Discuss: Political Madness All the Time

Lynna is your curator. How are you all holding up, America? Not well, I guess, since this is the hardest working thread ever.

(Previous thread)


  1. says

    “Rand Paul blocks Senate from approving 9/11 victim compensation fund”:

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tried to win the Senate’s consent to approve the House-passed bill, which would reauthorize funding until fiscal year 2090. The bill cleared the House in a 402-12 vote last week.

    But Paul objected, pointing to the country’s growing debt and arguing that any new spending should be offset by cuts to other spending.

    “It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in the country,” he said. “And therefore any new spending … should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate.”

    He added that if the House bill was brought up for a vote in the Senate he is planning to offer an amendment “but until then I will object.”

    Under Senate rules any one senator can try to get consent, which requires the sign off of the entire chamber, to pass a bill or resolution, but one senator can also block that request.

    Gillibrand, after Paul objected, said she was “deeply disappointed” in his decision, adding “enough of the political games.”

    “I am deeply disappointed that my colleague has just objected to the desperately needed and urgent bill for our 9/11 first responders,” she added.

    Despite the back-and-forth on the floor, the Senate is expected to pass the bill before leaving for their summer recess by August 2….

  2. says

    For the umpteenth time, CNN presents a group of picked GOP activists like they’re a focus group. It’s of a piece with giving Richard Spencer an in-studio hit [see here – SC] and maintaining a roster of contributors who are bound by contract not to disparage Trump.

    Since 2015, CNN has distorted its on air product to present far right views as mainstream and to present paid-for or curated pro-trump commentary as just a slice of life among Republicans. You can read about it in Jason Miller’s deposition.”

  3. says

    Uh-oh. This does not sound good. Shades of Dick Cheney.

    Looking to fund a regime overthrow in Venezuela, Trump eyes diverted humanitarian aid

    The Trump administration wants to use aid cut from Guatemala and Honduras to support the opposition in Venezuela.

    According to a July 11 leaked memo, the Trump administration is planning to divert $41.9 million in humanitarian aid from Honduras and Guatemala to fund the effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaido.

    The Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the USAID memo, reported that the administration notified Congress that doing so was in the “national interest” of the United States.

    The U.S. government is among roughly 50 countries that recognize Guaido as the president of Venezuela — the opposition leader was not voted into office, but declared himself president and is calling for fresh elections.

    The diverted humanitarian funds stem from the Trump administration’s efforts to punish Central American countries for failing to prevent their citizens from migrating north through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States. […]

  4. says

    The World Health Organization declared a public health emergency over Ebola.

    The outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been ongoing since last August.

    A nearly year-long Ebola outbreak is simmering in the Democratic Republic of Congo — and despite the rollout of a vaccination campaign, the virus has continued to spread.

    Now it’s time for the world to start paying attention.

    That’s the message from an emergency meeting at the World Health Organization in Geneva on Wednesday. A panel of independent experts met to discuss whether the outbreak is dire enough to constitute a “public health emergency of international concern,” a rare designation the WHO gives to diseases that pose a global threat. It was the fourth such meeting since October.

    Unlike the last three meetings, a formal emergency was declared this time because of the “concerning geographic spread of the virus,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus […]

    “It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system” said Dr. Tedros. “We all owe it to these responders — coming from not just WHO but also government, partners and communities — to shoulder more of the burden.” […]

    While the risk of Ebola in the DRC and neighboring countries remains high, the risk outside the region is low, he added.

    The same was true for 2014-’16 West Africa epidemic. (That didn’t stop Chris Christie, Donald Trump, and others from fear-mongering about Ebola, and using the outbreak to call for borders to be closed down.)

    This is the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history — and the first in a war zone.


  5. says

    WSJ – “Russia, Iran, North Korea Launch Hundreds of Cyberattacks on U.S. Political Groups, Microsoft Says”:

    Suspected nation-state hackers from Russia, Iran and elsewhere have launched nearly 800 cyberattacks against political organizations over the past year that have been detected by Microsoft Corp. , with the vast majority of the attempts targeting groups based in the U.S.

    Think tanks and nongovernmental organizations that work with candidates or political parties—or on issues important to their campaigns—have suffered most of those attacks. The assaults could be a precursor to direct attacks on campaigns and election systems, a trend seen in recent election cycles in the U.S. and Europe, Microsoft said Wednesday.

    The findings are the latest indication that foreign governments are laying the groundwork ahead of the 2020 presidential election to potentially disrupt American politics, as senior U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly warned.

    Federal agencies have dedicated more resources to election security since 2016, but cash-strapped campaigns remain broadly vulnerable, and the Republican-controlled Senate isn’t expected to consider legislation tackling the issue before the election.

    Microsoft said it had delivered 781 notifications of suspected nation-state attacks to customers globally who are enrolled in its AccountGuard service, a free security tool offered to federal, state and local political candidates, party committees, election-oriented technology vendors and select nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations that use Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft wouldn’t identify the customers.

    Overall in the past year, Microsoft said it had notified almost 10,000 customers overall that they had either been targeted or compromised by nation-state attacks in the past year, with about 84% of those attacks targeting business customers and the rest launched against personal email accounts.

    The majority of nation-state activity spotted by Microsoft originated from Iran, North Korea and Russia, Microsoft said. It includes attacks from a group known as Fancy Bear believed to have ties to Russia’s military intelligence and linked to the hack of Democratic emails during the 2016 election.

    The company in its findings didn’t mention China—a country usually included with the other three when Western intelligence agencies or security experts discuss state-sponsored cyberattacks. Asked about the omission, a spokesman declined to elaborate.

    AccountGuard, which rolled out last August, is offered in more than two dozen countries, but 95% of the attacks have targeted U.S.-based organizations, a proportion that couldn’t be explained by its rate of American customers, Microsoft said.

    “Democracy-focused organizations in the United States should be particularly concerned,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s senior vice president of customer security and trust, in a blog post.

    “By nature, these organizations are critical to society but have fewer resources to protect against cyberattacks than large enterprises,” Mr. Burt said, adding that “the problem is real and unabated.”

    Microsoft previously said that its threat-intelligence team had tracked hacking attempts to the Kremlin targeting U.S. think tanks, academics, and nongovernmental organizations that appear close to American politics or specific 2020 campaigns. Wednesday was the first time the company had provided statistics measuring the phenomenon.

    The announcement coincides with the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, where Microsoft will demonstrate a new software kit intended to let third parties verify election results….

  6. says

    I just got a call from Michael Monico, Michael Cohen’s lawyer. He said he was surprised by prosecutors’ decision to close the hush money case.

    ‘I thought there was substantial and significant information by which they would be able to bring a case against others’.”

    More about Judge Pauley’s ruling today on making the evidence public here. As I said there, he’s ordered the unredacted documents publicly docketed tomorrow at 11 AM.

    …The Government now represents that it has concluded the aspects of its investigation that justified the continued sealing of the portions of the Materials relating to Cohen’s campaign finance violations. Although the Government agrees that the majority of the campaign finance portions of the Materials may be unsealed, it requests limited redactions to those portions to protect third-party privacy interests.

    After reviewing the Government’s status report and proposed redactions, this Court denies the Government’s request. In particular—and in contrast to the private nature of Cohen’s business transactions—the weighty public ramifications of the conduct described in the campaign finance portions warrant disclosure.

    The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance. Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials. Indeed, the common law right of access—a right so enshrined in our identity that it “predate[s] even the Constitution itself”—derives from the public’s right to “learn of, monitor, and respond to the actions of their representatives and representative institutions.”…

    He’s not falling for the “third-party privacy interests” line in this context.

  7. says

    Mehdi Hasan: “So-called ‘moderate’ House Democrats keep getting quoted as saying things like ‘its time to focus on bread and butter issues.’

    If you think confronting racism from the most powerful man in America isn’t a ‘bread and butter’ issue that says more about you than about ‘the squad.’”


    Neither, pundits, is it “devolving” or “sinking to Trump’s level” to call it out and to face off, as you inevitably will have to, against the defenders of white supremacy. And if his campaign is intentionally and cynically deploying racism, that’s not clever or worrisome or just a strategy to dispassionately analyze – it’s fucking reprehensible.

  8. says

    BREAKING: House votes 230-198, largely along party lines, to hold Barr and Ross in contempt over defying subpoenas on census probe. Four Democrats broke with their party to vote against the resolution and one independent [Amash] supported it.”

  9. says

    “Jewish leaders donate $1m to mosque victims”:

    Jewish community leaders joined Muslim officials in Christchurch today, to hand over a million dollars raised in an American city for the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

    Following the 15 March shooting, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh raised over $900,000 for Christchurch Muslims.

    The act of generosity was inspired after Muslims rallied around the Jewish community when an armed shooter opened fire in a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in October last year.

    At a lunch time ceremony, the New Zealand Jewish Council president, handed over a cheque to the Christchurch Foundation, to establish the Abrahamic fund.

    For members of the Muslim and Jewish faith, today’s ceremony was much more then just a transferral of money from one faith to another.

    It was an opportunity to explore the other’s religion, as Jewish and Muslim leaders were taken on a tour of each religion’s respective places of worship.

    New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman signed the document to establish the new fund.

    He said the Christchurch Foundation would allocate the fund’s money according to the needs of families affected by the attack.

    New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff travelled from Australia to deliver close to $70,000 worth of money raised by jews living in the state.

    He said it would have been easy to simply transfer the money but he wanted to send a message with his presence.

    “I wanted to come on behalf of the Jewish Board of Deputies to physically stand here and say we did this because we cared. That’s why I wanted to come here and have a symbolic presence to show that we are all members of one humanity.”…

  10. KG says

    An interesting Brexit development:

    MPs have voted to stop Boris Johnson proroguing parliament in the autumn to facilitate a no-deal Brexit by 315 votes to 274 – a majority of 41.

    Amusing (and of course, true) that the Grauniad journalist assumes it is specifically Johnson that the vote targets. The vote doesn’t mean Parliament will prevent a no-deal crash-out, or even that it can do so, other than by a vote of no confidence, but it does constrain Johnson’s options- he had explicitly refused to rule out proroguing to force through a no-deal crash-out.

  11. says

    “Mitch McConnell Reacts to Trump’s Widely Condemned Rally: ‘The President’s Onto Something’”:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox Business Network to praise President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night rally, in which he reveled in the crowd’s chant to “send back” a black congresswoman who came to the United States as a refugee.

    Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo kicked off the interview by showing extensive clips from the rally — including one in which the crowd loudly chanted “send her back” — before asking Mitch: “You’re reaction to some of the president’s commentary?”

    “He’s right about ‘the squad’ wanting to turn us into a socialist country,” McConnell said, referring to the four progressive congresswomen Trump has targeted in recent days. “What he should have added, however, is that it’s a lot broader than just the four of them.”

    McConnell argued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the 2020 candidates have “all signed up” for policies like the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All.” (While some have, all of them have not).

    “So I think the president’s onto something,” McConnell said.

    Bartiromo agreed. The host did not ask McConnell about thousands of Trump supporters chanting “Send her back!” at a black congresswoman, in an ugly display that was condemned as dangerously bigoted by both right and left on Wednesday night. She did follow by asking about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s accusation that the Leader is “complicit in advancing racism” because he refuses to condemn Trump’s remarks.

    McConnell condemned AOC’s attack [sic]: “I think it’s time to lower the rhetoric related to that subject all across America. Everyone knows that’s nonsense.”…

  12. says

    From Otisville, @MichaelCohen212 sends a statement responding to Trump lawyer @JaySekulow over the closing of the SDNY campaign finance probe: ‘Mr. Sekulow’s statement is completely distorted and dishonest….’

    ‘….As I stated during my open testimony, I and members of The Trump Organization were directed by Mr. Trump to handle the Stormy Daniel’s matter; including making the hush money payment. …’

    ‘….The conclusion of the investigation exonerating the Trump Organization’s role should be of great concern to the American people and investigated by Congress and The Department of Justice’.”

  13. says

    “…DOJ said that the day after the Access Hollywood outtake of Trump boasting about sexual assault became public, Michael Cohen, Trump, Hope Hicks and others exchanged messages about ‘the need to prevent (@StormyDaniels) from going public’.

    In a warrant application, the FBI described an urgent effort by Cohen, Trump, Hicks and the head of the National Enquirer to keep @StormyDaniels quiet after the Access Hollywood outtakes became public.

    The FBI, in warrant applications unsealed today, put President Trump pretty squarely at the center of a coverup by his former lawyer that prosecutors said violated federal campaign finance laws.

    As the @WSJ was about to reveal efforts to buy the silence of Karen McDougal, Cohen summarized Trump’s reaction in a text to a National Enquirer executive: ‘He’s pissed’….”

  14. says

    NBC – July 10 – “3 trans women shot and killed in Honduras in July”:

    …LGBTQ people are an especially vulnerable population in the country. Cattrachas has recorded 327 violent murders of LGBTQ individuals in the last 10 years, but Ramos said this number could underrepresent the number of people murdered, since the organization’s database is derived from media reports. This year to date, at least 21 LGBTQ people have been murdered in Honduras: nine gay men, seven trans people and five lesbians.

    Violence against transgender individuals in Central America has caused many to leave their home countries in search of asylum. But experts say leaving doesn’t necessarily ensure their lives are any safer.

    “Trans women just want to be safe. They want out,” Jansen said. “A lot of people say that anything is better than Honduras, but I question how true that statement is when we see the levels of violence rising during their journey and in these [immigration detention] facilities.”

    Last month, Johana Medina Leon, a transgender woman from El Salvador, died in a Texas hospital four days after being released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility. Another transgender woman, Roxsana Hernandez, died in ICE custody from an untreated AIDS-related illness after leaving Honduras for the United States last year.

    Three police officers in El Salvador were recently charged with the murder of Camila Díaz Cordova, according to the Washington Blade. Díaz Cordova, a transgender woman who joined a caravan heading from Central America to the U.S. last year to escape threats, was deported and murdered upon returning to her native country.

    “Everyone in the LGBT community feels vulnerable and insecure, especially transgender people,” Ramos said. “The Honduran state does not recognize them as people subject to rights. They cannot change their names; there are no opportunities to access education or health, so in many cases they’re obligated to do survival sex work.”

    “It’s understandable why many are trying to escape the country,” she added.

    More at the link.

  15. says

    Guardian – “UK politicians send message of solidarity to US congresswomen”:

    Leading British politicians including Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan are among thousands of people who have signed a letter of support f the four US congresswomen of colour who were targeted by Donald Trump in a series of racist tweets this week.

    The letter from the anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate expresses solidarity with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, describing them as “the best of America”, and condemns Trump’s “blatant, unashamed racism”.

    In less than two days the petition has been signed by dozens of MPs, two trade union general secretaries and 13,809 Hope Not Hate activists. The letter thanks the four congresswomen for “showing the world that America can still provide leadership to be proud of, even when the White House has abdicated that role.”

    Khan, the London mayor, tweeted about the petition and said: “These progressive congresswomen represent hope for the future – their home is America, but their message crosses borders.”…

  16. says

    Excerpts from Daniel Dale’s thread, which SC highlighted in comment 21:

    Trump begins: “We have all night. We’re going to have a lot of fun tonight. I have nothing to do. Nothing. Nothing.” He then adds, “We have nothing to do but make our country great again.”

    Trump is recounting election night 2016.

    Trump on his election night: “Maybe, there are those that say, one of the most extraordinary and exciting evenings in the history of television. In the history of anything.”

    Trump says he is doing “really well” with Hispanics because “they want a strong border” and “they want that wall.” His approval with Hispanics is in the 20s.

    Trump calls polls “fake” and “suppression polls,” as is his custom. There’s no evidence for his frequent claim that pollsters are reducing his numbers to deflate his supporters’ enthusiasm.

    Trump claims that 401(k)s are up “60, 70, 80, 90 percent.” That is way higher than stock market growth during his tenure.

    Trump is attacking “left-wing ideologues” who he says see the US as “a force of evil.” The crowd boos when he mentions “the four congresswomen.” He says he will read some of these Democrats’ comments because it’s live television and they “can’t cut it.”

    Trump’s attempt to begin his criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar was interrupted by a protester. Trump says, as usual, “He goes home now to mommy and he gets reprimanded and that’s the end.”

    Trump repeats his smear of Ilhan Omar, falsely saying she said Al Qaeda “makes you proud.” This is a grossly inaccurate description of her comments.

    The rally crowd is chanting “send her back” about Ilhan Omar as Trump reads a list of her past remarks.

    Trump calls Ocasio-Cortez “Cortez,” and then says somebody said, “That’s not her name, sir,” and he says he responded, “No no: I don’t have time to go with three different names. We’ll call her Cortez. Too much time. Takes too much time.” The room is quiet.

    Trump falsely says that he won every debate against Clinton according to the polls. “They won’t admit that,” he says. He lost every debate according to all scientific polls. He likes to cite junk polls where you can just go and click.

    Trump falsely claims that NATO spending was declining for “16 years” before it took office. The Trump-era increases have been faster, but it was increasing in 2015 and 2016, in part because of a 2014 re-pledge by NATO countries to meet the 2% guideline.

    Trump says Antifa attacks only single defenseless people, not Bikers for Trump or “Military for Trump” — the “people we wish they attacked.”

    Trump is now on immigration, warning as usual that Democrats’ policies produce crime. He then turns to MS-13, saying its members commit “medieval style” murders, and adds, “You know what medieval style is? Little pieces, little pieces, little pieces. Medieval style.”

    Trump falsely says Democrats want to do nothing about human trafficking. He then falsely says most US trafficking comes through the southern border. He then falsely says human trafficking doesn’t happen through legal ports of entry. He concludes, “Everybody knows it.”

    Trafficking experts emphasize that trafficking is a *major domestic problem* in many cases unrelated to the border in any way. They also emphasize that many victims who do come through the border are deceived into coming through legal ports.

    That’s not all. Check the thread for more.

  17. says

    From Steve Benen:

    Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was scheduled to speak at the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual fundraising event, but after he offered some mild criticisms of Donald Trump’s recent racist tweets, the GOP disinvited him.

    Even mild criticism of Trump, which offered along with praise, is not acceptable to the GOP Cult.

    From Politico:

    […] “He suggested the president’s comments were racist and that he was becoming a racist. Our board was infuriated,” said Michael A. Barnett, the Republican Party chairman in the county, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago getaway.

    “We believe the tweets were not racist, the president is not racist and that Scaramucci’s comments were unfair,” Barnett, who is African American, said.

    “I am sorry that I was canceled,” he told POLITICO. “Mike Barnett must like and condone racist comments. Someone with more courage and less political expediency would call it for what it is and ask it to stop.”

    Barnett made his comments to POLITICO on Thursday morning after emailing Scaramucci that he was no longer invited to speak at the Aug. 15 event, called “Lobsterfest,” because of the comments.

    “I don’t think the president is a racist,” Scaramucci first told the BBC on Tuesday. “But here’s the thing, if you continue to say and act in that manner, then we all have to look at him and say, ‘OK, well, maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.‘” […]


  18. says

    Do not diss Hair Furor: Arizona Republican Chairwoman Kelli Ward realizes that appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) occasionally disagrees with Trump, but Ward wants McSally to “just be quiet” about it.

    Arizona Republican Chairwoman Kelli Ward said she wishes GOP elected officials, specifically Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), ‘would just be quiet’ when they disagree with President Trump,” according to audio obtained by Phoenix New Times.

    “Ward’s criticism of McSally highlights the delicate balance faced by Arizona Republicans who hope to maintain support among Trump’s base as well as the moderate wing of the party.”

  19. says

    From Steve Benen:

    In Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill complained this week that Americans’ interest in “homosexual activities” has contributed to what he sees as the country’s moral decline. The GOP official was apparently bothered by, among other things, coverage of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory.

    Full story at NBC News

    […] “The foundational principles which we have grown up as a nation are no more,” Merrill said at a Fort Payne town hall over the weekend. “There are no more good TV shows on like ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘Bonanza,’ ‘The Virginian,’ ‘Andy Griffith,’ ‘I Love Lucy.’ We don’t have those shows anymore. We’re too interested in homosexual activities.”

    “What you have today is you have more interest in homosexual activities, you have interest in wife-swapping, and who’s dating who, and how this family is messing with this other family, and those things substitute for entertainment value,” Merrill said.

    When sharing an example of what he called Americans’ preoccupation with “homosexuality activities,” Merrill cited media coverage of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory earlier this month.

    “That’s exactly what I’m talking about,” he said. “What the national media chose to focus on is the fact that these young ladies’ sexual orientation was more significant than what they accomplished on the field of play,” which Merrill said “was to separate themselves from any other team like them in the history of the World Cup.”

    “The national narrative began to be one of divisiveness, and if you can’t support these young ladies because they’re gay and because they want to wear the LGBT flag on their uniform, as opposed to just appreciating the great talent that they have, and the unbelievable athletic accomplishments that they produce, that’s a problem,” Merrill said. […]

  20. says


    Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter is sending Islamophobic mail pieces to voters in his Southern California district, attacking his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, for his deceased grandfather alleged ties to a 1972 terrorist attack.

    The mailers show a photo of one of the terrorists involved in an attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics wearing a ski mask on one side, and photos of Campa-Najjar and Muslim Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, on the other. Campa-Najjar is Christian.

    “Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ammar Campa-Najjar … these three radical Democrats want you to forget their anti-semitism or family-terrorist ties!” a note from Hunter states on the back side of the mailer. “But as a Marine I’ll never forget the 1983 Beirut bombings and the 1972 Olympic murders!”

    Hunter’s campaign confirmed that it is distributing the mailer, which solicits contributions from donors.

    “It is a piece put out by Congressman Hunter’s campaign,” said Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison. “It’s a hard-hitting piece because these are significant issues that our opponent refuses to acknowledge.” […]

    Politico link

    Yesterday, Hunter received a cease-and-desist letter from the Marines for his misuse of the official Corps emblem:

    The Marine Corps has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., for using the official Corps emblem and phrase on campaign mailers that link his likely 2020 opponent and two Democratic congresswomen to terror.

    In a letter to Hunter obtained by NBC News, the Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office tells the congressman, “It has come to our attention that your campaign is using the official USMC Eagle, Globe and Anchor (Emblem) and the phrase ‘No Better Friend, NO Worse Enemy’ (Phrase) as an integral part of your political campaign, namely, on at least one fundraising mailer to your constituents.”

    The letter, dated Tuesday, demands that Hunter’s campaign “immediately remove the Emblem and the Phrase from its mailers, and, without limitation, from all other campaign materials including websites and other instances where the Emblem or the Phrase are being used. We also request that you provide us with a timetable as to your compliance with our requests.” […]

    NBC News link

  21. says

    Followup to comment 5.

    More about the year-old outbreak of Ebola, and about how unprepared the Trump administration is to handle this healthcare emergency:

    […] the hope is that international public-health officials will be able to respond to the Ebola outbreak effectively, though if conditions become even more serious, it’s going to be difficult to have confidence in the Trump administration.

    In May 2018, for example, the Washington Post reported that Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, the top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic, abruptly left his post.

    The article added that there was no senior administration official “focused solely on global health security.” What’s more, the Post noted that Ziemer’s team had been broken up, and thanks to John Bolton’s reorganization plan, the admiral would not be replaced on the White House National Security Council. […]

    As Media Matters’ Matt Gaetz put it yesterday, “President Trump trying to handle a global Ebola emergency while watching Fox News cover the story is one of the more chilling scenarios for the Fox-Trump feedback loop. And here we are.”


  22. says

    One of the many lies Trump told at his rally in North Carolina last night:

    Patients with pre-existing conditions are protected by Republicans much more so than protected by Democrats, who will never be able to pull it off.


    […] I realize Trump doesn’t know or care about health-care policy. Or his own administration’s agenda. Or current events. Or telling the truth. Or reality.

    But Democrats already “pulled it off.” Americans with pre-existing conditions have protections right now. We know this to be true because the Affordable Care Act – the law the president is so desperate to destroy – currently exists.

    The idea that these same Americans will enjoy “more” protections under a Republican alternative to the ACA certainly sounds great, but Trump and his GOP brethren had two years to present their ideas on the subject, and each of their plans left people with pre-existing conditions worse off – in some cases, vastly so.

    There’s everyday nonsense, and then there’s head-spinning gaslighting. This clearly falls into the latter category.

    Alas, if this sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. Shortly before the 2018 midterms, Trump declared, “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions. Democrats will not!”

    As we discussed at the time, it was as brazen a lie as any Trump has told. He simply took reality, turned it on its head, and asked Americans to believe the opposite of reality. […]


  23. says

    From John Judis, writing for Talking Points Memo: “Trump Is No George Wallace. He’s Worse.”

    I keep seeing comparisons between Trump’s racial appeals and George Wallace’s 1968 campaign. Here’s the AP’s Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller: “Not since George Wallace’s campaign in 1968 has a presidential candidate — and certainly not an incumbent president — put racial polarization at the center of his call to voters.” Someone here can correct me if my memory is failing me, but in 1968, Wallace did not make explicit racial appeals.

    Wallace talked about state’s rights and the ability of “big government” to dictate whether schools should segregate. In his opening appearance in 1967 in Meet the Press, he said he did not favor “segregation in any phase of our society in any state of this union,” but favored the states being allowed to “continue to determine the policies of their domestic institutions themselves.” His voters often understood his appeals in racial terms, but he was careful not to frame his appeal in white vs. black terms.

    Trump’s appeal is much more explicit and personal. Wallace, in retrospect, was a conventional politician who reflected and then later rejected the mores of his time and region. Trump is much more of an irresponsible demagogue. He did not rise out of a political movement the way that, say, Hitler or Mussolini did, but is a peculiar product of our celebrity and social media culture. He’s a bad person — a man lacking in conscience — in a way that Wallace, as his turn later against his segregationist past showed, was not.

    I have mixed feelings about the politics of this latest outburst: on one hand, it tempts Democrats into an over-reaction, particularly on issues like immigration; on the other hand, it reinforces the aversion of many voters, including erstwhile Republican voters, to having such an individual represent the country as its and their president.

  24. says

    Well, that’s not going to work.

    Trump is now trying to distance himself from the “Send Her Back!” chant at his rally last night. He basked in that chant at the time. He encouraged it. He added more fuel to the fire when the chant died down.

    “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

    When a reporter asked why he didn’t step in to quell the chant, Trump claimed some credit for doing so. “I think I did. I started speaking very quickly.”

    Trump stood silently for a few seconds as the chant went on.

    The President on Thursday blamed any delay on the “tremendous amount of noise and action and everything else” in the arena.

  25. says

    Mimi Rocah:

    This gave me chills from @maddow last night: “Hey @SDNYnews are you ok? We’ve all been led to believe you would squak if you were ever pressured to drop something to protect the powerful. We’ve all been told you’re the Sovereign District of New York & there’s no way the AG or the WH could ever cut you off if you were ever pursuing public corruption or criminal matters involving powerful people. @SDNYnews you would squak if that’s what’s happening here wouldn’t you?”

  26. says

    Lindsey Graham claims ‘send her back’ chant isn’t racist because Ilhan Omar is a Trump critic

    The South Carolina senator suggests it is okay to be a person of color, as long as you wear a MAGA hat.

    […] “I don’t think it’s racist to say,” Graham told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think a Somali refugee embracing Trump would be asked to go back. If you’re racist, you want everybody to go back because they are black or Muslim. That’s not what this is about. What this is about to me is that these four congresswoman, in their own way, have been incredibly provocative.”

    “If you think he’s as racist, that’s up to you. I don’t,” Graham added.

    He noted that “for President Trump, if you embrace his policies, doesn’t matter where you come from, he probably likes you.” […]

  27. says

    From Wonkette:

    Donald Trump spent his Wednesday tossing his salad with racially infused vinaigrette again! […] It was gross. Really fucking gross. Both of the events we are going to tell you about right now are absolutely not American, and every single one of us should be absolutely horrified. Unfortunately, Republicans will not be horrified, because they are racists just like their president.

    First, as Trump was leaving the White House for his rally in North Carolina last night, he pulled that birther trick he always pulls, saying he doesn’t know anything about this, but “people are saying” Rep. Ilhan Omar married her own brother. He’s not saying! PEOPLE are saying. It apparently came in response to a question from a “journalist” from the One America News Network, because actual hot garbage is allowed to have a White House press pass now.

    [Trump said] There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it […] I don’t know but I’m sure that somebody would be looking at that.

    Isn’t that cute? “There’s a lot of talk about it.” Of course, the only “people” talking about it (using the term loosely) come from the Jacob Wohl slice of humanity, and now here it’s being repeated by the president of the United States. USA! USA!

    […] Once the rally in Greenville, North Carolina, got started, Trump went through a nice list of blood libel lies about Ilhan Omar, repeating bullshit about how she didn’t care about 9/11, because it was just “some people” doing something (that’s not what she said) and bullshit about how she “praised” al Qaeda, by somehow saying that the name of al Qaeda (or “Alcaida,” as the president would spell it in his mangled meat brain) should be spoken with reverence, as opposed to how you say “America.” (Needless to say, all of that is a lie too.)

    […] they started chanting “SEND HER BACK! SEND HER BACK! SEND HER BACK!” You know, because they are real Americans, and they agree with Trump that Omar should be “sent back where she came from.” They believe this because she’s black, and because she’s a Muslim who came to America as a Somali refugee. But as we all know, they’d believe this if she was born here too, because they think they — stupid white supremacists — are the real Americans, and that everybody else is from somewhere else. Trump believes the same thing.

    It was probably the most disgusting behavior we’ve witnessed from a large group of American citizens since the beginning of the Trump campaign in 2015, but we doubt it will hold that title for long.

    Watch how Trump incites their cauldron of hatred. Watch what the crowd turns into. Then try to tell us It Can’t Happen Here. […]

  28. says

    New: @RepAdamSchiff says the ‘inescapable conclusion’ of the Cohen records is that there’s ‘ample evidence’ to charge Trump with campaign finance crimes.

    Schiff says his ‘most immediate concern’ is whether Barr ‘sought to bring’ the SDNY probe ‘to a close’.”

  29. blf says

    KG@18, “Amusing (and of course, true) that the Grauniad journalist assumes it is specifically Johnson that the vote targets.”

    The next NKofE PM will be either him or Hunt, and only Hunt has ruled out proroguing parliament. Of course, believing either one is as stoopid as either one (or indeed, any nasty party politician) becoming PM.

  30. says

    Politico – “Hope Hicks’ testimony gets second look after Cohen document dump”:

    Newly released court documents are raising questions about whether former White House communications director Hope Hicks misled House lawmakers during a closed-door interview last month.

    Hicks testified in June before the House Judiciary Committee that she was never present for discussions involving Donald Trump and his one-time attorney, Michael Cohen, about hush-money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    But Hicks participated in an early October 2016 phone call with Trump and Cohen as they were beginning negotiations on a deal to try and keep Daniels from going public with allegations about an affair with Trump, according to newly unsealed portions of a search warrant released Thursday.

    According to the document, Hicks called Cohen on Oct. 8, 2016. Sixteen seconds later, Trump himself was dialed into the call, which continued for over four minutes. The FBI agent said it was the first call Cohen had received or made to Hicks in at least multiple weeks, and Cohen and Trump had spoken only about once a month prior to that.

    Cohen and Hicks then spoke again for about two minutes after the call with Trump ended.

    Hicks’ participation in the Cohen-Trump call, coming at a moment when Trump’s team was scrambling to bury Daniels’ story in the final weeks of a tumultuous 2016 presidential campaign, may put her in an awkward spot to explain her closed-door congressional testimony last month.

    In that interview, Hicks gave a categorical denial to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) when she asked whether Hicks was ever present when Trump and Cohen had discussed Daniels.

    By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.

    “No, ma’am,” Hicks replied.

    “You were never present when they discussed Stormy Daniels?” Jackson Lee asked again, according to a transcript released by the panel.

    “No,” Hicks answered.

    Jackson Lee then pressed a third time. “I’m going to say it again. Were you ever present when Trump and Mr. Cohen discussed Stormy Daniels, since it was all over the news that that occurred?” the lawmaker asked.

    After a White House attorney, Patrick Philbin, interjected to ensure the question to Hicks was focused only on her time on the Trump campaign, Hicks again replied, “So, no is my answer.”

    Hicks’ response to the House lawmaker also appears to conflict with what an FBI special agent wrote in support of the bureau’s request for search warrants of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room. In a footnote about the Trump-Cohen-Hicks call, the agent described a conversation with another official from the bureau who had interviewed Hicks.

    “I have learned that Hicks stated, in substance, that to the best of her recollection, she did not learn about the allegations made by [Daniels] until early November 2016,” the agent wrote. “Hicks was not specifically asked about this three-way call.”…

  31. says

    I’m not sure how I’m supposed to know or remember the difference among an excessive heat warning, a heat advisory, and an excessive heat watch, and the colors they’re using for the national maps are not helping.

  32. says

    So I flipped to CNN and it looks like on the first debate night (on the 30th), it’s Warren, Sanders, Buttegieg, Beto, Klobuchar, and others. Second night (the 31st): Harris, Biden, Castro, Booker, and others.

  33. says

    CNN debates breakdown:

    July 30:

    Marianne Williamson
    John Delaney
    John Hickenlooper
    Tim Ryan
    Steve Bullock
    Amy Klobuchar
    Beto O’Rourke
    Pete Buttigieg
    Elizabeth Warren
    Bernie Sanders

    July 31:

    Jay Inslee
    Kirsten Gillibrand
    Tulsi Gabbard
    Michael Bennet
    Bill de Blasio
    Cory Booker
    Andrew Yang
    Julián Castro
    Kamala Harris
    Joe Biden

    Incidentally, I had linked to this excerpt from McMindfulness recently, and I’ve now read the whole book. It is <scathing. I had no idea Tim Ryan (first night’s debate) was a McMindfulness evangelist. He has a book about it, and it sounds completely inane. Zero business running for president.

  34. says

    NEW: Federal prosecutors’ decision to end an investigation into hush money payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump relied at least in part on longstanding Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime….”

  35. says

    Inbox: Today, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler sent a letter to Hope Hicks demanding that she come before the House Judiciary Committee to clarify her testimony, after a federal judge in New York unsealed evidence which revealed apparent inconsistencies with Hicks’ testimony.”

  36. says

    Politico – “Trump officials pressing to slash refugee admissions to zero next year”:

    The Trump administration is considering a virtual shutdown of refugee admissions next year — cutting the number to nearly zero — according to three people familiar with the plan.

    During a key meeting of security officials on refugee admissions last week, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services representative who is closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a cap at zero, the people said. Homeland Security Department officials at the meeting later floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000, according to one of the people.

    The proposal for a near-shutdown of the refugee program is alarming officials at the Department of Defense, who don’t want to see a halt in admissions of Iraqis who risked their lives assisting U.S. forces in that country. The possible move comes after the Trump administration cut refugee admissions by a third this year, to 30,000.

    If the administration shuts down refugee admissions, it would give President Donald Trump a powerful talking point as he makes immigration restrictions a centerpiece of his reelection campaign.

    At the same time, it would strand thousands of people already far along in the process and damage the ability of resettlement agencies to process refugees in future years, according to advocates tracking the issue….

    The “powerful talking point” framing is unevidenced and gross.

  37. says

    ThinkProgress – “Catholics in Iowa went to church. Steve Bannon tracked their phones.”:

    Steve Bannon and the conservative group Catholic Vote used cell-phone location data for people who had been inside Roman Catholic churches in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2018 to target them with get-out-the-vote ads, ThinkProgress has learned.

    Bannon, a former senior White House aide, made the claim in a deleted scene from the new documentary about him, The Brink. This scene has not been previously published.

    “If your phone’s ever been in a Catholic church, it’s amazing, they got this data,” Bannon told director Alison Klayman as they sat in his Washington, D.C., home on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.

    “Literally, they can tell who’s been in a Catholic church and how frequently,” Bannon added. “And they got it triaged.” [This is not what triage means. Was he going for triangulated? No idea with this mope. – SC]

    The technology Bannon was alluding to is called “geofencing” or “ring-fencing.” It’s become popular over the last several years with advertisers, campaigns, and advocacy groups that want to find people who may be receptive to their message.

    When Klayman asked Bannon, on-camera, where he got his data from, he answered, simply, “the phone companies.”

    “And the data guys sell it,” Bannon added.

    The data used in geofencing is anonymized. But privacy advocates have been sounding the alarm, saying that geofencing and other ways that companies collect and sell cell-phone location data have the potential to reveal personal information about individual phone users.

    Some critics say geofencing churches, in particular, takes the technology too far.

    Catholic Vote planned to use the data to send targeted get-out-the-vote ads on election day telling Catholics that it was their duty “to support President Trump,” according to Bannon.

    It’s not clear whether those ads ever went out. If they did, the results were mixed. The next day, Democrat Abby Finkenauer beat out Republican incumbent Rod Blum by 51% to 45.9%, while Republican Kim Reynolds held on to the governor’s mansion.

    But the Dubuque election was just one battle in a larger war. Bannon, a cradle Catholic, has worked to shift the political landscape inside and outside the church, wooing Catholics to his brand of right-wing populism and making common cause with prominent Catholics who oppose the relatively progressive reign of Pope Francis.

    Conservative activists working to attract Catholic votes is nothing new, according John Gehring, the Catholic program director at the progressive advocacy group Faith in Public Life. But the tactics have changed.

    “Catholic activists on the right have worked closely with GOP operatives and campaigns to micro target voters for several decades,” Gehring said. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, he said, they would find ways to get parish directories.

    “The political strategy to reach Catholics is clearly more high-tech now,” he said, “but the goal of selling the Republican brand and the willingness to stretch ethical boundaries to do that is the same today.”

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque did not collect or sell the data, did not approve its collection or sale, and was not aware that its churches had been geofenced before ThinkProgress contacted it requesting comment, according to spokesperson John Robins. But he did not seem surprised.

    “I’m confused about what is newsworthy here,” Robins said in an email. “In general, this technology and methodology are not new. Both are commonplace in today’s digital environment.”

    Political groups have geofenced everything from President Donald Trump’s rallies to the Women’s March on Washington in 2017 to help them identify potential voters who may be sympathetic to their message.

    Geofencing churches is more rare, experts told ThinkProgress. But Bannon isn’t the first to do it. The Michigan GOP told Crain’s Detroit Business last year that it had geofenced evangelical Christian mega-churches….

  38. says

    Many Dem friends v. caught up in the battle btwn Medicare for All & Obamacare Plus. This is a mistake. That’s a post-election policy discussion. For voters the point is: Dems will assure every American has healthcare and GOP wants to take it away from millions.”

    Yes, this.

  39. says

    Houston Chronicle – “Sen. Ted Cruz calls for designating Antifa as a hate group”:

    Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on the U.S. Senate to designate Antifa as a hate group by passing a resolution he introduced on Thursday condemning the group.

    “Antifa is a group of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their unhinged agenda through aggressive violence,” said Cruz, who filed the measure alongside Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Lousiana. “Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their only purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views.”

    “The hate and violence they spread must be stopped, and I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Cassidy to properly identify what Antifa are: domestic terrorists,” he added….

    Kelly Weill:

    [one day after Rep. Ilhan Omar and scholars of fascism call Trump’s rally fascist] “uh, criminalize anti-fascism”

    Cruz et al pick up the far-right “anti-fascism is terrorism meme” & play on stereotypes about black blocs and anarchists because fewer people care about their rights.

    It doesn’t stop there. Fascist messaging, for years, has tried to lump all its opponents under this umbrella.

    Monitor far-right forums (I do) and you’ll see a campaign to call journalists, activists, the DSA, anarchists, aid groups, Women’s March types, regular liberals, ect “antifa terrorists.” It’s a broad brush to silence opposition to fascism (which should be your default stance).

  40. says

    Daily Beast – “George Nader, Witness in Mueller Probe, Hit With New Charges of Sex Trafficking”:

    George Nader, who was a key witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, has been hit with new federal charges of child pornography, sex trafficking, and obscenity, according to a person familiar with the case.

    The charges come on top of separate child-porn charges leveled by the same prosecutors last month. The new indictment is set to be unsealed Friday morning in the Eastern District of Virginia, according to the person.

    The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nader’s attorneys declined to comment. Nader is expected to enter a plea on the charges this morning.

    Nader, a 60-year-old Lebanese-American businessman with deep political and financial ties to the United Arab Emirates, was a key cooperator in Mueller’s probe of foreign influence in the 2016 election. Nader met several times with individuals associated with the Trump campaign throughout the election and into the early days of the administration. He spoke with officials and advisers on matters ranging from a pitch by a foreign firm for the campaign to use social-media manipulation to regime-change in Iran. (He met with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign advisors about the plan, which included a proposal to use fake avatars to garner support for Trump, but Trump officials deny they ever considered it.)

    He also helped broker a key meeting between Erik Prince, the former Blackwater CEO, and Kirill Dmitriev, the head of one of Russia’s sovereign wealth funds, in the Seychelles in January 2017. That meeting came under intense scrutiny by Mueller’s team and was described in its report as one of the ways the Russians tried to influence the incoming Trump administration….

  41. says

    Chuck Schumer: “We just landed in Texas. The conditions at the border for children and families have been inhumane. And I’m leading a delegation of @SenateDems to investigate, inspect, and evaluate conditions for migrants at facilities on the southern border.”


  42. says

    Marina Hyde – “Held captive by his carers for four weeks … let’s look at Boris Johnson’s best bits”:

    …So here we all are, staring down the barrel of the overwhelmingly predicted result. And I think we have to conclude there is literally no process as rigorous as the Tory leadership election, barring the application procedure for joining a pyramid scheme or a sex cult.

    Fire up the campaign montage, then, and let’s have a look at Boris Johnson’s best bits. Over the past four weeks alone – three-and-three-quarters of which he was kept in a padded black site by his carers in case he accidentally said piccaninnies or bumboys or fucked the help or something – Johnson has: failed to defend the UK’s most senior ambassador against an absurd attack by the US president, to a degree that contributed to that diplomat’s decision to resign; had the police called to a late-night screaming argument at his girlfriend’s flat; been exposed as incapable of understanding basic elements of his own supposed trade plans; claimed like the maddest of all mad bastards to have some wine-crate-based model-bus-building hobby; lied unnecessarily and repeatedly about everything from the total inviability of his flagship policy to how long he’d owned a bike before it was stolen; refused 26 – TWENTY-SIX – times in a row to even say when a faux paparazzi picture of him and his girlfriend was staged and taken; declined to say how many kids he has; shamelessly suggested he might prorogue parliament, taking him one step closer to his childhood ambition of being some sort of nightmare king; waved a kipper around to illustrate a claim that 30 seconds of Googling would have revealed as more complete bollocks, as has been his stock in trade for more than 30 years; and more. Much more, though for space reasons I have to draw a line here.

    So we have to ask of the Tory membership, who are still going to make this blond Pennywise their prime minister: what would have made the difference, guys? We’re really quite deep into springtime for Hitler territory here. A leadership campaign so nakedly grotesque it should have folded on page four has in fact been a runaway hit….

  43. says

    Update: The House Oversight committee wants to know whether the policy of not charging a president played a role in closing the hush-money case. ‘The Office of the President should not be used as a shield for criminal conduct’, @RepCummings says.”

  44. says

    SC @51, aaarrrggg. Ilhan Omar’s twitter feed is awash with xenophobic and hateful comments of all kinds. People and/or Russian bots/trolls are posting Omar’s image with “Death to America” text and other memes that propagate false information.

    It looks like Ilhan Omar has thousands, if not millions, of people criticizing her based on Trump’s false allegation that she “hates this country.” This is so ugly.

  45. says

    Trump revealed his ignorance about the debt ceiling, his ongoing obsession with Barrack Obama, and his tendency to repeat himself to an alarming extent … all in the course of answering one question from a reporter yesterday:

    During a brief White House Q&A yesterday, a reporter asked Donald Trump about the ongoing talks on raising the debt ceiling ahead of its looming deadline. “We’re working on the debt ceiling,” the president replied.

    Asked if the negotiations are near an agreement, Trump ignored the question and started whining anew about Barack Obama.

    “Don’t forget, you know, the debt under President Obama added more debt than every president put together. So you’re talking about a debt ceiling: President Obama added $10 trillion during his eight years. He doubled the debt. He added more debt than every president – every single President put together. President Obama doubled – more than doubled the debt.

    “So we’re talking about a debt ceiling. The previous president doubled the debt. And that’s what we get stuck with. That’s the way it is, folks.”

    Nope. That’s not the way it is, folks.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    [Trump] takes a couple of sentences and repeats them over and over again, as if that helps. The above transcript excerpt may look like a copy-and-paste error, but he really did repeat himself over the course of several seconds.

    The fact that Trump’s underlying claim is wildly misleading doesn’t help matters.

    […] does the president know what the debt ceiling is?

    Because cumulative deficits from the Obama era, whether one sees them as problematic or not, have no meaningful relevance to the raising the nation’s borrowing limit now. The necessary increase to the debt ceiling is about paying for current spending – and avoiding default – not addressing previous deficits.

    […] Trump is in no position to whine on this subject. As Paul Krugman explained in his new column, “[T]he Trump tax cut caused a huge rise in the budget deficit, which the administration expects to hit $1 trillion this year, up from less than $600 billion in 2016. This tidal wave of red ink is even more extraordinary than it looks, because it has taken place despite falling unemployment, which usually leads to a falling deficit.” […]

    As Catherine Rampbell recently added, “Federal deficits have widened immensely under Trump’s leadership. This is striking not only because he promised fiscal responsibility – at one time even pledging to eliminate the national debt within eight years – but also because it’s a historical anomaly…. Trump’s own policies are to blame for this aberration.”

    The president yesterday suggested he got “stuck with” a poor fiscal hand, bequeathed by Obama. But that’s ridiculous: Obama’s the one who dramatically shrank the deficits he inherited from the Bush/Cheney administration, while Trump is the one who’s making the deficits dramatically larger now.


  46. says

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Trump for his attacks against four American congresswomen of color. Merkel is so much more humane, so much smarter than Trump. I feel the stark contrast.

    I firmly distance myself from them [from Trump’s attacks]. I feel solidarity with the women who have been targeted.

    The strength of the United States, from my point of view, is precisely that it’s a country where people from all different kinds of nationalities have contributed to the strength of the American people. [Trump’s comments] run counter to the strength of the United States.

  47. says

    Trump doubled down on his attacks against progressive minority congresswomen, and he did so in his characteristically disingenuous and bullying way:

    I don’t know if it’s good or bad politically. I don’t care.

    Many people say it’s good. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I can tell you this: You can’t talk that way about our country. Not when I”m the president.

  48. says

    Congress critters gave a Trump a bunch of money to at least alleviate the mess he has made at the U.S.-Mexico border. Now they want him to be accountable for how he spends that money.

    […] Democrats are demanding the administration brief them on how it will implement more than $4.5 billion in recently passed funding tied to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    […] Democrats sent a letter to President Trump warning that it would be “unacceptable” for the administration to redirect the money toward unintended areas or refuse to spend the new funding, the majority of which is directed toward humanitarian aid.

    “Congress intends to scrutinize the expenditure of these funds and will use all methods of oversight to ensure that the requirements of the law are faithfully executed,” they added. […]

    In addition to a briefing, Democrats have specific asks for each of the departments, including wanting a plan from HHS on how they plan to increase staff for and services offered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a schedule from DHS for constructing new shelters and migrant processing facilities and an estimate from the Pentagon on how much it will cost to pay for activity-duty and National Guard deployments along the border.

    […] “The supplemental funding provided by Congress meets immediate acute needs at the border and has already improved conditions for children,” wrote McAleenan in the letter dated Wednesday but released Friday by DHS.

    The letter from Senate Democrats comes as Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is leading a delegation from the caucus to migrant detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border. McAleenan is joining them on the trip. […]


  49. blf says

    Martin Rowson in the Grauniad on Boris Johnson’s bid for the Tory leadership (cartoon): “The Ego is Landing”.

    At least one particular readers’s comment deserves to be mentioned:

    Ground Control to Major Boris
    Your circuit’s fucked, there’s something wrong
    Can you hear me, Major Boris?
    Can you hear me, Major Boris?
    Can you hear me, Major Boris?
    Here he is floating round his tinfoil can
    Far above the Moon
    Planet Brexit is blue
    And there’s nothing he can do…

  50. says

    F.O. @84, that’s an excellent presentation of the facts!

    SC @85, that is laughable. Sheesh. Really, Bernie?

    In other news, Susan B. Glasser wrote an article for The New Yorker that took a look at Trump’s “calculated racism.”

    On Tuesday, […] Trump convened his Cabinet in the White House. First to speak after a long, rambling, and inaccuracy-filled monologue by Trump himself was Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In a Cabinet where flowery praise of the President has become standard, Carson outdid himself. […]

    Carson is the lone African-American in Trump’s Cabinet, and Tuesday’s meeting took place forty-eight hours into a furor over the President’s Sunday-morning tweets attacking four left-wing Democratic members of Congress, all of them women of color. […] The tweets were instantly condemned as racist […] Carson was sent to Fox News to provide cover for Trump. “I have an advantage of knowing the President very well, and he’s not a racist, and his comments are not racist,” Carson told viewers. At the Cabinet meeting, Carson offered more validation for the President. Here was his contribution to the national dialogue, as recorded by the White House’s own transcript:

    secretary carson: Thank you, Mr. President. And just before I talk a little bit about what’s going on at hud, I just want to thank you for your incredible courage—

    the president: Thank you.

    secretary carson: —and stamina and resilience with unwithering criticism, unfair criticism, all the time. And I would just, sort of, sum it up by saying: Would you rather have a non-politician whose speech is unfiltered, who gets a lot of stuff done? Or somebody with a silver tongue who gets nothing done?

    the president: But I thought I had a silver tongue. [Laughter.] I heard that so often. I always thought I had a silver tongue. [Laughter.] But I agree with you.

    secretary carson: But, you know, as I told you before, I think God is using you.

    Carson’s shameless sucking up to Trump, an act of self-abasement on live television, was hard to watch. But it wasn’t treated as news. Few accounts even remarked on it. […]

    Trump himself essentially ignored Carson’s defense, not only not retreating from his tweets about the four freshman Democratic congresswomen but going to a campaign rally in North Carolina, on Wednesday night, where he launched an extensive, pre-planned attack on them. One by one, he read their names from his teleprompter, stopping when he got to that of Representative Ilhan Omar, an immigrant from Somalia, and listening with apparent approval as thousands of red-shirted maga fans chanted, “Send her back! Send her back!”

    The racism, it turns out, wasn’t a mistake, a slip of Trump’s otherwise silver tongue, as Carson would have it. It was a calculated political play, and the news of the last few days was that Trump had revealed it so clearly: this is how intends to run for reëlection, in 2020. […]

    Republicans, meanwhile, are not only sticking with Trump as the country’s division and discord deepens, they approve of it. Many are even cheering him on. […] Whatever you call what is happening in America right now, Trump is convinced it is working for him, […]

    A number of Republicans on Capitol Hill, for their part, showed how ridiculous they are willing to make themselves look by condemning the racist chanting of Trump’s North Carolina rally fans while steadfastly refusing to condemn the racist tweets of the President those fans were echoing. […]

    And by now we have seen Trump take back his mild earlier criticism of the rally crowd’s chant of “Send Her Back!” He said, “I disagreed with it.” Apparently, he has changed his mind again. He is back to blasting the congresswomen as being unAmerican, and he is back to praising his rally crowd as “patriots” who “love America.”

  51. says

    From Jane Coaston:

    […] the president says something offensive, waits for political allies to either quietly condemn the comments or embrace them with explanations of how they aren’t offensive, and then says something else egregious mere days later. It has continued apace. […]

    Even as some [conservatives] continue to debate the best possible interpretation of his comments — or even the most desperately hoped for interpretation, however unlikely — what this incident showed, again, is that Trump thinks his supporters want to hear racist invective, and he is more than prepared to give it to them. […]

    From desperate conservative Matt Wolking:

    Anyone who says the president told members of Congress to go back to where they came from is lying.

    He told them to “Then come back and show us how it is done.”

    More from Jane Coaston:

    […] the president’s ire is laser-focused on the lawmakers’ purported un-Americanness for inadequately loving the country in which they were born or, in Omar’s case, immigrated to. In fact, before the rally in North Carolina began, Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump led the crowd in a call-and-response chant, saying, “If you don’t love our country, the president said it, you can …” to which the crowd responded, “Leave.”

    It’s worth noting here that Trump himself campaigned largely on America being, in his words, “a hellhole” only he could fix. […]

    Although Trump said Thursday that he “disagreed” with the chanting, he said the same about the infamous “lock her up” chants of 2016 before bringing them up approvingly in a debate against Hillary Clinton. […]

    But this entire news cycle has happened before, and will happen again, and will create the same result. Trump will say something racist, and many on the right will object, decrying a lack of civility on all sides. Trump’s biggest defenders will then try to explain how his comments weren’t racist but actually incredibly sensible. […]

    “For a critical mass of conservatives, it is a sign that a given act is actually praiseworthy and brave if it draws condemnation from the despised left-wing media.” […]

  52. says

    Michael Cohen tweeted: “I welcome the opportunity to return to Congress to once again testify under oath truthfully and honestly regarding the hush money payments, which was performed at the direction and in accordance with @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. Justice will be served.”

  53. says

    Elie Mystal in the Nation – “Tom Friedman Has No Idea What He’s Talking About”:

    …Look, the moral eye of history is fixated squarely on the moderates and unaffiliated independents this election cycle. Donald Trump is a bigot and a misogynist, who commits crimes against humanity. That is no longer even up for debate. Either independents will support the bigoted atrocities committed by the Trump administration, or they won’t. This is the moral test of this election. Progressives cannot bribe moderates into having a conscience. All progressives can do is make the choice faced by the country clear and unambiguous.

    We are for compassion; Trump is for cruelty. We are for democracy; Trump is for tyranny. This is not a hard choice.

    If you are one of those voters who really is struggling with the choice between the Democratic nominee (whoever that turns out to be) and the Republican one, let me propose my own Friedman-style technological solution: Take out your phone, put it in selfie-mode, and record a video of yourself saying, “Turns out, I am a selfish ogre and I’m comfortable sending the country to hell.”

    There, I’ve solved your unaffiliated independent conundrum. If you are comfortable making that video, then you are golden. You no longer have to worry if the specific mechanism to pay for universal health care is so “extreme” that you are just going to have to vote for a racist authoritarian who is likely running the most corrupt administration in American history. That video tells you who you are and what you’re going to do. You can go back to clubbing baby seals, or whatever it is that you do, and patting yourself on the back for that one time you totally almost voted for the black guy.

    Unlike Friedman, I’m not afraid of losing this kind of “moderate” voter, because I know that the things I’d have to do to get their vote would involve “self-deporting” back to “Africa” where those voters think I’m from. Friedman is willing to sell out every progressive constituency to chase independents, because people like him never have to pay the price of the compromise he offers. I do. Women do. Little kids who were brought to this country by their parents and now need to see a doctor have to pay when we abandon our commitment to provide health care for everybody, regardless of status.

    I’m not afraid because I think most independents and moderates are not like most of today’s Republicans. I think that, unlike those Republicans, most independents and moderates will make the correct moral decision, as long as Democrats explain that they’re being asked to make a moral decision and not a political one.

    Either way, if you are an independent, my suggested video should solve your problem. I have unburdened you. You can vote for a racist, or not. You can vote for a sexual predator, or not. No more time need be wasted, by you or on you, trying to figure out if you will or won’t vote for the racist president. No more column inches need be devoted to your mewling about which progressive policies are making it hard for you to reject white supremacy.

    If people like Thomas Friedman want to be part of the Democratic solution, that is fine. He is welcome. But if wants to hold his vote hostage until progressives pay a large enough ransom in Friedman Units, he can quiet on down. This election cycle, the Democratic Party will not be negotiating with hostage-takers.

    Independents are welcome to join this fight against evil, but they will not lead it. If you ask me, letting the centrist tail lead the progressive dog is how we got into this ass-backwards mess in the first place.

  54. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 91

    I’m confused… when did Oliver Stone, of all people, become a fascist?

  55. says

    SC @89, I agree. Maybe they could put Trump on a ten second delay, and then they’d have time to interrupt the drivel in order to insert fact-checking, (to call out the lies), as often as necessary. Otherwise, don’t air Trump at all. You do a disservice to your viewers. Air a couple of highlights later, along with ample commentary to call out the lies.

  56. says

    As temperatures rise, the poor suffer most.

    […] take the watermelon picker in Five Points, California, who collapsed on the way to his vehicle after a six-hour shift in temperatures above 100 Fahrenheit. No one on the team got a break that day, according to a colleague, despite state labor laws. When the man was pronounced dead at he hospital, his body temperature was 109 Fahrenheit. The company was fined $25,750. […]

    The heat wave gripping much of the country has already been blamed for six deaths. As global temperatures continue to rise and heat waves become more common and extreme, it is the poor, the elderly, laborers, and people with medical conditions who will be at the greatest risk. […]

    Research has shown that climate change and the resulting heat waves will hit large urban areas particularly hard, in part because the concrete, brick, steel, and glass these cities are built from creates “heat islands” that trap heat during the day then slowly release it overnight, preventing the city from cooling down once the sun sets.

    […] the poor, minorities, and the homeless, who tend to be concentrated in cities and may not have the resources to stay in air-conditioned buildings when temperatures soar.

    […] The advocacy group Public Citizen launched a campaign last year to get the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to put tighter rules in place to protect workers during heat waves.

    Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia — son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a lifelong opponent of labor regulations — to head the Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA.

  57. says

    From Wonkette:

    Early this morning, Donald Trump got up and had an IDEA. “I know,” he said to himself, “I will spend my morning retweeting Katie Hopikins, a British woman known far and wide as the kind of bigot who regularly calls black people ‘jigaboos’ and who refers to immigrants as ‘feral humans.’ Surely, her proclamation that telling several non-white congresswomen to go back to where they came from is not racist will impress everyone! If anyone ought to be the arbiter of what is and is not racist, it should be this one lady who once said that she loved racial profiling and didn’t mind if people called her a racist because of that.”

    And that is just what he did. […]

    Then there’s this precious moment, in which Hopkins retweeted some Nazis who were praising her for saying that racial profiling was a good thing. […]

    Hopkins is also quite known for going around yelling at various celebrities for not losing their pregnancy weight fast enough — a habit that, while not as appalling as these other statements, is still pretty gross. Basically, she just is an all around terrible person in every way it is humanly possible to be a terrible person.

    The icing on the cake, however, was Trump’s final Katie Hopkins retweet, in which he said he had no responsibility for the chant, but that the people chanting it were just very patriotic […]

    Unfortunately for Trump supporters, this kind of “patriotism” can also get them fired from their jobs. Why just this past week, a fella in Naperville, Illinois lost his job at a Bucky’s Convenience Store for telling some customers to go back to where they came from. […]

    Sadly for this “patriot,” Trump led him to believe that this is a perfectly acceptable and patriotic way to behave and treat people, and now he has no job.

    In case you were considering giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps he doesn’t even know who she [Katie Hopikins] is… well, it turns out he’s been a fan for a while. […]

    Lots of Twitter and video excerpts at the link.

  58. says

    Internal drug company emails show indifference to the opioid epidemic.

    […] In January 2009, Borelli [Victor Borelli, a national account manager for Mallinckrodt] told Cochrane [Steve Cochrane, the vice president of sales for KeySource Medical] in another email that 1,200 bottles of oxycodone 30 mg tablets had been shipped.

    “Keep ’em comin’!” Cochrane responded. “Flyin’ out of there. It’s like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are. . .”

    Borelli responded: “Just like Doritos keep eating. We’ll make more.” […]

    Washington Post link

  59. says

    An excerpt from an article published by WIRED magazine:

    […] As the astronauts began the first stage of their descent, the engine ignited and the computer slotted the lander into an elliptical orbit that brought them within 50,000 feet of the surface. From there, Aldrin keyed in a new program, dropping the lander from orbit into a contact course with the moon.

    For the next three minutes, the cratered lunar landscape grew closer, until, at around 46,000 feet, Armstrong rotated the vehicle, pointing the landing radar toward the surface while the astronauts turned to face Earth. The moon’s gravity is irregular, and to account for this, the astronauts had to take new measurements. With the void outside his window, Aldrin punched in a request to compare the lander’s calculated position with the reading from the radar.

    He was answered by a klaxon ringing in his earpiece. Aldrin hurriedly keyed in the two-digit code 5-9-Enter, which translated, roughly, as “display alarm.” The console responded with error code “1202.” Despite his months of simulations, Aldrin didn’t know what this one meant; Armstrong, equally baffled, radioed Mission Control for clarification. The stress in his voice was audible, but only later would the two men learn how bad things really were. In that critical moment, hurtling like a lawn dart toward the surface of the moon, the Apollo guidance computer had crashed. […]<

    what if the computer continued to behave unpredictably? In addition to running the spacecraft’s guidance and navigation systems, the computer assisted Armstrong with steering and control. Below a certain altitude—100 feet or so—an abort was no longer possible, and Armstrong would be forced to attempt a landing even if his computer was malfunctioning. He had little margin for error. On a hard crash landing, the astronauts might be killed; on a not-so-hard crash landing, the astronauts might survive, only to be stranded on the moon. In this nightmare scenario, Mission Control would bid Armstrong and Aldrin farewell, then cut communication as the two prepared to asphyxiate. Michael Collins, in the command module, would make the long journey back to Earth alone. […]

    Armstrong resumed assessing the course. Apollo 10 had reconnoitered the landing area, and Armstrong had spent hours studying those photographs, committing landmarks to memory. He’d noticed earlier that his trajectory was a little long, but before he could fully react, Aldrin queried the computer for altitude data. As before, he was answered by an alarm. The computer had crashed again. […]

    finally, at less than 2,000 feet above the lunar surface, the computer had its worst crash yet.

    The alarm blared and the lander’s readout went dead. For 10 long seconds, the console displayed nothing—no altitude data, no error codes, just three blank fields. Armstrong’s heart began to race, rising to 150 beats per minute, the same as that of a man at the end of a sprint. With the moonscape zipping by outside his window, he was the closest any human had ever been to another world, but, like a distracted driver, his attention was focused on the computer. […]

    The alarm subsided, but just seconds later came another reboot, another dropout of the display, this last one just 800 feet or so above the surface. That made five crashes in four minutes […]

  60. tomh says

    from Howe on the Court:
    Amy Howe
    Challengers respond in dispute over funding for border wall

    The battle over the Trump administration’s efforts to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico continued to unfold today. Last week the federal government asked the Supreme Court to put on hold a district court’s order that prohibited the government from using $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds for construction of the wall. This afternoon the Sierra Club and the Southern Borders Communities Coalition, which filed the challenge to the use of the funds for construction of the wall, pushed back, urging the justices to deny the government’s request.

    In a 50-page brief filed shortly before 4 p.m. EDT, lawyers for the challengers told the justices that giving the government the relief it seeks would have the opposite effect from the general purpose of a stay, which is to maintain the status quo while the court considers the case. If a stay is granted and wall construction begins, the challengers warned ominously, “there will be no turning back.”

    The challengers emphasized that, once Congress had declined to allocate the funds for the wall that the administration had requested, the administration could not transfer funds from the Department of Defense to the Department of Homeland Security to accomplish the same thing. They recounted the history of the Trump administration’s request for $5.7 billion to fund 234 miles of construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress denied that request, they stressed, allocating “only a fraction of the money” for construction of fencing in eastern Texas. “Eleven days later,” they continued, “DHS requested that DoD transfer billions to DHS for it to construct ‘approximately 218 miles of barriers’” outside of Texas – despite a “deliberate decision by Congress” not to fund those barriers.

    And the challengers questioned whether a stay was even necessary, citing several examples of what they characterized as the government’s delays on appeal. Moreover, they added, although Congress had allocated over $1.5 billion for barriers along the border during fiscal year 2018, as of the end of April of this year the government had only built 1.7 miles of fencing with that funding.

    Despite the abbreviated briefing schedule – Justice Elena Kagan, who serves as the circuit justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, gave the challengers just one week to respond – there were four “friend of the court” briefs filed today – three supporting the challengers and one supporting the Trump administration. One brief supporting the challengers came from the U.S. House of Representatives. It told the justices that, through “a hard-fought political battle, Congress unmistakably refused to appropriate funding for the construction of a border wall in the amounts that the Administration sought, and the Administration is violating the Appropriations Clause by nevertheless spending money Congress refused to provide.”

  61. lumipuna says

    Lynna @98:

    Apparently, Trump claims he made a call to Swedish PM Stefan Löfven on Saturday, which achieved basically nothing, except they agreed to have “another call within 48 hours”. This sounds like a prelude to some tiresome phone harassment, although I half suspect these calls aren’t actually happening. It could be just pretension of doing something (that is, something remarkably ham-handed).

    When Trump was bragging about allegedly preparing for the first call, Löfven gave a brief statement (according to Finnish media) saying that he’d receive the call and try to explain Trump how justice works. By now, I haven’t seen any confirmation that the call happened.

  62. says

    lumipuna @102, a call between the two leaders was confirmed by the the prime minister’s press secretary, Toni Eriksson.

    […] Toni Eriksson, confirmed hours later that Lofven and Trump had a conversation that “was friendly and respectful and lasted about 20 minutes.”

    Lofven “made certain to emphasize the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts,” Eriksson said in a statement. “He underlined that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings.”

    The two leaders may have a follow-up call, “but nothing has been booked or planned,” she said.

    Lofven had issued a statement earlier Saturday saying he would be glad to speak with Trump about A$AP Rocky’s detention but giving the same warning about his government’s unwillingness to interfere.

    “I understand that President Trump has a personal interest in the case,” the prime minister said before they spoke. “He has expressed the desire for a conversation with me, which is certainly positive.”

    Rocky has been behind bars while Swedish police investigate the fight in Stockholm he allegedly was in before appearing at a music festival. Videos published on social media appear to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky. A defense lawyer has said it was self-defense. […]


  63. says

    Ripples of bullshit and violence are emanating from Trump’s racist tweets and comments about four congresswomen.

    A policeman in Gretna, Lousiana made a Facebook post last week suggesting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) should be shot.

    The Times-Picayune reported this weekend that police officer Charlie Rispoli had posted a threatening message about Ocasio-Cortez, who used to work as a bartender, on his Facebook page.

    “This vile idiot needs a round…and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli wrote in a caption above a fake article headlined with “Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much’”

    The cop seemed livid about the article, even though the site Taters Gonna Tate describes itself as a “satire” website and Ocasio-Cortez has never said that soldiers get paid “too much.” […]

    “Whether you agree or disagree with the message of these elected officials and how frustrated you may or may not get, this certainly is not the type of thing that a public servant should be posting,” he [Gretna city police chief Arthur Lawson] continued.

    However, Lawson said that any punishment Rispoli may get for the post will not be made public. [Why not!?]

    The incident highlights how several members of law enforcement have taken to social media to smear the progressive congresswoman.

    Earlier this month, ProPublica exposed a secret Facebook group made up of over 9,000 former and current Border Patrol officials featuring with racist and misogynist memes of not only migrants, but Ocasio-Cortez as well. One image depicted the congresswoman having sex with a migrant, while another portrayed President Donald Trump forcing her to give him oral sex.


    “The cop seemed livid about the article, even though the site Taters Gonna Tate describes itself as a “satire” website and Ocasio-Cortez has never said that soldiers get paid ‘too much.'” Yes. Many of the so-called patriots that support Trump are posting false information to justify the fact that they are promoting violence against some congresswomen.

  64. says

    Team Trump’s favorite white supremacist in the White House, went on morning news programs today and tried to defend Trump’s hypocrisy and racism. It didn’t go well, not even on Fox News.

    Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser said to be the architect of the administration’s cruel anti-immigrant policies, went on Fox News Sunday […]

    Host Chris Wallace began the interview by asking Miller about Trump’s recent tweets attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and demanding that they go back to their home countries (Omar was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a child, the other three are natural-born citizens). Miller responded that the president isn’t a racist because the jobless rate has been falling for racial minorities.

    “I think the term ‘racist,’ Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by left/Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don’t want to hear,” Miller began, asserting that Trump “has been a president for all Americans” because of “historically low black unemployment rates, historically low Hispanic unemployment rates,” and his crackdown on immigration “to protect safety, security, rising wages for all American citizens.”

    Wallace responded that Trump’s claims that Mexican immigrants are mostly rapists and drug dealers and his proposed total ban on Muslims were “not protecting the American people” but “playing the race card.”

    After Miller tried to change the subject to criminal gang members, Wallace shut him down, reminding him that Trump had pushed racist “birther” attacks on Barack Obama. Miller likened those efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the former president to questions that were once raised about John McCain. Wallace quickly fact-checked him, noting that concerns surrounding the late Arizona senator were not racial, but based on the 2008 nominee’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone.

    Miller then argued that questioning people’s Americanism is okay as long as you don’t intend it to be racist.

    Wallace also fact-checked Miller when he attempted to claim Trump had been “clear” that he disagreed with his supporters’ racist chant — repeating his own attacks on Omar and demanding she be sent back to Somalia.

    “No, he was clear after the fact,” he responded. “He let it go on for 13 seconds and [it] was only when it diminished that he started talking again.” Wallace noted that Trump “said nothing there or in his tweet after that rally that indicated any concern about the chant.”

    Wallace also pointed out that Trump has criticized the four lawmakers for comments he deemed critical of America, yet attacked the nation, and Obama, with comments that were far more negative. “President Obama is ignorant, this country is killers, on and on.”

    Miller attempted to spin a “fundamental distinction” between “people who think we need to lean into and strengthen American’s core values” and “people who think we need to turn America into Venezuela.” But Wallace again responded with Trump’s own quotes that were explicit attacks on America.

    “I’ve never called any of his tweets racist,” Wallace admonished Miller. “But there’s no question he is stoking racial divisions.”

    Think Progress link

  65. says

    From Senator Cory Booker:

    The reality is, this is a guy [Trump] who is worse than a racist. He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gains, trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself.

    This is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace, to racists who use — he’s using the exact same language.

    As somebody texted me during [Trump’s] rallies, I have seen this before — in black and white. And now I’m seeing it again decades later, where I thought our country was beyond this. I’m seeing this in full color.

  66. says

    Violence done in Trump’s name:

    A New York man charged with murdering the alleged boss of the Gambino Mafia family believed he was carrying out a mission on behalf of […] Trump, his lawyer said in court documents, according to the New York Times.

    Anthony Comello of Staten Island allegedly shot and killed Francesco “Frankie Boy” Cali outside of Cali’s home in March, which law enforcement initially suspected was the opening salvo in a turf war after decades of relative piece between New York’s five major families.

    However, according to a filing from his attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb, Comello had no affiliations with the Mafia and instead believed Cali was an agent of the “deep state” and believed he was authorized by Trump to arrest him. Gottlieb said that Comello had brought handcuffs with him and only shot Cali after he refused to submit to a citizen’s arrest and reached for his waistband.

    Gottlieb, who sought to prove in the filing that Comello was not liable by reason of insanity, wrote that his client was a subscriber to the “QAnon” conspiracy theory, which claims that Trump is secretly working against a powerful network of pedophiles that control world institutions, according to the Times.

    “Mr. Comello’s support for ‘QAnon’ went beyond mere participation in a radical political organization,” Gottlieb wrote. “It evolved into a delusional obsession.” […]

    Gottlieb wrote that his client also contacted federal marshals at Manhattan’s Federal District Court to ask them to aid him in capturing Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), believing they were nearby, according to the Times. Law enforcement confirmed both incidents. […]

    The Hill link

    How many of Trump’s followers are “not liable by reason of insanity”? Seems like a stretch to claim insanity. Cult-like behavior, yes.

  67. says

    A Royal Navy warship tried to stop Iran from seizing a British tanker, leaked audio reveals. Iran took it anyway.

    […] In recordings obtained by the shipping consultancy Dryad Global and posted on its website Sunday, a member of the Revolutionary Guard is heard ordering the British-flagged Stena Impero tanker to divert course toward Iran.

    “Alter your course,” the man says. “If you obey you will be safe.”

    A British naval officer interrupts, telling the Stena Impero that it has the right to proceed through the waterway.

    “Under international law your passage must not be impeded, obstructed or hampered,” he says.

    The British officer then addresses the Iranian: “Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board the MV Stena.” […]

    Soon after the exchange was recorded, Iranian commandos wearing balaclavas brazenly descended from a helicopter by rope onto the deck of the tanker, as Iranian fastboats closed in by sea, video posted by Iranian media shows. No British warships were in sight.

    On Sunday evening, Iran’s Press TV showed footage of the Stena Impero at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, flying an Iranian flag. There was no sign of its 23-member crew, most of whom are Indian nationals. Iranian media quoted Iranian officials on Sunday as saying the crew is safe. […]

    Hundreds of Islamic State militants are slipping back into Iraq. Their fight isn’t over.

    Islamic State militants who escaped the defeat of their caliphate in Syria earlier this year have been slipping across the border into Iraq, bolstering a low-level insurgency the group is now waging across the central and northern part of the country, according to security officials.

    About 1,000 fighters have crossed into Iraq over the past eight months, most of them in the aftermath of the caliphate’s collapse in March, said Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who advises Iraq’s government and foreign aid agencies.

    These fighters, mostly Iraqis who followed the Islamic State into Syria, are now returning home to join militant cells that have been digging into rugged rural areas, sustained by intimate knowledge of the local terrain, including concealed tunnels and other hiding places. […]

    the Islamic State remains steadfast. “The war is not finished yet,” said the narrator of a gruesome video released last month, which included footage of nighttime assassinations. “There are many chapters between us and you, and they will be written with blood.”

    What we don’t need now is Trump, (and John Bolton FFS), ratcheting up tensions in the Middle east.

    However, Trump has sent troops to Saudi Arabia.

    With Iranian military threats in mind, the United States is sending American forces, including fighter aircraft, air defense missiles and likely more than 500 troops, to a Saudi air base that became a hub of American air power in the Middle East in the 1990s but was abandoned by Washington after it toppled Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein in 2003.

    The Saudi Foreign Ministry announced the basing agreement Friday without mentioning details.

    Senior American defense officials said some U.S. troops and Patriot air defense missile systems have already arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Riyadh, where the troops have been preparing for the arrival of aircraft later this summer as well as additional troops. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide details not publicly announced. […]

    “This movement of forces provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats,” Central Command said. “This movement creates improvement of operational depth and logistical networks. U.S. Central Command continually assesses force posture in the region and is working with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia authorities to base U.S. assets at the appropriate locations.”

    Putting U.S. combat forces back in Saudi Arabia, after an absence of more than a decade, adds depth to the regional alignment of U.S. military power, which is mostly in locations on the Persian Gulf that are more vulnerable to Iranian missile attack.

    But it also introduces a political and diplomatic complication for the Trump administration, accused by critics of coddling the Saudis even after the murder last fall of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Many in Congress now question the decades-old U.S.-Saudi security alliance and oppose major new arms sales to the kingdom. […]

    Military Times link

  68. says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #94:

    @ 91

    I’m confused… when did Oliver Stone, of all people, become a fascist?

    I don’t know! He made some great films. JFK was already worrisome. Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States was for me unwatchable.

    I don’t have much knowledge about it, but it seems to me a case of ideological stagnation and hardening (against anything believed to be represented by the US and in favor of anything claiming to represent its antithesis) combined with authoritarianism and an extreme weakness for conspiratorial thinking. Putin and his regime are so immensely different from, say, the character of Carl Fox in Wall Street that Stone’s Putin-boosting seems astonishing. However, he appears to be a sexist, rather an asshole, and a surprisingly superficial thinker. While some of his films would appear to indicate a greater depth of thought and emotion, aspects of his personality draw him to, and make him ripe for exploitation by, a manipulator like Putin. Initially making his name as an artist by opposing everything Putin obviously stands for, he’s now become a Putin shill and lapdog and disgusting propagandist. My two cents.

  69. says

    Some recent Stone tweets:

    “Serious investigation of #CIA, #FBI, #NSA – specifically @JohnBrennan, @Comey, and #Clapper – needed now more than ever. The source of #Russiagate needs to be pinned down in incredibly irresponsible #IntelligenceReport of Jan ’17- the WMD of this decade!”

    “It seems like a dream that @TulsiGabbard could become #President, but I’d still love to see it happen. Tulsi vs. Trump in 2020 — what a debate! And I bet you the lady would win.” (According to WP, he voted for Jill Stein in 2016.)

    “We may hate @realDonaldTrump, but #MSM pushing #Russiagate narrative full of holes more destructive. Down this path leads to Trump victory in 2020 and possible #nuclear confrontation.”

    He hasn’t for some reason linked to his interview with Putin the other day (linked at my link above), which includes:

    …Oliver Stone: You know, young people in America sometimes, they are different.

    Vladimir Putin: Young people are different everywhere.

    Oliver Stone: They are spoiled to some degree in the western world.

    Vladimir Putin: It depends. The older generation always says that about the younger generation.

    Oliver Stone: Yeah, I know, I know. That’s true. But I don’t know what is going on with the American culture. It’s very strange right now.

    Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

    Oliver Stone: As you know, I’ve been very rebel all my life. Still am. And I have to tell you, I’m shocked by some of the behaviours and the thinking of the new generation. It takes so much for granted. And so much of the argument, so much of the thinking, so much of the newspaper, television commentaries about gender, people identify themselves, and social media, this and that, I’m male, I’m female, I’m transgender, I’m cisgender. It goes on forever, and there is a big fight about who is who. It seems like we miss the bigger point.

    Vladimir Putin: They live too well. They have nothing to think about.

    Oliver Stone: Yeah, but it’s not a healthy culture.

    Vladimir Putin: Well, yes.

    Oliver Stone: Years ago when we were talking about homosexuality, you said that in Russia we don’t propagate it.

    Vladimir Putin: Not exactly. We have a law banning propaganda among minors.

    Oliver Stone: Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about. It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law.

    Vladimir Putin: It is aimed at allowing people to reach maturity and then decide who they are and how they want to live. There are no restrictions at all after this….

    What an absolute horror.

  70. F.O. says

    Something that has frustrated me for a long time is how facts and arguments are worthless against the authoritarian mindset.
    Because of this, I find <href=””>this thread by Tim Wise particularly useful, especially since it comes from someone with actual experience.

    TL;DR: don’t waste your time with authoritarians. They won’t vote for you anyway.
    Instead, tell your story so that it energizes your base, win by increasing voter turnout.

  71. F.O. says

    (Yes, I totally am a professional web dev -_-)

    Something that has frustrated me for a long time is how facts and arguments are worthless against the authoritarian mindset.
    Because of this, I find this thread by Tim Wise particularly useful, especially since it comes from someone with actual experience.

    TL;DR: don’t waste your time with authoritarians. They won’t vote for you anyway.
    Instead, tell your story so that it energizes your base, win by increasing voter turnout.

  72. says

    Guardian – “Alan Duncan quits as minister before Boris Johnson arrival at No 10”:

    Alan Duncan has resigned as a Foreign Office minister ahead of the expected arrival of Boris Johnson at Downing Street, the latest in a string of ministers to pre-emptively quit their jobs in protest at his likely direction as prime minister.

    The departure of Duncan followed the announcements on Sunday by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and David Gauke, the justice secretary, that they will quit on Wednesday, just before Johnson formally becomes prime minister.

    Other cabinet ministers have been tipped to follow, including Rory Stewart, the international development secretary who was also in the Tory leadership race. Duncan’s decision is arguably even less of a surprise given his criticisms of Johnson, with whom he spent two years working at the Foreign Office.

    In a letter to Theresa May, which Duncan tweeted a photo of, the MP said he was resigning ahead of the changeover of PM “in order to be free to express my views in advance of you relinquishing office”.

    In the letter, Duncan hailed the work of the Foreign Office, adding: “It is tragic that just when we could have been the dominant intellectual and political force throughout Europe, and beyond, we have had to spend every working day beneath the dark cloud of Brexit.”…

  73. says

    Elizabeth Warren – “The Coming Economic Crash — And How to Stop It”:

    I warned about an economic crash years before the 2008 crisis, but the people in power wouldn’t listen. Now I’m seeing serious warning signs in the economy again — and I’m calling on regulators and Congress to act before another crisis costs America’s families their homes, jobs, and savings.

    I’ve spent most of my career getting to the bottom of what’s happening to working families in America. And when I saw the seeds of the 2008 crisis growing, I rang the alarm as loud as I could.

    When I look at the economy today, I see a lot to worry about again. I see a manufacturing sector in recession. I see a precarious economy that is built on debt — both household debt and corporate debt — and that is vulnerable to shocks. And I see a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble.

    Warning lights are flashing. Whether it’s this year or next year, the odds of another economic downturn are high — and growing. Congress and regulators should act immediately to tamp down these threats before it’s too late.

    Much more at the link.

    This is a bizarre take from the Politico reporter covering Warren’s campaign: “Making this prediction public is a political gamble. If no crash occurs and most Americans feel good about the economy in Nov. 2020 then this post could be a liability. But if the economy does take a downturn, Warren would be in a position to benefit politically.”

    She believes, on the basis of the evidence, that a crash is coming in the medium term. Her point is that she doesn’t want it to occur, at any point, and is arguing that her policies would prevent it. Since she knows they won’t be implemented before November 2020, her best-case scenario is that it doesn’t come before then so that she can put policies in place to avert it. She’s not making any prediction that the crash – not just a “downturn” – will happen before the election.

  74. says

    OK, reading again and Warren does say “this year or next” and “downturn,” but I think because she wants to encourage a sense of urgency. My point that it’s bizarre to reduce this to the political implications of the prediction rather than her real concern about another economic catastrophe and what needs to be done to avert it stands.

  75. says

    CNN – “Ukraine’s comedian president won big in parliamentary elections. It will strengthen his hand against Putin”:

    Television comedian Volodymyr Zelensky seized headlines when he swept Ukraine’s presidential elections in May. Now the Ukrainian president appears set to dramatically refashion the country’s political landscape.

    According to preliminary results posted Monday by Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, Zelensky’s Servant of the People party looks poised to win a possible outright majority in parliamentary elections that were held Sunday.

    According to the CEC, his newly formed party won 42.5% of the party-list vote, well ahead of several other parties that need to pass the 5% threshold to gain seats in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. And his party also appears to be sweeping up votes in individual constituencies, racking up another 125 seats.

    The results are not final: As of Monday morning, around 55% of the votes had been counted. But it no longer appears that Zelensky will need to enter into a coalition to form a government.

    And that represents a stunning turn of events in this fractious post-Soviet republic.

    As president, Zelensky will have to contend with a powerful, nuclear-armed neighbor led by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Putin has made clear that he does not see Ukrainian statehood as something natural or legitimate.

    In a recent conversation with American film director Oliver Stone — who has endorsed the Kremlin’s view that the Maidan Revolution was in fact a Western-orchestrated coup d’etat — Putin said that some form of reunification between Russia and Ukraine was inevitable, given the intertwined histories of the two Slavic nations.

    “I believe that Russians and Ukrainians are actually one people,” Putin said.

    “One people, two nations?” Stone asked.

    “One nation, in fact,” Putin replied.

    Whatever thoughts Putin may have about the legitimacy of Ukrainian statehood, Sunday’s parliamentary election appeared to be a firm rebuke. The pro-Russian Opposition Platform party came in a distant second to Zelensky’s party, garnering 12.9% of the party-list vote, according to the latest preliminary results.

    And that gives Zelensky a much more unified front when it comes to negotiating with Putin.

    Already, the two leaders have discussed a potential prisoner swap, and a resounding parliamentary victory may — potentially — give Zelensky a stronger hand when it comes to playing poker with Putin.

    Guardian – “Puerto Rico protesters to block highway as governor remains defiant”:

    Puerto Rico is braced for more massive protests as the US territory’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, clings to power despite resigning as president of the ruling New Progressive Party on Sunday and announcing he will not run for re-election next year.

    Hundreds of thousands will take part in a general strike across the island on Monday as protesters plan to flood one of the island’s busiest highways. Demonstrations demanding Rosselló’s resignation have gripped the island since hundreds of pages of leaked text messages between the governor and 11 members of his inner circle were published on 13 July.

    The messages contain homophobic and sexist slurs against political rivals and cultural figures. They also contain a joke about dead bodies during Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

    Organizers have branded the planned shutdown “660,510 + 1”, representative of the number of people who voted for Rosselló plus one, in order to reject the governor’s suggestion that he is not resigning due to his popular mandate.

    Rosselló and the 11 others implicated in the message scandal have been issued summonses by the island’s justice department. While a number of those in the chat group, including the former secretary of state Luís Rivera Marín, have resigned over the affair, Rosselló has maintained the messages contained nothing illegal.

    The administration has been plagued by corruption scandals since Maria and has hardened an austerity drive, under an unelected fiscal control board overseen in Washington, amid a multibillion-dollar debt crisis.

    Shortly before the text message scandal erupted, the FBI arrested a number of administration officials and contractors – including Rosselló’s former education secretary – over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of $15.5m (£12.5m) in federal funds apportioned to Puerto Rico after Maria.

    Many protesters have carried placards with the number 4,645, the estimated death toll in the wake of Maria, according to a Harvard research paper. Rosselló’s administration had initially recorded Maria’s death toll at 64, before eventually revising the number to 2,975.

    The island continues to reel from the effects of the devastating hurricane amid a faltering recovery effort led by the Trump administration.

  76. says

    Excellent thread by Jay Rosen:

    …Summarizing my tips for the American press: Suspend normal relations with the Trump regime. Try it this way: his actions are reported, but he is not the main character. Move the Truth Sandwich up on your menu. Open a Gaslight Desk. Anchor your journalism in a citizens agenda….

  77. blf says

    Illinois Republicans remove offensive Facebook post about Jihad Squad:

    An Illinois Republican group has apologized and removed from its Facebook page a post that showed images of four Democratic congresswomen who have been criticized by Donald Trump and referred to them as the Jihad Squad.

    The post appeared on Friday night on the Republican County Chairmen’s Association page. […]

    Captions said Political jihad is their game” and “If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.


    Mark Shaw, president of the Republican group, condemned what he called an unauthorized post and apologized to anyone offended.


    The Grauniad doesn’t quote from (or link to) the so-called apology, and I cannot find it on their website (which I will not link to). It seems to be on their Farcebork page, and reads, in part: This unauthorized posting is an unfortunate distraction from the serious debate surrounding the policies advocated by these four socialist members of the United States House of Representatives of which I strongly disagree. Republican opposition to their proposed ‘Green New Deal’, elimination of all private health insurance, open borders and anti-Semitic posturing has nothing to do with these Representative’s races or religion. As expected, not sincere at all. Fascist posturing.

  78. blf says

    Not political at all, but I’m mildly amused by this France24 article, France braces for another heatwave as record temperature revised up to 46°C. The first half is about the headline’s impending heatwave and includes sensible advice; the second half is all about an even more important (tongue-in-cheek!) subject, the impact on this year’s vin production.

    (Currently, locally, it’s only about 30°C, albeit the forecasts I’m seeing suggest it may reach about 33°C (c.92°F) later in the week. The record-setting location is some 100-plus km away, not too far from where I used to live.)

  79. blf says

    Rather off-topic… I’m using Firefox 68.0 on Linux, and articles at the LA Times site do not scroll vertically (e.g., Under Trump, the U.S. emphasis on human rights abroad is shifting toward religious protections), no matter whether I use the mouse’s scroll-wheel or the arrow-keys. They do scroll vertically in Opera 62.0 (please do not even suggest I try Chrome). The main page vertically scrolls, but most(? all?) articles do not. Any ideas?

    This started quite recently (last few weeks), but I’ve no idea if it’s due to Firefox or the site, both of which have changed / updated in the same time-frame.

    Some poking about on the ‘Net, and in the site’s CSS, makes me suspect the culprit is body {transition: opacity ease-in 0.2s; } body[unresolved] {opacity: 0; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: relative; }, but I’m inept with Firefox’s CSS Inspector / Editor feature and cannot prove it. It doesn’t help I’ve forgotten most CSS. (My guess, partly supported by comments on the ‘Net, is Opera (and whatever browsers the LA Times used to test) ignores the apparently-silly body overflow:hidden, whereas Firefox does not.)

  80. says

    SC @117, that report from Politico highlights one of the things I dislike about political/horse race reporting: it only looks at the near term. It’s as if political reporters are teaching readers and viewers to have a short attention span … or at the very least, to make decisions that are lacking in perspective.

    Elizabeth Warren is the opposite of all that.

  81. blf says

    ‘Our paychecks bounced’: US workers in limbo as coalmines suddenly close:

    Blackjewel files for chapter 11 in a move critics say is increasingly used to avoid paying workers what they are owed

    [… Both Blackjewel mining and its affiliate Revelation Energy] filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, a financial move that has implications far beyond just laying off staff as the ex-workers now wait for bankruptcy proceedings to play out. Critics say the move is a ploy increasingly used in the struggling industry to avoid paying workers what they are owed.

    [… Missy Cole, the wife of one of the laid-off miners, told the Graunaid] “We have absolutely no access to our bank accounts. Those accounts are still negative, and falling deeper into the negative daily. We cannot even touch his 401(k) to withdraw money to survive on without the signature of the Blackjewel mining CEO or his personnel.”

    One of the largest coalmining operators in the United States, Blackjewel abruptly shut its mines after filing for bankruptcy, jeopardizing the jobs of about 1,700 workers in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Wyoming.

    Workers are still unsure if they will be permitted to return to work and for how long, if they will be paid for bounced checks and what will happen to their health insurance and benefits.


    According to the bankruptcy filing, Blackjewel mining has at least $500m owed in liabilities. A worker in Wyoming has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, which claims the company failed to give employees’ proper notice, and wages and benefits earned before and after the bankruptcy filing.

    Blackjewel is the third large US coal company to declare bankruptcy since May 2019, despite promises from Donald Trump that he would save the coal industry and its jobs.

    Since Trump took office, about 2,000 jobs have been added to the coal industry, which currently employs an estimated 53,000 workers. The industry has shed more than 30,000 jobs in the past decade, driven by automation and changes in the energy industry, as renewable sources recently surpassed coal production for the first time ever in the US […]

    Through filing bankruptcies, attorneys who have represented coalminers argue current laws allow operators to avoid obligations they have to workers.

    “It is especially egregious where Blackjewel bounces paychecks to the employees. This compounds with the loss of health insurance and other benefits,” said Jack Jacobs, an Alabama-based attorney […]

    [… Recently resigned Blackjewel CEO Jeff] Hoops did not respond to a request for comment.

    [… more about the privately-owned companies… Attorney Shannon Anderson with the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Wyoming] said: “Hoops was buying up distressed assets from bankruptcies and companies trying to offload mines that were no longer economically viable, and basically created a coal company with those assets.”


    She added: “None of these mines were making money and he was paying himself before any of the lenders, and basically running these mines at very low cost.”

    [… Hoops’] multimillion-dollar plans to build a resort in West Virginia will reportedly not be impacted by the bankruptcy. In a letter to workers, Hoops claimed no one is hurting more than me as a result of the bankruptcy.

    [… Coalminer Jeffery Cochran said] “Some people have been denied unemployment which is owed to us. He didn’t pay into it for some people, but yet he can build a $30m resort, and doesn’t have to pay us.”


  82. says

    Trump is now calling Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — known as the “squad,” “Racist.”

    The “Squad” is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border…And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!

    Shades of the debate moment in which Trump said, “No puppet. You’re the puppet.”

    From the readers comments:

    Presumably he will soon excoriate these women for paying porn actresses for sex.
    “The more afraid I am, the more angry I get. The more angry I get, the more stupid I become”
    -Current Occupant-
    I know you are but what am I. Nya, nya nya.

    This is our president.
    Same shit different day. He does this all the time, does/says/supports something, gets called on it and pretended to walk it back/distance himself from it, and then the next day he’s back to claiming it was all his idea. Finally he accuses the people/portion of society he attacked of being the very thing he’s already proven himself to be (repeatedly).
    the man has dug under the terribly low bar I expect of him more times than I can count.
    Saying “I don’t have a racist bone in my body!” doesn’t mean very much, since Trump is a slug.

  83. says

    From Eric Boehlert:

    […] Just last month, an NBC News report quoted Trump re-election chief Brad Parscale referencing “the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President.” Parscale’s claim was completely false, yet nowhere in the NBC report was that noted. That means Trump officials have largely been given a green light by the press to lie about the Mueller report, as reporters pretend Both Sides can be right about Mueller’s conclusions. They cannot. […]


  84. says

    Trump is trying to end court hearings entirely for immigrants:

    The Trump administration is dangerously expanding current policy that allows Immigration and Customs mass deportation agents to quickly sweep up and deport recently arrived undocumented immigrants, BuzzFeed News reports, and without giving them a chance to go in front of a judge to plead their case.

    Previously, “expedited removal” only applied to people who crossed the border without authorization within the previous two weeks and were within 100 miles of the border. Those migrants do not have the ability to go in front of a judge. “The new measure will apply to the entire country,” BuzzFeed News reports, and is expanding from 14 days to two years. This is “Papers, please” on steroids—and the effects will be devastating.

    “Imagine you’ve lived in the US for three years,” tweeted immigration attorney Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. “You’re arrested by ICE on your way to work, and an ICE officer tells you that unless you prove to him—right here, right now—that you’ve lived here for more than two years, you’re on the next plane out.”

    How many people carry those kinds of documents? How many times have you stepped out and realized you forgot your ID, but said it’ll be fine because you’ll be back home in an hour? We know who will be targeted, and it won’t be people who look like the Trumps: “By expanding ER in this way,” tweeted immigration attorney Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, “more noncitizens (or people who look like them) living peacefully in the U.S. will be targeted for removal without a day in court.”

    “Under this unlawful plan,” Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court.” The ACLU and others have already launched a lawsuit over another change that stomps on the right to asylum for many Central Americans and others—and they’re promising more legal action over this latest move. “We will sue to end this policy quickly,” Jadwat said.


  85. says

    Trump wants to profit off meeting with world leaders.

    He wants to host the G7 at his Doral golf club.

    […] If the summit were held there, it might be the single biggest windfall of Trump’s presidency for his businesses. Though he’s hosted individual foreign leaders in the past at Mar-a-Lago — and plenty have stayed at his hotel in Washington, D.C. — the G7 summit would bring leaders and their staff from the top economic powers in the world. Equipping the facility with the proper security for such a summit would surely come at great taxpayer expense.

    As a frame of reference, the United States last hosted the G7 in 2012, with President Barack Obama using Camp David as the location, which is already equipped to provide such security.

    The Miami Herald notes that Doral has actually been struggling since Trump bought it in 2012 — specifically because it bears his name. Though it’s still the biggest source of revenue for the Trump Organization, its profits dropped from $116 million in 2017 to $75 million in 2018, even as nearby competitors did not see such revenue declines. […]

  86. says

    Some people are using their platform to fight back against Trump’s racism:

    Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, just weeks after leading the United States to its latest Women’s World Cup championship, ripped President Donald Trump for his racist attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), including the “send her back” chants used by his supporters at a rally last week.

    “At every step it’s shocking,” Rapinoe said. “I hope people don’t stop being shocked by it all, because it’s truly the worst of the worst.” […]

    Rapinoe, who was in Charlotte on Saturday to attend an exhibition soccer match, said Omar, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, “should be celebrated, if anything.”

    “To come here and be in Congress—to be the woman that she is, to be the leader that she is, to bring that different voice to the table—I think is something incredible,” Rapinoe told the Charlotte Observer. “Something that we need in this country to be better.” […]

  87. says

    From Wonkette:

    Hooray, Robert Mueller is testifying before Congress on Wednesday! […]

    In advance of the hearing, we are getting all kinds of reporting about what to expect and what Congress is doing to get ready. Did you know that, according to CNN, the Judiciary Committee is going to focus on Trump’s obstruction of justice, whereas the Intel Committee is going to focus on Trump and Russia? That’s quite a surprise to anybody who doesn’t have the foggiest idea what either of those committees does for a living! Meanwhile, the Republicans will be playing with their poo on live television and trying to get Mueller to admit that Hillary Benghazi Secret FBI Lovers Unmasking Seth Rich Comey Deep State Dossier Whitewater Travelgate Pizzagate Devin Nunes Is Smart.

    Or something. Here’s Mark Meadows, with a witty retort from Yr Wonkette:

    Democrats privately orchestrating the Mueller hearing this week to be a 2020 campaign event for the left.

    This isn’t about transparency. If it was, we’d be talking about the evidence of blatant FISA abuse, warrantless secret recordings, and declassifying documents.

    [From Evan Hurst] Hey Mark, if the conspiracy theories you found in Nunes’s butt are real, I’m sure Mueller would be willing to talk about them. Just give us some warning so we can get hilarious screenshots of Mueller’s facial reactions to your very serious questions, K?

    […] CNN reports that large-faced GOP moron Rep. Matt Gaetz says Robert Mueller is the “LeBron James of using 300 words to say absolutely nothing,” which says more about young Matthew’s difficulty with comprehension than it does about Mueller. Meanwhile, Devin Nunes is very worried Mueller is going to try to “embellish,” […]

    The Democrats, thank God, appear to have a plan, and have been studying A LOT for this test:

    Lawmakers are re-reading the Mueller report and watching his past congressional appearances, while committee staff are working to divide up the questions for lawmakers in a way that will be logical to millions of television viewers unlikely to have read the 448-page Mueller report. […]

    For the Judiciary Committee, the focus will reportedly be on five of the 18,000 instances of criminal obstruction Donald Trump committed in order to interfere with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and his campaign’s embrace of it, as laid out in Volume II of the Mueller Report. […] It would probably be good for them to also spend some time on the fact that Trump blatantly lied in his written answers to the take-home test Mueller gave him. Oh yeah, and it would be great if they ask some questions about the ongoing obstruction of justice being committed by Attorney General Bill Barr […]

    The Intel Committee, meanwhile, will focus on all kinds of Russia shit […] if they’re smart, they will really try to nail Mueller down on what was happening with Paul Manafort as the investigation came to a close, as Manafort broke his plea agreement, and so on. We are fairly certain that if Manafort hadn’t obstructed the investigation so much, there would have been a conspiracy charge. […]

    Oh yeah, and Intel ought to also ask about the counter-intel findings that came out of Mueller’s investigations, the ones Bill Barr has so resolutely tried to hide from the committee, findings that were not in the Mueller Report. […]

    America needs to hear it from Mueller precisely because Bill Barr, Donald Trump, most of the other elected Republicans in Washington, and the glue-munchers on Fox News and talk radio have been lying about what’s in the report, saying NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, when the report found many instances of obstruction and a veritable kilo-fuck of collusion and improper contacts.

    Or as House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler put it on Fox News this weekend:

    “We think it’s very important for the American people to hear directly what the facts are because this is a President who has violated the law six ways from Sunday,” Nadler told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “If anyone else had been accused of what the report finds the President had done, they would have been indicted.”

    Probably multiple times. […]

  88. says

    OMG, the cluelessness! The abject cluelessness.

    This is from Wisconsin Senator and nostalgic Republican, Ron Johnson:

    The whole “America love it or leave it” is not a new sentiment. Back in the ’60s, that wasn’t considered racist. I just find it very unfortunate that so many parts of our public debate right now are getting immediately stuck inside a racial framework.

    From Wonkette:

    […] “America, love it or leave it” is not a new sentiment. The Klan used it for all their racial terrorism needs. […] That’s why it’s interesting to see Johnson fondly recall the simpler, prejudice-free times of the 1960s. We thought conservatives hated the decade of free love and feminism. Now it’s the benchmark for racial harmony. White people barely consider slavery racist; we’re not sure they’re subject matter experts. They’re either not experiencing it or they’re actively promoting it. We’re not accusing Johnson of the latter, but he does sound like he missed the entire Civil Rights Movement.

    Historically, “love it or leave it” was a specific message and warning to marginalized groups: “Love it” was the country, government, and people actively oppressing them. “Leave it” usually happened suddenly at the end of a rope. Trump and Republicans today are covering a tune that Martin Luther King heard daily in the ’60s. The concern trolling over how King was stirring up “hatred” is similar to the pablum Johnson spouts about “healing the racial divide.” In both instances, the expectation is that unity is found only when minorities stop complaining and love America, racism and all. […]

  89. says

    And to think that Trump recently decided that the U.S. government should soften or remove sanctions against Huawei.

    Leaked documents reveal Huawei’s secret operations to build North Korea’s wireless network.

    Washington Post link

    Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese tech giant embroiled in President Trump’s trade war with China and blacklisted as a national security threat, secretly helped the North Korean government build and maintain the country’s commercial wireless network, according to internal documents obtained by The Washington Post and people familiar with the arrangement.

    Huawei partnered with a Chinese state-owned firm, Panda International Information Technology Co. Ltd., on a variety of projects there spanning at least eight years, according to past work orders, contracts and detailed spreadsheets taken from a database that charts the company’s telecom operations worldwide. The arrangement made it difficult to discern Huawei’s involvement.

    The spreadsheets were provided to The Post by a former Huawei employee who considered the information to be of public interest. The former employee spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing a fear of retribution. Two additional sets of documents were shared by others with a desire to see the material made public. They also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Taken together, the revelations raise questions about whether Huawei, which has used American technology in its components, violated U.S. export controls to furnish equipment to North Korea […]

    the Justice Department has charged Huawei with bank fraud and violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. The company has pleaded not guilty. […]

    A current senior State Department official, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information, summarized the administration’s frustration.

    “All of this fits into a general concern we have about corporate responsibility and a company like Huawei that is not trustworthy because of its company culture and numerous incidents indicating a willingness to evade or outright violate laws,” the official said. “Working with regimes like North Korea, who deprive individuals on a regular basis of their basic human rights, raises concern.”

    Much more at the link. Example of the level of detail provided:

    In internal company documents and among employees, Huawei referred to certain countries, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria, by code. North Korea, for instance, was listed as A9 in the project database.

    “You’d run a query on the projects and you’d see Germany, United States, Mexico. Then instead of a country name, you’d see A5, A7, A9, and you’d say, ‘What’s that?’ ” said the former employee. “I assume it’s because they didn’t want to say ‘Iran’ or ‘Syria.’ ”

    In a semiprivate online forum used by Huawei employees, one man reminisced last year about how he helped launch Koryolink in “A9” during the summer of 2008, before rushing back to China to offer tech support for the Beijing Olympics. In parentheses, the man wrote “chaoxian,” which means North Korea, in Roman letters — an apparent effort to avoid mentioning the country by name using Chinese characters. […]

  90. Akira MacKenzie says

    SC @ 110

    Remember, I grew up on the Right, and Stone one held up as one of those examples of ”Communist, Anti-American Hollywood” by shit-for-brains like Rush Limbaugh. Yeah, his JFK conspiracy theories were silly, but I thought he came from the Left wing, especially on matters like war and capitalism. Hearing him support fash scum like Putin is… incongruent to say the least.

    Maybe the older you get the more reactionary you become. That’s why I’ve given my friends instructions to mercy-kill me if I ever start to sound like a theist or capitalist ever again.

  91. blf says

    In teh NKofE, John Crace in the Grauniad, Jeremy Hunt grateful for moral support — if only it had come earlier:

    It could have been a rather lonely outing for Jeremy Hunt. With Mark Field suspended after grabbing an Extinction Rebellion protester by the neck and Alan Duncan having chosen to jump before he was pushed, the Foreign Office is currently running a skeleton staff of junior ministers.

    It’s also possible that, come Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson will choose to punish Hunt for having the temerity to stand against him in the leadership contest by elbowing him out of a job. At which point the Foreign Office will be staffed by almost no ministers who have any idea what they are doing. Just as well we’re not on the brink of war with Iran, then.


    Hunt was in the Commons to give a statement on the seizure last Friday of the British-owned tanker, Stena Impero, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. An act that had come as no surprise to anyone after the UK had seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar two weeks previously with oil destined for Syria.

    No surprise to anyone, that is, except for the entire Conservative party, which had fondly imagined that the rest of the world would suspend everything it was doing while it indulged itself with a six-week Boris-inspired onanism spree.

    Seizing a tanker just wasn’t on, Hunt insisted. And to do so during a Tory leadership contest was completely below the belt — something only a deeply untrustworthy country would do. But now someone had told him about the tanker, he was determined to do something. First, he was going to tell the Iranians that he was very, very cross with them.

    Next he was happy to report that the Department for Transport had upgraded the security threat level in the strait of Hormuz. Something that might have been done a fortnight ago had Chris Grayling been paying attention. Though that would have required a change of character. Bizarrely, there are even rumours Failing Grayling might actually keep his job as transport secretary. For the comedy value, if nothing else. In which case, he really will be the gift that keeps on giving.

    After announcing that the UK would be trying to rustle up a taskforce with other EU countries — Britain only has about two seaworthy ships left in its navy, so acting on its own isn’t really an option — in the hope that things quietened down a little, Hunt sat down, fearing the worst. Which never really came. Instead of the pile-on from Labour and irate Tories about the government dozing off on the job, almost everyone […] queued up to thank the Lord that it had happened on Hunt’s watch rather than when Johnson was foreign secretary. In which case we’d probably still have no idea a tanker had even been seized.

    […] Hunt would be history in 48 hours and Johnson would be in charge. Free to dump this wishy-washy alliance with the EU and join the Trump-led US Praetorian Guard. With any luck, we’d be at war within weeks. That should take people’s minds off Brexit.

    And, Nicola Jennings in the Grauniad, On Boris Johnson’s entry into No 10 (cartoon). As some of the readers point out, it’s ironic Hunt is asking for European help (for a self-manufactured crisis) whilst also supporting brexit.

  92. blf says

    Some snippets from the Grauniad’s live States blog (not necessarily in the order in which they occur in the blog):

    This is how AOC responded to Trump’s attack yesterday:

    We fight to guarantee:
    – healthcare
    – public college & student loan forgiveness
    – enviro protections
    – living wages
    – basic human rights
    We don’t take a dime of corporate money, either.

    – Jack up drug prices
    – Appoint Betsy DeVos to scam student loans
    – Hurt immigrant kids

    A new report confirmed that the Trump administration has not actually built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office. The Washington Examiner pressed US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the matter and received a statement saying all the fencing completed since Trump took office was “in place of dilapidated designs”, since existing fence needed to be replaced […]

    The scrutiny from the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, suggests that Trump and his 2020 campaign are likely to face ongoing questions from some rightwing pundits and supporters about his failure to follow through on his signature policy promise.


    In the wake of the report, CBP and the Trump administration today have continued to claim that the government has built new border wall. But the areas in question appear to be the sections identified in the Examiner story, where fencing already existed.

    Betsy DeVos, the billionaire US education secretary, has seen her and her family’s profits soar after Trump’s tax reform legislation, according to a new CNBC analysis out today.


    Business leaders and corporations have, as expected, earned massive benefits from Trump’s tax policy. That apparently includes DeVos, whose total income had a valuation of at least $33m in 2018 through assets listed on her most recent public filing, CNBC reported.

    A DeVos family spokesman, Nick Wasmiller, disputed in a statement to CNBC whether the financial gains could be attributed to Trump’s policies, but did offer a vague claim that the Trump administration has had a positive impact on the investments of all Americans […]

    Joe Kaeser, the CEO of the German industrial giant Siemens, wrote in response to Trump’s racist comments on “the Squad” that he is turning the US presidency [sic] into “the face of racism and exclusion.”


    Kaeser has previously called out nationalism in his native Germany and pulled out of a Saudi Arabian conference over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  93. KG says

    As expected, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson – Trump’s Mini-Me* – has been chosen by the Tory Party members as party leader. He is expected to become Prime Minister tomorrow, when May will resign and advise the Queen to call on Johnson to form a government. I think the probability of a no-deal crash-out now approaches certainty. This is by no means a general view – many appear convinced that Johnson will renege on his promise the UK will leave the EU by 31st October, others (among them Molly Scott-Cato, the Green MEP, who I talked to at a party in London on Saturday) that Parliament will prevent a crash-out. Of course Johnson has no particular attachment to Brexit, or to keeping his promises, or indeed to anything other than the personal interests of Johnson – but I think he will believe those are best served by keeping his promise on this occasion. And it’s very hard for Parliament to stop him, even if it had the will. My confidence in the “Tory rebels” holding out is near zero – Gauke, supposedly one of the convinced opponents of a crash-out, has already said he would not back a no-confidence motion to prevent no-deal. And once Johnson becomes PM, even in the event of a successful no-confidence motion, he would continue as caretaker, and advise the Queen on when to hold a general election. So it would be within his power to postpone this until after the end of October**, refuse to ask for another extension, and run on an “I delivered Brexit!” ticket. Brexit Party voters would flock back to the Tories, while both Labour and the Remain parties (except the SNP) would be left stranded. I did for some while think he would go for an immediate general election – but now I don’t think he’ll do that unless he can buy off Farage in advance. He also has the card of a war scare to play – I doubt he actually wants a war with Iran, but he can use the prospect of one to whip up nationalist-racist fervour, and will have not the slightest compunction in doing so.

    *As a commenter on The Grauniad said – Johnson is what you get if you send Trump to Eton.

    **This might be hard if there was a no-confidence motion this week, but there’s no sign of that.

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