’s not true. Winning the election does not remove the public pressure to release tax returns. Winning the election does not give the Trump team license to lie about anything, including crowd size, and the Women’s March. Obviously, that’s how Trump thinks: he thinks that winning the election gives him an automatic free pass on a lot of subjects. And I think he has infected his team.

    His team are following his lead when pointing to his win as an answer to any question or response to any protest. Here’s an example of Trump’s use of this tactic:

    “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote?” Trump asked on Twitter. “Celebs hurt cause badly,” he said.

  102. says

    blf @141, Trump noticed both public and media attention when Republicans tried to do away with the Ethics committee.

    He notices and he responds. Sometimes he takes credit for walk-backs the public and the media have fostered, like the walk-back on the ethics committee. He didn’t deserve credit, but he took it.

    I think he can be affected if the pushback is massive.

  103. says

    Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday also pushed back against lies:

    “You talk about honesty, and say that this was about honesty,” Wallace said. [Referring to so-called “dishonesty” in the media about crowd size.] “Well, there’s another issue, though, Reince, and that’s the President’s honesty, because two things that he said yesterday were just flat wrong.”

    Good job, Chris Wallace. Yes, it is about Trump’s honesty, or lack thereof.

  104. says

    Josh Marshall’s response to the primal-scream of Sean Spicer’s press conference:

    […] On the one hand it is chilling, bizarre, un-American to see the President’s spokesman begin the term excoriating and threatening the press, telling demonstrable lies, speaking with a palpable rage in his voice. On the other, the President and his toadies are on the second day almost vanishingly small. They are embarrassing themselves. They look silly. They look ridiculous. It is hard to be intimidated by ridiculousness. I suspect this will be the abiding duality of the Trump presidency. […]

    See comment 118 for more info.

  105. blf says

    Lynn@143, I disagree. Teh trum-prat may have claimed he noticed the Ethics Committee incident, but why believe him? He is a serial, and seemingly-continuous, liar.

    The hypothesis he was told about the protests and that also happened to be what popped into his head when told is not disproven. It addition, he apparently said not that disbanding the committee was wrong, but that it was the wrong time to do it. Of course, he is a liar, so what he really “thinks” is unclear.

    I do not know if the possibly temporary reversal of the disbanding was accomplished by teh trum-prat’s braying, public opinion, and / or bribes / blackmail.

  106. says

    Sigh. Time for Trump’s team to attack CIA Director John Brennan some more.

    […] In a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday night, former CIA Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro wrote that Brennan was “deeply saddened and angered at Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement” and said the President should be “ashamed of himself.” […]

    White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus suggested in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that Brennan was “bitter” over his replacement.

    “You know, he was replaced the day before. He was not asked to hold over like Clapper was,” Priebus said. “I don’t know what’s in his head.” […]

    In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway called Brennan’s response an “unremarkable, spectacularly disappointing statement” and said that Brennan “sounded like a partisan political hack.”

    “I really think everybody needs to take a step back and a very deep breath and think about what their words are,” she said. […]

    “It’s really time for him to put in his own security and intelligence community,” she said. “We really would prefer the intelligence community that’s going out the door to be much more respectful toward the President.”

    Trump should earn respect, not demand it.

  107. says

    blf @146, yes. I concede. Those are good points.

    Regarding other issues that are not entirely clear, what’s up with WikiLeaks? Here is a WikiLeaks post from today:

    Trump’s breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts.

    Of course, WikiLeaks did use the post to lambast Hillary Clinton again. There is no equivalence between Trump’s failure to release his tax returns and Clinton’s decision to not release transcripts of her speeches at Goldman Sachs events.

  108. says

    Jay Carney, who worked as President Obama’s press secretary from 2011 to 2014, responded to Sean Spicer’s performance:

    The President I worked for never told me to lie. Ever. And I doubt Pres. Bush ever told @AriFleischer to lie. Today was not normal.

    Brian Fallon, who would have been Clinton’s press secretary had she won, said:

    Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.

  109. says

    Sean Spicer is being trolled mercilessly for telling four blatant lies in less than two minutes at his first press briefing as Trump’s press secretary.

    Scenes from movies and from Nazi rallies were used to illustrate tweets like: “Sean Spicer releases new photo showing true size of crowd for Trump’s inauguration #spicerfacts” and “This photo proves that Trump inauguration crowd was actually quite impressive! #SpicerFacts#TrumpInaugural#TrumpTreason”.

    Other tweets are creative riffs on the phrasing Spicer used when he lied:

    The Death Star had no design flaws. Period.

    Actually, 3 Doors Down was always first on our wish list for the #Inauguration concert. #SpicerFacts

    That was not Three Doors Down it was The Rolling Stones. Period. #SeanSpicerFacts

    Bear attacks at schools are down 2,839% since Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing. Period #SeanSpicerFacts

    He is really good at Cyber you guys. We are seriously going to have the best Cyber. #SeanSpicer #SeanSpicerFacts


    There were no protests today. Everyone loves the new president. Period. #SpicerFacts

    Donald Trump was born in a log cabin, and learned to read by firelight. He chopped down a cherry tree, and wrassled bears. #SpicerFacts

    #SpicerFacts Trump has already accomplished enough to be the most successful president in u.s. history

    Trump was America’s first black astronaut. #SpicerFacts

    That was not empty space…that was millions of people wearing sheets. PERIOD. #Spicerfacts

    President Trump is touched by enthusiasm and patience of milllions of spectators that arrived just 1 day late to inauguration #spicerfacts

    These bleachers aren’t empty, our supporters are just super tiny. Look closer. Media lies. #Spicerfacts

    Since taking the oath of office, President Trump has dropped 25lbs! #SpicerFacts

    Trump bowled a home run today in his very first frame at the White House bowling alley.

    [end quotes from tweets trolling Sean Spicer]

    Yes, I think we can all agree now that Sean Spicer destroyed his credibility (what little he had) on the first full day of the Trump presidency.

    Ridicule works.

  110. says

    Surprisingly enough, Iraqis – who are currently fighting ISIS* – were miffed about Trump’s promise to loot their oil:

    “If we kept the oil, you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place,” Trump told CIA employees in a speech broadcast on television. “So we should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

    * The IMF gave them a loan to help pay for the war against ISIS? WTF? Why should they have to pay in the first place, after they were criminally invaded and occupied?

  111. says

    Sean Spicer is being trolled mercilessly for telling four blatant lies in less than two minutes at his first press briefing as Trump’s press secretary.

    “Trump was America’s first black astronaut” is making me giggle. #alternativefacts is also trending and also amusing, with some serious quoting of Orwell.

  112. says

    Trump’s CIA appearance was bonkers:

    Trump’s unscripted remarks were, instead, largely about himself, even as he praised Mike Pompeo—a West Point and Harvard Law School graduate, Kansas congressman, and Tea Party supporter—as his choice to lead the C.I.A.

    “No. 1 in his class at West Point,” Trump said. “Now, I know a lot about West Point. I’m a person that very strongly believes in academics. In fact, every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at M.I.T. for thirty-five years, who did a fantastic job in so many different ways, academically—was an academic genius—and then they say, Is Donald Trump an intellectual?* Trust me, I’m like a smart persona.”

    Apparently as proof, the President noted that he had set an “all-time record” in Time magazine cover stories. “Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it’s one time, because he won the Super Bowl or something, right?” he told the intelligence officials. “I’ve been on it for fifteen times this year. I don’t think that’s a record that can ever be broken.” Time told Politico’s Playbook that it had published eleven Trump covers—and had done fifty-five cover stories about Richard Nixon.

    * This is sad even by eugenics standards.

  113. says

    Thanks for the link to inspiring photos in comment 161, SC. Some members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department wore pink hats, link to photo.

    I liked the sign one woman was holding: “Ignorance is not a virtue.”

    Hillary Clinton loved scrolling through the photos:

    Scrolling through images of the #womensmarch is awe-inspiring. Hope it brought joy to others as it did to me.

    Re comment 160, is that the “America First” agenda? Zenophobia.

    Re comment 159, General Flynn looks and sounds like a go-between who favors Russia and who is out to weaken Nato.

    Re comment 158, yes that speech Trump gave at CIA headquarters was truly whacko. How many times does Trump have to reveal his true nature before some of his followers face-palm and then walk away from his so-called “movement”?

    In other news, Trump has added a another Breitbart writer to the White House staff.

    Julia Hahn will be a special assistant to the president, according to the report, and is expected to work primarily under chief strategist and former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon. […]

  114. says

    Kellyanne Conway – bringing renewed attention to the Gish Gallop.

    Some members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department wore pink hats, link to photo.

    Wonderful. The police at my local march were very good. One guy climbed up on a lamppost to take pictures of the crowd and they politely asked him to get down for safety reasons, and that was the only involvement I saw. From everything I’ve seen – although I’m sure there could be exceptions – that was the rule across the country.

  115. says

    I was in the heart of the DC protest, and saw a total of four cops all day. One of whom, to great cheers, was dancing on top of his vehicle briefly. I’ve never been good with crowds – PTSD makes me hypervigilant usually – but I felt no anxiety at all at the March, given the feeling that the people around me were fundamentally on my side. It’s the first time I’ve experienced that in such a crowd.

    Pride Day in Toronto, for instance, often draws several hundred thousand people, but it usually includes creeps with cameras making people uncomfortable, and other elements of unsafety. I couldn’t be happier that I made the effort to get down here for it, and more so given the number of my fellow Canadians turned back by Trumpistas at the border.

  116. says

    WIRED noted that “Trump’s Flack Said a Lot of Wrong Stuff. Nerds Ain’t Having It.” The posts make fun of Sean Spicer. They use a photo taken during his bonkers statement to make it look like he is saying all manner of stupid/false stuff. Period.


    “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is the best Star Trek film in the series. In fact the greatest film of all time. Period.”

    E.T. is the best Atari game of all time. Period.

    “The first Matrix movie was just okay. But they get really good as the series continues.”

    “Actually, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism.”

    Crystal Skull is the Best Indiana Jones movie. Everyone knows it!

    Everyone loved Jar Jar. He’s why the prequels are so popular. Period.

    Terminator Genesys is the best Terminator. Period.

    Showgirls is without question the greatest film made in the last thirty years and won many Academy Awards including Best Picture.

    “Decker could not be a replicant. That’s just stupid. And this was some of Ford’s most uplifting voice work of his career. Period.”

    Limp Bizkit had more number one albums than The Beatles. Period.

    “I comprehend all the literary and pop culture references you’re making to illustrate that I’m a fucking liar. Okay, that was also a lie.”

  117. Hj Hornbeck says

    Looks like the first days are going as expected.

    “The truth of the matter is he had a successful inauguration with a respectful crowd. The transition of power went off without a hitch. His supporters were amiable by and large,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “But then he can never let go and stop watching cable TV. Now he’s off to the worst start of a presidency in a very long time.”

    That Trump wanted Sean Spicer, the press secretary, to go out with props in the White House briefing room — two large pictures of the crowd — was trademark, people who know him say. Trump loves props.

    One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.

    This person said that a number of people close to him don’t like saying no — but that it has to be done.

    “You can’t do it in front of everyone,” this person said. “He’s never going to admit he’s wrong in front of everyone. You have to pull him aside and tell him why he’s wrong, and then you can get him to go along with you. These people don’t know how to get him to do what they need him to do.”

    I’ve met toddlers with greater impulse control than Trump.

  118. says

    This is a followup to comments 118, 122, 123 (What a Maroon), 133 (SC), 135 (SC), 147, 151 (SC) and 158 (SC).

    Steve Benen’s take on the speech Trump gave at CIA headquarters is excellent. I’ll post an excerpt below:

    […] Watching the speech was surreal, as if the lines between the actual president of the United States and a satirical caricature were effectively blurred out of existence.

    In remarks that were supposed to be about the CIA and the intelligence community, Trump found it difficult to stop talking about himself. “They say, ‘Is Donald Trump an intellectual?’” the president asked, quoting no one in particular. “Trust me. I’m, like, a smart person.”

    In a relatively brief appearance, he whined incessantly about journalists who told the truth about his inaugural crowd size. Trump pretended he hadn’t feuded with the intelligence community for months. He even credited God for preventing rain at his inauguration, despite the fact that it rained at his inauguration.

    And then the new president suggested Americans might need to prepare itself for another war in the Middle East.

    “If we kept the oil [in Iraq], we wouldn’t have had ISIS in the first place,” Trump argued. “The old expression, to the victor belong the spoils…. We should’ve kept the oil. But, okay, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

    Really? Putting aside the fact that pillaging is a war crime, when exactly might we have “another chance” to steal another country’s oil supplies? […]

    In a tweet yesterday, Trump added, “Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!” What matters in the president’s mind, of course, is whether he received applause at a well-attended appearance. […]

    BTW, in comment 118, I said that “[…] That’s true about the floor covering, […]” But what Sean Spicer said about the white plastic covered areas was not true. The same kind of protective covering was used in 2013.

  119. Hj Hornbeck says

    I thought that SNL skit where Trump was kissing Putin and members of the KKK was satire. Apparently it’s not.

    @richardhine (Richard Hine)

    Trump just literally blew a kiss to James Comey at a WH reception for law enforcement

    Retweets: 7,942; Likes: 7,284
    1:04 PM – 22 Jan 2017

    And yes, there is video. I…. ho boy.

  120. Hj Hornbeck says

    Also, a follow up:

    @JonHutson (Jon Hutson)

    Trump froze NPS account for correctly tweeting the tiny size of his inauguration crowd. Then he ordered them to apologize. #gaslighting

    Retweets: 10,346; Likes: 9,491
    4:27 PM – 21 Jan 2017

  121. says

    Why does an issue as trivial as crowd size matter?

    It matters because of how Trump thinks and what he has said. For example:

    Nobody has ever had crowds like Trump has had. You know that.

    They’ve just announced we’re going to have record crowds.

    Note the lie in the first quote, and note the use of the imaginary “they” in the second.

    The argument that we should drop the issue because it is trivial does not hold water when crowd size is obviously non-trivial to Trump. He and his team seized the opportunity to unleash a torrent of propagandistic lies. Trump made crowd size not just important, but of maximal importance. To him, crowd size equals a mandate for him to do whatever he likes.

    If anyone questions Trump’s crowd-size estimates, he is injured.

  122. Hj Hornbeck says

    Some helpful advice from the Department of Defense:

    ‏@DeptofDefense (U.S. Dept of Defense)

    Social media postings sometimes provide an important window into a person’s #mentalhealth. Know what to look for.

    Retweets: 4,590; Likes: 6,052
    5:00 AM – 23 Jan 2017

    Could’a used that two years ago, thanks.

  123. Hj Hornbeck says

    And a window into Trump’s weekend.

    After a transition in which he did relatively little to reach out to his opponents on the left and they hardly warmed to him, he found hundreds of thousands of protesters chanting just a few blocks from his new home on the first morning he woke up there.

    That has left the new White House feeling besieged from Day 1, fueling the president’s grievances and, in the view of some of his aides, necessitating an aggressive strategy to defend his legitimacy. “The point is not the crowd size,” Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said on “Fox News Sunday” before the mood began to soften. “The point is that the attacks and the attempts to delegitimize this president in one day — and we’re not going to sit around and take it.”

    Mr. Trump grew increasingly angry on Inauguration Day after reading a series of Twitter messages pointing out that the size of his inaugural crowd did not rival that of Mr. Obama’s in 2009. But he spent his Friday night in a whirlwind of celebration and affirmation. When he awoke on Saturday morning, after his first night in the Executive Mansion, the glow was gone, several people close to him said, and the new president was filled anew with a sense of injury.

    Such a perpetual victim.

  124. Hj Hornbeck says

    And, finally, some insight from Garry Kasparov.

    ‏@Kasparov63 (Garry Kasparov)

    Obvious lies serve a purpose for an administration. They watch who challenges them and who loyally repeats them. The people must watch, too.

    Retweets: 18,273; Likes: 24,324
    7:21 PM – 21 Jan 2017

  125. Hj Hornbeck says

    Wait, did we mention this here? If not, it’s worth noting.

    Pool reports later indicated that attendants who were cheering and clapping when Mr Trump spoke were not CIA staffers but people who accompanied Mr Trump, Washington Post fact-checker Gary Kessler wrote on Twitter. He later clarified that it was unclear exactly who the people were, but senior CIA members standing in front did not react until the end of the speech.

  126. says

    Marco Rubio, like Graham and McCain, will support Tillerson for Secretary of State. Here‘s his ridiculous press release, which notes that

    While he condemned Russia for ‘supporting Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war,’ he refused to publicly acknowledge that Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes. Despite his extensive experience in Russia and his personal relationship with many of its leaders, he claimed he did not have sufficient information to determine whether Putin and his cronies were responsible for ordering the murder of countless dissidents, journalists, and political opponents. He indicated he would support sanctions on Putin for meddling in our elections only if they met the impossible condition that they not affect U.S. businesses operating in Russia. While he stated that the ‘status quo’ should be maintained for now on sanctions put in place following Putin’s illegal taking of Crimea, he was unwilling to firmly commit to maintaining them so long as Russia continues to occupy Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

    When I read these things, I veer wildly between reminding myself that leading Republicans are the most abject partisan stooges who will sell out their country for political gain and suspecting that Russian cyberintrusion into Republicans might have gone further than what’s been known or acknowledged. Either way, a hack is involved.

  127. Hj Hornbeck says


    But in making my decision on his nomination, I must balance these concerns with his extensive experience and success in international commerce, and my belief that the president is entitled to significant deference when it comes to his choices for the cabinet. Given the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad about the direction of our foreign policy, it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy. Therefore, despite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson’s nomination in committee and in the full Senate.

    That’s Marco Rubio, Tillerson’s greatest Republican opponent for the nomination. Tillerson’s likely to pass nomination.

  128. says

    Hornbeck @180, that was a good bit of staging by the Trump team. Every time a media outlet replays part of Trump’s speech at CIA Headquarters, we the viewers hear the audience cheering. It sounds like CIA personnel are cheering loudly and happily. That’s misleading.

    How do we stop Trump from bringing his own cheering squad to events like these?

  129. Hj Hornbeck says

    I don’t think we can stop it. The best we can hope for is that the news spreads this meme far and wide. Given that we knew he was paying for crowds from the very beginning, I’m not betting it will.

    Here’s a noteworthy trend, though.

    @gelliottmorris (G. Elliott Morris)

    Tweets from @realDonaldTrump have gotten increasingly negative since he’s been elected, especially in 2017. #inaguration2017
    6:04 PM – 15 Jan 2017

    Tweets from @realDonaldTrump are also consistently more negative than those from his staff. #inaug2017
    7:34 PM – 15 Jan 2017

  130. hjhornbeck says

    Kurt Eichenwald:

    I am going to try to explain why there is so much outrage in the intelligence agencies about what Trump did on Saturday in his CIA speech…

    …Imagine having a campaign rally at the National Cemetary. Or a cocktail fundraiser amid the grave markers of US soldiers in Normandy…

    …this “event” Trump held, purportedly to greet CIA employees, was in the Memorial Wall room, where 117 CIA employees who died in…

    …service to our country are honored. Many more have died, and it takes special approval to receive a star on the wall or be listed in…

    …the book, called the Book of Honor. Many of the names of the fallen will never be known, because their identities have to be kept…

    ..secret even in death. Rarely is that room used for anything, but when it is, solemn nature of it is recognized. GW Bush was, I believe…

    …the first president to hold an event there in 2001, but it was exceedingly respectful and in keeping with the meaning of the room. The…

    …second major event was an appearance by Obama after the killing of Bin Laden, when he went to the CIA to thank the ppl there for their…

    …often anonymous sacrifices that led to that success in the fight against terrorism. Again, solemn and fitting with the meaning of the…

    …room. Both Bush and Obama paid deep homage to those honored in the book and by the stars. CIA employees listened respectfully, but did…

    ..not turn the events into rallies. Then, Trump. He has the audacity to bring people from his team to cheer for him and sit in the front…

    …rows. I can’t imagine CIA employees cheering and whooping it up at Memorial Wall. It would be like screaming “BOO-yah!” at a funeral…

    ..Trump made a single, over-the-shoulder mention of the stars. But he spent most of his time griping about the media, bragging about the…

    …number of times he had been on the cover of Time Magazine, and complaining that everyone was lying about numbers at his inauguration….

    …and all the while, his professional cheerleaders who couldn’t find their way to the CIA bathroom are sitting there, cheering for the….

    ..many[sic] who apparently needs applause everywhere he goes. It was an abomination, perhaps the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen…

    …done by any president in that kind of place. I felt sure we would hear from former director Brennan pretty fast. Why? Because one of…

    …those stars on the wall belongs to a close friend of his who died in service of this country. And he knows who all the others are as…

    ..well. For him, I’m sure, it was like watching someone having a picnic on the graves in the National Cemetery. And then the same Trump….

    ..staff that was too lazy or stupid to do the advance work on the CIA trip, so that they knew the meaning of the wall, go on TV to attack…

    …Brennan as a partisan hack for wanting a room of such enormous meaning to be treated with the solemnity it deserves. And that is an…

    ..important element here. […]

  131. hjhornbeck says

    I didn’t know this (emphasis mine):

    Saturday’s Women’s Marches, which rebuked President Trump on the day after his inauguration, probably drew more than 3 million participants between hundreds of locations across the United States, making them among the largest mass protests in American history. The marches recalled the tea party protests of April 15, 2009, an event that helped to mark the beginnings of a backlash to former President Obama — but overall attendance at the Women’s Marches was about 10 times higher than at the tea party rallies, according to our estimates.

    This has me hopeful, given how the Tea Party was able to torque US politics.

  132. says

    My suggestions @ #136 above? Today’s press briefing – which I had to turn off to save my blood pressure – is Exhibit A for why the press should take that tack. If you air the lies and attacks live, subsequent factchecking will always be too little, too late.

  133. says

    hornbeck @190, yes, good points. Many of the links up-thread point to the same statistics. This is not hyperbole. We have the numbers.

    As for Trump’s followers already knowing that he paid actors to cheer when he first announced he was running for president, you would be surprised how many do not know that. 40% of rightwing voters get their news from Fox. Fox questioned that report, and then dismissed it as liberal media lies.

    Rachel Maddow recently showed that definitive proof of the actors being hired only recently came through. And even then, the Trump team and others claimed that the people who were hired were “administrative assistants” used to organize the event.

    We need to spread the news far and wide that Trump used a lot cheerleaders for his speech at CIA Headquarters. That tone-deaf move was as egregious as said in the tweets you quoted in comment 189.

  134. hjhornbeck says

    Looks like Trump has a message for us.

    After almost an hour a question is given to Jim Acosta of CNN, who was rebuffed and denounced as “fake news” by Trump at his NYT presser.

    Acosta asked why he and Trump both wanted to address the issue of the crowd size.

    He says they wanted to combat a media narrative that is constantly trying to undermine Trump. “It’s a little demoralizing to turn on the TV day after day and hear ‘can’t do this, this guy’s not going to go through’ … I’ve never seen it like this.”

    It’s important to understand that to constantly be told “no, no, no” gets a little frustrating, he says.

    “You see this historic thing”, Trump being inaugurated – “it’s an amazing view … And that was for the first time that we had to go through fencing, that far out,” he claims.

    But don’t you have bigger fish to fry?

    It’s about a constant theme, Spicer says. “The default narrative is always negative, and it’s demoralising.”

    Trump made a big sacrifice “leaving” a successful business, he says, and he doesn’t get credit for that. “Some days we do do the right thing. Some days we are successful … When we’re right, say we’re right. When we’re wrong, say we’re wrong.”

    Awwwwww, Trump’s feelings are hurt and he wants all of us to be nicer to him. Poor widdle fewwa, maybe we treat him the same way Obama was back in ’09.

  135. says

    This is a followup to SC’s comment 188.

    The Guttmacher Institute and other opponents of the gag rule say that such restrictions have devastating effects on international organizations, often forcing them to close their clinics or reduce their services, denying women access to help from safe providers and even hampering HIV prevention efforts.

  136. says

    Followup to SC’s comment 191.

    “CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst.

    Democracy works best when journalists have access to the executive branch, of course. But that holds true if and only if that access leads to verifiable, accurate information. The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

    The quoted text is from a statement by University of Delaware associate professor Danna Young.

  137. says

    Following up on comments 188 and 195.

    When Trump signed the executive order reinstating s Reagan-era abortion restriction, he was surrounded by men.

  138. says

    Wow – political scientists are saying more than 1 in 100 Americans participated in the Women’s Marches on Saturday:

    A professor of political science in Connecticut has aggregated the data from public reports of crowd sizes at the women’s marches across America on Saturday and reached an astonishing conclusion: More than 1 in every 100 people in the U.S. turned out to march against Donald Trump and for women’s rights on the second day of his presidency.

    Drawing on reports of 526 different marches in towns as disparate as Wichita Falls, Texas — reported turnout: 150 people — and Washington, D.C. — reported turnout: more than 500,000 — University of Connecticut professor Jeremy Pressman, working with international relations professor Erica Chenoweth from the University of Denver, estimated that 3,341,823 to 4,611,782 people turned out to march across the nation.

    The Census Bureau estimated that the U.S. population as of mid-2016 was 323,127,513.

    “The overall number is bigger than I expected,” Pressman told Yahoo News about his findings on the protest crowds. “With a low estimate it’s a little bit above 1 percent, and with a higher estimate, it’s probably closer to 1 1/2 percent.”

  139. says

    …The decision on behalf of CNN to wait and verify before airing it live suggests that the media are adapting quickly to this new era.”

    Unfortunately, they aired today’s live. I guess they had to actually put their hand on the hot stove. Slow learners, the media.

  140. says

    Following up on SC’s comment 200.

    Yes, the nationwide (in fact, international) participation in the Women’s March is significant. Meanwhile, Sean Spicer and Trump don’t think the Women’s March was a big deal. Spicer’s take on the events was that the protestors were “not against anything.”

    […] “What is the President’s message to the millions of people here in Washington and around the country who were protesting on Saturday?” a reporter asked at Spicer’s first formal briefing.

    “I think he has a healthy respect for the First Amendment and this is what makes our country so beautiful, is that on one day you can inaugurate a President, on the next day people can occupy the same space to protest something,” Spicer said. “But he’s also cognizant to the fact that a lot of these people were there to protest an issue of concern to them and not against anything.”


    […] The ubiquitous symbol of the women’s marches, the “pussyhat,” directly referenced the infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” remark the President made on the hot mic “Access Hollywood” tape. Many marchers also carried anti-Trump signs.

    Spicer also attempted to downplay the event by suggesting that the historically attended Women’s March on Washington was routine.

    “There were people that came to the mall, as they do all the time,” he added. “Sometimes in smaller numbers.” […]

  141. says

    “U.S. judge finds that Aetna misled the public about its reasons for quitting Obamacare “:

    Aetna claimed this summer that it was pulling out of all but four of the 15 states where it was providing Obamacare individual insurance because of a business decision — it was simply losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges.

    Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana. Aetna threatened federal officials with the pullout before the lawsuit was filed, and followed through on its threat once it was filed. Bates made the observations in the course of a ruling he issued Monday blocking the merger.

    Aetna executives had moved heaven and earth to conceal their decision-making process from the court, in part by discussing the matter on the phone rather than in emails, and by shielding what did get put in writing with the cloak of attorney-client privilege, a practice Bates found came close to “malfeasance.”

    The threat certainly was effective in terms of its impact on the Affordable Care Act, since Aetna’s withdrawal has become part of the Republican brief against the law. That it says so much more about Aetna executives’ honesty and integrity probably won’t get cited much by GOP functionaries trying to repeal the law. Aetna is at least partially responsible for placing the health coverage of more than 20 million Americans in jeopardy; that it did so at least partially to promote a merger that would bring few benefits, if any, to its customers is an additional black mark.

    If there’s a saving grace in this episode, it’s that the company’s goal to protect the merger hasn’t worked, so far. The DOJ brought suit, and Bates has now thrown a wrench into the plan. Aetna has said it’s considering an appeal, but the merger is plainly in trouble, as it should be.

  142. KG says

    An interesting result in the French presidential election Socialist Party primary. Benoit Hamon, who has some claims to actually being a socialist, came first, and has an excellent chance of winning the run-off – which I think is next Sunday. He beat the right-winger Manuel Valls (who pushed through anti-labour legislation as Prime Minister under Hollande, and has been recorded making racist comments) into second, and the third-placed candidate, Arnaud Montebourg, has urged his supporters to switch to Hamon. Hamon and Montebourg both resigned from the government in 2014, calling for an end to “austerity”. Hamon’s main policy is the introduction, in stages, of a citizen’s income scheme. According to the polls, whoever wins is still very unlikely to reach the final round of the election itself – but then, according to the polls, which have been very volatile, Valls was going to win the primary. Even if he doesn’t get through to the final run-off, a win for Hamon in the Socialist primary probably boosts the chances of centrist Emmanuel Macron doing so (Valls would have competed for his votes), displacing either fascist Le Pen, or Catholic reactionary François Villon, who are currently favourites for the final run-off.

  143. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Lynna @127:

    From the MSNBC quote:

    . . . gave alternative facts to that . . .

    Alt-right, Alt-facts, Alt-news, Alt-reality . . . Anyone else noticing a pattern here?

    Hj Hornbeck @178:

    From the NYTimes quote:

    and the new president was filled anew with a sense of injury.

    Christians and conservatives have a remarkable ability to still feel injured, oppressed, attacked, even in victory. Even during the late Middle Ages, when the Church was at its apogee of power in Western Europe, they could still play the victim card. Typical. Sad.
    You know who else kept playing the victim card? Nixon.

    Just sayin’.

    Hj Hornbeck @180:

    From the Independent quote:

    ool reports later indicated that attendants who were cheering and clapping when Mr Trump spoke were not CIA staffers but people who accompanied Mr Trump, Washington Post fact-checker Gary Kessler wrote on Twitter.

    Ah. The claque.

  144. says

    Benoit Hamon, who has some claims to actually being a socialist, came first, and has an excellent chance of winning the run-off – which I think is next Sunday.

    Yes, my hope (true, optimism hasn’t been much rewarded this year) is that now the French Left can unite around a single candidate and he wins on Sunday and the momentum continues to build. And, as the BBC article notes:

    …[T]he appearance of Benoit Hamon at the head of the Socialist campaign could also signal a return to the politics of a previous era.

    For years France’s established parties have drifted to the centre ground and voter apathy has grown.

    But now voters already have the prospect of an old-school Catholic conservative heading the main right-wing Republican party. And if Benoit Hamon wins the Socialist nomination on Sunday, the main left-wing party will once again embrace its traditional positions on workers’ rights, redistribution, civil liberties and the environment.

  145. says

    “Donald Trump’s ‘day of patriotic devotion’ has echoes of North Korea”:

    Donald Trump has echoed North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, after declaring that the day of his inauguration should be a “national day of patriotic devotion” – a rallying cry that would not be out of place in the secretive state’s propaganda.

    Trump’s proclamation, which was made official on Monday, has been uttered by Kim in speeches to his 1.2 million-strong military and members of the ruling Korean Workers’ party in recent years.

    Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, an Osaka-based organisation with a network of high-level contacts in North Korea, said that by invoking patriotic devotion, Trump appeared to be channeling three generations of North Korea’s Kim dynasty.

    “Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day,” Ishimaru told the Guardian. “They don’t just appear in the media and speeches, but on posters and in other propaganda. They hear the word patriotism at local residents’ meetings, where, for example, they’re told to produce more rice out of love for their country, or to collect more scrap metal for weapons and bullets.”…

  146. says

    There’s no link to any source in this tweet, though it rings true. What I find most interesting is that, while the number of (pro-)Putin trolls/bots in the responses to tweets about Trump declined dramatically after the US election, they’re out in full force on tweets about Germany.

  147. says

    Here‘s what Trumpublicans in the Minnesota House want to do to health insurance:

    Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, successfully amended the House bill to get rid of a requirement that health insurance plans in the state cover a wide range of conditions, including maternity care, chemical dependency and cancer treatment.

    Drazkowski said federal mandates are driving up the cost of health insurance and consumers should be given the option of deciding what type of coverage they want.

    “It allows (consumers) to buy insurance a la carte and begins to help us in Minnesota cure our health insurance regulatory disease,” Drazkowski said.

    Democrats countered that people may end up purchasing insurance with limited coverage and then be faced with an unexpected diagnosis and no insurance coverage.

    This tweet has a partial list of conditions/treatments/services insurance would no longer be required to cover. (Excluding “Lyme’s Disease” shouldn’t have much of an effect, since there’s no such thing. Good news for Minnesotans with Lyme Disease.)

    I can’t see this becoming law, but it’s a window into Trumpublicans’ viewpoint and the rhetoric they deploy to try to fool people.

  148. says

    Followup to SC’s comment 204.

    Yes, everyone is amazed that Sean Spicer moderated his tone and presided over an almost-normal press conference yesterday. I’m not buying it.

    – He continued to lie about crowd size at the inauguration, he just lied more artfully while looking less apoplectic.

    – He gave the first questions to “journalists” who are not real journalists (fringe right winger and Christian news doofus).

    – He spent a lot of time talking about Trump’s hurt feelings, about how “devastated” Trump’s team was when the media does not believe what they say, and how “frustrating” it is to see all the negative coverage.

    The Washington Post reported that Trump did not like Spicer’s ill-fitting suit, the gray one he wore at the first fiasco of a press conference, and, more importantly, that Trump was dissatisfied with Spicer’s performance because he did not defend Trump enough when it came to backing up Trump’s absurd claims about the size of the inauguration crowd. Wow.

  149. says

    “USDA Scientists Have Been Put On Lockdown Under Trump”:

    The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its main research division from publicly sharing everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration, BuzzFeed News has learned.

    According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff — including some 2,000 scientists — at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.

    “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.

    “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added….

    Note that the USDA oversees SNAP. Please see #168 above about the history of this in Canada and the ways it was fought. I’d be surprised if this is legal, tbh. In addition to the fact that it’s publicly funded and overwhelmingly nonclassified research, this is how the remit of the ARS is described on Wikipedia:

    ARS’s complex role in conducting scientific research for the American public is reflected in its mission, which is to conduct research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to:

    ensure high quality, safe food and other agricultural products,
    assess the nutritional needs of Americans,
    sustain a competitive agricultural economy,
    enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and
    provide economic opportunities to rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole

  150. says

    Oh, FFS. Kellyanne Conway has gone even further off the rails. She should be sued for this.

    […] Zeke Miller of Time magazine, part of the White House press pool, incorrectly reported […] that the bust of Martin Luther King (first brought into the White House by President Obama) had been removed and replaced with one of Winston Churchill. This turned out to be wrong. A short time later Miller corrected the report. [Trump’s team] has been using this as proof of media perfidy for the last three days. But on Hannity last night, Kellyanne Conway wildly upped the ante, telling Sean Hannity that Miller is personally responsible for putting her life in danger.

    Conway claims she has now received Secret Service protection because of threats against her. There appears to be no independent confirmation of this […] It has happened to other high profile people in moments of great controversy. And it is obviously awful if it happened. I leave it as an open question precisely what happened because Conway has shown herself to be a serial prevaricator. There is no conceivable rationale for blaming this on the press. And it is unconscionable, to specifically blame Miller.

    From Hannity, Conway is speaking:

    […] We let the pool press in, and immediately the print pooler [said] that the MLK bust had been removed. It is false. […] Because of what the press is doing now to me, I have Secret Service protection. We have packages delivered to my house with white substances. That is a shame and yes I hold him into account for it. This guy puts it out. It gets tweeted and it gets reported 3,000 times. He still can’t take it back. He apologized to his colleagues in the press; he has not apologized to the President. […]

    Josh Marshall goes on to conclude:

    Miller made a mistake, a kind of sloppy mistake. He quickly corrected it and sent out word of the mistake as volubly as the original report. What Conway is doing here is wild and unconscionable incitement.–2

    “Serial prevaricator” is a title she has earned. And now she is dangerous. While pretending not to, she is encouraging Trump followers to harass or harm Zeke Miller.

  151. says

    From the Washington Post:

    Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment.

    From Politico:

    One person who frequently talks to Trump said aides have to push back privately against his worst impulses in the White House, like the news conference idea, and have to control information that may infuriate him. He gets bored and likes to watch TV, this person said, so it is important to minimize that.

    The orange man-child is angry.

    Josh Marshall made the point that “no White House leaks like this, leaks this much or leaks this casually about the President’s emotional weakness.”

  152. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    SC @ 220,

    Excluding “Lyme’s Disease” shouldn’t have much of an effect, since there’s no such thing.

    Tell that to Harry Lyme.

  153. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    The Centers for Disease Control seems to be falling in line. CDC abruptly cancels long-planned conference on climate change and health

    With little warning or explanation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently canceled a major climate change conference that had been scheduled for next month in Atlanta.

    The Climate and Health Summit, which had been in the works for months, was intended as a chance for public health officials around the country to learn more about the mounting evidence of the risks to human health posed by the changing climate. But CDC officials abruptly canceled the conference before President Trump’s inauguration, sending a terse email on Jan. 9 to those who had been scheduled to speak at the event. The message did not explain the reason behind the decision.

    (Apologies if I missed this upthread.)

  154. hjhornbeck says

    A little bit more information from that CIA speech, from someone who interviewed a few CIA employees.

    KELLY: … One of the former intelligence officers who I reached this weekend said there’s the stars. And those are sacred if you work at CIA. But this person said, remember what’s on the opposite wall, what Trump was looking at as he spoke.

    And I have crossed that lobby, Steve, many times on my way to interview officials who work there. And carved in the marble on the opposite wall is this. It’s a quotation from the Bible. And it reads, “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” […]

    So here – here is the question that another CIA veteran put to me after watching Trump’s speech this weekend. This is Steve Hall. He was CIA chief of Russia operations. And he asked, what happens when the CIA collects a stellar piece of intelligence that maybe puts Vladimir Putin in a bad light? Steve Hall said, what happens when the CIA briefs Trump, and he wants to know the source? And Hall’s quote directly to me was, how can you say, no, we don’t trust you with the sourcing of that information? That is a live question today at Langley.

  155. says

    Oh, FFS. Kellyanne Conway has gone even further off the rails. She should be sued for this.

    1) He apologized to colleagues because it was a pool report.
    2) Why would people single out Conway for this? The claim doesn’t make sense.
    3) Spicer tweeted “apology accepted” shortly after Miller quickly apologized, as was pointed out yesterday during the press conference.
    4) All they do is put out lie after lie after lie, including numerous racist lies which have incited violence across the country. These aren’t errors, and they overwhelmingly refuse to apologize for or even to rescind the lies or just stop telling them.
    5) “And the damage is done because then people look at Donald Trump as the ‘R word’.” “Then”?!
    6) Yes, this is unconscionable.
    7) They should remove the bust, as they don’t deserve to be in its vicinity.

  156. hjhornbeck says

    It’s not just the USDA and CDC, either.

    The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews.

    In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way:

    “Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.”

    Asked about any possible freeze and its implications, EPA officials did not provide an answer.

    One EPA employee aware of the freeze said he had never seen anything like it in nearly a decade with the agency. Hiring freezes happened, he said, but freezes on grants and contracts seemed extraordinary. The employee said the freeze appeared to be nationwide, and as of Monday night it was not clear for how long it would be in place.

    I’m getting a very strong sense of deja-vu

  157. says

    Josh Marshall made the point that “no White House leaks like this, leaks this much or leaks this casually about the President’s emotional weakness.”

    His psychological/emotional issues and gross incompetence are a growing threat to the republic, and the party (now ironically) named for its defense continues to look away.

  158. hjhornbeck says

    I’ve seen scattered reports on Twitter of people having @POTUS and the like show up as accounts they follow, even though they claim never to have followed them. I’m also seeing three people claim to have Facebook posts critical of the new administration suddenly flip to “Only me.” I don’t put much stock in it, but I thought it was worth the mention.

  159. says

    Last night on Last Word, David Corn suggested the distinct possibility that Trump wasn’t lying about many of of these things but actually believed them. He noted that he doesn’t make the suggestion lightly. There’s at least as much evidence supporting the credulity-delusion hypothesis as there is supporting the deliberate dishonesty hypothesis. He doesn’t appear to be strongly anchored in reality.

  160. tomh says

    @ #242
    Well, geez, if you’re trying to get us to click on the comments, that’s how to do it :)

  161. says

    Excerpts from today’s WaPo updates:

    2 p.m.

    A spokesman says President Donald Trump’s belief that there were millions of illegal votes cast in the November election is based on “studies and evidence.”

    But spokesman Sean Spicer did not provide examples of that evidence.

    Trump first made the false claim during the transition. He reiterated the statement in a meeting Monday night with lawmakers, blaming illegal ballots for his loss of the popular vote.

    Spicer says Trump “continues to maintain that belief.” There has been no evidence to support the claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the election.

    Spicer’s only attempt to support Trump’s assertion was to point a 2008 Pew Research survey that showed a need to update voter registration systems.

    12:25 p.m.

    President Donald Trump is hanging up some new art in the White House press area — and it’s none too subtle.

    The panoramic photo shows the crowds gathered near the U.S. Capitol for Trump’s inauguration on Friday. It’s a nod to the ongoing interest the president has in making it clear* that his event was well-attended….

    * They must mean “appear.”

  162. says

    “Senate GOP hopes Trump’s OMB pick influences him on entitlements”:

    …The ranking member, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, opened the hearing by saying Trump had committed to not touching Social Security and Medicare — which Mulvaney has repeatedly talked about reforming.

    “Over and over again, in fact the cornerstone, one of the cornerstones of his campaign was that he was not going to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Sanders said. “He wasn’t ambiguous about this … he said this over and over and over again, and I suspect that many millions of senior citizens in this country, millions of working class people who do not want to see Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid cut, voted for him for that reason.”

    Mulvaney didn’t back off his views that the entitlement programs need revamping to survive — and didn’t back away from some of his past statements on the matter.

    Under a rapid-fire series of questions from Republican and fellow South Carolinian Lindsey Graham, Mulvaney pledged to tell Trump that he will need to reconsider his campaign promise about not touching Social Security or Medicare.

    “Will you tell him that the promise you made about Social Security and Medicare … will lead to their demise?” Graham asked.

    “Yes,” said Mulvaney, who, in his opening statements, pointed out that his mother-in-law relied on Social Security and Medicare.

    With prompts from his fellow Republicans, Mulvaney painted a [bullshit – SC] picture to the panel about the need for reform for Social Security and Medicare to keep them solvent….

    (I detest how the media uncritically adopt the language about “reforming” “entitlement programs” and so forth.)

  163. says

    Author of the 2012 Pew report mentioned by Spicer. He’s always been clear about this, though they continue to misrepresent the report. And in any case it has fuck-all to do with Trump’s false claim about this election.

  164. says

    “Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Tied to Fringe Medical Group That Defends Doctors Accused of Misconduct”:

    Last week, the Senate Health Committee grilled Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on his plan to dismantle Obamacare and his extensive trading in medical stocks. But when senators on the finance committee question him on Tuesday before voting on his nomination, they might want to ask about a line in his résumé that suggests he poses a much broader threat to government regulation of health care. Price has long been a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a fringe medical group that is deeply opposed to any government role in regulating doctors.

    AAPS got its start in the 1940s, with the help of members of the John Birch Society, the extreme right-wing group known for peddling outlandish conspiracy theories. It has fought the government over health care ever since. Its statement of principles declares it “evil” and “immoral” for doctors to participate in Medicaid and Medicare.

    AAPS has been a vocal player in the anti-vaccine movement. Its medical journal has attacked immigrants as the source of disease outbreaks, including leprosy, and suggested that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS but that abortion causes breast cancer. The scientific consensus rejects all these claims….

    As HHS secretary, Price would be in charge of multiple federal offices involved in improving health care safety, a job that includes oversight of the regulation of individual physicians. But AAPS has opposed a wide range of government measures to hold individual doctors accountable, and even some private ones….

    AAPS has long been a bad doctor’s best friend. Over the years, it has waged concerted campaigns to protect doctors accused of misconduct….

  165. The Mellow Monkey says

    The fact that the Badlands National Park tweeter is doing something courageous by simply sharing facts terrifies me. We’re only four days into this administration.

  166. says

    Good god – “Sanders, joined by Rust Belt Democrats, praises Trump for nixing TPP”

    Trumka and Schumer are absolutely right here. People on the Left were fighting this long before Trump exploited it, and all that praise for his executive order does is help him to claim credit. He hasn’t done one thing in his life to show that he cares about workers in the US or anywhere – quite the opposite, in fact, including his cabinet picks, as Sanders well recognizes. His party has shown unceasing hostility to workers, and now Sanders decides to feed his propaganda. Brilliant.

  167. Pierce R. Butler says

    People arrested during Inauguration Day protests could go to prison for 10 years over felony rioting charges:

    Approximately 230 people were arrested … The bulk of those arrested will be charged with felony rioting…
    One group of 10 protesters already appeared in court, on Saturday… Most of those arrested will be released without bail to return to court next month.
    Some protesters have filed a lawsuit claiming the D.C. police “indiscriminately and repeatedly” used excessive force, deployed flash-bang grenades and used chemical irritants against people who were not involved in the riots at all.
    … rioters setting fire to a limousine and others flinging rocks at police and local business.
    One group … in black and wearing masks, armed themselves with crowbars and rocks, and smashed the windows of businesses in downtown Washington, including Starbucks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and McDonald’s.
    … six police officers received minor injuries.

    “Felony rioting” … We could be looking at >200 prisoner-years from one afternoon’s busts, not to mention the lawyer-hour$ – ♫♪ what a field day for the heat ♫♪. The count will, I betcha, rise as “co-conspirators” get indictments & Sessions starts giving daily orders. The ghost of A. Mitchell Palmer will look on with nostalgia and envy at America getting Made Great Again.

    The pic of the burning limo will probably cause salivation & other bodily reactions in certain circles: NSFW. No visual history of the Trump years (or days) will ever leave it out.

    And the Boys* in Black racking up the corporate property damage – provocateurs? anarcho-leftie rads? those kids I ran off my lawn last month? A Russian/Israeli/Koch/Bannon/ISIS/____ operation, or a false flag against same by CIA? How many of the BiB among the DC ~230 – and how many At Large, preparing to Strike Again? Could a McWellsStarBofA serve as a KrystallTag for a new administration in a hurry?

    *as apparently shown in 1 photo viewed so far.

    Saad @ # 95 caught the part about the punched fascist-face 4 days ago – am flabbergasted not to see the rest of these developments, or Disrupt J20, or even the Seattle shooting, mentioned here so far. Not mad enough moments?

  168. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oops – I dropped a zero @ # 259: We could be looking at >2,000 prisoner-years from one afternoon’s busts…

  169. KG says



    my hope (true, optimism hasn’t been much rewarded this year) is that now the French Left can unite around a single candidate and he wins on Sunday and the momentum continues to build.

    Even if Hamon wins the Socialist run-off, this seems unlikely, as there are several left candidates who did not join the Socialist primary, and one of them, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has significant support – more than Hamon in polls where it is assumed the latter is the Socialist candidate, although that might of course change if Hamon actually becomes candidate. It’s unthinkable that Hamon would step down in favour of Mélenchon, and very unlikely the reverse will happen. According to the polls the most likely final run-off is still Le Pen vs Fillon, but Macron could displace either of them. In the run-off, Le Pen is predicted to lose heavily to either Fillon or Macron, Macron has an edge over Fillon. Macron would certainly be preferable to either Le Pen or Fillon.

    The UK Supreme Court decision that Parliament must give its approval before the triggering of article 50 is welcome constitutionally*, setting limits on the executive, but is unlikely to delay Brexit, let alone stop it, because only the SNP and the single Green MP have said they will vote against it – some Labour MPs might defy the leadership and join them, but to vote it down would require all the opposition parties and some rebel Tories. It would have been much more difficult for the government if the Supremes had ruled that it must consult the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland, but they unanimously ruled that it need not.

    *Even though we don’t actually have a proper constitution!

  170. says

    “Donald Trump to order Mexico wall in national security crackdown: US president due to sign off executive orders, including a temporary ban on refugees from the Middle East”:

    Donald Trump is due to sign off a volley of executive orders on national security, including measures to start the construction of a wall on the Mexican border and the imposition of a ban on refugees from the Middle East.

    The new US president is expected to sign orders setting out federal funding for the wall during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, two administration officials told the Associated Press.

    He will also impose a temporary ban on most refugees and suspend visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the measures told Reuters.

    According to a report in the New York Times, Trump is also considering measures that are even more contentious, including reviewing whether to resume the once-secret “black site” detention programme, designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, and keeping open the Guantánamo Bay detention centre.

    His latest orders are expected to involve restricting access to the US for refugees and some visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, said the aides and experts.

    There is also likely to be an exception for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country, a person briefed on the proposal told Reuters. That exception could cover Christians fleeing Muslim-majority nations.

    Trump initially proposed a “complete and total” ban on Muslims entering the US, but has since said he would instead focus on restrictions on countries whose migrants could pose a threat.

    Detractors could launch legal challenges to the moves if all the countries subject to the ban are Muslim-majority nations, said Hiroshi Motomura, of the UCLA School of Law. Legal arguments could claim the executive orders discriminate against a particular religion, which would be unconstitutional, he said….

    It’s not a “national security” crackdown. It’s a racist and discriminatory crackdown.

  171. says

    Even if Hamon wins the Socialist run-off, this seems unlikely, as there are several left candidates who did not join the Socialist primary, and one of them, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has significant support – more than Hamon in polls where it is assumed the latter is the Socialist candidate, although that might of course change if Hamon actually becomes candidate.


  172. says

    Chris Hayes:

    Of all the groups to scapegoat and vilify, scapegoating and vilifying refugees fleeing the horror of war is about as low as it gets.

    Restricting from Iraq is particularly rich…

    “Sorry we invaded and destroyed your country and plunged you into 13 years of bloodshed and war but don’t you dare come over here!”

  173. says

    Lunacy in the service of voter suppression and disenfranchisement (or vice versa):

    President Donald Trump continued to perpetuate unsubstantiated and debunked claims of election irregularities Wednesday morning by promising a “major investigation” into what he described as “voter fraud.”

    The announcement comes after questions over Trump’s repetition of a widely disproved claim that millions of “illegal” votes cost him the popular vote in the presidential election.

    Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he would ask for an investigation into voter fraud, including alleged votes by undocumented immigrants, people who are allegedly registered to vote in more than one state and “those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”

    The president said that depending on the results of the investigation, he would call for “strengthening up voting procedures!”

  174. bassmike says

    From my link @ #263:

    The new US president is expected to sign orders setting out federal funding for the wall

    What does that even mean?

    Maybe he’s going to rerecord the Pink Floyd album….it is a record of someone’s descent into Fascist madness after all.

  175. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Trump is signing executive order demanding investigation (like the emails invest that found nothing??) into the voter fraud that deprived him of 5 million votes (which prevented him winning the election [alternative fact].). Looks to me like a backdoor, to get out of the office without humiliation of impeachment, nor shame of resignation. The investigation may invalidate the election results resulting in an immediate new-election and not just elevating Pence to replace him, since President and Vice-President are a single ticket.
    I know he’s trying to modify the results to show he got the popular vote as well as the electoral college, yet it is possible to backfire on him. Donald, Duck!!!
    I know he’ll continually spew the alternative fact that he won the popular vote and the fraud flipped it, but. but.
    shit. go back to the first paragraph above, I’ll double down on it as the result I want to think is going on.
    Trump is trying to force himself out of that big job he doesn’t want to spend time working on. He just wants the title and the glory and is desperately looking for a way out without disgrace.
    Fuck Trump #notmypresident #impeach45 #NoDAPL

  176. says

    “A Bad Day for the Environment, with Many More to Come”:

    …There’s not the slightest evidence that Americans want laxer environmental laws. A poll released last week showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans would prefer that the E.P.A.’s powers be preserved or strengthened. Solar power, meanwhile, polls somewhere in the neighborhood of ice cream among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike. But the survey that counts in the Trump Administration is of plutocrats, and, as Jane Mayer demonstrated in her book “Dark Money,” the moguls of the right-wing funding network, whose disciples are now in place across the Cabinet, hate environmental regulation with a passion. We know some of them—the Koch brothers, for instance. But there is a whole league of cartoonish villains, including John Menard, Jr., the richest man in Wisconsin, whose company was once charged with labelling arsenic-tainted mulch as “ideal for playgrounds.” Having paid hundreds of millions in fines, these people paid tens of millions in campaign contributions, and now their bill has come due.

    Against them stands reality, as a rogue employee of the National Park Service reminded us on Tuesday afternoon, defying another gag order by tweeting out climate data from the official Badlands National Park account. The reason we have environmental regulations is because, when we didn’t, the air was filthy and the water sour. Cleaning up our skies and our streams has been an enormous success in every way, including economically: any attempt to tally things like lost work days or visits to the emergency room shows that curbing pollution has huge returns on investment. (Just ask the Chinese, who are desperately trying to cobble together their own system of environmental protections.) As in so many other cases, the returns on deregulation will go to a handful of very wealthy Americans, and the cost will be spread across society, falling particularly hard on those who live near the highways and on the flood plains. Reality gets plainer every day on a planet that just saw the hottest year ever recorded, where sea ice is at an all-time low, and where California’s epic drought has suddenly given way to epic flooding. History will judge the timing of Trump’s crusade with special harshness—it is, you might say, a last-gasp effort.

  177. Pierce R. Butler says

    slithey tove… @ # 274: The investigation may invalidate the election results resulting in an immediate new-election …

    Say what? Where do we have any procedure or willing power-bloc in place for that???

  178. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 275:
    the EPA doen’t do nuthin. I meen hoo needs clean air???/s

    — Awareness

    Step two: Create mandated laws. In the Los Angeles area a plethora of solutions have been implemented to improve air quality. The main solution began with the Clean Air Act of 1970, starting a national movement to improve air conditions throughout popular urban cities. This reduce. After the enactment of the Clean Air Act, air quality in Los Angeles improved an outstanding amount despite the increase in population, transportation, and emissions (Kahn)

    The manifestation of laws
    Industry Emission regulations
    Clean Air improved air quality in Los Angeles immensely

    hint: be sure to scroll down to the side-by-side photo of LA ca. 1965 v 2005. EPA had something to do with that.
    s/ Throw away EPA.. Nobody wants to see the sky in LA./s
    I remember jokes in the 70’s about how “the air in LA is so good you can chew it”
    shit. It’s not like the clean air only benefits the ‘whiney liberals’ and drains life out of the wealthy.

  179. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 276:

    group: We Are Bernie Sanders.
    January 11 at 8:12pm ·

    Listen carefully!!!

    Supreme Court lawsuit looking to have the general election nullified and to have a New Election!

    Call the White House, Congress and the United Nations…Get this trending!

    #NewElection, #PresidentSanders, #ElectionFraud, #PrimariesNullVoid!!!
    Catherine Rosenfeld shared Real Progressives’s live video to the group: Bernie Think Tank.
    January 11 at 9:51am ·…

  180. microraptor says

    slithey tove @274:

    You think that the investigation is going to be used to provide Trump with an out or to start purging voter lists?

    I know which I’m putting my money on.

  181. hjhornbeck says

    It’s been weird listening to Trump supporters say he’s put “the people” back in charge. He doesn’t care about the people, or more accurately only cares about people to the extent that they personally benefit him. Hence while he rages over imaginary voter fraud, while ignoring this:

    Desperate officials pleaded with President Donald Trump to send federal assistance Monday after at least 20 people were killed by storms and tornadoes that caused devastation authorities likened to the impact of a nuclear blast.

    Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he had dispatched a letter to Trump pleading for help after four people were killed in his state. He said more 1,000 homes were damaged in Hattiesburg and surrounding Forrest County alone — 239 of which were obliterated.

    In Dougherty County, Georgia, where four people were killed, county commission Chairman Chris Cohilas said Monday that he has been “begging FEMA for boots on the ground,” referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    “I’m asking President Trump to cut through the red tape and get people on the damned ground here,” he said.

  182. says

    SC @277, thanks for that link. That is excellent, first-hand reporting.

    A few excerpts from the article:

    […] I spent roughly nine hours—from 6 am to 3 pm—on the streets of drizzling Washington, DC, inside and outside the Secret Service checkpoints at Donald Trump’s inauguration. I have been to every inauguration since 1997, gauging the size and enthusiasm of the crowds. It’s fun and a perk of living in DC. […]

    […] here’s the straight truth from someone who walked every inch of the inaugural ground on Friday. This was the smallest inauguration I’ve ever seen. […] I saw how easy it was to ride public transportation and drive into downtown. […] local souvenir salespeople who were overloaded with “Make America Great Again” merchandise that wasn’t moving. It was obvious. The people just weren’t there.

    I can understand why Sean Spicer was ordered to lie (though I can’t explain why he didn’t have the courage to refuse). It’s not just because of Trump’s obsession with insisting that things in his life that are small—his hands, his net worth—are actually huge. The motivation for these reckless and easily provable lies are found in the second part of Spicer’s statement, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

    The fear of waning enthusiasm among the Trump faithful is real and well-founded. […]

  183. Pierce R. Butler says

    slithey tove… @ # 279 – Do you really think an unfocused Faceborg page (at least the Women’s March group had a specific goal) or the “Real Progressives” group they link to (top item on their page: 2 mugs and a t-shirt for sale!) will muster the power to overturn all three branches of the US government and re-write the Constitution on the fly?!?

    “We Are Bernie Sanders” (oh really?) claims “Supreme Court lawsuit …” when the RP Fbook page doesn’t even show anything about filing any suit in any court, for crysake – and wants us to petition the United Nations, which has no say whatsoever about any of this. The whacky terbacky is for relaxation, not strategizing.

    I hear Bannon chuckling from here. Dunno if he can hear me puking.

  184. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 283:
    excuse me for sharing. FU. This is Political Madness page. So I’m mad. go elsewhere and puke if you must.
    re 280:
    I agree with you that’s why I tried to qualify my statements as “hopes”. Just shooting the breeze about _possibilities_, as unlikely as they are.

  185. says

    “White House draft order calls for review on use of CIA ‘black site’ prisons overseas”:

    An executive order drafted by the Trump administration calls for a policy review that could authorize the CIA to reopen “black site” prisons overseas and potentially restart an interrogation program that was dismantled in 2009 after using methods widely condemned as torture.

    The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, would revoke a 2009 decision by then-President Barack Obama to end the CIA program and would reinstate a 2007 order issued by President George W. Bush that allowed a modified version of the “rendition and interrogation” operation to continue.

    Members of Congress denounced the draft order, which was first reported by the New York Times on Wednesday. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that Trump “can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”

    Human rights organizations expressed outrage….

    (The Trump team has denied the plan, telling Fox it’s one of thousands of proposals from during the transition.)

  186. says

    In other cheery news,

    President Trump is preparing to take executive action that would target funding for so-called sanctuary cities, part of a series of moves he is considering announcing this week on immigration and national security.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of the new administration, telegraphed the sanctuary cities announcement during a speech Wednesday to the conservative Heritage Foundation. He called it a “common sense” action that would “drive the left crazy.”…

  187. says

    From @AltNatParkSer:

    Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out.
    This is the National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy. Pls download before it is removed.
    Call your representative in Congress and say you object to 640m acres of national land being privatised. #resist
    Thanks for all your support.
    Please consider donating to the .@NatlParkService and help it keep up its great work.
    Fun fact: The White House is surrounded by NPS land, and during Occupy they supported the protesters despite the mayor’s objection.

  188. says

    Dan Rather is founding a newsgroup to counter fake news and “alternative facts.” The group has a Facebook page called “News and Guts.”

    Journalism, real journalism, deep-digging reporting without fear or favor, is as important now, if not more so, than any time I can remember.

    I got into news in the first place to be part of something noble and bigger than myself. For those reasons, I am starting a second Facebook page called News And Guts, a digital news feed of sorts. It’s also the name of my digital news and production company. The goal is to inform, innovate, and inspire.

    This Facebook page will be under the stewardship of a very talented group of reporters who work at my company. These are men and women who know real news. They’ve reported with me around the globe from dangerous and difficult datelines. I trust them and so should you.

    In an era of fake news, false equivalence, and too much fluff, let’s take a stand together to demand better, and bring attention to all those doing great work.

  189. says

    If you want to join Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, you will have to pay twice as much now as you would have paid before Trump became president.

    The initiation fee used to be $100,000. Now it is $200,000.

    In addition to the initiation fee, you will pay $14,000 per year, plus taxes.


  190. says

    Ari Melber tells it like it is:

    […] Here are the facts though. Pew has done the study that was mischaracterized by the campaign and by now the government. They basically found 24 million entries on voting rolls where there was a wrong name because a voter died, moved, or had been inactive. That’s a paperwork problem. It does not go towards whether there are people committing the crimes [the crime of voter fraud].

    And the author of that study has rebutted this repeatedly, most recently saying, “As primary author of the report the Trump camp cited, I can confirm the report made no findings about voter fraud whatsoever.”

    What’s particularly egregious is there are disagreements in life and politics and government, and many of them can be good faith and we referee those sometimes. This is not one of them. I want to be very clear. The Trump campaign aides were called out on this by Mr. [David] Becker, who wrote the study, months ago. Sean Spicer has reason to know that he spoke a falsehood from that podium yesterday, and now you have the talk of the investigation. Investigating what?


    The problem is, and I want to be clear about this, the problem is what appears to be a deliberate effort by what is now the United States government to lie and confuse the fact that there are voter registration problems with an allegation that there were 3 to 5 million felonies committed, a massive, multi-million person criminal conspiracy. And if that didn’t happen, they need to stop lying about it.


  191. Hj Hornbeck says

    More evidence of kleptocracy.

    Only days after Donald Trump took the oath of office, the head of his hotel-management company outlined hopes for an ambitious expansion across the U.S., raising new questions about potential conflicts between his business and the presidency.

    Trump Hotels Chief Executive Officer Eric Danziger suggested the company’s broad U.S. ambitions while saying it shelved plans for expansion in China, where the president’s comments have already led to rocky diplomatic relations. […]

    Most ethics experts, including the agency that monitors such matters in the federal government, have said Trump should divest his holdings entirely. This expansion — which has the potential to benefit from Trump’s actions and profile as president — could spark further controversy. Democratic lawmakers have also called on Trump to divest his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest, and he has refused to do so.

  192. raven says

    The coming attack on Sanctuary cities is (literally) hitting home.
    I live near one of them!!!
    So do tens of millions of people since they include NYC, San Francisco, LA, and Chicago.

    I see that Fuhrer Trump has ordered the border wall constructed.
    I don’t see how.
    He doesn’t have the money!!!
    Congress has to allocate it.
    It’s estimated that a complete border wall would cost $14 billion.
    To solve a nonexistent problem since Mexican immigration went negative 6 years ago.

    Anyone know how Trump can build a wall without the money?
    I’m guessing he might have some discretionary funds but they aren’t going to be much.

  193. says

    SC @221, that was such disheartening news. With the gag order on employees of the Environmental Protection Agency and signing of the approvals for the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, years of positive environmental polices were demolished.

    The Trump administration is also planning to end Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and I think the devastation is far from over. We will see wetlands suffer, more coal-mining leases on public land, and even effort to end the waivers that some states like California use to set emission standards.

    It’s a rolling, ongoing disaster.

  194. says

    Rogue NASA!

    SC, “removable aliens”, is that like potential grizzlies? O brave new world, where words have new and changeable meanings.

    On the bright side, Trump’s inserting “removable” into the public discourse right now might be a mistake. “Who’s removable?” “YOU’RE removable!”

  195. microraptor says

    I’m pretty sure I had an action figure when I was a kid that came with removable aliens.

  196. hjhornbeck says

    Protect your hypocrisy meters, this is a doosey.

    Senior Trump administration staffers including Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon have active accounts on a Republican National Committee email system, Newsweek has learned.

    The system ( is the same one the George W. Bush administration was accused of using to evade transparency rules after claiming to have “lost” 22 million emails.

  197. says

    “Trump Prepares to Radically Reduce American Funding of the United Nations”:

    …It is difficult to overstate the sheer madness — and cruelty — of the Trump administration’s international agenda. The White House would like to undermine international cooperation on climate change, restrict migration, reduce aid to the global poor, and curtail efforts to grant women reproductive autonomy in the developing world.

    This reads like a recipe for increasing the number — and mortality rate — of ecologically and economically displaced migrants.

    But that’s not all….

  198. microraptor says

    Following Conway’s “alternate facts” statement, 1984 has apparently jumped to Amazon’s #1 seller slot.

  199. blf says

    The Granuiad has discovered DC police arresting journalists who were covering protests agasint teh trum-prat’s coronation, and who have now been charged with “the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting”, Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest:

    Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.


    All six were arraigned in superior court on Saturday and released to await further hearings […], according to court filings. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said late on Tuesday that charges against journalists who were covering the protests should be dropped.

    “These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests,” said Carlos Lauría, the CPJ’s senior Americas program coordinator. “We call on authorities in Washington to drop these charges immediately.”


    The National Lawyers’ Guild accused Washington DC’s metropolitan police department of having “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone” and said they unlawfully used teargas and other weapons.

    “These illegal acts are clearly designed to chill the speech of protesters engaging in First Amendment activity,” Maggie Ellinger-Locke, of the guild’s DC branch, said in a statement.

    None of the arrest reports for the six journalists makes any specific allegations about what any of them are supposed to have done wrong. [The arrest report for Jack Keller, a web producer], which also covers the arrests of an unknown number of unidentified other people, includes a note that a police vehicle was vandalized. “I had absolutely nothing to do with the vandalism,” said Keller.

    Reports on the arrests of five of the six journalists contain identical language alleging that “numerous crimes were occurring in police presence”. […]

    (Apologies if this has already been mentioned.)
    The previous Granuiad report, on the first two discovered arrests, is Two journalists covering inauguration protests face felony riot charges. Both the initial two, and at least some of the later four, showed the police the their press credentials. Their cameras and smartphones have been confiscated by the police.

  200. says

    The National Lawyers’ Guild accused Washington DC’s metropolitan police department of having “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone” and said they unlawfully used teargas and other weapons.

    The National Lawyers Guild is to the left of the ACLU. I’m sure donations would be appreciated.

  201. says

    Following up on SC’s comment #316.

    Here’s the link to the 11:38-minute video in which Rachel Maddow discussed the new PPP poll.

    Most Americans don’t believe Trump’s or Spicer’s lies about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd. 18% of the people polled answered “yes” to the question, “Do you think Donald Trump’s inauguration had the biggest crowd of any presidential inauguration in history?” A whopping 62% of the people polled answered “no.” So that’s good, right?

    However, when Trump voters were polled, OMG, were the results off in LaLa Land, ultra deluded. A disturbing number of Trump voters believe that the Trump inauguration crowd was the biggest in history: 34% said “yes” and 32% said “no” to the question.

    It gets worse. 59% of Trump voters think the Trump inauguration had a bigger crowd than the Women’s March the following day.

    It gets even worse. 38% of Trump voters think that most of the women who protested were paid to do so by George Soros. 33% did not believe Soros paid the protestors. As Rachel Maddow said, “That must have been a very complicated payment scheme.”

    A majority of Trump voters believe all that untrue stuff. Maddow connected this belief in things that are wildly untrue and easily disprovable with the Republican strategy to use delusion as a political tactic. Delusion is a “building block” for what they have to work with.

  202. hjhornbeck says

    We’re in need of some follow-up.

    Under public pressure, USDA officials on Tuesday began backpedaling. In a statement that afternoon, the department said the internal email — sent by Sharon Drumm, chief of staff at ARS — was “flawed” and released without being cleared by top USDA officials.

    “The ARS guidance was not reviewed by me,” Michael Young, the acting deputy administrator of USDA, told the Washington Post. “I would not have put that kind of guidance out.”

    After the department promised a revision, Jacobs-Young, the ARS administrator, emailed employees withdrawing the order on Tuesday evening.


    The controversial freeze imposed by the Trump administration on all grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency is set to end Friday, according to E&E News, a trade publication for energy and environment professionals.

    The freeze was announced yesterday and caused a huge outcry in the scientific community. Reuters also reported last night that EPA staff was ordered to take down the agency’s climate change page from its website; that also caused massive backlash from scientists, the public, and the media. Today, the Trump administration seems to have walked away from that plan.

    It’s very encouraging to know the public still has some leverage over what Trump does.

  203. Saad says

    Lynna, #319

    I wonder how many of Trump’s supporters realize that he is actually setting up conditions that will kill women and babies.

    What color babies are we talking?

  204. says

    “@RogueNASA: America’s scientists are launching unofficial Twitter accounts to defy trump”:

    Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial “rogue” Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as* attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science.

    Seizing on Trump’s favourite mode of discourse, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other bureaus have privately launched Twitter accounts – borrowing names and logos of their agencies – to protest restrictions they view as* censorship and provide unfettered platforms for information the new administration has curtailed….

    * That’s what they are.

  205. blf says

    ¡ Viva méxico! No pay wall: how former Mexican president Vicente Fox uses Twitter to troll Trump:

    The former president of Mexico has stepped up his expletive-laden attacks on the US president and his infamous border wall

    For some time now, former Mexican president Vicente Fox has been using [Twitter] to directly challenge, and troll, the new US president. As press secretary Sean Spicer insisted Mexico will pay for the border wall, Fox made his views clear:

    Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that fucking wall. #FuckingWall

    #FuckingWall then began trending worldwide. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, he repeated: “I have said and I have told the Donald, that Mexico will never pay for that fucking wall. And now I have to repeat it to this guy Sean Spicer.”

    Since Trump announced his plans for a wall between Mexico and the US during his campaign trail, Fox has been vocal in his opposition to the “racist monument”. And he has been robust in the language he uses to do so, both on Twitter and in video interviews.

    Of course, Fox’s expletive-laden criticism did not escape Trump’s notice. He tweeted back in February 2016 that Fox must apologise for swearing while discussing the wall. Fox doubled down, repeating: “I am not going to pay for that fucking wall” on live television.

    Ever since, the former president of Mexico has used Trump’s favourite means of communication to challenge and mock Trump and his wall:


    TRUMP, when will you understand that I am not paying for that fucken wall. Be clear with US tax payers. They will pay for it.


    The current president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto has also said his country will not pay for the wall — though he did not swear or start an internationally trending hashtag while doing so.

  206. says

    Saad @332, mostly babies of poor women. Of course you already know that any time reproductive health, pre-natal care, preventative screening, sexual health issues, etc — any time those are reduced more mothers and babies die.

  207. says

    Steve Benen debunked the bizarre evidence of voter fraud that Trump presented to congressional leaders. Excerpt:

    […] the president believes undocumented immigrants cast upwards of 5 million votes last year in part because of a story he heard second-hand from a German golfer about people “who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote” because of their skin color.

    Trump not only accepted all of this at face value, he’s also prepared to use the machinery of the federal government to pursue imaginary fraud because of the anecdote. […]

  208. blf says

    It’s very encouraging to know the public still has some leverage over what Trump does.

    Putting aside my doubts about this, four observations:

    (1) Don’t confuse teh trum-prat with his dalekcracy. Some subdaleks may sometimes pay attention, and some of those might even understand, but a subset of monsters is not teh trum-prat.

    (2) To-date, most or all incidents of what is claimed to be the result of public pressure has been reactive: Teh dalekcracy does or proposes something, there is enormous pushback, and then a new lie issued (see item 4 below). What is not happening, much or at all, is teh trum-prat and dalekcracy paying attention beforehand (i.e., proactive), except — denying reality plus lacking critical thinking — to absurd conspiracies.

    (3) Pushback typically happens only when people are aware of the pending damage, and believe the reports. Typical lawyer-like obfuscation plus discrediting of legitimate news sites (attacks, the “false news” phenomenon, financial problems, &tc), decreases awareness and belief-in.

    (4) Considering how much teh trum-prat lies (essentially all the time), and how much his dalekcracy lies (apparently most of the time), it’s less-than-clear the fixes / retractions will either happen at all, or be if they do really happen, will be maintained. That is, concrete actions must be seen, and the idiocy must not be reintroduced or (re-)implemented, perhaps(quite likely?) sneakily…

    Remember, a fair amount of the damage the thugs did during the Obama years (this is in addition to obstructionism) was by inserting stupidities into bills President Obama felt unable to veto. That is, sneakily-done damage. (Plus control of quite a lot of the states, a somewhat different issue / angle.)

  209. says

    SC @328, thanks for the link. I didn’t see your post when I commented on the same issue. Good to have all the facts. But, still, it is depressing to see how bonkers Trump is, and how willing he is to act on bad information. The more we learn, the worse Trump gets.

    Or maybe Trump is actually getting worse? Is he going downhill since the inauguration? Maybe he is getting even less sleep that he usually gets? Maybe the stress is triggering even more episodes of off-the-rails thought processes?

    Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.

    That’s Representative Lamar Smith speaking. He is a Republican from Texas who is also the Chair of the Science, space and Technology Committee in the House of Representatives.

    This is what Rachel Maddow described as Republicans using the delusions of Trump and of Trump followers as a building block for how they are going to govern for the next four years.

    The video is 6:57 minutes long. Importantly, it includes Maddow’s coverage of how Trump is restructuring the Voice of America broadcast network to be his propaganda machine.

  210. says

    When Trump was caught mocking a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski, Trump lied about it.

    The episode began when Trump made the claim that he had seen “thousands” of American Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks. Trump had also read and misunderstood a report Kovaleski wrote. As it turns out, Trump may also not know what the word “groveling” means, and he is misreading another report:

    […] Pressed for some kind of defense for his bizarre behavior, Trump said his offensive imitation of Kovaleski was simply intended to show the reporter “groveling.” That didn’t make any sense — at no point did Kovaleski grovel towards anyone — which created an unfortunate situation in which Trump was caught lying about a lie.

    Yesterday, Trump used “groveling” again in a way that suggests he simply doesn’t know what it means. The president talked to ABC News’ David Muir, who asked about Trump’s baseless claims about voter fraud, and the fact that all of Trump’s evidence has been discredited. It led to this amazing exchange:

    TRUMP:. Take a look at the Pew reports.

    MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night. And he told me that they found no evidence of voter fraud.

    TRUMP: Really? Then why did he write the report?

    When the reporter patiently tried to explain that the report in question found no evidence of fraud, Trump said the author of the report, David Becker, is “groveling again.” […]

    During the campaign, Trump and his aides said a Pew Center report offered clear evidence of systemic fraud. […]

    Pew published this report in 2012 on errors and inefficiencies in the nation’s voter-registration system, which the research organization concluded is in need of a systemic upgrade. It did find, for example, that roughly 1.8 million deceased people were still on voter registration rolls nationwide and should be removed.

    But that’s not evidence of fraud. Sometimes, Americans register to vote, then die, then remain on voter lists because the rolls aren’t updated as efficiently as they should be. […]

    In other words, Trump is clinging to a Pew report he didn’t actually review – the president isn’t much of a reader – that offers no proof to substantiate voter-fraud allegations. Literally, none.

    Confronted with reality, the president has decided David Becker, the author of the report, is “groveling.” In English, to grovel is to act in an obsequious manner in order to obtain someone’s forgiveness or favor. I don’t think the president understands that.

    That’s not what Becker’s doing. All he’s done is point to the evidence, consistently and dispassionately – just like Serge Kovaleski did.

    It’s led to a dialog that has unfolded roughly like this:

    Trump World: Becker’s report proves we’re right.

    Becker: No, it doesn’t.

    Trump World: Oh, it totally does. We haven’t read it, but we’re sure it says exactly what we want it to say.

    Becker: No, it doesn’t.

    Trump World: Look at Becker groveling!

    I’ve heard more sophisticated arguments on playgrounds, from children, none of whom had access to nuclear weapons.


    Bonkers, childish, totally unfit to be president.

  211. says

    People would rather quit than work in a Trump administration. The entire State Department management team is one example:

    The entire senior level management team at the State Department collectively resigned on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.

    Undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy unexpectedly stepped down after nine years in his role, and Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, all followed suit. The four officials, who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, are charged with managing the agency and overseeing its staff diplomatic posts abroad.

    Kennedy was actively working to assist Donald Trump’s transition team and his departure came as a shock to current and former foreign policy officials […] It follows the Jan. 20 resignation of Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr and director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Lydia Muniz. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  212. says

    But, still, it is depressing to see how bonkers Trump is, and how willing he is to act on bad information. The more we learn, the worse Trump gets.

    Or maybe Trump is actually getting worse? Is he going downhill since the inauguration? Maybe he is getting even less sleep that he usually gets? Maybe the stress is triggering even more episodes of off-the-rails thought processes?

    I just read the full transcript of the ABC interview, and have seen clips of portions of it. Trump is a madman. He’s an immediate threat to the nation and to the world.

  213. blf says

    On grovelling(@332), speculating, teh trum-prat is used to people (not all minions) grovelling to him, and knows roughly what it means, but because but because of that actual grovelling has internalized it as meaning something like “disagreed with me”. (Which is then perhaps internalized as “he’s wrong He’s Wrong HE’S WRONG!!!!1!!1!” and / or “I’m right I’m ALWAYS Right!!” …).

  214. says

    What Trump thinks about the speech he gave at CIA Headquarters:

    That speech was a home run. That speech, if you look at Fox, OK, […]  — we see what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming and — and they were all CIA. There was — somebody was asking Sean — ”Well, were they Trump people that were put” — we don’t have Trump people. They were CIA people.

    That speech was a good speech. And you [David Muir and ABC] and a couple of other networks tried to downplay that speech. And it was very, very unfortunate that you did.

    Is there such a thing as Hyper Dunning-Kruger Effect?

  215. says

    “The Doomsday Clock just advanced, ‘thanks to Trump’: It’s now just 2 ½ half minutes to ‘midnight.’”:

    It’s now 2 ½ minutes to “midnight,” according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which warned Thursday that the end of humanity may be near.

    The group behind the famed Doomsday Clock announced at a news conference that it was adjusting the countdown to the End of it All by moving the hands 30 seconds closer to midnight — the closest the clock has been to Doomsday since 1953, after the United States tested its first thermonuclear device, followed months later by the Soviet Union’s hydrogen bomb test.

    In announcing that the Doomsday Clock was moving 30 seconds closer to the end of humanity, the group noted that in 2016, “the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change.”

    But the organization also cited the election of President Trump in changing the symbolic clock….

  216. hjhornbeck says

    I was wondering what was up with the flurry of executive orders. I appear to have my answer.

    President Donald Trump’s team made little effort to consult with federal agency lawyers or lawmakers as they churned out executive actions this week, stoking fears the White House is creating the appearance of real momentum with flawed orders that might be unworkable, unenforceable or even illegal.

    The White House didn’t ask State Department experts to review Trump’s memorandum on the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the company that wants to build the pipeline is suing the U.S. for $15 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo were “blindsided” by a draft order that would require agencies to reconsider using interrogation techniques that are currently banned as torture, according to sources with knowledge of their thinking.

    Trump doesn’t have much to do with them, in fact.

    They have been written by Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior White House adviser for policy, and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, according to people familiar with the matter. Ideas for some of the Trump executive orders came from transition officials and so-called “landing teams,” sources say, who weren’t working in the White House.

    Aides have also said that it was sometimes a game-time decision if Trump was going to sign a certain executive order that day.

    The only other administration that began with such swift executive actions was Ronald Reagan’s, said David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former official at the Federal Trade Commission. Those directives were more heavily vetted.

    “If you don’t run these kinds of initiatives through the affected agencies, you’re going to get something wrong,” Vladeck said. “A government by edict is not a sustainable idea.”

    I dunno, Mobutu managed it for 32 years.

  217. says

    This is a followup to comment 331. Here is an excerpt from Maddow’s segment discussing the fact that Trump is turning Voice of America into his personal propaganda machine:

    […] The reason it’s [Voice of America is] fairly non-controversial is in part because it mostly broadcasts abroad but it’s also because it’s been run in a low-key non-partisan way. It’s been overseen, for example, by a broadcasting board of governors, sort of a panel of worthy professionals. They’re bipartisan appointed by both Republicans and Democrats.

    The agency’s also run as part of the State Department. It’s run in a way that’s supposed to be insulated from our domestic politics so it can’t be used as a partisan tool by anyone in government. That’s the way it’s supposed to go.

    But on page 1,404 of the defense bill that was passed by the Republican Congress right after the election […] they took the board of governors part out of the equation. Isn’t that interesting? So that’s no longer who runs this $800 million broadcasting effort, Voice of America. Now instead of being run by a non-partisan sort of insulated board of governors it’s now run by a CEO who is appointed by the president and who serves at the pleasure of the president. […]

    And the CEOs office this week at the Voice of America was taken over by two 20-something political operatives from the Trump campaign. […]

    It’s one thing for them to call it an “alternative fact” when the White House presents a blatant lie to the American public. It is another thing for them to overtly try to build in a dedicated way with the resources of the federal government an alternative factual universe for their supporters to live in […]

    But these guys really do also now have the opportunity to build their own media in a way that no president has ever been able to do so before. No president has ever been able to use the resources the U.S. government to have broadcasting resources like that at his or her disposal. But they’ve done it now and they’ve already installed their people in the corner office.

    $800 million. Trump can pump out a lot of propaganda with two, ultra rightwing twenty somethings running Voice of America.

  218. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @336:

    Apparently the Press Secretary has tweeted out his password. For the second time in as many days. Looks like he uses eight alphanumeric characters, with capitals; if you could brute-force 100 million such passwords per second, it’d take an average of 16 days to guess it.

    Let me try!!!: IAMPOTUS
    I’ll bet that wins! 8 characters, all caps, very narcissist. *POINTS* FTW I win the internet
    who else but me can declare that I won the competition? alternative facts, rule!!

  219. hjhornbeck says

    You may want to grab another barf bag.

    ?HEADS UP? The password for the @POTUS account is linked to an unsecured gmail address.

    I really, really hope he has two-factor authentication; he did assure us his son was great about “the cyber,” so maybe Barron set it up for papa?

  220. hjhornbeck says

    Whew, good news.

    Aaaaaaaand…they just changed it the @POTUS link to a whitehouse email account. Someone is paying attention, at least.

  221. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    I just had a conversation with a volunteer. Said volunteer (a retired teacher who went to school on the GI Bill) voted for Trump. And has the nerve to be fucking SURPRISED!!!1!!!!1 He said, “I really don’t understand what has happened. I really thought he would run the government the same way he ran his business interests.”

    Well, those of us who were paying attention during the primaries already knew how he ran his business interests — nepotism, ignoring the law, scams, shell games, gag rules, bribery, settling lawsuits out of court because he had no legal leg to stand on, personal abuse, insults, vindictiveness, ignorance, etc. And those of us who were paying attention during the Presidential campaign already knew how he ran his business interests — nepotism, ignoring the law, scams, shell games, gag rules, bribery, settling lawsuits out of court because he had no legal leg to stand on, personal abuse, insults, vindictiveness, ignorance, etc. For anyone to claim, with a strait face, that they are actually surprised that The Orange Dumpster Fire is running the government through nepotism, ignoring the law, scams, shell games, gag rules, bribery, settling lawsuits out of court because he had no legal leg to stand on (well, not yet, but we know it is coming), personal abuse, insults, vindictiveness, ignorance, etc., is either a confession of abject ignorance or a willful disregard of reality.

  222. says

    Ogvorbis @344, also in the “you should not be surprised” category, is the draft executive order that is essentially a ban on Muslims entering the USA:

    1. All refugees from Syria will be denied admission to the United States in favor of being resettled in “safe areas” to be established elsewhere.

    2. All refugee processing will be stopped for what looks to be 120 days while the administration determines whether the screening provisions are adequate.

    3. There will be a blanket 30-day suspension of visas for anyone hailing from a list of unspecified countries with majority-Muslim populations (according to Reuters that will mean Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen).

    4. The claims of refugees alleging religious persecution will be prioritized “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality,” a stipulation that will presumably be used to give preference to Christian refugees claiming persecution in majority-Muslim countries.

    Slate link

    That’s the draft version of the executive order, with a few comments added by the Washington Post.

  223. says

    Seth Meyers thinks Trump needs a television time-out. Funny.

    This is not funny. Trump’s executive orders on immigration included not just a mandate to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.” Here are a few of the other points made in the pair of executive orders Trump signed on Wednesday:

    – The homeland security secretary is supposed to take actions to ensure the “detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law.” That sounds as though it means all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

    […] the policy prioritizes deportation of a long list of undocumented immigrants who have “been convicted” of a crime; “been charged” with a crime, “where such charge has not been resolved”; have committed acts that “constitute a chargeable criminal offense”; “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official [government] matter or application”; have “abused” public welfare programs; have been subject to final order for deportation but not complied; and finally “[i]n the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

    – To enforce these deportations, the administration is planning to hire a force of 5,000 new border agents and 10,000 new immigration officers. Or, a “deportation force” if you will.

    – The executive action empowers local and state police to “perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention” of undocumented immigrants. Basically, local cops will now be immigration enforcement officials.

    – It creates a weekly report of “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.” So, an undocumented immigrant crime report/sanctuary city shame list. [Propaganda opportunities!]

    – It establishes a special “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.”

    – It cuts off federal funds “except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary” for so-called sanctuary cities that do not enforce federal immigration law. […]

    Slate link

  224. says

    Josh Marshall on Sergei Mikhailov’s arrest for treason in Russia:

    …It is important to note that even if these are the charges, in a country like Russia, what you’re charged with isn’t just not necessarily true. It may not even be what the state and prosecutors think is true.

    But this immediately poses the question: if Mikhailov was a US asset, how was he compromised? Did the information put out by US intelligence somehow lead to his exposure? Without putting too fine a point on it, a number of close advisors to President Trump are being scrutinized for ties to Russia. Some of them participated in the intelligence briefings the President receives.

    Do we have a very big problem?

  225. says

    This is a followup to comment 333.

    Wait a minute. Some reports do not say the State Department officials resigned, they say instead that the Trump administration fired them all, sort of.

    The entire senior level management team at the State Department was fired by President Donald Trump’s administration this week, CNN reported Thursday.

    Senior administration officials told CNN’s Elise Labott that four top State Department staffers were informed in letters sent by the White House that their service was no longer required. The pro forma resignation letters typically submitted by the heads of federal agencies at the start of new administrations were accepted. […]

    Talking Points Memo link

  226. says

    Trump starts from the premise that he’s popular and then believes any theory that proves it.

    […] the real giveaway comes when Muir asks if Trump thinks “talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence. … You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?” […]

    Trump does not interpret it that way. He interprets it as a challenge to his legitimacy as president, and to his level of popularity. “Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it, they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton.”

    Now, this is clearly nonsense — the idea that an election could have millions of illegal votes, and that all of these votes would go to one candidate and none to that candidate’s rival. Trump is also imagining a shockingly incompetent Democratic conspiracy, in which the Clinton campaign and its allies conspired to dramatically run up the margins in California, New York, and Illinois but just didn’t bother to throw any of these fake votes to Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania.

    But it makes sense if you view Trump as working backward from faith in his own popularity. It’s a nonsense claim tailor-made to shore up that conviction.

    The same goes with his insistence to Muir that he saw record inauguration crowds. This is contradicted by obvious photographic evidence, of course, so Trump repeats talking points about camera angles so his belief that he’s a popular president capable of gathering massive crowds is unchallenged. But he does something more interesting than that too. He challenges the claim that he had a fairly small inaugural crowd not on the grounds that it’s wrong, but on the grounds that it’s insulting. […]

    It’s hard to admit you’ve made a mistake and adjust accordingly, but past presidents have often been able to do it. Even George W. Bush, an unusually stubborn president, conceded his Iraq strategy was failing in late 2006 and switched course. But Trump’s early days in office have suggested that he totally lacks this ability. He has no mechanism for absorbing information that conflicts with his preexisting beliefs. And that’s a very dangerous quality in a president indeed.

  227. says

    “Trump Strategist Steve Bannon Says Media Should ‘Keep Its Mouth Shut’”:

    Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief White House strategist, laced into the American press during an interview on Wednesday evening, arguing that news organizations had been “humiliated” by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.

    “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call.

    “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

    On the telephone, Mr. Bannon spoke in blunt but calm tones, peppered with a dose of profanities, and humorously referred to himself at one point as “Darth Vader.” He said, with ironic relish, that Mr. Trump was elected by a surge of support from “the working class hobbits and deplorables.”…

  228. says

    “Good-Guy Government Hackers Fear The Worst From Trump’s Hiring Freeze”:

    It’s long been difficult for the federal government to hire and keep top cybersecurity employees. But thanks to President Donald Trump’s decision to freeze new hires and raises for most federal agencies, officials worry that government computers and networks are now more vulnerable than ever before.

    “Cybersecurity professionals are in extremely high demand, which means that the government is competing with the private sector, who is paying a premium for this talent,” Dan Jacobs, the cybersecurity program coordinator at the Government Services Administration, told Vocativ.

    “It’s hard enough already to retain talent. This will make it that much harder,” one information technology staffer at a federal agency, who was not authorized to speak on behalf of her department, told Vocativ.

    Trump’s decision to enact the freeze is controversial in the cybersecurity world for reasons besides the additional hassle for government professionals. A previous Government Accountability Office report on federal hiring freezes enacted by presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan found they were ineffective, disrupted agency operations, and in some cases cost the government money.

    ““I hope [the new administration] quickly understands how vulnerable everyone is, and how important it is to keep our guard up. I suspect folks who are calling the shots will see that,” said one recent senior cybersecurity official of a major federal agency, who was also asked to resign on the day Trump took office. (The official requested their name and department not be named to not draw negative attention to former coworkers.)

    “If they don’t, it’s gonna be hell to pay,” the official said. “That whole field is a cruel teacher.”

  229. blf says

    This is useful: a running list of significant Trump policies and related events.

    And also Tracking the 45th president of the United States, one day at a time. The current instant summary meter at the link:

    ●  Meters of the wall built: 0
    ● Obama actions unpicked: 4
    ●  Nights spent at White House: 6 out of 6
    ●  Number of tweets: 65
    ●  People, places and things recently insulted: Women’s marchers. Chelsea Manning, CNN

    And the complete summary to-date for “Day 7”:

    Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a visit to Washington, over Donald Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for his border wall. Peña Nieto said: “Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the US to achieve agreements which benefit both nations.” Speaking in Philadelphia, Trump claimed the decision to cancel was mutual. By the afternoon, Trump’s press secretary said the president had decided to hit Mexico with a 20% import tax.

    Previous days and full reports at the link.

    This is obviously a continuing Granuiad feature. Another now regular Granuiad feature is Burst your bubble: “The Guardian’s weekly guide to conservative articles worth reading to expand your thinking”. As the Granuiad’s quoted synopsis implies, the summarised links are generally to the less fruitloopy commentators and thinkers.

  230. blf says

    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders), is hitting back teh trum-prat / dalekcracy’s reimposing of the Mexico City policy (“global gag rule”), ‘Global gag rule’: stop playing politics with women’s lives, MSF tells Trump:

    As affected groups worldwide take in news of Donald Trump’s renewal of a policy that has dire implications for family planning, Médecins Sans Frontières has aimed a broadside at the US president’s stance


    The “global gag rule”, which was reinstated by Donald Trump on Monday, withholds USAid funding from any overseas family planning organisation that offers or provides information about abortions.

    The rule also affects civil society programmes, such as contraception provision, and campaigns for LGBT communities and teenage girls. Work to combat HIV and Aids, cervical cancer and Zika will likewise suffer.

    MSF is not directly affected by the gag rule since it relies on donations rather than US government funds to provide its services. Nonetheless, the organisation pointed out that it treats women and girls with abortion-related complications daily.

    Unsafe abortion is one of the five main causes of maternal mortality worldwide. The World Health Organisation has said that rates are even higher in certain regions — not least Latin America — and in contexts such as refugee camps and areas affected by conflict.

    “The medical consequences of unsafe abortion are dire and should be treated as such,” said Jason Cone, executive director for MSF in the US.

    “Governments should not play politics with the lives of women and girls. No matter what the risk or barrier, women will continue to seek ways to end pregnancies and they will continue to needlessly die if safe abortion care is not accessible. The Trump administration needs to face these facts and end policies that endanger the lives of women and girls.”


    The article then goes on to explain the impact on Teenage girls, LGBT communities, HIV and Aids communities, plus Victims of rape, and Zika-affected populations.

  231. raven says

    Now they’re saying the wall will be paid for by a 20% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, a notion which Robert Reich just rightly called “stupid.”

    It is that and more. We tried that once, Smoot Halley. It was a disaster and repealed by FDR.

    80% of Mexico’s exports are to the USA.
    60% of Mexico’s imports are from the USA.
    A lot of those exports are from US companies or going to US companies as part of a supply chain.

    Mexico would be forced to levy a 20% import tax.
    This will cause a trade war. It also might cause a recession.

  232. raven says

    I know nothing about Pena Nieto but AFAICT, he looks like a deer caught in the headlights or someone 100 feet underwater and unable to swim.

    We could really mess up Mexico.
    They need us more than we need them.
    80% of their exports go to the USA.
    They can’t meet the needs of their people to the point where millions
    migrate north.

    So how and why is it in the interests of the USA to have an unstable poor country with a 2,000 mile border with the USA?
    It’s not. Trump is astonishingly incompetent.

    The Smoot Halley tariffs didn’t cause the Depression but they made it worse. They didn’t even last too long.

  233. raven says

    I’ve been watching the Trump circus like many.
    It’s mostly smoke and mirrors.

    He doesn’t have the money or power to do what he says.
    Build the wall? He doesn’t have $14 billion to spend.
    That has to come from congress.

    He doesn’t have the legal power to arbitrarily put a 20% tariff on Mexico.
    He doesn’t have the legal power to make Mexico pay for it either.
    Mexico is a sovereign nation. It’s just bullying.

  234. F.O. says

    Let me take a moment to address the asshats who keep asking me did Hillary earn my vote yet. Because y’all don’t seem to get it.
    I explained what I wanted from any democratic candidate. I wanted Black Death to be put front and center. We’re dying in the street.
    And a lot of you muthafuckas, instead of pressuring your candidates you spent 2 years yelling at me. Meanwhile we’re dying in the street.
    When you decide you keep coming at me about “did she earn your vote” you’re literally ignoring the danger my community has BEEN in.
    DEMs have taken for granted the Black vote for decades. We been suffering for generations. But asking for my vote to be earned is the crime?
    Day 1 plans & 1st 100 day plans were made for various issues. Black Death at the hand of the state? Not so much. But I should’ve shut up?
    So what I argued the importance of local voting. So what I live in California and Hillary won by millions. So what we’re still dying..:
    I never argued Hillary & Trump was the same. I actively argued that was ridiculous which got me labeled a Hillbot. But dafuq are facts?
    So my request for my communities (the loyalist democratic voting block) issues don’t get taken seriously and somehow Trump is on me?
    I didn’t say I’d never support Hillary. I actively read all her proclamations. I pointed out she gave the best race speech of the election.
    But you muthafuckas kept yelling at me. I’m sure it’s my fault Comey said there was more to the email scandal too. Y’all ain’t shit.
    There was so much at work during this election but the Negro saying “I don’t want to die in the street” is why we have President Trump.
    I expressed so many times the fear I had. How me/my friends are scared to call the cops even when we need them. I begged allies to speak up.
    I directly contacted the Hillary campaign explaining the need for this to be dealt with. I did my job as a citizen. But Trump’s on me?
    I spent so much time explaining all the issues I had w/ Trump. Y’all act like I was campaigning for dude instead of doing the exact opposite
    But please, keep asking me if Hillary earned my vote. Because ya know what? She didn’t. But I never said this was a reasonable outcome.
    Now if you want to fucking #Resist perhaps you should learn from past lessons and take Black folks concerns seriously instead of mocking.
    Otherwise kindly shut the entire fuck up and stay out of my mentions. But if you actually give a shit then shut the entire fuck up & listen.

  235. says

    Here’s a story about how a new Big Data analytics model (different from the one Hillary Clinton used) may have influenced both the surprise Brexit and Trump victories:

    In 2012, Kosinski demonstrated that from a mere 68 Facebook likes on average, a lot about a user could be reliably predicted: skin color (95% accuracy), sexual orientation (88% accuracy), Democrat or Republican (85%). But there’s more: level of intellect; religious affiliation; alcohol-, cigarette-, and drug abuse could all be calculated. Even whether or not your parents were divorced could be teased out of the data.

    The strength of the model depended on how well it could predict a test subject’s answers. Kosinski kept working at it. Soon, with a mere ten “likes” as input his model could appraise a person’s character better than an average coworker. With seventy, it could “know” a subject better than a friend; with 150 likes, better than their parents. With 300 likes, Kosinski’s model could predict a subject’s answers better than their partner. With even more likes it could exceed what a person thinks they know about themselves.

    The day he published these findings, Kosinski received two phonecalls. One was a threat to sue, the other a job offer. Both were from Facebook.

    In the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti, Trump’s campaign regaled residents with messages about the failures of the Clinton Foundation after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, in order to dissuade them from turning out for Clinton. This was one of the goals: to get potential but wavering Clinton voters—skeptical leftists, African-Americans, young women—to stay home. To “suppress” their votes, as one Trump campaign staffer bluntly put it. In these so-called dark posts (paid Facebook ads which appear in the timelines only of users with a particular suitable personality profile), African-Americans, for example, were shown the nineties-era video of Hillary Clinton referring to black youth as “super predators.”

    And the company took even more radical measures: starting in July 2016, a new app was prepared for Trump campaign canvassers with which they could find out the political orientation and personality profile of a particular house’s residents in advance. If the Trump people ring a doorbell, it’s only the doorbell of someone the app has identified as receptive to his messages, and the canvassers can base their line of attack on personality-specific conversation guides also provided by the app. Then they enter a subject’s reactions to certain messaging back into the app, from where this new data flows back to the dashboards of the Trump campaign.

    This is nothing new. The Clinton campaign did similar things—but as far as we know they did not use psychometric profiling. Cambridge Analytica, however, divided the US population into 32 personality types, and concentrated on only seventeen states. And just as Kosinski had determined that men who like MAC cosmetics on Facebook are more likely to be gay, Cambridge Analytica found that a preference for American-produced cars is a great indicator of a possible Trump voter. Among other things, this kind of knowledge could inform Trump himself which messages to use, and where. The decision to focus candidate visits in Michigan and Wisconsin over the final weeks of the campaign was based on this manner of data analysis.

  236. says

    “President* Trump’s Insecure Android”:

    Lost amid the swirling insanity of the Trump administration’s first week, are the reports of the President’s continued insistence on using his Android phone (a Galaxy S3 or perhaps S4). This is, to put it bluntly, asking for a disaster. President Trump’s continued use of a dangerously insecure, out-of-date Android device should cause real panic. And in a normal White House, it would.

    A Galaxy S3 does not meet the security requirements of the average teenager, let alone the purported leader of the free world. The best available Android OS on this phone (4.4) is a woefully out-of-date and unsupported. The S4, running 5.0.1, is only marginally better. Without exaggerating, hacking a Galaxy S3 or S4 is the type of project I would assign as homework for my advanced undergraduate classes…..

    Once compromised, the phone becomes a bug—even more catastrophic than Great Seal—able to record everything around it and transmit the information once it reattaches to the network. And to be clear even a brand new, fully updated Android or iPhone is insufficient: The President of the United States is worth a great many multiples of expensive zero-day exploits.

    Based on the available information, the working assumption should be that Trump’s phone is compromised by at least one—probably multiple—hostile foreign intelligence services and is actively being exploited….

    * They’re missing the asterisk.

  237. blf says

    [… T]he journalist Jonathan Katz quipped: “First they came for the Latinos, Muslims, women, gays, poor people, intellectuals and scientists and then it was Wednesday.”

    And (albeit uncredited):

    Saturday’s women’s march was probably the biggest protest in American history […], and it gave rise to the remark that “Donald Trump just set the world record for the guy rejected by more women in a single day in the history of humanity”.

    Both from Trump’s first week was a crusade against everything. But we returned the favor. Which also notes:

    The media has finally gotten bold about calling lies lies: the Denver Post even ran an editorial titled, “Lying Donald Trump Can’t Be Trusted”. Even the Nixon administration took long, bitter years to get to this point.

  238. says

    “Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd”:

    On the morning after Donald Trump’s inauguration, acting National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds received an extraordinary summons: The new president wanted to talk to him.

    In a Saturday phone call, Trump personally ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous day’s crowds on the Mall, according to three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation. The president believed that the photos might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average.

    Trump also expressed anger over a retweet sent from the agency’s account, in which side-by-side photographs showed far fewer people at his swearing-in than had shown up to see Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

    Reynolds was taken aback by Trump’s request, but he did secure some additional aerial photographs and forwarded them to the White House through normal channels in the Interior Department, the people who notified The Post said. The photos, however, did not prove Trump’s contention that the crowd size was upward of 1 million.

    “I had a massive amount of people here,” the president told ABC News anchor David Muir in an interview Wednesday. “They were showing pictures that were very unflattering, as unflattering — from certain angles — that were taken early and lots of other things.”

    As he guided Muir through the West Wing, Trump paused at a photo on the wall, taken from behind him as he delivered his inaugural address: “Here’s a picture of the event. Here’s a picture of the crowd. Now, the audience was the biggest ever, but this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.”

  239. blf says

    Macomb v media: voters who read little news think Trump had a great first week:

    In a Michigan county that helped get Donald Trump elected, people are actively choosing to ignore news they don’t want to hear — or not receiving news at all

    [… T]he split perception of Trump’s first week in office could not be more worlds apart. On the one hand, there is Trump as seen through the lens of the coastal mainstream media that has called him out with historic bluntness, epitomized by the lead story of the New York Times: Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote.

    Then there is how residents of Macomb County, an overwhelmingly white working-class suburb of Detroit, see their new commander-in-chief. It is as if all the raging controversy of the week had somehow washed off him on the 600-mile journey from Washington to Michigan, leaving a cleansed and beatific Trump committed to creating jobs and putting America first.


    Jeff Payne knows all about the low esteem in which newspapers are held locally. He is managing editor of the Macomb Daily, and he has found that criticism of Trump’s falsehoods in the media tend to be far outweighed among his readers by distrust of the messenger.

    “You can give readers 50 facts that show that Trump is wrong, but when he portrays us in the media industry as the bad guys, that seems to outweigh all those facts.”


    In Macomb County [… i]t’s not that people are living in their own media bubbles so much as they are actively choosing to ignore news that they do not want to hear, or even more alarmingly, receiving no news at all.


  240. says

    “UW-Madison student trying to start ‘alt-right’ group was convicted of arson at black churches” (emphasis added):

    A UW-Madison student seeking to start what he calls a “pro-white student club” was convicted in 2005 of setting fires at predominantly black churches in a racially motivated arson attack, officials confirmed Thursday.

    Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university was not aware of student Daniel L. Dropik’s conviction when he was admitted to UW-Madison because the university is barred from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history.

    Dropik, 33, was sentenced to five years in federal prison after authorities said he set fires at two churches in predominantly black neighborhoods in Milwaukee and Lansing, Michigan, in April 2005. According to court documents, Dropik set out from his home in Oconomowoc specifically looking for black churches “as racial retaliation” for earlier incidents between him and African-Americans.

    Dropik, who also works as a student hourly employee, has handed out slips of paper at UW encouraging students to “fight anti-white racism on campus” by joining a Madison chapter of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, according to The Badger Herald….

    Dropik responded to Blank in an audio message posted to his website Thursday night. He was suffering from a mental illness when he committed the arson, Dropik said, and regrets “these violent and wrong acts.”

    Dropik denied that the American Freedom Party is a hate group, and said his desire to start a chapter on campus is not based in “racial hatred or a desire to do harm to other people based on their racial and ethnic backgrounds.”

    Dropik told The Associated Press that frustration over the Black Lives Matter movement’s presence on campus and university courses examining white and male privilege led him to start a local chapter.

    Dropik has an extensive online presence. Videos and blog posts about race and UW-Madison appear on his website and Twitter account, where his avatar is the cartoon Pepe the Frog — a mascot of the alt right.

    The College Fix, a conservative site focused on higher education, featured Dropik in a story last fall after he said UW officials denied his request to post fliers critical of the university’s process for investigating alleged incidents of hate and bias.

  241. says

    On the one hand, there is Trump as seen through the lens of the coastal mainstream media that has called him out with historic bluntness, epitomized by the lead story of the New York Times: Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote.

    Then there is how residents of Macomb County, an overwhelmingly white working-class suburb of Detroit, see their new commander-in-chief….

    I don’t like the framing in these sentences. As the article itself makes clear, many people are deliberately tuning out even news from their own local sources. There were also three Women’s Marches in Michigan. It seems to be much less a divide between these citizens and the “coastal mainstream media” than selective attention to and selective filtering of information on their part.

  242. says

    I agree with this. I’ve been astonished that reporters don’t come prepared with this evidence and stick to it. I also thought debate moderators should have had it, since everyone knew from the start that he would deny saying even things he said on Twitter or was recorded saying in public.

  243. hjhornbeck says

    Compare and contrast:

    A petition on the White House website asking President Donald Trump to release information about his tax returns has now received more signatures than any other petition in the system’s five-year history. […]

    As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had over 368,000 signatures, surpassing the previous record of 367,180. The previous record-holder called for the United States government to “legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.” […]

    White House adviser Kellyanne Conway reaffirmed on Sunday that Trump doesn’t plan to release his returns. “We litigated this all through the election,” Conway said on ABC. “People didn’t care.”

  244. hjhornbeck says

    I’m a bit surprised I’m not hearing more about those arrests in Russia, they amount to a major shakeup of the FSB.

    But private American cybersecurity investigators say the F.S.B., where Mr. Mikhailov was the second-most senior figure in the Center for Information Security, operated a group nicknamed Cozy Bear that stole data but never released it. […]

    If confirmed, the arrest would be one of the highest-profile detentions for treason within the F.S.B. since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    In another indication of high-level turmoil over cyberintelligence issues within the security agency, Kommersant reported on Jan. 13 that the director of the Center for Information Security, Andrei Gerasimov, would be fired. His termination was related to the investigation into the agency’s cooperation with Kaspersky on criminal hacking cases.

    While it’s dangerous to read too much into the charges, the Kremlin is making Sergei Mikhailov out to be a US mole.

    Mikhailov, who was allegedly detained at a board meeting in December 2016, is reportedly accused of leaking information to the U.S. intelligence community.

    Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on Thursday that Mikhailov gave U.S. officials vital information on Vladimir Fomenko and his server rental company “King Servers.” The firm was branded by U.S. cybersecurity company ThreatConnect as “an information nexus” used by Russian hackers to attack the United States’ information infrastructure.

    Nor is he the only person facing charges. One of his employees, Major Dmitry Dokuchaev, is also detained; an unnamed person, who I’m betting is Vladimir Fomenko; and this guy.

    Kaspersky Lab on Wednesday confirmed reports in Russia’s respected Kommersant newspaper that Ruslan Stoyanov, the head of its computer incidents investigations unit, was arrested in December. Kommersant said Stoyanov was detained along with a senior Russian FSB intelligence officer and that they both faced charges of treason.

    Kaspersky’s spokeswoman, Maria Shirokova, said in a statement that Stoyanov’s arrest “has nothing to do with Kaspersky Lab and its operations”. She said the company had no details of the charges Stoyanov faced, but added that the investigation dated back to the time before Stoyanov was hired by Kaspersky.

    According to his LinkedIn page, Stoyanov’s previous jobs include a position at the cybercrime unit at the Russian interior ministry in the early 2000s. [….]

    Andrei Soldatov, who has studied the internet and Russian security services for more than a decade, said the arrest of the Kaspersky manager was unprecedented.

    “It destroys a system that has been 20 years in the making, the system of relations between intelligence agencies and companies like Kaspersky,” he told the Associated Press. “Intelligence agencies used to ask for Kaspersky’s advice, and this is how informal ties were built. This romance is clearly over.”

  245. says

    From the quoted text in SC’s comment @368:

    […] Once compromised, the phone becomes a bug […] able to record everything around it and transmit the information once it reattaches to the network. And to be clear even a brand new, fully updated Android or iPhone is insufficient […]

    Based on the available information, the working assumption should be that Trump’s phone is compromised by at least one—probably multiple—hostile foreign intelligence services and is actively being exploited….

    Yes, that’s the problem in a nutshell. Trump’s phone has probably been broadcasting to Russian agents for some time. And to think that he made such a big deal out of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and of personal devices.

    I guess we will have to mount a campaign to have Bill O’Reilly repeat this information on a live Fox News broadcast if we expect it to sink into Trump’s head.

    What are our intelligence services doing about Trump’s phone?

  246. hjhornbeck says

    Curious about Vladimir M. Fomenko? Here’s something the New York Times wrote about him back in September.

    Living anonymously, down a winding road in the wilderness of western Siberia, not far from the Mongolian border, the only person so far implicated in the flurry of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political sites was obviously enjoying the moment.

    “We have the information, but nobody contacted us,” said Vladimir M. Fomenko, a tattooed 26-year-old who snowboards in his free time and runs a business out of a rented apartment.

    “It’s like nobody wants to sort this out,” he added with a sly grin.

  247. hjhornbeck says

    Yes, that’s the problem in a nutshell. Trump’s phone has probably been broadcasting to Russian agents for some time. And to think that he made such a big deal out of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and of personal devices.

    Ah, but it’s only a big deal when she does it.

    42% of Trump voters think he should be allowed to have a private email server to just 39% who think he shouldn’t be allowed to. Maybe cyber security wasn’t such a big issue in last year’s election after all.

    Still, the silver lining is pretty big.

    We find that only 34% of voters want to build a wall with Mexico if American taxpayers have to pay up front for it, compared to 53% who are opposed to doing that.

    We find that with Trump in office now, the Affordable Care Act is reaching record levels of popularity with 45% of voters supporting it to 41% who are opposed. Only 30% of voters think the best plan is to repeal the act and start over, while 61% would prefer Congress to keep the Affordable Care Act and fix parts that aren’t working. […]

    59% of voters think Trump needs to release his tax returns, to just 32% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In fact, 54% of voters would support a law requiring candidates for President to release 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, to just 34% who would be opposed to putting that requirement in place.

    61% of voters think Trump needs to fully divest from his business interests, to only 28% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to do that.

    Trump’s ties to Russia continue to be a problem for him. Only 13% of voters have a favorable opinion of Russia, to 60% with a negative view of it. For Vladimir Putin himself, the numbers are even worse. Just 10% of voters see him positively, with 67% having an unfavorable opinion of him. Continued close ties to Russia could be a problem for Trump even with his own base- among his voters Russia has a 20/47 favorability rating and Putin’s is 15/55.

    That’s a lot of leverage for Democrats, if they choose to take it.

  248. says

    “The nation’s top scientists can’t get through to Trump — and they’re alarmed”:

    Leaders of several of the nation’s top science organizations say they’ve been shunned by the Trump administration and are alarmed by signs that the administration will muzzle government researchers and reject the scientific evidence that informs such critical issues as vaccine safety and climate change.

    Their comments in interviews with The Washington Post come as scientists around the country are considering a grass-roots revolt against President Trump that could include a march on Washington. The sudden eruption of activism among people typically more comfortable in a laboratory or manipulating equations was incited in part by reports that the Trump administration is restricting the ability of government employees, including scientists, to communicate with the public….

  249. hjhornbeck says

    As does this.

    “Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N. and the way that we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well,” [Nikki] Haley said.

    “For those that don’t have our back, we’re taking names, we will make points to respond to that accordingly,” added Republican President Donald Trump’s U.N. envoy.

    Haley, who was South Carolina’s Republican governor when Trump picked her for the post, has little foreign policy and no U.S. federal government experience. […]

    According to a draft executive order published by The Daily Beast, Trump wants a committee – including his secretary of state, attorney general and director of national intelligence -to carry out a one-year review of U.S. funding to international organizations with the aim of almost halving voluntary funding.

    Threatening your friends and holding back money, that’s a great move. It’s no wonder I’m starting to see articles like this.

    The Merkel government is insisting the US honours existing trade agreements amid fears the country is in for “a rough ride” from President Trump, who has said the UK will be “at the front of the queue” for new deals.

    And, according to reports in German media, advisors to the Chancellor have “given up” hoping that the new President will act in a statesmanlike manner. “None of us here believe that anymore,” one of the Chancellor’s advisers told Handelsblatt. “The Americans, and the world, will get the Trump they elected.”

  250. hjhornbeck says

    Wow, things are getting serious in Russia.

    Head of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin’s office, ex-FSB general Oleg Yerovinkin, found dead in car in central Moscow.

    Is this the Kremlin acting on information supplied to them by the Trump admin? Or did the uptick in leaks drop enough clues for them to connect the dots without help?

  251. says

    hornbeck @383, I think the Russians took the fairly detailed reports that intelligence services compiled on Russian hacking, and they used those details to follow trails back to leaks within their own intelligence services.

    In other news, the British PM says that Trump confirmed to her than he is “100 percent” behind NATO. Does she realize that Trump often tells whomever he is speaking to what that person wants to hear, that Trump often says whatever he thinks will get other leaders to like him, that Trump lies, and that Trump often changes his mind (sometimes within minutes or hours)?

  252. says

    Wow, and I thought this was just a meme. Trump really is obsessed with hand size.

    Those don’t appear to be the same picture.

    “How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who bought it”:

    More than a month after Russia announced one of its biggest privatizations since the 1990s, selling a 19.5 percent stake in its giant oil company Rosneft, it still isn’t possible to determine from public records the full identities of those who bought it.

    The stake was sold for 10.2 billion euros to a Singapore investment vehicle that Rosneft said was a 50/50 joint venture between Qatar and the Swiss oil trading firm Glencore.

    Unveiling the deal at a televised meeting with Rosneft’s boss Igor Sechin on Dec. 7, President Vladimir Putin called it a sign of international faith in Russia, despite U.S. and EU financial sanctions on Russian firms including Rosneft.

    “It is the largest privatization deal, the largest sale and acquisition in the global oil and gas sector in 2016,” Putin said.

    It was also one of the biggest transfers of state property into private hands since the early post-Soviet years, when allies of President Boris Yeltsin took control of state firms and became billionaires overnight.

    But important facts about the deal either have not been disclosed, cannot be determined solely from public records, or appear to contradict the straightforward official account of the stake being split 50/50 by Glencore and the Qataris.

    If the full identity of the new owners of the Rosneft stake is a mystery, so too is the complete source of the funds with which they bought it.

    The Rosneft board learned about the sale from Sechin himself only on Dec. 7, several hours after Sechin recorded his televised meeting with Putin announcing it, the source said.

    In response to questions from Reuters, BP said: “Matters of the board of directors are confidential.”

    Two sources in the Russian government said the deal was also a surprise there: it had been agreed between Sechin and Putin’s Kremlin, above the cabinet. “Sechin did it all on his own – the government did not take part in this,” one of the sources said.

    Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said: “All documents and procedures needed for privatization were prepared and executed on time.”

  253. says

    hornbeck @384, oh FFS!

    Another handy roundup of Trump’s doings and sayings will come our way every Friday from Think Progress. This is another online news source one can trust, and to which one can donate.

    […] Each Friday, we’ll provide you with a guide to what happened over the past seven days in America under President Trump’s leadership.

    One of Trump’s first executive actions was an order to “ease the burdens” of the Affordable Care Act, which was rather vague. On Thursday, we saw the first example of that, when Trump cut all advertising to encourage Americans to enroll in health insurance before the enrollment period ends on Tuesday.

    Trump reinstated what’s known as the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funding for any international group that provides information to women about abortion services. Unlike the previous version, Trump’s order does not include exemptions for hospitals and clinics that don’t actually provide abortions themselves, nor for facilities that treat women with complications from illegal or unsafe abortions.

    Doctors Without Borders responded to that stupid move, as blf noted in comment 362.

    […] Trump signed an executive order taking action on issues related to immigration, including initiating plans to build his oft-promised wall with Mexico, threatening “sanctuary cities” with federal funding cuts, building additional detention centers, and publishing a weekly list of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. […]

    According to Politico reporting, the executive orders that Trump signed this week — which were spearheaded by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and chief strategist Steve Bannon — were so hastily prepared that they may be unenforcable or even illegal. […]

    Trump wasted no time in profiting off the presidency. Initiation fees at Mar-a-Lago are doubling […]

    John Gore, Trump’s pick to serve as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, has only ever fought civil rights cases as the lawyer defending the people accused of violating civil rights laws.

    CKE Restaurants, the company overseen by Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder, received 33 legal complaints from workers on Thursday, including four allegations of sexual harassment […]

    Trump is already exacerbating one of the world’s biggest conflicts by repeatedly promising to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This week, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) warned they will cease to recognize Israel if he follows through. […]

  254. says

    Uh, yeah … more of the same:

    President Donald Trump is expected to appoint former Breitbart editor Sebastian Gorka to serve on his National Security Council, adding a third former staff member of the far-right website to his White House staff. Gorka, who was arrested last year for attempting to board a plane with a handgun, will advise the president on counteracting terror threats. […]


  255. says

    Fox News’ Sean Hannity knelt before Trump and licked his shoes (metaphorically speaking):

    […] After Hannity broached the topic of how other outlets have covered President Trump by saying, “the New York Times, CNN, ABC — they use the word liar to describe you,” Trump interjected with, “these are very hostile, angry people… the media is very dishonest. They are very dishonest people.”

    “I said journalism is dead, so we agree,” Hannity replied. He also said the media “colluded against you on the campaign.” […]

    Think Progress link

  256. says

    People are pointing out that the dossier/memos suggests (p. 30) that Sechin made an offer to Carter Page at a meeting in July that Trump associates could be granted up to a 19% privatized stake in Rosneft in return for lifting the sanctions.

  257. hjhornbeck says

    SC @2386:

    They’re taken from slightly different points, but there’s enough visual cues there to suggest the hand’s been enlarged. Here’s a closer match (though the two aren’t the same, as the Tweeter incorrectly declares), so you can better judge.

  258. blf says

    What am I not surprised? Trump’s voter fraud expert owes US more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes:

    Gregg Phillips, who spurred Trump’s calls to investigate election results, has also lied when applying to state government jobs and has faced ethics allegations

    The conservative activist cited by Donald Trump as an authority on voter fraud owes the US government more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, was once accused of lying about his qualifications, and has faced several allegations of ethical impropriety.

    Gregg Phillips’s unfounded claim that three million people vote illegally in the US was championed in a tweet by Trump on Friday morning […]

    While he has posted online about excessive government spending, Phillips owes the federal government $100,961 in unpaid income taxes with his wife, according to a lien filed by the IRS in Manatee County, Florida, in 2014. An official at the county clerk’s office said the outstanding sum had not been paid. […]

    Phillips also had a colorful and lesser known career in Mississippi and Texas state politics over the past few decades, in which he was accused of exploiting positions that he held in the administrations of both states for financial gain.


    [… In c.1991] Republican governor Kirk Fordice of Mississippi nominated him to be executive director of the state’s department of human services.

    […] Phillips was confirmed despite an investigation into his background by state legislators finding several red flags. While Phillips reportedly said on his job application that he majored in “finance” for his degree, records from the University of Alabama showed that in fact he majored in transportation, according to multiple press reports from the time. On Friday, Phillips said: “My degree is a bachelor of science in commerce and business administration.”

    Phillips also said that he was registered to vote in Madison County, Mississippi, but he did not appear in voter rolls, according to the reports. He did not file a statement of economic interests by the deadline required in state ethics law. Having been critical of “deadbeat fathers”, Phillips was himself accused of failing to pay child support. The allegation, made by his ex-wife’s new husband in an interview with a newspaper columnist, was denied by Phillips. A Republican state senator reportedly pressured investigators to drop this issue.

    State investigators then wrote another scathing report on Phillips after he resigned from the job in 1995. Phillips had immediately taken an $84,000-a-year job with a corporation to which his department had previously awarded a state workforce training contract worth $878,000.


    And so on… As one of the many other examples cited:

    An investigation by the Houston Chronicle in 2005 alleged that Phillips had been involved in awarding tens of millions of dollars worth of state contracts to companies with which he was personally linked.

    In only the most striking example, the newspaper found that two clients of Enterject, a lobbying, services and training company that Phillips co-founded, were given $167m in state contracts. Phillips told the newspaper he had “severed all ties” to his company when he went to work for the state. Yet the reporters found that, in fact, he remained “actively involved” with Enterject and that his wife was the company’s chief financial officer.

    The Chronicle also found that Enterject was given a $670,270 contract for processing immigrant paperwork from the Texas Workforce Commission. The commission’s executive director, Larry Temple, had been Phillips’s deputy in Mississippi. Phillips again denied any wrongdoing.

    After he left the Texas state administration, Phillips’s new company AutoGov won a no-bid contract worth at least $207,000 in public funds to work on fixing the error-plagued computerized welfare system that Phillips had implemented. The Dallas Morning News described the problematic setup as “the state’s biggest privatization fiasco”.


    And, Trump campaign and Republicans paid $1.8m to companies mired in voter fraud claims: “Strategist Nathan Sproul, whose staff pleaded guilty to destroying registration forms in 2012, is back on the Republican National Committee’s payroll” (Nov-2016). No(?) Gregg Phillips connection there, but some of main people involved in the whole voting fraud distraction can easily be called frauds themselves on the basis of considerably more, and more concrete, evidence.

  259. says

    This is evil:

    Users on the anonymous forum 4chan encouraged others to trick Twitter users into publicly outing themselves as undocumented immigrants in the United States so they could be reported to the federal government for deportation. […]

    On January 26, users on the message board announced that they planned to get the hashtag “#UndocumentedUnafraid” trending on Twitter in order to trick undocumented immigrants into admitting their status so 4chan members could report them to the authorities.

    In the now archived thread, 4chan users encouraged trying to “bait them into revealing their location.” One user even suggested making up “a fake pro-immigration organization” that could “put up a $500 scholarship for undocumented students” so that people would “admit to being illegal explicitly.” The user claimed that if “the bar was low enough,” someone could “easily catch hundreds and get their contact info.” Another user added, “Don’t be cucks this is easy damage.” […]

    Media Matters link

  260. says

    And … even more of the same:

    […] Jon Feere, who is reportedly “in line” to join the Trump administration, has promoted the work of the white nationalist website and given an interview about immigration to an anti-Semitic newspaper that promotes claims that the Holocaust is a “hoax.”

    The Washington Post reported that Feere “is in line to join the Trump administration in an immigration-related position at the Department of Homeland Security, according to two former U.S. officials informed of transition changes by department personnel.”

    The paper noted that Feere is a “prominent advocate of ending U.S. birthright citizenship” and has worked as a legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

    CIS is an anti-immigrant group founded by John Tanton, a white nationalist who has claimed that “a European-American majority” is required to maintain American culture. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has heavily criticized the nativist group for releasing shoddy research and pushing misinformation about immigrants.

    Feere wrote on Twitter that the “reality is that many pro-illegal immigration people simply hate Americans and believe that foreigners are superior in every way.”

    Feere has also promoted the work of the white nationalist anti-immigrant site VDare on his Twitter account. He linked to an article on the site in an April 9, 2016, tweet […]


  261. says

    McCain’s statement on Trump/Putin call and possibility of lifting sanctions:


    “President Donald Trump’s call with Vladimir Putin is scheduled to take place amid widespread speculation that the White House is considering lifting sanctions against Russia. For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course. If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.

    “In just the last three years under Vladimir Putin, Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, threatened NATO allies, and intervened militarily in Syria, leaving a trail of death, destruction, and broken promises in his wake.

    “Russia’s war on Ukraine has killed over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Russia supplied the weapons that shot down a commercial aircraft over Ukraine and killed 298 innocent people.

    “Russia has conducted a massive military buildup along NATO’s eastern flank, conducted large-scale military exercises, violated the borders, airspace, and territorial waters of its neighbors, and intensified its propaganda efforts to undermine the governments of our allies.

    “Russia has propped up the murderous Assad regime as it has waged war on the Syrian people and killed more than 400,000 civilians. Russia’s military has targeted Syrian hospitals and first responders with precision weapons. Instead of targeting ISIL, Russia has focused its operations against the moderate Syrian opposition, which has only empowered extremist forces in the country.

    “And in the most flagrant demonstration of Putin’s disdain and disrespect for our nation, Russia deliberately interfered in our recent election with cyberattacks and a disinformation campaign designed to weaken America and discredit Western values.

    “Each of our last three presidents had high hopes for building a partnership with the Russian government. Each attempt failed, not for lack of good faith and effort on the U.S. side, but because Putin wants to be our enemy. He needs us as his enemy. He will never be our partner, including in fighting ISIL. He believes that strengthening Russia means weakening America. President Trump should remember this when he speaks to Vladimir Putin. He should remember that the man on the other end of the line is a murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn. For our commander-in-chief to think otherwise would be naïve and dangerous.”

    “…All that said, I’m totally cool with Tillerson as SoS.”

  262. blf says

    Teh dalekcracy vs the UN, UN envoy Nikki Haley pledges to ‘take names’ of those who don’t support US: “Trump’s new US ambassador to the United Nations says: For those that don’t have our back, we will make points to respond to that accordingly“. (Ms Haley “was South Carolina’s Republican governor when Trump picked her for the post, has little foreign policy and no US federal government experience.”)

    Next up, commandeering all those black helicopters to search for the millions of Obama-imported moolsins hidden in the soon-to-be-sold national parks.

  263. says

    Wonkette covered the fact that Trump has banned immigration from Muslim countries without Trump hotels. Excerpt below:

    […] The order would place a 30-day stop to visas for immigrant and visitor visas for travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, all Muslim-majority countries whose citizens the order says “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

    But it would not affect travelers from all Muslim countries — the ban does not apply to Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, which by complete coincidence are all countries where the Trump Organization has business interests.

    While the text of the executive order invokes the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States as a reason to be wary of scary Muslims who want to destroy America, the actual ban would not affect countries the 9/11 hijackers came from […]

    Oh dear — we fear pointing that out may not be very supportive of the president, proving we just don’t understand why he won.

    The order would also immediately end all refugee admission and resettlement for 120 days while refugee vetting procedures — already a 2-year process — are tightened. It would put admission of Syrian refugees on hold indefinitely, because paranoia really sells well. After 120 days, refugee admissions would restart, but annual acceptance of refugees would be cut from 100,000 a year to 50,000, and would still exclude Syrian refugees, because the most desperate refugees clearly are the most dangerous. […]

  264. says

    I agree with David Corn – this is obviously a good idea:

    “Given the ongoing investigations by the FBI, CIA and Senate and House Committees into Russia’s penetration of America’s political system, President Trump should refrain from making any significant changes in our policy towards Russia until these investigations are complete, and Congress and the American people have an opportunity to weigh in on their findings.

    Additionally, it is our belief that President Trump should put his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, on leave until he has been cleared of any connections to the Russian government by these same investigations. It is just unacceptable for Flynn to continue in such a sensitive and consequential job – particularly given the early actions by this President which appear to be in concert with Russia’s foreign policy goals – while he is being investigated by the Intelligence Community and law enforcement.”

  265. says

    Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway spoke at the March for Life rally today. March for Life is an annual anti-abortion protest.

    Afterward, Conway was interviewed on Fox News. In less that two minutes, she told three lies:

    […] by arguing that “partial-birth” and “sex-selective” abortions are common in the United States — despite significant scientific and medical evidence to the contrary. She also wrongly claimed that taxpayers foot the bill for abortion care and that fetuses can feel pain when aborted at 20 weeks […]

    Link. Video is also available at the link.

    Partial debunking of high-speed liar, Kellyanne Conway:

    […] Fact: So-called “partial-birth” and “sex-selection” abortions are anti-choice myths, based entirely on junk science.

    Right-wing media, anti-choice politicians, and Conway herself have often repeated the allegation that both “partial-birth” and “sex-selection” (usually termed “sex-selective”) abortions are a common occurrence. In reality, neither term is medically accurate nor do they describe actual abortion procedures performed in the United States.

    “Partial-birth” abortion is a nonmedical and fabricated term coined by anti-choice groups to vilify and stigmatize individuals who elect to have a later-term abortion. Despite right-wing media’s insistence that “partial-birth” abortions are common, 99 percent of abortions in the United States take place before the 20th week of pregnancy. The Supreme Court explicitly protected the right to an abortion beyond this point when the life or health of the mother is endangered — meaning late-term procedures are often performed only in instances of medical need. […]

  266. blf says

    A bit eyebrow-raising on Holocaust Remembrance Day, No mention of Jews in White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day tribute: “Lack of reference to Judaism or antisemitism in Trump administration’s statement ‘puzzling and troubling’, head of Anti-Defamation League said”. As the article goes on to explain, this plausibly could be a mistake by an inexperienced “team”. But as obviously occurs to many people, it fits right in with teh dalekocracy’s known nazism, plus the words / actions of too many of teh trum-prat’s supporters. (I have no idea who in the dalekocracy is, or is suspected to be, a Holocaust-denier.)

  267. blf says

    In the Granuiad, Martin Rowson on the May–Trump meeting (cartoon). Mr Rowson’s large cartoons are typically quite intricate and pay off in careful study for all the jibes, snarks, and skewerings made — and this one is no exception…

    (Theresa May is the UK’s current PM, and is in DC to grovel to teh trum-prat.)

  268. says

    blf @406, that was a good one. [smiles]

    I like the addition of the waterboarding, the ridiculously-long red tie, and the fact that the oval office seems to have been redecorated so that it now includes multiple statues of Trump. The tissue box of “Executive Orders” was also a nice touch.

    Here’s a nice joke from the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee:

    WA @GovInslee says if President Trump’s border wall is anything like his inauguration crowd assessment… it’ll be 8 inches high.

  269. says

    Evan McMullin founded an organization to fight back against propaganda coming from Trump’s White House.

    His group produced a great Trump/Putin watchdog ad that includes this statement: “Russia is actually undermining democracy in Europe and the United States. He [Putin] knows a weaker Europe and a weaker United States will allow him to carry out his expansionist ambitions.”

    More information about McMullin’s “Stand Up Republic” 501(c)(4) organization, and the video of the new ad can be found on Daily Kos.

  270. blf says

    Lynna@407, Yeah the “Tissue of Lies” box of tissue paper executive orders was a good one. In addition to those you mentioned, there’s also the golden curtains (apparently real, he really has already done that to the Oval Office), the sign on the desk (borrowed from President Truman with a choice alteration), the throne, the money bags in the claws of the vulture in the Great Seal, Theresa May’s approval, and that teh tiny-handed trum-prat has obviously peed in his diapers (hilarious!). The frowning Churchill bust is also a good one (complete with snarky label on the crude wooden packing case, albeit “Airstrip One” might be better?). I assume the carnivorous plants are just “atmosphere”…

    I still haven’t decoded the small snake-like thing rubbing up against teh trum-prat’s overlong venomous tie, or the medal-like picture on the wall. (I presume I’ve also missed some things, some of the above I didn’t notice until writing this comment!)

  271. blf says

    Charges against one of the six journalists known to have been arrested in DC (see @314) have been dropped, Charges dropped for journalist arrested while covering Trump inauguration. The article also makes the observation “Because the arrests occurred in Washington DC, the charges against the journalists are being handled by the US justice department, which may soon be led by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a close political ally of Trump and his nominee for attorney general.”

  272. hjhornbeck says

    Is this rift staying around, post-election?

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are drawing a hard line against easing sanctions on Russia, issuing stern warnings ahead of President Donald Trump’s first official communication with Vladimir Putin since his inauguration last week.

    “I’m against lifting any sanctions on the Russians. These sanctions were imposed because of their behavior in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and now we know they’ve been messing around in our elections as well,” McConnell said in an interview with POLITICO on Friday. “If there’s any country in the world that doesn’t deserve sanctions relief, it’s Russia.”

    Both McConnell and Ryan have flip-flopped multiple times, so it’s tough to gauge how serious they’re being.

  273. hjhornbeck says

    Well, well, well, the leaks continue.

    Recordings of closed sessions at the Republican policy retreat in Philadelphia this week were sent late Thursday to The Post and several other news outlets from an anonymous email address. The remarks of all lawmakers quoted in this article were confirmed by their offices or by the lawmakers themselves.

    It’s fairly prosaic, but it reveals Republican’s outward confidence of a repeal is a mere mask.

    “We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created” with repeal, said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). “That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.” […]

    Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), a freshman congressman from the Hudson Valley, warned strongly against using the repeal of the ACA to also defund Planned Parenthood. “We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill,” he said. “If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.” […]

    “The fact is, we cannot repeal Obamacare through reconciliation,” McClintock said[, because replacement needs 60 votes instead of 50]. “We need to understand exactly: What does that reconciliation market look like? And I haven’t heard the answer yet.” […]

    Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) worried that the plans under GOP consideration could eviscerate coverage for the roughly 20 million Americans now covered through state and federal marketplaces and the law’s Medicaid expansion: “We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”

  274. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    From Rawstory :

    A Trump supporter who shot an unarmed anti-fascist protester was released by Seattle, Washington police without charge. Meanwhile, at least six journalists arrested by the Washington, D.C. force face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 fines on felony “riot” charges for covering protests at the presidential inauguration.

  275. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Today’s comic from Retail (by Norm Fueti) is excellent.

    (If you are not reading this today, click the left arrow under the cartoon until you arrive at 1/28)

  276. says

    The Anne Frank Center responds to Trump’s actions:


    Statement of Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the U.S. civil and human rights organization among Anne Frank organizations worldwide:

    As President Trump prepares orders to wall out Mexicans and shut out refugees from America, today marks one of the most hateful days in our nation’s history. Donald Trump is retracting the promise of American freedom to an extent we have not seen from a President since Franklin Roosevelt forced Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. Today the Statue of Liberty weeps over President Trump’s discrimination.

    President Trump is beyond the wrong side of history. He is driving our nation off a moral cliff.

    When President Trump uses national security as a guise for racism, he doesn’t strengthen our national security. He compromises our national security by engendering disrespect for America by people around the world.

    Make no mistake, suspending visas for citizens of Middle Eastern and African countries is not called national security. It’s called prejudice.

    President Trump is now exacerbating the largest global refugee crisis in history. His slamming America’s doors on the starving, the wounded and the abused is a grotesque blot on our nation’s history of freedom. The President’s actions are an embarrassment to the timeless vision of America as inscribed by Emma Lazarus to “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

    Demonizing refugees and immigrants, and spending billions of taxpayer dollars to keep them out of our nation, will go down in American history as one of the most tragic deviations from our national conscience.

  277. says

    A couple of thoughts about the ABC interview I linked to @ #334 above:

    First, Chris Hayes last night showed a short clip of a segment that had stood out to me earlier, wherein Muir tries to get Trump to see that insisting upon obvious falsehoods isn’t helping Trump’s reputation any.

    DAVID MUIR: Do you think that that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all.


    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not at all because many people feel the same way that I do. And …

    DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it undermines your credibility if there’s no evidence?


    PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all because they didn’t come to me. Believe me. Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton. And if they didn’t vote, it would’ve been different in the popular.

    Trump cannot understand the question Muir is asking here. He hears “undermines your credibility” and in his mind it all refers to the popular-vote loss undermining his legitimacy, so his answer is about the mythical millions of illegal votes for Clinton.

    I’m not convinced by the argument that Trump’s nonsense claims here help Republican voter suppression and disenfranchisement efforts. Having him continue to make arguments so patently ridiculous that not only Republicans in congress but Republican Secretaries of State have to publicly announce that there was no evidence of any significant voter fraud doesn’t help their case, and the pretext is so plainly silly and so obviously rooted in Trump’s psychological problems that any “investigation” that could come from it lacks all credibility. Their unwillingness to speak out strongly against Trump’s attempts to use public resources to address this fantastical notion just reveals the extent to which they’ll allow policy and spending to be shaped by the need to indulge this man’s irrational impulses. Of course they’ll try to use anything to obstruct democracy and hang onto power, but this episode isn’t built to serve their interests.

    Second, this section:

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are excluding certain countries. But for other countries we’re gonna have extreme vetting. It’s going to be very hard to come in. Right now it’s very easy to come in. It’s gonna be very, very hard. I don’t want terror in this country. You look at what happened in San Bernardino. You look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center. Okay, I mean, take that as an example.

    DAVID MUIR: Are you at all …


    DAVID MUIR: … concerned — are you at all concerned it’s going to cause more anger among Muslims …


    DAVID MUIR: … the world?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?

    DAVID MUIR: You don’t think it’ll …

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Look, David …

    DAVID MUIR: … exacerbate the problem?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: … David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out.

    The world is a total mess. Take a look at what’s happening with Aleppo. Take a look what’s happening in Mosul. Take a look what’s going on in the Middle East. And people are fleeing and they’re going into Europe and all over the place. The world is a mess, David.

    One central element of the authoritarian character is destructiveness and sadism. Trump and Bannon are driven to destroy – international relationships, alliances, and organizations; domestic institutions; government agencies; other countries; careers and reputations; human beings, other living things, and our environment;… As Trump does here – and he’s speaking honestly about his views – authoritarians will rationalize their violence and sadism by claiming that their targets were already destroyed (a “mess,” a “disaster,” “waiting to explode”*), posed an existential threat, brought it on themselves, weren’t really significantly affected, etc. But they’re acting out of a compulsion to destroy. If these policies and those to come seem to people to be irrational, useless in achieving the goals they’re purported to advance, likely to be counterproductive and to inspire a violent backlash and have other terrible consequences, and gratuitously cruel – and they are – it’s because they’re compulsive in this way. I can’t begin to express what a danger this poses to the world.

    * Note this passage:

    And remember Obamacare is ready to explode. And you interviewed me a couple of years ago. I said ’17 — right now, this year, “’17 is going to be a disaster.” I’m very good at this stuff. “’17 is going to be a disaster cost-wise for Obamacare. It’s going to explode in ’17.”

    And why not? Obama’s a smart guy. So let it all come do [sic] because that’s what’s happening. It’s all coming do [sic] in ’17. We’re gonna have an explosion. And to do it right, sit back, let it explode and let the Democrats come begging us to help them because it’s on them. But I don’t wanna do that. I wanna give great health care at a much lower cost.

    He’s actually suggesting here that Obama fixed things so that the ACA would basically self-destruct after he left office, because he’s a “smart guy.”

  278. says

    “Trump executive order: Refugees detained at US airports”:

    The National Immigration Law Centre (NILC) told the BBC that it was suing President Trump and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

    It described the two Iraqis as “courageous Haneed Khalid Darweesh, who interpreted for US army & Haider Sameer Alshawi also targeted for aiding US military”.

    The organisation had been unable to speak to the two men, it said.

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is one of several other rights groups also involved in the lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of New York on Saturday morning.

    Lawyers are “keeping tabs on several flights” the NILC told the BBC, but did not have a full number of people who had been detained at US airports.

    Mr Trump signed the order on Friday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    The president’s statement to mark that occasion, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.

    In response to Mr Trump’s order, the United Nations refugee agency said the needs of those fleeing conflict had never been greater.

    The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) also says it will file a lawsuit….

    Here‘s more about the lawsuit.

  279. says

    “China military official says war with US under Donald Trump ‘becoming practical reality'”:

    War with the US under Donald Trump is “not just a slogan” and becoming a “practical reality”, a senior Chinese military official has said.

    The remarks were published on the People’s Liberation Army website, apparently in response to the aggressive rhetoric towards China from America’s new administration.

    They communicated a view from inside the Central Military Commission, which has overall authority of China’s armed forces.

    Quoted in the South China Morning Post, the official from the Commission’s Defence Mobilisation Department wrote: “A war ‘within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality.”

    The official also called for military deployments in the tense South and East China Seas and for a missile defence system to guard the Korean peninsula, another regional hotspot, the Post reported.

    The US should also reconsider its strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, the official wrote….

  280. says

    MA Congressman Seth Moulton on Trump’s EO concerning refugees:

    President Trump is leading our country out of fear instead of facts. His executive orders banning refugees and immigrants from some Muslim majority countries to the United States play right into the hands of our enemies. ISIS has already used his statements to help recruit new suicide bombers, and you can bet Trump’s policies will help inspire attacks against Americans both at home and abroad.

    His policies literally put our troops’ lives at risk—I’ve heard this loud and clear when I have visited them overseas. They also prove he has zero understanding of our country’s values and no intention of defending our Constitution.

    We are a nation of immigrants, and America is stronger when we welcome the refugees of our enemies. These policies do not put America first. I am ashamed that he is our president.

  281. says

    General Mattis actually watched Trump sign the ban on accepting refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. I wish he would have stepped in and grabbed the pen from Trump. I know that would not have been possible, but I also don’t see how he could have even agreed to be in the room.

    Mattis was asked about the reaction in the Middle East to Trump’s suggestion earlier of banning Muslims:

    They think we’ve completely lost it. This kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through this international system.

  282. says

    […] Mr. Trump asserts that he still has the power to discriminate, pointing to a 1952 law that allows the president the ability to “suspend the entry” of “any class of aliens” that he finds are detrimental to the interest of the United States.

    But the president ignores the fact that Congress then restricted this power in 1965, stating plainly that no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” The only exceptions are those provided for by Congress (such as the preference for Cuban asylum seekers).

  283. says

    The mess, the injustice, that Trump caused by barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. got deeper when people realized that the ban would also affect green card holders. People with a green card have been granted permanent resident status, but they too are included in the Trump ban.

    “It will bar green card holders,” Gillian Christensen, acting Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, told Reuters in an email.
    Reuters link

  284. says

    Here is an example of the people (I won’t call them journalists or reporters) to whom Press Secretary Sean Spicer routinely gives the first question of the day at press conferences: LifeZette.

    Yes, you may not read the website LifeZette, but plenty of rightwingers do. It is the website founded by Laura Ingraham.

    […] On Monday, the first question went to the New York Post, a conservative-leaning outlet, instead of the traditional choice, the Associated Press. On Tuesday, the first question went to LifeZette […]

    In a video titled “Clinton Body Count,” released in April 2016, a LifeZette correspondent, over an ominous music track, suggests without evidence that the Clinton family may have had some role in John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash, as well as deaths of various Democratic operatives. […]

    LifeZette also promoted the conspiracy theory — based on a leaked exchange from Wikileaks — that Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta participated in occult rituals involving blood sacrifice.

    Sean Spicer is making use of fake news hubs. He is turning the White House into a fake news hub. Spicer is legitimizing sites that traffic is conspiracy theories and alternative facts.

  285. says

    Some reaction to Trump’s refugee ban:

    […] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the “tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty,” denouncing Trump’s executive order as “backwards and nasty.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the ban a “betrayal of American values.” Sen. Cory Booker called the move “fundamentally un-American.” Others noted that it would most likely backfire in the war on terrorism. Sen. Chris Murphy wrote […] that Trump had just “handed ISIS a path to rebirth.”

    Trump’s executive order is nothing short of a death sentence for Syrian families fleeing the atrocities of war back home. In addition to Syria, the order also temporarily bars entry to immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Conveniently, it excludes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey – all places where Trump does business.

    Trump also ordered that Christians and other religions get priority over Muslims, lamenting the “very, very unfair” treatment Christians in Syria were given. Refugees from Muslim countries will also have to take a religious test, in accordance with the order.

    In the signing ceremony at the Pentagon, Trump seemed to liken Muslim refugees to terrorists. “We don’t want them here,” he said. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people,” he said.


  286. says

    More reaction to Trump’s refugee ban, with a focus on the Syrian refugees:

    […] ISIS despises Syrian refugees: It sees them as traitors to the caliphate. By leaving, they turn their back on the caliphate. ISIS depicts its territory as a paradise, and fleeing refugees expose that as a lie. But if refugees do make it out, ISIS wants them to be treated badly — the more the West treats them with suspicion and fear, the more it supports ISIS’s narrative of a West that is hostile to Muslims and bolsters ISIS’s efforts to recruit from migrant communities in Europe.

    The fewer refugees the West lets in, and the chillier their welcome on arrival, the better for ISIS. […]

    The article provides additional details to back up the claim that ISIS benefits from refugee suffering, to explain why ISIS hates refugees, and to make the point that welcoming immigrants is a smart counterterrorism tactic (and a moral imperative).

  287. Saad says

    “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people,”

    He only wants people who love Black Lives Matter protesters?

  288. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Saad #439,

    I’ll just put myself on the no-fly list, since I despise US and have no love for fuckers who brought it to where it is now.

  289. says

    General Mattis actually watched Trump sign the ban on accepting refugees from several Muslim-majority countries.

    Watched and smiled. A policy that is racist, immoral, cruel, based on lies, ruins lives, endangers the US military, endangers USians, incites violence against Muslims, screws allies who’ve risked their lives to work with/for the US, does nothing to stop terrorists, and actually aids terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts.

    Kirsten Gillibrand is the only Democrat who has this right. A willingness to serve in a Trump cabinet is itself disqualifying.

  290. says

    SC @447:

    A willingness to serve in a Trump cabinet is itself disqualifying.

    A lot of people said that at least Mattis had a working brain. They wanted to surround Trump with people that were not as bonkers as Trump. How is that working out? It is not working out.

    I postulated a long time ago that Steve Bannon would use Trump as a puppet to do Bannon’s bidding. That does seem to be working, unfortunately. A lot of other people are manipulating Trump too, but Bannon is the Puppet Master.

    Trump is downright awful all by himself, but having people like Bannon around to actually back the awfulness up with action is worse. I wonder about Jared Kushner as well.

  291. says

    A Harvard psychologist started #immigrantexcellence to combat myth that immigrants and refugees are dangerous.

    […] Mina Cikara, an assistant professor in psychology, and Joel E. Martinez, a graduate student at Princeton, launched the hashtag #immigrantexcellence with an invitation to fellow immigrants to share stories of their contributions to the United States. Initially, she did it in response to the news (earlier in the week) that the Trump administration would be publishing a weekly list to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens,” as a Trump executive order reads. […]

    People keep finding ways to fight back.

    Here are few a responses, including one from Mina Cikara herself:

    Immigrant from #Iran, postdoc at @IRPatNIH studying novel treatments for addiction #immigrantexcellence #immigrantfightingdrugs
    I was born in Belgrade. Now I’m a professor at @Harvard researching the psychology of group conflict. Tell me yr story! #immigrantexcellence
    My mom immigrated from Egypt. She & my bro are electrical engineers in Canada. I’m starting as a professor at Columbia #immigrantexcellence
    My greatgrandparents escaped religious persecution in Russia. I was born in ??, got PhD in ??, now an editor @ Nature #immigrantexcellence

  292. says

    In addition to banning refugees, Trump spent some time today sending out stupid tweets to attack the free press :

    The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS! 6:04 AM
    Thr coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost gas been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its…..dwindling subscribers and readers.They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will. DISHONEST 6:16 AM

    Spelling errors, spacing errors and general whininess are all from the originals.

    BTW, The Times did not apologized for its coverage. They acknowledged that they underestimated Trump’s chances of winning. But no, they did not apologize.

    From the @NYTimesComm:

    .@realDonaldTrump Fact check: @nytimes subscribers & audience at all-time highs. Supporting independent journalism matters.

    We have been through this before. Trump claimed earlier that various media outlets he didn’t like were “failing.” He was wrong then too.

  293. says

    SC @452, Joe Reid is a national treasure. “[…] top White House flaks beclowning themselves […]

    Ha, so accurate.

    One of the “alternative facts” being bandied about today:

    Sr admin official says gov’t did “remarkably professional & seamless job” implementing new visas policy “with relatively few ramifications.”

  294. says

    Oh, damn. Embarrassed about spelling Joy Reid as “Joe Reid” in comment 454. Sheesh! No disrespect meant, Joy.

    In other news, some world leaders are showing Trump how it should be done. Justin Trudeau tweeted: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcometoCanada

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed up Trudeau: “#Welcome to Scotland too.”

  295. says

    Speaking of these orders and administrative violence…

    At the beginning of his book Imbeciles, Adam Cohen argues that those involved in Buck v. Bell, particularly Oliver Wendell Holmes (whose popular image does not survive Cohen’s investigation), utterly forgot the purpose of law as set out in the Code of Hammurabi:

    That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans, I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel raise high their head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as heaven and earth, in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

    The EO makes the symbolic rejection of our Babylonian heritage complete.

  296. says

    The LA Times quotes Farhadi’s acceptance speech for best foreign film in 2012 (which he gave in English):

    “At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy,” he said. “They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country Iran is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”

  297. says

    D. Watkins tells it like it is:

    […] Trump is making our country look bad, as low as his lewd comments about immigrants and women. As low as our country was during the disgusting days of chattel slavery and Jim Crow. And it’s not just his lies, his constant blabbermouthing or his horrible moves, like shutting down EPA grants, muzzling federal employees or closing our doors to war refugees. No, it’s the way he celebrates the ignorance that fuels these half-baked decisions. […]

    Can we really take four years of this national downgrade and debasement? Because the notion that America might be the world’s No. 1 superpower just seems laughable now. It’s not even debatable, and as long as Trump is president our nation’s status declines a little more every day. Make America great again? Give me a break. Right now, we really suck.

    Salon link

  298. says

    The Philadelphia Inquirer is also telling it like it is:

    […] From spreading bald lies to suppressing basic facts and information, the early days of the Trump administration are suggestive of a tin-pot dictatorship. That’s not the look he wants, and neither do most Americans.

    The president and his staff spent their first days in the White House debating the size of his inauguration crowd and spreading falsehoods. Their disturbing behavior gave credence to the narcissist label some apply to Trump. But he just dusted off earlier bogus claims of voter fraud. Trump told congressional leaders that up to five million illegal immigrants cost him the national popular vote by casting ballots for Hillary Clinton. […]

  299. says

    The New York Taxi Workers Alliance held a one-hour work stoppage for pick-ups at JFK in protest of the ban.

    In a statement, the NYTWA cited professional drivers’ higher risk of being murdered on the job to stand in solidarity with those being denied entry to the country, adding that as a union “whose membership is largely Muslim, a workforce that’s almost universally immigrant and a working-class movement that is rooted in the defense of the oppressed, we say no to this inhumane and unconstitutional ban.”

  300. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    MSNBC is reporting the breaking news SC#466 mentioned. All those people who have been approved to immigrate/transit and have papers in hand will be allowed to come to the US. Those who haven’t started the process, or are mid process, are still SOL.
    It’s a start.

  301. says

    As I understand it, removed from the regular members of the NSC are: the head of the CIA, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of National Intelligence. Added is Steve Bannon.

  302. hjhornbeck says

    I’m with PopeHat. I figure Trump will ignore the judicial ruling and creates a Constitutional crisis. If Republicans back him on that, judges and prosecutors will revolt; if Republicans don’t, Trump will throw a fit and they’ll be forced to initiate impeachment proceedings. Republicans’ll probably try to delay via Congressional bills, but at some point this executive order will force them to one of those two options.

  303. says

    Trump is so deluded:

    […] “It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It’s working out very nicely, and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”

    Is he the Mad Hatter?

    But I think the Mad Hatter had some empathy. Trump has none. “It’s working out very nicely.” No, no it is not. “We were totally prepared.” No, no you weren’t. You created a chaotic mess.

    If I remember correctly, Trump promised several times during the campaign to make our heads spin.

  304. hjhornbeck says

    Take this source with a grain of salt, but…

    The temporary restraining order from U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema permits lawyers access to all legal permanent residents detained at Dulles International Airport, but attorneys still haven’t been let back by Customs and Border Protection as of 11:50 p.m., despite presenting them with the court order.

    “We are actually trying to bring a court marshall to see if they can comply with the court order,” says Shahin Fallah, one of the many lawyers at the international terminal to help after President Donald Trump’s executive order barring people, including legal residents and visa holders, from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days and suspends the refugee admissions program for 120 days.

  305. snuffcurry says

    Great analysis at 421, SC.

    By the by, this ongoing thread and Lynna’s management of it make it an outstanding, indispensable resource, almost worth the chaos in open threads that necessitated it. My thanks to the regular commenters for their service here.

  306. snuffcurry says

    From the @NYTimesComm:
    .@realDonaldTrump Fact check: @nytimes subscribers & audience at all-time highs. Supporting independent journalism matters.

    Not that I don’t regard their persecution by Trump as indefensible, crybaby whinging, but this is all a bit rich, “independent” in particular.

    Mainstream press got the horserace they helped engineer and propagate and NYT is among those who are adamant they had no significant role in getting Trump elected. They haven’t earned those new subscribers, and all these subscribers are doing, in my opinion, is rewarding them for employing CDS to increase their circulation and entertain their readers by appealing to their worst prejudices and conspiracy theories. And even when straying from that formula, their coverage was largely mediocre regurgitation of GOP misinformation and talking points, not investigative. There are plenty of other newspapers and magazines who occasionally did their fucking jobs in between carrying water for the Trump campaign.

    Given that the “liberal media” reverse-psychology gambit worked so well on them, their ability to resist broadcasting propaganda and to never again be swayed by the criticism of the powerful to “prove” their objective bona fides remains unknown. I have no expectation that they will be able to withstand future pressure without caving in.

    Finally, they seem to be enjoying themselves a little too much, cosplaying Woodward and Bernstein, only piqued by creeping fascism when it directly affects their profession rather than acknowledging and condemning it when it was aimed at the marginalized and voiceless. They helped a bully get ahead and now want to profit off the public’s resistance to that bully by pretending to be courageous, heroic, and noble. Nope.

  307. says

    I figure Trump will ignore the judicial ruling and creates a Constitutional crisis.

    Some lawyers at the airports are reporting that they have information that Customs and Border Control are continuing to deport people despite the judges’ orders. No one seems entirely sure. It’s reasonable to suspect that many, if not the vast majority of, CBP agents are simply confused about what their responsibilities are under the law at this point. Understandably. But we shouldn’t forget that Trump was endorsed by major CBP,* ICE, and police unions, and many officials might be very eager to exploit any confusion to carry out these policies despite the court orders.

    * The Border Patrol head resigned on Thursday facing pressure from Trump and hostility from the union.

  308. says

    Update to #453:

    “Netanyahu in hot water over praise of Trump’s wall”:

    When Benjamin Netanyahu sent a tweet in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for a wall along the Mexican border, the Israeli prime minister can barely have expected it would be retweeted 40,000 times and cause a backlash at home and abroad.

    Already under arguably the greatest pressure he has faced in his 11 years as prime minister, with police questioning him in two criminal probes into abuse of office, aligning himself with Trump may further undermine his standing.

    The tweet, sent from his personal account shortly before the Jewish sabbath officially ended on Saturday, was very clear:

    “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great Success. Great idea,” Netanyahu wrote, appending pictures of the Israeli and U.S. flags alongside each other.

    Netanyahu was referring to a steel fence Israel has built along its border with Egypt, mainly to keep out migrants fleeing conflicts in Africa, including Somalis, Sudanese and Eritreans.

    Israel has also built a steel-and-concrete barrier along its border with the occupied West Bank, which it says is to prevent militants crossing into Israel. Palestinians see the barrier, which has drawn international condemnation, as a land grab.

    The adverse reaction to Netanyahu’s tweet, which was retweeted by Trump and drew far more attention than Netanyahu’s tweets usually do as a result, appeared to be an early sign of the danger Netanyahu faces with aligning himself with Trump….

  309. says

    “Global Criticism of Trump Ban Builds From Germany to Google”:

    Global opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump intensified on Sunday as world leaders condemned the move to temporarily limit entry from what are predominantly Muslim countries, while Germany pledged to play a bigger role on the international stage.

    World leaders including U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Trump and said their nations won’t change their immigration policies.

    “We do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking,” May said Sunday in a statement, two days after meeting Trump to begin work on a trade accord.

    The growing condemnation exposed dividing lines with U.S. allies and wasn’t limited to the world of politics: Netflix Inc.’s chief executive officer said the changes were “un-American,” while Alphabet Inc.’s Google advised staff who may be impacted by the order to return to the U.S. immediately.

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Facebook called the ban “shameful and cruel” and said the new policy “flies in the face of the values of freedom and tolerance that the USA was built upon.” Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox said on Twitter that the executive order had “united the world” against Trump….

    * May only criticized it after strong domestic pushback.

  310. says

    We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people,” he said.

    Someone should put together a compilation of Trump’s public statements insulting and condemning* the US over the past several decades and throughout the campaign. He would never be admitted.

    * My first impulse for some reason was to write “slagging off.” Is the verb related to the misogynistic noun?

  311. blf says

    CNN reports, in White House discussing asking foreign visitors for social media info and cell phone contacts:

    […] Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry. […]

    This would be a significant escalation of the recently implemented voluntary request to identify the visitor’s own “social media” sites (including blogs, I think; not sure about any contents of mobile phones). This new invasion of privacy makes it essentially mandatory, includes site visited (presumably without regard to whether the site is simply read or if comments / entries are made), and includes an important part of the contents of most mobiles (and probably is not limited to the “contacts list”, but also to the list who did(or tried to) contact you, or versa-visa, even if not in the list).

    And who in the hell would be stoooopid enough to connect their mobile to a facist-run tool (supposedly intended to “just” access the contacts, and, presumably, web browsing history and site account details) ?

    (Originally spotted at the Granuiad’s live blog, Donald Trump defends Muslim-countries travel ban amid protests: our country needs strong borders (14:30 mark).)

  312. blf says

    [UK PM Theresa] May only criticized [teh trum-prat’s Muslim entry ban] after strong domestic pushback.

    The criticism is still very tepid and weak. It’s unconvincing, Theresa May ‘does not agree’ with Donald Trump’s immigration ban:

    PM issues statement after causing outcry by declining to speak out against executive order […]
    Theresa May has issued a late-night statement saying she “does not agree” with Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US, after coming under intense political pressure to condemn the order.


    The statement is unlikely to be strong enough to satisfy many of the MPs expressing outrage about Trump’s move […]

    Currently, her facists are trying to exempt British dual nationals from the ban, with no(?) mention of anyone else (read: an implicit approval of the ban), Grauniad live blog (15:41 mark):

    Boris Johnson [foreign secretary (also a trum-pratian–scale liar)] will speak to two of Trump’s most senior advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and make it clear the UK wants an exemption from this travel ban for its citizens.

    (Other text makes clear “its citizens” means “British dual-nationals”.)

    Also, Donald Trump and Theresa May: that special relationship (cartoon).

  313. says

    “Hours After Landing in U.S., Cleveland Clinic Doctor Forced to Leave by Trump’s Order”

    Note the behavior of the CBP agents in her case:

    Then an officer, whose name she wrote down as T. Lam, told her her choices: ”Either to withdraw my visa … so it wouldn’t leave a negative mark on my profile … or the second option was to refuse to withdraw” and be banned from the U.S. for five years. “I told them at that point I already had lawyers working on my case. I just need a few more hours … They absolutely refused. I even talked to the supervisor.”

  314. says


    Great analysis at 421, SC.

    By the by, this ongoing thread and Lynna’s management of it make it an outstanding, indispensable resource, almost worth the chaos in open threads that necessitated it. My thanks to the regular commenters for their service here.

    So nice of you to say that. I share your appreciation of Lynna’s work.

  315. blf says

    Granuiad live blog entry, Travel ban will no longer apply to green-card holders (16:51 mark, quoted in full):

    Only a day after casting airports around the US into confusion and hours after his first defeat in federal court, Donald Trump and his advisers flew into a defense of his vague and chaotically enforced ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

    Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, however, appeared to concede ground when he said the ban would no longer apply to green-card holders.

    … Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Priebus said 325,000 travelers had entered the US on Saturday and 109 were detained.

    “Most of those people were moved out,” he said. “We’ve got a couple dozen more that remain and I would suspect that as long as they’re not awful people that they will move through before another half a day today.”

    In an abrupt, apparent change from the White House’s original policy, Priebus said the order would no longer affect green-card holders. But he also suggested that “other countries” may “need to be added” to the travel ban.

    “Maybe some of those people should be detained,” he said, although valid visa holders have already passed through an arduous screening and interview process.

    Read the rest of the story here.

  316. hjhornbeck says

    It’s official, the US is in a Constitutional crisis.

    Hours after a federal judge issued a stay on President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a senior White House adviser issued robust responses, emphasizing that the order remains in force.

    In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday, the Department said: “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.”

    It added that the department will “continue to enforce all of President Trump’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people.”

    Two branches of government are in disagreement, and there’s no way to resolve this via the constitution.