1. says

    Republican governors seem to be taking a page out of Putin’s propaganda guide:

    Republican governors are getting into the “news” business.

    The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media. The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers to sign up for breaking news alerts. It launched in the summer bearing no acknowledgement that it was a product of an official party committee whose sole purpose is to get more Republicans elected.

    After receiving some pressured from the Associated Press, the Free Telegraph site managers did add a disclosure statement that identifies the partisan source of the news. That’s not enough, and the disclosure statement is likely to be missed by most viewers.

    Republicans are not fond of transparency:

    The website was registered July 7 through Domains By Proxy, a company that allows the originators of a website to shield their identities. An AP search did not find any corporate, Federal Election Commission or IRS filings establishing The Free Telegraph as an independent entity.

  2. says

    Some politically significant upcoming dates (please add others and let me know if I have any wrong):

    September 24: German legislative elections
    September 25: Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum
    September 26: AL Republican primary (to replace Jeff Sessions; winner will face Doug Jones on Dec. 12)
    September 26: Roger Stone House Intelligence Committee testimony (closed session)
    September 30: deadline for Senate reconciliation vote on ACA repeal

    October 1: Catalan independence referendum
    October 17: Kenyan presidential election do-over

    November 7: VA governor election
    November 26: Honduran legislative and presidential elections

  3. says

    I listened to Trump’s bombastic speech to the United Nations. He read from a teleprompter, and you could hear Stephen Miller in every line.

    The speech was cliché-ridden and full of meaningless pablum in the parts where Trump was not threatening to rain down nuclear destruction on North Korea; or when he was not pompously lecturing the leaders of other countries, telling them to follow his example. He also threatened Iran.

    A few excerpts:

    The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. […]

    Let’s see how they do. It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. […]

    It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room. The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. […] an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.

    We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual destruction of a nuclear program. […]

    I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction. […]

    Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity. Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.

    Well, that’s rich, Trump identifies other powers as “authoritarian.”

    The president touted his administration’s success [and that was really boring and predictable, as well as being a section of the speech based on lies] but added that international criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons and people, and threaten America’s borders and menace its citizens with new technology.

    “To put it simply,” he said, “we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

    We need a moratorium on speeches written by Miller.

  4. says

    “Eric Trump’s Old Foundation Apparently Held Secret Event At Trump-Owned Golf Club”:

    The charity formerly known as the Eric Trump Foundation apparently held a secret event at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York on Monday, even though the Eric Trump Foundation remains under investigation by the office of the New York state attorney general.

    The charity, which was renamed Curetivity, is legally allowed to raise money as the investigation continues. But its choice of venue seemed to be an act of defiance. Eric Trump had previously falsely stated that his charity got to use his family’s assets “100% free of charge,” but a June story in Forbes magazine debunked that claim and sparked a state investigation into the organization.

    It is not clear who will cover the costs for Monday’s event.

    Eric Trump and spokespeople for the Eric Trump Foundation did not respond to requests for comment. The person answering the phone at the Trump National Golf Club did not answer questions about whether the club was hosting a Curetivity event but said that the general manager, Brian Lynch, would call back. He did not.

  5. says

    Senator Dianne Feinstein reacted to Trump having tweeted a meme of a golf ball he hit knocking Hillary Clinton down:

    Every one of us should be offended by the vindictive and candidly dangerous messages the president sends that demean not only Secretary Clinton, but all women. […] grow up and do your job.

    Joe Biden also reacted:

    Enough. This has to stop. Our children are watching.

  6. says

    During his speech to the United Nations, Trump dissed Venezuela and dissed socialism at the same time:

    “We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela,” Trump said to applause.

    But his jab at leader Nicolas Maduro’s government didn’t receive such a warm response.

    “The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented,” the president said.

    As Trump waited for a response, the assembly hall stayed mostly silent while some leaders offered a light smattering of laughs and applause.


  7. says

    Trump complained about how much the United States spends on the United Nations:

    Trump bemoaned U.S. spending on the U.N., saying that it is one of 193 countries in the deliberative body “and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget.”

    “We pay far more than anybody realizes,” Trump said.

    In other embarrassing moments, Trump derided the Iran nuclear deal:

    Trump called the Iran deal brokered by the Obama administration “the worst and most one-sided transaction the U.S. has ever entered into” and “an embarrassment.”

    World leaders were asked to keep their speeches to 15 minutes, but Trump spoke for about 45 minutes. The North Korean delegation left the room before Trump began.

    Here’s the boring, boasting part of the speech, the part Trump read off the teleprompter near the beginning:

    The stock market is at an all-time high. A record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years. And because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time.

  8. says

    NYT – “Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees”:

    Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

    The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to welcome refugees is too costly and raises concerns about terrorism.

    Advocates of the program inside and outside the administration say refugees are a major benefit to the United States, paying more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and filling jobs in service industries that others will not. But research documenting their fiscal upside — prepared for a report mandated by Mr. Trump in a March presidential memorandum implementing his travel ban — never made its way to the White House. Some of those proponents believe the report was suppressed.

    It was not clear who in the administration decided to keep the information out of the final report. An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that “senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.” A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified….

  9. says

    SC @14: yet another reason to get Stephen Miller out of the White House.

    In other news, a short translation of Trump’s speech to the United Nations:

    “America First” is what the whole world needs.

    Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants Barack Obama to endorse everything Trump said about North Korea. Delusion much? To make that claim, Sanders took a previous comment by Obama out of context:

    Presidents have always been clear to deter threats: “We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals” -@BarackObama last year

    The context that Sanders conveniently ignored:

    […] it’s not something that lends itself to an easy solution. We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea.

    Sanders claimed that there was no difference between Trump’s policy and Obama’s policy. Here’s what Trump said today:

    If it is forced to defend itself or it’s allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself, and for his regime.

    Yeah, no difference whatsoever. /sarcasm

    Obama pointed out why we cannot and should not destroy North Korea.

  10. says

    When Trump threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea, he is threatening to kill 25 million people. I don’t think he realizes that his threat cannot be restricted to Kim Jong-Un.

  11. says

    Both Sarah Palin and Sebastian Gorka are campaigning for Roy Moore in Alabama’s Republican Senate Primary. Moore is leading so far, despite having recently said this:

    Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A President? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.

    By “reds” he apparently means Native Americans; and by “yellows,” he means Asians. By “God” he means himself.

    Trump is supporting Moore’s rival, Senator Luther Strange.

    Reference link: Washington Post.

  12. says

    Hurricane Maria’s peak winds when it devastated the island of Dominica were 160 miles per hour.

    Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit posted:

    So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with. The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go.

    We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.

  13. says

    Letter signed by 10 governors urging the Senate not to consider Graham-Cassidy. I didn’t think I could be angrier than I was when they tried this over the summer, but I am. This is terrible legislation that would cause untold suffering and harm to the people of this country. The uncertainty they’ve created by pushing these repeal bills (while Trump’s people sabotage the ACA) has cost people in the present, both financially and psychologically. The process isn’t in the same universe as regular order, and makes a mockery of the democratic deliberative tradition of the Senate. They won’t have a CBO score. They know these bills are hugely unpopular, and people have energetically mobilized in large numbers to stop them, so now they’re trying to push this through secretly, behind everyone’s backs (Trump and Pence are trying to suck up to Murkowski, Flake, et al. behind the scenes while McConnell twists arms and tries to buy people off with temporary transfers from blue states). And they’re doing all of this while the HELP Committee is making progress on bipartisan fixes to stabilize the ACA, which House Republicans are now saying they won’t support. It’s indecent.

  14. says

    SC @21, well said. I agree. Also, Republican senators are counting us to get tired of fighting the passage of their destructive health care bills. This one is getting a bit less media attention. They are also counting on a lot of people being distracted by massive hurricane damage and by Trump’s threats to nuke 25 million people.

  15. Hj Hornbeck says

    Interesting opinion on the Burr/Warner statement, courtesy Ali Watkins.

    Senate Intel has been SOOO frustrated in recent weeks by the constant dribble of leaks about who’s testifying to them, when.

    There was a real come-to-Jesus at SSCI in June, after leaks out of the Comey hearing. Tl;dr was, stop leaking or you’ll screw everything up.

    So this constant barrage of “this person is appearing before SSCI on this day” or release of testimony has majorly irked them. On all sides.

    The SSCI read is, Trumpster lawyers will leak info about upcoming appearances, blame the committee, then use as a pretext not to cooperate.

    After Cohen started sending talking to the media over the last few days, SSCI had had enough.

    Cancelling & forcing him to testify openly is a very clear signal flare to the rest of Team Trump. And, it’s been a loooooong time coming.

  16. says

    I wish pundits would stop talking about how aggressive the Mueller probe is “compared to a typical ‘white-collar’ investigation.” First, it feeds the narrative that it’s illegitimately aggressive. Second, it’s racist and classist. Third, this is a fucking counter-intelligence investigation.

  17. says

    I would hope that everyone who’s sympathized with the people of Florida and Houston and how hard it is to leave your home and flee to a shelter or somewhere else, sometimes leaving almost everything behind, can begin to appreciate what it’s like for refugees.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The democratic race for IL gubernatorial primary next year is heating up. I’ve had 3 calls this last week about different candidates. What I need to see, is comparison in, say the Trib, about who has what policies side by side of all the candidates so I can compare political philosophies. Calling me won’t do anything for their candidate, as I treat them as a telemarketer. Calling when Rachael is on doesn’t get my full attention either.

  19. says

    “Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent”:

    In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.

    The secretary’s five flights, which were scheduled between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, took him to a resort in Maine where he participated in a Q&A discussion with a health care industry CEO, and to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, according to internal HHS documents.

    The travel by corporate-style jet comes at a time when other members of the Trump administration are under fire for travel expenditures, and breaks with the practices of Obama-era Secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially while in the continental United States.

    Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for department-wide cost savings, declined to comment.

    An HHS spokesperson declined to answer questions on how many private charter flights Price has taken since being confirmed as secretary on Feb. 10, but said in an emailed response, “Official travel by the secretary is done in complete accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.”

    Current and former staffers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say Price has been taking private jets to travel domestically for months.

    Ethics experts say the use of private charters by government officials, while legal, is highly dubious and in most cases a misuse of taxpayer funding….

    Dude chartered a flight from DC to Philadelphia.

  20. says

    “This new study deals a blow to Trump’s latest Obamacare repeal push”: “The study, which was released this morning by Avalere Health, a consulting firm, finds that many states will see sizable cuts to the federal money that would flow to their states, relative to current law. Some of those states are represented by the GOP senators who are currently deciding whether to back the bill, including Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio) and John McCain (Ariz.).”

  21. says

    Steve Benen provided a good analysis of how team Trump works to ignore facts:

    No one likes to receive discouraging information that challenges his or her assumptions. It’s a test of a person’s intellectual integrity: confronted with evidence that conflicts with our preconceived ideas, do you ignore the evidence or think anew about your ideas?

    When it comes to Donald Trump and his administration’s approach to governing, the answer couldn’t be much clearer. […]

    The evidence shows ACA advertising is effective in getting Americans covered, but Trump World doesn’t care. The evidence shows the Iran nuclear deal is working, but Trump World doesn’t care. The evidence from the National Academy of Sciences, among others, shows the climate crisis is real, but Trump World doesn’t care. And as the New York Times reported this week, the evidence shows welcoming refugees into the United States brings real benefits to the country, but Trump World doesn’t care. […]

    The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent yesterday highlighted the “deep rot of bad faith” within the administration: “We’ve seen it again and again: The administration pushes a new policy. Independent institutions provide facts and empirical analyses that completely undercut that policy’s stated rationale. Administration figures then ignore or suppress those facts. Or they push their own ‘alternative facts,’ while deriding the real facts as fake. Or they mount a sustained effort to delegitimize the institution that provided them.” […]

    More details, and additional links, can be found in Benen’s post.

  22. says

    Jimmy Kimmel also talked about the bipartisan effort to amend and strengthen the existing health care system (see SC’s comment 41). Kimmel advised Senator Cassidy and others to join that bipartisan effort.

    Now that the bipartisan effort has been scuttled, that avenue for going forward is closed.

    From Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

    This is not about substance. We gave them many of the things they asked for…. The Republican leadership is so eager to pass Graham-Cassidy that they’re scuttling a balanced, bipartisan negotiation.

    From Talking Points Memo:

    Senators who have been working for months on a bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare’s individual market and take away one of President Trump’s ways to sabotage it are throwing in the towel, saying the GOP’s last-minute effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act has ruined their chance of passage. […]

    The news broke a few hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the White House told Senate leaders on Tuesday that they oppose the stabilization bill and want all efforts focused on repeal.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] As a matter of partisan strategy, I suppose this isn’t too surprising. Republicans want to destroy the existing system, not make it more stable. So long as there was a bipartisan compromise in the works, McCain and others would see it as a better alternative to the right-wing Graham-Cassidy bill.

    So GOP leaders scuttled the deal, narrowed everyone’s focus, and left Republicans with a choice between Graham-Cassidy and nothing. […]

    The bipartisan work in the Senate was focused on stabilizing Obamacare’s individual market. If they had succeeded, people would not have been thrown off of health insurance rolls, and Trump would have had one his major sabotage weapons nullified.

  23. says

    Senator Bill Cassidy responded to Jimmy Kimmel by lying (or, Cassidy simply does not understand his own bill):

    I’m sorry he [Kimmel] does not understand. Under Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson more people will have coverage, and we protect those with pre-existing conditions. States like Maine, Virginia, Florida, Missouri — there’ll be billions more dollars to provide health insurance coverage for those in those states that have been passed by by ObamaCare.

  24. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    What makes the Graham–Cassidy attractive to Republican senators is threefold:
    – First, its block grants to the states, so Republicans can claim to support federalism
    – Second, they can tell their base that they are destroying Obamacare and Medicaid in one shot
    – Third, it really, really hurts blue states, especially California and New York

    When asked about it in interviews, both Cassidy and Graham have made attempts to excuse that last part, claiming that the bill penalizes only states that have an “inefficient healthcare delivery system” or that the distribution of funds is somehow “fair.” But that’s true only if fair means working out a plan to specifically harm states that went along with the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

    Most states used the ACA’s funding to expand Medicaid; some Republican-run states, liberated by the Supreme Court’s decision to make the funding optional, did not. As a result, 14 of the 15 states that would stand to gain from block grants are run by Republicans; Democratic megastates including California, New York and Massachusetts would lose billions of dollars, a feature both Graham and Cassidy have talked up to conservatives.

    Get that? Hurting California, New York, and Massachusetts is a feature that the authors of the bill are using to sell it to conservatives—Sign here, kill Democrats.

    “No longer will four blue states get 40 percent of the money,” said Graham to Breitbart. “A state like Mississippi, they get a 900 percent increase. South Carolina gets 300 percent.”

    Those four blue states also have considerably more than 40 percent of the people participating in the current plan, something that could be changed by simply implementing the plan in more states. What Republicans have done is take the funding, including that from states that expanded Medicaid, then redistribute it across all states.

    The result is a plan that would reward the states that were deliberately cruel to their own people, by giving them the money taken from the states that tried to set up more equitable systems. It’s not just the Screw Blue Act, it’s the Screw You For Trying To Help Act.

  25. says

    “Exclusive: Russians Appear to Use Facebook to Push Trump Rallies in 17 U.S. Cities”:

    Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election, The Daily Beast has learned.

    The demonstrations—at least one of which was promoted online by local pro-Trump activists— brought dozens of supporters together in real life. They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.

    The Aug. 20, 2016, events were collectively called “Florida Goes Trump!” and they were billed as a “patriotic state-wide flash mob,” unfolding simultaneously in 17 different cities and towns in the battleground state. It’s difficult to determine how many of those locations actually witnessed any turnout, in part because Facebook’s recent deletion of hundreds of Russian accounts hid much of the evidence. But videos and photos from two of the locations—Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs—were reposted to a Facebook page run by the local Trump campaign chair, where they remain to this day.

    The Florida flash mob was one of at least four pro-Trump or anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrations conceived and organized over a Facebook page called “Being Patriotic,” and a related Twitter account called “march_for_trump.” (The Daily Beast identified the accounts in a software-assisted review of politically themed social-media profiles.)

    Being Patriotic had 200,000 followers and the strongest activist bent of any of the suspected Russian Facebook election pages that have so far emerged. Events promoted by the page last year included a July “Down With Hillary!” protest outside Clinton’s New York campaign headquarters, a September 11 pro-Trump demonstration in Manhattan, simultaneous “Miners for Trump” demonstrations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in October, and a pro-Trump rally outside Trump Tower last November, after his election victory.

    The Being Patriotic Facebook page was closed in August 2017—right when Facebook purged accounts secretly operated by a notorious St. Petersburg troll factory called Internet Research Agency. According to a public report by U.S. intelligence agencies (PDF), Internet Research Agency is financed by “a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.” Being Patriotic’s posts included scores of pro-Trump or anti-Clinton memes framed and watermarked in the same style as those found on the Heart of Texas and Secured Borders Facebook pages previously identified as Russian operations.

    The Being Patriotic Twitter account was suspended at around the same time.

    The layers of deception went beyond Facebook posts and manufactured rallies. When it wasn’t organizing events, Being Patriotic encouraged violence against minorities in incendiary posts. “Arrest and shoot every sh*thead taking part in burning our flag! #BLM vs #USA,” Being Patriotic’s Twitter account posted in April 2016, using the hashtag for the Black Lives Matter protest movement.

    The account also advertised a toll-free “Being Patriotic Hotline” to report instances of voter fraud on Election Day….

    Much more at the link.

  26. says

    Trump said he’d reached a decision about the JCPOA, but wouldn’t say what it was.

    Hassan Rouhani’s tweetstorm (accompanying his UN speech) includes:

    “Destruction of #JCPOA by ‘rogue’ newcomers to the world of politics will never impede Iran’s course of progress and advancement. #UNGA”

    “By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility for future negotiations. #UNGA”

    “Ugly, ignorant words were spoken by the US president against the Iranian nation. Full or hatred & baseless allegations and unfit for #UNGA”

  27. says

    “ACLU moves from defense to offense, starting in Kris Kobach’s home state”:

    Flush with cash and a newfound demand for activism, the American Civil Liberties Union next month will launch a new effort to expand voting rights in all 50 states that top officials hope will finally let liberals play offense on an issue that has long bedeviled them.

    Rollout will start on Oct. 1 in Lawrence, Kansas — and that location is no accident. It’s the home state of Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state and a prominent Republican advocate of restricting voter access. He is co-chair of President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate so-far unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

    The ACLU campaign, called Let People Vote, will forgo a federal approach to expanding voting rights; indeed it ignores Congress altogether. Instead, it will pressure each state to adopt individually tailored plans, including proposals such as creating independent redistricting commissions and restoring voting access for convicted felons.

    And in a change for the group, the campaign is also designed to attract widespread grassroots support from liberals angry about Trump, with top officials at the ACLU hopeful that the rank-and-file activism that has fueled a surge in fundraising can become a central component of their effort….

  28. says

    Follow-up to comment 50.

    NPR just found out that Senator Cassidy really does not understand the bill that he is co-sponsoring with Lindsey Graham to repeal and replace Obamacare.

    Cassidy tweeted:

    @NPR FALSE. Under the bill, states must ensure that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to adequate & affordable insurance.

    NPR then used just the facts subject Cassidy to an epic smackdown.

  29. says

    A summary of facts extracted from an impact report by the Commonwealth Fund (regarding the Graham-Cassidy bill):

    […] 1) 32 million lose coverage after 2026

    2) 15-18 million uninsured in first plan year (2019)

    3) 50% of the US population lives in states that will likely eliminate or reduce protections and essential health benefits. This would include annual/lifetime limits and pre-existing conditions.

    And keep in mind that the return of annual/lifetime limits would also affect the 150 million on employer-provided plans. […]

    Link (Link to telephone numbers of Senators to call.)

    Commonwealth Fund link.

  30. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    NPR just found out that Senator Cassidy really does not understand the bill that he is co-sponsoring with Lindsey Graham to repeal and replace Obamacare.

    What, one rethug deliberately lying to another, so they can shill the bill, by repeating the “official” lies? Par for the course. */cynic*

  31. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    I find it very interesting that four of the vital swing states that gave Team Tang the White House — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, and Ohio — face reductions in federal funding for healthcare of $6,000,000,000 to $9,000,000,000. These are also states that had very close races for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate (and PA has a Senate election coming in 2018). So the GOP is punishing not just evil liberal deep blue California and New York, but also really, really purple states.

  32. says

    NYT – “Mueller Seeks White House Documents Related to Trump’s Actions as President”:

    Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials.

    Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.

    In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s office sent a document to the White House that detailed 13 different areas that investigators want more information about. Since then, administration lawyers have been scouring White House emails and asking officials whether they have other documents or notes that may pertain to Mr. Mueller’s requests….

    WaPo – “Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House”:

    The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering everything from the president’s private discussions about firing his FBI director to his White House’s handling of a warning that President Trump’s then-national security adviser was under investigation, according to two people briefed on the requests.

    White House lawyers are now working to turn over internal documents that span 13 categories investigators for the special counsel have identified as critical to their probe, the people said….

    The requests broadly ask for any document or email related to a series of highly publicized incidents since Trump became president, including the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn and Comey, the people said….

    The special counsel team’s work in recent months has zeroed in on Paul Manafort, a former chairman of the Trump campaign, and Flynn. An official close to the probe said both men are under investigation….

    “I am convinced that no matter where they end up, this investigation will run to completion even if they fire Mueller,” [a government official] said. “There is a feeling of inevitability now that we didn’t have before — not of the outcome of the investigation but that there will be an outcome. There is no escaping this thing, whatever the conclusions.”

  33. says

    “Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire ‘private briefings’ on 2016 campaign”:

    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.

    Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.

    “If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.

    he notes appear to be written in deliberately vague terms, with Manafort and his employee, Konstantin Kilimnik, never explicitly mentioning Deripaska by name.

    Maloni said no briefings with Deripaska ever took place, but that, in his email, Manafort was offering what would have been a “routine” briefing on the state of the campaign….

    Right – that’s totally routine. Much more in the article.

  34. says

    Lindsey Graham said today that his bill would “absolutely” get a vote next week. Oddly, last night and shortly after reading about Islamist dream interpretation in the fascinating Jihadi Culture, I had a dream that Graham or (I believe) McConnell announced that they wouldn’t be considering it.

  35. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Apparently, as both President elect and as President, Trump called Preet Bharara on more than one occassion (once in December, once the day before the greatest and bestest inauguration of all time, and once in early March — damn near unprecedented for the POTUS to converse directly with a US Attorney.

    Bharara went about his job for a month and a half before he got another direct call from Trump on March 9. But this time was different. Trump was now the President. Bharara said what was especially notable about the date of the call was that at the time there had been much many cries from multiple corners to investigate aspects of Trump’s business dealings and other ethics issues.
    “I have reason to believe later that nobody knew that Donald Trump was calling me from the Oval Office,” Bharara said. “I’m not saying he was going to tell me to do something I shouldn’t do, but I thought even the phone call was a problem.”
    Bharara said he mulled over how to react to the call. He considered having someone listen in to the call but said it didn’t seem proper. He even considered recording the phone conversation but said he ultimately decided it was “a bridge too far.”
    So instead, he decided to decline the call completely, and called back the President’s office to let them know.
    Less than 20 hours later, Bharara said, he was asked to resign.

    Considering Bharara’s jurisdiction, why was Trump trying to cultivate a personal relationship? What did Trump want? Bharara stated that

    had I not been fired, and had Donald Trump continued to cultivate a direct personal relationship with me, it’s my strong belief that at some point, given the history, the President of the United States would have asked me to do something inappropriate,

    From CNN

  36. says

    SC @67, I think there’s still a big question about Paul Manafort, namely, how did he get the campaign manager gig in the first place? No doubt, there is more corruption, and there are more connections to Russia behind that freakish addition to team Trump.

    Matthew Miller is always right on the money when it comes to analysis of all of these political, financial, and treasonous crimes being committed around Trump.

  37. says

    More evidence of team Trump sabotaging the judicial system by appointing far-right, religious fanatics to federal judgeships:

    In a pair of 2015 speeches, […] Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of “Satan’s plan,” lamented that states were banning conversion therapy and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality.

    Jeff Mateer, the current first assistant attorney general of Texas, was serving at the time as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute. He faced criticism from LGBT rights groups for his work with the organization, such as opposing the expansion of nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people in the city of Plano. […]

    […] in November 2015, Mateer lamented that states were banning gay conversion therapy at a conference hosted by controversial pastor Kevin Swanson, who preaches that the Biblical punishment for homosexuality is death. […]

  38. says

    From Steve Benen:

    […] 1. Republicans have to keep a promise. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said yesterday, “I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”

    That’s absurd. For one thing, it’s ridiculous to think a vague campaign promise is as important, if not more so, than the real-world effects of overhauling the nation’s health care system. For another, if Republicans “have a responsibility to carry out what [they] said in the campaign,” they’d also be extending coverage to everyone, shielding Medicaid beneficiaries from cuts, and guaranteeing protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Instead, GOP officials appear desperate to break those promises without explanation.

    2. The clock is ticking. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said on Tuesday night, “We have a Sept. 30 deadline on our promise. Let’s finish the job.”

    Um, no. As New York’s Jon Chait responded, “Can you imagine being accused on national television of sponsoring a law that would hurt millions of people, and lying about its effects, and your response is “We have a deadline”? […]

    3. Campaign priorities trump public priorities. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said this week, in reference to health care policymaking, “If we do nothing, I think it has a tremendous impact on the 2018 elections. And whether or not Republicans still maintain control and we have the gavel.”

    This is madness. Republicans have to put Americans’ health security at risk in order to stay in power? […]

    4. States that rejected Medicaid expansion through the ACA must be rewarded. Graham-Cassidy backers, including Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy themselves, have spent much of the week saying it’s not “fair” that Medicaid expansion states receive more federal funding than states that refused to expand Medicaid. The current Republican legislation is therefore necessary, the argument goes, to create some sense of equality.

    In other words, states that turned down federal funds should be rewarded, while states that did the right thing should be punished. This is so plainly foolish, […]

    5. Single-payer must be stopped. Lindsey Graham, in particular, has made a spirited case in recent days that if his plan isn’t adopted, the United States will eventually adopt a single-payer system. […]

    […] they have this entirely backwards: the more they try to destroy the current system, strip more Americans of their coverage and protections, […], the easier it will be for single-payer advocates to advance their alternative in the future.

    The insurance industry made this explicit yesterday, saying the Republican proposal inadvertently makes “Medicare for All” more likely, not less. […]

  39. says

    Jimmy Kimmel took on Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade after Kilmeade said that Kimmel belongs in the Know-Nothing, Hollywood Elite category. Kimmel actually was entirely correct and accurate in his monologue that pointed out that Senator Bill Cassidy is lying about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

    Excerpt from Kimmel’s response to Brian Kilmeade:

    He follows me on Twitter, he asks me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite. The only reason he’s not a member of the Hollywood elite is because nobody will hire him to be one, and the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open heart surgery, has to have two more, and I learned there are kids with no insurance in the same situation. I don’t get anything out of this, Brian, you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you.

    That is my blurb, that will be my blurb for your next book. “Brian Kilmeade is a phony little creep.” That’s right.

    Raw Story link

    Scroll down to view the video, which is 10:05 minutes long.

  40. says

    The video referenced in comment 75 also takes even more care than Kimmel took previously to debunk Cassidy’s lies (or total ignorance?) about the bill.

  41. says

    From Laura Clawson:

    […] It’s the trick Republicans have been trying to play all along—claim that you’re protecting people with pre-existing conditions because insurance companies can’t say directly “we will not insure you,” but let the insurance companies charge people with pre-existing conditions so much that no one could afford coverage. We’re not denying you insurance, we’re just charging you $100,000 a year! Your pre-existing condition is totes covered! What a “great Bill.”

    What Trump tweeted:

    I would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions. It does! A great Bill. Repeal & Replace.

    That crazy Trump, always spreading fake news! What a jokester.

    There is no enforcement mechanism in the Graham-Cassidy bill that would prompt insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. There are nice words about “access” to “affordable” care with no definitions of what that means, no regulations, and no enforcement mechanisms. Team Trump stands ready to grant waivers to states making use of loopholes in the bill.

  42. says

    Another expert weighs in on the argument between Kimmel and Cassidy:

    “Kimmel did not overstate the impact,” [Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families director Joan] Alker said.

    “If Graham-Cassidy becomes law, there is no guarantee a child born with a congenital heart defect will get the coverage they need. It would depend on where they live, but even states with good intentions would struggle to protect children with the massive cuts to Medicaid included in this bill.”

  43. says

    From the New York Times (bolding is mine):

    New figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show a drop in international visitors to the United States by close to 700,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year. European countries were down 10.1 percent, and Mexico was off 7.1 percent in the quarter. The largest drops were from the Middle East and Africa, though they represent a much smaller percentage of overall travel to the United States.

    Overall, 697,791 fewer foreigners visited the United States in the first three months of the year, down 4.2 percent to 15.8 million. According to Tourism Economics, a branch of Oxford Economics based in Wayne, Pa., that analyzes travel data, the drop represents a loss of nearly $2.7 billion in spending.

    NYT link.

    International tourists visiting the USA spend about four times as much as a domestic traveler on vacation. Travel and Leisure link

  44. says

    Vice President Mike Pence lied while simultaneously demonstrating his ignorance:

    […] During a Fox & Friends interview on Thursday morning, Vice President Mike Pence was asked to respond to concerns people rightfully have that the latest Trumpcare bill will make it tougher for people with preexisting conditions to obtain and keep health insurance.

    “Folks like Jimmy Kimmel, they’re worried about the preexisting condition thing, ’cause this will be up to the governors to decide how the money is dispersed, who gets coverage,” host Ainsley Earhardt said. “Can you guarantee that these governors will make sure that preexisting conditions are covered?”

    Pence dodged the question with a fake Thomas Jefferson quote.

    “Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Government that governs least, governs best,’” Pence said, using a quote that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation says Jefferson never uttered. “I mean the question that people ought to ask is, who do you think will be more responsible to the health care needs in your community? Your governor, your state legislature, or a congressman and a president in a far-off nation’s capital. I mean, this is the concept of federalism upon which our constitution was framed.” […]

    Think Progress link

    More at the link.

    From Andrew Kaczynski:

    NOPE, this is a FAKE quote. Jefferson never said “governs least, governs best.”

    Reference link for the quote discussion:

  45. says

    From a press conference Trump gave on February 17th:

    […] The other person said he never spoke to Russia, never received a call. Look at his phone records, et cetera, et cetera. And the other person, people knew that he’d represented various countries, but I don’t think he represented Russia — but knew that he represented various countries. That’s what he does. I mean, people know that. That’s Mr. Manafort, who’s, by the way — who’s, by the way, a respected man. He’s a respected man. But I think he represented the Ukraine, or Ukraine government, or somebody. But everybody — people knew that. Everybody knew that. So these people — and he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia. And he said that very forcefully. I saw his statement. He said it very forcefully. Most of the papers don’t print it because that’s not good for their stories. […]

  46. says

    About former White House Press Secretary SeanSpicer threatening Axios reporter Mike Allen:

    […] Allen wrote in Axios Thursday morning that when he had learned Spicer has a propensity for taking detailed notes—something that could be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigates President Donald Trump’s actions—he sent Spicer a text message asking about his note-taking practices at the White House.

    Spicer refused to answer Allen’s questions, though.

    “Mike, please stop texting/emailing me unsolicited anymore,” Spicer responded, per Allen.

    Pressed by the reporter, Spicer sent another text message reading, “From a legal standpoint I want to be clear: Do not email or text me again. Should you do again I will report to the appropriate authorities.”

    The former press secretary followed up with a similar email, threatening to “contact the appropriate legal authorities to address your harassment,” according to Allen.

    Does Spicer know that he can just decline to comment? Why is he threatening legal action when a reporter asks him a question? I think this is Spicer’s adrenaline-rush reaction to the knowledge that Mueller can subpoena him and his notebooks.

  47. says

    From several days ago – “U.S.-backed Syrian fighters say will not let government forces cross Euphrates”:

    U.S.-backed Syrian militias will not let government forces cross the Euphrates River in their bid to recover eastern Syria, their commander said on Friday, but Russia said army units had already done so near the city of Deir al-Zor.

    An aide to President Bashar al-Assad meanwhile said the government would fight any force, including U.S.-backed militias, in efforts to recapture the rest of the country.

    Syrian government forces supported by Russian air strikes and Iran-backed militias, and a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, are converging on Islamic State in separate offensives around Deir al-Zor….

    From today – “Russia says will target U.S.-backed fighters in Syria if provoked”: “Russia warned the United States on Thursday it would target U.S.-backed militias in Syria if Russian troops again came under fire, as the United States disclosed an unusual face-to-face meeting between U.S. and Russian generals meant to avoid such clashes….”

  48. says

    From Steve Benen:

    […] There’s apparently a growing sentiment on the right that Kimmel, as a late-night host, should “stay in his lane” and leave the health care fight to more knowledgeable experts. The problem with this is twofold: (1) Kimmel had a “better grasp of health policy” than Cassidy, who’s supposed to know what he’s talking about; and (2) Republicans helped put a reality-show personality in the Oval Office, so perhaps the right should think twice about this entire line of attack.

  49. blf says

    A follow-up to a previous comment about farcebork deliberately allowing advertising targeted at nazis.

    1st, Facebook to tighten ad targeting after antisemitic ‘fail’, says Sheryl Sandberg:

    Chief operating officer announces policy change after social network allowed advertisers to seek out ‘Jew haters’, saying company ‘never intended’ such usage
    The policy change follows an embarrassing report by ProPublica on Thursday that the company’s ad-buying system allowed advertisers to target users interested in antisemitic subjects. Subsequent reporting found additional bigoted terms in Facebook’s system that could be used to target advertisements.

    “The fact that hateful terms were even offered as options was totally inappropriate and a fail on our part,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We never intended or anticipated this functionality being used this way — and that is on us. And we did not find it ourselves — and that is also on us.”

    Based partly on my own experience, I tend to believe farcebork here. Up to a point, anyway. Anticipating the ingenious uses and abuses people devise is perhaps a fool’s errand, and its possible that at the time farcebork set the system up, nazi-usage was sufficiently unknown to be not-considered. But that’s as far as I will go. There are two obvious problems here. First, no apparent mechanism for reporting problems (as implied by excerpt below). That is utterly stupid.

    Second, no apparent check / review of the system, that is working as intended, to spot problems which must or perhaps should be addressed, and so on. An example of a problem which should be addressed is people making — or reporting making — the same sort of mistake, and an example of one which must be addressed is the nazi advertising targets. Alternatively, there could have been checks and the problem simply missed (or worse). If there was checking, does farcebork have a “postmortem” process to examine why a process / check failed (and then work for corrections)? I rather suspect not.

    Back to the article (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Facebook disabled those targeting fields following the ProPublica report, and is now reinstating only those targeting options that have been reviewed by a human, Sandberg said. The company will add “more human review and oversight to our automated processes”, she said […].

    Additionally, Sandberg said that the company was creating a system for users to report abuses of the ad system and “clarifying {its} advertising policies and tightening {its} enforcement processes” to ensure that ad targeting was not used in a way that violated Facebook’s “community standards”.


    Privacy advocates have long raised concerns about the degree of targeting made possible by Facebook’s vast trove of personal data. In May, the Australian reported that the company had told advertisers that it could identify when teenagers were feeling “insecure” and “worthless”.

    2nd, Farcebork’s instascam is also facing problems, Instagram uses ‘I will rape you’ post as Facebook ad in latest algorithm mishap:

    After Guardian reporter Olivia Solon posted a screenshot of a profane email threat, it appeared on Facebook, encouraging viewers to follow her on Instagram
    Guardian reporter Olivia Solon recently discovered that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, made an advertisement out of a photo she had posted of a violent threat she received in an email, which said “Olivia, you fucking bitch!!!!!!!” and “I Will Rape You”.
    Instagram selected the screenshot, which she posted nearly a year ago, to advertise the photo-sharing platform to Solon’s sister this week, with the message, “See Olivia Solon’s photo and posts from friends on Instagram”.


    It’s unclear why Instagram chose to highlight Solon’s hate mail to friends on Facebook. When she posted the screenshot last year, she wrote: “This is an email I received this afternoon. Sadly this is all too common for women on the Internet. I am sure this is just an idiot rather than any kind of credible threat but it’s still pretty vile.”

    The photo received three likes and more than a dozen sympathetic comments. It’s possible that Instagram’s algorithm considered it an “engaging” post due to the number of responses. […]


    I imagine instascam will use farcebork’s personal details data to identify reporters and stop turning posts from them into ads. That seems to be about instascam’s and farcebork’s level of “thinking”.

  50. says

    Trump loves him some Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan … and Erdogan loves him back. Just two authoritarian assholes hanging out at the United Nations today.

    […] “It’s a great honor and privilege, because he’s become a friend of mine, to introduce President Erdogan of Turkey,” Trump said during a photo-op with Erdogan. “He’s running a very difficult part of the world. He’s involved very, very strongly, and frankly he’s getting very high marks. And he’s also been working with the United States. We have a great friendship.”

    Trump added: “As countries, I think we’re right now as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship. So, president, thank you very much, it’s a great honor to have you to the United States.”

    A reporter shouted a question about “violence against peaceful protesters,” […]

    Trump dodged the question.

    “We’ll be discussing many issues,” he said. […]


  51. says

    From the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), in reference to the Graham-Cassidy bill:

    […] The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance – premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions – critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need. For a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year, premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase by as much as $16,174 a year if they wanted to keep their current coverage. The bill may also allow states to charge older adults age 50-64 significantly higher premiums than under current law on the basis of their age by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating. [emphasis added]

    We estimate that this person could pay as much as $16,174 more in 2020 (at the national level). In some states, the total increase is significantly larger. For instance, a 60-year old Alaskan earning $25,000 could pay as much as $31,790 more to keep her current coverage. In Arizona, that person could pay as much as $22,074 more. This increase is simply unaffordable.

    AARP link to a PDF of the report.

  52. says

    A candidate for governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, is misleading his potential constituents by posting fake news about his opponent. Of course, yes, Gillespie is a Republican, and he is a dunderhead.

    An attack ad by […] Gillespie that warns Virginia residents of the menacing threat of the MS-13 gang features a photograph taken from a Salvadoran news site without permission, and portrays members of a rival gang photographed inside a prison in El Salvador, not MS-13 members in Virginia.

    ThinkProgress confirmed that the photograph was originally published by the online digital newspaper, El Faro, which is headquartered in El Salvador’s capital of San Salvador, and that neither the news site nor the photographer gave Gillespie permission to use the photo.

    In the television commercial, a narrator describes MS-13 as a menace while El Faro’s photograph, stamped with the words “Kill, Rape, Control” flash across the screen. Gillespie’s commercial tries to pin the increase in MS-13 violence on Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and criticizes the democrat for his vote against a Virginia bill that would have banned sanctuary cities, which do not actually exist in Virginia. […]


    There’s an element of racism, (as well as dishonesty), in Gillespie’s campaign. The gang members featured in the Salvadoran photo all look like they are from El Salvador, though Gillespie is probably just highlighting that they are not as white as he is.

  53. says

    No matter how often Ivanka repeats the myth that her Daddy promotes women in the workplace, Trump’s actual record while in the White House is dismal. 80% of Trump’s appointees are male. [emphasis is mine]

    […] According to a new analysis conducted by the […] Super Pac American Bridge 21st Century, 80 percent of the people the president has nominated for jobs that require Senate approval have been men. American Bridge shared the findings, based on congressional records, press releases, and freedom of information requests, […]

    “Without a significant shift, men will outnumber women four-to-one in top positions of the Trump administration,” writes the Guardian’s Molly Redden,[…] Under Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, by contrast, roughly 40 percent of federal political appointments were held by women, according to a New York Times analysis of all appointees. Even during the George W. Bush administration, roughly one-third of appointees were women.

    Advocates for diversity point out that having women in positions in power is about more than just filling a quota—it’s about making sure the perspectives of women are taken into account when developing federal policy on everything from health care to the economy. “Having that diversity helps bring new ideas and new thinking into government to make sure we’re not looking at policy through a narrowly focused lens shaped only by our own perceptions,” Don Gips, who worked as the head of personnel in the White House during the Obama administration, told the Guardian. […]


  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Breaking news by Racheal Maddow. The Directors of Medicaid in ALL 50 STATES just said that they don’t like the Rethug health care plan. I’ll see if I can dig up a link in the morning.

  55. says

    On Monday, CNN will host a health care debate with Sanders and Klobuchar on one side and Graham and Cassidy on the other. (As others have pointed out, there is actually a forum where they could publicly debate this as part of their jobs.)

  56. says

    More re #42 – “Price traveled by private plane at least 24 times”:

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, according to people with knowledge of his travel plans and a review of HHS documents.

    The frequency of the trips underscores how private travel has become the norm — rather than the exception — for the Georgia Republican during his tenure atop the federal health agency, which began in February. The cost of the trips identified by POLITICO exceeds $300,000, according to a review of federal contracts and similar trip itineraries.

    In a statement, [HHS spokeswoman Charmaine] Yoest said, “The Secretary has taken commercial flights for official business after his confirmation. He has used charter aircraft for official business in order to accommodate his demanding schedule. The week of September 13 was one of those times, as the Secretary was directing the recovery effort for Irma, which had just devastated Florida, while simultaneously directing the ongoing recovery for Hurricane Harvey . . . Some believe the HHS Secretary should be Washington-focused. Dr. Price is focused on hearing from Americans across the country.”

    Nonetheless, POLITICO identified at least 17 charter flights that took place before the first storm — Hurricane Harvey — hit in late August, and included flights that did not appear to be for urgent HHS public health priorities….

  57. says

    Totally random thoughts re the Russia investigation:

    First, several descriptions of the FBI no-knock raid describe them as even taking pictures of the expensive suits in Manafort’s closet. I have no idea if this is true, and these descriptions appear to be coming from Manafort’s team, but it would be a strange detail to invent. It seems like if they did, there must have been a purpose – maybe some of the suits were purchased with money that can be traced back to particular accounts or sources, or they can identify a suit worn in a surveillance video at a specific time. It just seems like if they did it, it couldn’t have been random – must have been part of the warrant in some way…

    Second, Pence’s strategy seems to be to try to distance himself from any dubious activities by suggesting that he can only speak about his time on the campaign and what he personally was involved in. Most recently, his response to the Manafort accusations was that he and Manafort only overlapped on the campaign for a month. I don’t see this being successful, for a number of reasons, including that it raises the question of what he knows about from before his time on the campaign that leads him to insist on this point, that he was the head of the transition, and that he was likely far more involved in the Flynn shenanigans than they’ve let on.

  58. says

    WSJ – “U.S. Monitored Manafort After He Left Trump Campaign”:

    U.S. authorities placed Paul Manafort under surveillance after he was ousted as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

    The surveillance, which was part of a counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election, didn’t involve listening to Mr. Manafort’s phone communications in real-time, the officials said.

    But armed with a warrant, investigators still could have conducted clandestine surveillance of Mr. Manafort, possibly by obtaining copies of his emails and other electronically stored communications, or by having agents follow him or conduct physical searches of his property.

    The surveillance began after Mr. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August, but it is not clear when it was suspended….

    Mr. Comey’s replacement, FBI Director Christopher Wray, met this week with congressional officials and discussed the law-enforcement agency’s surveillance of Mr. Manafort, according to a person briefed on the discussion….

    Which is no doubt how it got out.

  59. says

    Also from Politico – “Trump aides begin looking for the exits”:

    A fast-growing number of White House staffers are starting to look for the exits, even though the one-year mark of President Donald Trump’s first term is still months away.

    Many who joined the administration in January did so with the explicit idea that they’d stay for at least a year, enough to credibly say they’d served. But in the aftermath of a wave of abrupt, high-profile departures over the summer that culminated with former strategist Steve Bannon’s ouster in August, aides up and down the chain are reaching out to headhunters, lobbyists, and GOP operatives for help finding their next job.

    Staffers from the National Economic Council—where director Gary Cohn is expected to be on his way out altogether after tax reform or onto a different role—as well as the communications shop and beyond are quietly exploring their next moves. They’re talking to headhunters about positions as in-house government affairs experts at major companies, or as executives at trade associations, universities, or consulting firms – ironically, jobs that run counter to Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra.

    Political appointees want to leave for myriad reasons, according to recruiters, Republican operatives, and White House officials. Morale is low, the Russia investigations only seem to grow in scope, and constant churn at the top has left some staffers without patrons in a workplace known for back-biting and a tribal-like attitude.

    “There will be an exodus from this administration in January,” said one Republican lobbyist, who alone has heard from five officials looking for new gigs….

    “There is no joy in Trumpworld right now,” said one adviser in frequent contact with several staffers. “Working in the White House is supposed to be the peak of your career, but everyone is unhappy, and everyone is fighting everyone else.”…

  60. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    from SC @101:

    A fast-growing number of White House staffers are starting to look for the exits,

    Maybe Trump will replace them with competent professionals.

  61. says

    Hitler wannabe: “Soon afterwards, Erdogan met with President Donald Trump, who lavished praise on Turkey’s leader, despite global condemnation of Erdogan’s heavy-handed crackdown on dissent in his country in the wake of a failed coup in July 2016.”

  62. says

    Republican Senators don’t really know what they’re doing when it comes to health care. Neither does team Trump. We have confirmation of the latter today:

    One [White House] official said the concerns from governors have alarmed some in the White House — and that “we really aren’t sure what the impact will be” of passing the bill.

    Politico link

  63. says

    “Steve Bannon held secret meeting in China”:

    Steve Bannon flew to Beijing last week for a secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official, less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at “economic war with China”.

    According to one person in China familiar with the situation, Mr Bannon travelled to Beijing to meet Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign.

    The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, after Mr Bannon had visited Hong Kong to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group….

  64. says

    Excerpt from Jimmy Kimmel’s latest foray into the health care debate:

    Those are the key words, repeal and replace, because for Donald Trump, this isn’t about the Graham-Cassidy bill, it’s about getting rid of Obamacare, which he hates primarily because Obama’s name is on it. He likes to have his name on things. Buildings, you name it. And at this point he would sign anything that meant getting rid of Obamacare. He’d sign copies of the Quran at the Barnes and Noble in Fallujah if it meant he could get rid of Obamacare. […]

    I guarantee he doesn’t know anything about this Graham-Cassidy bill. He doesn’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. He barely knows the difference between Melania and Ivanka. […]

    We spoke, he [Cassidy] told me one thing, he did another, are we supposed to do that again? Some people tell me I should give him the benefit of the doubt, and you know what? I do give him the benefit of the doubt. I doubt all the benefits he claims are part of the new healthcare bill.

  65. says

    “Margaret Atwood Has Words for St. Louis About the Dangers of a Police State”:

    On stage at the Sheldon in downtown St. Louis last night, Margaret Atwood didn’t mince words on the dangers of a police state.

    “Every country has police,” the Canadian novelist stated. “They’re supposed to serve, protect, arrest potential but not proven criminals, and turn them over to the justice system for trial. That’s a hard job with a lot of pressure.

    “But, a country in which police act as judge, as jury and executioner is a police state,” she said.

    Wild applause broke out before Atwood continued.

    “I don’t think you would want to live in a police state because there is no independent justice system as such. The police make the decisions, and if you make a fuss about that, you are likely to be on the wrong end of one of those decisions.”

    “So, America, please don’t go there. Please honor your own pledge to the flag — liberty and justice for all. All means all. Justice doesn’t mean merely the administration of laws. The Nuremberg laws were laws. The fugitive slave act was a set of laws. But just and fair laws administered without discrimination. Please don’t settle for less. Live up to your own propaganda.”…

  66. says

    Lavrov – US Russia relations are suffering bc previous administration was small hearted and vengeful- put time bomb in relations.”

    What Lavrov is doing here is manipulating Trump psychologically and providing a narrative to counter findings and developments in the investigation – it’s all due (nonsensically and ridiculously) to Obama and the Deep State sneakily sabotaging Trump, Putin, and the relationship.

  67. blf says

    Re @119, Indeed, until the vote is “in the can”, so to speak, please continue to oppose the nonsense in a form the eejits & thugs cannot wish away. And then, in any case, try to ensure at least those who nonetheless voted for the nonsense are voted out.

  68. says

    Here are some of the inspector general inquiries I can think of (I might well be forgetting some):

    HHS – Tom Price’s travel
    EPA – Scott Pruitt’s travel to Oklahoma (possibly soon his 18-member security force…)
    Treasury – Mnuchin’s trip to Fort Knox; Mnuchin’s request for military plane for honeymoon
    Interior – Zinke’s threats to Murkowski over ACA repeal vote
    Justice – Comey’s Clinton letter
    GSA – Trump’s hotel lease

    Needless to say, Trump’s done a lot to undermine the Inspectors General.

  69. says

    “GOP Funds Donald Trump’s Defense in Russia Probe With Help From a Handful of Wealthy People”:

    President Donald Trump’s attorneys in the probe of Russian election interference are being funded in part through a Republican Party account with a handful of wealthy donors—including a billionaire investor, a property developer seeking U.S. government visas and a Ukrainian-born American who has made billions of dollars doing business with Russian oligarchs.

    The Republican National Committee, through an account typically used for its own legal bills, paid more than $300,000 last month to help cover Mr. Trump’s private legal fees, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

    The fund has also paid another nearly $200,000 to lawyers for the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., according to a person familiar with the payments. Those expenditures will be disclosed in the RNC’s September report, the person said.

    The RNC and campaign’s payment arrangement for Mr. Trump’s lawyers is legal. But ethics experts cautioned that Mr. Trump’s decision to rely on party and campaign accounts to pay for his attorney fees can raise thorny political issues.

    Alternatively, some donors could be turned off by the notion of their dollars going to the president’s lawyers, rather than helping fund election recounts and other legal costs for the party….

  70. says

    “House intel Democrat on Russia probe: ‘If you had seen what I have seen, you’d want me to go full throttle'”:

    Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said the public would want him to “go full throttle” if they saw what he had seen during the investigation into Russia’s election interference.

    The committee’s probe “is closer to its infancy than conclusion,” Quigley said during an event moderated by Renato Mariotti, a longtime federal prosecutor, in Chicago on Thursday.

    And working with the committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, “has been much more difficult and troublesome” since the Russia investigation began, Quigley said.

    Quigley said Nunes was “not the only” Republican on the committee creating problems.

    “I’m there as we’re questioning witnesses — and someday these transcripts will be made public,” he said. “Many of you are going to say, ‘What the hell are they doing?’ They seem to be taking over the role of a second attorney for the witness testifying before us. And it’s conflicting, and it’s difficult. It’s difficult enough as it is to do this job when you’re running into all of these obstacles.”…

  71. tomh says

    @ #123
    The list of organizations opposed to Graham-Cassidy is as long as your arm. Every major doctors’, insurance, and patient group opposes it, but none of that seems to matter. It’s all about the politics with the Republicans, and if they can hand Trump a win and “keep their promise” they’ll do it, no matter the consequences.

    And I don’t trust Murkowski this time around. It seems like if they give Alaska enough gravy, she can be bought. It could easily come down to Rand Paul, a scary thought if ever there was one.

  72. says

    Atul Gawande – “If the U.S. Adopts the G.O.P.’s Health-Care Bill, It Would Be an Act of Mass Suicide”: “The fundamental thing to understand about Senate Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal Obamacare is that the bill under consideration would not just undo the Affordable Care Act—it would also end Medicaid as we know it and our federal government’s half-century commitment to closing the country’s yawning gaps in health coverage. And it would do so without putting in place any credible resources or policies to replace the system it is overturning. If our country enacts this bill, it would be an act of mass suicide….”

  73. blf says

    An Ozland nazi scores a spectacular own goal, and helps a good cause, Australian MP’s fury over school ‘do it in a dress’ fundraiser helps raise $200,000:

    Fundraiser aimed to raise $900 for girls’ education in Africa, but backlash led to more than $200,000 in donations
    As part of an annual fundraiser, Craigburn primary school asked students and teachers to wear a dress or casual clothes on Friday, and donate a dollar or two. The school originally aimed to raise $900.

    But then Cory Bernardi, an outspoken and deeply conservative senator from South Australia, took to Twitter about it, posting a link and commenting: One school in SA now has ‘wear a dress day’. This gender morphing is really getting absurd.

    His tweet was quickly picked up and criticised, notably by Australian comedian Josh Thomas, who accused Bernardi of “purposefully misrepresenting the intent” of the students and their charity drive. Thomas donated $2,000 of his own money to the school and urged others to do the same.

    By Friday afternoon the school had received more than $201,000, making it the largest single day for donations in the charity’s six-year history. Many of the listed donations were dedicated to Bernardi.


    The campaign has run annually for six years, with a growing number of schools taking part. It has nothing to do with the marriage equality debate or gender identity, and is based on the school dress being a symbol of empowerment in developing countries.


    “The idea behind Do it in a dress is simple,” said [the chief executive of the One Girl charity which runs the Do it in a dress campaign, Morgan] Koegel. “In these countries a school dress is quite rare, only one in five have the opportunity to go to high school. So a girl is more likely to be sexually assaulted than go to school, or more likely be a child bride than go to school. So in these countries a girl’s uniform is a symbol of opportunity and empowerment.”


    An earlier article reports the nutter has his head inserted very firmly in his arse, Cory Bernardi attacks ‘wear a dress’ fundraiser — but instead pushes up donations:

    […] Bernardi defended his stance, arguing that the charity event had gone beyond the time-honoured tradition of casual clothes days by encouraging boys to wear a gendered item of clothing.

    He said the children had been politicised and indoctrinated and encouraging boys or allowing male teachers to wear dresses was inappropriate.


  74. se habla espol says

    The local news made a big deal out the report that Utah’s election stuff wasn’t hacked. Duh. Utah was a guaranteed republican win: why should anyone bother manipulating anything here?

  75. says

    Updated list of politically significant upcoming dates:

    week of September 24: Twitter representatives meet with Senate Intelligence Committee
    September 24: German legislative elections
    September 25: Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum
    September 26: AL Republican primary (to replace Jeff Sessions; winner will face Doug Jones on Dec. 12)
    September 26: Roger Stone House Intelligence Committee testimony (closed session)
    September 30: deadline for Senate reconciliation vote on ACA repeal

    October 1: Catalan independence referendum
    October 3: Supreme Court hears arguments in Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin gerrymandering case)
    October 10: Supreme Court hears arguments in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump v. Hawaii (Muslim/refugee ban cases)
    October 17: Kenyan presidential election do-over
    October 25: Michael Cohen testimony before the Senate Intel Cmte (open session)

    November 7: VA governor election
    November 26: Honduran legislative and presidential elections

  76. says

    More details/stories concerning the watering down of the Ukraine amendment during the RNC – “Former Trump adviser: I gave the campaign ‘the chance to intervene’ in controversial Ukraine platform change.” It’s strange that this piece by Natasha Bertrand doesn’t mention the discussion in her article from March about a meeting with Trump in his unfinished hotel in the spring:

    According to CNN’s Jim Acosta…Gordon said that at the RNC he and others “advocated for the GOP platform to include language against arming Ukrainians against pro-Russian rebels” because “this was in line with Trump’s views, expressed at a March national security meeting at the unfinished Trump hotel” in Washington, DC.

    “Gordon says Trump said at the meeting … that he didn’t want to go to ‘World War Three’ over Ukraine,” Acosta said.

    Trump’s apparent involvement in steering the language change — Gordon reportedly told CNN that “this was the language Donald Trump himself wanted and advocated for back in March [2016]” — is also at odds with what Gordon told Business Insider in January, when he said “neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Manafort were involved in those sort of details, as they’ve made clear.”

    He’s now saying he made Rick Dearborn and John Mashburn aware of the amendment, but that they weren’t involved in his efforts to make the change, and back to claiming that hat “he never spoke to Trump nor Manafort about the amendment.” I don’t think there’s any way Gordon freelanced this, and the information he gave Acosta about the hotel meeting is quite specific, and even quotes Trump. His shifting, convoluted tale doesn’t hold up at all. I see grand jury testimony in his future.

  77. says

    “‘Junk science’: experts cast doubt on widely cited college free speech survey” (my emphasis):

    Polling experts are raising concerns about a new survey that found nearly 20% of American college students believe it’s appropriate to use violence to silence offensive speech.

    The results of the survey have been widely cited in conservative media outlets, including by the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, and were written up by an opinion columnist for the Washington Post.

    The way the survey results have been presented are “malpractice” and “junk science” and “it should never have appeared in the press”, according to Cliff Zukin, a former president of the American Association of Public Opinion Polling, which sets ethical and transparency standards for polling.

    John Villasenor, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of California Los Angeles, defended his survey as an important window into what he had called a troubling atmosphere on American campuses in which “freedom of expression is deeply imperiled”. Villasenor, a cybersecurity expert, said this was the first public opinion survey he had conducted.

    However, his survey was not administered to a randomly selected group of college students nationwide, what statisticians call a “probability sample”. Instead, it was given to an opt-in online panel of people who identified as current college students.

    “If it’s not a probability sample, it’s not a sample of anyone, it’s just 1,500 college students who happen to respond,” Zukin said, calling it “junk science”.

    [Villasenor] secured funding from the conservative Charles Koch Foundation to survey students this August about their views on free speech. Rather than write an academic paper, he posted some of his results online this week, arguing that given “the timeliness of the topic, I believe it is important to get some of the key results out into the public sphere immediately”.

    Villasenor’s results had gone through no peer review process. The methodology section of his online post was vague, prompting several polling experts to question how reliable the survey’s conclusions might be.

    His survey had posed the question about violence and speech to students in late August, in the days immediately after neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched through the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to the murder of one young woman.

    This was “purely coincidental”, he said. “It wasn’t planned that way.”…

    I also saw long discussions of it on CNN and MSNBC. Do better, media.

  78. blf says

    Utah was a guaranteed republican win: why should anyone bother manipulating anything here?

    Because less than 110% voted for the winner, comrade.

  79. blf says

    Saudi cleric banned for saying women’s brains a quarter the size of men’s:

    Saad al-Hijri suspended from all religious activity for saying women should not drive because their brains shrink after shopping

    A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching.

    Saad al-Hijri, head of fatwas (legal opinions) in Saudi Arabia’s Assir governorate, was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments “diminishing human value”, a spokesman for the governor of Asir province said.


    In a video this week, Hijri asked what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain. Would it give him a licence or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half? he said.

    If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter […]


    Some [soclal media] users posted pictures of Saudi female scientists and academics in response and questioned Hijri’s own intellectual capacities.


    Icky cootie-carriers are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia (amongst many other restrictions).

  80. says

    Trump’s whole horrid shtick has become so tired and predictable that I let most of it go without comment these days, but this part of his long rant last night merits quoting:

    Considering his preference for mingling and relaxing, one would think Trump might enjoy the idea of having dinners with members of Congress. But according to him, that’s not enjoyable — it’s “brutality.”

    At a campaign rally in Alabama for GOP senatorial candidate Luther Strange, Trump went off on a bizarre, rambling tangent — one of many — about what he was expected to do to win over Republicans in Congress on the GOP’s health care repeal bill.

    Oh, the humanity! They wanted him to have a meal with their families!

    “Well, Mr. President,” Trump intones, imitating a random Republican and with his voice rising, “could you have dinner with my wife, myself, my family, my kids, my cousins, my uncles!”

    Waving his arms and putting on a long-suffering grimace, Trump said, “Okay, so they come over, the family, pictures all night, everything. Okay. And I’ll get a vote or I won’t, whatever.”

    His assessment? “Brutal. Brutal. You know what that is folks, right? It’s called brutality.”

    “I call another one. I say, ‘Senator, we need your vote. I know you’re opposed to it, but —,’” Trump continued. “‘Well, you know, I think I can get there, but you have to do me a favor,’” he added, in another imitation. “‘You have to see my brother and his wife. They love you and they want to have dinner with you. They want to have breakfast with you, and lunch. Then after you’re finished with them, how about we’ll go out for a picnic someplace on the White House lawn.”

    Hand to his face in dramatic excess, Trump whined, “Oh my God, it was brutal, you have no idea.”

    Everyone keeps talking about how he’s working behind the scenes to wrest the votes to throw tens of millions of people off their health care, but he griped last night that this work consists of screaming at Republican Senators on the phone and being forced to meet with them and their families, which he openly describes as “brutal.” And they still protect him.

  81. says

    Jamil Smith: “Trump referred to any NFL player who protests racism and police violence as a “son of a b—-’ who should be fired.”

    Teresa Kaepernick (Colin’s mother): “Guess that makes me a proud b—-!”

    (My dashes – comment didn’t go through without them.)

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Joy Reid this morning.
    Clip 1, Clip 2, Clip 3
    In Clip 3, she talks about the “health care” plan offered by the rethugs, and why she thinks it should be “all hands on board” to defeat it. Then talk about other plans, including Medicare for All.

  83. says

    SC @146, apparently, some of Trump’s supporters also find him too predictable. Before Trump stopped speaking, audience members began to exit the venue. Trump spoke for over an hour. The candidate he was there to support, Luther Strange, spoke for four minutes.

    Also, Trump didn’t do a great job of supporting Strange, saying at one point that he would campaign for the winner of the primary no matter who won, and saying of the candidates (Strange and Roy Moore), “both good men.”

    In other news, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to Trump’s stupid and bullying remarks:

    The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.

    Note that Goodell never mentioned Trump’s name.

    Trump’s point in regards to players taking a knee during the national anthem was that the action showed “total disrespect for our heritage.” I don’t see that at all. I don’t think Trump has a good argument.

    Trump said players should be fired for taking a knee during the anthem. Maybe Trump should be fired. He had White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tell reporters that ESPN anchor Jemele Hill should be fired for making comments about Trump’s association with white supremacists. So, if you show disrespect, you should be fired? Jemele Hill told the truth. Trump is attributing “disrespect for our heritage” to some NFL players, and that’s a lie.

  84. says

    You know that tweet from Trump about Stephen Curry, the one to which LeBron James responded (see SC’s comment 143), well that tweet has drawn strong responses from others. The responses below are to Trump’s tweet about Curry, to Trump’s rally speech in which he dissed NFL players, and to Trump’s latest tweet in which he repeated his criticism of NFL players.

    Trump tweeted:

    Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!

    LeBron tweeted:

    U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!

    From Jemele Hill:

    You can’t be uninvited to something you weren’t going to anyway

    Curry’s wife, Ayesha responded with an eye-roll emoji and a link to make a donation to UNICEF for earthquake relief efforts in Mexico.

    From Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg:

    The President of the United States is now in a war with Stephen Curry and LeBron James. This is not a war Trump will win.

    From Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets:

    With everything that’s going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who’s kneeling and visiting the White House??? And I doubt he’s man enough to call any of those players a son of a [B-word] to their face

    From Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints:

    Only validates @Kaepernick7 bringing social injustice to light, he kneeled hoping it’d bring attention to what he believed in… Has it not?

    From Omar Bolden, an NFL free agent:

    All NFL players should take a knee tomorrow!

    From Lesean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills:

    It’s really sad man … our president is a asshole

    From Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks:

    The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!

    Oh, and there’s this confluence of events:

    In the midst of Trump’s feud with the NFL, on Saturday morning, Fox & Friends ran a segment about how NBA star Stephen Curry didn’t want to come to the White House following the Warriors championship win. Just minutes after Fox & Friends ran the story, Trump tweeted out that he was rescinding Curry’s invitation to come to the White House.

    That’s Trump working for Fox News again. And that’s Trump, not capable of developing his own ideas, so he steals them from Fox News. Dotard.

  85. says

    Wonkette covered another aspect of Trump’s attempts to bully NFL players. Trump is against regulations that protect players from injury:

    On Friday morning, news hit that former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez — who committed suicide in jail this April while serving time for the murder of fellow football player Odin Lloyd — had stage 3 (out of 4) CTE when he died. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a neurodegenerative disease common among football players and other people who suffer repeated concussions and brain trauma.

    On Friday night, President Donald Trump railed against the precautions the NFL has taken to prevent CTE and brain trauma in general.

    “Today, if you hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game! They had that last week. I watched for a couple minutes. Two guys, just really beautiful tackle. Boom, 15 yards! The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she’s just so proud of him. They’re ruining the game! They’re ruining the game. They want to hit! They want to hit! It’s hurting the game.”

    This is not the first time that Trump has whined about this particular issue. He spent part of a campaign stop in Iowa in January of 2016 whining about this as well.

    CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem, but an absurd amount of football players have exhibited symptoms of the disease — which are all quite horrible. […]

    […] Donald Trump, who is like “Screw your degenerative brain diseases! I wanna see more TACKLES!” Perhaps some nice Trump supporters would be willing to sacrifice their future mental health and consider getting in some kind of gladiator ring and tackling each other over and over again, so that President Trump can get his jollies? […]

  86. says

    From former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, (veteran of STS-122, STS-129), and former NFL player:

    To Donald Trump

    I believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this country even though at the time they were drafted, their tenets of life, liberty justice for all and eventual freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press and petition amendment ratified in Dec 1791, only applied to a select group of people and not ones that looked like me.

    Donald Trump, I listened to your Alabama rally rant and could not believe how easily you say what you say.

    We have become numb to your outlandish acts, tweets and recent retweet of you knocking down Hillary Clinton with a golf ball that you hit.

    Donald Trump, your boorish and disgusting actions are not funny. They actually promote violence against women especially when your followers act out what you say.

    I used to walk the grounds of UVA in Charlottesville, VA as a graduate student only to watch in horror as those same grounds became a battlefield being trod by Nazi and anti-Semitic worshippers armed with assault style weapons ready to fight to make America White again. (their words). You actually said there were nice people on both sides. People armed and ready to kill other Americans for the purpose of eradicating Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Mexicans, Asians, Latinas and even the first real Americans, Native Americans to make America Great Again were “nice people”?

    Comparing this to what you say in condemnation of an unarmed black man peacefully protesting by exercising his constitutional First Amendment rights by silently taking a knee is appalling, unnerving and reprehensible.

    Today, you called Colin Kaepernick “a son-of-a-[B-word].”

    You said he should be fired.

    You are calling his white mother a [B-word].

    The strong contrast in language for a black man and a Nazi is very telling. Do you have any sense of decency or shame in what you say to the American people that are part of your duty to serve respectfully with dignity, presidentially?

    Our National Anthem has been edited to try not to offend, because when Francis Scott Key penned the song he watched freed slaves fighting for the British […]

    I guess if I were a slave back then I probably would have done anything to obtain freedom from my American oppressors who were whipping, killing, raping, dismembering, hanging or releasing the dogs on people like me all under our Constitution. […]

    I served my country not in the military, but as 1 of 362 American Astronauts that have explored the universe to help advance our civilization. Not just Americans, but all humans. I also was briefly in the NFL and stood for the National Anthem with my hand over my heart. What makes us great is our differences and respecting that we are all created equally even if not always treated that way.

    Looking back at our planet from space really helps one get a bigger perspective on how petty and divisive we can be. Donald Trump, maybe you should ask your good friend Mr. Putin to give you a ride on a Soyuz rocket to our International Space Station and see what it’s like to work together with people we used to fight against, where your life depends on it. See the world and get a greater sense of what it means to be part of the human race, we call it the Orbital Perspective.

    Donald Trump, please know that you are supposed to be a unifier and a compassionate and empathetic leader. If you can’t do the job then please step down and let someone else try. I pray that you do the right thing.[…]

  87. says

    From Shaun King:

    15 new @NFL players have told me they will be sitting, taking a knee, or raising a fist tomorrow. A start. You can do this fellas.

    From Trump:

    If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….
    …our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!

  88. blf says

    Stevie Wonder joins #takeaknee protest against Trump’s attack on NFL players:

    Singers shows solidarity with sports stars after the president said players who have knelt on the field to protest police brutality were ‘sons of bitches
    [… T]he Warriors accepted they would not be going to the White House. But they said they would use their trip to Washington to “celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion”.


    The controversy moved outside the sports industry on Saturday night when Stevie Wonder, performing at the Global Citizens Festival in New York’s Central Park, said he was “taking a knee for America” to cheers from the crowd.

    With the help of his son Kwame Morris he knelt down on stage before saying a prayer for “our planet, our future, our leaders of our world”.

    [… T]he trend spread to baseball, with Oakland’s catcher Bruce Maxwell becoming the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the anthem.

  89. blf says

    Stevie Wonder joins #takeaknee protest against Trump’s attack on NFL players:

    Singers shows solidarity with sports stars after the president said players who have knelt on the field to protest police brutality were sons of b—–
    [… T]he Warriors accepted they would not be going to the White House. But they said they would use their trip to Washington to “celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion”.


    The controversy moved outside the sports industry on Saturday night when Stevie Wonder, performing at the Global Citizens Festival in New York’s Central Park, said he was “taking a knee for America” to cheers from the crowd.

    With the help of his son Kwame Morris he knelt down on stage before saying a prayer for “our planet, our future, our leaders of our world”.

    [… T]he trend spread to baseball, with Oakland’s catcher Bruce Maxwell becoming the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the anthem.

  90. blf says

    (An abbreviated & slightly edited cross-post from Affinity’s today’s Sunday Facepalm thread.)

    Follow-up to @159, Fire or suspend: Trump attacks NFL protesters as players kneel in London:

    ● Anthem protests against racial injustice prompt new presidential tweets
    ● Ravens and Jaguars protest at Wembley as owners voice solidarity

    Donald Trump began Sunday with yet another attack on NFL players kneeling in protest of the national anthem.

    Shortly before his treasury secretary insisted the president was not picking a fight, Trump doubled down on his bellicose remarks from a rally in Alabama on Friday night. The president [sic] repeated his challenge to NFL team owners to fire or suspend any player who fails to stand and encouraged fans to stop attending games until the owners take action.


    Trump’s tweets came at the outset of what was expected to be a day of protest across the NFL. At Wembley Stadium in London, the day’s first game duly saw around 25 players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens kneel during the playing of the US anthem.

    The Guardian’s Sean Ingle, covering the game, reported that no white players appeared to kneel but “many players, coaches and even the Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan linked arms instead as they stood, showing unity for their black team-mates against Trump”.

    I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t kneel, but much more disturbed “no white players appeared to kneel”.

    Trump also complained about rules introduced to improve safety in the NFL, which has a serious problem with degenerative head injuries.


    [… T]he New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a close friend of Trump, was among the team owners to side with their players. In a statement, Kraft said he was “deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president [sic]”.


  91. blf says

    UK (former chief) nazi Nigel Farage to support controversial judge Roy Moore in Alabama election (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Nigel Farage will speak in Fairhope, Alabama on Monday night, in support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

    The Guardian has learned that the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) will join former White House advisor Steve Bannon and Duck Dynasty TV star Phil Robertson at an election eve rally.


    The race has pitted Trump against much of his support base. Moore, who has the support of Sarah Palin and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, among others, is a deeply controversial figure, twice removed as Alabama chief justice. A vocal opponent of gay rights, he has even suggested that homosexuality should be illegal.

    In March, he told the Guardian the US could be described as the focus of evil in the modern world because we promote a lot of bad things. He specifically named same-sex marriage as one such bad thing.

    In contrast, Strange has been seen as a reliable vote for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and has benefited from more than $9m spent on his behalf by a Super Pac tied to the Kentucky senator.


    A source close to Bannon described this as the next iteration of the war against {the} political class and establishment and said the Alabama special election was the next stage of the international revolt by the working class and political elite, following Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.

    The Bannon ally said a win in Alabama would set the stage for primary fights in 2018 in states including Nevada, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arizona.

    Farage’s appearance was brokered in part by a former aide, Raheem Kassam, who now works in the US for Breitbart, the Bannon-led rightwing website.

    That March interview (see embedded link) with the Grauniad, Maybe Putin is right: Republican Senate frontrunner on Russian leader, is disturbing, concluding:

    […] Moore repeated his belief that Trump was put in the White House by God. Everybody else thinks it’s the Russians, he said. I think it was the providential hand of God.

  92. says

    Merkel won in the German election, but there are some caveats.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives came first in Germany’s general election Sunday but posted their worst score in a national election since 1949 as the far right surged to third place.

    The Social Democrats (SPD) came second, recording their worst post-war election result, and said they would go into opposition, rather than continue as Merkel’s junior coalition partners. That means Merkel will likely have to try to form a government with the liberal Free Democrats and the Greens — a coalition that has never been tried at national level.

    “We don’t need to beat about the bush, we had hoped for a better result. But we should not forget that we had a very challenging parliamentary term behind us,” Merkel told supporters at the headquarters of her CDU party.

    “We have the task of forming a government.”

    Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance won around 33 percent of the vote, ahead of the SPD on 20.8 percent, followed by the far-right Alternative for Germany on 13.3 percent, according to the latest projection for ARD television. […]

  93. blf says

    Keep up the pressure until the vote is “in the can” (or the deadline expires?), nonetheless, Ted Cruz joins Republicans ranged against Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    The effort to replace the ACA appears all but doomed as Cruz indicated Utah senator Mike Lee would follow him, while Maine senator Susan Collins told CNN it’s ‘very difficult’ for her to envision voting for the bill
    Maine Republican Susan Collins looked all but certain to oppose the bill, while Texas senator Ted Cruz also warned on Sunday he would not vote for the legislation in its current form and said he believed Utah senator Mike Lee would follow his lead in opposing.


    The Maine senator said she was concerned the legislation would lead to “the erosion of protections for people pre-existing conditions” but was waiting for a final analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which she expected on Monday, before making a definitive decision. She said: “I don’t know whether the CBO analysis will have new information that will change where I’m inclined to head.”

    Highlighting the spectrum of Republican opposition, Cruz said later in the day he was opposed to the bill as it did not deregulate the system enough.

    Right now they don’t have my vote and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s either, he said, speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. I want to be a yes, I want to get there because I think that Obamacare is a disaster. But the price to getting there, I believe, is focusing on consumer freedom.


    Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another who voted against the last effort to replace the ACA, has yet to declare a position.

    […] White House legislative director Marc Short said the vote would probably happen on Wednesday.

    But Graham-Cassidy has prompted opposition across the political spectrum and in the healthcare sector. On Saturday, the American Medical Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association issued a joint statement against it.


    The White House still hopes that Graham-Cassidy can progress, indicating that it will concentrate efforts on swinging the vote of Paul. Short told Fox News Sunday that the bill’s provision to defund Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit that provides reproductive healthcare, should be enough to sway the senator, a staunch abortion opponent.

    If Rand Paul is the final vote here, it’s hard to see how he can go to his support and say I had the chance to protect life {and voted against}, Short said.


    I started my political career campaigning against Obamacare, [Paul] said. I can’t in good conscience vote to keep it.

  94. KG says

    That means Merkel will likely have to try to form a government with the liberal Free Democrats and the Greens — a coalition that has never been tried at national level. – Lynna, OM@162

    If the German Greens agree to that, they should be thrown out of the European Green Party!

  95. Pierce R. Butler says

    KG @ # 165: … they should be thrown out of the European Green Party!

    If they maintained membership after signing on to send the Luftwaffe to bomb Belgrade (again), a little Merkel-laboration should pose no problem at all.

  96. says

    Joy Reid had an interesting segment yesterday about the NFL protests, with several panelists pointing out that the NFL existed before the singing of the anthem at games. Which is true. All of these people yammering about how they don’t want to see political statements and players should just do their jobs and play football… well, performative “patriotism” isn’t a legitimate part of non-military jobs and has nothing to do with football (in fact, players could be using the time to stay warmed up). But for Trump and his followers this is about the relative power of players and team owners, and the players must be brought to heel. Never mind that they have agents, lawyers, collective bargaining agreements, and so forth – the team owners are and should be absolute dictators with state backing.

    More largely, Trump is continuing his authoritarian assault on workers. His own history with workers is abominable. His supposedly pro-(white/male)worker rhetoric has never been about increasing workers’ power, and he’s publicly attacked a union leader who called out his lies about jobs. His appointments, including judicial appointments, and policies have been extremely anti-worker, and have sought to reduce people’s power with respect to corporations. He couldn’t even keep his rants about Podesta’s hacked emails on point because he was obsessed with how terrible it was of Clinton’s staff and advisors to mildly criticize her and how they should have been fired for it. His whole character leads him to detest any act he sees as defiance and to want to see defiant employees punished. (This includes anyone who refuses to go along with his unethical or criminal plans.)

    It’s true that he and the other authoritarians are by far most furious and vocal about what they regard as insubordination by black people, women, Muslims, and others they regard as inferior. But there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that they’re making efforts to weaken the position of all workers to force them into submission. Mercer, Bannon, and Trump selling their far-Right agenda as an uprising against elites is Trump’s biggest scam yet.

  97. says

    “Kushner used private email to conduct White House business”:

    Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business.

    Kushner uses his private account alongside his official White House email account, sometimes trading emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others about media coverage, event planning and other subjects, according to four people familiar with the correspondence. POLITICO has seen and verified about two dozen emails.

    Aides who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his private account since President Donald Trump took office in January include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel, according to emails described to or shown to POLITICO. In some cases, those White House officials have emailed Kushner’s account first, said people familiar with the messages. At times, Bannon and Priebus have also used private email accounts to correspond with Kushner and others….

  98. says

    “‘If anyone can hear us … help.’ Puerto Rico’s mayors describe widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria”:

    …Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, said she has never seen such devastation, but she also said she has never seen such determination to make it. She described a phrase she keeps hearing from residents: “Yo soy Boricua. I am from Puerto Rico.”

    “That has become the very courageous way of saying we are going to overcome anything that comes our way,” she said.

    A janitor stopped Cruz with a request on Friday: “Tell the world we’re here,” he said, Cruz recounted. “Tell everyone we’re fighting. Tell everyone that can listen that we are going to make it.”

    With her voice faltering, Cruz echoed that cry: “If anyone can hear us . . . help.”

    “Those are words that no society should have to endure alone or ever,” Cruz said. “What I would ask is not only for Puerto Rico, but for the entire Caribbean that has been hit so hard by this: Do not forget us and do not let us feel alone.”

  99. says

    “Steve Bannon Sought To Infiltrate Facebook Hiring”:

    Steve Bannon plotted to plant a mole inside Facebook, according to emails sent days before the Breitbart boss took over Donald Trump’s campaign and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

    The email exchange with a conservative Washington operative reveals the importance that the giant tech platform — now reeling from its role in the 2016 election — held for one of the campaign’s central figures. And it also shows the lengths to which the brawling new American right is willing to go to keep tabs on and gain leverage over the Silicon Valley giants they used to help elect Trump — but whose executives they also see as part of the globalist enemy.

    The idea to infiltrate Facebook came to Bannon from Chris Gacek, a former congressional staffer who is now an official at the Family Research Council, which lobbies against abortion and many LGBT rights.

    “There is one for a DC-based ‘Public Policy Manager’ at Facebook’s What’s APP [sic] division,” Gacek, the Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs at the group, wrote on August 1, 2016. “LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings.”

    “This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB,” he continued.

    “Milo” is former Breitbart News Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, to whom Bannon forwarded Gacek’s email the same day.

    “Can u get on this,” Bannon instructed his staffer….

    I’ve so had it with these skeezy people and their plotting.

  100. says

    In his down time, when he is not continuing to criticize football players for being unpatriotic, Trump is still stoking dissension between the U.S. and North Korea:

    Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

    From Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones:

    My guess is that Trump is trying to goad Kim Jong-un into doing something provocative enough to justify a US attack. In fact, this is so obvious that I have to wonder what South Korea really thinks of Trump’s little twitter war. After all, they’re the ones in danger if Kim retaliates, not us.

    Alternatively, of course, Trump tweeted this because he’s a childish buffoon who has no self-control and engages in schoolyard taunts with anyone he doesn’t like. That’s certainly the default explanation for most of what he does.

  101. says

    Peak delusion?

    “I think the president believes it is his role to improve race relations.” That was the line Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, shared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday. […]


  102. says

    Trump sounded like a dotard during a radio interview this morning.

    The president called into a radio show Monday morning to sing the praises of appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who he stumped for on Friday night. But he showed a clear unfamiliarity with his opponent, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore — twice referring to him as “Ray” in the interview.

    According to, Trump told radio hosts Rick and Bubba that Strange “is going to be a great senator” who will coast in the general election.

    “Ray will have a hard time. If Luther wins, the Democrats will hardly fight. If Ray wins [Democrats] will pour in $30 million,” he continued.

    When host Rick Burgess clarified that Moore’s first name was Roy, Trump replied that it’s “not a good sign” for Moore that he didn’t know his name.

    “I don’t know that much about Roy Moore,” Trump continued. “Roy Moore is going to have a very hard time getting elected against the Democrat. Against Luther, they won’t even fight.” […]


  103. says

    Oh, FFS. The U.K.’s own neo-Nazi-ish politician Nigel Farage (Trump follower, former head of the U.K. Independence Party, rabid anti-Muslim dunderhead, and doer of Putin’s will on Brexit) is going to join forces with Steve Bannon and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson to stump for Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama senate race.

  104. says

    They say it is for maintenance, but it sounds like sabotage to me:

    The Trump administration plans to shut down, a website consumers use to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, for 12 hours on nearly every Sunday of the coming ACA enrollment season.

    The outages, which the administration says are for maintenance, will occur from midnight through noon on every Sunday other than Dec. 10.

    Wall Street Journal link

    Team Trump already cut the open-enrollment period by half, and they are already sabotaging the insurance market by injecting uncertainty on a monthly basis.

    A response from an expert regarding the bogus “maintenance” claim:

    There are no insurmountable tech challenges that require to be offline. Only a lack of will & respect for Am people.

    The quote is from Frank Baitman, a former chief information officer for Health and Human Services (HHS).

    From Aisling McDonough:

    When Trump came in, was in its best shape yet. No excuse to have 7% scheduled downtime.

    The status, as reported was: “Scalable Login System implemented and users migrated to the system in 2015. Uptime 99.99%.”

  105. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 188.

    Hillary Clinton said:

    President Trump, Sec. Mattis, and DOD should send the Navy, including the USNS Comfort, to Puerto Rico now. These are American citizens.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo said:

    Puerto Rico needs our help. We need the federal government to wake up and responds to this problem.

    From Sarah Kendzior:

    Mayor of town in Puerto Rico: Our hospital is at capacity, people will start dying.

    Why is our government not addressing this with urgency?

    Trump seems relatively disinterested. He is letting the disaster in Puerto Rico get worse.

  106. says

    Infamously known for being the stupidest man in Congress, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert has some bad advice for voters in Arizona:

    [Gohmert] believes Arizona Sen. John McCain should be recalled while he battles brain cancer and so that the GOP can replace him with someone who will support the party’s latest effort to repeal the 2010 health care law.

    “Nothing inhibits recovery from cancer like stress,” the Texas Republican told “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. “I think Arizona could help him, and us. Recall him, let him fight successfully this terrible cancer, and let’s get someone in here who will keep the word he gave last year.”


  107. says

    Of course he did. Scott Pruitt met with mining executive just days before reversing EPA’s findings on Alaska mine.

    Days before announcing he would cave to a foreign mining company’s demands and re-open the possibility of mining copper alongside the waters where half the world’s salmon are caught, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met in secret with the company’s CEO.

    Pruitt’s sit-down with Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier, first reported Friday by CNN, happened May 1 — while the two men were ostensibly on opposite sides of a courtroom battle over the Bristol Bay’s proposed Pebble Mine. Collier’s firm sued the EPA in 2014 after the agency determined that it would be impossible to mine copper and gold deposits near Alaska’s Bristol Bay without destroying the adjacent fish habitat. Collier and the EPA say that the May meeting was about legal issues rather than environmental ones, but less than two weeks later, Pruitt’s team settled the suit and revoked the prohibition on mining the area. […]

    Secret, cordial meetings with industry leaders are an important part of Pruitt’s management style, despite his nominal role as warden of environmental laws those businesses want to defy.

    Pruitt’s decision allows Pebble Limited Partnership to officially seek permits for a mine that the EPA spent three years examining and found could not be dug without destroying the world’s salmon supply and the tens of thousands of jobs the salmon industry supports. […]

  108. says

    It’s an unprecedented situation in which Republicans who support repeal are able to go to hearings and the media and just blatantly lie. It’s not even just spinning or twisting the truth, which they’re also doing an immense amount of. They’re telling outright lies.

  109. says

    Teresa Miller, the former PA Insurance Commissioner, is doing a very good job. Especially because she’s bringing up her own and others’ testimony in the bipartisan HELP Committee hearings that Cassidy scuttled.

  110. says

    Ron Wyden pulled out the various versions of Grassidy that have appeared and asked Cassidy if this was the draft they’d actually be voting on this week. Cassidy says “I believe so.” This is such a farce.

    Wow, Grassley. Eliciting more lies from Cassidy and Smith.

  111. says

    I don’t know who the Democratic Senator talking now is, but he’s superbly contrasting the Grassidy process with the ACA process and the HELP Committee hearings and talking about the huge number of organizations opposing this piece of shit. Miller is again clear and effective.

  112. says

    From S&P:

    Analysis of the bill by S&P Global Ratings economists and credit analysts indicates that, if implemented, GCHJ will have the following impact on the U.S. macroeconomy, U.S. states, and related industries:

    Insured levels: Lower level of insured initially in the 133%-400% of federal poverty line (FPL) as GCHJ funding allocation focuses on the lower FPL levels; gradually over the longer term in the traditional
    Medicaid ranks as some states are unable to maintain current eligibility levels with a lower share of Medicaid federal funding.

    Macroeconomy: 580,000 lost jobs and $240 billion in lost economic activity by 2027, ensuring that the GDP growth remains stuck in low gear of around 2% at best in the next decade.

    U.S. states: Increased flexibility comes with fewer federal dollars, creating increased fiscal and operational burdens on the states. We expect greater disparity among states in terms of rules for the insurance
    markets and uninsured levels.

    Insurance industry: Increased uncertainty in the short term with repeal of mandate and lack of clarity around cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). In the longer term, likely return of medical underwriting will make premium pricing more varied by morbidity. Also, we expect a selective approach to insurer participation depending on each state’s version of the health insurance market.

  113. says

    “Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims”:

    The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African-American rights groups including Black Lives Matter and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

    The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to simultaneously send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

    These targeted messages, along with others that have surfaced in recent days, highlight the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.

    The nature and detail of these ads has troubled investigators at Facebook, on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Justice Department, say people familiar with the advertisements who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share matters still under investigation.

    In addition to the ads described to The Post, Russian operatives used Facebook to promote anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim messages. Facebook has said that one-quarter of the ads bought by the Russian operatives identified so far were targeted to a particular geographic area.

    While Facebook has downplayed the impact of the Russian ads on the election, Dennis Yu, chief technology officer for BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that focuses on Facebook ads, said that $100,000 worth of Facebook ads could have been viewed hundreds of millions of times….

  114. says

    NPR is being told the partial CBO score is minutes away. The lonely hearing is on a short break for a vote. Didn’t think I could put it back on, but now I might have to. It’s so absurd.

  115. says

    “Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee”:

    …After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.

    It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.

    It should go without saying that I love my country and I’m proud to be an American. But, to quote James Baldwin, “exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

    What we need now is numbers. Some people acknowledge the issues we face yet remain silent bystanders. Not only do we need more of our fellow black and brown Americans to stand with us, but also people of other races.

    I refuse to be one of those people who watches injustices yet does nothing. I want to be a man my children and children’s children can be proud of, someone who faced adversity and tried to make a positive impact on the world, a person who, 50 years from now, is remembered for standing for what was right, even though it was not the popular or easy choice.

  116. says

    BREAKING: Congressional Budget Office says new GOP bill repealing Obama health law would reduce insurance coverage for ‘millions’.”

    Stabenow is talking about it already.

    Also Breaking: Collins is saying NO!

  117. says

    Collins, in her statement, addresses the attempts to buy her and others off: “There has been some discussion that the new version of the bill includes additional money for my home state of Maine. The fact is, Maine still loses money under whichever version of the Graham-Cassidy bill we consider because the bills use what could be described as a “give with one hand, take with the other” distribution model. Huge Medicaid cuts down the road more than offset any short-term influx of money. But even more important, if Senators can adjust a funding formula over a weekend to help a single state, they could just as easily adjust that formula in the future to hurt that state. This is simply not the way that we should be approaching an important and complex issue that must be handled thoughtfully and fairly for all Americans.”

  118. says

    Wyden pointed out at the beginning that another irregular and questionable aspect of this lonely hearing is that Cassidy is acting as both a witness and a committee member/questioner. Now he’s being given time to tell more lies and to address questions to the other witnesses based on his lies. Just ludicrous.

  119. says

    “‘You’re it,’ Pa. told of Russian election hacking attempt”:

    …The state was not told when precisely the attempts were made, or how many times the hackers probed the system for points of access – but federal officials told Cortes they had no evidence of a breach. In theory, altering registration information could sow confusion among voters and election officials, potentially depressing the number of ballots cast on election day.

    “We were told ‘You’re it;’ Russia tried to scan our system looking for vulnerabilities; there was no evidence of intrusion,” Cortes said in an interview with The Inquirer/Daily News and Post-Gazette. He said the telephone briefing lasted three to four minutes.

    During last week’s call, Pennsylvania was told it was one of 21 states targeted by the Russians. The disclosure comes as a special counsel is probing whether there was any coordination between Russia and associates of President Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

    It was not clear why federal authorities, who have known about the attempted hacks for months, waited so long to share the information with individual states.

    Cortes said the news came as a surprise to Pennsylvania, and that federal officials did not give any guidance on whether additional safety measures are needed. As it learns more, the state will decide on what steps to take to reinforce security in its elections systems, he said….

    What the hell is going on?

  120. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris Hayes of All In is interviewing Hillary Clinton, more on current events than her book. Links will follow if I can find them.

  121. says

    I hate when Rachel Maddow acts (as she is now and did on Friday) as a mouthpiece for the State Department. She actually said on Friday that after the criminal invasion of Iraq, based on a lie, the US government insisted on Iraq’s territorial integrity (because that makes sense). Didn’t stop for a moment to question or discuss the history of Kurds there or the case for or against the Kurdistan referendum – just talked about supposed “US interests.” It’s beneath her.

  122. says

    Stone seems to slip up: In the text of the statement linked to @ #249, he challenges the conclusion that Guccifer 2.0 was a GRU persona, but in the timeline at the bottom he refers to Guccifer 2.0 as “it.” He also says Manafort is still “entirely loyal” to Trump and “does not want to go down in history as John Dean.” But Dean was actually involved in Nixon’s criminal conspiracy.

  123. blf says

    Arrggghhhh!!!!! A feeble no may mean yes: Indian court overturns rape conviction:

    Activists say Delhi high court’s decision in case of film director Mahmood Farooqui sets a worrying precedent on consent

    An Indian court has overturned a rape conviction against a film director, ruling that a feeble no can signal consent, especially in cases where the alleged victim is well-educated.


    Karuna Nundy, a supreme court lawyer who advised on India’s most recent reform of sexual assault laws, said she was concerned about the precedent the judgment set.

    “It muddies the waters and will confuse a lot of the issues around consent,” she said. “What the law says is that consent may be silent, it may be non-verbal, but it has to be unequivocal. And so when somebody says no — even when you think it’s feeble — and there is no subsequent unequivocal yes, then there is no consent.”


    The Times of India criticised the decision in an editorial, arguing that the court may have “set a potentially dangerous precedent that a no does not always necessarily mean no”.

    It said: “It is easy to see defence lawyers lapping this up in cases of rape and other sexual offences even where there the alleged victim has explicitly said no to argue that the accused may not have perceived it as a firm no. It is a slippery slope the court should have avoided stepping on to.”

    Vrinda Grover, the lawyer for the alleged victim, said the decision was “dishonest in law and fact”. An appeal will be filed in the Indian supreme court.


  124. says

    As Steve Benen pointed out, Kris Kobach accidentally made a good point about voting rights:

    The Kansas City Star reported the other day that the ACLU is poised to launch “a new effort to expand voting rights in all 50 states,” and the initiative will begin this weekend — in Lawrence, Kansas.

    […] It’s the home state of Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state and a prominent Republican advocate of restricting voter access. He is co-chair of President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate so-far unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

    The ACLU campaign, called Let People Vote, will forgo a federal approach to expanding voting rights; indeed it ignores Congress altogether. Instead, it will pressure each state to adopt individually tailored plans, including proposals such as creating independent redistricting commissions and restoring voting access for convicted felons.

    So far, so good. The funny part, however, came when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach released a written statement responding to the ACLU’s new initiative. “Their campaign,” Kobach said, “should be entitled ‘Let People Vote Without Showing Photo ID.'” […]

    [Restrictions such as voter-ID laws] are clearly intended to address a fraud crisis that exists only in far-right imaginations, and they invariably target specific constituencies – the young, minorities, the elderly, and low-income voters – as part of a Republican campaign to target groups more likely to vote Democratic. […]

    Indeed, this dovetails nicely with a New York Times report, published today, on new research that found “nearly 17,000 registered Wisconsin voters – potentially more – were kept from the polls in November by the state’s strict voter ID law.” […]

  125. blf says

    Anger as Swedish neo-Nazis prepare for Yom Kippur march (Al Jazeera edits in {curly braces}):

    The event dubbed Revolt against the traitors is scheduled to take place on September 30 and to pass near a synagogue.
    The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), which anti-racist organisations describe as neo-Nazis, is holding a demonstration on September 30 in Gothenburg, which is located on Sweden’s western coast.


    The event will be a rally against the politicians in the Swedish parliament as well as the European Parliament” who “have flung our nation’s borders wide open to an unprecedented invasion, the NRM said in a statement, referring to the country’s acceptance of refugees and migrants fleeing war and economic devastation in recent years.

    The statement added, Today’s politicians and journalists are nothing short of robbers and traitors!


    Although the NRM has been active for two decades, Snecker said the group is attempting to capitalise on the rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats Party, which has 49 seats in the national legislature […].


    In 2016, the anti-racist magazine Expo documented 3,064 instances of neo-Nazi activities in Sweden. The bulk of the activities involved spreading propaganda, such as distributing flyers and posting stickers.

    In a December 2016 study that examined the profiles of 159 NRM members, Expo found that more than a quarter of them had previously been charged with violent crimes, while 56 percent had been convicted of a crime.

    Explaining that the group had grown in recent years, Expo added that a third of active NRM members in 2015 had not previously had any documented connections to neo-Nazi organisations.


    [… R]ecently, the NRM has established a branch in neighbouring Finland, where its members have attacked anti-racist demonstrations and LGBTQ pride events.

    The group advocates Sweden’s exit from the European Union, the mass deportation of all refugees and migrants and what it describes as Nordic self-sufficiency based on National Socialist ideology, among other far-right policies.


    [Expo’s acting managing editor, Daniel Wiklander,] concluded: “They are attracting more people to their demonstrations{…} They’ve become more visible, and they are carrying out more activities.”

    The article doesn’t seem to mention any planned counter-demonstrations / marches, albeit I presume there will be some.

  126. says

    SC @250, if Stone makes those kinds of mistakes in a written statement, I wonder how many contradictions and lies he will tell when he is questioned today.

    In other news, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke thinks that the people who work for him are not “loyal to the flag.”

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Donald Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly.

    Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

    Zinke has also claimed that coal mining does not harm the environment. He thinks that the size of National Monuments designated by Obama should be drastically reduced, in part to allow for more extraction of fossil fuels, etc.

    Zinke made his comments about disloyal employees to “an oil industry group.” That figures. It also looks like Zinke was using “the flag” as a metaphor for the president. That is, some of the Interior Department employees are not loyal to the president. Zinke was not talking about loyalty to the country, nor about loyalty to the constitution. Trump is not the only one who sees Trump as the king to whom everyone should be loyal.

  127. says

    Jared Kushner’s attorney fell for a prank call concerning Kushner’s use of private email.

    […] In the email back-and-forth, which was first shared with Business Insider, attorney Abbe Lowell tells the individual he believed to be Kushner that he needed “to see all emails” sent and received from a personal email address that the top White House adviser and son-in-law of the President set up in December.

    […] at least six senior White House officials, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon, used private email accounts to carry out official business.

    The prankster, who goes by the handle @SINON_REBORN on Twitter and used the address to contact Lowell, has since made their full Monday exchange public. He opened the conversation by asking Lowell what to do with “some exchanges with a website featuring adult content.”

    Lowell asked if the messages were “forwarded or received from WH officials.”

    After Kushner replied that one “unsolicited” message was forwarded to him by a White House official and that he’d also received “a handful more, but not from officials,” Lowell asked for evidence.

    “I need to see I think all emails between you and WH (just for me and us),” he wrote. “We need to send any officials emails to your WH account. Not stuff like you asked about. None of those are going anywhere.”

    “But we can bury it?” the prankster responded. “I’m so embarrassed. It’s fairly specialist stuff, half naked women on a trampoline, standing on legoscenes, the tag for the movie was #standingOnTheLittlePeople :(”

    “Don’t delete. Don’t send to anyone. Let’s chat in a bit,” Lowell responded.

    The high-powered D.C. attorney is representing Kushner in ongoing federal and congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He declined Business Insider’s response for comment, but previously released a statement saying that all of the “non-personal emails” sent or received on his private account were forwarded to his official address. […]

  128. says

    Trump on Puerto Rico:

    Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble..

    …It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars….

    …owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well.

    The response from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz:

    With all due respect, these are two different topic. One topic is the massive debt, which we know we have and it’s been dealt with. But you don’t put debt above people, you put people above debt. So, what we are asking for and what — what I’m asking for, and this is my comment, nobody else’s comment — is let’s deal with the two issues in a separate way.

    When somebody is in need, when somebody is in dire need, when somebody is in a life or death situation, there’s a human, moral imperative to deal with that situation first and then deal with any other situations coming your way.”

    Trump sounded like he was blaming the extent of the devastation in Puerto Rico on the debt. May be true in some small way, but it is still not relevant when it comes to solving the problems right now … for 3.5 million U.S. citizens.

    Also, it’s good to point out that not all people in Texas and Florida are “doing great.”

  129. says

    Ah, Jeff Sessions and “free speech.” Not exactly.

    More than 130 Georgetown University law students have been uninvited to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech about free speech on campus […]

    “It is extraordinarily hypocritical that AG Sessions wants to lecture future attorneys about the importance of free speech on campus while excluding the wider student body from his very own ‘safe space,’” the constitution society president Daniel Blauser said in a statement. “We welcomed the debate, but sadly the school seems to want to limit attendance to help ensure a sympathetic audience.”

    The event was meant to be restricted to a small group of students, but the lottery page to sign up for seats was “circulated more generally by students,” Blauser told TPM.

    The uninvited students received a message from the school informing them their ticket had been revoked due to an “error.” The event was intended for members of the Center for the Constitution’s student invitation list, which includes Center fellows and those enrolled in the class of the professor who’s leading the question and answer session, according to the school email.

    But Blauser said the students whose tickets were revoked met that criteria, but also happened to be involved in online discussions about protesting the event.


  130. says

    Roy Moore went to a campaign rally fully dressed for the event. His outfit included a cowboy hat and a handgun. He displayed the gun. “I believe in the Second Amendment.”

    A commenter identified the gun:

    Chromium plated snub-nosed .38. A favorite with 1970’s pimps. Accurate to two and a half to three feet. A mighty, potent weapon for a mighty, potent man backed by the Almighty, not quite trusting in Him to keep him safe from the Other threat, yet not terribly concerned with whether his defensive fire hits the Evil Other or some innocent bystander.

  131. says

    The people in Puerto Rico may be feeling a lot of pain right now, but Congresscritters are as relatively disinterested as Trump.

    Congresscritters are, (instead of focusing on Puerto Rico), taking up an anti-abortion bill:

    The House plans to vote next week on a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

    Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Tuesday that the House would vote on the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” on Oct. 3. The bill last passed the House in 2015 but was blocked by Senate Democrats.

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), would make it a crime to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with the possibility of a fine, up to five years in prison, or both. […]

    The Hill link

    Republicans are using the hashtag #theyfeelpain.

  132. says

    Thomas LaCrosse, the Pentagon’s director of defense support to civil authorities, said U.S. officials discussed deploying the USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico over the weekend but decided that it should stay in Norfolk because it could not get close enough to any port to avoid using helicopter support to get patients to and from the ship.

    Except that helicopter transport of patients is what the USNS Comfort often does. They did that to serve earthquake victims in Haiti. The ship operated that way off the coast of Nicaragua. Etc. The ship has helicopter pad that can be operated day and night.

  133. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 222.

    From an article by Addy Baird about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill:

    […] Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) invoked highly edited, debunked videos targeting Planned Parenthood from 2015 at a CNN town hall Monday night when a woman shared her story of how Planned Parenthood helped her have children. […]

    “I’m grateful for Planned Parenthood, because without their care it’s quite probable that my husband and I would not have been able to become parents,” she said. “Why would you advocate for a bill that would block women like me from the essential care that helped me to become a mother [and] provides affordable cancer screenings for thousands and thousands of people?”

    Instead of giving her a direct answer, Graham invoked videos from 2015 that were highly edited to make it look as if Planned Parenthood were selling fetal body parts.

    The videos were thoroughly debunked after several investigations, and the two anti-abortion activists who made the videos were charged with 15 felonies earlier this year.

    But Graham still leaned on the fake videos as reason to defund Planned Parenthood Monday night.

    “So all I can say about this debate, about Planned Parenthood [is] a lot of Americans were pretty upset when they saw the videos of selling body parts of aborted children,” Graham said.[…]

  134. says

    Trump in full-blown delusion mode:

    I mean I think we’re really getting really good marks for the work we’re doing. I grew up in New York so I know many people from Puerto Rico. I know many Puerto Ricans, and these are great people. And we have to help them.

    We’ve gotten A-pluses on Texas and on Florida. And we will also on Puerto Rico.

  135. says

    Jeff Sessions subordinates himself to Trump:

    The president has free speech rights, too. He sends soldiers out every day to defend this country under the flag of the United States, under the national anthem and the unity those symbol call on us to adhere to, so I agree it is a big mistake to protest in that fashion. […]

    The players aren’t subject to any prosecution, but if they take a provocative act they can be expect to be condemned and the president has the right to condemn them.

  136. says

    North Korean leaders also don’t know what the fuck is going on:

    North Korean officials have sought meetings with Republican analysts in Washington in an effort to better understand President Trump.

    The Washington Post reported Tuesday that North Korean government officials have been reaching out to Asia experts with GOP ties since before the recent bout of threats between Trump and Pyongyang broke out.

    “Their no. 1 concern is Trump,” one person familiar with North Korea’s outreach told the Post. “They can’t figure him out.”

    […] Pyongyang has requests out to seven organizations that have helped arrange and host meetings between North Korean officials and Americans in the past. […]


  137. blf says

    Trump warned: send help or risk making Puerto Rico crisis ‘your Katrina’ (my added emboldening):

    [… F]or many Puerto Ricans the reality five days after the hurricane struck was that the US president had not been with them. About 700 Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) staff were on the island in a total of 10,000 federal workers, carrying out search and rescue missions and supplying basic food and water. But Trump spent those five days […] seemingly oblivious to the plight of millions of Hispanic Americans in peril in a natural disaster zone.

    “At the same time that he was doing all of that [objecting to protesters (e.g., kneeling…) –blf], we had American citizens in Puerto Rico who are in a desperate condition,” said Hillary Clinton […] in a radio interview which aired before Trump’s late-night tweets on Monday. “He has not said one word about them, about other American citizens in the US Virgin Islands. I’m not sure he knows that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.”

    The Trump administration has refused to waive federal restrictions on foreign ships carrying life-saving supplies to Puerto Rico — a concession it readily made for Texas and Florida in the cases of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


    Most Puerto Ricans were spared the experience of reading Trump’s tweets as a result of the total blackout. But condemnation was swift in mainland US. Juliette Kayyem, a former senior official in the department of homeland security under Barack Obama, said Trump’s response showed “a lack of empathy of epic proportions”.

    On Tuesday Nydia Velázquez, a Democratic representative from New York, said she was concerned that Trump’s continued tweets about NFL players showed he did not grasp the severity of the crisis. [… S]he warned the president: “If you don’t take this crisis seriously this is going to be your Katrina.”

    Velázquez also said she was “offended and insulted” by Trump’s tweet that Puerto Rico’s public debt contributed to the crisis.

    Joe Crowley, another New York Democrat, said it was “absolutely ridiculous” for Trump to mention debt “when people are suffering and dying”.

    “Here’s a president who’s used bankruptcy throughout his entire career,” he said.

  138. says

    Besides endorsing Luther Strange, (and then, confusingly, also endorsing Roy Moore) for the Alabama senate seat, Trump also had dinner with some Republican leaders in Alabama. At the dinner, Trump dissed Jeff Sessions:

    […] It was a reminder that the president, who threw an Oval Office tantrum in the spring in which he called Sessions an “idiot,” still isn’t pleased with his attorney general. The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump told a group of supporters last night about his dissatisfaction with the Alabama Republican.

    At the dinner with conservative leaders, Mr. Trump expressed frustration with Mr. Sessions’ March decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s probe of Russian election meddling, according to three people present for the conversation.

    “You could feel it dripping with venom,” one dinner guest said. “It was something else.”

    As the article described the context, a guest asked the president a policy question, when “his mood appeared to shift.” Trump encouraged the attendee to direct the question to the attorney general’s office, before adding, “He recused himself on Russia, which he should never have done.”

    This was just the latest in a series of angry complaints Trump has made about Sessions, and last night served as a reminder that the president clearly isn’t letting this go.

    But let’s not overlook the point driving the presidential whining: Trump seems to realize that the Russia scandal represents an existential crisis for his administration, and he’s outraged because Sessions isn’t in a position to make the problem go away. […]


  139. says

    Trump said some more stupid stuff about Puerto Rico:

    We got A+s on Texas and on Florida, and we will on Puerto Rico but the difference is this is an island sitting in an ocean. It’s a big ocean. It’s a very big ocean.

  140. blf says

    Madrid (that is, the Spanish government) is in freak-out mode about this weekend’s referendum in Catalonia, Spain to deploy police to prevent Catalan independence vote:

    Government says local force will assume control of polling booths as additional officers are drafted in from Andalucía

    Police will be deployed at polling stations to prevent people from voting in the Catalan independence referendum, the Spanish government has confirmed.


    A spokesman for the Spanish government’s Catalan delegation said on Tuesday that the region’s prosecutor had ordered the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, to take control of polling booths and identify those in charge.


    The Spanish government said the steps it had taken over the past week, including raiding Catalan government offices, arresting 14 officials and seizing almost 10m ballot papers, meant the vote could not take place.


    In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutor’s office said it would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.

    Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, misuse of office and misappropriation of funds, the order said.


    In Barcelona, residents have been giving out red carnations to regional police, a nod to Portugal’s 1974 revolution that toppled its military dictatorship, when people put red carnations in the barrels of soldiers’ guns.


    Also, Spain’s attorney general refuses to rule out arrest of Catalan president: “[Spain’s attorney general] José Manuel Maza said that [Catalan president] Carles Puigdemont could face action for disobedience, breaching public duties and misuse of public funds for proceeding with the poll after Spain’s constitutional court suspended the hastily passed legislation underpinning the vote.”

  141. says

    Trevor Noah presented a great segment that asked, “When is it the right time for black people to protest?”

    The video is 5:23 minutes long.

    I particularly liked his example of “some sneaky assed racism.”

  142. blf says

    Five things Trump could be doing — instead of raging about football:

    Donald Trump spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday railing against NFL players who choose to protest during the national anthem.


    The president’s [sic] 48-hour lambasting did at least display a hitherto unseen attention span. But there are more important ways he could be spending his time.

    1. Actually talking about racial inequality
      Trump said his comments have nothing to do with race. Maybe they should. Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated than white people. Young black men are nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police. Oh, and Nazis are openly marching on the streets.

    2. Trying to avert a nuclear war with North Korea

    3. Preventing disaster in Puerto Rico
    […] Over the weekend Trump found time to attend a local BMW dealership’s awards ceremony at his golf club. He didn’t find the time to mention Puerto Rico.

    4. Fixing our crumbling, “third-world” infrastructure

    5. Doing what he said he would do on healthcare
      Given Trump promised his supporters he would repeal Obamacare on day one and replace it with better health care, much better, for less money, he might want to, you know, do something about it. Actually he should leave this one alone. […]

  143. blf says

    Saudi Arabia’s king issues order allowing women to drive (“King Salman ordered the reform in a royal decree delivered on Tuesday night, requesting that drivers licences be issued to women who wanted them”). I admit to being surprised by this, albeit the article says it was anticipated. Al Jazeera has some more details, Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive (“Royal decree announcing decision signed by King Salman will be effective immediately but rollout will take months”).

  144. blf says

    California boosts anti-Trump resistance by becoming ‘sanctuary’ state:

    California declared itself a “sanctuary” state over the weekend, showing the world that resistance to the Trump administration continues to gain traction throughout the United States.
    On Saturday, lawmakers in the “Golden State” approved the California Values Act, legislation designed to protect immigrants without legal residency in the US that is the most far-reaching of its kind in the country. The law limits how much state and local law enforcement have to communicate with federal immigration authorities. […]

    [… the article then takes a bit of a wild veer into discussing cities opposition to hair furor withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement …]

  145. blf says

    Naomi Klein: Trump’s like the fatberg — horrible, noxious, hard to dislodge:

    The author and journalist Naomi Klein has likened Donald Trump to a “fatberg”, a congealed lump of fat and sanitary products that causes dangerous blockages in sewers.


    In remarks greeted by laughter and applause, Klein said: “It’s tough to know exactly how to adequately sum {Trump} up. So let me try a local example.

    “You know that horrible thing currently clogging up London’s sewers — I believe you call it the fatberg — well, Trump is the political equivalent of that.

    “He is a merger of all that is noxious in the culture, in the economy and in the body politic, all kind of glommed together in a self-adhesive mass. And we’re finding it very, very hard to dislodge.”


  146. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    #281, yeah, more EVERYTHING is needed. And was needed from Day 1 after the hurricane passed. Trump gets an “F” for fuckwit for his response.

  147. blf says

    In @265, I emboldened the following excerpt:

    The Trump administration has refused to waive federal restrictions on foreign ships carrying life-saving supplies to Puerto Rico — a concession it readily made for Texas and Florida in the cases of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

    This is a reference to the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act (1920)). As The Law Strangling Puerto Rico explains, this WW I U-boat motivated law requires “only American ships could carry goods and passengers from one United States port to another. In addition, every ship must be built, crewed and owned by American citizens.” (Weirdly, the law doesn’t apply to the US Virgin Islands.)

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Racheal Maddow just announced Roy Moore, unethical judge twice thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court, won the rethug primary to replace authoritarian bigot Jeff Sessions.

  149. Hj Hornbeck says


    Faced with his first electoral defeat, the president tweeted out congratulations to Moore Wednesday morning, But before that, he scrubbed all of his tweets supporting Luther Strange. According to ProPublica’s Politwoops project — which documents deleted tweets by notable people — three tweets by the president were scrubbed on Tuesday night.

    Not all of his tweets, actually, just some recent ones. Most notable was this:

    Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for “Big Luther.”


  150. says

    An analysis of the Republican’s health care failure as it relates to Trump’s inability to take responsibility for anything, from Steve Benen:

    In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Committee […] Trump raised a few eyebrows when he declared, “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

    It’s become increasingly obvious that pretty much everyone knows the system better than Trump, and he alone can’t seem to fix much of anything. [Trump] is already making the case that that buck doesn’t stop anywhere near him. He declared via Twitter this morning:

    With one Yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday! We will have the votes for Healthcare but not for the reconciliation deadline of Friday, after which we need 60. Get rid of Filibuster Rule!

    […] Part of the problem with Trump’s pitch is that it’s factually wrong. Sen. Thad Cochran had a medical issue this week, but he’s not in the hospital. What’s more, the “filibuster rule” […] isn’t the principal problem for Republicans, at least not on this issue.

    […] the party this week was four votes short on health care. If my arithmetic is correct, whether the threshold for success is 50 votes or 60 votes doesn’t much matter […] the underlying problem is Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility for his own failures.

    […] if we’re making a list of people responsible for the latest Republican health care fiasco, it would feature more than a few names, but the president would certainly make the cut. He’s the one who said he was a master deal-maker[…]

    […] And so, when it comes time for an after-action report, and Trump is taking stock of what went wrong, he’s eager to point the finger, quickly and vigorously, at just about everyone. Blame the “so-called Republicans.” Blame Thad Cochran’s health issue. Blame the filibuster rules. […]

  151. says

    Democrats are responding the team Trump’s tax plan:

    […] Sen. Ron Wyden, ranking Democrat on the Senate panel covering taxes, said the GOP tax framework “cuts taxes disproportionately for the well to-do” while masquerading as a boon for the middle class.

    “No amount of spin, no amount of rhetoric can hide the fact that this is a far-right Republican scheme to endow future generations of the mega-wealthy and leave what amounts to crumbs for the middle-class behind,” Wyden said […]

    The GOP plan reduces the number of individual tax brackets from seven to three, at rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Tax-writing committees can add a fourth rate above 35 percent for the wealthiest Americans if they choose to, according to the plan. […]

    Wyden has also criticized Republicans for attempting to move a tax plan through budget reconciliation, a legislative process that would let the GOP pass the plan with 51 votes in the Senate. […]

    Republicans also call for doubling the standard deduction, eliminating the estate and alternative minimum taxes, and full expensing for corporate capital investments.


  152. says

    Wonkette covered Judge Roy Moore’s win in the Alabama Republican primary race for the senate:

    […] A loony man with no regard for the law who thinks gays should be banned from the earth and thinks Jesus wrote the song “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” which includes racist lyrics, therefore it is OK for him to say racisms, has won the run-off election for the GOP nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Luther Strange. No, seriously, this is historic. Alabama voters chose the fucking bigot.

    They chose the guy who has been kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court TWICE, once because he wouldn’t stop putting the Ten Fucking Commandments on Alabama state property, and once because he was pretty goddang sure the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality didn’t apply to Alabama, due to how it wasn’t signed by the Almighty His-self.

    Roy Moore thinks 9/11 was God’s punishment for aggravated buttsexing. He believes Rep. Keith Ellison shouldn’t have been seated in Congress because he’s a Muslim. He thinks Illinois and Indiana are hotbeds of sharia law. He is a B-I-G-O-T.

    […] Steve Bannon loves him, because Steve Bannon, the guy from Goldman Sachs, is a salt-of-the-earth guy just like the Alabammy morons who voted for Moore. “They think you’re nothing but rubes,” Bannon told the gathered rubes at a Rubes For Roy rally just before the election. […]

    Just after that, Moore pulled out what seemed to be a pistol from the Barbie doll collection of pistols and waved it around, just to show Alabama he was VERY SERIOUS about the Second Amendment. […]

    Trump, being the pathetic loser he is, has already started pretending he was for Moore all along. He conceded in his crazy “NFL PLAYERS ARE BLACK SONS OF [B-word, plural] AYIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!” rally that he might have made a mistake in getting behind Strange, and now he’s just deleted a bunch of his pro-Strange tweets and replaced them with congratulations for God’s chosen lunatic.

    So what does this all mean? Well for one, it’s also a fuck you to Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican ‘stablishment, and it gives a green light to raving batshit assholes from sea to shining sea to primary vaguely “normal” Republicans. (Tennessee GOP Senator Bob Corker announcing his retirement is also helpful on that front […])

  153. says

    An update on the humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico:

    […] One of the most dangerous threats from the [hurricane] damage is to hospitals on the island. Power has been restored to a major hospital in San Juan, according to FEMA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is setting up makeshift hospital units. But CBS reported that only 21 of 69 hospitals have power or fuel, and two people on life support already died when their hospital ran out of fuel. CNN reports that a hospital in San Juan where 12 children depend on ventilators to survive has only a limited amount of fuel for its generators.

    […] More than 150 patients have also already been evacuated from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland, according to FEMA. And the military is sending other aircraft to aid in relief efforts.

    […] a lack of power and running water makes it difficult to keep sanitary conditions or do even basic medical tasks. A surgeon told Reuters that the cardiovascular center where he worked dripped with condensation in the heat and that most of its patients had been evacuated to other facilities.

    […] Communications are still spotty on the island. “If you are sick in Puerto Rico,” the doctor told Reuters, “the best thing is to get on a plane and abandon the island.”

    But flights, too, are hard to come by. A Puerto Rican reporter for Telemundo PR tweeted that all flights are oversold and the airlines are deciding who gets on what flight. Reuters reported that those without tickets might not be able to buy any for another week. Damage to the radar and aviation equipment has limited the number of flights to and from the island, according to CNN. And on Monday there were only 10 commercial flights between San Juan and the mainland U.S. Many commercial airlines are dedicating their planes to transporting relief workers and supplies. […]


  154. says

    Roy Moore will be facing Doug Jones on December 12th. It’s a struggle for the soul of Alabama. Jones prosecuted the KKK. Also, last night Democrat Annette Taddeo won a FL state Senate seat away from Republicans, and Democrat Kari Lerner flipped a NH House seat in a heavily Republican district (Trump won it by 23 percentage points).

    “Dems have won 8 (!) of the 27 legislative specials held in GOP-held seats this year.

    GOP has won none of the 12 held in Dem-held districts.”

  155. says

    A few Russia-investigation notes:

    Renato Mariotti’s analysis of Roger Stone’s statement.

    Paul Manafort’s letter to the Trump campaign, revealed yesterday on The Beat with Ari Melber.

    “Exclusive: IRS shares information with special counsel in Russia probe.” (+ Mariotti’s analysis)

    – Sen. Blumenthal said he’s 99% sure Manafort and Flynn will be indicted. (Stone also said Manafort’s lawyers told his lawyers they expected their client to be indicted.)

  156. blf says

    Is this nutter hair furor’s advisor on Islam? Sierra Leone arrests pastor who blamed Islam for every terrorist act in history:

    In an address to his congregation on Saturday, Victor Ajisafe, founder and leader of one of the country’s largest churches, called Islam a violent religion of lies and deceit and said Muslims have been responsible for every terrorist act in the history of the world. Sierra Leone’s population is roughly 78% Muslim, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center estimate.

    Audio and video recordings of the sermon appeared online within three days, and were met with immediate and near-universal condemnation by both Muslim and Christian Sierra Leoneans. Ajisafe was arrested on Tuesday, but has not yet been charged.


    An initial press release from the social welfare ministry said Ajisafe was being held for his own protection. Kamara said Ajisafe would be held until a charge against him could be determined.

    Sierra Leone does not have legislation devoted specifically to hate speech, but incitement is prohibited under common law. […]

  157. says

    “Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and Trump”:

    Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election.

    Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads.

    The pro-Stein ad came late in the political campaign and pushed her candidacy for president, this person said.

    “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” the ad reads. “Trust me. It’s not a wasted vote. … The only way to take our country back is to stop voting for the corporations and banks that own us. #GrowaSpineVoteJillStein.”

    The ads show a complicated effort that didn’t necessarily hew to promoting Trump and bashing Clinton. Instead, they show a desire to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders and Stein. A number of the ads seemed to question Clinton’s authenticity and tout some of the liberal criticisms of her candidacy….

  158. says

    “Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America”:

    The 2016 presidential election wasn’t the first time Russian trolls used Facebook to mess with another country’s political system. And it wasn’t the first time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered a weak defense of his company’s role in facilitating Russian online aggression.

    Years before Russian trolls organized pro-Trump flash mobs, advertised fake news to tens of millions of Americans, and promoted anti-immigrant hate, they pushed and pushed to get Ukrainian activists suspended from the social network. And it worked, those activists say.

    The anti-Ukrainian trolls lodged endless complaints with Facebook, claiming that their anti-Kremlin posts were really hate speech or porn. The social network would dutifully comply with the trolls’ requests.

    Facebook’s inability to tackle Russia’s troll problem in Ukraine reached a fever pitch in 2014 and 2015, with several Ukrainians writing into Zuckerberg’s May 2015 call for question submissions at a Facebook town hall. The top 20 questions worldwide were about Russian trolling of the website’s report button to silence Ukrainian accounts. The top question received 45,000 likes. And even Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko asked the company to create a Ukrainian Facebook office to deal with Ukraine. The request was rebuffed.

    Zuckerberg addressed the question at an employee town hall on May 15, 2015.

    “The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, actually sent in a question, as well,” a Facebook employee said, as colleagues laughed.

    Zuckerberg argued that a good number of the posts contained “hate speech” and anti-Russian “slurs.” He did not address the Russian trolls and their often spurious allegations, even though the trolls were referenced in most of the questions.

    Facebook’s less-than-urgent responses to these examples of an autocratic foreign power interfering in the domestic affairs of a democratic country shouldn’t be altogether surprising, however. The company has a track record of acquiescence to the demands of authoritarian regimes….

  159. says

    “Homeland Security Want to Collect Immigrants’ Social Media Information, But Privacy Groups Are Fighting Back”:

    Privacy and freedom of expression groups have slammed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to monitor and collect social media information on all immigrants to the United States.

    The department published a new rule under the Privacy Act of 1974 in the Federal Register last week, detailing how it intends to expand the information it collects when determining a person’s immigration status to include social media handles and potentially even search histories.

    The new requirement, first reported by BuzzFeed News, is due to take effect on October 18—the same day that immigration restrictions pronounced on Sunday by President Donald Trump on citizens of eight countries come into force.

    As well as immigrants to the United States, the new requirement would also affect permanent residents and naturalized citizens. By extension, it would also impact anyone who communicates with immigrants via social media, as their conversations could be reviewed by immigration officials.

    “This would undoubtedly have a chilling effect on the free speech that’s expressed every day on social media,” said Faiz Shakir, national political director at the American Civil Liberties Union.

    “This collect-it-all approach is ineffective to protect national security and is one more example of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.”…

  160. says

    “The House Is Slated to Vote on Its Favorite 20-Week Abortion Ban Again”: “On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that H.R. 36, otherwise known as the ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’, is scheduled for a House vote on October 3….”

    Meanwhile, there’s a humanitarian crisis in PR and…

    “ICE detentions of pregnant women have increased by 35% under Trump. Women are frequently denied medical care, resulting in miscarriages.”

  161. Hj Hornbeck says

    Wow, this takes obstruction to an entirely new level. Bolding mine:

    When the officials got to their secure operations center in Northern Virginia that Saturday night, they discovered that everyone on duty had been blocked from the classified networks their response depended upon. They couldn’t open links emailed by the FBI about the suspected terrorists they were supposed to be chasing. They couldn’t begin following the threads connecting those suspects to the people who had been funding and supporting them.

    The lack of access for personnel within the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — never before reported — cost antiterrorism forces on both sides of the Atlantic crucial time in identifying and pursuing the people and networks around the attackers, according to sources and documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

    Sources said the lack of access has also hindered the congressional inquiry into President Donald Trump and Russia. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — FinCEN for short — has not turned over all the records that the Senate Intelligence and Finance committees requested as part of their probes into the 2016 election.

    The intelligence unit most relevant to Trump’s impeachment was blocked from doing there job, to the point that it may have allowed terrorists to get away.

  162. Hj Hornbeck says

    Whoops x2, there’s a detail buried later in the article that I missed:

    FinCEN officials began finding themselves locked out as far back as summer 2016, according to sources — just around the time several employees raised questions about the plan to transfer much of FinCEN’s counterterrorism work to OIA.

    Officials at FinCEN and in Congress raised concerns about the legality of the plan, arguing, among other things, that giving an intelligence agency such as OIA privileged access to the vast financial database, without special guidelines approved by the attorney general, would violate domestic surveillance laws.

    Last October, Congress put the plan on hold after learning that Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence was trying to rush it through prior to the presidential election, according to a previously undisclosed letter sent to then–treasury secretary Jacob Lew by Rep. Sean Duffy, the Republican chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    So this may be the result of inter-agency feuding rather than deliberate malice. Still, this does fall under the president’s jurisdiction and it certainly benefits the person currently sitting there. Trump doesn’t have much reason to resolve this, and every reason to let it get worse via inaction.

  163. says

    “Facebook sought exception from political ad disclaimer rules in 2011”:

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that the social network would begin voluntarily requiring disclaimers on political ads that appear on the site. But in 2011 Facebook went to federal regulators to get an exception from a rule that would have forced it to do the same thing.

    Federal election regulations state that political “communications placed for a fee on another person’s website” must carry disclaimers stating that they are advertisements and who paid for them.

    Facebook sought an exception to disclaimer regulations citing space constraints for its “character-limited ads.” Lawyers for the company argued the ads were so small that a disclaimer would be impracticable, according to Federal Election Commission records reviewed by CNN.

    Facebook argued, at the time, that ads on the platform were restricted to 160 characters. However, ads on Facebook have since evolved into sophisticated multimedia experiences. Advertisers can choose to sponsor videos, carousels of images and slideshows. Today, not all of Facebook’s advertising options are character-limited.

    Facebook asked for what is known as a “small items” exception. The FEC says small campaign paraphernalia like stickers and buttons do not need to carry disclaimers stating who paid for them….

    (They got the exception because the FEC tied 3-3 so they knew it wouldn’t be enforced against them.)

    This made me laugh: “The FEC…allows some political ads to avoid disclaimer rules where it would be impracticable — the commission lists skywriting as an exception under this clause, for instance.”

  164. says

    “Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram”:

    The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American.

    Instead, sources familiar with the group tell The Daily Beast, it was an imposter account on the world’s largest social network that’s been traced back to the Russian government.

    Using the account as a front to reach American Muslims and their allies, the Russians pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State; claimed that John McCain was ISIS’ true founder; whitewashed blood-drenched dictator Moammar Gadhafi and praised him for not having a “Rothschild-owned central bank”; and falsely alleged Osama bin Laden was a “CIA agent.”

    Sources confirmed that the imposter account bought Facebook advertisements to reach its target audience. It promoted political rallies aimed at Muslim audiences. And it used the Twitter account “muslims_in_usa” and the Instagram account “muslim_voice” to pass along inflammatory memes under cover of the UMA. The Twitter account has been suspended, and the account on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, was shuttered at around the same time as the Facebook page.

    The Kremlin-backed trolls did all this while simultaneously using other accounts to hawk virulently Islamophobic messages to right-wing audiences on Facebook,…

    Unlike other known accounts linked to the Russians, the United Muslims of America Facebook group was impersonating an actual organization….

    Farhana Khera, executive director of the civil-rights group Muslim Advocates, said it was unacceptable for Facebook to only inform federal investigators about imposter accounts, leaving affected communities in the dark about inauthentic sources of information they might encounter.

    “Donald Trump was attacking Muslims and Islam during the campaign and now as president. At a time when the American Muslim community has been so vulnerable to hate crimes and other bigoted attacks, Facebook must take responsibility by notifying and providing full disclosure to the American Muslim and other communities that were attacked and by working with the affected communities and the groups that were the victims of cybersquatting to develop ways to address it,” Khera told The Daily Beast….

  165. says

    Matthew Miller: “We are nine months in and this Cabinet is riddled with corruption. Culture of lawlessness starts at the top and filters down.”

    I have a feeling the third story @ #297 is going to have legs. I remember there was an earlier, similar report about donations to McConnell and other Republicans, but it was in like a local Texas paper and strangely received little lasting attention.

  166. KG says

    Zuckerberg argued that a good number of the posts contained “hate speech” and anti-Russian “slurs.” – SC quotiing THe Daily Beast@298

    This may well be true: there were fascists on both sides of the Ukraine-Russia confrontation. “White Power” symbols were common at “pro-democracy” events in Ukraine.

  167. KG says

    Two articles on Catalonia:
    here. Ada Colau is the mayor of Barcelona; she does not support independence, but blames the Spanish government for the escalating tensions in Catalonia, and calls for a referendum.

  168. says

    Trump has no clue when it comes to rationalizing or explaining the latest version of his travel ban:

    REPORTER: First of all, can you explain to us why Sudan was removed [from the travel ban list]? And second of all, how does the travel ban work in North Korea that doesn’t allow their people out of the country?

    TRUMP: Well, the people — yeah, the people allowed — certain countries — but we can add countries very easily and we can take countries away.

    REPORTER: What did Sudan do right?

    TRUMP: And as far as the travel ban is concerned, whatever it is, I want the toughest travel ban you can have. So I’ll see you in Indiana.

    From Slate:

    […] Yes, jihadi groups including Boko Haram, and affiliates of ISIS and al-Qaida operate in the central African country, but groups like these also control territory in countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, and a number of other countries not on the list. In fact, the most recent State Department Country Reports on Terrorism was mostly positive about Chad’s counterterrorism efforts. The country has hosted U.S.-organized military exercises and has received significant U.S. military aid.

    Even Trump’s order describes Chad as an “important and valuable counterterrorism partner,” though it notes that it “does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.” It’s hard to imagine that it’s the only country that could be described that way.

    Did Putin want Chad added to the list?

  169. says

    It took him long enough.

    [Trump] authorized a shipping waiver to help get relief aid to Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a tweet Thursday morning.

    Sanders said President Donald Trump had authorized a waiver to the Jones Act for Puerto Rico that would be effective “immediately.”

    The Jones Act dates back to the 1920s and restricts shipping between American ports to American ships with American crews only, which ends up making it just as expensive to ship things from the U.S. to Puerto Rico as it is to ship from any other port in the world, according to members of Congress who asked the President to lift the restriction.

    Trump indicated Wednesday he may not lift the Jones Act for Puerto Rico because “a lot of shippers” don’t want it waived, despite the fact that he lifted the restrictions when Hurricane Harvey and Irma hit the U.S. earlier this month.

    Sanders said the President waived the restriction at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello. […]


    At this point, it looks like getting the relief items out of the shipping containers that have already been unloaded and then distributing those items around the island is a bigger problem. Stuff is just sitting on the overcrowded docks where more than 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day is being used to keep refrigerated units cool.

    Some roads are still blocked, communication failures keep organizers from notifying truck drivers, and many transport vehicles are non-functional.

  170. says

    Trump seems to have a problem remembering things.

    […] Trump said once again Thursday that the Senate would be able to pass an Obamacare repeal bill but for the missing vote of one hospitalized senator — despite the fact that no senators are currently hospitalized, and even with one extra vote in support of the measure, fewer than 50 senators would support it.

    On Wednesday, the office of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) corrected Trump multiple times: The senator was not in the hospital, they said, but rather at home recovering from treatment “for a urological issue.” […]

    Still, Trump asserted again on Thursday morning that “we have the votes” to repeal Obamacare, but that a hospitalized senator had halted the effort to pass the legislation with a simple 50 votes by Friday using reconciliation.

    “So we don’t have enough time, because we have one senator who’s a ‘yes’ vote, a great person, but he’s in the hospital,” he told “Fox & Friends’” Pete Hegseth. “And he’s a ‘yes’ vote. So we can’t do it by Friday.” […]

    So, Trump doesn’t read. He watches or listens to unreliable sources of news. He can’t process information correctly. He doesn’t remember the facts after he has been corrected. Even if he corrects himself, (as he did once yesterday in reference to Senator Thad Cochran), he forgets the correction a day later.

  171. blf says

    At this point, it looks like getting the relief items out of the shipping containers that have already been unloaded [in Puerto Rico] and then distributing those items around the island is a bigger problem.

    At the moment, very probably. But an enormous amount of stuff will have to shipped in in both near- and continuing-timeframes, and a mixture of the Jones Act, the damage (which is mind-bogglingly extensive), and presumably other factors, is not helping. For instance, transport and earth-moving (e.g.) equipment is much much easier to send by ship than aircraft.

  172. says

    Trump added to the swamp of corruption and conflicts of interest in his administration … again.

    […] Trump announced that he would nominate retired coal executive Kenneth Allen to the board of the country’s largest public utility.

    Allen’s impending nomination to the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority typifies the Trump administration’s approach to political appointments: Find someone deeply embedded within the industry they will now oversee, and set off a slew of new conflict of interest concerns.

    The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), […] currently serves nine million consumers across seven states, […] if confirmed to the board, Allen could end up in a position to directly boost the relationship between the TVA and his former employer, Armstrong Coal.

    […] serving on the utility’s board could offer Allen an opportunity for personal enrichment. TVA has been a longtime customer of Armstrong, and still currently purchases coal from the company. And, according to public filings, Allen is still receiving payments from his former employer on the basis of the amount of coal mined and sold from various Armstrong-owned properties. […]

    More than half of his income [in 2016] — $209,165 — came from the overriding royalties agreement. That same year, Armstrong produced 5.9 million tons of coal from its five active mines. According to the agreement, Armstrong will continue to pay overriding royalties to Allen until 2027 or until all recoverable coal covered by the agreement has been mined. […]

    “In my view, it would appear to me that it is a blatant conflict of interest, given that the TVA is a public utility,” Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy and external affairs at Common Cause told ThinkProgress. “Given that Armstrong Coal has done business with the TVA, that’s a textbook definition of a conflict. The way forward would for him to divest of any financial interest in Armstrong Coal.” […]

    Allen has also been a long-time critic of attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector because he sees the effort to reduce pollution as an economic threat to the coal industry. […]

  173. says

    blf @317, good point. The waiver of the Jones Act for shipments to Puerto Rico should be long-term, not temporary. We’ll see what comes of this temporary waiver from Trump.

    In an interview with Brock, the head of FEMA, I heard the excuse that all available avenues for shipping stuff in were being used for relief supplies that, for the most part, did not include transport vehicles. So I think they have a serious logistical problem.

  174. says

    Yes, voters in swing states were subjected to floods of fake news from Russian sources. Twitter, and not just Facebook, was a big source of the fake news in Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan.

    Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

    Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins. […]

    “Many people use these platforms to find news and information that shapes their political identities and voting behavior,” says Samantha Bradshaw, a lead researcher for Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, which has been tracking disinformation strategies around the world since 2014. “If bad actors can lower the quality of information, they are diminishing the quality of democracy.” […]

    The dubious Twitter content in the new study also contained polarizing YouTube videos–including some produced by the Kremlin-controlled RT network, which were uploaded without any information identifying them as Russian-produced. […]

    The Oxford researchers captured 22 million tweets from Nov. 1-11, 2016, and have been scrutinizing the dataset to better understand the impact of disinformation on the US election. The team also has analyzed propaganda operations in more than two dozen countries, using a combination of reports from trusted media sources and think tanks, and cross-checking that information with experts on the ground. Their recent research has additional revelations about how disinformation works in the social-media age, including from Moscow. […]


  175. says

    Wonkette covered Trump’s latest comments about the National Football League:

    One of the saddest things in the world is watching old white racists show everybody what [P-word, plural] they really are, and thinking everybody secretly agrees with them. […]

    These things came to mind when we saw Donald Trump, white supremacist [P-Word]-in-chief, tell Fox News that NFL owners are probably “afraid” of their black players who are protesting. They’d do something about the protests, Trump guesses, but if they did, THE BIG BURLY BLACKITY BLACK GUYS WOULD GIT THEM, we guess.

    “I have so many friends [Factcheck: Donald Trump does not actually have friends. – ed.] that are owners and they’re in a box. I’ve spoken to couple of them and they say, ‘we are in a situation where we have to do something.’ I think they’re afraid of their players, you want to know the truth. And I think it’s disgraceful and they’ve got to be tough and they’ve got to be smart because you look at the ratings, the ratings are going way down.” […]

    Trump also told the Fox idiot that “most people” agree with him about this. He imagines all of white America and all these NFL owners are secretly nodding their heads along in agreement […] and simultaneously losing control of their wee-wee bladders, because BOO! BLACK GUYS! It’s part of the pathology we started out with, the sick belief among old white racist men that everybody secretly knows what they’re talkin’ about, but they’re just too afraid/oppressed by P.C. culture to speak out. Sadly for Trump and his fellow white supremacists, that’s just not true.

    To be clear, we’re not Pollyanna-ing about how America isn’t on Trump’s side because racism is over. There’s still ONE METRIC FUCKTON of racism in this country. Otherwise, even fewer than 29% of Americans would agree with the president […] But the particular type of overt, pathetic racism Trump is revealing, that he imagines NFL owners are “afraid” of their black players, simply because Donald Trump is afraid of them? […]

    The link needs a bit of work before you can use it:

    Or, just navigate to and choose the article from the home page.

  176. says

    A confirmation of facts previously reported:

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian hacker arrested in Spain on a U.S. warrant said on Thursday he previously worked for President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and feared he would be tortured and killed if extradited, RIA news agency reported.

    Peter Levashov was arrested while on holiday in Barcelona in April. U.S. prosecutors later charged him with hacking offences, accusing him of operating a network of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber criminals. […]

    He told a court in Madrid on Thursday that he had worked for the United Russia party for the last 10 years.

    “I collected different information about opposition parties and delivered it to the necessary people at the necessary time,” RIA quoted him as saying. […]

    Reuters link

  177. says

    Trump’s boorish comments about NFL players who kneel during the playing the national anthem is starting to negatively affect high school sports teams.

    […] In Bossier Parish [Louisiana], school Superintendent Scott Smith issued a statement on Wednesday morning warning students that coaches and principals are given sole discretion to administer punishment to any player who chooses not to stand during the national anthem. […]

    At least one school official told the Shreveport Times that potential punishments could range from a one-game suspension to actual corporal punishment, forcing players to run extra laps if he or she chooses to kneel or otherwise protest during the national anthem.

    […] a letter written by the principal of Parkway High School, located in Bossier Parish. In it, principal Waylon Bates writes that “Parkway High School requires student athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the National Anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating. Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team.”

    Handing down punishments for public school students who choose not to stand during the national anthem is—like all prohibitions limiting free speech—unconstitutional. In West Virginia v. Barnette, a 1943 case regarding a requirement that students stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, the Supreme Court ruled that “no official high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” […]

  178. says

    “xclusive: Kushner didn’t disclose personal email account to Senate intel committee.”

    So first, there was a CNN report about Kushner setting up this private account and using it on occasion to conduct official WH business. A prankster read the story and, posing as Kushner, emailed Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell about some porn material he said he’d received from other WH staffers, asking for advice; Lowell fell for it and responded to the prankster. The Senate Intelligence Committee also learned about the existence of this private email from the news reports, and were angry because Kushner hadn’t divulged its existence during his interview with them. So they emailed his lawyer a letter today expressing their annoyance and insisting that he turn over any documents related to their investigation from this email account or any other apps or devices he hasn’t yet told them about. The letter is marked “COMMITTEE SENSITIVE.” Lowell tries to forward the letter to Kushner, but his auto-fill fills in the prankster’s address rather than Kushner’s real one so it goes to the prankster instead. And that’s how we learn that Kushner didn’t tell the Senators about the private email.

  179. says

    Re #245 – Maddow did it again last night (even worse, she just lumped the Kurdistan and Catalan referenda in with Texas and California secessionism). Here’s Rukmini Callimachi doing some of what I suggested in that comment. Callimachi is sometimes a guest on Maddow’s show, and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t just ask her to be on rather than giving the State Department line. Better, MSNBC could do a special about these matters, with the first half providing a fair historical summary of the context and the second half used for a discussion and debate among Kurdish, Iraqi, Catalan, and Spanish representatives, experts, and journalists with a variety of views. Of course it’s fine and useful to point out the Russian regime’s tendency to back movements for independence or autonomy when they think it’s in their interest, but it’s not right to suggest on that basis that these efforts are therefore suspect, destructive, or illegitimate, or that the US government’s hypocritical line of the moment (about territorial integrity, destabilization, etc.) is correct.

  180. says

    KG @ #312: “This may well be true: there were fascists on both sides of the Ukraine-Russia confrontation. ‘White Power’ symbols were common at ‘pro-democracy’ events in Ukraine.”

    I’m aware. Was a bit perplexed by that line, though – it seemed like they might have been claiming anti-Russian propaganda was racist. (Incidentally, one of the most interesting scenes in the film What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy is when Philippe Sands and Niklas Frank accompany Horst von Wächter to a Ukrainian neo-Nazi event honoring his father.)

  181. says

    Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code who rejected Ivanka Trump’s invitation to join the effort – “The Case for Shunning the White House”:

    …This week, President Trump directed the Education Department to commit at least $200 million toward computer science education. Several corporate and nonprofit partners were on hand at a Detroit event to celebrate the occasion. Girls Who Code was not.

    While I have great respect for the partners participating in this program, many of whom support the work of Girls Who Code, I do not believe this initiative — nor any partnership with this White House — can reverse the harm this administration has already done in attempting to legitimize intolerance. Indeed, collaborating with this administration, on any issue, emboldens it only further.

    Standing beside the Trump administration on one issue makes it harder to stand up to it — and against its bigoted agenda. Many in the private and nonprofit sectors have already learned this the hard way. During the last eight months, business, religious and nonprofit leaders who initially gave the White House the benefit of the doubt — who suppressed their moral outrage and joined advisory councils with the idea that it was important to have a seat at the table — have resigned and renounced their support for the president and his policies. What they seem to have discovered is what many of us already knew: There was never a table in any meaningful sense, nor any seats to take. There was only a facade — a cynical front for this administration’s insidious agenda. The private and nonprofit sectors must not take part in it anymore, at any level.

    Resistance is not futile. Those who have recently taken a knee on the football field showed us — by the national attention they drew back to the issue of racialized police violence and the value of peaceful protest — the power of citizens who refuse to cooperate with injustice. As long as extremists and open bigots inhabit the White House, there is no common ground nor common purpose to be found. We are at war for the soul of our nation, and that is why we must say no, on behalf of our fellow Americans who deserve nothing less than equality. We must not be stumbling blocks. We must draw the line. We must do it here and now.

  182. says

    Good news, news that is making commentators on Fox News, and other rightwing media outlets, very unhappy:

    A federal judge ruled Thursday that Black Lives Matter was not an organization but a social movement akin to the tea party or the civil rights movement, and cannot be sued by a Louisiana police officer who was injured at a protest against police brutality last year.

    The ruling by U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson threw out a lawsuit an officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department filed anonymously against Black Lives Matter and DeRay Mckesson, one of the movement’s leading activists.

    “Although many entities have utilized the phrase ‘black lives matter’ in their titles or business designations,” the judge wrote, “’black lives matter’ itself is not an entity of any sort.”

    As such, Jackson said, Black Lives Matter cannot be sued “in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT rights movement, or the Tea Party movement.” […]

    “Plaintiff has pleaded facts that merely demonstrate that Mckesson exercised his constitutional right to association and that he solely engaged in protected speech at the demonstration that took place in Baton Rouge on July 9, 2016,” Jackson wrote.

    The judge added that the officer hadn’t cited any evidence showing that Mckesson “exceeded the bounds of protected speech.” Beyond that, Mckesson couldn’t be held liable for others’ actions, he wrote.

    The judge also denied the officer’s attempt to add the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to the suit, writing that “a hashtag is patently incapable of being sued.” […]

    Washington Post link

    Analysis of commentary from Fox New’s Judge Jeanine Pirro:

    […] Judge Jeanine thinks she’s doing the audience a favor by skillfully pointing out that this black man who is a federal judge also happened to be appointed by the black man who used to be president. Calling him an “activist judge,” she makes it sound like Black Lives Matter is some widespread conspiracy taking over our legal system and oppressing police. Guess what? Judge Jeanine is a racist. Her and the entire crowd at Fox. Forget dog whistles— they can’t even be bothered to hide it. […]


    From Pirro’s comments on air:

    McKesson was the organizer. He was directing people, directing the violence.

  183. says

    Oh, I see that SC @346 posted the same link. It will raise your blood pressure, but you should watch that Fox News segment with Judge Jeanine Pirro. That’s a good example of what people who watch Fox News see. Disheartening. It is just one lie after another, with a lot of racist flavoring thrown in.

  184. says

    “Exclusive: Fake black activist accounts linked to Russian government”:

    A social media campaign calling itself “Blacktivist” and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an apparent attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The Twitter account has been handed over to Congress; the Facebook account is expected to be handed over in the coming days.

    Both Blacktivist accounts, each of which used the handle Blacktivists, regularly shared content intended to stoke outrage. “Black people should wake up as soon as possible,” one post on the Twitter account read. “Black families are divided and destroyed by mass incarceration and death of black men,” another read. The accounts also posted videos of police violence against African Americans.

    The Blacktivist accounts provide further evidence that Russian-linked social media accounts saw racial tensions as something to be exploited in order to achieve the broader Russian goal of dividing Americans and creating chaos in U.S. politics during a campaign in which race repeatedly became an issue….

  185. says

    Republicans released their budget resolution document today. Here are some of the responses from independent and Democratic senators:

    Senator Bernie Sanders, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, attacked the Republican-penned 2018 budget resolution released Friday as a scheme to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

    “This budget is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the Republican budget takes from the middle class and those in need, and gives huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people in this country,” Sanders said.

    The plan, he continued, would cut Medicare by at least $450 billion. The resolution allocated $1.5 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade for the GOP tax effort.

    So much for the “fiscally conservative” claim from the Republicans.

    […] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) blasted the proposal over its tax implications as well.

    “The Senate Republican budget is the clearest sign yet that Republicans are intent on pursuing a tax plan that would blow a huge hole in the deficit and stack up debt, leading to cuts in programs that middle-class Americans rely on,” he said.

    Such cuts, he added, would endanger programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    The Hill link

  186. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Racheal Maddow also had San Juan’s Mayor on, with the same plea SC reported in #358. I’ll post a video if one becomes available.

  187. says

    I am so absolutely disgusted by this man, this tyrant. People I work with are starting to talk out loud about it, so I sense the seachange. It’s coming. People who previously supported the douche are starting to wake up to how horrific his world view is. They are reaching out.

    People who previously labelled me as crazy for speaking out about what a horrific idea Trump as President was from long before the election are starting to give me that look and feel, almost puppy dog eyes that say “ok, you were right, now please don’t make us feel bad about it”

    But I’m going to, they deserve to feel bad for all the Puerto Ricans who are dying of dehydration and Cholera tonight, while their fat white asses sit on their couch and play Xbox. *spit*

  188. says

    I feared this was coming, and suspected it might be this morning: “…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….”

    (It’s still showing up in Scarborough’s reply, and I can still link to the tweet directly, but it’s not showing up in his timeline. It appears to be part of a series, but I’m not seeing the others, either.)

    He is totally unfit for this office.

  189. says

    “Officials Expressed Concerns White House Counsel Would Quit Over Donald Trump-Jared Kushner Meetings”:

    White House Counsel Don McGahn this summer was so frustrated about the lack of protocols surrounding meetings between President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law whose activities are under scrutiny in the Russia probe, that West Wing officials expressed concerns the top lawyer would quit, according to people familiar with the conversations.

    Mr. McGahn expressed concern that meetings between Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump could be construed by investigators as an effort to coordinate their stories, three people familiar the matter said.

    Mr. McGahn, one of Mr. Trump’s closest confidants dating back to the campaign, has on multiple occasions had heated conversations with the president in the Oval Office, according to people familiar with the matter….

  190. says

    Seems like Putin’s regime is harassing CNN. A couple quotes from the article:

    “Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday that it could retaliate against a U.S. demand for Kremlin-backed news channels RT and Sputnik International to register as foreign agents.”

    “CNN ran several stories this week on Facebook and Twitter ads purchased by Russia’s Internet Research Agency during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign described as sowing public discord.”

    Alexei Navalny is being prevented from organizing rallies in Russian towns. Here’s his latest corruption video, about news anchor Vladimir Slovyov. It’s about 13 minutes long, and ends rather ominously.

  191. blf says

    Follow-up to @281, According to vesselfinder (and other, similar, sources (not linked)) the USNS Comfort is now underway to Puerto Rico, apparently departing Norfolk late yesterday. From memory, the Navy’s factsheet says it can take up to 5 days to set sail, so it looks like they managed it in 3 to 4 days. I have no idea of the ETA or anticipated port(s?) of call.

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Season 4 of Finding Your Roots premieres on PBS this week. One of the profiles is Senator Bernie Sanders.

  193. says

    I was so disgusted with Trump’s attack on the mayor of San Juan, so disgusted by Trump’s insistence on protecting his fragile ego, that I had a hard time reviewing the news. (Trump thinks Democrats told the Mayor of San Juan to be “nasty to Trump”? I can’t deal with that level of pettiness and dissembling. Trump is the bottom feeder in the swamp.)

    As others have noted up-thread, Joy Reid did a good job of covering the difficulties faced by Puerto Rico and the unhelpful Twitter attacks from Trump. I find myself depending on Joy Reid to face the issues squarely.

    Not only did Trump unfairly criticize San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, (and the people of Puerto Rico), he added a topping of media criticism:

    Fake News CNN and NBC are going out of their way to disparage our great First Responders as a way to “get Trump.” Not fair to FR or effort!

    I will be going to Puerto Rico on Tuesday with Melania. Will hopefully be able to stop at the U.S. Virgin Islands (people working hard).

    The Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R’s. Shame!

    From Retired Lt. General russel Honoré:

    We won’t dignify Trump’s tweets by responding to them. We have work to do.

  194. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    As I’ve read and reread these hideous three tweets […] I’ve realized they are not just a disgrace but something like a primary text of Trumpism. Everything is there.

    Things non-white people say are dictated by “the Democrats.” […].

    Every conflict quickly boils down to honorable and white soldiers, police and first responders versus non-white ingrates, complainers and protestors. In fact, the very actions of the latter group dishonors and assaults the sacrifices and purity of the first.

    This may all sound inflamed and dramatic. It is. But look at the language about the Puerto Ricans who “want everything to be done for them” and the first responders and military service members. Look how clearly it matches the Trump’s imagery of black NFL players and protestors dishonoring veterans who sacrificed everything.

    The core and essence of Trumpism is a racist morality play. It plays out again and again, just with a different troupe of actors in each town.

  195. says

    More from Josh Marshall:

    […] Trump proceeded to fold Puerto Rico into his comfort zone politics of grievance and narcissism. The focus shifted to Puerto Rico’s debt, ingratitude and – finally this morning – laziness and disorganization.

    It does not discount or diminish Trump’s penchant for racist awfulness to note that a lot of this doesn’t seem to be by design or, perhaps better to say, forethought. It is more like reflex, in response to his own bumbling.

    Trump provoked his battle with the NFL out of a mix of personal, racist rage and desire to stoke up his supporters with a new white rights grievance controversy. This seems a little different. His own incompetence and indifference to his job responsibilities generated criticism and led him to make critical mistakes he could not undo. Once that happened, his own personality kicked in. The greased path to narcissistic injury, grievance and racist grievance political attacks was the inevitable reflex. It’s his comfort zone, his natural inclination.

  196. says

    From Representative Adam Schiff (in reference to Tom Price resigning as Secretary of Health and Human Services after scandalous use of chartered aircraft):

    Tom Price committed the one unpardonable sin in Trump’s world: Being rich, but not rich enough to own his own private jet.

  197. blf says

    (This is an abbreviated cross-post from poopyhead’s A question of character thread on hair furor’s absolutely disgusting remarks about the situation & people in Puerto Rico.)

    The Grauniad’s article, Trump attacks Puerto Rico mayor: They want everything done for them, notes:

    […] Mike Cernovich, a notorious blogger, author and cheerleader for the president, tweeted about [San Juan’s Mayor] Cruz with no evidence: She is garbage, she is a murderer, she failed her people and her duties and belongs in prison!

    The embedded link to the New York Times article (Who Is Mike Cernovich? A Guide) is about a thoroughly disgusting nazi-MRA-etc-etc-etc…

  198. says

    More financial misdeeds from team Trump:

    The Trump administration on Friday rolled back key regulations on one of the Wall Street firms responsible for the 2008 economic collapse—a move that could result in a huge windfall for a billionaire former White House adviser.

    In a 6-to-3 vote, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which is chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, declared that insurance giant American International Group (AIG) should no longer be considered a “too-big-to-fail” institution that could trigger a wider economic catastrophe if it went under. That means AIG will no longer be subject to a host of federal regulations and oversight of its internal practices and acquisitions. […]

    That’s a big win for Carl Icahn, the irascible billionaire, who is reportedly AIG’s fourth largest shareholder and one of America’s wealthiest investors. Icahn is also one of Trump’s biggest supporters and previously served in the administration; he left his post last month as a special adviser to the president on regulatory reform.

    In his eight months advising the White House, Icahn made headlines mostly by attempting to change an environmental rule in a way that would benefit an oil refinery he was heavily invested in. Icahn, who is 81, made his money as a shrewd and ferocious negotiator, but this time, his efforts failed. The rule he loathed survived (at least for now), and his crusade against the policy is what reportedly led to his departure—which came just before the publication of a New Yorker article outlining Icahn’s conflicts of interest. The magazine dubbed his short stint advising Trump as “Carl Icahn’s failed raid on Washington.”

    But Friday’s news shows that Icahn didn’t entirely fail in Washington.

    Icahn lobbied Trump to choose Mnuchin to run the Treasury Department, which Trump ultimately did. Now it is Mnuchin who is returning the favor for Icahn. The vote to remove AIG’s designation […] eliminates the checks that have kept AIG in line since the crisis and that have helped prevent another similar financial meltdown. One insurance industry expert told me that the move could boost the company’s stock price by as much as 10 percent. AIG’s current market value is $55 billion. That could mean a bump of as much as hundreds of million dollars for Icahn’s stake in AIG. […]

    Link to article by Andy Kroll. More details available at the link.

  199. says

    Team Trump has employed more than just Trump’s Twitter rampage to dis the Mayor of Puerto Rico:

    The White House on Saturday said a Puerto Rican mayor dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria “might be too busy doing TV” to meet with […] Trump during his visit to the island on Tuesday.

    The response follows sharp criticism by Trump of the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Cruz has maintained in media appearances that her city, the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico, desperately needs more assistance than the Trump administration has provided in the wake of Hurricane Maria. […]

    Asked if Trump would meet with Cruz when he visits Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a White House official said they were “not sure.”

    “She has been invited to FEMA command center several times to see operations and be part of efforts but so far has refused to come, maybe too busy doing TV?” the White House official told ABC News.

    […] “You’re going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. No long lines for you. Someone will say, ‘Right this way, sir.’ They’ll clear a path,” tweeted “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent.

    […] Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino, Jr., though, continued to isolate Cruz as a lone critic by calling her “an opportunistic politician” on Saturday.

    […] “Actually, I was asking for help. I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president,” Cruz said on MSNBC following the tweets. “It’s not about politics, it’s not about petty comments, it’s about moving forward, putting boots on the ground and saving lives.” […]


  200. says

    The head of a federal disaster relief agency under former President Barack Obama blasted President Trump on Saturday for his handling of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, accusing him of “malpractice.”

    Jeremy Konyndyk, the head of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance during the Obama administration, […] said Trump and his team “effectively went dark” after heading to the president’s resort in Bedminster, N.J., last week for four days.

    “He didn’t hold a high level meeting on the storm response until Tuesday – SIX DAYS after landfall. This is disaster mgmt malpractice,” Konyndyk tweeted, calling the report “so, so, damning.” […]


  201. blf says

    Follow-up to @380, retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré pointed out the same thing on Friday (before(?) hair furor’s disgusting attack), Retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré, who led Katrina relief, slams response to Puerto Rico (I’ve corrected the spelling of his surname):

    “Is Puerto Rico worse than what you found here in Katrina?” [CBS News correspondent Michelle] Miller asked.

    “Oh, hell yeah,” Honoré said. “The number one priority is saving lives and when you’re saving lives, you’ve gotta figure out what rules you’re gonna break. […]”


    He calls Mr Trump’s response slow and small. […]

    “Y’all looking at a damn calendar in Washington. I’m looking at a damn watch,” he said.

    “Would you clear the roads first? Would you get the power grid up? Or is it all simultaneous?” Miller asked.

    “This is not a sequential operation. I would tell the local mayors to start hiring people, get a yellow pad out and we clear the damn roads. Clear ’em the old way,” he said. “You got 80 men with hand tools going to clear a road, they’ll clear five miles a day.”


    The general will apparently visit Puerto Rico next week, and report his findings to various senators. I have no idea if he is working with Lt Gen Jeffrey Buchanan, who is leading the Puerto Rico effort — and was only just appointed last week, about a week after the hurricane. The VoA reports Wacko House sees nothing wrong with the delay, Pentagon Names Three-Star General to Head Up Puerto Rico Relief:

    On Thursday, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert defended the eight-day period between the declaration of an emergency in Puerto Rico and the naming of a leader for recovery efforts.

    It didn’t require a three-star general eight days ago, he told reporters at a White House news briefing. Bossert also said some of the information he has heard on the news has been out of date. The coverage in some cases is giving the appearance that we are not moving fast enough, he said.


    The VoA article also mentions the Jones Act suspension is only for 10 days, which is absurdly short.

  202. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of Hair Furor’s deplorable tweet fest:

    […] the person he was “lashing out at” was Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Why? Because she hurt his feelings by being “nasty” to him and criticizing the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria [Trump suggested] that she, and indeed the entire island, hadn’t done enough to help themselves and want everything done for them. Oh yes, those greedy, greedy hurricane victims. Always thinking of themselves before Donald Trump’s feelings! UNFAIR!

    Trump — who does not handle criticism from women or people of color very well at all — did this from the comfort of his New Jersey golf resort, while referring to himself in the third person. […]

    Then, he yelled at the press for being mean to him. Because this tragic natural disaster is all about him and his feelings. […]

    His administration took five days to even respond. They took a week to waive the Jones Act, so that foreign governments could bring aid to the island. When Trump did meet with Homeland Security at his New Jersey golf course, they didn’t talk about how to help Puerto Rico, but rather about his new and exciting travel ban.

    Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan, who is in charge of relief, has said that they do not have enough troops and equipment down there. […]

  203. says

    One of the elements of USian law upon which the Nazis drew, according to Hitler’s American Model, were the various racist forms of second-class citizenship devised to apply to, for example, the people of the Philippines and…Puerto Rico. The author quotes Mark Mazower: “Puerto Ricans were defined constitutionally much as the Germans later did the Czechs – they were ‘foreign to the United States in a domestic sense'” (p. 38).

  204. says

    People living in Ireland want a change in the abortion laws.

    Thousands of people marched through the streets of Dublin on Saturday in the first major demonstration against Ireland’s long-standing ban on abortion.

    The BBC reported Saturday that tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Dublin protesting what are some of the strongest abortion laws in Europe. The Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution prohibits abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger.

    Hundreds of Irish women head to other countries including Britain for abortions, according to The Irish Times. Saturday’s march was organized by the Abortion Rights Campaign, the Coalition to Repeal the 8th, and the Union of Students in Ireland. […]


  205. says

    SC @386, without thinking about it, Trump buys into that Hitlerian nonsense. I wonder if Trump really believes that he is not racist because racism is his default position, so utterly and completely his default position, that he has never really thought about it.

    And yet, he invariably treats Latinos (as in the example of Puerto Rico) as people who expect the federal government to do everything for them, etc. Trump blows the dog whistle. He’s too stupid, and his ways of thinking are too engrained, to be changed.

    Trump also flares up into anti-minority racism when people that he feels are beneath him fail to praise him with enough fulsome purple prose.

  206. says

    Mormons in Utah took a religious/political stand against same-sex marriage … again.

    […] Dallin H. Oaks, a member of a top governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, urged members to follow church teachings that dictate that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual men and women. […]

    Oaks acknowledged that this belief can put Mormons at odds with family and friends and doesn’t match current laws, including the recent legalization of gay marriage in the United States. But he told the nearly 16-million members watching around the world that the religion’s 1995 document detailing the doctrine — “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” — isn’t’ a policy statement that will be changed.

    “We have witnessed a rapid and increasing public acceptance of cohabitation without marriage and same-sex marriage. The corresponding media advocacy, education, and even occupational requirements pose difficult challenges for Latter-day Saints,” Oaks said. […]

    The speech followed a push in recent years by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to uphold theological opposition to same-sex relationships amid widespread social acceptance while trying to foster an empathetic stance toward LGBT people. […]

    Oaks […] reiterated a church belief that children should be raised in heterosexual married households, not by gay parents or couples who live together but aren’t married. He lamented that fewer children in the United States aren’t raised in what the religion considers the ideal households. […]

    The twice-yearly conference is underway without the presence of church President Thomas S. Monson, 90, who is dealing with ailing health. It’s the first time in more than a half century that Monson hasn’t spoken at the conferences. […]

    Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve until they die. […]


  207. blf says

    To help clarify the context of @387, a referendum on abortion was recently promised for next year, Ireland to hold abortion referendum weeks before pope’s visit: “Voters will go to the polls in May or June 2018 to decide whether to repeal near-total constitutional ban on abortion”. Amending / repealing article 8 of the Irish constitution looks difficult, We can topple Ireland’s ludicrous abortion law, but it’s not a done deal: “The referendum to ‘repeal the 8th’ is a reward for brave campaigning by Irish women. But unlike the same-sex marriage vote, we face huge political hostility”.

    And whilst the law in Ireland (an independent country) bans most abortions, it’s the law in Northern Ireland (part of the UK) which is medieval. There, abortion is a crime in essentially all cases, and performing an abortion can result in lifetime imprisonment.

  208. says

    SC @386, without thinking about it, Trump buys into that Hitlerian nonsense.

    That’s the thing, though. It was USian nonsense first. Trump’s attitudes are firmly within our tradition of internal colonialism, which is being exposed by this tragedy. I hope the response to the disaster and to Trump’s despicable behavior can help make it the beginning of the end.

  209. says

    This is not good. In advance of the Catalan referendum tomorrow there were counter-demonstrations in several Spanish cities. During the one in Madrid, people were not only chanting that the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont should be imprisoned and railing against the leftwing Podemos* but singing a franquist song and doing a fascist salute. Spain has only been a democracy for about 40 years, and the PP, the party in control, descends directly from Franco’s dictatorship. The name of the song, “Cara a sol,” is now trending on Twitter. (Fortunately, there are many comments like “I’m from Madrid and I want independence from people who sing Cara al sol.”) It’s an awful thing to see in 2017.

    * Focusing on the Madrid mayor, because it’s International Attack a Hispanic Woman Mayor Day for authoritarians, apparently.

  210. snuffcurry says

    Trump’s attitudes are firmly within our tradition of internal colonialism, which is being exposed by this tragedy.

    Thank you for underlining that, SC. This is not a novelty in US American history, at all. It’s just become more brazen and less veiled, and not for the first time.

  211. blf says

    Interesting, British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters:

    Legal mechanism may help academic expose how Big Data firms like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook get their information

    A US professor is trying to reclaim his personal data from the controversial analytics firm that helped Donald Trump to power. In what legal experts say may be a “watershed” case, a US citizen is using British laws to try to discover how he was profiled and potentially targeted by the Trump campaign.

    David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York, has discovered a transatlantic legal mechanism that he hopes will give him access to information being sought by both the FBI and the Senate intelligence committee. In recent weeks, investigators looking at how people acting on behalf of Russia targeted American voters have focused on Trump’s data operation. But although the FBI obtained a court order against Facebook to make it disclose evidence, the exact way in which US citizens were profiled and targeted remains largely unknown.

    But British data protection laws may provide some transparency on the company at the heart of Trump’s data operation — Cambridge Analytica — and how it created profiles of 240 million Americans. In January, Carroll discovered he […] had the right under UK law to ask for his personal data back from the company, and when it failed to supply it, he started filing pre-trial actions to sue the company under British law. The lawsuit is the result of a unique situation, according to Ravi Naik of Irvine Thanvi Natas, the British solicitor who is leading the case. […]

    Naik says: “It’s this fascinating situation because when it became apparent that Cambridge Analytica had processed Americans’ data in Britain, it suddenly opened up this window of opportunity. In the US, Americans have almost no rights over their data whatsoever, but the data protection framework is set up in such a way that it doesn’t matter where people are: it matters where the data is processed.”


    As an academic, Carroll had studied advertising, data and design, but he was still shocked when Cambridge Analytica eventually sent him a “profile” that it had created about him though not the data it was created from. “It was very strange and unsettling because they had given me ‘scores’ for different issues but I had no idea what they’d based this on.” The company scored him 3/10 on “Gun Rights Importance”, 7/10 on “National Security Importance” and “unlikely” to vote Republican.

    “I was perplexed by it. I started thinking, ‘Have I had conversations about gun rights on Facebook? Where are they getting this from? And what are they doing with it?’” […]

    “There are so many disturbing aspects to this. One of the things that really troubles me is how the company can buy anonymous data completely legally from all these different sources, but as soon as it attaches it to voter files, you are re-identified. It means that every privacy policy we have ignored in our use of technology is a broken promise. […]”


    Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a Swiss mathematician who has created the firm PersonalData.IO to help people reclaim their data, and who helped Carroll with his quest, said […] “In the US election, the FBI has been trying to get information from the top down but this doesn’t help with regard to the French election or Brexit […] And we know we just cannot trust Facebook, even with good intent, to run our elections fairly. […]”


  212. says

    Guardian update: “Former Catalan president Artur Mas has told Spanish TV that prime minister Mariano Rajoy should ‘resign immediately’ from his position. He said Rajoy is in charge of a ‘violent state’, calling the Spanish leader ‘authoritarian’ and ‘a represser’.

    On police violence, the ex-Catalan head said ‘we can not be in a common state project which uses batons and police brutality’.”

  213. says

    Guardian update: “Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the Spanish deputy prime minister, said in a press conference that the ‘absolute irresponsibility of the Catalan government has had to be dealt with by the professionalism of the state’s security forces. With firmness and and proportionality we have thrown into disarray the Generalitat’s plans. There hasn’t been a referendum nor the semblance of one. Nothing good will come of this’.”

    It’s almost like they’re trying to draw international condemnation and make the argument for Catalan independence.

  214. says

    Guardian: “Details on voter turnout in the independence referendum are sparse at the moment.

    Voting has been slow because the electronic census used to count the ballot is down, and people are voting on paper. Stephen Burgen reports that police repression has been far from systematic. He says people from all over Catalonia are sending messages saying they are voting and there is no police presence.”

    This makes the police violence even more stupid. People can vote at any polling place that’s open.

  215. says

    Summary from Patrick Greenfield at the Guardian:

    “- Catalonia’s government says 337 people have been injured, some seriously, during a police crackdown on the independence referendum this Sunday.
    – Nine police officers and 2 members of the Guardia Civil have been injured in the disorder, according to the Spanish interior ministry.
    – The voting has been marred by a brutal police crackdown in which several instances of violence against voters have been recorded. Videos show police dragging voters from polling stations by their hair, unprovoked attacks on protesters and Spanish police attacking Catalan firefighters.
    – There have been several calls for Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy to resign over the police response from Catalan politicians and opposition MPs.
    – Barcelona’s La Liga fixture against Las Palmas is being played behind closed doors as a result of the disorder.*”

    * The Las Palmas players have Spanish flags sewn into their uniforms for the game to symbolize “national unity.”

  216. KG says


    Yes, just got back from it. About 500 people. We marched from the Spanish Consulate to the office of the European Commission – protesting at the lack of any EU pressure on the Spanish authorities at the latter. Thanks for updating on this.

  217. says


    I figured you were there. :) Yes, nothing coming from the EU leadership.

    The Catalan Dept. of Health is now saying there are 465 people injured, two seriously – one from a rubber bullet and one from a heart attack.

  218. blf says

    There’s been a knife attack, killing two people, at St Charles, the main train station in Marseilles (France). That’s not a million miles away from me, I’ve been to St Charles many times, and totally recognise the area where the attack took place. The attacker was shot dead by patrolling French soldiers.

  219. says

    In reference to comment 411 from SC, where Trump says:

    I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…

    …Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!

    Tillerson is more of a statesman than Trump, that’s for sure:

    Tillerson on Saturday said the United States has direct channels of communications with North Korea, despite Kim’s and Trump’s publicly escalating rhetoric.

    “We have lines of communication to Pyongyang. We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” Tillerson said. “We can talk to them, we do talk to them.”

    Later Saturday, he said “the whole situation” was “a bit overheated.”

    “I think we need to calm them down first,” Tillerson said. “Obviously it would help if North Korea would stop firing off missiles. That would calm things down a lot.”


    I get the feeling that Trump is worried that Tillerson’s communication/diplomacy approach might actually work, and if it works even to some small degree Trump will be robbed of his chance to “totally destroy” North Korea. As SC, noted, Trump is a demented fool.

  220. blf says

    The Grauniad’s live blog is reporting Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgium PM and now MEP, has made a statement, the first(?) “from the EU” (17:27 mark, Guy Verhofstadt makes first condemnation by a senior EU politician, quoted in full):

    I don’t want to interfere in the domestic issues of Spain but I absolutely condemn what happened today in Catalonia.

    On one hand, the separatist parties went forward with a so-called referendum that was forbidden by the Constitutional Court, knowing all too well that only a minority would participate as 60% of the Catalans are against separation.

    I have no idea where he got that “60% against” from. All the polls I’ve seen have suggested a fairly even split “for” and “against” independence, but also a consistent c.70% that the referendum should be held. (These are figures for Catalonia only, the wider Spanish figures are different.)

    And on the other hand — even when based on court decisions — the use of disproportionate violence to stop this.

    In the European Union we try to find solutions through political dialogue and with respect for the constitutional order as enshrined in the Treaties, especially in art. 4.

    It’s high time for de-escalation. Only a negotiated solution in which all political parties, including the opposition in the Catalan Parliament, are involved and with respect for the Constitutional and legal order of the country, is the way forward.

    I’ve seen a number of videos of Spanish police forces hitting people with batons, both civilians and, in Barcelona, uniformed members of the fire department. (Apologies, I don’t have the links at-hand.)

  221. says

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long is starting to sound a bit like Trump. Either Long is overworked and has lost perspective, or he has adopted Trump’s “I’m the victim” approach to criticism. At least Long emphasized one aspect of the emergency response correctly: he said that the locals are “pulling their weight.”

    “What I don’t have patience for is the fact that what we’re trying to do and what we have successfully done is we have established a joint field office within San Juan,” Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    He said the agency is “having daily conversations with all of the mayors” and “working with the governor and his leadership to be able to create unified objectives.”

    “If mayors decide not to be a part of that, then the response is fragmented,” Long said. “And the bottom line is, is that we’re pushing everybody, we’re trying to push her, in there.”

    “Is Mayor Cruz not participating in the FEMA effort?” Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Long, who did not answer.

    “You know, we can choose to look at what the mayor spouts off or what other people spout off, but we can also choose to see what’s actually being done, and that’s what I would ask,” Long replied. […]

    For her part, Cruz said she has “only one goal, and it’s saving lives” and said she has “been quite complimentary of the people from HHS and FEMA.”

    “Their heart is in the right place. But we have to cut the red tape,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

    On the same show, Long said island residents are “pulling their weight,” contrary to Trump’s accusation that Cruz and other Puerto Rican leaders “want everything to be done for them.”

    “I believe the Puerto Ricans are pulling their weight. I mean, I think they’re doing what they can,” he said. “The bottom line is, the question is, a local mayor’s job is to push commander’s intent down to his or her troops.” […]

  222. says

    Repeating Trump’s tweet from this morning, just to show that he is still a deluded, narcissistic fool:

    We have done a great job with the almost impossible situation in Puerto Rico. Outside of the Fake News or politically motivated ingrates […]

    Trump also claimed that “All buildings now inspected for safety.” That is a lie. Inspectors have not even been able to access some parts of the island, let alone inspect buildings there.

    Puerto Rico Gov Rosselló responds: “I’m not aware of such inspections.” Some areas “really haven’t gotten contact.”


    Trump’s stupid lie:

    …people are now starting to recognize the amazing work that has been done by FEMA and our great Military. All buildings now inspected…..

    Trump is pumping out fake news.

  223. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 417.

    The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that was allowed to expire by Republican congressional doofuses provided insurance for nine million children.

    The program is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. So, I guess Tom Price was too busy flying around in chartered jets to focus on health insurance for children.

    Background info from Vox:

    CHIP funding won’t simply run out on October 1 because of the way the program is financed. Federal money is distributed as a lump sum to the states annually, and they then have two years to spend it. So most states will have money left over next month, even if no new federal funding is coming in. But it is nonetheless a perilous position for the program, and some states are staring at big funding cliffs soon.

    The state of Minnesota ran out of funds today. By December, Arizona, North Carolina and the District of Columbia will run out of funds.

    Hillary Clinton was instrumental in establishing the CHIP program when she was First Lady. President Obama broadened the CHIP coverage.

  224. blf says

    Trump also claimed that All buildings now inspected for safety.

    Hair furor probably means all the buildings he owns in Puerto Rico — none, as far as I know — have been inspected, and he’ll be filing his insurance claims before going to the island to verify he still owns nothing there, so there is nothing to worry about. I assume he’ll then complain about a wasted trip and all those starving darker-skinned people blocking his views, not speaking “American”, and taking his TV time, and demanding they be deported.

  225. says

    Turull and Romeva did another press conference. Quick summary: thanks everyone for their hard work surrounding the vote; the actions of the government have been criminal and are the sole responsibility of Rajoy and the PP government; thanks for the many shows of solidarity in the face of the “disproportionate, unjustified, and obviously incredible from moral point of view” state response; beyond the question of independence, this is a violation of fundamental rights of European citizens (Article 2) by a European state; continue and will continue to be in contact with the institutions of the EU pressing for the application of Article 7 (see comment above); the response of the citizenry has been exemplary – peaceful, democratic – when dealing with police violence and repression.

  226. says

    Barcelona won 3-0 against Las Palmas in the game played in an empty stadium (the league wouldn’t let them cancel without forfeiting points). Barcelona player Gerard Piqué called playing the game under these conditions “a very difficult game to play,” “the worst experience in my life as a professional” – said it’s been “a very hard day.”

  227. says

    Guardian: “My colleague Irene Baqué has posted this video shot by her brother Pablo Baqué in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

    People there have taken to the streets calling for Mariano Rajoy’s resignation after today’s events. They are shouting: ‘Go Rajoy. Here we are the anti-fascists’.”

    Here’s the tweet with the video. Wonderful.

  228. says

    The number of people injured has now risen to 761.

    Rajoy said there was no referendum today, and that the majority of Catalans didn’t want to vote. If that were true, then there was no excuse for the repression. He’s not the sharpest.

  229. says


    In Barcelona, people gathered to watch the Spanish prime minister’s speech on a big screen. When he said that the majority of people had not wanted to participate in the referendum, the crowd reacted with derision and anger.

    The Catalan government’s pollster recently found that 70% wanted a referendum on the territory’s future, although support for independence is only 41%.

    I’d wager it’s more than 41% now.

  230. blf says

    Editorial in the Grauniad, Catalonia’s referendum: the Spanish state has lost:

    Police brutality has ignited the political crisis. […]

    Spain is in crisis, and its prime minister appears to be in denial. The run-up to Sunday’s referendum on independence for Catalonia made it clear that the country was in trouble. But neither those arranging it nor those rejecting it can fully have anticipated the scenes at polling stations: police in riot gear beating peaceful protesters with batons, dragging voters out by the hair or throwing them down stairs, firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds — even striking at Catalan firefighters and jostling with Catalan police.

    The immediate result of the violence was hundreds of casualties by mid-afternoon, according to Catalan authorities, and at least 11 wounded officers, according to the central government. The wider effect is the shock expressed well beyond Catalonia, and Spain. The outcome is almost certain to be that some of the Catalans indifferent or opposed to secession — until now, at least, the majority — are pushed into the arms of the cause. Who wants to be ruled by a state like this, many are asking.

    Yet Mariano Rajoy’s response, in his address to the nation, was simple: there was no referendum and no problem — police acted with firmness and serenity. The responsibility for all that had happened lay with the Catalonian government. Spain is paying for his determination to stop the illegal vote by the bluntest means and at all costs. His latest remarks are only likely to inflame matters.


    The central government seized 10m ballot papers; arrested key officials; dismantled the technology to connect voting stations, tally votes and vote online; blocked and removed voters from polling stations; and confiscated ballot boxes. Catalan officials told voters to print off ballot papers at home and said they could vote wherever they wanted. Whatever they may claim, the results are neither legally nor morally binding: whatever votes are tallied cannot truly represent Catalonia’s wishes. Between them, the two sides have produced both a vote that is hugely contentious and a result that is meaningless.

    […] Mr Verhofstadt urged [see @415 & 428 –blf] de-escalation, a negotiated solution bringing in all parties — including the opposition in Catalonia — and respect for Spain’s constitutional and legal order. He is right. Finding a way out of this mess will require a willingness to listen, to Catalans most of all.

  231. blf says

    The auto-lie machine is whirling faster and faster, turning into its own hurricane, White House: analysts predicting tax plan benefits for rich are simply lying:

    Donald Trump’s top advisers on Sunday insisted his proposed tax plan would not cut taxes disproportionately for the rich — two days after the release of an early nonpartisan analysis that says it will.


    On Friday, the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution released an analysis that found the plan would deliver 50% of its total tax benefit to taxpayers in the top 1%, those with incomes above $730,000 a year.

    [… Wacko House budget director Mick] Mulvaney said […] It is impossible to sit down and say, ‘This will be the impact on this wage earner or this family at this particular time.’

    That didn’t stop Trump from doing just that when pitching the plan in a speech in Indiana this week. […]


    Trump has also insisted that the plan would not reduce his own tax bills, telling supporters: It’s not good for me. Believe me.

    Little is known about what tax Trump does pay as, breaking with 40 years of precedent for candidates for president, he has not released his tax returns.

    The new tax plan includes a number of provisions that favor the rich, including cutting the top income tax rate, getting rid of the alternative minimum tax and eliminating the federal estate tax. Under current law, the first $11m of an estate is exempt for a married couple, meaning only the wealthiest Americans pay it.


    The Tax Policy Center and Brookings found that under the plan, the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest Americans would increase by 8.5% next year. For other taxpayers, the benefits would be far more modest or nonexistent, the report said. Taxpayers in the bottom 95% would see cuts averaging 1.2% of after-tax income or less.

    About 12% of taxpayers would face a tax increase, of $1,800 on average. That would include more than one-third of taxpayers earning between about $150,000 and $300,000, mostly because of the elimination of many itemized deductions.

    By 2027, taxes would increase for about a quarter of Americans, including nearly 30% of those earning about $50,000 to $150,000 a year, and 60% of people making $150,000 to $300,000, according to the study.

  232. says

    In Canadian political news Jagmeet Singh has been elected new leader of the New Democratic Party, making him the first visible minority leader of a major Canadian political party. Given that Singh is a Sikh you can probably expect to see some nonsense in the next half day or so from clueless yahoos claiming that Canada is at risk for Sharia law.

  233. says

    Trump is not done ranting and raving belligerently and incoherently on the subject of North Korea:

    Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.

    In other news, clueless Hair Furor dedicated a golf trophy to hurricane victims.

    President Trump on Sunday dedicated a golf trophy to the victims of recent powerful storms that tore through Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, all the while defending the government’s response to the disasters.

    “On behalf of all of the people of Texas, and all of the people — if you look today and see what is happening, how horrible it is but we have it under really great control — Puerto Rico and the people of Florida who have really suffered over this last short period of time with the hurricanes, I want to just remember them,” the president said.

    “And we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much that we love — a part of our great state, really part of our great nation,” he continued.

    Trump’s remarks were made as he presented the trophy to U.S. captain Steve Strickler following the Presidents Cup golf tournament in New Jersey. […]

    The Hill link

    Let them eat golf balls.

  234. says

    Ohio Governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich is talking about leaving the Republican Party:

    […] “If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party,” Kasich told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Period. That’s the end of it.”

    Kasich made the comment in response to a question regarding extremist right-winger Roy Moore securing the party’s nomination for that state’s open Senate seat in Alabama. Kasich made it clear he doesn’t support the far-right Moore although he didn’t go as far as to say the party as a whole shouldn’t back him. “I don’t run the party,” Kasich said. “I can tell you, for me, I don’t support that. I couldn’t vote for that.” When asked if Moore represents the future of the GOP, Kasich didn’t mince words: “I hope not.”

    For now, Kasich said he remains committed to reforming the party from within and insisted he wants to “fix it” on several issues, including trade, immigration, and debt. “I want this party to be straightened out,” he said.

    “What I’m trying to do is struggle for the soul of the Republican Party the way that I see it,” the Ohio governor added. “And I have a right to define it, but I’m not going to support people who are dividers.” […]

    Slate link

    During the interview, Kasich also aimed a few digs at the Democratic Party. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him to leave the Party of Trump and Moore.

  235. says

    We didn’t really need proof that the White House was spinning the news out of Puerto Rico so hard that it came out as lies and/or word salad. We have proof of intentional spin:

    When White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert returned from a trip to Puerto Rico last week, he got to work telling his colleagues exactly how the Trump administration could put a positive spin on the government’s troubled hurricane relief efforts, according to a leaked memo obtained by Axios.

    “I hope to turn the corner on our public communications,” he wrote to White House staff, before detailing new, more-upbeat “themes” he’d like to see the administration highlight over the next couple of days. “Planned hits, tweets, tv bookings and other work will limit the need for reactionary efforts,” he wrote. […]

    [Excerpt from the memo]: ‘I recommend that today and tomorrow we use the general theme of supporting the governor and standing with the people of Puerto Rico to get them food, water, shelter and emergency medical care. Monday and Tuesday we can pivot hopefully to a theme of stabilizing as we address temporary housing and sustaining the flow of commodities and basic government services, including temporary power. After that we focus on restoration of basic services throughout next week and next weekend. Then we start a theme of recovery planning for the bright future that lies ahead for Puerto Rico. […]

    “The storm caused these problems, not our response to it. We have pushed about as much stuff and people through a tiny hole in as short a timeframe as possible.”

    Meanwhile, it didn’t take my colleague AJ Vicens long to find a town in Puerto Rico entirely cut off from the help Bossert asserts is making such a difference on the island.

    “You are the first person to come here,” a woman told him. According to residents Vicens interviewed, none of the 10,000 federal workers on the island had made it to Ciales, just 45 minutes from San Juan, by the time he got there yesterday. People in the town described a scene of utter desperation. […]


  236. says

    The silence and half-assed statements from the EU and member countries are being noted.


    More than 40 unions and associations in Catalonia have called a region-wide strike for Tuesday, after a major police crackdown on a banned independence referendum.

    In a statement on Sunday, UGT and CCOO, Spain’s biggest unions, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a powerful pro-independence civil association, and 41 other organisations called for a large scale strike in protest against “the grave violation of rights and freedoms” today.

    Early results of the vote are being reported as 90% Yes, which is unsurprising under the circumstances.

  237. says

    Active shooter situation in Las Vagas. Reports of multiple fatalities and injuries. Someone was recording a concert when the shooting began and you can *clearly* hear several rounds of full automatic fire, lasting 10-15 seconds a pop. Someone was/is firing into crowds with a fully fucking automatic of some kind, quite probably with an extended magazine.


    (no visible violence in clip, only sounds of firing and panic)

  238. KG says

    Condemnations of the violence by the Spanish Police has come from, among others, Charles Michel, the Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt (the European Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator), Jeremy Corbyn, and Nicola Sturgeon. The stark images of baton-wielding Guardia Civil beating peaceful demonstrators and voters, dragging them by the hair, throwing them downstairs, will face other Spanish and European politicians with a question they will find hard to dodge in the coming days: “Do you condemn the violence of the Spanish police?”.

    The referendum result itself can’t possibly be regarded as definitive, but the fascist-style actions of the Spanish state show how thin the veneer of Spanish democracy is. It would not surprise me to see both mass arrests in Catalonia, and the spread of repressive violence to the rest of Spain – for example against the leftist Podemos party, which opposes Catalan independence but supports a legal and binding referendum in Catalonia.

  239. blf says

    Follow-up to timgueguen@433, On the election of Jagmeet Singh as the new leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, “Given that Singh is a Sikh you can probably expect to see some nonsense in the next half day or so from clueless yahoos claiming that Canada is at risk for Sharia law.”

    According to the Grauniad, Canada’s Jagmeet Singh becomes first non-white politician to lead major party, that has already happened even before Mr Singh was elected: “Singh’s profile was boosted early last month after a video went viral showing him calmly responding with words of love to a heckler who interrupted a campaign event to accuse him of wanting to impose Shariah [sic] law in Canada.”

  240. says

    Nevada is an open-carry state. Anyone can carry a gun. Hotels do not have magnetometers to screen visitors for guns. Many hotels have a no-guns policy, but no way to enforce it. Las Vegas hosts gun shows regularly.

    Republicans in Congress have the following gun-related bills ready for votes this week:
    1. A bill that repeals federal limits on the sale of gun silencers.
    2. A bill that would allow states to decide if they want to honor conceal-carry permits across state lines.

    Shortly after Donald Trump won the election, Todd Rathner, a prominent gun rights lobbyist, said gun owners were eager to “go on the offense at the federal level.” Among their top priorities was national reciprocity legislation: a law guaranteeing that people with concealed-carry permits from one state could take their guns into any other state, even if that state had stricter limits on carrying concealed weapons. Sure enough, on the first day of the new session of Congress, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

    Hudson, a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, isn’t the first lawmaker to introduce a national reciprocity bill that would effectively override many existing state gun laws. But his bill is broader than its predecessors. Gun advocates have typically couched the need for reciprocity as a convenience to travelers who must contend with a “patchwork” of gun laws while on interstate road trips. Hudson’s bill, however, goes far beyond making travelers’ concealed-carry permits portable across state lines. It would also force states to allow residents with a concealed-carry permit issued in another state to pack heat. Additionally, it would allow gun owners from states that do not require concealed-carry permits to carry weapons in states that do require permits. […]

    Quoted text from the link under #2 above.

  241. says

    Nevada’s Senator Dean Heller voted against limits on gun magazine size, against limits on assault weapons, and against expanded background checks.

    Heller has an A+ rating with the NRA.

  242. says

    .50 caliber machine guns are displayed at Las Vegas gun shows.

    It’s not illegal to own a fully automatic weapon, including military grade machine guns. Instead, ownership of these weapons is restricted. […] However, guns that were owned before 1986 continue to change hands. Owners of these weapons are required to pay a fee and register them with the federal government. As of 2006, those registrations indicated that over 390,000 machine guns were in private hands in the United States. In the same year, 1,280 unregistered machine guns were seized.

    In a nation with over 300 million firearms, that makes machine guns just 0.13 percent of the weapons out there. However, it also means that there’s about one machine gun for every 1,000 Americans.

    Registered machine guns are subject to a number of rules, and sometimes stiff fees, which makes them rare in the home collections of all but the most dedicated “enthusiasts.” But one place where they are concentrated is … Las Vegas. Because of locations like this.

    The Vegas Machine Gun Experience! Get behind the trigger of a huge selection of the most legendary machine guns … Practice your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms with this adrenaline-inducing Vegas gun range package!

    And this…

    You and a companion will shoot a M4, AK-47, SAW, RPD, MP5, Thompson, SCAR, UZI, P90, G36, 1911 and a Desert Eagle all in the comfort of our private shooting range.

    The tourist machine gun business means that the Las Vegas area is particularly rich in automatic weapons. […]

  243. says

    These Republican Senators voted against an assault weapons ban. Today, they tweeted out their prayers.

    From Marco Rubio:

    I’m praying for all the victims, their families, and our first responders in the #LasVegas #MandalayBay shooting.

    From Orrin Hatch:

    Woke up this morning to the horrifying news out of Las Vegas. Shocking and senseless. God bless the victims and their families.

    From Richard Shelby:

    Praying for the victims and the families of the victims involved in the tragic Las Vegas shooting. Thankful for brave first responders.

    From Pat Roberts:

    God bless the victims of the terrible and senseless shooting in Las Vegas.

    The bill they voted against, the 2013 Assault Weapons Ban, would have prohibited:

    … the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons … In addition, the bill bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

    The Senators are the hollow men.

  244. says

    Oh, FFS.

    The Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump blog that has been credentialed by the White House, ran a story Monday morning touting a conspiracy theory and misidentifying the shooter that killed more than 50 people and injured more than 100 in Las Vegas early Monday.

    The shooter has been identified as Stephen Paddock by Las Vegas police, but Gateway Pundit ran a story headlined “Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, and Associated with Anti-Trump Army” that appears to be picked up from 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” forums. […]

    As an aside, why does team Trump give press credentials to these dunderheads?

  245. says

    From Caleb Keeter, a guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band:

    I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.

    We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.

    They were useless.

    […] We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.

    My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. […]

  246. says

    From Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut:

    To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers.

    None of this ends unless we do something to stop it.

    This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference.

  247. says

    Dunderheads who are Republicans and/or Trump supporters commented on the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    From Governor Matt Bevin:

    To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs … You can’t regulate evil.

    From MicoPrimeTime:

    Let me tell you what’s going to happen despite what you try to do to stop it. I’m going to spread that #StephenPaddock was a Muslim convert and worked with #ISIS to take out white christian Americans. And this will be the message on all Right wing airways in less than 12 hours.

    Oh, let me explain to you: @BarackObama spent 8 years blaming white people for everything wrong in the world, and he laughed and laughed, so I’m going to spend the next 30 years doing the same to his people, the Muslims. Laugh, it’s funny.

    One thing is for sure, the Russian-controlled bots that were already pushing divisive/false narratives after the neo-Nazi/KKK rally in Charlottesville will push divisive and false narratives on social media about the massacre in Las Vegas.

    Russian-controlled posts on social media have also recently backed Trump in the anti-NFL, stand for the anthem debate. Russian bots and fake accounts are also still pushing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim topics. For reference, see the following comments on this Political Madness All the Time thread:
    1. From SC: 52, 83, 224, 227, 296, 298, 310, and 349.
    2. From me, see comment 320.
    3. From blf, see comment 398.

  248. says

    Ah, good news. A Germany energy provider is stepping up to help restore power in Puerto Rico.

    Sonnen GmbH, a German provider of energy-storage systems, is planning to install microgrids to provide electricity for at least 15 emergency relief centers in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

    Sonnen began delivering its storage systems to Puerto Rico last week and expects to deliver at least one shipment each week as the island’s ports reopen, […]. It’s working with local partner Pura Energia, which installs solar panels with Sonnen batteries.

    […] microgrids, small-scale systems that combine solar panels and batteries that can be installed quickly to restore power to a few buildings at a time. Tesla Inc. is sending hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems to the island, and Sunnova Inc., Puerto Rico’s largest rooftop solar provider, plans to install batteries to complement its systems. […]

    Sonnen is donating equipment for the 15 relief centers. It also expects increased demand for its systems with Puerto Rico consumers and will donate profit from local sales to build as many as 35 additional microgrids on the island.

    Sonnen has installed more than 20 storage systems in Puerto Rico since 2016 and has at least 90 more on order or on their way to the island. The batteries are produced at the company’s recently opened factory in Atlanta, and the first microgrids will be operating in less than a month. […]

    Bloomberg link

  249. blf says

    From Governor Matt Bevin: To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs … You can’t regulate evil.

    As the Onion put it, ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens:

    [… C]itizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Monday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Iowa resident Kyle Rimmels, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. […] At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

  250. says

    Tom Petty isn’t actually dead.

    Information about the shooter is starting to materialize. He’s a compulsive gambler that made enough money in real estate to start living a lifestyle he couldn’t afford, and tried to gamble his way to the finish line, and now that he’s failed, he’s pissed of at the world, and especially at Las Vegas, the city that ruined his delusions of grandeur. It’s a matter of time until the stories of abuse start coming out. Everyone says he doesn’t fit the profile because he was rich, and that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    That’s my theory anyways. We’ll see if I’m right.

  251. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Interesting poll by Reuters/Ipsos. It shows peoples confidence in the press increasing, and confidence in Trump decreasing.

    The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November. Earlier this year, Trump branded the entire industry as the “enemy of the American people.”
    The percentage of those who said they had “hardly any” confidence in the press dropped to 45 percent from 51 percent over the same period.
    Confidence in Trump’s administration moved in the opposite direction.
    Reuters/Ipsos, which tracked confidence in major institutions every couple of months after the 2016 presidential election, found in late January that 52 percent of Americans had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the new president’s executive branch. That dropped to 51 percent in the May survey and to 48 percent in the latest poll. Trump took office in January.

  252. says

    Catching up on some news, and the theme seems to be “more”:

    More lawless nepotism:

    The Justice Department has released a series of recently overruled legal memos concluding that presidents cannot appoint their relatives to the White House staff or presidential commissions, even to unpaid posts.

    In January, a career Justice Department official essentially declared the earlier opinions erroneous or obsolete, clearing the way for President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to take a senior adviser position in the White House. First daughter Ivanka Trump later took a similar official but unpaid slot under the same legal rationale.

    The newly-disclosed opinions, issued to the Nixon, Carter and Reagan White House and obtained by POLITICO Monday through a Freedom of Information Act request, detail how Justice Department lawyers concluded for decades that such appointments of family members were illegal under an anti-nepotism law passed in 1967….

    More emails in the private Javanka domain.

    More people who saw and were potentially influenced by the Kremlin’s FB ads:

    Facebook on Monday said an ‘estimated 10 million people’ saw advertisements a Kremlin-linked Russian troll firm bought on the website over the course of the 2016 campaign.

    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday confirmed that Facebook had given the panel 3,000 ads it traced back to the Russian troll farm and said he hoped to make “a representative sampling” of the ads public by the end of the month.

  253. says

    Follow-up to comments 295, 338 and 419.

    Republicans are talking about renewing the funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They recently allowed funding to lapse.

    Now the bad news: they want to fund CHIP by cutting Medicare and the Affordable Care Act’s prevention and public health fund.

    […] The Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which marks up the bill on Wednesday, were less than thrilled with the plan.

    “The legislation offered last night by Chairman [Greg] Walden is not a bipartisan agreement,” a Democratic aide for the committee said. “We should not be looking simply to make cuts in other health programs to reauthorize this critical legislation.”

    The draft bill […] makes the following cuts and restrictions in order to fund the program:
    – Charging seniors who earn more than $500,000 a year higher Medicare premiums.
    – Allowing states to kick out Medicaid beneficiaries if they win the lottery.
    – Shortening the grace period for people paying their Obamacare premium payments late
    – Cutting more than $5 billion from the Affordable Care Act’s prevention and public health fund.

    That’s probably the worst aspect of the Republican plan.

    The plan also includes aid to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program as the island struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria—about $1 billion over two years. But in order to get the bulk of that funding, the island will have to prove to the Fiscal Oversight Board currently ruling over its budget that it has “taken reasonable and appropriate steps during such period to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse … and improve the quality of care and patient experience.” […]


  254. says

    Another one!

    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s top aide flew on a hedge fund billionaire’s private jet to Palm Beach several months ago, people familiar with the trip said, the latest example of senior Trump administration officials using luxury air travel even though it often raises red flags with ethics officials.”

    “Rich Delmar, counsel to the Treasury Department’s inspector general, said they have launched an inquiry into Miller’s trip on the private jet following the Washington Post report.”


    Amid recent revelations that some White House advisers have used private email accounts to conduct official government business, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is demanding to know if any White House officials communicated via private email or text with a representative of a foreign government, political party or international organization.

    Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has sent a letter, obtained exclusively by ABC News, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House counsel Don McGahn asking for that information as well as communications that senior State Department or embassy officials — including Tillerson — had through such “unofficial channels.”

    Whenever I see pictures of Jared and Ivanka in these surroundings, they look like actors on the set of a TV show about the White House.

  255. says

    Jimmy Kimmel dedicated his opening monologue to the massacre in Las Vegas. He was critical of Republican leadership in Congress. Scroll down for the video, which is 9:54 minutes long.


    […] when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans then there’s nothing we can do about that and Second Amendment, I guess.

    I guess our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s, is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings of murder used automatic or semi-automatic rifles which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time.

    This guy reportedly had ten of them in his room apparently. […]I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen or maybe a better question is why do we continue to let them to allow it to happen? Five people got shot in Lawrence, Kansas, last night, three of them died. It didn’t even make a blip because this is just a regular part of our lives now. And you know what will happen? We’ll pray for Las Vegas. Some of us will get motivated, some of us will not get motivated. Though bills will be written, they’ll be watered down, they’ll fail and the NRA will smother it worth all with money and over time we’ll get distracted will move on to the next thing.

    And then it will happen again and again. […] White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, […] it was not the time for political debate. And I don’t know, we have 59 innocent people dead it wasn’t their time either, so I think now is the time for political debate.

    […] in February he [Trump] also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today. Which is is good. They should be praying. They should be praying
    for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby lobby run this country because it’s so crazy right now. There are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately from another party or if they buy a gun online or at a gun show. […]

    And, by the way, the House of Representatives will be voting on a piece of legislation this week. It’s a bill to legalize the sale of silencers for guns. […]

    I’m sorry for getting emotional. I’m, I’m not great with this kind of thing but it’s important you know.

  256. says

    More Pruitt corruption:

    …Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates, according to a 320-page accounting of his daily schedule from February through May, the most detailed look yet at what Mr. Pruitt has been up to since he took over the agency.

    Many of those players have high-profile matters pending before the agency, with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory costs at stake. Some of these same companies and trade associations were allies of Mr. Pruitt when, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, he sued the E.P.A. at least 14 times to try to block rules Mr. Pruitt is now in charge of enforcing.

    He also took several trips home to Oklahoma for long weekends, often with one or two brief work meetings, followed by long stretches of downtime….

  257. says

    Trump picked Bruce J. Walker to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Senator Al Franken questioned Walker during the confirmation hearings about climate change:

    […] “Mr. Walker, do you believe that human activity accounts for the majority of climate change since the Industrial Revolution?”

    [Walker has a B.S. in electrical engineering and a law degree from Pace University, where “he was the technical editor on the Environmental Law Review”]

    “Thank you for the question, Senator. I believe the climate has been changing and will continue to change as long as we’re on the planet. I think there is a contribution from man. I couldn’t quantify exactly what that is.” […]

    “You know that there is a consensus among climate scientists,” Franken said. “You are aware of that, right?”

    Walker replied sheepishly, “Yes, I am.” In other words, Walker knows what all the experts think, but he’s not buying it. […]


  258. says

    Purging people who are not loyal to Trump? Yeah, that’s more authoritarian nonsense … and it’s coming from the offices of Vice President Mike Pence.

    Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff railed against congressional leaders in closed-door remarks to wealthy donors and called for a “purge” if GOP lawmakers don’t quickly rally behind […] Trump’s agenda.

    In remarks at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on Tuesday morning, Nick Ayers also warned that Republicans are “on track to get shellacked” in next year’s midterm elections if GOP lawmakers don’t pass Trump’s legislative priorities. […]

    “Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers said, according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by POLITICO.

    One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”

    […] “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.” […]


  259. says

    More of Trump being stupid and arrogant in Puerto Rico:

    President Trump told Puerto Ricans that they no longer needed flashlights as he handed them out to hurricane victims, despite most of the island lacking power.

    “Flashlights? You don’t need ‘em anymore,” Trump said. “You don’t need ‘em.”

    Trump was handing out the flashlights to victims of Hurricane Maria at a Puerto Rican church when he made the comments.

    About 95 percent of the island remains without power nearly two weeks after the hurricane made landfall. The Category 4 storm devastated Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.

    Trump also tossed paper towels into the crowd as he distributed supplies to storm victims.

    He met with local officials for a briefing on the recovery from the storm earlier in the day and highlighted the work of Puerto Rican officials by name while noticeably leaving out San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. […]

    The Hill link

  260. says

    Chuck Schumer responded to some of Trump’s stupid remarks concerning Puerto Rico:

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ripped President Trump on Tuesday after he appeared to joke that Puerto Rico recovery efforts had “thrown our budget a little out of whack.”

    “Mr. President, enough. Stop blaming Puerto Rico for the storm that devastated their shores, and roll up your sleeves and get the recovery on track. That’s your job as president,” […]

    Schumer added he didn’t remember Trump complaining that Texas “threw our budget out of whack after Harvey. Or Florida after Irma.” […]

    “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine,” Trump said. “We saved a lot of lives.”

    Schumer said Trump’s remark, which come as Republicans are pushing tax reform, “boggles the mind.”

    “To have the gall to complain about Puerto Rico throwing our budget out of whack – while proposing tax cuts for millionaires that will cost trillions of dollars – boggles the mind, boggles the mind. …Stop the blame game,” he told reporters. […]


  261. says

    Hard to believe, but during the press conference in Puerto Rico, trump bragged about F-35 airplanes:

    […] “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” Trump said.

    Just a few minutes later in the press conference, he began talking about how he was happy to spend “hundreds of millions” on the F-35 — a warplane that has yet to fly in a single American combat mission.

    “So amazing, we are ordering hundreds of millions of dollars of new airplanes for the Air Force, especially the F-35,” Trump told an Air Force officer who was attending the press conference. “You like the F-35? … You can’t see it. You literally can’t see it. It’s hard to fight a plane you can’t see.”

    It’s not clear what the president means when he says, “You literally can’t see it.” The F-35 is not invisible like Wonder Woman’s jet; the plane is designed to strike targets from beyond their visible range, but so are all other modern fighter aircraft.

    But more importantly, there’s something deeply uncomfortable about bemoaning the price tag of Puerto Rico’s recovery and then praising one of the most expensive technological boondoggles in the history of the US military. […]

    The Trump administration has yet to submit a new request for emergency funding to help Puerto Rico, but one is coming later this month. Politico reports that the request is likely to be somewhere between $10 billion and $15 billion. Trump’s proposed defense budget, released in May, requested $10.5 billion in spending on the F-35 project.

    That means that Trump is asking for roughly as much money this year for the F-35 — a plane that, again, has never flown a combat mission — as for the vital, lifesaving Puerto Rico recovery effort. Yet he is complaining about the price tag of the latter and bragging about how much he plans to spend on the former.

    […] “The all-in costs of this airplane are now estimated to be as much as $1.5 trillion, or a low-end estimate of the entire Iraq War,” [James] Fallows writes. […]


  262. says

    Wonkette covered Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico:

    Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States, flew to Puerto Rico on Tuesday to […] generally be the petulant little troll we all know and loathe. This was quite a feat, because Trump has previously explained that Puerto Rico is very hard to get to, because it is in BIG OCEAN, a place no man has ever gone before.

    During Trump’s visit, he did all the things you’d expect. He got everybody to say nice things about him, he said nice things about himself, he took a gold-plated shit on the people of Puerto Rico, and he was rude to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who is guilty of the grievous crime of being a woman who gives no fucks about his fragile ego. Oh, and he told them about F-35 airplanes, because he tells EVERYBODY about those, […]

    Trump, who holds grudges against women who make him look tiny and weak and sad, was very rude to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mean lady who offended the president right on his thin skin, by telling the world people are dying in Puerto Rico […]

    He congratulated the governor for “not playing politics” by only giving Trump “the highest marks” in his response to the hurricane. Got that? If you criticize Trump, you are Fake News. […]

    So to sum up:
    – Puerto Rico is TOO ‘SPENSIVE, whereas AIR-PANE! AIR-PANE!
    – Puerto Rico governor is nice, but San Juan mayor bleeds from her wherever like a common Megyn Kelly.
    – And finally, Hurricane Maria isn’t a “real catastrophe” like Katrina. […]

    After his briefing, Trump […] went to talk to hurricane victims on the street. He finished one of these conversations, WE SHIT YOU NOT, by telling them to “have a good time.” […]

  263. blf says

    Outrage greets Mexican feminism panel with 11 participants — all of them male:

    ● Lopsided lineup reignites debate about representation of women in Mexico
    ● ‘What next? A conference on racism with only white people?’

    When a pink[! –blf] flyer promoting a feminism conference at Mexico’s biggest university was posted on social media this week, it did not take long before people noticed something was amiss.

    The lineup featured two panels with 11 participants — and all of them were male. It was, as one woman tweeted, the graphic description of “mansplaining”.


    Organised by the humanities department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam), the 11 October conference appears to be intended as a homage to the feminist scholar Marta Lamas, who will host the event and debate the 11 men. The university did not immediately respond to queries about the event.


    Many feminists saw the format as an insult or an act of provocation.

    “Feminism for dummies: we don’t have a single representative, there are many of us and we’re very diverse. Invite many women to your debates,” tweeted the feminist blogger Ana González.


    Regina Tamés, the director of GIRE, a reproductive rights organisation, defended the event, saying on Twitter: “It’s an event which male allies and friends are going to honour Marta. She has spent 45 years speaking with women.”

    For many, the incident illustrated a frequent problem related to male involvement. “Feminists don’t hate men,” González said. “We just want them to stop being protagonists everywhere.”

    I’ve never heard of Professor Lamas, but based on that short Ye Pffft! of All Knowlege entry, she seems like a good person.

  264. says

    Senator John Thune was interviewed by Hallie Jackson (NBC) about the massacre in Las Vegas. Thune said some stupid stuff:

    It sounds like he used conversion kits and other things, you know, to make these weapons more lethal. Like I said, we’ll look at the facts when we get them all in here. I think that all of us want to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like that from happening again. You know, it’s an open society. And when somebody does what he wants to do, it’s going to be hard to prevent anything. But I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions to protect themselves and in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said: get small.

    The young kids at Sandy Hook were small, Senator Thune, you asshat. He is one of many Senators now considering a bill to legalize armor-piercing bullets.

  265. blf says

    The UK’s wannabe hair furor, Boris Johnson, currently the FM (Foreign Minister), is trying to out-crass hair furor in the field of insensitivity & arrogant bigotry, Sirte can become a holiday destination if it clears the dead bodies, says Johnson:

    Opposition politicians call for Theresa May to sack foreign secretary, saying his comments about those killed in fighting in Libyan city are ‘unbelievably crass’

    Theresa May is facing further calls to sack Boris Johnson after he said that a war-torn Libyan city only has to clear the dead bodies away to become a world-class tourist and business destination.

    Johnson was accused by Labour of being “unbelievably crass, callous and cruel” about those who died in the battle to reclaim Sirte from Islamic State [(daesh) …]


    Two senior opposition politicians said the comment was in such bad taste that Johnson was not fit to be foreign secretary.

    Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said: “It is less than a year since Sirte was finally captured from Daesh by the Libyan Government of National Accord, a battle in which hundreds of government soldiers were killed and thousands of civilians were caught in the crossfire, the second time in five years that the city had seen massive loss of life as a result of the Libyan civil war.”

    “For Boris Johnson to treat those deaths as a joke — a mere inconvenience before UK business people can turn the city into a beach resort — is unbelievably crass, callous and cruel.”


  266. says

    Tufekci is completely right here. I’m so tired of this both-sides bullshit. I haven’t even seen a reaction from FB to the reports showing emails from Bannon and his fellow far-Right Mercer shills about a plan to infiltrate the company. (“If they feel like they have to go such extremes, maybe that shows we are too liberal.”) It’s fucking ridiculous, and it happens over and over. (The NYT article I quote @ #466 actually tries at one point to balance Trump’s thoroughly corrupt EPA with Obama’s, suggesting that a preponderance of meetings with environmental groups rather than corporations was partisan. For the EPA.)

  267. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Interesting piece: “Anti-Monopoly Candidates Are Testing a New Politics in the Midterms.”

    The Ghosts of Theodore Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin D. R. are restless….in their support.

  268. says

    “Exclusive: Jared Kushner’s personal email moved to Trump Organization computers amid public scrutiny”:

    President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump moved their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization as public scrutiny intensified over their use of private emails to conduct White House business, internet registration records show.

    The move, made just days after Kushner’s use of a personal email account first became public, came shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump associates. It also more closely intertwines President Trump’s administration with his constellation of private businesses.

    According to internet registration records reviewed by USA TODAY and cybersecurity researchers, Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, who is also a senior adviser, switched the location of their email accounts to a server operated by the Trump Organization on either Sept. 26 or 27, as attention from the media and lawmakers intensified….

  269. says

    “Rep. Tim Murphy, popular with pro-life movement, urged abortion in affair, texts suggest”:

    A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account.

    “And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.

    A text from Mr. Murphy’s cell phone number that same day in response says, “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”

    The congressman has been lauded by the Family Research Council, for his stance on abortion, as well as for family values, generally. He also has been endorsed by LifePAC, which opposes abortion rights, and is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, an affiliation that is often cited by his office.

    Another — a six-page memo to Mr. Murphy purportedly written by his chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk — described a hostile workplace in which Mr. Murphy repeatedly denigrated employees, threatened them and created a state of “terror.”

    He is currently a co-sponsor with 181 other legislators of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would bar abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or where the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or physical health of the mother [sic]. The House was scheduled to vote on the legislation Tuesday.

  270. says

    “Billionaire Robert Mercer Is Helping Pay Donald Trump’s Legal Bills”:

    Billionaire Robert Mercer and his wife Diana donated almost $200,000 to the legal defense fund of the Republican Party on the day that President Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, financial filings show.

    The combined $193,400 donation the Mercers made on May 9 went to the GOP legal fund that Trump has been drawing from to pay the lawyers defending him during the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

    The Mercers have been linked to this investigation through their stake in the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and involvement in the Trump campaign. They own a $10 million share in the firm which helped the Trump campaign use granular data to target ads at specific American voters on Facebook….

  271. says

    SC @ 483 – so what they did was move their yahoo or gmail addresses or whatever, to servers owned by their father’s company. That’s still private email. In fact, it’s the exact same thing Hillary was doing, except she had a trusted IT guy running it for her, and they have whoever the Trump organization hired to set up and maintain theirs, who I’m sure is totally competent at his job, given Hair Furor’s hiring track record. /s

    That server will be hacked in days and those emails will be public, watch.

  272. says

    All the awful things Trump said in (or on his way to) Puerto Rico today were conveniently gathered in one place by Esme Cribb.


    […] On his way out of the White House on Tuesday, Trump incorrectly claimed that roads on Puerto Rico have been cleared and congratulated himself on doing what he dubiously claimed was “a great job.”

    Then he called on residents of the hurricane-pummeled island — many of whom lack electricity, access to water and sewage treatment after a Category 4 storm hit nearly two weeks ago — to give the federal government a hand.

    “We need their truck drivers,” Trump said. “Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that, so at a local level they have to give us more help.”

    A U.S. labor union told CNN on Saturday that the island is facing not only a shortage of diesel fuel, a necessity for powering the trucks, but also a possible shortage of the vehicles themselves.

    “It is unclear if there are trucks available to move the containers, fuel to operate the trucks or road access to the distribution centers,” the Teamsters union said.

    After he landed […]

    “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine,” Trump said.

    He then compared Hurricane Maria to Katrina, which he called a “real catastrophe.”

    “If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody has seen anything like this,” Trump said.

    He compared the number of fatalities after each storm, though the present death toll on Puerto Rico is not final, and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said before Trump’s arrival that he expected the count to rise.

    “What is your death count as of this moment?” Trump said. “Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”

    Then, during a tour of the devastation, he told survivors to “have a good time.”

    “Great to see you,” Trump added.

    During a later appearance where he handed out supplies, the President “tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd,” according to a White House pool report.

    “There’s a lot of love in this room,” he said. “Great people.”

    Trump later claimed that “most of the hospitals” on Puerto Rico were open. He said “the job that’s been done” on the island “is really nothing short of a miracle.” […]

  273. blf says

    Follow-up to @468, Despairing of Trump, Europeans look to Congress to save Iran nuclear deal (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Despite pressure from UK and France, US president expected to declare Tehran in violation of agreement but Senate could yet block reimposition of sanctions

    European governments fear a concerted effort to persuade Donald Trump to continue to certify the Iran nuclear deal may have failed and are now looking for other ways to try to salvage the two year-old agreement.

    European lobbying efforts are now focused on Congress which will have two months to decide — in the absence of Trump’s endorsement of the 2015 deal — whether to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions.


    When Trump threatened to withhold certification by a congressional deadline of 15 October, the UN general assembly in mid-September was seen by the European signatories of the agreement — the UK, France and Germany — as the last best chance to convince Trump of the dangers of destroying it.

    But according to the accounts of several diplomats involved, the effort got nowhere.


    The French president [Emmanuel Macron] made no headway. To his consternation, Trump kept repeating that under the deal, the Iranians would have a nuclear bomb in five years, and nothing Macron could say would persuade him otherwise.

    [UK PM Theresa] May’s session with the US president two days later was equally fruitless. She used half the 50-minute meeting trying to engage Trump on the merits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but he grew testy in response. He said he had decided on what to do, but flatly refused to tell her what that was. And he shrugged off her arguments, telling her You make your decisions; I’ll make mine. […]

    [… details about another meeting involving Rex Tillerson, Iran’s FM Mohammad Javad Zarif, and others …]

    Speaking near the end of the meeting, Zarif declared Tillerson was “ill-informed” for failing to acknowledge the fact that the JCPOA had been enshrined in a security council resolution, which the US, a permanent council member, was now threatening to violate. Tillerson ignored the reference to the UN resolution, and repeated his line that the JCPOA was not a formal ratified treaty, so it should be open to renegotiation.

    Emerging from the meeting, Mogherini was clearly furious, and she echoed Zarif’s argument in her own remarks to the press.

    “This is not a bilateral agreement. This is not an agreement that involves six or seven parties,” she told reporters. “This is a UN security council resolution with an annex{…} So it doesn’t belong to one country, to six countries, to seven countries, to the European Union — it belongs to the international community.”

    In a postmortem teleconference last week, the political directors from the foreign ministries of UK, France and Germany agreed to plan for the worse and marshall European political resources for a potential rearguard action lobbying in Congress.


    One possibility is that Trump will wound the deal by refusing to certify, but not push for a restoration of sanctions. The state department is reported to be talking to Congress to amend its legislation so that Trump does not have to certify the deal every 90 days, a political embarrassment. But such manoeuvres also open up new opportunities for opponents of the JCPOA to insert “poison pills” into the legislation that will ultimately succeed in killing it off.

    The Senate currently appears delicately balanced on the issue, with almost all Republicans and Democrats likely to vote by party line. The majority leaders in the Senate and the House, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, are reluctant to get bogged down in gruelling debate on an issue they believe the president should decide.


    However, the hand of the congressional leadership could be forced by hardline opponents of the deal who are seeking to make it a test of conservative credentials for senators wary about defying Trump.

    One of the most vociferous critics of the Iran deal in the Senate, Tom Cotton, launched his campaign in a speech on Tuesday. He urged Trump not to certify the deal in order to clear the way for a period of coercive diplomacy and to persuade European governments, Russia, China and Iran to open the agreement for renegotiation. He backed the threat of more sanctions and ultimately calibrated strikes against Iran’s nuclear programme.

    The United States has the ability to totally destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, Cotton told the Council on Foreign Relations. If they choose to rebuild it we can destroy it again.


    The Europeans can count on resistance from party leaders irritated at having an executive decision palmed off on them. There are also signs that most if not all the four Democrats who voted against the JCPOA two years ago would not vote to destroy it now.

    Among the 52 Republican senators, meanwhile, there are likely to be a handful reluctant to take responsibility for steering the US towards another conflict.

    “Congress has an insatiable appetite for sanctions. But it would be disastrous to impose new sanctions on Iran now and senators know that,” said Joe Cirincione, the head of the Ploughshares Fund, a non-proliferation advocacy group. How the vote would go, he added, was anybody’s guess.


    “The Iran hawks will try to have multiple bites of the cherry and will keep pushing for more votes,” [the research director of the National Iranian American Council, Reza] Marashi said. If the Europeans wanted to try to save the JCPOA, he added, “they now have very little time”.

    This strikes me as being considerably naïve — which does not mean it’s stupid, and also does not mean it shoudn’t be tried — as it presumes there are sane thugs who are concerned with anything other than being re-elected so they can continue to receive juicy bribes. A variable few thugs do have some rare flickers of sanity — ACA hasn’t been destroyed (but it hasn’t also been improved), but that took a massive push by the voters the thugs depend on for re-election to bribery central. It seems unlike there will be enough of a voter push to maintain the Iranian deal to cause the thugs any worry about votes, so the fears of their bribes being cut off or reduced or not-increased by voting to keep to deal will likely make them vote to start yet another war.

  274. blf says

    Follow-up to @373(and others), the USNS Comfort arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, sometime yesterday.

  275. blf says

    Unsurprisingly, some TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) are objecting, insisting gender is strictly binary, Women-only Cambridge college to allow students who ‘identify as female’ (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Murray Edwards admissions policy change welcomed by gender diversity campaigners but decried by some feminists

    A women-only Cambridge college has changed its admissions policy to allow it to accept transgender students who identify as female.

    The decision by Murray Edwards College, formerly known as New Hall, has been attacked by some feminists as illogical but welcomed by campaigners for gender diversity.

    The college […] said it sympathised with the idea that gender is not binary and will support those who do not wish to define themselves as either female or male.

    [… A]fter a decision by its council, Murray Edwards will now be open to students who identify as a woman and have “taken steps to live in the female gender”.

    Annoucing [sic] the change Dame Barbara Stocking, the president of the college, said: “We are a college that is open to all outstanding young women and so it is absolutely right, both legally and within our set of values, for anyone who identifies as female to be able to apply to study with us.

    “There is now a greater understanding of the complexities of gender. In order that we remain true to our mission of being open to all outstanding young women we recognise that it is right for anyone who identifies as female, regardless of their born gender, to be able to apply to study with us.”


    Germaine Greer […] described the decision as ridiculous.

    If they {Murray Edwards} really don’t believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn’t be a single sex college […]

    I’m a bit disappointed Murray Edwards only “sympathises with the idea that gender is not binary”, rather than simply flat-out stating “gender is not binary”. That is perhaps a quibble?

    The quoted loon, Ms Geer, has previously expressed transphobic views. She also (admittedly conditionally) supports genital mutilation; her arguments in support (broadly, “historical culture”) seem to also support, say, chattel slavery.

  276. blf says

    Oops… This week the UK’s nasty party, “led” by the current PM, Theresa May, is having a conference. Her speech was literally abandoned by their own slogan, Letters fall off slogan behind Theresa May during most calamitous conference speech in memory:

    In what was possibly the most calamitous conference speech in British political history, Theresa May was heckled by a comedian, suffered a prolonged coughing fit and finished her speech in front of a heavily depleted slogan.

    The letter “F” fell from the Conservative blue set behind the prime minister, which read: “Building a country the works for Everyone”. Then, an “E” also later toppled down while May was speaking.

    After she left the stage, a multitude of letters followed, leaving the Conservative’s slogan indecipherable. Given the haphazard nature of the speech, it was hard not to read it as a metaphor.


    There are some pictures at the link.
    Apparently, the first letter to give up on her rambling mess did so just after she said the word “strength”. (I haven’t listened to the audio of any of the vidoes showing the “F” falling off to confirm that claim.)