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"Ron DeSantis can't explain away 'monkey this up' comment on Andrew Gillum"
No matter how hard Fox News is trying to spin the statement that DeSantis made ("monkey it up"), no one believes his comment was anything but racist.

"Trump declares mission accomplished in his bid to make America great again"
The President is very considerably overselling some very meagre, modest accomplishments. Ah well, the more he encourages his followers to pay attention to delusional fantasy instead of facts, the better our results in the midterm will be.

Singer Lana Del Ray pulls out of Israeli music festival 

Ordinarily, for a "bad guy" nation to stick with an agreement is good news. But when the Trump Administration wants an excuse for a war, it really isn't.

Disputed someone's post on whether the President has head problems or is following a strategy. Granted, the movies and TV shows I watch tend to have focused, clear-minded heroes and villains who all have discernable goals and thought-out plans on how to get to those goals, so for me, the burden of proof is on those who feel that politicians are actually acting irrationally.

August                         back to top

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets some stuff wrong occasionally (though I agree with her on Israel-Palestine) but so do lots of other people in Congress! Nah, she should continue to speak out and should do so without embarrassment.

The Library of the younger George Bush has made 367,000 pages from Judge Kavanaugh's time working for them available. President Trump has decided to withhold 100,000 pages of those papers. Democrats feel, of course, that the administration has absolutely zero business withholding any papers!

Very excellent point!

4 Americans died in Benghazi. Our Republican government investigated @HillaryClinton for 2 years. 2,975 Americans died in Puerto Rico. Our Republican government has done nothing. They have said nothing. They have asked no questions. They have pointed no fingers. Why?

Another excellent one.

Ever wonder why the Republicans refer to themselves as being in the “Party of Lincoln?”
It’s true, Lincoln was a Republican. It’s also true they have to go back 153 years to find the last honest President they had in their party.
Democrats need only date back to No Drama Obama.

On the cancelled pay raise. A $1.1 trillion deficit due to the tax break? Not a problem! Doesn't need to be paid for. A raise of 1.9% for almost 2 million workers? Horrors! Think of the deficit!!!

"Trump Warns Rallygoers Dems 'Want To Raid Medicare To Pay For Socialism'"
This claim makes absolutely zero sense. If Democrats wanted to pay for socialism, Medicare would be one of the main beneficiaries.

The Abigail Spanberger case. It's funny how an entity that received her unredacted security file containing all sorts of personal information went to "a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)" and gee, strangely enough, none of the reports I've seen mention any reaction by Speaker Ryan. Hmm. Wonder why that would be?

Update: Good! 200+ security professionals have signed a letter demanding to know the full story behind the release of former CIA operative Abigail Spanberger's SF-86 or her security application.
And no, still no mention of what, if anything, Speaker Ryan has had to say about the issue.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appears to be trying to put the burden of proof on the shoulders of sexual assault survivors. Problem is, of course, that she has absolutely zero credibility in this field. She has not prove that she can be taken seriously as someone who has a deep understanding of any issue.

It is not good news for anybody that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is weakened by the sanctions that the US re-imposed. That makes anti-American radicals stronger.

It's rare for the FBI to make a declaration like this. No evidence that Hillary Clinton's server was ever hacked.

New tax data shows, yes, the #GOPTaxScam was quite good for the wealthy. For everybody else? Ehh, not so much.

My assessment of the Jared Kushner Israel/Palestine peace plan. Basically, Kushner appears to really, really hate the Palestinians.

Yeah, I had never heard the term "monkey up" something. As a commenter on TV said "That's not a racist dog-whistle, that's a racist bullhorn."
Good! Fox News put out a good statement on this.

Took 10 months, but we finally got a more realistic-sounding estimate of the death from Hurricane Maria. Spoke with a fellow Democrats who agrees that getting supplies from the ports to the countryside was a big problem initially, but as the roads have been cleared, that's not so much of a problem any more.

Good! The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed Bin Salman, appears to be losing power as he's screwed up so badly lately.

A little while ago, we saw that the Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson, is supposed to get 80-year old buildings in Cairo, IL back into liveable shape with a fraction of the money he needs. He should resign and blast the Trump Administration as this fellow does. Our top student loan official blasts the Trump Administation for abandoning students. 

Eh, I'll give the President one cheer out of three for eventually having lowered the flag over the White House to half-staff. He had to be pushed into it.

SMDH!!! Black person gets arrested with injuries. Why? He was sitting in his car.

Update: Happy to say, the "Courtesy Office" James Reynolds, was let go soon afterwards. The Southport Police Department put out a statement saying they thought Reynolds was within his authority to ask Dean for an ID.

A few days ago, the President wondered aloud if he shouldn't do something nice for the Palestinians to compensate them for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. This move here is simply another attack.

To any schoolteachers seeking to get across the idea of narcissism, I think it's hard to improve on the President's "tributes" to Senator McCain.
"Adding Insult To Injury: Trump’s Instagram Tribute To McCain Features Picture Of...Himself"

So how are Republican Senators reacting as their late colleague John McCain gets trashed by the President? Yeah, pretty much nothing.

Yeesh! Compare and contrast how our former enemy deals with the late Senator McCain with how our President deals with him.

A monument on the shores of the Hanoi lake where McCain was captured has turned into a de facto shrine to the late senator since news of his death reached Vietnam early on Sunday morning.
Both Vietnamese people and U.S. citizens in Hanoi have flocked to the grey, concrete monument to offer flowers, incense, flags and other tributes to McCain.

Fight the organizational rot of the Roman Catholic church by bringing females into power? They've tried other ideas since 2002 and pedophilia is still a major problem. I came into the Navy in the 90s, when females were being let into more areas and got the impression that the changes were very largely positive. Yes, I believe the Church needs to start promoting females into positions of authority.

Looking for females within the Roman Catholic church to promote? Start here!

I agree. Democrats are going to have a lot of difficulty impeaching the President as we need a 2/3rds majority in the Senate to make that happen. Doesn't appear we're going to get Republicans to go along with that. Investigations, though! Woo hoo! Representative Maxine Waters will be in charge of the Financial Services Committee!!!! Ya know those tax returns we've been trying to get ahold of? Yeah!!!!

Hmm. Yeah, kind of a problem with saying the President's policy towards North Korea has been "tough." The President basically gave NK everything it could possibly have wanted, got a page of vague promises and is now upset that NK hasn't made unilateral concessions.

Our President's objections to the Iran nuclear deal would have been perfectly satisfactory, if he just needed to make his complaints specific enough to stir up his crowd at a rally. But the Hague doesn't appear to be impressed.

Democrats plan to make extensive use of the subpoena if, more likely when, they take the House.

Senator John McCain, American statesman and POW survivor, has died at age 81.

Just because Senator John McCain and the blogger and myself were all Navy guys

The government plans on spending $1.5 billion in Puerto Rico over the next 20 years. That would be great news if the plan took anyone other than the wealthy into account.

Hmm, so does the President resemble a mobster as this tweet and this whole blog entry suggest, or is he more like Macbeth, an unloved tyrant whose imperial suits "Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe / Upon a dwarfish thief."

Woo hoo! "Georgia Republicans fail in attempt to close nearly all polling places in a majority-black county"

Hey, but it's not like the Trump Administration has any sort of self-interest in refusing to stop Russian interference in the upcoming midterm election or anything.

Status or remaining separated children and parents. Not much better than it was a month ago.

The President thinks maybe compensating for the Israeli embassy move might be a good idea. If so, Gaza needs action right now. If the President is serious, he can act right away.

"Trump tweets about South Africa, sparks new international incident"
*Sigh* When the President gets his news from TV shows.

"Wind Farms Kill Birds, Trump Gripes, As DOI Relaxes Regs On Wind Farms Killing Birds"
Does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing or is it that nobody there could care less?

Rudy Giuliani says "US citizens would stage a revolution against their own government if the commander-in-chief were to be impeached" Uh, actually [YouTube of]  "Martha & The Vandellas - 'Dancing In The Street'"

The author explains how the President has a very sincere, deeply felt gangster ideology.

The President spent a paragraph of a recent interview on his possible impeachment. The blogger makes an interesting point: "At no point in his response did the president make the case that he didn't do anything wrong."

Ann Coulter on Russia hacking of US election.
“There’s no evidence they did it." She's saying there's no evidence Russian hacking affected the election. There is ample evidence for anyone who desires to examine it with any sort of objectivity.
"If they did it, who cares?” [I raise my hand] For American votes to not count because a foreign country is hacking our elections is not something for people to care about?!?!?!?!
“If they did it, they certainly didn’t do it to help Trump." Again, mountains of evidence say otherwise.
"I mean, it’s preposterous.” Don't even know how to answer such an absurd statement.

"NFL and ESPN attempts to appease Trump on player protests are a lose-lose-lose situation"
Didn't we all learn back in the 1930s that appeasement was a terrible thing and that it never worked?

Right-wing commenter Michelle Malkin sheds copious crocodile tears over prosecutorial discretion that, gee, somehow when Kenneth Starr was exercising it, didn't seem to bother anyone on the right wing.

Another hypocritical right-winger: "Trump: 'Flipping' To Get A Plea Deal 'Almost Ought To Be Illegal

A three-week prison strike began on Tuesday over forced labor.

Alan Dershowitz suggests ways to regulate the granting and withdrawing of security clearances, but there already is a procedure for revoking security clearances. It was established under Clinton and changes were made under the younger George Bush. We don't need a sympathetic figure to initiate making any changes, we need for the President to obey the %$#@ing law!!!! John Brennan is not the problem, the problem is that the President took arbitrary and unilateral action.

Boo! Hiss! "Verizon throttled fire department’s “unlimited” data during Calif. wildfire"

Amazingly, the President stayed on message last night. "He's got message discipline when he wants it.”

Still more good legal news!
Christopher Steele: Defamation case against dossier author dismissed"

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on same day as Maafort was found guilty. Haven't heard this term applied to anyone since Watergate, but "Trump is now officially an unindicted co-conspirator to the crime committed by Cohen."

"Paul Manafort Guilty On 8 Counts; Jury Deadlocked On 10 Others" The only reason Manafort wasn't convicted on all counts is because of a single juror.   

I never watched the film "On Golden Pond,"  but I read a review that said the tensions in the film were resolved when the wife stopped protecting the husband. When the wife simply got out of the way and allowed the husband to get the full force of the disapproval of all the people he was annoying, he saw the light and reformed.
President Trump wanted to revoke former President Obama's security clearance. Trump subordinates talk all the time about "You ought to see the crazy stuff we talk him out of!" I think this is a case where it would have been a service to the nation for the American people to have seen just how unhinged and out of control the President can be. No, they didn't do us any favors by hiding this.

"As deficit grows, GOP leaders eye cuts to Medicare, Social Security"
Yeah, it's quite difficult for me to believe that cutting Medicare and Social Security wasn't the plan all along when Republicans passed their big tax cut back last December. 

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, tosses in her $0.02 concerning the Parkland students, now on a tour of the US to register young voters. Thomas is of course, very much in touch with right wing thought. Which is a very sad observation considering how incredibly hateful and divisive her comment is.

"Trump On Mueller Probe: 'I Could Run It If I Want'"
Wow! Just ... wow! How delusional do you have to be to think you can run a probe where you're a major suspect?!?!?!

As the piece here shows, there are two kinds of sexuality. There is the kind that people demonstrate by making love to a consenting adult. This kind is shared by heterosexuals and the entire LGBTQ community. Then there is the rape/pedophilia kind, where there is an attacker and a victim. In both cases, gender is not an important consideration. You're either respectful towards your sexual partner or you're abusing your greater strength and/or age. If a man is forcing himself onto someone, whether they're a boy or girl is not a meaningful consideration.

"Fox's Fake Judge Spins Insane New Conspiracy Lies About Mueller"
Was interested by one of Jeanine Pirro's accusations, that the FBI team took a while to get to Benghazi after the attack in 2012 where four Americans died. The official reason the FBI took so long to get there (When they got there, they only spent 12 hours in Libya) was that the State Department wanted to be sure of their safety. Pirro points out that many reporters managed to make it.
Very true, but reporters knew they were travelling in Libya at their own risk, so she's comparing apples and oranges. Yeah, it's far from clear what Pirro means by Mueller "cleaning" anything up as all of the perps were eventually caught.

As you read this fellow griping about the parade the President almost had, keep in mind that he's a combat vet from the Iraq War.

"If you Put an old W. Bush crony in Charge of Iran Policy, doesn't it Signal a War-Like Intention?"
Not good news at all.

This is a large reason we consider the taking away of John Brennan's security clearance to be such a big deal. The President appears to be just making up policy as he goes.

"Poll: Kavanaugh Is The Least Popular SCOTUS Nominee Since Bork"
Good! This guy very clearly has an "Our Glorious Leader" attitude towards the President. We need to gum up the works as much as possible.

It's a very heartening and inspriring story that a teacher needed sick days, so his fellow teachers pitched n and gave him theirs, but the teacher was in a tight community where everybody knew each other. Lots and lots of people are not in that kind of situation. 

"Trump Asks Judge Not to Block Access to 3-D Gun Instructions"

Arguing there’s no legal basis for the State Department to block availability of the instructions on the internet, and no need for such regulation...

There's a $%#@ing public safety reason, you morons!!!!! 

Federal law already prohibits firearms that can’t be detected by metal detectors...

So all someone has to do is pull out the metal parts, mix them in with keys, coins, cell phone, etc. and voilŗ! The plastic gun in the backpack is undetectable.

"Where are Republicans now that Trump's yanked security clearances from former top officials?"
"Does Paul Ryan still think this is just trolling and what, in his final months as House speaker, is he willing to do about it?"

Awww! Very sad to hear Aretha Franklin has now passed on.

Remembering Aretha Franklin.

Yep. One a them thar big, tough, brave Israeli soldiers is part of a group of soldiers telling Palestinian children they can't get their bicycles back.

Status on the war in Afghanistan - no end in sight.

Very cool ideas on corporate responsibility from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

No apparent evidence that Brennan did anything to warrant losing his security clearance. Of course, he criticised Our Glorious Leader. I guess that's now enough to warrant this sort of action.

I thought Tomi Lahren's rhetoric sounded familiar and looked around the net. Sure enough, Sarah Palin was saying much the same thing right before the 2008 election, basically that because she was a woman, she deserved feminist support.
Wow! White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a feminist?!?!?! I guess it's irrelevant to Lahren that Sanders lies all the time because her loyalty tp her boss is absolute and unquestioned.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is a feminist?!?!?! Despite her policies tearing children from the arms of their parents?!?!?!
Lahren has some seriously effed-up ideas as to what constitutes feminism!

Hmm. Gee. I wonder (Ha, ha, no I don't) if there's a connection between former CIA Director John Brennan's criticism of Our Glorious Leader and his loss of his security clearance today.

And as with Peter Strzok being fired, a failure to follow procedure.

Again, as usual, no one in the Trump Administration can identify the specific policies that led to the creation of so many jobs, but in this case, the Press Secretary cited the correct number for African American jobs for the past year and a half. Problem was, she way, way understated the number created under Obama!

Also very peculiar is how the Council of Economic Advisers counted the stats in the first place. They count Obama's numbers from November 08 to July 10 and Trump's from November 16 to July 18, which drags down Obama with a quarter that's actually Bush's and artificially inflates Trump with a quarter that's actually Obama's.

19 months in, a quick review of the President's awesome deal-making capabilities. Ha, ha, ha! NOT!

Seems the PR strategy of prominently placing a token black person in the frame of pictures of the President isn't working out very successfully.

Oh, and by the way, Kellyanne Conway wasn't lying about there being a black employee in the Executive Office Building, What is his rank? Wel-l-l-l...

Smith is a “special assistant to the president,” a more junior rank held by officials who often have their own policy portfolios, but typically are well outside the president’s inner circle. About 80 people on the White House payroll hold the rank of special assistant to the president.

The Washington Post publishes the work of an immoral libertarian, Megam McArdle, who argues that insider trading is okay because, hey y'know I mean, someone would have bought those bad stock shares anyway.

Not a good thing to hear that Peter Strzok was fired. I thought it had been made abundantly clear that FBI persons were permitted to have political opinions, they just couldn't allow their opinions to interfere with their work. Very interesting to see that 

Deputy Director of the FBI overruled the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and departed from established precedent by firing 21-year FBI veteran Peter Strzok.

The recordings that Omarosa Manigault Newman made are causing serious concerns over how secure this White House is. How many other people have been able to make recordings?

Out of 900,000 pages that are relevant to the request of the Democratic Senators, the Trump Administration proposes providing only 5,700 pages. Unacceptable!

The US Ambassador to Britain attempts to convince them to join the US in bailing on the Iran nuclear agreement. I found his arguments extremely unpersuasive and suspect the British do too.

"Counter-protesters face down far-right activists marching in Washington for ‘white civil rights’"
Woo hoo! Counter-protesters outnumbered right wing fascists and KKK members 10 to 1! And yep - “White civil rights is not a thing!”

The President's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, tries to shrug off questions about his mental health and to suggest he's so obviously sane, the real questions are about his critics. This would be convincing, but he's said things he shouldn't have said, for instance back in early May, that Stormy Daniels was indeed paid $130k by Trump via Michael Cohen.

"Palestinian-Israelis and Jewish-Israelis Stage Huge Protest against Apartheid Law"
Good! Many Israelis don't like the new law!

In Norfolk during the early 90s, we had a housing project that was very similar to the project in East St. Louis. It was built in the 40s and had suffered serious deterioration. The Navy just tore it all down and started over. What HUD needs to do here is to obtain a new lot, build enough units to hold the people who can't move, tear down the whole of the old units and start over. Of course that would cost a lot and of course if HUD Secretary Ben Carson can't get that money, he needs to quit and say the Trump Administration just doesn't care.

I cited a piece from this past Wednesday to show that ICE couldn't be trusted (ICE Crashed a Van Full of Separated Mothers, Then Denied It Ever Happened) and yesterday, we saw exactly what I meant. "ICE held back vital information for reuniting deported parents and their stolen children, ACLU says"

So first off, Donald Trump Jr. compares economic statistics from the first year of Barack Obama and of his dad's presidency concerning their stewardship of the economy. Obama took over mid-way through the Great Recession, the worst downturn since the 1930s, while Trump Sr. took over during good economic times. Don Jr. then sloppily covered over the most embarrassing part, the fact that his dad got lower approval ratings even though his economic picture was much better.

Documents on CIA Director Gina Haspel's tenure at a Thailand torture site are finally being made available long after, of course, she's been made the Director. What the document reveals is what liberals knew about torture to begin with. Torture is useless for getting good information.

Saw a fellow being interviewed the other day on the "Space Force" and he said that not a single member of the military, with the exception of the Commander in Chief, considers this to be a good use of time, attention or money. The Air Force is handling everything to do with space, they do not feel a separate service is required.

Good heavens! Laura Ingraham makes a white supremacist statement so blatant she might as well just wear a Nazi uniform or a KKK white hood!

Laura Ingraham tries to walk back her statement of the night before. Kind of a problem with that is that she spoke of "demographic changes" then and gee, amazingly enough, said nothing about demographics last night.

AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III wants to eliminate domestic and gang violence as reasons to seek asylum. But this is not a monarchy and bureaucrats can't simply issue a decree. A court was about to hear a case on that issue and the judge was informed that the defendants were already on their way back to El Salvador! "'Turn The Plane Around': Federal Judge Threatens Sessions With Contempt"

Very good news in the recent elections for unions!

"World’s biggest oil exporter is betting $2 billion on electric cars"
Cool! Definitely a hopeful development!

Yeah, this is a pretty mindless take on the arrest of Chris Collins. The newswoman Dana Bash feels that Democratic corruption under the Obama Administration led to the rise of Trump's corruption. Whuuh?!?!?!?! Was she paying attention during the Obama years?

"Culture of corruption" is a very easy case to make against the current administration, though.

What are the stakes in November? Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) makes it crystal clear. If Republicans lose the majority in the House "all of this goes away."

Republicans set the precedent with Justice Sotomayer that all papers from their career had to be made available for inspection, but now Democrats are having to use the Freedom of Information Act to get some of Judge Kavanaugh's papers.

More problems with having an amateur president who really doesn't understand what he's doing. Subject this time is tariffs. 

Again, as usual, the go-to argument for right-wing supporters of the President is the economy. Yes, the economy is looking good. But that doesn't change the fact that the President is a fascist who clearly doesn't have any use for democracy. Had Ms. Owens acknowledged that, I might feel a smidgen of sympathy for her plight in being heckled in a restaurant.

I agree with the Morning Joe people and with their Ivanka Trump example. Extremely unimpressed with stories of brave, behind-the-scenes battles. Really, who gives a crap? The fact is that if you don't do it in public, it doesn't mean diddly.

Good heavens! 43% of Republicans think the President should have the power to shut down news outlets "engaged in bad behavior.”
Who would define "bad behavior”? The President, of course!
How rigorous would his definition of "bad behavior" be? Well, consider that his definition of "fake news" is just plain news he doesn't like. Yeah, they're completely in favor of Stalinist behavior.

Jared Kushner's latest peace plan for Palestine/Israel

"Federal judge smacks down Trump admin's effort to rescind DACA"
The Trump Administration tried to rescind DACA in an incompetent manner. They have a little time to respond, but have been ordered to restore it in full, barring a really good explanation as to why they can't.

It's a nice idea that special ops forces and drones can do the work of occupying armies. Evidence that they can, 16 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, is pretty unimpressive.

Essentially, the only people who take Ayn Rand's works seriously are college kids,  recent graduates who don't yet have enough life experience to know any better and the political donor class that is so protected and insulated from reality. The Ryan budget blueprints, endorsed by the entire Republican Party, were exercises in fantasy. The problem was that the Tea Party people actually believed what Ryan was selling and actually tried to enact it. The problem got even worse with a President who also believed in the Ryan/Rand fantasy. The fantasy has produced trillons in debt with no apparent solution in sight. 

Truly sad that the US thinks it's going to get anywhere with these sanctions on Iran. A blogger took part in a study on sanctions. Sanctions can work under some circumstances. None of those circumstances apply here.

Lovely! Thanks to our $%#@$%#!!! President rattling his sword, making wildly unrealistic demands and leaving no diplomatic alternative, Iran is building up its defenses! If war breaks out, it'll be 100% Trump's fault.

It's a very good thing that our national security people made a joint announcement that Russian cyber-meddling was and is a serious problem, but true seriousness would have involved appointing a single person or department to counter that threat. NSA Bolton didn't say anything about what further steps the Trump Administration will take.

A Kellyanne Conway interview. No, people in the news media are not robots and they do have human reactions to what they report on. Conway cherry-picks a few over-the-top reactions and tries to suggest they and the President's use of Twitter are equivalent. They aren't.
Yeah, as the blogger says, the President's ideas of "good journalists" are "Hannity, Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Ainsley, Doocy, and Kilmeade."

So for the rest of the President's term, we'll have sanctions on Iran. Yep, awesome diplomacy there.

Will the sanctions work? Nah.

Heh! Theory here is that Trump people are saying "Hey! If we just get everything out now, we can avoid an interview with Mueller!"
But seriously, the President didn't know about a meeting between his son, son-in-law and campaign manager and foreigners?!?! That would make sense if they were trying to give him plausible deniability. But they wouldn't need to do that if the meeting was "totally legal and done all the time in politics."

Very good to see plenty of divisions in the conservative camp on going to war with Iran.

Heh! Ivanka Trump says her biggest, proudest moment of her daddy's presidency was during December's tax break legislation. Erm, Obama's main job during the ACA/Obamacare was to sell it to the American people. Where was she during the selling of the tax break? For that matter, where was her daddy? Making speeches at rallies of people who already support you doesn't do anything to move the needle outside of base voters. His (and her) job was to sell it to the American people in general and they were both MIA in that regard. 

The statement by Ivanka Trump that no, the press is of course not, the "enemy of the American people" was very little, very late and didn't go far enough, but her statement went farther and was much better than that of anyone else in the Trump Administration.

Many people not at all impressed by NY Times piece. They charge it's a highly selective history that exonerates the fossil fuel companies.

"Jared Kushner Tries to Strip Refugee Status, Aid from Millions of Displaced Palestinians"
Ah, I had been wondering how Jared Kushner's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan had been coming along. I can see why Palestinians have no interest whatever in it.

I look at Dinesh D'Souza's latest film. It makes a not-very-convincing claim that Donald Trump Jr. swalllows whole.

First off, bravo to Judge Dana Sabraw for keeping the pressure on to reunite the 500 remaining parents with their children! Second, bravo to the ACLU for keeping up the fight and representing the parents! Third, the government appears to be dragging its feet and it sure sounds as though they're trying shift responsibility from themselves to the ACLU for reuniting families. Fourth, Ivanka Trump expressed regret and said the family separation policy was a a "low point" for her daddy's administration. The piece doesn't mention her at all. This is an ongoing problem. It isn't dead and gone history. What exactly is she doing about all this?

So after the Press Secretary refused to say that CNN's Jim Acosta was not spreading "fake news," the Communications Advisor says, yes, Acosta is spreading "fake news." Her proof? 90% of the news is negative. Gee, ya think maybe that's because 90% of the news under this president is negative?!?!?!

"Pompeo Confirms That North Korea Is Far From Denuclearization" So much for the idea that for our President to meet with Kim Jong Un was the start of significant disarmament.

For Ivanka Trump to say the family separation policy was a "low point" for the Trump presidency raises the question of complicity. As the policy was clear from the time it was first considered and they had a year to implement it and there was no plan to ever reunite parents and children, then precisely how much of a role did she play in composing this policy? Keep in mind that her official portfolio includes women and family policies.

Yeah, there's never been any question that a plastic firearm is good for only a few shots. There's a reason guns are usually made out of metal. Still, if someone just wants to make a really dramatic political statement by getting a plastic gun into what is normally a secure location, there we go.

"Dana Loesch Defends 3D Gun Printing As Hobby, Like Knitting" Did a bit of research on this claim of Loesch's yesterday. Yes, legally, you have to have some metal in the gun in order for it to be legal. However, that component is removable. What that means is that if you wanted to assassinate someone (you're a spy or a jilted lover or a teacher gave you a low grade, etc.) or to hold them hostage (the gun may not fire or may blow up in the hostage-taker's hands, but how many people want to count on that?), you can place the gun into a backpack, keep the component in beside other metal (keys, cell phone) and you have a weapon that can fire enough shots to fulfil your mission.

Good summary of the Steele Dossier/Fusion GPS situation.

Allegedly, there's still money available for election security that hasn't been spent yet, but I agree with the blogger. Is this really the time and place for bean-counting?!?!!?!

I do an evaluation of a US invasion of Iran.I'm not very optimistic that it would turn out well or be a short war.

So according to Press Secretary Sanders, freedom of the press is something the Trump Administration supports BUT, and then she has to go back two decades to come up with an example of an irresponsible press.

Okay, so Politico reports that "Senate sends $717B defense bill to Trump" because hey, y'know security. Protect the country. The Pentagon says the budget is "Critical to Rebuilding, Restoring Readiness" Okay. Democrats asked for, and voted unanimously for, one quarter of one billion to safeguard our election process. That's adding up what the states have requested for election cyber-security. The Republican Party has more or less unanimously voted against spending that relatively tiny amount of money. There is of course, the obvious explanation, that Russian interference will favor Republicans. Is there a more innocent explanation?

"Trump to Sessions: Shut down Russia probe"
1. There's nothing "rigged" about the Mueller investigation 2. Mueller's not conflicted 3. Even if there were "17 Angry Democrats" on Mueller's staff, who cares? They still have to present a good case. 4. if our country is "stained," that's because we've got a president who is incapable of doing the job and is a tool of a foreign power. No, the probe should contninue.

The family separation policy is a crime that will be forever associated with this administration.

A small minority in Israel that apparently didn't receive any consideration in the "Israel for Jews only" law.

Wow! "No one" would turn down help from a foreign country in order to win an election in America?!?!?! As Hollywood Reporter puts it "When Al Gore's Campaign Received Illegal Election Material, He Turned It in to the FBI"

Evidence on the last tax cut is that a huge proportion of it went into stock buy-backs, which raises the price of stock, so sure. Why not another big tax break? Uh, maybe because we have better things to spend that money on?

"In Pitch For Voter ID, Trump Falsely Claims That ID Needed To Grocery Shop"
I wonder when our President last shopped for groceries. Sounds as though he hasn't stepped into a grocery store for decades. Saw the clip on this last night. the audience clapped and cheered when he suggested we "need" voter IDs.

July                         back to top

Good! Rather late with less than 100 days to go until the midterm election, but good to hear DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen compare possible interference in our election to a category 5 hurricane. Not sure what she actually plans to do about it, but a very promising start.

It's very good that our President is questioning whether it's a good idea to have unregistered guns without serial numbers free and loose and available to all and sundry. But boy, I sure miss the days when a president would have put some time and thought into the issue and would have consulted with a wider variety of people than just the NRA. Most presidents wouldn't have allowed 3-D printed guns to have existed at all.

Is Rudy Giuliani guilty of witness tampering?

"Trump administration considers tax cut for the wealthy"
I commented on the Inky's page about this: A Brookings Institute study from June (“Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A preliminary analysis”) looks at the effect that the tax cut passed last December has had and finds that although the negative impact on government revenue has been and will be very real and substantial, the beneficial effects have been negligible and if it's paid for via cutting government spending, could have an overall negative impact on the US. It isn't like we don't need to spend the money. As just one example, USA Today found in February that 58,000 bridges are found to be "structurally deficient." This is no time to be cutting taxes.

Yeah, so White House Chief of Staff John Kelly now finds himself sidelined and ignored, replaced by Fox & Friends as the agenda-setter for the White House.

So with the family separation policy, the Trump Administration is committing the kind of crime that, like Slavery-Jim Crow, the Trail of Tears or the internment of Japanese-Americans, will live in infamy long after everyone who committed it is passed on. Republicans are upset because 92% of the American population disapproves.

Yep! A president surrounded by yes-men

Kellyanne Conway says, "This president obviously isn’t afraid of questions." Yet Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters over questions he felt were disrespectful.

Young Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has now served her eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier, graduated high school while in jail and is now considering law school.

So with everything else that's going on, what's House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) up to? Shadow banning! Which is not a thing. Twitter was trying to limit trollling and several right-wing politicians got caught up in that.

Government people are bitching and groaning because providing information on the 468 parents who were deported without their children would be burdensome to the government! $#$@%&#!!!!

Whoa! Piece talks about wildfires in the Arctic Circle!

"Trump Disses Real NATO, now Wants Unrealistic Arab NATO
I seem to recall our President trying to organize a new NAFTA and a new TPP as well. Not one nation accepted his idea for replacing a multi-national agreement with individual bilateral accords.

Tamimi is freed from jail in Israel. 
"The 17-year old Ahed Tamimi appears less than overawed by her imprisonment of eight months. 'The resistance continues until the occupation is removed,' Ahed said upon her return."

"Trump election security meeting had no coherent strategy, reportedly lasted less than an hour"
Sounds to me as though the meeting was more about justifying the current state of affairs than it was about making any sorts of improvements on them. No national strategy, no one field marshal or czar in charge.

"Shadow Banning" isn't really a thing and doesn't actually occur, but the Republican Party's stance on Net Neutrality makes RNC head Ronna Romney McDaniel's complaints rather ridiculous.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh served in the G.W. Bush Administration from 2003 to 2006. There's a "2004 email showing Bush's Deputy Nat Sec Advisor wanted then-Staff Sec. Kavanaugh looped in on spinning the torture memo." This is very, very important! We need to know what Kavanaugh's views were on that.

Got a buddy who thinks Democrats are trying to start a war with Russia. Don't see any evidence of that, but plenty of evidence of Democrats who want to see the President and his people get up off their butts and do something to protect our election integrity. No evidence at all of any direction or coordination from the top.

Rudy Giuliani claims that there's no evidence that Donald Trump colluded with Russia. Therefore, Michael Cohen must be lying. Of course, the President is not the slightest bit credible, he just lies all the time and on all sorts of subjects. Also, if the President had any sort of credibility on the collusion front, why does it appear that no one is in charge of cyber-security? As the Rachel Maddow Show said, US cyber-security is a complete and utter cluster$%#@. The Trump Administration claims they've had a strategy for cyber-defence in place since the beginning, but our intelligence agencies don't appear to have any idea of what that strategy might be.

Yeah, this fellow first came to public attention because he wouldn't let teens who were in US custody, as they were undocumented immigrants, get abortions. How does that attitude translate to taking care of children in his custody? Seems that if you're in the womb, he cares deeply. If you're up and alive and around, ehh, not so much.

Eh, no. Seeking oppo research, even from foreigners, is hardly in the same category as actually having a group of foreigners come to your office and you failing to report that to the authorities. Turns out also that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at that meeting was pretty well-connected to Putin's government. 

The President describes the effects that Association Health Plans are having on the health care insurance market. Kind of a problem with that is that the plans did not become available two months ago, they're scheduled to become available this September. But yeah, other than that, they're doing great!

"Trump Admin Reunites 1,442 Children Out Of 2,551 By Court Deadline"
Short of the goal, but very good to see some progress made.

Very sorry to hear that the woman cast to play Starfire of the Teen Ttans, Anna Diop, has been harassed so much, she's disabled comments on her Instagram feed. According to the piece, she might have been okay if she had lighter skin, but she's "too black" for the role. And yeah, I had overlooked the fact that in 1985, when the character was introduced, she had curly hair, not generally a white person feature. But esssetially, when a comics character has an unusual skin color, their ethnicity is pretty much up to the penciler. 

Jeanine Pirro was a judge of the Westchester County Court from Jan 1991 to May 1993, so she knows full well that having the President pitch your book from the Oval Office is illegal. 

Hey, remember the meeting between Don Trump Jr, several members of the Trump campaign staff and several Russians? Yeah according to Michael Cohen, Don Trump Sr. knew all about it ahead of time.

Full story on CNN reporter that got booted from covering the President, showing that he's a sad, sad little snowflake who can't tolerate being outside his Fox News bubble.

When your diplomacy is moderate and measured, as President Obama's was, you help the moderates. When your diplomacy is mindlessly belligerent, you help the hard-liners.

Serious problems with impeaching Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General. It's far from clear that "improper surveillance" took place and the impeachment seeks to insert Congress into an ongoing investigation!!! Democrats call it a “panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation..."

Update: “Time to thank the 11 GOP Congressman who filed articles of impeachment against AG Rosenstein today. Their filing contains numerous inaccuracies and mistakes and shows that they are not only corrupt & likely compromised, they’re bumbling idiots. November. Is. Coming.”

Represenate Adam Schiff: “These articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein were filed in bad faith and show extraordinary lengths to which House Republicans will go to protect Trump. History will record these Members as willing accomplices in the most serious threat to the rule of law in a generation."

Sally Yates: “While the absurd threat to impeach Rod Rosenstein will undoubtedly fail, using the Department of Justice as a prop for political theater does lasting damage to this vital democratic institution. The men and women of DOJ and the people of our country deserve better.”

Good! The whole "Impeach Rosenstein" effort has collapsed.

“Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” -- Donald Trump, 2018

"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." -- George Orwell, "1984"

Barbaric! Utterly and absolutely barbaric! I have to wonder, out of the 913 families deemed ineligible for reunification, if even 1% of the parents have committed crimes serious enough to justify such a harsh sentence. "The Trump administration may have deported hundreds of parents while their children remain in U.S. detention centers."

The Trump Administration is following the "1984" playbook and literally erasing inconvenient history.

Lots more on Judge Kavanaugh:

Hmm. So at a time when parents who were improperly separated from their children are getting nickel 'n' dimed to be reunited with them (One parent got charged $1,900 to be reunited with his child), the government can just magically pull $12 billion from its hat to reimburse farmers for a trade war that the President started. To their credit, conservative Representatives and Senators are recalling the old days, when the Republican Party had a prejudice against just casually "throwing money at a problem."

Just caught this on TV a little while ago. At the 12:40 minute mark, the President tells us the story of the Jerusalem Embassy. He comments on how nobody before him managed to do it and of how everybody opposed his doing it. He tells a very, very highly edited version that completely leaves out everybody else’s viewpoint. Nobody else matters, no one’s opinion is meaningful, $#@% em all! The President portrays himself as the lone hero who goes his own way and accomplishes what no one else can. But there were very good and sound and sensible reasons why no one had dome what he did, because it pissed everybody off except for the Israelis.

Secretary of State Pompeo makes accusations against Iran that the US really doesn't have any standing to make. The accusation is that leaders of Iran are "hoarding the country’s wealth, behaving like a mafia, and being hypocritical..." 

President appears to feel "I got this now!" Uh, no he doesn't.

In February, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Representative Devin Nunes put out a memo accusing the FBI of misleading the FISA Court in its application to surveil Carter Page. A look at the application shows that Nunes lied.

Representative Nunes is apparently doing what President Trump wanted AG Sessions to do, to "recuse" himself while not actually getting out of the way of the investigation. Serves the President's purposes while not serving America or democracy at all.

"North Korea is still blowing off U.S. diplomats, and the gullible Trump is beginning to get steamed"
President's angry because his critics were 100% right about North Kor

Tucker Carlson spends half his time trying to shush and talk over Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA), but never really addresses Swalwell's point. It would be terrible, under normal circumstances, to call the President a traitor. But the President announced on Monday that it would be a great idea to turn over a former US Ambassador to Russia for questioning. The Trump Administration finally discarded the idea after a Senate vote of 98-0 saying what an absolutely awful idea that was. It took until Thursday to walk that back.
Another point here is that there’s obviously no one in the President’s vicinity who can talk him out of crazy stuff. It took a unanimous voe by the Senate to convince him it was a bad idea to turn an American citizens over to a foreign country for questioning. He didn’t walk the idea back on his own.

So the Climate Solutions Caucus faced its first test and belly-flopped miserably. Republicans were asked to vote on a rather simple pro-survival-of-the-human race item and they largely failed to do so, meaning the Caucus is a complete joke and might as well be abandoned.

Jeanine Pirro claims the investigation over whether Russia interfered in the election of 2016 was initiated entirely because of the Steele Dossier and that the dossier is all junk.
"Dossier Firm Realized FBI Had Its Own Russia Probe Sources In Fall 2016"
And the dossier can hardly be all junk as the Mueller investigation asked to speak with Steele.

Why is the Trump Administration having such difficulty reuniting kids with parents after separating them at the Southern border? Apparently, there was never any intention of reuniting them to begin with.

Association Health Plans are not the magic bullet that will prove better than the ACA/Obamacare.

Syrian rebels who opposed President Bashar al-Assa long occupied areas next to the Israeli border. With Assad crushing the rebels, Israel has to get used to being neighbors with Assad's forces.

Israel formalizes a state of apartheid for its Palestinian residents.

"The Russians Who Hacked The DNC Have Targeted At Least Three 2018 Campaigns, Microsoft Says"
And please recall that the context for these actions is that National Security Adviser Bolton not only fired the head of our cyber-security, he then eliminated the position entirely.

Very difficult to come up with any innocent explanations for these. Fortunately, the Trump Administration has decided against sending US persons to Russia for questioning (Which would have been like sending Elliott Ness to Al Capone for questioning). But after the Russian and US presidents have apparently made an agreement, no one other than the translator has any idea of what this agreement is. Not a single Republican voted to subpoena the translator.

Audience does not take the DHS Secretary seriously when she says the President encourages diversity of opinion among his staff.
As to how much influence his staff has on him, remember, it took four days for the President to go back against the idea that he should turn American citizens over to Russia for questioning. That's an administration that's chock-full of sycophants and yes-men!

Okay, Speaker Ryan agrees that Russia interfered in our election. That's good. That's progress. They "didn't have a material effect"?!?!?! That's far from proven!

US Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan tries to defend family separations at border.

White House puts out a list of talking points and MSNBC gets a copy. Among the talking points is a list of times that the President has stated that he thinks Russia hacked our election process. Okay, so what actions did he and his people take in response? What did he do about it?

Yeah, Maria Butina represents "Gun Rights" in Russia, sort of a Russian NRA. Er, Russia doesn't permit private ownership of guns, so there is no gun rights movement.

She's been active in the NRA since 2015. Gee, what a surprise! "The NRA did not respond to TPM’s request for comment."

"Migrant kids described being detained: 'They told us to behave, or we’d be there forever'"
Poor kids were held under horrible conditions! Whole program of family separations belongs right in there with worst human rights abuses in American history.

Did President Trump go to Helsinki to receive his performance review from President Putin? Twitter thinks so.

So it seems David Duke and the Soldiers of Odin are the only real supporters of the President's views on Russia. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are saying "Aww, everybody does it" and everyone else is shocked.

Of course, according to the President, it was only the losers and haters who disapproved of his meeting with Putin, 

Plenty of things Congress coul hold hearings on concerning the Trump-Putin relationship.

Major problem with President Trump's economic theories are that they're clearly based on Merchantalism, a popular economic theory of the 1600s.

*Sigh* Tearing families apart put the Trump Administration in with the lowest of the most vicious criminals of history. Naturally, of course, they found a way to compound their crimes.

Kind of interesting that National Security Adviser John Bolton is asked a good question, but his answer is a complete non-sequitur. ABC's Jonathan Karl asks if President Trump isn't contributing to authoritarianism in the way that he deals with Putin and other authoritarians. Bolton replies that we dealt with authoritarians like Joseph Stalin. Very true, but that wasn't Karl's point. Karl's point was that Trump's actions are giving aid and comfort to authoritarians.

Couple of points concerning what Representative Gowdy didn't say: 1. He fails to mention anything Strzok did as opposed to simply messaged about. Sure, Strzok was biased. What human being doesn't have opinions? 2. Yeah, Gowdy's call for private hearings is a good indicator of how successful the public hearing was at bringing down Strzok. 3. There was a private hearing and Gowdy and his fellow chairman Goodlatte haven't released the transcript of that. Hmm. Wonder why? Democrats have asked for it to be released with some redactions.

Israel launched heavy airstrikes against Gaza on Saturday. They reached a cease-fire around 8:00pm their local time. Two dead, hundreds wounded.

TPM says: "Nielsen said her agency will help state and local election officials prepare their systems for cyberattacks from Russia or elsewhere."
"Will"?!?!?! "WILL"?!?!?!?! DHS "will" provide support to protect against cyberattack?!?!? &%($#@!!! They're not going hammer and tongs after that already?!?!?! We're 115 days out from the election at this point. 

If the Republican Party were the slightest bit serious about protecting our elections, there's a whole list of things they should have been doing already.

Looks as though the Trump Administration is trying really, really hard to start up a war with Iran. They're putting lots of pressure on allies, who don't appear to agree that Iran is any sort of threat.

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is absolutely correct here: "What if - hear me out here - not every policy with which you disagree is morally equivalent to the policies of the worst mass murderers in history?"
Problem is, not only has Shapiro been very free and loose with Nazi comparisons himself, as ThinkProgress has documented here, but the Nazi comparisons with the Trump Administration are very well documented and substantiated.

White House reacts to 12 Russians seeking to undermine US 2016 election. Very tellingly, WH fails to condemn election interference by Russians.

"Native Americans who protested Dakota Access get handed the longest prison sentences"
This is infuriating because the Water Protectors were acting on behalf of all humankind, as well as their own water supply and of those downstream.

The President's "offer" is kind of a problem: "but I will tell you this – at a certain point [the Iranians are] going to call me and they’re going to say let’s make a deal. And we’ll make a deal. But they’re feeling a lot of pain right now.” But the Iranians had a deal with the US. A deal that the President backed out of for no clear reason. As was clear at the time, it was to deal with just the nuclear issue or to go to war. Trump isn't showing that there's any sort of in-between way.

FBI agent Peter Strzok battled Congress today. Strzok made an extremely good case that the FBI did not show any bias because they didn't leak the fact that Donald Trump was being investigated for collusion with Russia.

As Pollitt put it, Thursday’s hearing “didn’t add anything to what we already knew.” Peter Strzok was able to give detailed answers to what he meant by certain comments he made in what he should have known were not private text messages, but overall, the hearing was bad for the rule of law. Congresspeople should have known not to ask certain questions about an ongoing investigation, something they did repeatedly yesterday.

Peter Strzok took a good approach, that of righteous indignation.

Good review of the hearing.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell says "Borking" a Supreme Court nomination is a bad thing. Not really sure what he means as I was taking a course in the Supreme Court and the Constitution during the Bork hearings and read Bork’s autobiography later. Bork was given every opportunity to make the case that he'd make a good Justice and failed miserably.

A conservative friend of mine supports the Electoral College because she fears that if it's abolished, candidates will skip campaigning in "flyover country" and will just campaign in big cities. Excellent point, but as the piece here points out, our small, rural states are over-represented in the Senate.

The Presidet claimed that Germany gets 70% of its energy from Russia. Fact-checkers said the number was actually 9%.
More fact-checking on Germany and energy.
One very important point about renewables is that energy can be produced locally. Puerto Rico has plenty of energy-producing capacity, but the wires that carried it all were wiped out in the hurricane. Germany is looking to no longer be dependent on any foreign source.

"Alabama Gov Moves To Stop Allowing Sheriffs To Pocket Jail Food Funds"
Good! The Alabama legislature has yet to weigh in, but this is a long-overdue reform proposal that fixes a very obvious conflict of interest.

"Tomi Lahren Whines That Dems 'Think It's Their Right' To Protest"
Or maybe, perhaps, Republicans from the President on down can look at their own conduct and wonder if they're the ones provoking the heckling! Democrats are outnumbered, but neither the Senate nor the House has passed anything concerning the brutal and vicious family separation policy on the Mexican border. Fox News obviously isn't going to talk about it. What choice do citizens have?

Career State Department officials tell Republican delegation that the Russians think, gee, the only ones who appear to give a damn about Russian election interference are Democrats. Hmm. Gee. Can't imagine where they got that idea!

And yeah, on North Korea, the Trump Administration just got completely snookered. Will the Fox News audience ever figure that out? Not a lot of them, not for awhile. Trump:
"I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed..." The "contract" was a series of vague promises that didn't even define really critical terms like "denuclearization."

An ol' anti-war buddy asked me to look into "low-yield nuclear weapons." This piece is from back in February. Pretty nuts. Unless your primary concern is the financial health of arms builders, it's hard to see any reasonable or legitimate purpose for such weapons.

The "Trump Trade War" isn't looking like such a great idea these days. China is seeking oil from Iran instad of the US. 

Supreme Court nominee is Brett Kavanaugh.

Yeah, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the respect and dignity and fair hearing that Judge Merrick Garland did not get

Rachel Maddow show was all about the new Supreme Court pick.

A review of the New Yorker article that wonders whether Donald Trump isn't a Russian mole who's been developed since the late 80s. I downloaded just the text of the New Yorker piece and it comes out to 15 pages. Pretty convincing case.

Really? The President has a "Twitter Addiction"?

This is what people are talking about when they say we should "Abolish ICE!" Yes, the fellow here did not immigrate properly, but he's been here since 2006 and appears to have had a legitimate case for asylum. ICE and the local police both deny that they were singling him out but he has been reporting on them, something they've found troublesome.

Hmm, Stephen Miller was able to get some take-out sushi and to get it all the way home, but the cussing-out he received from a chef made him feel so miserable, he threw it all away. Could Miller actually be showing some signs of a conscience?!?!?!

Huh! Did y'all know there were pro-gun rallies yesterday? Yeah, they were very sparsely attended.

So we've got this young black woman who's convinced! Convinced, I tell you! That the President is enormously popular among black people. When asked for a source to that, she couldn't recall the name of the poll or anything else about it. Just that there are millions of black people who aren't counted on other polls, but who love the President.

From several months ago. Kind of amusing to hear Laura Ingraham waxing eloquent about Our Glorious Leader and his amazing accomplishments. So to take just one example, how's the US relationship with North Korea doing? Wasn't that meeting the start of great accomplishments? Well, er, um, not so much actually. Kim Jong Un got pretty much everything he wanted from our President in June and now is pretty much just blowing Trump off.

After the Trump Administration said everything was good and under control "Trump administration admits they’ve lost track of roughly 20 percent of toddlers’ parents"

The President started off with a racist joke against a Democratic Senator, which turned into a joke about sexual assault and then he just sort of petered off. The audience loved it all and laughed uproariously

Saw a meme recently celebrating the fact that the current First Lady has a much smaller staff that Michelle Obama did (According to Snopes, Obama's staff was average for a  First Lady), but okay, sure, Trump's staff today is much smaller. I notice here that her anti-bullying initiative is quite useless as it very clearly doesn't apply to her husband. Someone who cared about bullying in any shape or format would be mightily embarrassed at what her husband was doing here.

Several troubling aspects of the Congressional visit to Russia ahead of the President's summit there. First and foremost, why did the delegation have to be entirely from just one party, the GOP? Why couldn't Democrats have been included? Was this summit meant to benefit the Republican Party or America?

Good to hear that the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is not fighting the order to reunite parents with children, but no reunifications have occurred so far and the system for doing so is in a major cluster$%#@. Oh, and the Secretary is blaming others for the mess.

One cheer (out of three) for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation. He wasn't fired for crimes against the environment, just for financial misconduct. He's sure to be replaced by someone just as bad.

So apparently, this is the standard under which ICE is keeping young children. There are around 3,000 children in ICE's custody.

Why, why, why does Richard Cohen still have job at the WaPo?!?!?! Seriously, his politics are from 1983. Hasn't learned a thing since then.

And yes, tch, tch, tch on Alex Jones and his #SecondCivilWar! BIG disappointment!

The President builds a very dubious case on highly questionable information."Trump complains about Iranians getting citizenship by citing baseless stat he read on Fox News"

For at least the past several decades, Presidents have been among the most well-informed people on the planet. Barack Obama was usually so well-informed that when a problem broke out, it was usually old news to him by then and he was already working on a solution. Donald Trump seems to be willing to advertise to the world that not only does he get the word on problems late, he often doesn't appear to understand them even then.

Senate Intelligence Committee reaches conclusion diametrically opposite from that of House Intelligence Committee, yes Russia DID attempt to influence 2016 election.

Hmm, so the head of the Freedom Caucus is now implicated with having ignored a sexual abuse scandal that he darn well should have been aware of.

And remember as you watch McCain’s freak-out, McCain is at least third generation wealthy. Grandfather was an Admiral, father’s been a Senator for decades. As Soledad O’Brien noted, freaking out undermines one’s argument.

I agree with the blogger. I was not at all pleased by the answers Secretary of State Pompeo gave. Pompeo appears to believe the conversations the President had with Putin and Kim are the President’s private business. One very crucial item that the US should have cleared up before the Singapore meeting was what exactly does “denuclearization” mean? The American public needs to know that both sides are on the same page with a common definition. This is an important question and the administration really should have an answer for that by now. At the 3:45 mark in the back and forth with Senator Markey, Pompeo sounds as though progress has been made, but is quite vague and unconvincing about exactly what that progress is.

The blogger quotes the comedian Dennis Miller, who used to be a liberal. He also used to be funny.

"Video: Stop Trauma At The Border Now Before The Damage Is Permanent" Truly revolting. The damage done to families is already incalculable.

Oh, and those retaliatory tariffs that other nations are applying to us? Four months ago, the Trump Administration said they wouldn't happen.

Saturday's protest over the Trump Administration's family separation policy.

Hmm. Well, yes. Bill Clinton was and Donald Trump would be under federal investigation while appointing a Supreme Court Justice. But yes, Clinton was being investigated for a land deal in which he lost money (and later of getting a BJ from an intern) and Trump is being investigated for obtaining aid from a foreign power towards becoming President. Nah, not really the same thing.

I agree with the blogger, there's very little to like or admire about the Iranian government, but they clearly have a stable government, there are Iranian people who would like to come to the US and study and there's simply no international appetite to even impose sanctions on Iran. We can and should oppose Iranian foreign policy moves around the Gulf, but there's no reason to support internal guerilla forces that want to battle the Iranian regime.

Lots and lots of pictures of yesterday's (30 June) demonstration from around the country.Same blog has previous sets of pictures.

June                         back to top

Serious disruption in Washington DC yesterday over family separation policy on the Mexican border. We're scheduled for a march this Saturday on same subject:

Hmm. Very interesting. Sean Hannity is blaming Congresswoman Maxine Waters for the shooting at the newspaper office in Maryland, but she called for annoying, but non-violent harassment. Milo Yiannopoulos here, on the other hand, specifically called for the murder of journalists. We don't know the cause yet, but I'd bet a dollar or two that Yiannopoulos is the real problem here.

Hmm, yeah. Good call. "Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?" was the first headline. It was later replaced by “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: A 28-Year-Old Democratic Giant Slayer,” which is good, because the first headline (that they kept right up until she won) made the NY Times sound pretty gol-durned out of it and oblivious. It was kinda like they hadn't been paying attention at all.

Republicans have a choice, they can either pass a bill knowing that it will get vetoed and then override it or they can fruitlessly waste their time trying to come up with a bill that the President will approve of that isn't weighted so heavily towards Republican positions that Democrats won't support it. For some reason, they keep trying to appeal to the President.

So the idea was that if hard-core Republicans negotiated a bill with slightly-less hard-core Republicans and that the President approved of, they'd get a bill that could pass the entire House. It got a really embarrassing 121 votes to 301 votes in opposition

If you're going to lose, there's a right way and a wrong way to do so. President Trump is likely to get a new Supreme Court nominee seated before the mid-term election in November, but Democrats should fight it anyway. Advice from 2004.

Good! Federal judge in family separation case sets a hard deadline for family reunifications!

So the Supreme Court five-member majority in the Muslim ban case essentially just cited the fact that the Trump Administrtion carried out an interagency review as its justification for its ruling, saying that because the review was carried out, everything's good and the ban is legal. Justice Sonia Sotomayer points out that anti-Muslim animus is evident from the public statements of the President. From her dissent: "...the President’s lawyers have, at every step in the lower courts, failed in their attempts to launder the Proclamation of its discriminatory taint."

*Sigh* No, this policy of separating families at the border had no equivalent within the Obama Administration. The policy started in January of this year, came to the public's attention in late May and has been a growing problem ever since. Other administrations may have contributed bit and pieces to the policy, but President Trump put those pieces together, consciously, deliberately, with malice and forethought. ,

Okay, so Ivanka Trump wasn't just sitting around and twiddling her thumbs during her daddy's family separation policy at the border. She gave $50k to the Prestonwood Baptist Church. Has the church announced how it's going to use the money? Er, uh, well, no. They are "currently working to provide solutions."

Countries pushing each other on water resources.

"Whole Bunch Of Fuckheads Crying About Mean Liberals Being 'Uncivil' To Bloodthirsty Monsters"
Problem is, incivility to right-wingers doesn't just pop up out of nowhere. Good observations on Meghan McCain's hypocrisy.

Excellent news! Lawyer Michael Avenatti has contacts within ICE who are trying to get information to him to expose the family separation policy at the border.

The President appears to be awfully vague on what "gutting the ACA" means. He doesn't appear to realize that gutting the ACA means that prices for health insurance will rise. He instead concludes that the Democrats, who have not had the ability to pass any legislation since January 2017, must be the ones to blame.

Disturbing. The President notes a North Korean newswoman announcing the news and that she should come work in the US, where she can teach our "almost treasonous" newspeople how it's done.

A very, very bad 5-4 Supreme Court decision that leaves gerrymandered Texas districts in place under a presumption of white racial innocence.

Actress Mira Sorvino comments that the US is now an awful lot like "Pre-Nazi Germany." Breitbart News talks about her hat. Another commenter says "Stick with what your good at. Acting." Here's her response:

I wrote my thesis on racial conflict and persecution at Harvard, worked on a documentary on Neo-Nazi hate groups in Russia, performed in the film about the SonderKommando at Auschwitz The Grey Zone, and am an avid student of The Holocaust and what lead to it, so I beg to differ.

Opinions still divided on the First Lady's jacket that said "I really don't care. Do U?" Teen Vogue feels it's a piece of world-class trolling/distraction designed to discredit the media that paid attention to it. A blogger named Hans Howe feels the history of the fascist Italian Arditi is highly relevant here. Melania Trump grew up in an area where the phrase "Me ne frego" (I don't really care) is quite well-known and where memorials to the Italian fascists of the 20s and 30s can be found all over the place. Zara, by the way, the company that produced the jacket, previously got into trouble for producing a swastika-themed handbag.

The President's latest twitter tantrum shows that his worldview is far closer to that of Louis XIV and der Fuhrer than it is to America.

Matt Yglesias makes a very important point about due process. 

It’s not due process *for* illegal immigrants.

Without due process there’s nothing stopping an ICE agent from deporting his ex-wife’s new boyfriend or a New York Times White House correspondent.

"Pete Hegseth Defends Trump's Child Camps: 'Kids Were Not Placed In Ovens And Baked'"
Wow! Y'know, again, when you're comparing your policies to those of der Fuhrer and saying "Hey, our policies aren't quite as bad..." You've kinda lost the argument!

Jared Kushner slams Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying "There is only so long you can blame that on everyone other than the Palestinian leadership." Okay, problem 1: the Trump Administration has donw absolutely nothing to benefit Palestinians. They have gained absolutely zero benefits since the President was inaugurated. Problem 2: Over 100 Palestinians died and many thousands were wounded during the Great March of Return that went from late March to mid-May, right after the American Jerusalem embassy was opened up (opening the embassy was a middle finger to the Paelstinians and, frankly, to all Arabs) Kushner and the rest of the Trump Admiistration did absolutely zero to restrain Israel, assist the Palestinians, try and mitigate the damage or to reach a settlement. Abbas has no reason whatsoever to cooperate with Kushner. 

More on the Jared Kushner interview with Al Quds. Yeah, he really didn't mention many important issues, including that of Israeli settlements. Kind of ridiculous to even consider a peace plan that doesn't even begin to discuss Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

So how is the executive order concerning the family separation policy going? "Protests spread, outcry continues against Trump administration’s harsh immigration crackdown"

For one, the administration is still pursuing a "zero-tolerance" policy that threatens to replace family separation with indefinite family detention. For another, it’s still completely unclear what steps the government will take to reunite thousands of kids who were taken from their parents, and what resources will be made available to distraught parents attempting to navigate a sea of bureaucratic red tape separating them from their children — some as young as just a few months old.

The President makes it clear. He does not represent the American people. He represents what he calls "my people," that is, people who voted for him. 

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says it is
“patently ridiculous” for the UN to even examine poverty in America because Americt is “the wealthiest and freest country in the world.”
Wealthiest, yes. But that wealth is very, very highly concentrtated. We haven't seen such levels of inequality since right before the Great Depression. Freedom? Our freedom has taken some pretty hard hits in just the time since the current president took office. Nah, Bernie is 100% correct to give her statement a belly laugh.

Awwww! Let's all hear it for the poor, poor people who work for the Trump Administration and can't find dates in Washington DC!

"White House incompetence laid bare by immigration fiasco" The President isn't growing into the job. He seems to actually be becoming less competent as he goes.

This: “These are not — like it or not, these aren’t our kids,” Kilmeade said. “Show them compassion, but it’s not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country..."
is precisely the distinction between liberals and conservatives. Liberals recognize the common humanity of all. To answer Kilmeade's question, what is the Trump Administration actually doing to help people in Central America solve their problems? What are people there supposed to do until those problems get solved? There's a reason the Statue of Liberty says what it does.

Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC lets Kilmeade have it

Chris Cuomo tells us there's been backlash to the heartlessness demonstrated by the President's enablers. Good!

Yeah, so there was a meeting at the White House today to discuss Latina women being separated from their children. The meeting was entirely white males with the sole exception being Liz Cheney, a white female. Yep, gotta love that diversity and inclusiveness!

It's difficult for the President to convincingly make the case that he cares about all the people when pretty much all of the people in his meetings are almost exclusively old, white, male Republicans.

US policy concerning those seeking asylum is not only cruel and wrong, it doesn't even appear to be consistent with international law.

The President is convinced he's "replaced Obamacare," but if Association Health Plans (which have been around for decades) were all that great, why was the ACA/Obamacare installed in the first place?

So AG Sessions says that there was never any intention of separating families. But given his own description here, it's difficult to see how he could have expected anything else.

Concerning the First Lady's jacket, which had the incredibly inappropriate message "I really don't care. Do U?" I agree with one of the bloggers. The White House didn't have anybody on hand to have noticed this and to have pointed out what an awful message it sent? What an incredibly incompetent group of bunglers!

So Howard Kurtz says that "We now know" that Ivanka Trump was lobbying her daddy to change his decision on tearing apart families on the border. Really? We "know" this? Her daddy is hardly a credible source. He was swearing up and down that he was helpless to change the law that was put into place by the Democrats until he decided to put out an executive order to change the law. If the source was Ivanka, the story is a highly self-serving one that bathes her in a saint-like glow. As her official Whte House portfolio is families and children, I guess I'd be curious to know whether she knew about the completely non-existent tracking system that would be necessary if the children were ever to be reunited with their parents.

Here's another reason as to why I prefer not to get my news from the mainstream media (MSM). This is on the family separations EO:: 

In the hours between the announcement of the order and its actual release, many hailed the change as an about-face—a stunning and rare pivot for a president who has little capacity to admit error. But now that the executive order is out, what is clear is that this document offers no fix at all.

You see, the MSM feels the competitive need to get "the scoop" out first, so they wrote up whole articles about the executive order without having seen it first. First impressions are importat. The blogs took their time and didn't even report that the EO was on the way. When the blogs finally did report on it, it was after they had read the whole thing through. This meant that the first word they reported on the EO was accurate

Hey, did y'all hear about the 700km peace march in Afghanistan? No, hmm. Wonder why the media in the US didn't cover that?

“And so internment it is. The family case management program that Trump terminated worked well, did not endanger public safety, and would avoid this new horror." 
So essentially the President took a system that was working and threw a monkey wrench into it.

On protest in Philadelphia over famiy separation policy.

Ivanka Trump speaks up on the family separation policy to thank her daddy for finally taking action (that is, signing an executve order). Response on Twitter

So the President has signed an executive order (after claiming that only Congress could fix the family immigration mess), but it's far from clear that the EO really solves any of the problems and in fact doesn't create new ones.

The executive order gets more underwhelming the more people look at it.

Ahh! (Sigh of relief) People are stepping up and giving in enormous quantities to help reunite families. Personally, I'm pretty tightfisted on giving to causes, but I gave some yesterday to a site that split up my contribution among seven organizations.

Family separaton policy is complete cluster$#@%. No organization of any kind. No way for foster parents to know what's going on with original parents.

The President is here trying to engage in the process of writing a bill on immigration - he "delivered a rambling and, according to some members, barely coherent tirade that was short on specifics."

Rachel Maddow's a seen-it-all, pretty tough newsperson and even she was broken up by the news that the Trump Administration is holding babies.

US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council. Problem is, Trump Administration wants to present itself as a moral exemplar that's just disgusted with what everybody else is doing, but the horrid human rights abuses in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, by Israel on the Gaza border and by the US at the Mexican border are all just too much and make it impossible for the US to present itself as being morally superior.

"Sessions: comparing family-separation policy, Nazi Germany is an 'exaggeration'"
Ehh, yeah. When your argument is "Hey, we're not quite as bad as the Nazis." Mmm, yeah, you've pretty much lost the argument.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen scolds media for getting their descriptions of administration policy wrong, but their policy is kind of a cluster%$#@ with them contradicting their own statements and each other.

"What Trump chooses not to understand about immigration negotiations"
The President seems to have a vision of political negotiation that resembles organized crime and hostage negotiations. Of course, he then wonders why he can't see to get anything done!

"WH Rejects Bill To End Family Separations: We Don't Want To 'Just Tinker With It'"
Okay, but back in February, the Senate tried four different bills, three of them got majorities though not by enough to overcome a filibuster and the administration didn't settle on any of them. What the administration needs to do is to arrive at a plan that all sides find at least somewhat acceptable. In the meantime, it would be far quicker and easier to just address the family separation part of the mess. 

Rachel Maddow talked about this (Audiotape of a young girl seperated from her family) and interviewed someone from ProPublica, the people that made the tape available. She said the White House briefing was about to start, everybody got notified of this tape on their cellphones and gee, surprise, surprise, the briefing got cancelled!

Good! Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach completely loses his case! He was piling on too many restrictions and was thus causing "tens of thousands of eligible citizens" to not be able to register.

So the Senate is now split along straight party lines. Republicans, with absolutely no exceptions, have all failed to sign onto the Feinstein bill to keep families together, Democrats have all signed onto it.

The only demographic group to support the policy of ripping children out of the arms of their parents is Trump voters, period.

By the way, the President is really, really upset that no one is giving him credit for his great, wonderful, amazing North Korean initiative. Yeah, kind of a problem with that. The term "denuclearize" is very important and North Korea uses the term a lot. What precisely does it mean? We don't know because the President's "diplomacy" never got far enough to even define the term.

The blogger who posted this said: "There was a term used for non-members of the Nazi party in Germany who looked the other way and allowed things to happen. They were called Nazis." Senator Susan Collins demonstrates exactly what he means. Collins says that gee, we had a good bill that got 54 votes, but the Department of Homeland Security condemned it, so it didn't pass. No, quite obviously, the President didn't like it and will probably not change his mind because a few incremental changes get made. Collins is not voting for the Feinstein bill because she is enabling President Trump.

"Trump accidentally admits everything he’s been saying about North Korea’s nukes is a lie" D'oh! Though actually, this is a good thing as it indicates the President is not delusional, he was just lying.

Good! Former First Lady Laura Bush makes a strong appeal to end the policy of ripping immigrant families apart.

In October 2015, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a blunder by truthfully pointing to the political basis for continuing the investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack.
The investigation dragged on anyway, discovering nothing and using up legislative time and taxpayer money to no effect. Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the Mueller investigation into Russian tampering with the 2016 American presidential election to "to wrap it up. It’s gone on seemingly forever..." Are the situations even remotely alike? Hardly. The Mueller investigation is yielding new information on practically a daily basis.

To release the land-locked ice in Antarctica could raise sea levels up to 100 feet. Tick-tock, people! Time's a wastin'!

Yeah, I've been reading about the "difficult" position FBI Director Comey was in right before the 2016 election. Nope. Sorry. No sympathy from me. He needed to follow the rules, period. He had absolutely no excuse whatsoever for breaking them. His two breaches in July and October were completely unjustifiable.

The Trump Administration offers a "hotline" to perform some vague, unspecified task that somehow addresses the family separation policy and it turns out to just be a way to contact the people responsible for administration immigration policy. And it goes downhill from there.

Fox News host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery said “The Clintons had a brilliant money-laundering scheme.” Puh-leeze! The Clinton Foundation was very thoroughly investigated by a media that was anxious to demonstrate that they were fair and impartial by finding things that were wrong on the Clinton side of the 2016 campaign. Believe me, had there been anything that still required investigation concerning the Clinton Foundation, we would have long since heard about it.

The president's power to pardon was first seriously abused by Gerald Ford, who pardoned Richard Nixon. The elder George Bush abused it further by pardoning Casper Weinberger and others involved in the October Surprise investigation. The President and his people are seriously abusing it again by suggesting he'll pardon anyone who's in serious legal trouble over the President's actions. It's long past time to limit the pardoning powers of a president!

The US plans to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council. The UN Ambassador Nikki Haley makes a speech about the UN resolution against Israel being "one-sided." That complaint would have some currency if the US were acknowledging that Palestinians had some real and serious grievances against Israel.

Between a rock and a hard place. Congressional and Senate Republicans must either say ridiculous things about Our Glorious Leader or they'll be criticized by that same Leader. OGL is complaing about not being praised over North Korea meeting. 

AG Jeff Sessions claims Biblical authority for the family separation policy on the Southern border. The blogger reproduces the claim. Problem is, the Bible's authority to justify separating children from families can be used to justify all sorts of crimes, as long as they're committed by the authorities.

I remember all the fuss and bother over whether the Clinton Foundation was clean (it was). Seems the Trump Foundation left no crime uncommitted. The report strongly recommends that the principles, the President and his grown children, Don Jr., Ivanka and Jared, are never to play any role in any charities ever again.

OMG! This is %$#@ing hilarious! Seems thr Trump Foundation has no independant staff. They rely entirely on the Trump organization for everything. 

More on Trump Foundation's illegal activities. The Foundation was performing financial activities that it should have had absolutely nothing to do with.

Senator Feinstein has sponsored a bill to prevent the separation of families at the border. If your senator isn't supporting this bill, you should ask them why not.

Yeah, I saw a few pieces that began with looking at Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. I stopped reading at that point and went on to read other things. The IG report confirms that Strzok and Page played no role in messing with the Russia investigation in any way. They were just people who had opinions.

Yes, FBI people Peter Strzok and Lisa Page had personal opinions about Donald Trump being president, but they separated their personal opinions from their work as FBI personnel.

Okay, first off, "We think the president's current course of action will fail" does not equal "We hope the president fails." To say they are is to make the mistake of "false equivalence." We on the left never subscribed to what Rush Limbaugh and later Senate Majority Leader McConnell said about President Obama. We're not willing to sacrifice what's good for the US in exchange for seeing the presdident fail.
Also, the Jacobin piece says that Democrats are demanding "complete denuclearization, as well as 'anywhere, anytime' inspections." The important question is whether Democrats said the same during the Clinton and Obama years or whether they just invented theses demands to gain a quickie, temporary political advantage. Considering that neither president ever met with a North Korean leader (for that matter, neither did the younger George Bush) and that those conditions currently apply to Iran, I'd say that these were serious conditions that Democrats are sincere about wanting.

America's youth detention camps

How bad is the problem of young people being detained getting?

Comparing and contrasting the two deals - Iran and North Korea. 

"Trump Proclaims: 'There Is No Longer A Nuclear Threat From North Korea'"
Wow! Delusional much?

Update:  "If North Korea is denuclearizing, why is it expanding a nuclear research center?"

Serious question here as to whether the President really understands what Kim and his side mean when they say "denuclearization."

The critical difference that Representative Ro Khanna (R-CA) ignores is that if Barack Obama had been conducting this process, the process would have looked very, very different. Preparations for the nuclear deal with Iran began even before Obama took office, serious discussions began in 2012 and the deal wasn't signed until 2015. Preparations were very intensive and thoroughly debated within the administration. This process with Kim was a spontaneous, off-the-cuff, seat-of-the-pants operation.

Comparing and contrasting the two deals.

The blatant hypocrisy is infuriating, but I was truly shocked by Senate Majority Leader McConnell's statement on the Trump-Kim summit: "...he praised the “historic first step.' While he noted that it was 'the beginning of the arduous process.'" Um, has McConnell ever met the President?!?!?! What on Earth makes McConnell think that the President has either the ability or intention to even begin any sort of "arduous process"?

Just for the fun of it, let's look at the Iran nuclear deal, for contrast. How thoroughly did the Obama Administration prepare for talks with Iran? Representatives of the P5+1 started meeting with Iranian representatives about a year and a half in Istanbul, Turkey; Baghdad, Iraq; Moscow, Russsia; and Almaty, Kazakhstan before foreign ministers and our Secretary of State began taking part in meetings.

Oh, good heavens! I saw this clip earlier where someone introduced it as a "batshit-crazy piece of junk," but I didn't realize the Trump Administration produced it! Seriously? They really think the North Korean dictator can't recognize over-the-top propaganda when he sees it?

Obama did things and got excoriated. Trump does exact same things and gets praised.

Twitter reaction to Trump-Kim summit. Interesting reaction from NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch. Chris Wallace of Fox News weighs in: "I think it is well to keep in mind that Kim Jong Un has given up nothing at this point."

So how'd the meeting with North Korea's leader go? Great, from the President's perspective anyway.

No verifiability provisions. No inspection provisions. Trump seems to have offered troop reductions and a freeze in military exercises. Details fuzzy -- but any US President other than Trump would be excoriated by both parties for such a weak, vague agreement

President appears pretty upbeat about meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. As to the comment here about "haters" being skeptical,

Digby sez:
Thank you @chrislhayes for clarifying for Nick Kristof that progressives are not actually rooting for Trump to fail. We just don't have a lot of faith in Donald Trump's ability to do anything but make everything worse, which is the only rational position to take.

I take a look at superheroes and diversity.

"Dinesh D'Souza New Talkie Will Compare Trump To Abraham Lincoln" No wonder this guy received a presidential pardon! Personally, I'd be embarrassed to have someone write such obvious horsecrap about me.

Amazing! Just %$#@ing amazing! People who are getting paid $60k a year because they're reconstructing top-secret papers are having to reconstruct papers because the President enjoys tearing up papers he's read!!!!! These papers must be preserved as anything the Chief Executive handles is of historic importance.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rules that nah, just 'cause you're the victim of domestic violence, that doesn't mean the US is obliged to protect you.
Interestingly, and to my mind not at al coincidentally, Sessions also appears to be strongly opposed to abortion.

No, the job of the Supreme Court is not just to "call balls and strikes," but to fix laws that are obviously broken. Dealing with voters who have moved or are deceased are resolved problems. Dealing with voters who haven't voted in a while is not an obvious problem at all. Why it requires "fixing" only becomes clear when you realize that people who haven't voted in a while are likely to be Democrats.

Why is North Korea talking with President Trump? Couple of good reasons, actually. 

So if the US proved so feckless with regard to Iran and the G7, why should N. Korea now trust any deal Trump makes?
The answer is that N. Korea doesn’t trust Trump at all and is not planning to make any deal with him to give up its nuclear weapons entirely.
Kim Jong Un wants the prestige that would come from a two-way summit with the world’s sole superpower. Even if the talks go nowhere, Pyongyang will have seen a permanent rise in its world standing.

Update: Oops! "According to analysts focusing on North Korean issues on the site 38 North, not only has Pyongyang not started the denuclearization process, but it is making improvements to its program at 'at a rapid pace.'”

A conservative idea on gun control was instant computer checks on gun buyers. How's that working out? An employee was fired for clear negligence, but it's also clear that the office she worked in was understaffed and overworked. Statistics indicate that at least 2,000 people were approved for firearms permits that should have been denied.

So how successful was our President in Quebec? Yeah, he fired off two tweets from Air Force One saying how annoyed he was with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and saying he wouldn't endorse the G7 communiquť. Woo hoo! More winning! [/facepalm] More hate and discontent on the G-7 Summit. Assessments from allies: “'He’s like Heath Ledger’s Joker—but without the operational excellence.' That was the grim after-action assessment of one senior G7 official with whom I spoke in the shocked aftermath of President Donald Trump’s savage post-summit tweets."

"Trump said the final outcome would lead either to a better agreement on NAFTA or separate trade deals with both Canada and Mexico."
Hmm, yeah. As I recall, the President said he wanted to replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership with one-to-one treaties with all those different countries. Not a single Pacific country has agreed to any such deal.

Army thought it was being clever when they had a deliveryperson busted by ICE. Surrounding restaurants were not amused and all fast food delivery service has been canceled.

Yeah, President Trump may wish to bring Russia into the G7, making it the G8 again, but other members are considering throwing the US out, thereby making it the G6.

After nearly two years of having the House, Senate and Presidency all in the hands of just one party, the tax cut of December is pretty much the only accomplishment Republicans can run on. How's that working out for them? Not looking too good.

Whoah! Speaking of our President being unpopular, the French President says: "The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be."

Both houses of Congress and the Trump Administration got lots and lots of pushback when they tried to dismantle the ACA. We can see here how much respect they have for the very clearly-expressed desires of the American people.

See, there's a big difference between a democracy and a corporatocracy. Democracy usually gets lots of participation from older voters who have the leisure time to study the issues. Corporatocracy represents consumers, who tend to be younger and more liberal. This fellow ran headlong into a youthful, liberal buzzsaw. The results for him and the corporate branch he worked in were utterly disastrous.

I respond to a Trump-worshipping Letter to th Editor in our local paper.

Yemen is under a tight air, land and naval blockade and it was taking military action against Saudi Arabia long before it got any aid from Iran. No, the struggle there does not resemble the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union in Vietnam and elsewhere.

Hoo boy! While discussing trade policy, the President accuses Canada of burning the White House in 1814. Actually, it was the British, who were **stationed** in Canada, and then marched South, who did the burning. Anyway, it's a dumb guy's idea of what a smart guy might say.

The UN considers the US policy of separating children from their parents at the border to be a human rights violation.

There's nothing wrong with the jobs numbers. The economy is in robust shape. But are the numbers unprecedented? Is the economy in unusually good shape? Hardly. We had a more or less identical number in 2013 and higher numbers in 2014 and 2015. The idea that "this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America" is wildly, hysterically off. Not surprising that the President wants to present himself as irreplaceable, but there's just nothing to get excited about here.

The American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan asked Press Secretary Sanders whether the President recognized that athletes "taking a knee" were not disrespecting the flag, but were instead protesting police brutality. The answr Ryan received was very clearly a "No."   

The whole usefulness of the press briefing is called into question as Sanders can't even put up a half-hearted defense of a contradiction between her statement and what the President's counsel said. She said that when the excuses for the meeting of several Russians and Donald Trump Jr were made, that the President “certainly didn’t dictate” the statement that was put out to the press. The President's counsel said precisely the opposite. 

Woo hoo! March For Our Lives is doing positive, useful stuff to turn the political tide! They're going all-out to register young people to vote!

A Fox News host agrees with a Congressman that the President can pardon himself. Vox documents the Press Secretary reluctantly agreeing that no, the President is NOT above the law and cannot pardon himself.

Okay, the items seized in the raid upon President Trump's former fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen have now been sorted out. There are nearly 700 items (bound copies of documents), only 14 of which have been put off-limits to prosecutors. There were three items that were disputed, but were resolved as having been made available to the prosecution. Basically, Mueller gets over 99% of what was seized in the Cohen raid.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pleased with the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission because ... well, of course he is. The decision permits shops to discriminate amongst customers

Hi-tech witness tampering. And Manafort wonders why he's not free to come and go as he pleases.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu caused a lot of hate and discontent among Democrats and liberals in the US when he made a highly partisan speech that was approved by the Republican Party, but not by the Democratic President. Apparently, President Trump has decided that's a fine model for dealing with other countries. The Germans weren't impressed with Trump to begin with and are even less impressed now.

Yeah, the rule that no one can be both judge and defendant in the same trial is a very, very old one and one that has lost none of its usefulness and relevance. 

Had this lawmaker attempted to conduct a snap, unannounced inspection of a facility where separated family members were being held, I'd be 100% behind him. Any Representative or Senator should have that authority. But "his staff attempted to set up a meeting to do so last week," so that's even worse on the part of the facility.

I don't consider this statement the slightest bit surprising. I suspect this is why the 20-page memo that compares his powers to those of Joseph Stalin was released, to prepare the people for an announcement that he's declaring himself to be free of the constraints that democracy imposes on him. Also very sad to hear of the Republican Party's attitude towards one of their members standing up for the rule of law

Uh-huh. Right. Okay. A member of the Trump Administration is concerned about the environment. (Reads further) Oh, okay. I get it. He's just using the environment as an excuse to build the President's "big, beautiful wall."

Disturbing thread appears to show that the NY Times has decided that Democrats just aren't worth quoting when it comes to news about the President any more.

Why didn't the FBI tell presidential candidate Donald Trump that they were investigating Paul Manafort, his campaign chairperson? Well, they did. Several times, in fact, because Manafort had a history of suspicious foreign entanglements.

So clearly there's a major discrepancy between what Donald Trump Jr. said and what the 20-page January lawyer's letter said. CNN newsperson Dana Bash asks Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about that, he spouts some irrelevant talking points. She asks again, he goes back into his talking points. Very sensibly, she makes it clear that he's just not answering and goes onto another subject. That's a good response.

Oh, okay. The 20-page letter was sent from the President's lawyers to Bob Mueller back in January. There's been quite a bit of activity on Mueller's part since then, so Mueller clearly didn't take the letter the slightest bit seriously. The letter has a very extreme theory of presidential power, making President Trump, essentially, a dictator.

Yes, it's entirely reasonable to say that those seeking to question the President should have to clear a high bar. They should prove that it's really necessary. This though “The president’s prime function as the chief executive ought not be hampered by requests for interview,” they wrote. “Having him testify demeans the office of the president before the world,” is absolutely ridiculous. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both testified while in office. This memo gives the President the powers of an absolute monarch like Louis XIV (Ruled France 1643-1715).

The young Palestinian woman, Razan al-Najjar, was wearing an outfit that clearly identified her as medical personnel and was killed by a sniper that had precision, long-range scopes on his or her rifle.

Free Markets:

"Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life." I never want to hear another word about how Democrats are the ones who interfere with the free market. NEVER.

Woo hoo Despite our stick-in-the-mud national leadership, Philly makes progress on climate goals anyway!

A horrifying look at the morally decayed immigration service under President Trump.

No, the President didn't use exact numbers, but he made it clear ahead of the official jobs report that the numbers were good. Of course, markets reacted correctly and a lot of people made a lot of money. This is corruption, folks!

While the politicians of both parties and constituents of the Republican Party are solidly pro-Israel, Democratic constituencies are about a third for, a third against and a third undecided. Instead of seeing this as the natural result of expanding Israeli settlements on the West Bank, a tight blockade since 2007 on Gaza and Prime Minister Netanyahu's highly divisive and partisan politics, the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman thinks Democratic leaders are just slacking off on going "Rah! Rah! Israel!" I have a hard time envisioning a more useless, out-of-touch, oblivious diplomat.

Thinkpiece on the pardoning power and how it's been used/abused by this president. More on that.

Dick's Sporting Goods was execting to take a financial hit after raising the age to buy gns there. They're actually doing better than ever!

May                      back to top

President Trump is very upset at Bob Iger over the Roseanne case.

Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?

And no, no one knows what the President means by "horrble statements." If he just means that people called him a white supremacist or a fascist demagogue, then there's nothing to apologize for as those are entirely true statements.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders goes into a lengthy defense of President Trump. My responses.

From Fox News: concerning the cancellaton of Roseanne

"Folks on the left have said [far worse] about Trump [with] almost no consequence."

Really? We, or at least I, have certainly called him a fascist demagogue and a wannabe dictator. How is that worse than calling someone an ape? 

"maybe an apology should be good enough sometimes." 

Absolutely, but was this one of those times? Roseanne very clearly spoke from the heart and very clearly meant what she said.

Well yes. Roseanne Barr has the free speech right to make racist comments if she wants to, but she wasn't shut down by the government. She was shut down by capitalism and free enterprise. The corporation that she worked for found her actions to be unprofitable for them, so they reacted to serve their interests. And puh-leeze! Did Barr's comments arise from a "wicked, twisted sense of humor"? Nonsense. They were just plain, straight-up racist.

The Trump Administration said they'd be reimposing sanctions on Iran in order to get a better and more favorable deal. India explicitly says they won't go along, which calls the whole project into question.

Someone complained yesterday that the Roseanne news overwhelmed the Puerto Rico news. True, but they're fundamentally different kinds of stories. PR actually suffered $90 billion in damage and almost 5,000 deaths.

From NPR:

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep Tuesday, former President Barack Obama's domestic policy director, Cecilia MuŮoz, stated unequivocally that separating children from their parents was not a policy the Obama administration followed.

"The Obama administration did not do that, no. We did not separate children from their parents," MuŮoz said. "This is a new decision, a policy decision put in place by the attorney general," which MuŮoz said "puts us in league with the most brutal regimes in the world's history."

And the real scandal is not just the losing f 1,500 migrant children, but the calculated, deliberate nature of the utterly inhuman policy of separting immigrants parets and children in the first place.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gives us some plain speech about the inhuman policy on the Southern border and, properly, puts the blame for it 100% on the Trump Administration.

Wow! Never watched Roseanne, not because I don't like Roseanne Barr, but because I generally don't watch comedies at all (An exception was Jeeves & Wooster), but yeah, the re-booted Roseanne really has to be cancelled, NOW!!! Roseanne's "joke" suggested that Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, was the baby of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.

Update: Good ABC reacted promptly and properly. "Roseanne" has been cancelled. 

Of all of the nutty conspiracy theories that the Trump Administration has been putting out, what is probably the most thoroughly debunked one is the one about millions of undocumented immigrants being bussed over the border to illegally vote. The commission headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach couldn't find a shred of evidence that illegal votes made up more than a tiny fraction of a single percentage point of all votes. One of the people in this focus group said he saw a busload off "suspicious" passengers on voting day. Sorry, but I think the criteria needs to be much more rigorous than that!

Having North Korea ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would be a reasonably realistic goal for the June summit. Having NK surrender all of its nuclear weapons or hand over any of them to the US belongs to the realm of opium dreams. Ain't gonna happen.

Happy to see that Senator Harris called the head of Homeland Security on her cute & fancy attempt to play word games as to what the department was doing at the border with children. We don't need a lot of euphemisms on that. The policy of separating families at the border had been in effect since January, but this marked the first time the policy was really being discussed. 

MS-13 is a terrible group of people, but the President is a racist who deliberately, in the manner of der Fuhrer, dehumanizes people in service of tactical goals.

So, with the anti-American Muqtada al Sadr the most popular politician in Iraq, how's Afghanistan doing? It's not quite a repeat of Vietnam. We have a bit more expertise in counterinsurgency now then we did then, but we're still working with a very weak and unpopular regime and can't even contemplate a full colonial take-over of the country. Does the US have the resources to do so? Sure, but nowhere does it have the popular will to get it done.

*Sigh* The libertarian Megan McArdle imagines (On Memorial Day weekend, of course) that liberals could not field an effective army to oppose Southerners and other rural folks because those folks have lots of guns. Of course, liberals tend to skew a lot younger and liberals states account for much more of the nation's wealth, so her analysis barely scratches the surface. Another blogger follows up with a deepthink piece on that. 

Good piece on separating families at the border. Starts with the creation of Homeland Security back in 2003.

Lengthy read with very good advice for Democrats. Piece focuses on three-year old book about corruption in Afghanistan. Corruption in the government was a real force multiplier for the Taliban. Chopping off the heads off of corrupt officials made the Taliban quite popular. Corruption is great if you're one of the corrupt officials who's raking in cash, not so great for anybody else in the society.

A Trump suppoter says: “President Trump has accomplished more positive things for this nation in less than two years than the last three have accomplished in twenty plus years."
I wonder what he meant by that and then I saw this piece, where former Senator Rick Santorum blames parents who sought asylum in the place where a famous statue says "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." and I said "Ah, okay. I understand what he means."

Lots of polarization on climate change and it looks like racism is driving that.

The fact that the President feels the need to blame Democrats for a policy that obviously started on his watch (children are being separated from their parents at the Mexican border) tells us pretty much everything we need to know about the morality of the policy.

Saw pictures of Irish women celebrating, but I thought this was more on-point. This is Irish women coming back home to vote. Note the demographics of the picture. All of these women are of child-bearing age. No men in the picture. This is the demographic that is most directly affected by a policy that disallows abortions. 

The US is not following any sort of clever, sinister, Machiavellian plans with North Korea and Iran. It instead resembles a Keystone Kops film, with actors running hither and yon and bumping into each other. I read the speech that the new Secretary of State gave on Iran. The piece here is correct, the US proposal; is a complete non-starter. We did not attempt to resolved all of our geopolitical differences with the Soviet Union in the SALT Treaties and Iranian support for Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis cannot be resolved in the nuclear deal.

Good news from China, air pollution fell dramatically since they went all-in on green, renewable energy.

Speaker Paul Ryan tries to get all philosophical in his closing days, trying to sound like someone who's learned many lessons. But the question of "moral relativism" coming from a member of today's Republican Party is truly a joke.

Apparently there were calls to boycott Netflix over the announcement that the Obamas would be producing content for the cable channel. D'oh! Financially, Netflix is doing really well!

Israelis lost the PR war over the Gaza border shootings.

Conclusion of the (way over-hyped) "spygate scandal."

Today's Gang of Eight briefing was conducted in a manner that protects sources & methods. Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a “spy” in the Trump Campaign

The President tries to claim later that he was never told that anyone was invedstigatigng his campaign.

Dude. I mean, Sir. The FBI literally had a security briefing with you and your campaign, *advising* you that Russia was trying to infiltrate your the SAME TIME that your campaign staff was in contact with Russia and trying to set up meetings with you and Putin.

Is the EPA seriously trying to deal with toxic chemicals? You sure wouldn't know that from their PR strategy of roughing up and excluding spokespeople and the press from Flint, MI.

Instead of doing a post-speech fact-checking, MSNBC precedes President Trump's rant with words of warning.

So apparently it takes a few weeks for comments on American TV to make their way to North Korea. Either that or Kim Jong Un was saving that "outrage" for a strategically good moment. But yes, liberals concluded immediately and unanimously that the John Bolton comment about the “Libya option” was an incredibly stupid one the moment it was made.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech on North Korea failed in a number of respects.

The blogger understands that as the President spent a half-hour screaming at the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in front of the whole Cabinet, that she's gun-shy about endorsing a report that Russia tried to get the President into office, but it's difficult to initiate measures to protect our election processes without having the HS Secretary acknowledge that. 

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked a hypothetical question, but it was a perfectly reasonable one that should have prompted a very easy response. Reporter Hallie Jackson, asked, "Is there any situation barring a security incident in which you feel the White House feels it is appropriate to physically touch or physically handle--" Sanders got irritable with Jackson, but it wasn't a difficult question.

Blogger attempts to figure out what Trump Administration means on North Korea.

Our new Secretary of State sets out our negotiating position against Iran so as to prepare for a new nuclear deal. Not impressive at all.

Oh, yeah. As to Giuliani saying Mueller's investigation would be wrapped up by September? Ehh, not so much. The NY Times really should have been more specific when they talked about a closing date that they were only citing Giuliani. They should not have printed anything without having checked with Mueller's people.

Watched this commentary by Jeanine Pirro. Wow! So much long-debunked nonsense here, cited as though it were proven fact! There's a difference between honest opinion and just plain propaganda.

Kellyanne Conway says the Trump Administration has been "transparent." The only problem he has with the media is that the media doesn't cover enough of the good news that his administration is responsible for. But as the Philadelphia Inquirer points out (May 21st)  

The GOP plan would have denied affordable health insurance to 23 million by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It allowed insurance companies to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, charge people over 50 more than younger customers, and let states eliminate coverage for maternity and mental health care.
The bill also let people escape the individual mandate, which forces customers to either purchase health insurance or pay a fine...

No, there's no transparency here. Never once has the President explained why there's such a huge, yawning gulf between his campaign promises concerning health care and the actual bill that the Republican Party presented to the American people.

Yeah, Tucker Carlson was full of commentary about the shooter in Las Vegas. Since the data dump on the shooter, revealing that he was a pro-gun, anti-government, right-wing conspiracy theorist, Carlson has gone to "radio silence" on that subject.

Okay, so I said there was no obvious "step 2" to opening up an embassy in Jerusalem, there was no obvious follow-up. Apparently, there was. Funds for humanitarian aid to Palestinians have been frozen for several months anyway, so now the Trump Administration plans to make the removal of those funds permanent. Basically, the US first punched Palestinians in the gut and now they're stomping on their toes. Oh, and the "peace plan" is scheduled to be announced in late June. I'm sure Palestinians are awaiting it with breathless anticipation [/snark].

Serious problem with taking down Planned Parenthood is that they perform many pregnancy-related services besides just abortion. For high-income women, this isn't a problem at all and those services are easily replaced. For low-income women, there are indeed other institutions that could, in theory, pick up the slack. But in practice, they're all working at capacity already. Taking out PP leaves a very big hole in women's reproductive health.

Our President has a tendency to really, seriously overstate the significance of scandals, mini-scandals and nothingburgers. According to Trump, getting information from a concerned citizen is the same as Watergate.

Yeah, catching the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle after which they became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Good summary of the "spy within Trump campaign 'scandal'"

Good point

It’s weird that the FBI has this big conspiracy to take down the Trump campaign but then forgot to say anything about it until after the election, while repeatedly making damaging statements about Hillary Clinton.

Explainer on the "planted spy" in the Trump campaign.

So after the Parkland school shooting, President Trump formed a commission headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and gave it a laundry list of items to work on. Now that the school year is winding down and people will be harder to reach, how's the commission doing? Yeah, they've been pretty much just sitting around and twiddling their thumbs.

An incredibly sad commentary on the latest school shooting.

Heartbreaking moment as Santa Fe High School student is asked if she thought a shooting 'would not happen' at her school: "It's been happening everywhere. I've…"

Just within the past few days, the President made a statement that made him sound an awful lot like a Nazi. Well, here's someone who liked both the President and Nazis! There's a reason we consider the President to be, at best, a Nazi sympathizer!

*Sigh* Y'know, I really wish I could say that the Parkland School shooting survivor David Hogg was being overly cynical.

Get ready for two weeks of media coverage of politicians acting like they give a shit when in reality they just want to boost their approval ratings before midterms

15 years after the US invasion of Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, never a friend of the US, wins the election there. As Iraq has a parliamentary government, al-Sadr must now form a governing coalition. 

Removing a financial SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) from FinCEN (The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) is not something that just any old minion or low-level functionary can do. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been asked to recuse himself from any investigations involving Russian meddling in the US elections.

Seems that both President Trump and NSC Adviser Bolton were mentioning the "Libya Mode" for North Korea to give up its nukes. The blogger goes through the history of what happened to Muammar Gaddafi after he gave up his nukes and gee, the story is not a very happy one for him.

It appears highly likely at this point that Gina Haspel will be the next CIA Director. Will she "Speak truth to power"? Ha, ha, ha!!! Puh-leeeze!!! She'll click her heels, salute and do whatever she's instructed to do. No one should look to her for any moral bearing on any issue.

By a 54-45 vote, Gina Haspel is the new CIA Director. It's rather disturbing that her authority to classify information about her past actions appears to have been a straightforward conflict of interest. She was apparently able to prevent Senators from seeing negative information about her.

"Senate Intel acknowledges what the GOP denies: Russia backed Trump"
Good! Senate Intelligence Committee is nowhere near as useless as the House committee proved to be.

"Giuliani Calls For Mueller Probe To End: 'We've Tortured This President Enough'"
Kind of amusing to read Giuliani's tearful plea here to give the President a break already and then to go over these two twitter summaries showing just how far we still have to go to reach the bottom of all of the Trump scandals.

Good twitter thread on the NY Times story that came out just prior to the 2016 election.

Very excellent news on net neutrality. Far from a done and finished deal, but very good first step.

The Senate just voted to override the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules, which prevent internet providers from withholding some service in exchange for higher fees. But the override still needs to pass the House and be signed by @POTUS

As far as discussion of the Palestinians is concerned the influence of Hamas has been greatly overstated.

Hmm. Yeah. Okay. Donald Trump Jr. is in the middle of negotiating a deal that may supply valuable information to his father's presidential campaign. He gets a call from a blocked number in the middle of that.
"Q: ... with whom did you have a call?
TRUMP JR: I have no idea."
Uh huh. Sure thing. Very believable that he'd forget who that call was from. [/snark]

Update: When discussing the Trump Tower meeting of 2016 that Don Jr. conducted with Russians, a blocked number appears a few times. Newsperson Katy Tur confirms that she received a few calls from the President that were from a blocked number.

North Korea says they'll hold a summit with President Trump. 
Heh! But "North Korea Really Detests John Bolton" Nawww! Really? Gotta say, if I were a North Korean citizen being asked who I'd be better off siding with, I'd choose Kim Jong Un in a heartbeat! When Libya lost its nuclear weapons, their leader was killed a decade later (I know, I know, all anybody can recall about that country is Benghazi). Iraq didn't get nuclear weapons and was invaded in 2003. Neither story was a happy one. Now, the Iranian story is indeed a happy one, but the Trump Administration is in violation of that agreement. Yeah, NSC Adviser Bolton is a really terrible salesman!

"Nikki Haley: Opening Of US Embassy Had Nothing To Do With Gaza Violence
Um, yeah. Except for the fact that the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995 and for the following nearly quarter of a century, Bill Clinton, the younger George Bush and Barack Obama all refused to implement it. Why? Precisely because they all knew full well that an incident just like the Gaza "March of Return" would occur and that Israel would react violently and Palestinian casualties would be all over the TV news and newspapers. So no, the killings on the Gaza-Israel border were not at all difficult to predict and no, Hamas is not solely to blame for them.
Haley obviously knew full well that any sort of debate would make her and the US look foolish, so she left he floor of the UN just as a Palestinian representative began to speak. 

So about 15 years after the younger George Bush invaded Iraq, things are bursting out with flowers and good cheer and pro-American feelings, right? Oh, they aren't? Oops.
a substantial reason that things quieted down in 2008 was that Moqtada al Sadr stood down. Now he's number one in the polls.

Judith Miller was the one who contributed mightily to the WMDs in Iraq story, but she asks some extremely good questions here, now that the Trump Administration is prepared to open an embassy in Jerusalem. What is the peace plan? Besides just blaming Hamas, that is? Or is there any sort of plan beyond that?

Heh! Good cover for the opening of the Jerusalem embassy! The two events of that and the slaughter taking place less han 50 miles away are very much related and not just because they occurred so close to each other. These protests on the Gaza-Israel border have been going on for over a month and the US still hasn't the vaguest clue how to address them.

Okay first off, the nuclear deal that Iran made with the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union was completely divorced from and separate from any other foreign policy issue that Iran was dealing with. No, Iran has and is not "taking advantage of the nuclear deal."
Okay, the US has the support of Israel and Arab oil-producing nations to leave the Iran deal. But what Jake Tapper obviously meant was that none of the signatories of the nuclear deal have joined the US in leaving the deal. National Security Adviser John Bolton is just quibbling here.

Rudy Giuliani makes the entirely
believable and totally credible claim that President Trump didn't know anything about Michael Cohen's access-peeddling. [/snark] Bwah-hah-hah!

Legal analyst Alan Dershowitz fails to consider incentives in his propsed torture policy. We should arrange the incentives in such a way as to reward success and punish failure. We start from the premise that torture is immoral. If you torture a suspect and get useful, timely information that either stops something bad from happening or prodces some success, the president pardons you from the crime of torture and you get a Letter of Commendation. If you get bad information or the information was useless to people in the field, you get a Dishonorable Discharge, prison and no pension. So if you think torturing a prisoner might provide useful information, go ahead, your spouse had better have a marketable skill or be willing to work as a cashier or waiter/waitress.


Mr Pence said that the Trump administration had "fully cooperated" with the probe, even as Mr Trump has called the investigation a 'witch hunt'. Mr Pence noted that the administration had handed over more than one million documents to Mr Mueller’s investigation.

Yes, but what's very interesting is that we're just now uncovering a story about how the Chairman of the FCC met with an AT&T executive just one month after Michael Cohen received $600k to help out with the merger AT&T was trying to arrange. The merger still hasn't happened, but AT&T was also very much against net neutrality and that did happen.

Tired and long-debunked claim is refuted yet again. No, torture didn't lead to getting Osama bin Laden. 

Hmm. So because the President hasn't actually acted on the massive bribes paid to his current personal lawyer, he's "draining the swamp"! But as the piece points out: "So the AT&T Time Warner merger was opposed, that's true. But AT&T's biggest issue was net neutrality, squashed flat by Ajit Pai right away. All that "regulatory reform" has worked out great for AT&T."

So Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, thinks clean air standards aren't comprehensive enough. They ought include more than just how clean the air is. They ought to include what it would cost to make the air breathable. How this would benefit anyone beyond owners, managers and stockholders of polluting companies is a very good question.

The President reportedly engages in a screaming tirade against Homeland Security Secretarty Kirstjen Nielsen.This demonstrates, yet again, how our President has the reverse Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to crap and everyone who works for him ends up damaged in some way. Nielsen has simply demonstrated that even being a pretty blond woman doesn't help.

Are the Ken Starr/Bill Clinton and the Robert Mueller/Donald Trump investigations both "witch hunts"? The two investigations aren't even remotely comparable.

Very interesting that VP Mike Pence was just recently saying that the Mueller investigation was all very fine and well and interesting and all, but hey, y'know, we really need to shut the investigation down now. Latest revelation is that 

Within a month of Trump being sworn in, Michael Cohen had inked contracts worth at least $3.4 million in retainer fees for access to Donald Trump. There's every reason to think there are more we don't know about yet.

And selling influence may not be as "victimless" as it might appear at first glance to be. Another case in point is that, hey

It is super weird and unrelated to any recent revelations that the price of prescription medicine is skyrocketing and that the FCC just eliminated net neutrality.

"Infrastructure Week" became kind of a running joke when each new such week kept getting interrupted by new scandals or events. By saying there won't be any legislation on the subject for the rest of 2018, that means the whole idea is pretty much shot. One of the problems is, of course, that the party running the House, Senate and Presidency was unable to reconcile massive tax cuts with the spending needed to make serious infrastructure improvements.

"State Department couldn’t explain anything about Trump’s withdrawal from Iran deal"
Clearly, the President made the decision all on his own with no input from the State Department.

Also, President Trump's decision to pull out of Iran nuclear deal not a popular one.

In late 2017, this cartoon showed a very buff and fit President Trump trying heroically to Drain the Swamp. Cartoons are cool because they can demonstrate a deeper truth than a literally-true photograph can. Unfortunately, as we can see in this NY Mag piece, Trump never made the slightest attempt at swamp-draining.

House Intelligennce Committee Chair Devin Nunes wants information that even President Trump agrees he can't/won't protect.

Not that I supported her nomination to begin with, but I was very seriously unimpressed with Gina Haspel's non-answers and filibustering of what were very reasonable questions.

President Trump manufactures a national security crisis to justify pulling out of Iran agreement.

When it comes to making speeches at rallies to a pre-screened audience of devoted fans, President Trump's narrative is perfectly adequate. When he tries to explain it in detail to intelligent and informed skeptics, the narrative shows itself to be extremely inadequate

So Eric Schneiderman is out. Seems he was sexually harrassing women. Lots of good reaction here.

Seeing more trouble and killings at the border of Gaza and Israel, I just did a quickie internet search to see what's up with the Palestine-Israel peace agreement that Jared Kushner was working so hard on. Seems Kushner's big accomplishment was to make friends with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince. Okay, so what's the Crown Prince doing? Ehh, basically telling Palestinians to get on board with an agreement now, now, now, "or else."

It was a bad idea to attack Iran back in 2003. President Obama asked in 2012 whether anyone was really willing to pull the trigger on starting such a war. No one was. It would be an extremely bad idea to launch one today. The people who are now in favor of doing so include Benjamin Netanyahu, Condoleezza Rice and John Bolton, all of who were convinced in 2002 that Iraq would be a cakewalk.

Opposing torture does not mean that one opposes either feminism or national security.  Neither one of those has anything to do with torture. Yes, Gina Haspel is female. That doesn't mean supporting her is a feminist thing to do. 
Very happy to hear that Gina Haspel feels compelled to withdraw her nomination.

So we've now had explanations on the Stormy Daniels payment from Rudy Giuliani and now Kellyanne Conway. Neither of them claims to be aware of all the details of the case. I think it's long past time for the President to present the American public with someone who knows all of the details of the case and can speak with some certainty and authority about it.

Yeah, I remember all the fuss and bother over the "Jade Helm" exercise and how the federal governmet was going to use the exercises as an excuse to overthrow the Texas state government. Texans even thought the exercise might be a cover to sneak off a thousand miles Westward and to arrest the Bundy ranch people. Sems it was all just a plot to see how excitable Americans could get over fake news. 

Laura Ingraham proves she can dish it out, but can't take it. Like many “reasonable” liberal women, she completely misinterprets the meaning of "smoky eye." Gawd! Michelle Wolf was NOT commenting on Sanders' looks!!! The joke that she told had nothing to do with Sanders' appearance! Ingraham just proves that she just doesn't understand humor when it's her side that's the butt of the joke.

President Trump's love of a chaotic workplace doesn't just affect the general public. His own aides, people who work just down the hall from him, are often blindsided.

Media Matters collects the reactions of Fox News people over Rudy Giuliani's revelation that yes, the President knew all about the $130k payment to Stormy Daniels. 
Later, of course, Sean Hannity is astonished, astonished, I tell you!, that people paid more attention to that one minute of his show than to the rest of the tired propaganda that he also aired that night.

Heh! White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reminds me of Daenerys Targaryen's first husband, Khai Drogo, on Game of Thrones. I suspect if the two of them hooked up, they'd soon find themselves in "heated agreement" on how women should act and should, in turn, be treated.

I know, I know, I sound like a broken record here, but by contrasting the US approach towards Iran under Obama to Trump's, we can again see the difference between a carefully thought-through strategy carried out in an organized way and a casual, seat-of-the-pants, moment-by-moment improvisation. The sanctions that the President hopes to impose aren't likely to happen. 

Speaker Ryan makes an, um, shall we say, interesting argument for keeping Congress Republican. Essentially, if Congress falls into Democratic hands, the President will get impeached.

So how's that "fun" and "easy to win" trade war going? Well, it turns out soybeans aren't grown in just the US, Brazil and Canada also grow them, and China is not required to buy them only from the US. And hey, there are many senatorial contests this November in the very states where soybeans are grown!

*Groan* Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas wonders aloud about the Jewish people engaging in banking and maybe that has something to do with their being persecuted.
Ugh! No, no, no. Jews engaged in banking because Christians were convinced they weren't allowed to charge interest for lending money. This meant there would have been greatly reduced economic activity had the Jews not stepped in to be moneylenders. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything related to morality or decency and did not inspire violence against the Jews.

Heh! Rudy Giuliani attempts to help his client the President, but ends up telling the public more than he intended.Yes, it seems Stormy Daniels was indeed paid off by Michael Cohen. As the old saying goes "With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

The blogger here usually tries to be sober, fair and even-handed. He very rarely describes anyone as just plain, outright offensive, but does so here. Joe Arpaio's actions, the ones that he was pardoned for, are not part of the "rule of law" that Americans rightly and properly cherish. VP Pence disgraces himself by describing Arpaio as someone who respects the law. Also, VP Pence made it clear. When conservatives talk about "law and order," they don't mean what liberals mean.

Good! Golf course that called the police on black women loses business, faces call for state investigation. It was an incredibly stupid call to make. The guy deserves every bit of grief he gets for it!

“This is how bad the press in this country is,” Hannity said. “They are being fed lies and misinformation. ”
He said the story was “clearly a leak by the special prosecutor’s office.”
 Yeah, but as the piece here makes clear, the leak very likely came from Trump's own legal team.

No, I really don't care that officials of the younger George Bush Administration felt they were under pressure to authorize torture. It was an immoral choice that didn't have to be made. Those who made that choice should be behind bars.

Yeah, Sarah Sanders says it's entirely normal, but the apparent forcible seizure of Trump's medical records does not sound at all like anything in the HIPAA medical procedures!

And, from President Trump's former doctor:
December 2015: "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
May 2018: "That's black humor, that letter. That's my sense of humor."
Sorry to be such a judgmental prig, but I regard that kind of “humor” as an excellent reason for this guy to lose his medical license.

Used to be that Palestinians could depend on their fellow Arabs to defend them. No more, apparently. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman reportedly told a collection of Jewish leaders: 

“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given.”
“It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the table or shut up and stop complaining.” 

The Crown Prince made it clear that Palestine was a relatively minor issue and that Iran was more important, but this statement makes it clear that Palestinians can't look to Saudi Arabia, a long-time close US ally, for anything resembling a fair deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a presentation of what he claimed was "proof" that the nuclear agreement with Iran was a bad one.

He missed only one thing: Crucial dates that could prove Iran has actually done anything in contravention of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since it was signed in 2015.
What he had wasn’t a smoking gun but a photograph of a smoking gun taken years ago.

April                      back to top

"Marco Rubio: Corporations aren't investing tax cuts" Uh, duh! You mean any of that wasn't obvious when the tax cut was passed back in December?!?!?! Rubio should have known all of this back then! And yeah, Speaker Ryan in the video is just spouting gibberish.

Our local paper published a piece that criticized the protest against Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, I found the piece to be vague and simplistic. The charge of anti-Semitism is completely unsubstantiated and I have seen many times where people confuse anti-Semitism with criticizing the policies of the Israeli government.

Comedian Michelle Wolf does the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD). Uneven. Lots of hits and lots of misses. Several pundits accused Wolf of making jokes about the looks of Sarah Huckabee Sanders. That would indeed be a bad thing if that had actually happened. But they were asked to show just when Wolf had made an such jokes and couldn't. The phrase that Wolf used "smokey eye," is a make-up procedure to give one's eyes a certain appearance. 

Leonard Pitts is one of those columnists where the bloggers say "Read the whole piece. Trust me, it's worth your time." Agree! The question today is "What does Senator Marco Rubio stand for?" During the 2016 campaign, Rubio had a lot of valid criticisms of the President. Trump hasn't changed one iota, but Rubio is now "all-in" on him.

Donald Trump Jr. and other top members of the Trump campaign met with a number of Russians, including lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya. There's evidence that she's been working with the GRU (modern day successor to the KGB) and has high-level contacts in Russia's government. So Trump is now asserting that Veselnitskaya is just, ah, *pretending* to be connected to Russia's government because, y'know, Russia is opposed to Trump's "vigorous" anti-Russian actions! Uh, yeah.
Hmm. Good point! In order for Veselnitskaya to be following instructions to pretend to be working for Putin, she'd have to be following orders from Putin!  

Well, yeah! In response to: "What thing from your teenage years do you think should make a comeback?" Lots of culture-nostalgic answers, but "The concept that Nazis are not 'good people.'" Yeah, definitely that! 

Hmm. So the Fox News host Sean Hannity owns a 152-unit apartment complex. Under the previous owner, 12 people were booted out of their apartments for various acts of malfeasance. Under Hannity, who claims he's not involved in managing the complex, the number of people booted out has been 61. That's a 500% rise! Nah, I'm sure there's an innocent explanation.

Heh! Interesting theory!

The Korea handshake is not nothing. But the irony is that Trump's unhinged behavior and nutty tweets may have been the space Kim need to look *reasonable* by comparison. In other words, Trump's claiming a win when in fact Kim is walking off with all the chips on the table.

Mike Pompeo, now the new Secretary of State, starts making war-mongering comments right out of the gate.

All of the many, many ways in which the Diamond & Silk hearings were a waste of time and attention.

On March 12, Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) closed their investigation of the President and his involvement with Russia. Democrats on that same committee have now put out their counter-report. Also, comments on NRA role in moving money from Russia to the US.

Donald Trump Jr. had a series of phone calls in June 2016.

In between the two phone calls, Trump Jr. spoke with someone using a blocked phone number, which may have been his dad, Donald Trump, according to the Democrats.
Democrats wanted to subpoena the phone records to determine the identity of that person, but Republicans refused, Schiff told the Washington Post.

Sounds like some pretty obviously-guilty behavior to me. Update: Katy Tur of MSNBC says she receives calls from President Trump and he uses a blocked number.

EPA Administrator Pruitt gives us a very vague and fuzzy pictures of who bottom-lines, who has final approval of, his agency's expenditures. Funny, but there just doesn't seem to be anyone responsible for, or in charge of this process.

“I gave direction to my staff to address that and out of that came a $43,000 expenditure that I did not approve. That is something that should not have occurred,” Pruitt told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on environment..,. “Career individuals at the agency took that process through and signed off on it all the way through.”

President calls into Fox & Friends and rambles and carries on and gets himself into trouble by saying stuff he shouldn't say. Opposition lawyers are thrilled. Lawyers on his side? Ehh, not so happy. And yeah "'We're running out of time' Doocey says to Trump. On what planet would a TV host end a freewheeling interview with a president?"

Good heavens! Out of nearly 8,000 undocumented immigrant children who were placed with caretakers (usually the child's relative), the bureau that does so has lost track of nearly 1,500 of them!!! And yes, human trafficking has been a problem with this bureau.

Wow! Unhinged rant from the President! And yeah, he's clearly only admitting now that he spent the night in Moscow because flight records prove he did't leave until the following day

So Ronny Jackson didn't make it. The real problem here is that the President has been in office for over a year and still has absolutely NO idea how to vet people! He has absolutely no clue as to what makes for a proper candidate for an office.

The argument of Chief Justice Roberts reminds me of the pro-torture arguments of 2006. It just piles wildly unlikely possibilities on top of each other.

Woo hoo! I like this ruling here!

Judge John D. Bates, in his ruling, called the government's decision to end DACA “virtually unexplained” and therefore “unlawful.” He also said that the decision to end the program “was arbitrary and capricious because the Department failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”

Mick Mulvaney, running both the OMB and the CFPB, appears to be running hard for the "Dirtbag of the Year" contest.

“Trump likely to end public access to a web portal that lets hundreds of thousands of consumers each year file complaints against financial companies. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services,” CFPB’s Mulvaney says

Good for James Shaw! Very happy to see a true American hero saving the lives of strangers and I hope lots of people contribute to his GoFundMe. 
"James Shaw Jr., 29, is credited with saving numerous lives after he wrestled an AR-15 out of the hands of mass shooting suspect Travis Reinking."

But yeah, why isn't the President's use of an unsecured cell phone worthy of press-wide condemnation? What brings these two issues together is the selective silence. Conservatives and evangelists don't seem to want to praise the black, unarmed fellow who stopped a mass shooting because obviously, he didn't need to be a "good guy with a gun," he just needed to be a good guy, period. Great hue and cry and sturm und drang about Hillary Clinton's private email server. Where's the commentary about the President's use of an unsecured cell phone?

James Shaw did great damage to the messages that our President likes to send. First off, that a black man would be a hero, acting in a noble and selfless manner. This interferes with the dehumanization of non-whites. Second, the NRA slogan of "a good guy with a gun" was shown to be irrelevant. Shaw was a "good guy," but having a gun was beside the point.

Well, the big tax cut passed back in December doesn't appear to be having the desired effect and the GOP has no other plans for any other legislation this year. So the Wall St Journal is getting concerned.

Wow! Justice as seen by an occupier (to be fair, this lawmaker was disciplined for his statement).This Palestinian teenager took on a heavily armed and armored soldier who was, after all, charging into her backyard and hit him with an open hand. This lawmaker thinks she should have been shot for that.

Our amateur President tries to swim with the North Korean shark.

The Hillary Clinton private email server story was reported on very badly by the NY Times, just as, back in the early 90s, the Whitewater case was very poorly reported on with very bad consequences for the Clintons. The then-FBI Director Comey is a great deal at fault here too, but our blogger covers why the Times very, very badly messed up and really should have sat on their "scoop" and really should have talked to more people before publishing it.

President keeps saying things like "No collusion, no conspiracy, not working with Putin to deliver America into foreign hands." But the whole Republican Party is seriously slacking off on protecting the vote.

The last Obama State Dinner had 350 guests. The Trump State Dinner, to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron next week, will have only 150 and wil be held in a smaller room. Democrats and media were shunned. Apparently, only Republican politicians represent America these days.

Despite a stubborn leadership in the US, great progress is being made in renewable energy.

The treatment of an aide of Laura Ingraham demonstrates yet again that the decision to have or not have an abortion never was and never will be as simple as "Let the child live!" Having the child doesn't end in the hospital with the delivery. For Ingraham, for the aide to have the child meant she had to make arrangements for the aide to be temporarily replaced and that was a real inconvenience for Ingraham.

Again, the important question is why the President doesn't appear to have anything to say about a foreign country interfering in a US elections, either the 2016 one or the one coming up this November.

If nothing else, Kim Jong Un's offers of dramatic scale-downs in North Korea's nuclear posture make it very difficult for President Trump to say he'd rather play golf that to meet with the NK leader.

So Mike Pompeo's been inflating the ol' resume, eh?
"It Turns Out Mike Pompeo Never Served in the Gulf War" It seems like almost everyone was under the impression that he had. Was this a "stolen valor" case? Hmm, sort of. He never explicitly claimed that he served there, but others did and he didn't correct them.  

Have to say, I'm extremely unimpressed with Pompeo's questioning of Hillary Clinton over Benghazi.

"Why don't you fire someone?" Pompeo said at the 2015 congressional hearing. "How come no one has been held accountable to date?"
"In the absence of finding dereliction or breach of duty, there could not be immediate action taken," Clinton said.
"The folks in Kansas don't think that was accountability," Pompeo said

I find this conversation fascinating for what it reveals about how these two think. According to them, people don't make decisions on a rational basis, but decide according to propaganda. It's "the fashion" to be in favor of socialism, so people believe in socialism. Never mind that free-market capitalism may have serious problems. And hey, maybe people have a problem with how income is distributed? Nawww! Ya think?

People tend to be consistent across the board. Sean Hannity actively sought to keep his legal relationship with Michael Cohen a secret. Does Hannity have other secrets? I'm guessing he does. 

Republicans had been pushing for Comey memos for months. Once they had them, it took only 39 minutes to decide to leak them. It's far from clear that they've gained anything by doing so since seeing the whole set of papers means we can examine it for what isn't there. One question that very clearly didn't get asked by President Trump or any of his people is "How can we protect America's electoral integrity seeing as it's under assault by foreigners?"

Natalie Portman has criticized BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) with Israel and reports are that she doesn't wish t oshare a stage with Prime Mnister Benjamin Netanyahu, but she's also apparently disgusted by how Israel has responded to protests at the Gaza-Israel border.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins President Trump's legal team. Ehh, why not? The President has such trouble retaining staff. Hope Giuliani isn't expecting a paycheck out of this as Trump has a well-documented history of stiffing people. Also, Giuliani has always been a prosecutor, never a defense attorney.

Yeah, a more excitable local, right-wing columnist wondered if liberals would have the "courage" to boycott Starbucks. The Starbucks corporation has made it quite clear that the store manager engaged in a race-based overreaction and she was relieved of her duties. Whether she was re-located to another store or fired is unknown, but she's no longer running that store. Took a look at the comments to this piece and a commenter wonders why the two black men didn't just order something. Their statement that they would, but they were waiting for a third man to join them before they ordered anything should have been entirely sufficient for the staff to have said "Oh, okay" and to have turned their attention to other matters.

Again, the President using Twitter so much makes it really obvious when he just couldn't care less about an issue. Puerto Rico, over six months after Hurricane Maria, suffers a total, island-wide blackout, not that you'd know anything about that by reading the President's Twitter feed.

In December, Congress passed a big tax cut. How's that working out? CNBC concludes: "The GOP tax bill is now even less popular; only 27% think it's a good idea. Most people foresee higher deficits and most benefits going to the wealthy and corporations."

There were enough other things going on in the administration of the younger George Bush that liberals gave him a completely free hand to try abstinence-only policies. Those policies proved to be pretty useless. Abstinence-only can successfully get young people to delay sex for a year or two, but they're useless once the young person has had sex. There's nothing you can say after that unless you're talking about safety, prevention and harm reduction.

John Bolton, the National Security Advisor, wants to create a Sunni Arab patrol in Syria to take over US functions there. The blogger and I agree this is an absolutely crazy idea. I think the US needs to limit itself to very modest goals in Syria, but there's zero chance any other military force can replace US troops.

The effort to pass legislation to protect Robert Mueller’s job as special counsel appeared to hit a dead end as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not allow the bill to come to the floor for a full Senate vote.

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms one could make about former FBI Director Comey, one being that he's "a pompous, egotistical, patronizing, condescending holier than thou political operative trying to redeem [his] reputation..." but there are also a lot of untrue assertions here. The Steele Dossier is hardly "discredited." It was admitted the very first time that it was reported and was admitted repeatedly afterwards that it was unverified. That didn't make it false. In fact, elements of it have been verified since it was published. Did Hillary Clinton send or receive classified messages on her private email server? Comey initially suggested she did, but later had to admit she didn't.

Does Sean Hannity deserve a right to privacy? Well, if you're a reporter and your personal relationships are involved in a story, no. He needed to say, every time he had Cohen on his show, that he'd been getting legal advice from Cohen or that Cohen had been acting as his lawyer.

D'oh! Kellyanne Conway slips up and admits the truth, President Trump owes his electon to FBI Directr Comey's jumping all over Clinton's emails right before the election.

Speaker Ryan is convinced that the current deficit was inevitable, so the latest tax cut is no big deal. Sorry, but I was around in the Clinton yers, when we balanaced the budget.
There was nothing the slightest bit "inevitable" about the deficits we have today. People were fully aware that the Baby Boomer generation would start retiring about 2011. The "wave" has already hit, so the Boomers are not any sort of excuse. The younger George Bush put in some massive tax cuts, failed to rescind them when it became obvious that the US needed to do some serious spending on the Iraq War.
Then he put Medicare Part D into place without finding any sort of "pay-for." Then the Great Recession hit, fueled by the collapse of the housing bubble that Keynesian economists were aware of, but that escaped the notice of most of the government. Then Ryan and Trump passed another tax cut! Again, there was no "pay-for," and again, the US needs to make really big expenditures.

Former FBI Directr Comey's concern is probably an exaggerated and overheated one, but frankly, if I had to choose between a "destroyed" FBI and the last 14 months under the current president, I would have preferred to have lost the FBI. Further commentary on Comey's new book.

Woo hoo! Exxon has to turn over 40 years of records on their response to climate change!

The President launches an airstrike against targets in Syria. All sorts of problems with the legal rationales for those strikes. Especially problematic is the idea that the 2001 AUMF applies here. It was intended to punish the perpetrators of 9-11. That charge applies, in a stretched and roundabout way, to ISIS because ISIS is a successor to al Qaeda, but the Syrian government has never been accused of doing anything to facilitate 9-11, so there's not even an indirect connection there.
Iraqis are concerned that the bombing of Syria simply constitutes throwing gasoline onto the fire there.

RONNA MCDANIEL: "I think [Comey's] book is salacious, and when you read it, he discredits himself." TAPPER: "Have you read it?" MCDANIEL: "No, I haven't read it." Jake Tapper's expression at McDaniel's admission is priceless.

Tucker Carlson wonders why law enforcement is picking on President Trump's lawyer. The Democratic guest replies that, unlike the Kenneth Starr inquiry that turned into an inquisition on Bill Clinton's sex life, the Mueller inquiry found evidence that Michael Cohen conducted illegal behavior and referred it to New York rather than to handle it themselves.

Just in case anyone would like to get a "warm and fuzzy" on the intelligence and integrity of Robert Mueller, this is from the fellow who was his intelligence briefer when Mueller was head of the FBI.

So why did the US, along with Britain and France, bomb Syria? "In our age of politics as reality show..."
Blogger makes it clear he's not a fan of Syrian regime, but feels that Russia and Iran have won the war there.
Good to see bipartisan pushback over legality of Syrian strike.

The Steele Dossier claimed that President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, travelled to Prague to meet with a Russian during the 2016 campaign. That meeting has apparently now been verified.

"RNC flak Kayleigh McEnany told host Eric Shawn that even several Democratic leaders once criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton investigation..."
Entirely true. Comey was major factor in Trump's electoral victory.
“The fact is Democrats have admitted, James Comey is not credible..."
Hmm, not sure we can reach that conclusion at all. That's a bit of a stretch.

Thing I like about this conversation is that both participants are concise and to the point. Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mulvaney, who tried earnestly to destroy the CFPB, keeps saying that there were other institutions that could have performed the same good things. Senator Warren keeps pointing out that those other institutions didn't do so even though they had the opportunity to do just that.

First few minutes of this clip are classic! Can't properly summarize them!

Former FBI Director James Comey's book is out. Good evaluation:

This is the most important news so far out of the Comey book: Trump, as president-elect, didn't give a damn about the Russian attack on the US and was unconcerned about preventing a repeat. That is a profound dereliction of duty.

In assessing Paul Ryan as Speaker, this is a good start.

A look at the proposed pardon of "Scooter" Libby. President Trump's two other pardons and this proposed one all fit a pattern. These people all violated the law in order to achieve right-wing goals.

And Libby is now pardoned. Valarie Plame is brought forth to explain why Libby was busted and deserved to be treated as a criminal. Deepthink piece on the pardoning power.

Newt Gingrich compares the utterly legal, by-the-book, polite gathering of evidence on Michael Cohen (Yes, Cohen was treated as a "mob lawyer," as someone neck-deep in criminal activities) to how citizens were treated under Stalin and der Fuhrer. But hey, back in 2005, Senator Dick Durbin accurately described the torture program under the younger George Bush and that called for censure! Why, Durbin crossed a line by comparing US military personnel to Nazis! Even though in 2005, the comparison was entirely accurat

Good! Hard-line Trump-supporting right-wingers appear to be really unenthusiastic about going to war for Syria. On this one issue, I agree with them completely!

Thanks to climate change, Atlantic currents are at their weakest in 1,600 years.

A deeply unready, amateur president has an extremely bad Twitter habit. His overall use of Twitter really does him far more harm than good.
Further problem with using Twitter for foreign policy: "Within an hour of posting it, Trump seemed to walk it back, indicating in another tweet that he still hopes to have warmer relations with Putin." It just really doesn't help anything when the President "shoots from the hip" or gets all improvisational. Foreign policy requires deeply, carefully, thought-through and considered responses.
The President's frequent use of Twitter to announce policies also means that his staff is usually the last to know and is constantly playing catch-up with new policies. 

Protecting the President in the upcoming impeachment fight will not be for the weak of heart. If you're a Republican and you're not 100% in his corner, you're in a no-win situation. His defenders have to be all-in.

Now that Speaker Ryan has announced he's not running this November, the Republican Never-Trump pundit Ana Navarro thinks Speaker Ryan is now unleashed to do all sorts of wonderful, productive things. Someone on Twitter answers: "Get ready for Phantom Menace levels of disappointment."

Democrats made a whole lot of criticisms of the Republican tax bill that was passed in December with the slimmest of margins. And you know what? Every single criticism is turning out to be correct.
One of the biggest problems is that the Reagan and younger Bush tax cuts were passed during times when there was no apparent need to boost federal spending. That wasn't true of the Trump tax cut, we have an opioids crisis, infrastructure is rated as being a D+, Republicans want to re-do the ACA/Obamacare, etc.

Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer, has his home, office and hotel room raided. The President tweets: “Attorney–client privilege is dead!” Not quite. There's always been a "crime-fraud exception" in the law for quite some time. 

As to the Nixonian idea of "impoundment," where the president refuses to spend money that's been allocated, the Republican Party isn't at all interested. Which is good, because impoundment just extends a process that's already quite difficult enough.

Back during the late 90s, Ken Starr went way beyond his mandate. "Starr investigated a banking scandal, a suicide, and later a sex scandal," meaning he was jumping all over the place. Senator Rand Paul said that the Mueller investigation appeared to be going beyond its mandate. The host reminded him of Starr. Paul had to admit that, yeah, he didn't have any problem with Starr back then. 

It is an extremely rare event when I'm on the same page as Tucker Carlson, but I'm completely with him here! We need cooler heads and need to really examine the idea of attacking Syria before we take hasty, ill-considered action.

After taking a week off in response to Parkland student David Hogg calling for an advertiser boycott of her show, Laura Ingraham returns to find 20 advertisers have dropped her show.

How short is President Trump of people who are both loyal to him and who are capable of doing their assigned jobs? Unfortunately, that pool is pretty small

As a fringe right-wing political commentator, Ximena Barreto claimed that “African-Americans are way more racist than white people,” labeled Islam “a fucking cult” that has “no place” in the United States, pushed the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and attacked the “retarded” 2017 Women’s March. In December, she became a deputy communications director at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

With the situation in Syria, the US demonstrates a very serious problem of selective outrage. UN Ambassador Haley complains about civilians being shot in Syria while only about 500 kilometers away, Palestinians are being shot by Israelis. One is worthy of the US going it alone and taking action, the other isn't even mentioned. Oh, and Russia is an involved party. They've "got a dog in that fight." 

I get messages in my inbox: "On Wednesday, April 11th, pro-life students will walk out of their classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer to honor the 10 preborn babies who will violently die during that time at the hands of Planned Parenthood abortionists." How did it turn out? “It’s still worth noting that the media went all in for the anti-gun walkout, talking about lives lost and free speech, while ignoring the #ProLifeWalkout..." 

Hmm. Very, very interesting. An ageing office building with a high vacancy rate somehow finds a "white knight" to refinance with so that the building isn't repossessed. Yeah, kind of interesting that the President's son-in-law owns the building.

So essentially, the US response to the demands of Gaza is "Sit down and shut up." The US has not presented anything even remotely constructive to try and resolve the conflict there, but has blocked an Arab call for an independent probe of the shootings that have resultd in Paelstinian deaths. Good quickie summary by Chris Hayes of MSNBC. 

President Trump tweeted:

If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!

Yeah, kind of a problem with that. The situation that Obama was faced with in Syria is essentially the same as what Trump is facing today. Russia is not only far closer to Syria than we are, but Moscow has been seeking a warm-water port for centuries. They have one with Assad in power. They're far more motivated to stick it out and escalate than the US is. Analysis.

Jeanine Pirro says the Republican Party must submit, dammit!!! What Our Glorious Leader demands must be delivered without hesitation!!!
BTW, she's lying about the DOJ refusing to submit documents. A Republican-run committee has requested about 1.2 million documents and the DOJ has to go over each one to make sure they're not releasing classified information.

Everything you could possibly want to know about President Trump's ecological and many other policies is contained right in this story of a fire in one of his apartment buildings. He chiseled out a few bucks by shortchanging safety. If people die? Eh, ah well. Sucks to be them!

"Syrian Regime kills dozens in Chem attack on Douma Holdout Enclave: Why?"
Appears that Army of Islam snipers were taking a heavy toll, so Bashar al-Assad hit them and civilian bystanders with chlorine and other chemicals.

A group of us got together in front of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center in reaction to the intention of the Philadelphia Orchestra to play in Israel. Also covers the highly unequal conflct at the Gaza-Israel border, where molotov coktails are being met by gunfire.  

"Puerto Rico will close 283 schools as island continues to struggle"
The remaining 828 schools will remain open, but nearly 40,000 of the island's 357,000 students have already departed.

Fourteen months into his term as President and after Kric Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, spent about a year trying to prove precisely this exact theory, that millions of people cast illegal ballots, the President says

“A lot of times it doesn’t matter because in many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that.

“They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory folks, millions and millions of people.”

Update: The Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Voter Fraud panel requested a really large amount of data from the states "but a lot of the states didn’t want to cooperate." .New Jersey agreed to provide publicly available data, but not any confidential data. New Jersey just didn't have any confidence that the secret data would be used or secured properly.

"Homeland Security Wants to Build an Online 'Media Influence Database' to Track Journalists"
Can't see any innocent explanations for this, nor can I see any good coming out of it.

Fox News executives on Laura Ingraham

"Inside Fox, senior executives were exasperated, sources said. “You don’t attack a kid,” one told me. “It was an unforced error.” Not surprisingly, the network’s advertising department was in an uproar. “People are pulling their hair out.” 

Well, yeah. I have absolutely zero sympathy for these executives. They knew, or should have known, Ingraham was a bomb-thrower and that was a feature that was highly likely to come back and bite them in their asses.

Nixon's attempt to not spend money he didn't want to spend, called "impoundment," is being considered as a way to go back on the omnibus budget that the President recently signed.

Whole new complications open up for the President in Stormy Daniels case.

Ahh! More reasons for happiness! The Mueller investigation continues to go well!

On the one hand, it's good that Facebook is taking action against the Internet Research Agency (IRA), but the treatment of Palestinian pages still calls for regulations to see to it that all users are treated fairly on such a big and influential website.

The downside of censoring information from the Russians. Here's a report from RT about the Abby Martin's interview of Max Blumenthal on the Palestinians. This is about how that interview was censored in 28 countries by Youtube, thereby shutting off a voice that has no representation among US political parties.

"As some Republicans call for his ouster, Pruitt laments 'toxic' DC"
Yup, DC sure is "toxic." Yeah, when you get a sweetheart deal for super-duper cheap digs from a freakin' bloody lobbyist who has business with your agency, it sure is amazing how judgemental people can be!

I completely approve of the President's desire to get US troops out of Syria, but the pushback he's getting from his national security team continues to demonstrate the folly of Trump's slap-dash, seat-of-the-pants, spur-of-the-moment policymaking.

I take a look at anger and division in the US. Vice-President Pence might want to look to his own side of the political aisle rather than to just make vague generalizations.

Seems that John Bolton, the incoming National Security Adviser, has some 'splaining to do about his connection to Cambridge Analytica.

The questions about John Bolton's ethics and conflicts of interest are so bad, even White House lawyers are raising questions about them.

Jason Chaffetz wonders why the DOJ is slacking off on delivering the documents that the Republican-run Judiciary Committee has ordered them to produce. Erm yeah. Boston Globe says the Committee has requested 1.2 million documents, so yeah, it might take awhile.

*Sigh* No, Iran is not Nazi Germany. In fact, Saudi Arabia is far closer to being one than Iran is. I was especially interested by point 2, the status of Jewish people in Iran.

Hmm, theory here about "Suburban Strategy" as opposed to Nixon's "Southern Strategy."

About two months ago, the President started to try and get a deal on immigration. Democrats have offered at least six proposals that were worked out with their Republican counterparts. The President didn't like any of them. Now he's saying that Democrats are to blame for the lack of a deal.

Christian-Jewish Allies has now issued a new study guide “Why Palestine Matters, The Struggle To End Colonialism

So what has been the big legislative/economic initiative of the Trump Administration so far? The big tax break passed in December. How's the economy doing? Poorly. Stocks are beginning to slide. What does one do after a failed policy shows bad results? Why, double down, of course!

The wife of Andrew McCabe, who was fired just a day short of full retirement, has been accused of accepting campaign contributions for her own run for office in order to coordinate somehow with Hillary Clinton and to attack the current president, Trump. "those donations came before Andrew McCabe took over as deputy director of the FBI and before he would have had any oversight into the Clinton email investigation." 
She describe's the effect of being trashed verbally by the President.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin sure does get a lot of bad press. Now his wife is getting hate and discontent from DCs social circuit.

As states are taking action against oil companies anyway, a highly incriminating videotape shows up.

Heh! So it appears that the big effort by the right wing to pass a tax cut last December has had minimal PR impact and will most likely be forgotten by November.

Is economic trouble purely the fault of politicians? Nah, private enterprise bears a big share of the blame.

The angry blonde chick Tomi Lahren from Fox News tries to give a pep talk to her "fellow leaders" by saying "It's what we signed up for." Soledad O'Brien says: "Girl, please. You are leading nothing."

Good to see that concern about climate change is a bipartisan thing among young people. Clean energy and support for the environment are also strong.

Pope Francis agrees that the "ongoing conflict" on the Gaza-Israel border does not "spare the defenceless."

Israel’s defence minister has rejected calls for an inquiry into the killings by the military during a Palestinian demonstration that turned violent at the Gaza-Israel border.

The look and sound of state-run TV "news."

Senior executive defends the content of messages that all Sinclair News stations are required to run. But the problem is that all stations are required to run the same message with their own on-air people, as though they were delivering independent opinions. As Dan Rather put it : 

News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn't journalism. It's propaganda. It's Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.

So after watching a Fox & Friends piece featuring the President of the National Border Patrol Council, President Trump is now demanding still more unfair, one-sided DACA "fixes" that no Democrat can possibly accept. And then he wonders why Democrats won't "make a deal."

"Silence From NRA After Board Member Nugent Calls Parkland Teens 'Soulless'" So the NRA was pretty quiet about their board member Ted Nugent, whose last big musical hit was during the 70s. I guess they want to see how he was playing first. 
Update: Did a search on "Ted Nugent" on the 20th of April and he's pretty much dropped off the newsfeed. 

Oh, and the Chinese satellite that was set to crash, uh, somewhere on Earth? Landed safely in the ocean.

March                      back to top

National Review should really just stay clear of youth culture. They claim that, hey, the students at Hogwarts (Harry Potter's school) were armed, so real stuents should be, too! Um, not really. The wands they used were just enhanced wooden sticks that were specific to the students, but that just directed the power that was inherent within them. The wands weren't weapons per se.

Poll from NBC News that pretty much says it all. Democrats are comfortable with changes over past few decades, Independents can live with those changes, Republicans hate them and want to go back to "The Good Old Days."

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If left wingers can engage in boycotts, so too can right-wingers, something that a right-winger forgets. A pundit from the Washington Times denounces David Hogg of the Parkland students against gun violence for wanting to boycott Laura Ingraham. Oops! Seems she's called for boycotts herself many times over the past several years.

Grimly amusing headline here: "Analysis | Why a Laura Ingraham boycott will probably fail" because the Parkland students have already succeeded. Ingraham thought she was "punching down," hitting at an opponent who was smaller and weaker than she was, but found to her great surprise and distress that she was "punching up." She found that she had taken on an opponent who was bigger than she was and could hit harder.

"Census Advisory Panel Blasts Trump Admin Move To Add Citizenship Question"
Strikes me as a pretty stupid move, more likely to result in dishonesty and/or non-compliance with the Census than anything else. It would be entirely reasonable for non-citizens to wonder if their answers would get reported to ICE.

Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson makes a particularly stupid comment: "Hillary Clinton is the perfect loser for a selfish generation. In the past, the losing Presidential candidate disappeared from the stage. Not Clinton. It's all about her and you're sexist if you disagree." Twitter user responds:  “Bob Dole, 94 - still tweeting, btw Gore, 69 - global leader on climate Kerry, 74 - became Sec of State McCain, 81 - Senator, writing memoirs Romney, 71 - Running for Senate Biden, 75 - Biden 2020! Sanders, 76 - Bernard 2020! All have lost presidential runs. Fact Check: True.

Trouble on the border between Gaza and Israel. Few casualties already as Israelis are using live ammnition on unarmd Palestinian protesters. More details

So President Trump wants to pull US troops out of Syria? Good! We have no clear objectives there anyway and the thought that Bashar al-Assad (Who's backed by Russia and Iran) will just calmly step aside is obviously sheer fantasy. Will the new National Security Adviser John Bolton talk him into staying in Syria? I suspect he will. The theory he'd probably use is called the Flypaper Theory, a notion that many people used to justify our remaining in Iraq awhile ago.

“They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed,” Shulkin wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed. “As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”

While the younger George Bush and Dick Cheney were ginning up the Iraq War, John Bolton decided that Cuba was building a biological weapons capability and had to be stopped immediately. An intelligence official said Bolton was overstating the intelligence. Bolton, furious at being contradicted, called the official a "mid-level munchkin.”
Seriously, this is the guy we now have nominated as National Security Adviser.

During the 2016 campaign, President Trump promised to get the "best people" to work for him. Did he lie? Nah, I think he just defines "best" as mindlessly loyal sycophants.

Hmm, guess it tells us something about American valus and priorities that in 2011, Snooki (Nicole Polizz) got $32K for a speech, and recently, Hillary Clinton got $25K from the same university for a speech.

It's a real problem that our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has so little understanding of voting issues. He appears to believe that independents constitute a meaningful third force in US politics. Actually, independent voters tend to lean strongly one way or the other, towards Republicans or Democrats. The remainder are statistically pretty meaningless.

President is amazed that the Korean DMZ (250 miles) is better guarded than the US-Mexican border (1,954 miles).

Laura Ingraham makws fun of David Hogg of the Parkland students. His reaction proves unexpectedly challenging for her and advertisers are bailing on her show..

After watching s few minutes of Greg Gutfeld's routine here, it's understandable why everyone on the left puts "comedian" in quotes when talking about him. There are two reasons not to use torture, 1. it's immoral and 2. it doesn't work. Gutfeld ignores 2 so that he can trash the people who complain about 1.

Cambrdge Analytica and other democracies across the globe.

President Trump is very upset over the omnibus spending bill that he felt pressured to sign right before last weekend. The reason? In the Navy, we called it "Lack of Attention to Detail." When you wait around for a problem to be talked about on Fox News, it's usually far too late to do anything about it.

Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker appears to have a real problem with the whole idea of "you can't cancel an election just because your party will probably lose that election." He and the state legislature wanted to pass a bill that would cancel the special election, leaving constituents unrepresented for over a year. They finally backed down on that. Update: Walker finally calls special election. 

The NRA was very anxious to get all over the story of a "good guy with a gun" at Great Mills High School in Maryland. Oops! The "good guy" not only confronted the shooter after he was done, but the shooter shot himself before the "good guy" could take him down. The NRA naturally got very excitable before the facts were determined, and "attacked the 'lying MSM' for not devoting 'wall-to-wall coverage' to a story that didn’t 'fit their anti-gun, anti-freedom narrative.'”

Facebook again demonstrates that it needs federal regulation as it deletes a news account without warning or explanation. The news agency, based in Gaza, reaches 60% of their followers via Facebook.

Short, but truly horrifying thread about a prominent, well-known blog smearing one of the Parkland students, going "Oops!" and then trying to retract a story that a responsible journalistic enterprise would have carefully fact-checked before running.

Great garbage patch is between Hawaii and the mainland US and is twice the size of Texas. Real problem is that as plastic garbage breaks down in the ocean, it doesn't disintegrate into chemical components, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces with unknown but probably bad consequences for marine life.

Kind of amusing how this woman thinks the President is taking aggressive and effective action to the point where liberals are anxious to stop this awesome juggernaut.
Well, let's take a look at Trump's response to the opioid epidemic, he has described it as a national emergency, but Daily Kos describes nothing but "stagnant, flaccid efforts" on his part.  Vox describes the plan as very heavy on law enforcement and very weak on prescriptions and treatment. "But to the chagrin of many drug policy and public health experts, the plan largely focuses on 'tough on crime' efforts that have proven ineffective in the past." 
So no, on the policy front at least, I really don't see Trump as a threat of any kind that needs to be stopped. Is Trump a wannabe dictator? Sure, no question about it. I just don't see liberals being anxious to counter his policy initiatives.

Technically, it was called March for Our Lives, but there were so many people there, getting a march organized wasn't practical. 

Senator Marco Rubio is correct in saying that both John Bolton and Susan Rice were ambassadors to the UN, but wrong when he asserts that makes them equals. Rice successfully got the UN to initiate sanctions against Iran and North Korea but the UN didn't see her objective as being as narrow as just punishing those two countries. They could see that the Obama Administration wanted to achieve specific, limited objectives. But they could also see that Bolton just wanted war with Iran, period.

Awful lot of information following the Republicans on the House Intelligence Comittee closing down their investigation of the President. Seems Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary of the defense and intelligence contractor SCL, appears to have been doing work for Russian interests. Brexit was apparently a dry run for the 2016 election.

A right-winger says: 

Look. I do not CARE who Donald Trump had consensual sex with ELEVEN years ago. Not sure why anyone cares...?.... Are liberals all of a sudden all virgins?
This has a solid NOTHING to do with his presidency.
We didn't elect him to be our PASTOR

First off, I certainly remember quite a bit of strutting about and posturing and tsk-tsking over Bill Clinton' sex life. Second, Donald Trump made a pretty weird comment to both Storm Daniels/Stephanie Clifford and to Karen McDougal that they both reminded him of his daughter Ivanka Trump.    

Is there really any possibility that there will ever be a separate Palestinian state next to Israel? It's not looking very likely. Some quotes: 

President Mahmoud Abbas himself has repeatedly stated that he cannot leave his Ramallah headquarters without Israeli approval.

...the real ruler of Palestine is not Mahmoud Abbas, it is rather the arrogant politician Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister. 
This time, too, no one has asked the Palestinian people for their opinion and position on this project; neither the US administration nor the Israeli government of course, and not even the Palestinian Authority itself.

So former PA Senator Rick Santorum wants us to deal with the consequences of the gun problem as opposed to the causes of it. Erm, okay. He also suggests that there's some sort of conflict between the March For Our Lives being a political rally and between being about solutions. Not at all clear why it can't be both at the same time.

In response to Rick Santorum's suggestion that students learn CPR instead of protesting for gun safety measures (GSW stand for Gun Shot Wound).

@ananavarro @CarmenYulinCruz @RickSantorum : ever done CPR on someone with a GSW to his chest? I have. Ever done CPR on someone with a GSW to his brain? I have. Abdomen? I have. I'm an ER doc and guess what? They bleed out. We don't need CPR classes, we need #GunControl and we need #GunReformNow

Oh, wonderful! [/snark] Bolton wants to begin to "clean house" with “officials believed to have been disloyal to Trump." Looks like he's planning on full-fledged purge of the non-warmongers. As we've seen though, it's difficult to find competent people who are also willing to work in the Trump Administration.The exodus from the administration has been slowed only by the fact that no one wants to hire ex-Trump people.

The NRA spokesperson said: "I wish a hero like Blaine had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month." But that's the problem isn't it? We need better answers than "a hero like Blaine" because a Blaine is far too rarely there. We've been depending on "a good guy with a gun" for quite some time now and we just can't depend on such heroes. We need more reliable answers than that.

March for Our Lives.

After the Presdent signs the spending bill, Fox and Friends critczes it, so now the President doesn't like it. 

Sorry Governor Walker, but "Because we might lose the election to a Democrat" is not a sufficient reason to not hold an election!

A judge ruled Thursday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) must “promptly” hold special elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature — elections that he refused to call because he was afraid his party would lose.

"H.R. McMaster Out; John Bolton In As National Security Advisor
I recall reading about Bolton shortly after the younger George Bush Administration had left office. Bolton's appointment was one of the few actions that Bush admitted was a really bad idea on his part The piece I read was about how people working in the UN reacted whenever Bolton or one his people came calling and their reaction was essentially "OMG! What are these crazy guys up to now?!?!?! What new excuse have they now come up with for attacking Iran?" Because the only reason they ever visited anybody was to get people on board with attacking Iran. As The Intercept puts it:

Bolton has spent the better part of a decade calling for the United States to help overthrow the theocratic government in Tehran and hand power to a cult-like group of Iranian exiles with no real support inside the country.

Back during the presidential campaign in 2015, Donald Trump was a breath of fresh air, taking positions that defied Republican orthodoxy. One of his claims was that he opposed the Iraq War (And yes, in 2004, he made speeches against it, but that was long after the war had become an extended guerrilla war), but now, by hiring John Bolton, the last of Trump's defiance of Republican orthodoxies is gone. And no, he's never acknowledged any changes in any of his positions, let alone explained any of those changes.

Important scoop that brings investigation by Robert Mueller even closer to the Oval Office. Identity of  Guccifer 2.0 is revealed. 

2,200-page, $1.3 trillion bill passes with a 65-32 vote in the Senate. Plenty of both good and bad in the bill.

Good! In the omnibus budget bill, Congress  considered the agenda of Education Secretary DeVos and rejected it completely and wholesale. She has completely failed to convince the majority of the Senate that her approach is a good one. 

And, right on cue, the "budget hawks" speak up.  All of them (including Senator Rand Paul, who shoots us a disaaproving glare while holdinga really large pile of paper).voted for December's big, budget-busting tax cut.

"Tucker Carlson Brings Sniper On To Scold March For Our Lives Organizers”  
The real political problem with this discussion is that it doesn't seem to offer any sort of solution to gun violence. These two seem to be essentially suggesting we do nothing. That we just sit around twiddling our thumbs while mass shootings continue. This doesn't strike as a sustainable answer.

Democrats said that the December tax bill's economic gains would go largely into stock buybacks and not into economic growth. They were right. They said the bill would have all sorts of problems that would need fixing. They were right about that, too. They also said that Speaker Ryan and other GOP members would use the deficits created by the tax bill to justify cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Not quire sure Ryan's latest statement qualifies, but I'd bet Democrats were right about this too.

I'm 100% on PA Governor Wolf's side on a decision on gerrymandering. Republicans have threateed to impeach a state judge because he ruled against them in the case. Had the courts ruled the other way, Democrats would have accepted the result. The Republican response is a danger to the democracy of our country. A legal ruling is characterized as "misbehavior"?!?!?! What's that all about?

"Why The 'Liberal Tea Party' Doesn't Exist (And Why Some People Think It Does)
Good analysis that begins, properly, from the premise that the Republican and Democratic Parties are not symmetrical and are not mirror images of each other. There are lots and lots of purist right-wingers but purity tests on the left are actually pretty rare.

So, a while ago, the President was reported to be very confident in his own performance and competence. Rush Limbaugh of course feels that Trump's judgement is right on the mark. Of course, as this piece makes clear, Trump has absolutely no idea what he's doing. Trump's Solicitor General keeps track of what the government's legal position is, but when a right-wing talk show host disagreed with a legal ruling, President Trump put out a tweet that contradicted the policy that the Solicitor General had agreed to. 

Why did the football player Colin Kaepernick "take a knee" during the anthem at games? Well gee, it might just be because of incidents like this! Stephon Clark, a father of two children, was in his backyard with his parents upstairs in their room. He approached police with his arms outstretched and one hand holding a cell phone. Parents didn't hear any warnings, just shots.

The trial of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has dragged on because he's increasingly infuriating the judge. The latest problem is that Kobach was supposed to send out postcards to every Kansas voter that was denied the right to vote and had their voting rights restored. Judge to Kobach  “Why would I order something you told me you’d take care of?” Here's the twitter thread that summarizes what Kobach and the judge said to each other.

Shortly before the Austin, TX bombing suspect died, the White House made an odd statement: “There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.” Erm, the bombings were acts of terrorism. There may have been no connection to foreign actors, but they were clearly acts of violence that were designed to cause political effects. A blogger clears it up for us: 

It is well known by now that “terrorism” is often used by American officials as a dog whistle to refer to acts of political violence carried out by Muslims or by minorities, and that typically white violence of a terroristic sort is characterized by other adjectives.

Facebook failed to protect user data from Cambridge Analytica. This is why government regulation happens. Private industry fails to do its job, consumers and/or citizens get burned, government has to step in.

"GOP expects Democrats' help in fixing the tax plan's errors"
Yeah, amazing how that works! After extensive hearing and markups and after accepting several Republican amendments to Obamacare/the ACA, there were a few minor problems with the law. Republicans refused to help make any of the modest fixes that Democrats asked for. Now, after cramming through a budget law without any hearings or markups or chances to make amendments, they're astonished that Democrats won't help make any changes to the budget bill.

Crazy notions on how to deal with opioids from the President that just happen, by sheer coincidence, to increase the power of police while failing to do much about the problem. From Joy Reid of MSNBC

My takeaway from Trump's "opioids plan" announcement so far... Brown people!! Build a wall!!! Democrats won't trade DACA for 1927 immigration policy! Sanctuary cities!!! Brown people!!!! Death penalty for drug dealers like Duterte who kills drug dealers!! I think that's about it.

Someone posted a meme on gun ownership and tyranny. Snopes is not at all impressed with any connection and demonstrates that tyranny comes before gun confiscation. First you lose your liberty, then you lose your guns, not the other way around. Yes, Nazi Germany confiscated guns from the Jews, but that was long after Jews lost political power. Non-Jewish citizens of Nazi Germany retained their guns all the way to the end of World War II. The Soviet Union wasn't able to confiscate guns from peasants until Collectivization took place. Gun confiscation was part of an overall quashing of the peasantry during that period.

Good! Supreme Court rejects Republican request to not use new district maps drawn by the courts in Pennsylvania.

"Trump Admin. Purging Civil Servants Suspected Of Disloyalty"
Yeah, I'm not going to wish the President "good luck with that," but keep in mind that the Trump Administration is an absolutely horrible place to work and that no one wants to hire people that used to work for him, so anyone who joins to replace those purged civil servants might as well realize they won't get any job offers after that.

"The Kobach Follies, Week 2: Kobach’s own 'expert' witnesses testify that their research doesn’t support Kobach’s claims"
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was not having a good day last Thursday! One of his researchers is asked about a "foreign-sounding" name and whether that person would be flagged as a likely fake voter. Great response to his answer from the ACLU!

Conservative presenter Chuck Woolery:
"While Democrats and Republicans are fighting for their parties, Trump is fighting for the Republic. I hope you can see this."
No Chuck, I agree with Soledad O'Brien. I don't see the President as fighting for anything grander or bigger than his own self-interest.

Concerning the closing of their investigation of the President, I wonderd whether the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee ever made any attempt to reach out and to persade their Democratic colleagues that there was nothing more to investigate. This piece from TPM says:  

Conaway said later, characterizing Democrats’ protests about the committee ending its probe: “The collusion issue, we found no evidence of it. The Democrats think they have. They’ve not shared that with us, if they have. I’ve shared all of my evidence we’ve got with them, but if they’ve got evidence of collusion, they haven’t shared it with us.”

Hmm, sounds like the Republican majority on the committee simply sent documents to the Democratic minority. It doesn't sound as though there were any face-to-face conversations on the evidence at all.

Cambridge Analytica, a company owned by hedge fund billionaire and prominent Republican contributor Robert Mercer, harvested information from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate electoral results. 
Very interesting! Was the Thom Tillis campaign of 2014 a dry run for Trump's campaign of 2016?

People have  problem with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Difficult to see why, unless the problem is just plain sexism.
I think I was most impressed by Pelosi when John Boehner took over from her as Speaker. Boehner was constantly being taken by surprise by his own caucus. Pelosi had always known exactly where her caucus stood on every issue. I realized "Wow! She really was a highly competent and effective leader, unlike the  idiot who's in charge now!" 

Did the President cause McCabe to get fired for the reasons that were cited? As usual, the President steps all over his own messaging and confirms what the rest of us thought all along.
President Trump considers it tremendously important that McCabes wife was given a lot of money. But she got that money in order to run for a state office. Any problems with spouses of prominent people running for office? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is married to the Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. No one on either side of the aisle has ever had a problem with that. So it's hard to see how McCabe's wife is in any way relevant here.
Also, "By linking Mueller’s investigation with McCabe, [John] Dowd confirmed a key claim in McCabe’s response to his termination — that Sessions’ move against him is really all about discrediting the Mueller investigation."

Unfortunately for anti-choicers, there is indeed a link between providing abortions and providing good pregnancy services. The problem is that those who don't provide abortions also don't provide good pregnancy services. Those who provide good services also provide abortions.

So, 100 days later, how are people dealing with President Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Not well. Main problem appears to be that as the Trump Administration did nothing to reach the decision via any sort of consultative process, they've also done nothing to sell the decision afterwards.

Piece makes the very good point about liberal vs conservative views on the CIA. Liberals, including even the 60s radical Abbie Hoffman, have never had a problem with the intelligence-gathering arm of that agency. We didn't have any problem defending CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson from Vice President Dick Cheney's maligning of her because we were familiar with her intelligence-gathering and it was never clear that she did much in the way of any covert operations. Conservatives, on the other hand, love covert operations and never had any problem with things like torturing people at black sites.

Good! The House Republican majority on the Intelligence Committee closed their investigation of Russia. They botched their doing so by not agreeing whether or not Russia wanted Trump to win the election. That made the rollout confused and unfocused. The Democratic dissent is overshadowing their dismissal of the case.

"Attorney General Sessions Has Fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe" Note that McCabe was on leave. He was using up his leave days and so cleaned out his desk and departed from the FBI early. He was fired less than 48 hours before he would have been eligible for a full pension. McCabe denies the accusation that he was dishonest.

Represntative Liz Cheney asks two questions, 1. Did torture save lives during the time her dad was Vice President? 2. The amount of pain inflicted by SERE is similar to that produced by torture, but does that mean SERE is relevant?
1. No one has ever shown that torture during the younger George Bush Administration produced any positive results whatsoever.
2.Torture applied by someone you know as a friend is worlds apart from torture applied by someone who hates you and does not feel legally restrained. The question essentially compares a candle to a forest fire.

During the late 90s, the GOP was feeling very powerful and righteous over Bill Clinton's sex scandals, so they really pushed hard to see to it that the scandals would have maximum legal effect. Oops! Now that the shoe is on the other foot, their own past behavior is biting them in the butt. They're sobbing all sorts of useless crocodile tears now, because the precedents they're now bemoaning have already been set in stone as of 20 years ago. Will the House pull anything sneaky? Nothing can be ruled out.

Very cool! "Oil giant begins transition to renewables, scrubs ‘oil’ from its name."

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch makes a number of good points about the specific case of the Parkland school shooting. Why doesn't anybody seem to care? Because school shootings are happening all the time in the US and they're not happening elsewhere. Parkland is not outrageous because of any unique circumstances, but because it's far too common.

*Sigh* Poor Rush Limbaugh is confused. He doesn't understand how anybody knows that the Big Bang happened in the way that the physicist Stephn Hawking says it did because no one was there to see it. (Facepalm) Okay, let's see if we can make this clear. In the TV show "Crossing Jordan" (2001-2007), Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh and Detective Woody Hoyt would attempt to reconstruct a crime. Naturally, they weren't there to see it occur, but they would take all of the evidence into account and walk it through and attempt to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to just what happened. That's why the conclusion isn't called a "fact," but is instead a "theory." Some theories are more solid than others because they fit the known facts better than others do.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has taken a good position on the poisoning of a released spy who was living in England (He was caught spying for the West and served several years in prison). It is worrying and concerning that the President has appeared to be waffling and soft-pedaling the accusation.

Yes, the daughter of the former VP Dick Cheney is the Representative for Wyoming (She crashed and burned when running for Senator, but recovered enough to win the Representative seat) and she's strongly defending her dad's record of torture during the younger George Bush Administration. As Senator Rand Paul has taken the opposite position, we now have a torture debate within the Republican Party.

The Republican Party as a whole has settled on the narrative that Conor Lamb, who just squeaked out a victory in Western PA, won because he reflected President Trump's positions. Ehh, not quite

Our election night poll in PA-18 found that health care was a defining issue in the race. 52% said it was either the most important issue or very important in their vote, and Conor Lamb won those voters 62-38.

Kids all over America conduct a National School Walkout day. CNN said 
“Students at a Los Angeles school held a die-in spelling #ENOUGH with their bodies as a gong sounded 17 times, one for each student killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting."

So how qualified is Larry Kudlow to be President Trump's chief economic advisor? Hoo boy! Keynesian economists noted the housing bubble in 2002 (It had been building for a few years by then), kept on issuing warnings until it burst in December 2007. Kudlow thought everything was fine in 2005 and though September 2008 was a good time to get back into buying stocks. We lost 452k jobs that month, 474k in October, but 765k in November and 697k in December. When Obama took over in January 2009, we lost 795k. 
Kudlow realy, really favors tax cuts as the best tonic for econmic growth. David Stockman, Reagan's first Budget Director, is unimpressed with ability of tax cuts to help the economy.

"Meet the Alabama sheriff who kept hundreds of thousands in inmate food funds for personal use"
Hmm, one would think that if sheriffs were allowed to keep money that was intended for the feeding of prison inmates but was "excess" or not used, that would encourage sheriffs to skimp on inmate food in order to provide more money for themselves. Sure enough "Many inmates report that the food they are provided is inadequate in quantity or nutritional value, spoiled, or contaminated, such as with insect or rodent droppings, or foreign objects." Funny how this guy thought the law was written to permit him to skim off money.
Update: Yep, state law is apparently on the side of the sheriff, but the Feds are quite interested in the case and call it a "conflict of interest."

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, gets fired. Will we miss him? Nah, he brought nothing worthwhile to the job. The WaPo subtitle is "A political eulogy for the most incompetent Secretary of State in modern history."
How weak and ineffective was Tillerson? A piece from early February shows that of the State Department's top 10 jobs, eight of them were empty.

The new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is very close to the Koch brothers and really, really hates the Iran deal.

Gina Haspel is the President's choice for the new CIA Deputy Director. She oversaw the torture of prisoners and the destruction of evidence of human rights abuses. Obama didn't create the problem, but he certainly didn't "clean out the barn," either. The past comes back to bite the US in the butt.

Physicist Stephen Hawking has passed away.

Congressional District PA-18 was won by Trump in the 2016 election by 20 points. That seat is now held by a Democrat!!!

"CNN Anchor Stunned After Trump's Racist Remarks At Mexico-California Border" CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin gives a great reaction shot here. What interests me about this clip is how narrow the President's vision is. He keeps talking about how terrible California is, but his one and only point of reference, the only factor he considers, is state taxes. As we can see here, California's economy is doing pretty great. No, high taxes do not automatically equal a poorly-run state.

From a tweet by the Minority Leader on the House Intelligence Committee: "BREAKING: GOP just shut down House Intel investigation, leaving questions unanswered, leads unexplored, countless witnesses uncalled, subpoenas unissued."
I find the conclusions reached by the Republican majority on the committee to be something that Republicans should have been able to convince their Democratic colleagues of. Don't see much evidence they made any real attempt to do so. The TV show Fox & Friends also didn't include any such evidence. Link to Democratic rebuttal memo.

Hey, it's Women's History Month! So how has the Trump Administration honored women? *Sigh* No, The First Lady, the Second Lady (Vice-President's wife) and the First Daughter (Ivanka Trump) really don't constitute appointing women to high positions.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has very deservedly taken lots and lots of heat for this truly terrible interview. She says: "I'm more misunderstood than anything." Nope. I don't agree. Fundamentally, the idea that she champions is to put schools in competition with each other. I think that's fundamentally misguided and fails to acknowledge that schools are not capitalist institutions that respond well to price changes and efficiency improvements. DeVos is asked about white kids and black kids being treated differently. That, say, both groups create a disruption. The white kids would see the principal, the cops would get called on the black kids.
Betsy DeVos: "Arguably, all of these issues or all of this issue comes down to individual kids. And--"
Lesley Stahl: "Well, no. That-- it's not."
Lesley Stahl: "Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?"
Betsy DeVos: "I have not-- I have not-- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming."
Which to me, essentially reveals that here's someone who already had her mind made up when she started her job and has no interest in getting any other perspective on the problem.

President Trump gives a very, very bad speech. So bad, in fact, that Chris Cillizza is flabbergasted at how bad it is. Also, link to right-wing blog that sums up Soledad O'Brien's reaction to Cillizza comparing reality TV to the actual White House. She's not impressed.

Trump Administration decides that press coverage of nuclear energy has been too negative. “A lot of the challenges that we have have been blown out of proportion in the media.” Or, perhaps, the problems have not been "blown out of proportion" at all and perhaps the industry needs to get its act together and carry out reforms.

Very happy to see that Democrats are keeping up the pressure on Carl Icahn's insider trading. "Icahn sold more than $30 million in steel-related stock, crane manufacturer Montiwoc, several days before Trump’s announcement last week on tariffs, after which Montiwoc’s stock plummeted."

So, Hans von Spakovsky, a noted vote suppressor, "said putting Democrats or mainstream Republicans on Trump’s voter fraud commission would lead to its 'abject failure.'” He denied that, but someone then found the email where he said just that. Oops!

"John Kelly reportedly feared Pruitt’s climate debate would be a huge embarrassment" So the, quote "grown-up in the room" gives the American people the worst of both worlds. We get an EPA Administrator who continues to pursue policies that will increase global warming but we don't get a debate that would demonstrate the moral and scientific bankruptcy of such policies. Gee, thanks! %$#@%$!!!

A story that doesn't do Newsweek any favors at all. The Clinton Foundation did not benefit the Clintons personally. Giving money to the Foundation was a very indirect way to curry favor with them and it's not clear that anyone benefited by doing so. 
"The so-called Uranium One deal in 2010 handed Russia control of 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium supply."
It's not at all clear what "control" of the US’s uranium supply meant as no uranium was removed from the US.
"Hillary Clinton served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which unanimously approved the partial sale..."
Right, so as Clinton was just one of the committee members and all of the members approved, what is the significance of the Clinton Foundation? Why is the Clinton Foundation even vaguely relevant to the case?

Not only is it a really bad idea to go to war in Syria, period, full stop. But going to war with the president we have and with the public not having any real knowledge of what's going on there and Republicans as represented by Senator Graham being utterly clueless as to how to win. Full withdrawal of all American troops from Syria, NOW!!!

In discussing what it's like to work for President Trump, this is a rather alarming statement: "By day's end, dazed White House officials were discussing whether Mr. Trump would invite Mr. Kim to come to the United States."
This tells us that the President's staff is the last to know about what the President is thinking about any given issue.

It's becoming clear that White House aides are being blindsided by the boss, who comes up with ideas like visiting Kim Jong Un of North Korea and announcing it without having given anyone the chance to weigh in. " one wants to work in an environment in which they have no idea what their colleagues and superiors may do next."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos puts out a picture of a classroom that I find quite familiar and that she describes as typical. I agree that the picture she presents does indeed look typical to me, because like her, I'm an older person who went to school back during the 60s and 70s. Not surprisingly, schools have advanced a bit since then. Problem is, DeVos wants to "reform" schools, but is clearly out of date on how schools actually function today.

Hmm. Nope. Just can't do it. Can't get myself to feel the slightest sympathy for "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli here as he's sentenced to seven years

In a really, really important voting-rights case, the team led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has proven to be amateurish and completely uninformed as to basic legal procedures. Recall please too, that this person also led a committee for the President to examine allegations of millions of illegal votes. The committee discovered nothing and is now disbanded.

A key member of the House Intelligence Committee, who is allegedly, supposedly, in theory, leading the investigation as to Russian influence on the 2016 election, said that he was completely unaware of who a significant figure in the case was. Sounds to me as though the Committee has been spinning its wheels to little real-world effect.

Whoa! Pretty serious shocker! Kim Jong Un has agreed to meet our President in just a few months! Is that good news for him? Very much so as he can then appear to be equal to the US leader. Good new for Trump? Heck yeah, anything that gets the news off of Mueller and his probe is all good news.

Update: White House starting to backtrack.

Update 2: "Trump Says Media Coverage Of Planned Talks With Kim Jong Un Is 'FAKE'"
As we've seen before, President Trump's definition of "fake news" is simply that which he finds inconvenient or embarrassing or no longer useful to him. He's now completely walked back the idea of meeting Kim Jong Un.

John Bolton calls Tucker Carlson simpleminded, but frankly, I think Bolton's aswers are quite simplistic. Yes, I thnk the aftermath of the Iraq invasion of 2003 was inevitable. because yes, the US had the forces needed to defeat Saddam Hussein's army, but  the US didn't commit anywhere near enough troops to win the peace. The younger George Bush simply didn't have any way to counteract the civil war taking place between Sunnis and Shiites. Obama and Clinton were correct in 2008, the "Surge" was far fron the only factor that got Iraq to quiet down temporarily. It was not any error of Obama's that caused ISIS to explode in 2014.

"There is no audience for Boris Epshteyn's pro-Trump propaganda, so Sinclair forces it on people" This is what state-run propaganda TV looks like. Sinclair owns 190 local TV stations across the country. 

How relevants is Fox News? This poor woman tries really, really hard to talk about relevant, today, current news, but the Fox News guys are stuck in the past and talking about years-old stuff. It was meaningful and relevant to discuss any possible connection between Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright and any of President Obama's planned policies back in 2008, when Obama was running for office. No one has drawn any connection whatsoever between these two and anything Obama ever did after becoming president. The news on the connection of Obama and Louis Farrakhan is new, but again, the meaning and relevance of the connection is far from clear. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos "parachutes in" to the Parkland school, pretty much entirely to have her photo taken with the school as a backdrop. Didn't talk with anyone, didn't send any people in advance to work out any sort of agenda for discussion, just showed up unannounced. The students were less than impressed.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicates he's perfectly comfortable with not having done much of anything to stop Russian interference in the 2016 election. Doesn't appear the this November's mid-terms are much of a concern to him, either.

So how's the reaction to the tax cut that Republicans passed back in December? Meh. Voters are underwhelmed.

Fellow keeps saying "I'm a lifelong Democrat, but ..." Can we trust him on his identification with the Democratic Party? Nah.
Reminds me of a piece in Ms. Magazine that I read many years back where they talked about women who said "I'm a feminist, but..." Turned out that when you looked at their explanations for how they were once a feminist, it was never that they actually did anything to work for feminist causes, but that they just sorta, kinda, in a way, felt like they were feminists. The fellow here doesn't appear to have ever had any actual liberal viewpoints on any subject.

President claims that “Everybody wants to work in the White House.”  Yeah, this is what we call "wishful thinking." NPR said back in January that turnover or "churn" in Trump's White House during his first year was 34%. The next highest was Reagan's at 17%, followed by Clinton's at 11%, after which other recent presidents were in the single digits. I once worked in an office with high turnover. High turnover is a sign of a poorly-run office.

Michelle Obama meets an adorable little fan of hers.

The University of California in Berkeley has a clause in the contracts of all speakers, it's a “no boycott of Israel” clause that plainly violates free speech rules.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a great fuss and bother over how important free speech is. Problem: he's only taken up cases that involve right-wing causes. Question is then, does Sessions support free speech in general or does he support it only when he's supporting right-wing causes?

President Trump has complained several times that Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, protected Obama from all legal jeopardy, so AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III should do the same. Holder's response: "The difference between me and Jeff Sessions  is that I had a president I did not have to protect.”

So what is the Trump Administration doing to safeguard the upcoming mid-term elections? White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders puts out an extremely short, thin and unimpressive list. But the President wants credit for taking strong action to counter Russian efforts anyway.

See, here's a problem with electoral mandates. President Trump Did. Not. Run. on a cheaper and lousier and less effective health care plan for everyone. He ran on a better plan that would cover more people. The poll here was taken by Trump's own pollster and it shows that nobody has forgotten his campaign promise of a better plan and nobody is willing to settle for the plan he introduced a few months after taking office.

The younger George Bush Administration tried to promote "abstinence only" programs. It found that these programs were moderately useful for getting young people to delay sexual activity, but is completely useless for people who have already had sex. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released guidelines on reproductive health and how these guidelines should apply to Title X program. This is pretty much just a cover for attacking Planned Parenthood. 

Yes, "fake news" is a serious problem, but when authoritarians use it as a cover for anti-free speech policies, that's even more of a problem. We've seen with our own president in the way that he uses the term that it just refers to news he doesn't like or finds inconvenient.

Rachel Campos-Duffy of Fox News asks a truly moronic question at the 3:00 minute mark, suggesting that Ivanka Trump, a mother of three and who's run a fashion company, compares to Chelsea Clinton during her father's scandals, when Chelsea was still in high school. And yes, that idiotic comparison prevents us from hearing if Katrina Pierson can substantiate her wild charges of journalists calling for Barron Trump's death (An accusation I find utterly unbelievable).

Update: Campos-Duffy continues to defend Barron Trump. In this case, she mentions talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel's line: “[The Easter Egg Roll] was a fun day for the president. He got to eat chocolate. He even met a nice kid named Barron who he really liked.” Is this an insult of Barron? You have to really, really, seriously stretch the definition of "insulting" to arrive at such a conclusion.

Looks like the NRA has had its day and has pretty much shot its bolt now.

"The left 'attacks people trying to get to the truth,'" says Devin Nunes. Erm, okay, what great "truth" was being uncovered by Nunes and his memo that was released a few weeks ago? One of the big claims Nunes made in his memo concerned the FISA application to look into Carter Page. Nunes said that the FBI hid the fact of the dossier's partisan origins. No, the FBI did no such thing. 

China's President Xi makes himself dictator for life. Instead of condemning Xi, President Trump waxes enthusiastic about that.

Kentucky refuses to outlaw child marriage? Nah, I totally identify with the children here. I can't imagine being given away in marriage to some old woman when I'm not fully mature yet. Can't imagine doing that to some young girl, either.

President Obama played golf a little over 300 times in eight years, or about three out of every 30 days. President Trump marks 100th day on golf course and his presidency is only 408 days old! 

The two right-wingers here try really hard to convince us that the President isn't a racist. Problem is, they never define racism. They seem to be suggesting that if you're not wearing a hood and burning crosses on the lawns of black people, you're okay. So their statements of how they personally know Trump and of how the economy is doing well are completely beside the point.

NRA Spokesperson Dana Loesch gets comforted by Fox & Friends. Yep. It's just so awful that liberals won't sit down and discuss a bunch of stupid and unworkable ideas in a calm and civilized manner!

House Intelligence Committee Chairman says (words to the effect of): "Yeah, yeah, I leaked a senator's confidential text messages for blatantly political reasons, but hey, the real problem here is that the press reported my doing so." 

The White House is a tough, strenuous place to work under any president. It's really bad under this one and it's clear to people there that no one is clamoring for former employees of this particular White House.

"Orrin Hatch: Obamacare Supporters Are The 'Stupidest, Dumbass' People He's Ever Seen” Of course, the Senator doesn't go into any detail. I'd be curious to know, with tens of millions of people benefiting from it, just why the ACA/Obamacare was such a terrible bill. Problem is, the President didn't get elected by promising to end the ACA, but by promising to produce something even better.

I have great sympathy for the "unnamed Republican staffer [who] told the Weekly Standard" that “This is why you don’t do high-stakes, hot-button negotiation on live TV with someone who doesn’t know or care about details.”
Liberals should not count on the President sustaining anything he said at this meeting.

Regular consumers are starting to notice that the big, dramatic tax bill was passed in December, but they haven't been getting any discernible benefits from it.

Walmart joins Dick's Sporting Goods in restricting firearms sales. Yeah, in political votes, old people are essential. But as far as being consumers go, not so much. That's why we're seeing what someone yesterday called a "liberal corporatocracy."

Members of the Russian punk protest band "Pussy Riot" were detailed for a bit, but they've been returned.

February                      back to top

Da-yum! By now resigning, Hope Hicks will have been the sixth Communications Director! And the Trump Administration is only 13 months old! As a blogger said, the Communications Director in the Trump Administration is getting to be like the drummer in Spinal Tap (1984 movie). Further reactions

"Hope Hicks admits to telling 'white lies' to help Donald Trump” Not that Hicks is the slightest bit qualified to distingish between "white," harmless little lies and consequential, serious ones. Piece is an examination of how utterly and completely useless the House's "investigation" of the Trump Administration is. This was a pretty cool quote:

Hicks’s definition of her position as one that called on her to regularly lie would likely baffle Jen Psaki. If you don’t know Jen Psaki, she was communications director for the last two years of the Obama administration, during which time she made zero headlines by not telling lies of any shade. In fact the only controversy of her time in the White House was … nope, there was no controversy.

Ah! Good news! Jared Kushner has lost his security clearance after all! It was looking for a while as though White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was just a paper tiger who couldn't enforce his policies.

Amid protests that there's "no collusion" (a legally fuzzy and imprecise term) between himself and Russia, the President has not authorized the NSA to protect America's voting system from foreign interference.

"Fox News host Howard Kurtz: Trump deserves praise for driving the debate about guns” Ha, ha, ha! No, at best, Trump played a purely reactive role.
Here's one of the students, Emma GonzŠlez, who reacts to the President's suggestion that teachers be armed by saying that's a really bad idea. There are many better prioritis to spend money on. 

Generally, blacks armed themselves during the 12-year Reconstruction period, and "This did serve as some moderate protection while Reconstruction lasted. But when no-holds-barred confrontation broke out, blacks almost always lost horribly against wealthier and hence better-armed whites.” So no, personal firearms will not save us from tyranny.

Trump Organization claims to have donated the profits made in dealings with foreign governments, but won't realease any substantiating details

The GOP reveals that it has absolutely zero interest in investigating the President.

So how's the Trump Administration's response to the opioid problem going? Well, it seems to consist, first, last and only, of executing drug dealers. Kellyanne Conway claims that the President means to only execute high-volume dealers, but no one agrees that he's drawn that distinction.

President confronted by critical governor. President was obviously very unhappy with being confronted.

Trump’s quiet campaign to bring back preexisting conditions” Not that the Trump Administration has the slightest mandate for reversing anything concerning the ACA/Obamacare. Donald Trump didn't promise to do any such thing on the campaign trail. In fact, he promised to improve the ACA, He never, at any point, said he was going to go backwards on a program that Americans endorsed for two elections in a row. 

Just yesterday, CNN's Brian Stelter said President Trump was talking about "an example of Trump's fantasyland." 
Today, we have Trump (Who got deferments from the draft for Vietnam) saying he'd rush into a hail of bullets to save the kids of Parkland.

Like her brother Don Jr., Ivanka seriously needs a good PR person to discuss her public statements with prior to making them (Jr. really needs to run all of his social media posts through a good PR person). It's really hard to take her seriously as a "White House Senior Adviser" when she refuses to make a serious statement and instead cries (words to the effect of) "Waaah! You're being mean to my daddy!" CNN points out that this is why nepotism laws exist

While President Trump appears to be really anxious to start up a trade war with Iran, Europe has decided to pursue a policy that isolates the US in favor of increased trade with Iran.

Democrats finally get their memo that refutes the Nunes memo cleared. The President is very highly critical of the memo, but doesn't provide any substantiating details. Considering also that he was talking on the Jeanine Pirro show on Fox News, he has no excuse. A friendlier audience is hard to imagine.So it's impossible to take any of his criticisms the slightest bit seriously. President is asked if he objects to any single, specfic thing in the Democratic memo. He can't come up with anything

Even when Jon Stewart was giving Michael Steele all kinds of grief on the Daily Show, I've always liked Steele and respected him. Matt Schlapp tries desperately to cover for the racist comment that was made about Steele but Steele just ain't havin' it!

Hmm, the government of Bashar al-Assad versus al Qaeda-dominated guerrillas. Yeah, I support the civilians who are caught in the crossfire.

Yes, Eric Trump is very annoyed with Americans who oppose his father. Never mind the fact that his dad is the most divisive president this country has ever had, that he has never once made a serious attempt to bridge differences or to even understand the other side's point of view. Nah, those who oppose President Trump are all just a bunch of ignorant peasants and commoners who don't have any manners.

Republican strategist Sarah Drumpf is asked about guns. She says she and others of her side of the issue are more concerned about law enforcement people freezing and not charging into certain-death situations. But we've known about this sort of thing happening for well over a century. The difference in combat is that you have a large crowd of fellow soldiers that will push you to charge the enemy anyway.

So the First Lady adopted cyber-bullying as her personal cause. The Parkland teens are undergoing serious cyber-bullying. How does the FLOTUS react? Complete radio silence, of course.

President Trump makes a number of statements on guns. Let's look at one of them: ‚€œI will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks.‚€� Okay, first off, he has acted to weaken, not strengthen, background checks. Second, the problem with bakcground checks is not that they aren't comprehensive, it's that they don't cover nearly enough gun sales. So yeah, the statements are pretty unimpressive.  

Also, here's an interesting finding.
‚€œThe FBI conducted a study of 163 instances of mass shootings and found that only one was stopped by an armed individual versus 21 that were stopped by unarmed people.‚€�

Dana Loesch seriously wears out her welcome on CNN.

Yes, there is quite a bit of anger and division in America right now, but right-wingers are certainly part of the problem.

Interesting stats. If the suspect isn't firing back, the NYPD hit rate is 30% If he is firing back (highly likely) the hit rate drops to 18%.

If we do a proper cost-benefit calculation, I just don't see why civilians need to have anything as lethal as an AR-15 or why anyone needs more than 10 bullets in a magazine. Senator Rubio was asked about magazines that hold 30 to 50 bullets and he just couldn't come up with any justification that was more urgent or necessary than the harm it caused for mass shooters to have them. People want pistols for self-defense or rifles for hunting, fine. Neither one requires more than 10 bullets, neither requires the super-lethality of assault weapons.

The President suggested teachers should be armed. There are a whole host of reasons that's a terrible idea.

Srudents across the country conduct walkout to protest the excessove availability of guns.

Yikes! Sea ice reaches lowest level in 12,000 years. 

"Republican congresswoman blames mass shootings on Democrats"
I believe people have asked the question of how likely are mass shooters to be either Republicans or Democrats and the answer has been that they tend to be apolitical, giving their allegiance to neither party. As this piece points out, the shooter in Parkland was very definitely a strong supporter of President Trump.

Saudi Arabia‚€™s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman appears to have some pretty wild diplomatic ideas that appear to be much more fantasy than reality.

Seems to be a battle between the kids of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and the right wing unlimited-guns supporters.
Included: Dinesh D'Souza plumbs new moral depths.

The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to fire the United States as the mediator between Palestinians and Israel. President Trump apparently thought recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would speed up the peace process. But the move was made without consulting or sounding out either the Democratic Party, the Palestinians or any of the Arab or other states. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley made it absolutely crystal clear that that decision was set in stone and would never change.
It of course hardly helped that the US decided to cut more than $100 million in funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency that provides many critically needed services to Palestinians. Slamming a party that's merely being stubborn may be a good strategy, but slamming a party with a legitimate grievance can be seriously counterproductive.

Donald Trump Jr. "liked" a tweet that blamed the father of one of the Parkland students for not acting to prevent the shooting on February 14th. Problem with doing that? The details aren't at all clear. Junior is seriously jumping the gun here and assigning blame before anyone really knows the story.

Our voting system has been under attack from Russia, but has also been under attack since the younger George Bush Administration started raising fears of in-person voter fraud. Here's a bill that will safeguard our systen.

So after blowing the deficit sky-high with their tax bill in December, the Republican Speaker of the House is, of course, naturally, what did anyone expect?, blaming our social safety net for the deficit.

Important context for why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.

Had a conversation with an FB friend about whether the Green Party's Jill Stein was a "useful idiot" or a "witting asset." Given Stein's rather hysterical attempts to change the subject and to say "Look over there!," I'd have to put her into the "witting asset" category.

There are zero good reasons for the US to still be involved in Syria. The war against ISIS is over and Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate President of that country. I understand we support and like the Kurds, but they're safe in Iraq and can communicate with their fellow Kurds in Syria from there.

President puts out a series of tweets. I write that he is the most divisive president the US has ever had.

Yes, the Russian interference with the vote is serious, but the domestic scaremongering about voter fraud (it happens, but it occurs in about one case out of every 50 million legitimate votes) is also a very serious threat to democracy.

Powerful speech made by survivor of Parkland schol shooting.

As of mid-February, President Trump hasn't held a press conference for a year. I recall the big, ugly stink that people made when Hillary Clinton hadn't held a press conference for almost 260 days. Keep in mind, she was just a candidate at that point! 

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan puts out a statement

We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge. These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system.

Great statement. Really cool. I agree completely. Problem is, he talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. He fails to put hs money where his mouth is. A citizen asks:

Why have you allowed Nunes to try to obstruct the investigation at every turn, @SpeakerRyan? Why have you not spoken out about Trump's repeated false claims that the Russian interference is a hoax? Why did you laugh about Trump and Rohrbacher being in the pocket of the Russians?

And as the WaPo's Jennifer Rubin says: 

The president‚€™s failure to take action to protect the U.S. election system and prevent another assault on our democracy ‚€” a real and ongoing concern voiced by the unanimous testimony of his top intelligence officials ‚€” appears to be a gross dereliction of Trump‚€™s duties and an abrogation of his oath.

Mash-up video of Speaker Ryan arguing against "knee-jerk" reactions to shootings.

"House Republicans Gut Americans With Disabilities Act" Piece features clip of Rachel Maddow asking "Who the heck runs on the platform of 'I'm going to stick it to crippled people?' Who does that?"

Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law, has regularly read the PDB (Presidential Daily Brief) since the beginning of his father-in-law's term as president. This is the singlr most highly classified, regularly distributed dcument the government publishes. He has no permanent security clearance. Reasons for this are that he keeps having to update his financial disclosure form and may have serious conflicts of interest. Also, debt is the single greatest reason that people "turn" and become double agents and there are strong indications that Kushner is deeply in debt.

Representative Steve Scalise compares "gun-free zones" with places where guns are allowed. He alleges that we have fewer fatal shootings in the allowed places, but the blogger recounts the situation in the Colorado Walmart last October, where more guns made it much more difficult to locate who the killer was.

Getting legislation on immigration is essentially the Trump Administration's first real attempt at legislation as the health care and budget initiatives were largely Congressional ones. Essentially, the president's team came out of the gate and fell face-first in the mud. 
Y'know, it's amazing, but the legislative model of getting a really small group of like-minded people together, coming up with a plan the group agrees on and then trying to ram through that proposal without getting any buy-in from any other group just doesn't seem to be a very successful model.

Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner like to conduct diplomacy without any aides with them. Not a particularly smart move. "On at least one occasion, they [Kushner and Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the US] met alone, which counterintelligence officials considered risky. 'There‚€™s nobody else there in the room to verify what was said and what wasn‚€™t, so the Chinese can go back and claim anything.'‚€� Tillerson met with Turkey‚€™s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was wholly dependent on the Turkish translator.

"Paul Ryan says not yet time for political battles on guns"
Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. When the bodies are being tagged and bagged and the blood is still fresh, that's precisely the correct time to discuss solutions and real gun control. We wait until a "proper" cooling-off period is over, the subject never gets discussed. We've seen way too many shootings over the years to believe that Speaker Ryan will ever voluntarily discuss gun safety measures.

Senator Marco Rubio says:

‚€œI think it‚€™s important to know all of [the facts] before you jump to conclusions that there‚€™s some law we could have passed that could have prevented it,‚€� [Senator Rubio] said. ‚€œThere may be, but shouldn‚€™t we at least know the facts?"

I'm curious. What are these oh-so-important "facts" that Senator Rubio wants to know before any action can be taken on the free and open availability of guns that are more suited for the batlefield than for any conceivable civilian purpose.

"After Florida school shooting, Fox analyst says AR-15s can be stopped 'with a slingshot if you know how to use it'"

First off, Israel faces more of a straight military threat. But Israel has much stricter gun laws than the United States does. Also, "Israel relies on professional members of the military and police force for security, rather than 'good guys with guns' or even Civil Guard volunteers." 
Second, sure you can stop a person with a rifle if you know how to use a slingshot. If, of course, you happen to be carrying a slingshot in the first place! Kind of like saying the shooter in Las Vegas could have been stopped if there had been a professional sharpshooter with a high-powered rifle ready and on the scene.

Cryptocurencies are really cool. But you know who realy, really likes them? Criminals!

Three right-wing conservatives allege that Hollywood is "weaponizing" the #MeToo movement to attack the President.

So how does it work for Palestinians from Gaza to depend on Israel for access to medicine outside the strip?

Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after the Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits.
The Israeli authorities state that they can process priority permits in one day, although the typical waiting time averages two weeks, while "regular" cases require 23 days, and often fail to meet this timetable.

The USDA believes that sending SNAP recipients boxes of food items will cost less money than the current system of issuing checks and allowing people to buy their own food. That sounds highly unlikely to me and doesn't appear to take into account what groups like Hunger Free America are saying about the logistics of moving that much food to so many addresses. I also recall getting supplies in for my ship that was stationed in Italy. We had a shipment of non-perishable foods every few months from the US, but we'd supplement that with regular, smaller supplies of fresh fruits, vegetables and milk from local vendors. The USDA seems to think non-perishable foods are sufficient all by themselves. 
And remember, Puerto Rico only got a tiny fraction of the food that vendors were contracted to deliver ("50,000 of the 30 million meals contracted for"). The same people who bungled that would be in charge of this new initiative.

"Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances" because President Trump's first priority is that people be absolutely loyal. Secondarily, they should be able to do their assigned jobs. It's hard to get people who can do both, especially as Trump's White House is a absolutely horrible place to work.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones names a bunch of nitwits and idiots and then I realize he's talking about his heroes! Yeah, it's an interesting talk. He characterizes net neutrality as a tool favoring the globalists and other such nonsense.

Mass shooting takes place at the  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and takes 17 lives. And yep, the shooter wore a Trump hat
Some guy comments that the shooting occured in a "gun-free zone." Okay, what is the boundary like between a gun-free zone and a zone where guns are allowed? Oh, that's right, there isn't any! New York state has lots of strict gun laws, but Virginia doesn't. People just drive down to Virginia, purchase guns and ammo and drive back again. Only national borders can screen for guns. State and city and school borders can't do that.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's assertion that a job is the best social welfare would make sense if jobs paid more than a measly $7.25 an hour. If the minimum wage was at least $15, then a job might be sufficient to life people out of poverty. Nah, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) is right. Mulvaney's budget is immoral. 

The subject of this blog post is important, that our intelligence agancies were never asked to counter Russian interference in our electoral processes, but we also need some word-parsing here.
‚€œUnverified‚€� does not mean ‚€œdiscredited‚€� and ‚€œsalacious‚€� doesn‚€™t have anything to do with credibility.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., thought he'd trapped [FBI Director Christopher] Wray into admitting that the Steele dossier was discredited by asking if Wray agreed with James Comey's earlier statement that it was "salacious and unverified." Cotton seemed taken aback when Wray said that was "something we can discuss more in a closed setting," which naturally left the impression that there was something to discuss.

Permanantly occupying Northern Syria strkes me as a very poor idea. The rewards seem very slight  and, as in Angola in 1975, when the other guys escalate, the US doesn't have any mandate to do likewise.

Yeah, the line from the White House that (words to the effect of) "We just didn't realize how abusive Rob Porter was" was never credible. For a politician to say "Hey, I'm a big picture kind of guy. I wasn't following those fine-grained, nitty-gritty details of who did or didn't have security clearances and why," wouldn't be good, but it would be understandable. For a Chief of Staff to say that? Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. The whole point of having a Chief of Staff is precisely to track exactly those kinds of issues. If John Kelly didn't know several months ago, then he's incompetent and should be fired immediately.

Trump Administration wants to send SNAP recipients boxes of food rather than to simply cut them a check. It's far from clear that the plan would save the government any money as you'd need to purchase the food, move it to warehouses and then hire people to pack and ship the boxes. Also, dietary restrictions would make for lots of waste, as those with say, an allergy to peanut butter would find it easier to chuck the stuff rather than return it. I wrote an LTE to our local paper on the isse. 

Hmm, y'know it's funny, but no one seems to know what the President is talking about when he says his infrastructure plan "has received great reviews." Main problem, as was pointed out here, is that the plan depends on states and localities drawing upon great pots of money that don't actually exist.

It is nice that "Last year, Trump‚€™s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, dismissed his boss‚€™ budget promises as 'hyperbole.'‚€� But it would have been nicer had President Trump explicitly recognized "how difficult it is to balance the federal budget while also lowering taxes, preserving non-discretionary spending, increasing military spending, and cutting discretionary spending." He doesn't appear to have ever really grasped how to do all these things with the budget and still maintain a decent standard of living for regular citizens.

This is why people have concluded that Republicans just couldn't care less about administration figures beating their supposedly "loved ones." When you relegate wife-beating to a "woman's issue" or "soap opera news," you're indicating it's no big deal.

There's a very interesting statement here "Israel has to be very careful with the settlements." Sounds to me as though President Trump is saying to slow down the building of more settlements, which is of course precisely what Obama was saying. What Palestinians want on that issue is for all of the settlements to be removed as soon as possible. Unless the Trump Administration takes that demand seriously and agrees with that principle, Trump's statement of "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace" will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) gives us some straight talk about the Nunes memo versus the Democratic rebuttal memo. Yeah, gee. For some strange reason, the Demcratic memo isn't being as well recieved by the Trump Administration. 

A look at "radical centrists." Never had much use for those who proudly pronounce themselves to be centrists and this piece confirms that. 

Hmm. Kellyanne Conway is asked about the President's respect for women. I notice that Conway has to restrict her proofs to talking about the President's private, behind-the-scenes actions as she can't point to anything where he's publicly treated women as equal to the powerful white men who get accused. It's also rather interesting that White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has been romantically linked to not one, but two men in the Trump Administration who have been accused of violence against women.

Ooh! These are not good! An Israeli jet gets shot down by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces that are Russian and Iranian-supported. Also,  Kurds shoot down a Turkish helicopter. Turkey has been a US ally since NATO was formed back in the late 1940s, the US has been supporting the Kurds since 2003 and especially lately in actions against ISIS.

Fox News contributor Marie Harf really tries! She really does, but her co-hosts won't hear the far more sensible explanation on the FBI lawyer Lisa Page sent to FBI Agent Peter Strzo text message that she offers.

Iraq needs $100 billion to recover from the damage the US did to them with the 2003 invasion and an occupation that lasted until the end of 2011. Obviously the US could have afforded that had they not just blown $1.5 trillion on a tax break and are planning a $200 billion infrastructure bill.

The President puts out a tweet bemoaning the loss of due process for white, wealthy men accused of domestic abuse and assault. This twitter author reproduces the full-page ad encouraging the execution of the Central Park Five, five innocent men wrongly accused of a brutal rape that one Donald J. Trump put into the paper. More details on that case.

The second part to this blog post is infuriating as it relates to austerity/government spending and urgent, real-life priorities. The particular subject here is security clearances.

President says he can't release Democratic response to the Nunes memo without unspecified revisions. Democrats will work with Justice Department to find out what President's concerns are.

Aww, man! House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is so badass! Love it! She speaks, gets interrupted and grins "Touched a nerve there, I hear." Ha, ha, ha!

*Sigh* The President's briefers just can't win for losing. They realize they have to simplify the briefings so he gets them, but "at times, Trump has been dismissive of his briefers. He has shaken his head, frowned and complained that the briefers were 'talking down to him,' this person said."

For a person to say "I'm not fit to shine such-and-such a person's shoes. He exists on a plane far above us mere mortals," is fine. But he has no business saying that other people are on that same humble plane as he is. Steve Cortes has absolutely zero business saying that neither Joan Walsh nor Erin Burnet can criticize White House Chief of Staff Kelly. Kelly clearly failed in a big way and should be fired for it.

'Fraid to say I'm completely on the same page as Krugman here. I thought presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was making a lot of really wild claims during 1980 and concluded very quickly after he was president that this whole "fiscal hawk" stuff was a cover for being against Democrats spending money in ways that helped the non-wealthy.

Kind of interesting that Speaker Paul Ryan would wax poetic over a "bipartisan, bicameral super committee aimed at advancing real reforms to fix our broken budget process," because in the immediately preceding tweet, he put out five priorities, 1. Is okay, but not obviously needed, 2. Is very much needed, 3. Isn't particularly important. 4 & 5 are totally one-sided, partisan goals.

So Kellyanne Conway, a pollster, is running the Trump Administration's effort against opioids, essentially just replicating the work of the "Drug Czar," whose budget is being slashed for no apparent reason. Oh, and "Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani‚€™s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy," whose main achievement in life has been in the area of golfing, is one of Conway's major assistants.

How poorly has the White House handled the Rob Porter wife abuser scandal? Judging by Amanda Carpenter's reaction here, pretty poorly!

Rob Porter, who served until Wednesday as White House Staff Secretary, did not have a full security clearance, a fact that it's difficult to believe White House Chief of Staff Kelly wasn't aware of. It's equally hard to credit the idea that Kelly was unaware of the specific reason Porter didn't have a clearance, that is, the allegations made against him by two ex-wives.

Yep. back in the past, once upon a time, deficits were a big, important thing.

Wow. Our Attorney General's plan sounds about as useful as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program was (To be fair to the former FLOTUS, her program was designed for children and was never intended for adults).

This is pretty amazing and saddening. Our Secretary of State admits that Russia is hacking our elections software. When asked what we're doing about that, throws up his hands and says we can't do anything. He's given some stern warnings, but appears to know his warnings will have no effect. Piece has link to correspondent with plenty of things we can do.

Oh good grief! The wannabe dictator, our President, wants a parade

Aww, man-n-n-n! Shep Smith of Fox News is just having way too much fun with the President's idea of having a big military parade. 

Hmm, priorities, priorities. How to decide?

Estimated cost of Trump's military parade: $17.2 million 

Cost to provide housing for every homeless veteran in America (40,000): $24.7 million

Military Times ran a poll. 51,000 respondents answered. 89% oppose a military parade.

The President says: "We are not getting support of the Democrats.‚€� Well, it would kinda help if the Trump Administration could speak with any consistency on what it is they all want. As it is, it appears to just be a complete cluster****. How does the administration feel about DACA? About a government shutdowm? Depends on who you ask

Speaker Ryan says that the Nunes memo is all about the abuse of FISA, which I presumes means spying improperly on domestic opponents. Regardless of what one thinks of FISA, the memo provides zero evidence that the act been abused.

Representative Collins draws what we call a "distinction without a difference." Democrats "didn't applaud Trump" but Republicans were "not overreacting." 

With ISIS having been more or less eliminated in Syria a month or so ago, after having been eliminated in Iraq earlier, it's far from clear what the mission of US troops is in Syria now.

For the GOP to have released the Nunes memo, obviously for political gain, could have serious long-term consequences.

CDC is seriously short on funding. I guess the Trump Administration is just so nostalgic for the flu epidemic of 1918 and the ebola outbreak of 2014, they're figuring "Hey, let's have more of those!"

Eek! Dow is down 1,175 points! Hmm, Janet Yellen was just denied a second term as Federal Reserve Chairperson. And hey, as long as we're talking about the economy being down, "Top 5 Economic Disappointments of the Trump Regime (so far)."

Federally-funded health centers are not being funded at the moment and are under financial pressure. That has an impact on the abortion debate.

"Donald Trump Attacks Democrats Not Clapping At State Of The Union As 'Treasonous'." The President allows his authoritarian flag to fly. Funny how Republicans consistently sat on their hands during Obama's speeches, consistently showed a lack of enthusiasm, but the president at that time never described them as "treasonous" or of not loving America.

Why didn't the RNC pay for the President's trip to Cincinnati? After all, it was a highly political speech! There was barely a pretense of it being anything other than entirely political. Why did American taxpayers pay for it?

"House panel clears release of Democrats‚€™ rebuttal to GOP memo, forcing showdown with Trump."
Very cool! Kudos to the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee as the Democratic memo was unanimously cleared. Now we'll see if the President has the cojones to sign it.

Yeah, back during October, our President was very eager to take credit for the state of the stock market. Today? Ehhh, not so much. The market's gone down even further since the above piece came out. 

The Pentagon has a lot of problems joining the rest of the Trump Administration in denying climate change as many bases are imperiled by things like seawater rise and extreme weather.

Freedom is a popular thing everywhere! Iranian women speak out against the forced wearing of the hijab. They don't have a problem with themselves or anyone else wearing it voluntarily, of course.

Wow! This guy would get an award from an authoritarian leader! Faced with the crystal clear evidence that the current level of black unemployment has little or nothing to do with the current occupant of the Oval Office, this Trump adviser nevertheless soldiers on and says a bunch of stupid stuff.

Several days after the Nunes memo is released, AG Sessons weighs in. Very little and very late.

Donald Trump Jr. here continues to show just how narrow and constricted his social contacts and news sources are. "Trump Jr.: Nunes Memo Release Is 'A Little Bit Of Sweet Revenge'."

Good! A really seriously fringe extremist was rejected for an environmental post. "But Buchele says Hartnett White told him years before that 'she supported regulations, just not at the expense of growth and that industry is actually essential to a healthy environment.'"
Hmm. Yeah, when she claims to support regulations, but "not at the expense of growth," that doesn't sound as though she supports much regulation at all.

Uma Thurman comes out with allegations that track well with other allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.
Quentin Tarantino is not accused of any sexual improprieties but he apparently acted without any due regard for Thurman's safety when filming a scene.

"Young US Jews Write 700 Letters of Solidarity to Ahed Tamimi." The letters were to celebrate her 17th birthday.

President is absolutely convinced tha Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him. It of course does no such thing.

Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that $1.50 a week bump was a significant and worthwhile consequence of the big tax bill they passed in December. Mockery was so fierce, he quickly deleted the tweet. 

Carter Page was the main subject of the Nunes memo, the fellow that the surveillance and the FISA warrant was all about. Did the warrant rely on the Steele Dossier? Uh, no. Surveillance of Page began in 2013, many years prior to the dossier.

Passed on by an FB friend who lives in China. Living in China means he knows propaganda and he feels this ("China is building a laser 10 trillion times more intense than the Sun that could tear space apart." from Fox News, of course) is one of the most ridiculous propaganda pieces around. Keep in mind when you read this hysterical, overheated piece that a laser is simply light passed through a liquid, a crystal or a gas that then amplifies it in some way.

BTW, my friend feels the really serious and worthwhile news from China is that they've made huge progress in air quality. When he arrived in 2011, the coal smog was a really serious health hazard and they've done quite a bit to clean it up.

I lasted about a minute into Sean Hannity's "case" that FISA had been abused before I heard so many errors/misstatements I had to turn to something else. If you want to tune in, I recommend reading the real facts here on the Nunes memo first.

Update: Think Progress puts out a detailed fact check. Distressingly, his audience is four million, just about all of whom are probably pointing to his monologue and saying "See? Here are the real facts!"

The tax cut passed in December by the Republican Party is draining the coffers faster than expected.

Young Turks discuss the just-released Nunes memo. Huh! Didn't know Francesca Fiorentini was a member of that group. Cool that she is, though.

Some Republicans deeply impressed with the Nunes memo. Others, including Representative Trey Gowdy, who was about the only member of Congress that read all of the underlying, background material, were considerably less impressed.

The central claim of the Nunes memo is that the FISA process was abused. Problem is that neither Representatives Trey Gowdy nor Adam Schiff agreed with Nunes on that. Nunes is desperately trying to make his actions appear far more reasonable then they actually were. It was wildly irresponsible for Nunes to make the claims he did.

Wow! When Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has "no confidence" in the Nunes memo, that's saying something! More criticisms of the memo here, here and here.

"Trump clears way for release of the memo over objections of FBI, DOJ and Democrats."
Shortly after the Women's March, a friend asked another (words to the effect of) "Why? Why do people not Love Our Glorious Leader?" To which I'd answer that we know Fox News was at least as critical of Obama as the traditional mainstream press has been of Trump. There haven't been any financial or foreign policy disasters over the past year. Yet according to Gallup (They've been conducting daily approval polls of the president since Harry Truman) Obama never got below a 40% approval rating and Trump has been at 40% or below since June of last year. The answer, I believe, is illustrated in this piece, where the President acts as a tinpot, Third World dictator of a banana republic and demonstrates zero concern for the rule of law.

Update: President takes comfort from an obviously outlier of a poll that puts him at 49% approval.

So it only took a single phone call to persuade the President that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a good idea. It obviously never occurred to him to ask "Why have people been opposing drilling in ANWR all these years?"

Before it decided to release the Nunes memo, the House Intelligence Committee took partisan, party-line vote after vote. This was despite the fact that the White House was inceasingly concerned that the memo might be a dud. Speaker Ryan is asked about the memo and immediately change the subject to tax cuts

"The Fascist underpinnings of Trump’s State of the Union."
Our blogger reviews the SOTU and is considerably less than impressed. Piece includes Young Turks clip. 

Rachel Maddow did a piece on this last night (Jan 31). Three Russian spy chiefs arrive in Washington DC and we have to learn about it from Russian media. We never heard anything from the American government on this.

Eric Trump always just reminds me of the very limited and constricted social circles he spends time in. He speaks of liberals and Democrats as though they were alien creatures who lived on a far-off planet. He obviously doesn't know any personally. He says Democrats were terrible and unpatriotic and obviously didn't love America or Jesus because they didn't stand and cheer for his dad often enough.  

MSNBC's Chuck Todd is his usual unhelpful self here, drawing a false equivalence between Democrats and Republicans not standing and cheering for the other Presidents' SOTU. 

January                      back to top

"Trump Didn’t Bother to Say What Happened to the Birth Mother in His Police Adoption Anecdote."
We see in a photo the First Lady, the heroic and generous police officer and the officer's wife with the baby of the woman who had drug and legal problems. Where is that last person? Nowhere in the picture, not named and the President couldn't be bothered to explain how she was doing.

Hmm "Fitzgerald, who is 71, declined to explain to Politico why she purchased thousands of dollars of Big Tobacco stocks after assuming leadership of the CDC on July 7." Sounds to me like someone had some inside iformation

Wow! Just ... wow! About the Nunes Memo, the document that not all of the intelligence agencies have been able to review or who have just had a brief time to look at, this has to be the most wildly, incredibly irresponsible statement from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: "I'll let all the experts decide that when it's released. This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds." Main problem the piece identifies is that the Nunes Memo presents information without context or explanation. Naturally, of course, the GOP hasn't cleared the Democratic rebuttal memo for release.

Hmm, interesting. Representative Jason Chaffetz quits and now Reprentative Trey Gowdy announces his retrirement. Chaffetz was head of the Oversight Committe, just as Gowdy is now.

The President said a few good things in his first SOTU regarding national unity. We don't even need to look for examples outside this particular speech to see how hollow and empty those statements were. Problem is, his idea of "unity" seems to be the crowds at his own campaign rallies or of a Nuremberg rally in the 1930s, Nothing that an American would recognize as real unity.

Wow! Yeah, statements like “I don’t think anyone can argue it is probably one of the most successful first years in office,” and an assertion that the President “has some wind at his back,” are just stunningly out-of-touch! I'd say Trump's first year is a lot like the younger George Bush's last three years, he's disliked by pretty much everyone outside the hard-core right wing and can't get much through Congress.

How Rs & Ds feel about the other party's presidents during bad times is similar. Percentage of Republicans who said Clinton provided poor moral leadership in 1999 was 91%. Percentage of Democrats who say the same about Trump today is 96%. The real difference is between how they felt about their own respective presidents at the time. "After the Lewinsky scandal, 65% of Democrats disapproved of Bill Clinton’s morality. Today, just 16% of Republicans say Donald Trump doesn’t provide moral leadership."

In advance of the State of the Union (SOTU) Address, what's the real state of the union?

Slovenia is now the second country after Sweden to recognize Palestine as a state. Our FLOTUS is a Slovenian.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is trying really, really hard to convince people that Iran launched or provided some missiles that were aimed at targets in Saudi Arabia. As the piece here points out, it's far from clear which country manufactured the missiles. As a group examined the missiles earlier, they asked when the missiles were launched. If they were launched before the agreement with Iran was signed, then they're completely irrelevant. Those presenting the missiles had no idea when they were launched.

The Trump Administration wants to release the Nunes memo in the name of "transparency." The institutions named in the memo haven't been able to review it and so have opposed its release. This is hardly an administration that can credibly talk of transparency.

Very happy to see at least one member in the mainstream press admitting that he was guilty of drawing a false equivalence between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016. 
Also nice to see that Maureen Down, who played a "Mean Girl" to President Obama also now sees the light and that Obama was a good president. 

Really stupid piece on how nuclear wars can be won and that our hugely excessive number of nuclear weapons serves any purpose beyond fattening the wallets of arms contractors. 

Good thinkpiece on how our intelligence agencies and media and technology people can protect the 2018 midterm elections.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Of course former Press Secretart Sean Spicer regrets working for the Trump Administration! He totally surrendered any integrity he had. That's why no one will hire him and why Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't ever get hired either. That's the fate that waits for lots of Trump people and why no one is on deck to replace them.

Very disturing to see far-right supporters of the President calling for the deaths of political opponents.

Saturday Night Live's Will Farrell brought up a very good point. Yes, the younger George Bush was a better president than Donald Trump is, but only by comparison. Bush was an absolutely awful president.

Our President was asked about global warming. He doesn't appear to be any better informed on that than he is about much of anything else. No one knows where he got this: “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records.”

Here's the problem with living in glass houses and throwing stones. Many GOP members were eager to condemn Democrats in October as the sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein had been a generous donor to the Democratic Party. Democrats agreed and condemned him and returned his contributions. Now, the casino mogul Steve Wynn played a far more central role to the Republican Party and his scandalous behavior towards women is at least equally egregious. Unlike Weinstein, who was just a movie producer, Wynn was the Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. So Wynn is quite a bit more embarrassing to the Republican Party than Weinstein was to the Democrats. So the Republican silence and very unenlightening statements on Wynn are quite notable. 

Update: RNC's disposal of Wynn's money.

"Entire board of USA Gymnastics resigns after enabling Nassar abuse. USAG received early reports of Nassar's abuse, but dragged its feet to take any action."
Good! There wasn't enough sense of either shame or duty sufficient to have protected the gymnasts, but there was at least enough to see to it that enablers quit their posts.

"Donald Trump's mouth has cost U.S. 40,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in lost tourism." This was a concern back when President Trump's first attempted to put travel bans into place. This is one of the many reasons why the economy will decline during this administration.

Despite our President being stubbornly retrogressive, most of the world's businesses are seeing the light and are moving towards renewable energy.

Big gulf between the parties. A few months after Trump became the President, Democrats gave the "moral and ethical climate" of this country a 37, Republicans gave it a 22. Currently, Democrats rate it as 23 and Republicans as 31. Republican approval is now up to where it was in 2008, right before Obama became President.

Got a letter from Senator Toomey (R-PA) where he commented on President Obama and DACA: 

To the contrary, the Constitution requires the President to enforce the law. President Obama simply did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law. In fact, he said on numerous occasions before he created DACA that it would be unlawful and contrary to the Constitution for him to create such a program through executive action.

Problem is, Obama never agreed that he was breaking the law. "In contrast, he emphasized his authority to set priorities until Congress approved the DREAM Act, a measure that would formalize the legal status of this group of immigrants."

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has a very clear, simple, straightforward message for older male bosses who might be thinking of dating their younger female subordinates. "Don't." Your female subordinates have no romantic or sexual interest in you. If females want to chase you, they'll do so at cocktail parties or other social events, they won't use the workplace to catch your eye. 

Iraq is cleared of ISIS, so US forces have no one to fight any longer. Syria is split between US-backed Kurds, Turkey and the central government of Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran. US forces can keep backing the Kurds, as long as the fight doesn't get very big. This now resembles Angola in 1975. The US and South Africa had troops inside Angola prior to Angola's independence. Problem was, Cuba flooded Angola with troops and the US didn't have any sort of popular mandate with the American people to defend Angola with. Similarly, the US can maintain some support for the Kurds in Syria, but only until our opponents there get really serious. 

TPP has lots of flaws and problems, I and many other progressives agree. Problem is, when an administration can't come up with a meaningful alternative, their opinion just becomes "The world just moves on without us." 

Fox News commenter Sean Hannity delivers comedy gold. Sayng roughly "We've got a scandal!"
"Oops, uh, no we don't."
"Hey, check out this high-speed auto chase!" All within a half-hour. 

So what was Hannity so excitable about? Ptresident Trump demonstrated that the meaning of the term "fake news" is quite clear. It's news that makes the President look bad, news he doesn't like. The term says absolutely nothing whatsoever about how accurate the item really is. The news in this case was that he tried to fire Robert Mueller a few months ago. 

Good summary of all of the "Secret Society" nonsense.

The answers that Press Secretary Sanders gives to the latest mass shooting are a mess because even though the Trump Administration, Republican Senators and Representatives and conservative media commentators all shouted in unison in October that "It's too soon after horrific shootings to discuss practical, legislative answers to gun violence!" What they all really meant was "We have no intention of ever discussing practical, legislative answers to gun violence!"

"American democracy is failing. The courts are finally starting to notice."
Very encouraging signs, but after a "lost decade," lots and lots of work to do. We'll probably need a Constitutional Convention to set things right.

A Republican Senator makes a truly incredble claim.  The claim is that there is a "Secret Society" within the FBI. Even the Fox News announcer is leery of this claim.

Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) is amazed he even has to address this "secret society" nonsense.

"Lara Trump Says Women Are Too Stupid To Know Why They Are Marching."
Lara Trump asks "Why/ Why don't the people Love Our Glorious Leader (Donald Trump, her father-in-law)?!?!?! I wrote a blog post on that. 

"Schumer takes Trump's border-wall funding off the table."
So by pushing for everything the Trump Administration got nothing. They upped the ante so much, they blew the deal. Good for Minority Leader Schumer!

Sad to say, I completely agree with this

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Great Penis Hunt of 1998. This happens to be when modern American political journalism went into a very bad tailspin out of which it has not yet recovered.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. No, President Trump doesn't get a "mulligan" (golf term meaning "do-over") for cheating on his wife with a porn star. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Clinton was an evil, horrible, terrible person for cheating on his wife, then Trump is at least as much so. 

Yeah, I completely agree with Michael Steele. Evangelists have zero business talking about any sort of moral superiority on their part. 

Hmm, nope. Not buying it. I don't agree with Evamgalists see that Donald Trump has changed in any significant way.

The Republican Party thought the achievements of Obama would be easily swept away. Obama's achievements have been amazingly durable.

This sounds pretty reasonable as a missio for US forces in Syria:  "Green said the civilian mission was not to rebuild but to help civilians return home by clearing roadside bombs, and restoring water and electricity." But I'm very wary about this: "US forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia."
This sounds to me like the compromised, half-in, half-out strategy that the US was using in Vietnam and has tried without much success in various places since then.

The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) is perhaps the most highly classified regularly-distributed document that the government has. Jared Kushner gets a copy every day. Kushner does not have a top-secret security clearance! Fun fact: Obama had a total of seven officials cleared to see his PDBs at the end of eight years in office. Trump already has 14 people on that distribution list!

Glenn Greenwald's done a lot of good investigative work, but I agree with Southpaw, I care very deeply about foreign powers mucking around in our elections.

Seems to me that Nixon tried the "Madman Theory" of foreign relations and the American public was much more frightened by it than our adversaries were. So if this "Poll: Almost half of voters question Trump's mental stability" is some deliberate plot by our President, it isn't working.

Hmm. So Ivanka Trump is in the process of "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," by trying to get White House Chieff of Staff John Kelly fired. I'm hard-pressed to get too excitable about this. Yes, it would be this White House's third Chief of Staff in a little bit over a year, but Kelly's hasn't exactly been doing a good job. The President's tweets and announcements are as undisciplined as ever and Kelly has revealed some seriously archaic beliefs. So I'm like "Ehh."

In the now-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission, we now have documents saying they were trying to tag all voters with Hispanic surnames, at least for Texas and fortunately, those records were never turned over!

VP Mike Pence encourages Palestinians to return to the peace talks with Israel. But according to the Palestinians, that isn't going to happen. "Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Pence’s speech on Monday 'has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.'”
Pence also said discouraging things about peace with Iran.

Lots of arguments against and a link to a Vox piece arguing for the Democratic strategy on shutdown ending today. Dunno, I think Democrats came out ahead today. 

"WH releases photos of Trump working through shutdown." Yeah, if I were the PR guy here, I would not have approved this photo. We know that the President is anxious to get to Mar-a-Lago and then Davos so he can hobnob with his wealthy buddies. So a picture of him wearing a hat and jacket without a tie  tells us that he's just wrapping up a few quick details before hopping onto the helicopter and getting out of town. The photo does not give the impression of "I'm working hard for the American people!" As an FB buddy pointed out: "empty desk: no computer, no folders filled with background material. A completely staged picture that shows he does nothing."

This is especially worrying about the shutdown. Foreigners are watching how the Trump Administration negotiates and they have no reason to feel confident that any agreement they reach will be honored.

Also, it doesn't sound as though the Republican Party is in any hurry to end the shutdown."[Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer: White House Hasn't Called Me To Negotiate Gov't Shutdown."

Poor Senator Flake got hit from the left and the right for his comment that President Trump's language dangerously resembles that of Josef Stalin. Lefties were unimpressed because Flake isn't following up his rhetoric with actions like voting with Democrats. Right-wingers like Howard Kurtz have to be really obtuse and needs to pretend to be ignorant in order to criticize Flake.

Women's March in Philadelphia. I'd say we had about 1/5th fewer people this year. We could move around more freely. Not quite as jammed up. 

Update: Sunday shows barely mentioned the march.

Oh, and while the President is sad that he's missing his inauguration anniversary party due to the government shutdown, things aren't going all that well overseas. "Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash."

The amusing thing about Hannity's rant here is: Since when is it the responsibility of prosecutors and investigators to be objective?!?!?! Jury members, at the beginning of a trial, should be objective. Judges should be objective from the beginning to the end. No one else in the judicial process has any objectivity requirement. Also, people can separate their own personal feelings from the facts of the case.

"Yeesh! Why are the libs so critical of Our Glorious Leader for playing golf so much?"
Well, here ya go! Because our President has spent so much time on the links and not enough in the office, "Of the roughly 130 federal office and agencies that have to have shutdown contingency plans, 66 of them haven’t been updated since 2015."

What's the situation that led to the shutdown

It's been 112 days since CHIP expired, 112 days since the fiscal year ended without a budget, and 137 days since Trump revoked DACA. The #TrumpShutdown could have been avoided if Republicans simply did their job last fall instead of waiting until the last minute.

And the "Trump Shutdown" commences. Heh! "Trump Shutdown" trending worldwide on Twitter. Got a few people on Facebook trying to tag is as "Schumer Shutdown." Sorry guys! No one is blaming Democrats!

Excellent piece by an anti-choicer. Yes, I do see her movement as one that "only cares about an unborn child until he or she exits the womb," and the author is right that having the very highly divisive President Trump as a speaker does absolutely nothing to convince people that the movement cares about women as opposed to just their babies.

*Sigh* Yeah, looks like we'll have a shutdown. Caught someone on TV saying "Democrats are simply not going to put up with policy being made by Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton."

Republicans threatened on the 19th, to release what later became known as the "Nunes memo." Some guy on the Fox News Sean Hannity show said it would release a “tsunami of information” exposing “Obama/ Clinton/ Deep State scandals.” My reaction was

Oh, Hell YES! Release it all! Release it all NOW! Wonder why we haven't heard anything more about the recently reopened Uranium One "scandal?" That's because it was a nothingburger. My very strong suspicion is that we'll see the same here.

Update (Feb 2): Yep, the memo was a complete bust. Absolutely chock-full of lies and information that didn't prove anything. Many Republicans disagreed that it said anything meaningful.

"Trump delays latest golf trip to Florida—at least until tomorrow—as Republican shutdown looms."
In response to one of my posts lately, I got lots and lots of comments! One of the commenters wondered why "libs make fun of Trump for his golfing." My answer was 

No, we don't make fun of him. We regard his grossly excessive golfing as Dereliction of Duty. There are many issues he hasn't taken the time to understand. There are many government positions where there is no nominee. He's blowing off tasks that need doing.

Colleen Rowley and the Veterans for Peace put out a meme stating that the US has refused offers from North Korea for peace. US News and World Report confirmed that in September. On the face of it, the North Korean proposal, a "Freeze for a Freeze" sounds pretty reasonable. Cancel military exercises where the US and South Korea pretend to invade the North in return for North Korea standing down its nuclear program. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said: "When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an [intercontinental ballistic missile] pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard." 
"Lower [our] guard"?!?!?! That seems a pretty hysterical, overheated way of regarding the question. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was looking at "aggressive measures, both diplomatically [and] economically. As we've said, all options are on the table." If canceling provocative military exercises are out of the question, it's difficult to imagine what options are on the table!

Rachel Maddow reveals through a report on Fusion GPS just how the Russians have moved money to Donald Trump and subordinates. Essentially, they just overpay for properties.

Rather, erm, eh, interesting view of civil rights here! The Trump Administration believes it's a "civil right" for bigots to not have to provide medical services to people they feel are morally unworthy. Yes, this is a very, very dangerous principle to put into law.

Hee, hee, hee! Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tries to use the VIP gate at the airport so he can fly back home. Airport people say "Nope!" He's gotta use the regular person's gate. Story features photo of him looking really cross.

This is extremely bad. The majority of the board that advised the Interior Department resigned because, after about a year on the job, they were simply being ignored. Secretary Ryan Zinke just didn't care to consult them at all. This is no way to run a government.

The "Stormy Daniels" is titillating, but the financial aspect is important. A very big and important question is where the pay-off money came from. What account, from whose pocket was it taken? Doesn't sound like an isolated event, either.

"House Spending Bill Changes Law To Let Trump Administration Secretly Shift Intelligence Money."
Oh, good grief! There's so little oversight as it is! These guys feel that they need even less oversight?!?!?!

So the President finally put out his "Fake News" awards. First one is kind of a puzzle. A prediction from an economist that the stock market would "never recover" from Trump's election victory. I have a really hard time classifying an incorrect prediction as any sort of "fake" or "false" or "dishonest" news. I don't think that really fits the definition. There's no dishonesty in being wrong. The "awards" that follow are similarly underwhelming.

Update: Not surprisingly, the President's "Fake News Awards" suffered from a severe lack of work, time, effort, truth and relevance. They were a "healhearted flop." 

Early in President Obama's term, he got the P5+1 powers to impose sanction on Iran. Iran finally said "Uncle!" and sat down to a serious negotiation which lead to the nuclear deal. Is President Trump's approach to DACA similar? Yeah, a bit. He blew up DACA and then waited for Democrats to offer concession on it. The problem? As Senate Majority Leader McConnell says: "I am looking for something that President Trump supports..."  In other words, if the President had any sort of coherent plan to follow up his taking apart DACA with, he might have made something other than a mess.

Very bad staffing news. The Trump Administration has no one waiting to fill positions after the current people get burned out and quit. For people to burn out while working for the president is very common and goes back several decades, but the lack of people to replace them is a new problem. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent several years trying to carefully balance the interests of all of the stakeholders in the predatory "payday lending" industry. Under direct control from the Trump Administration, the CFPB has said words to the effect of: "Ah, screw that! Screw the consumer! It's the lenders and only the lenders that are important!"

The US is trying to create a 30,000 strong police force in Northern Syria. From Ankara,Turkey to Moscow, Russia, this is a highly unpopular move .

Problem with being a bigly unpopular US president who has a lot of foreign properties is that Trump's finances are taking a major clobbering!

Absolutely unacceptable! As of Day 113 of after Hurricane Maria, over 1.3 million in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. As Vox points out, Puerto Rico's power grid was in very poor shape before the hurricane, making recovery doubly difficult. 

Bristol Palin (Daughter of Sarah) makes a comment: "If Donald Trump were still just a regular old billionaire and threw a party at Trump Tower in New York City, celebrties would be lined up out the door." Dinesh D'Souza quotes her and responds: "Bristol Palin seems so much smarter than her horse-faced counterpart Chelsea Clinton."
It's difficult to see how Palin's statement qualifies as more than an elementary school-level comment. It's even less apparent that D'Souza is any sort of intellectual. 

Update: D'Souza makes an entirely accurate comment about Democrats and racism and the Southern "one-drop rule" versus the Nazi rule of who constituted a Jew. Of course, in emphasizing that he's referring to Democrats, he's ignoring that Democrats and Republicans, between the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, essentially switched places between being the parties of racism and equality. 

So apparently, the problem with that fellow in the White House is that he's a vague and confused old man, uninterested in policy details and very easily manipulated by his subordinates. The really serious problem beyond that is that the hard-liners of the Freedom Caucus aren't the slightest bit interested in any deal that the rest of the country can support.

So first President Trump declares that the US Government will do something about opoids. It takes about 11 weeks to then produce a very underwhelming policy document. Then a wildly-under-qualified 24-year old person gets assigned to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Yep, situation normal, all effed up. Further details.

The move to open up the coast to oil drilling looking like a serious blunder.

See, here's the problem with President Trump's "fake news awards." We know for a fact, the Wall Street Journal had recordings, that he was quoted accurately, but he attacked them as "fake news" anyway. To the President "fake news" is simply news that he doesn't like

So when economic protests broke our in Iran, President Trump attempted to put himself and the US on the side of ordinary Iranians and against the Mullahs. How'd that work out? Ehh, not well. Problem is, Iranians are not the slightest bit convinced that the US is really on their side or cares the slightest bit about their concerns. 

Thoughts on President Trump and racism.

"Stormy Daniels" is the porn performer who slept with the President back in 2006 and got paid $130,000 to keep hushed up about it. Interesting thread about the financial/criminal implications of that.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the head of the recently-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission. He created a lot of questions with his suggestion that the disbanding was purely for the purpose of frustrating Democratic attempts to force the Commission to be somewhat accountable. The Commission requested voter data from all 50 states. Some complied, some didn't and many did so partially. Kobach has now been forbidden to use that data under any circumstances.

Very interesting! The President sees the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 as the template for all migration from non-wealthy countries to the US. Of course, for Cuba to dump its population of criminals and people with mental problems onto Florida was a highly unusual one-off.
Of course, President Trump's disparaging the people of Haiti and praise for the people of Norway is a gift to US competitors and enemies.

"Trump administration offshore drilling move reeks of illegal political favoritism"
In light of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's statement that "Florida is obviously unique" as far as offshore drilling is concerned, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) says: 

His decision reeks of improper political favoritism. It’s also illegal. By treating Florida differently than other similarly situated states, Zinke’s planned program will likely be struck down by the courts and demonstrates that his decision-making is an abuse of discretion, and is arbitrary and capricious. There is no legal standard that would appear to allow his decision to stand.

Excellent commentary from MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Republican, on the Presidet's "shuthole" comment. President Trump's words aren't just anti-liberal, they're anti-American!

And yeah, I agree with whoever this other person was:

More from today’s “sh*thole” mtg: Trump said, “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” according to our sources. Someone else in room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why."

"Walmart quietly lays off thousands of workers after bonus announcement" Um, isn't that the exact opposute of what Republicans said would happen after they rammed their tax plan through Congress? Can we blame Walmart for its action? Eh, ya bring a picnic lunch out into the woods, realize you forgot napkins, go back to the car, return and some bear is eating your lunch. Is it the bear's fault or is the bear just being a bear? The real problem is that the Republican Party is alleged to have thought that tax cuts would cause companies to keep people employed.

Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway and CNN's Chris Cuomo demonstrate fundamentally different approaches to combatting bad speech. Conway and her boss President Trump want to "look at the libel laws." Cuomo argues for the compettion of ideas, for American ideals to be carried out in real time. 

Also, Kellyanne Conway says that the declaration that the US will move their Israel Embassy to Jerusalem was an "accomplishment." It was a unilateral move made without any coordination with Middle East countries or with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party just said "Oh, okay." and went back to sleep. Most of the world voted against us in reaction. Hard to see how this counts as an accomplishment.

Two people message each other and one of them expresses concern that Trump might win the 2016 election. President Trump considers his comment to be "treason."

Problem with being a bigly unpopular US president who has a lot of foreign properties is that Trump's finances are taking a major clobbering!

Absolutely unacceptable! As of Day 113 of after Hurricane Maria, over 1.3 million in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. As Vox points out, Puerto Rico's power grid was in very poor shape before the hurricane, making recovery doubly difficult. 

Bristol Palin (Daughter of Sarah) makes a comment: "If Donald Trump were still just a regular old billionaire and threw a party at Trump Tower in New York City, celebrties would be lined up out the door." Dinesh D'Souza quotes her and responds: "Bristol Palin seems so much smarter than her horse-faced counterpart Chelsea Clinton."
It's difficult to see how Palin's statement qualifies as more than an elementary school-level comment. It's even less apparent that D'Souza is any sort of intellectual. 

Update: D'Souza makes an entirely accurate comment about Democrats and racism and the Southern "one-drop rule" versus the Nazi rule of who constituted a Jew. Of course, in emphasizing that he's referring to Democrats, he's ignoring that Democrats and Republicans, between the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, essentially switched places between being the parties of racism and equality. 

So apparently, the problem with that fellow in the White House is that he's a vague and confused old man, uninterested in policy details and very easily manipulated by his subordinates. The really serious problem beyond that is that the hard-liners of the Freedom Caucus aren't the slightest bit interested in any deal that the rest of the country can support.

So first President Trump declares that the US Government will do something about opoids. It takes about 11 weeks to then produce a very underwhelming policy document. Then a wildly-under-qualified 24-year old person gets assigned to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Yep, situation normal, all effed up. Further details.

The move to open up the coast to oil drilling looking like a serious blunder.

See, here's the problem with President Trump's "fake news awards." We know for a fact, the Wall Street Journal had recordings, that he was quoted accurately, but he attacked them as "fake news" anyway. To the President "fake news" is simply news that he doesn't like

So when economic protests broke our in Iran, President Trump attempted to put himself and the US on the side of ordinary Iranians and against the Mullahs. How'd that work out? Ehh, not well. Problem is, Iranians are not the slightest bit convinced that the US is really on their side or cares the slightest bit about their concerns. 

Thoughts on President Trump and racism.

"Stormy Daniels" is the porn performer who slept with the President back in 2006 and got paid $130,000 to keep hushed up about it. Interesting thread about the financial/criminal implications of that.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the head of the recently-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission. He created a lot of questions with his suggestion that the disbanding was purely for the purpose of frustrating Democratic attempts to force the Commission to be somewhat accountable. The Commission requested voter data from all 50 states. Some complied, some didn't and many did so partially. Kobach has now been forbidden to use that data under any circumstances.

Very interesting! The President sees the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 as the template for all migration from non-wealthy countries to the US. Of course, for Cuba to dump its population of criminals and people with mental problems onto Florida was a highly unusual one-off.
Of course, President Trump's disparaging the people of Haiti and praise for the people of Norway is a gift to US competitors and enemies.

"Trump administration offshore drilling move reeks of illegal political favoritism"
In light of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's statement that "Florida is obviously unique" as far as offshore drilling is concerned, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) says: 

His decision reeks of improper political favoritism. It’s also illegal. By treating Florida differently than other similarly situated states, Zinke’s planned program will likely be struck down by the courts and demonstrates that his decision-making is an abuse of discretion, and is arbitrary and capricious. There is no legal standard that would appear to allow his decision to stand.

Excellent commentary from MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Republican, on the Presidet's "shuthole" comment. President Trump's words aren't just anti-liberal, they're anti-American!

And yeah, I agree with whoever this other person was:

More from today’s “sh*thole” mtg: Trump said, “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” according to our sources. Someone else in room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why."

"Walmart quietly lays off thousands of workers after bonus announcement" Um, isn't that the exact opposute of what Republicans said would happen after they rammed their tax plan through Congress? Can we blame Walmart for its action? Eh, ya bring a picnic lunch out into the woods, realize you forgot napkins, go back to the car, return and some bear is eating your lunch. Is it the bear's fault or is the bear just being a bear? The real problem is that the Republican Party is alleged to have thought that tax cuts would cause companies to keep people employed.

Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway and CNN's Chris Cuomo demonstrate fundamentally different approaches to combatting bad speech. Conway and her boss President Trump want to "look at the libel laws." Cuomo argues for the compettion of ideas, for American ideals to be carried out in real time. 

Also, Kellyanne Conway says that the declaration that the US will move their Israel Embassy to Jerusalem was an "accomplishment." It was a unilateral move made without any coordination with Middle East countries or with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party just said "Oh, okay." and went back to sleep. Most of the world voted against us in reaction. Hard to see how this counts as an accomplishment.

Two people message each other and one of them expresses concern that Trump might win the 2016 election. President Trump considers his comment to be "treason."

"after congressional lawmakers proposed reinstating protections for immigrants from" nations with largely non-white populations, the President asked: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

The President's staff felt this comment might help with Trump's base voters, so hey, no biggie!

So Sarah Huckabee Sanders "gaslights" a journalist (The bad guy turns down the lights and then says "What? No, it's not getting dark in here. You're imagining things again.") by telling the journalist that two completely contradictory tweets are in fact, perfectly consistent with each other.

If Ronald Reagan was the king of "magical thinking," then Oprah Winfrey was its queen. Yes, that means President Trump is very much a product of the landscape that Winfrey played a role in creating.

Hmm. Did candidate Donald Trump's apparent opposition to foreign adventurism ("America First") combined with Clinton's apparent willingness to continue with them contribute to her defeat in 2016?

President Trump lets his authoritarian flag fly, making it clear that, although he's not a dictator, he sure does want to be. Very disturbingly, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), gave a response that no one in such a position should ever give, suggesting he was eager to comply with the President's demand.

The NY Times betrays a pro-Trump bias by waits several paragraphs to deliver this line: "He did not lapse into incoherence but neither did he demonstrate mastery of policy details after a year in office." Think they call that "grading on a generous curve."

Representative John Lewis (D-GA) sponsored a bill to upgrade the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Happy to say the bill was signed into law. Does this prove that President Trump is not a racist? It's tempting to read too much into the signing, but I'd say Dr. King is a pretty safe, non-controversial, historical figure by this point.

There's an object about 3 billion light-years away (Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light-years across) that's throwing off magnetic bursts that last from 30 microseconds to 9 milliseconds. Each burst throws out as much power as our sun puts out in a day. If this object were in our galazy, we would definitely have known about it a long time ago. 

What a completely insane idea! "U.S. officials are mulling the possibility of launching a military strike against North Korean targets without provoking war on the Korean Peninsula." I hav absolutely zero confidence that such a strategy could ever work under any circumstances.

Working for the White House is a really tough, exhausting job under any president. Word that this particular WH is an absolutely horrible workplace along with this president being incapable of doing the job makes staffing an extremely serious problem.

President Trump tries to prove the Wolff Book "Fire & Fury" wrong by conducting an open meeting/debate on immigration. Politically, for him, the results were disastrous. It reminds me of Democrats trying to deal with Speaker of the House John Boehner in 2011. He was perfectly willing to make deals. He just couldn't deliver the votes of the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus people. It was a complete waste of time to talk with him. Same here. It's a complete waste of time to talk with the President because he can't deliver on his own vote as he can't seem to remember what his vote was ten minutes after he's cast it.

Heh! The very right-wing Ann Coulter gives us a very accurate assesssment of the meeting. 

By contrast, the moderate CNN panel is ridiculously over-impressed with what was clearly a doddering, vague president who didn't understand what was going on around him.

Good! Democrats have been calling for the release of the Fusion GPS interview, which Republicans have refused to do. Senator Feinstein did so over their objections and hey, whattaya know? There appear to be claims that the GOP has made that are inconsistent with the transcript! 

The following statement from Senator Grassley's office would have more impact if Fusian GPS hadn't requested that the transcript be released.

A Grassley spokesperson, in a statement, called Feinstein’s release of the transcript “confounding” and said her action “undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.”

Oh, Good Lord! This is completely insane! Absolute fascism! The Louisiana schoolteacher here asks a very good and very legitimate question and got manhandled and cuffed and dragged out of the building for it.

Whew! Good!!!

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to raise consumer energy bills in order to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants — a major blow to the Trump administration’s effort to slow the growth of solar and wind power.

Ohio wants to purge voters from the rolls who haven't voted recently. Hard to see what legitimate purpose this would serve. My understanding of registering to vote is that after you've registered, you're on the rolls until some life change happens, like dying, being imprisoned or moving to another town/state/country.

Ivanka Trump gives Oprah's speech a "You go, girl!" endosement. Eh, if she gets criticized from the right wing, she'll retreat right off. 

Turns out that, in the Wolff Book "Fire & Fury," Steve Bannon attacked Don Jr. and Ivanka Trump. I agree that when Rush Limbaugh attacked the 13-year old Chelsea Clinton over the issue of her looks, that was disgusting. When Bannon criticizes Don Jr. and Ivanka, who are both in their 30s? Ehh, I don't blame our President for reacting strongly, a dad defending his kids is perfectly understandable. But I have a much harder time getting protective of grown-up White House children who both have children of their own.

In response to the report that President Trump shows up for work around 11:00am these days.

For comparison, George W. Bush was usually in the Oval by 7am. Obama had a morning workout routine, but he was in there by 8:30-9am according to reports. Both worked until 6pm or so. Obama often came back late at night. You know, it's a pretty demanding job. For most people.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is mightily impressed that Donald Trump prevailed against 17 fellow Republicans. To me, the fact that Trump ran against 17 Republicans and won doesn't tell me he's smart and talented. It tells me about the degraded and deplorable state of the Republican Party. The fact that he won against Clinton tells me about the headwinds that Clinton was battling, from media bias to foreign interference to a last-minute FBI intervention. And no, I'm still not convinced that there needs to be an investigation of the Steele dossier.

Wow! Having finally gotten around to watching the whole Stephen Miller trainwreck of an interview with Jake Tapper, I can easily see Stephen speaking at a basement meeting of fellow Brownshirts and waxing poetic about "Our Glorious Fuhrer."

Senate bill to reverse Trump Administration Net Neutrality decision gains 30th co-sponsor.

I was under the impression that the proposed move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had blown any deal between Israel and the Palestinians to bits, but the news that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has extensive financial ties to Israeli banks and financial institutions should make any deal out of the question. 

So how's the big infrastructure plan going? Any ideas on how to both cut $1.5 trillion out of the budget in tax breaks for the wealthy and pony up $200 billion for infrastructure? Nah, of course not. 

Oprah Winfrey gives a really good speech at the Goden Globes Awards.

In response to the President's "Fake News Awards" being postponed

Translation: I'm incapable of managing even made-up imaginary bullshit that I designed entirely to make myself feel better. Even THAT was too much work for me. This is like a child delaying the opening of a fucking pretend tea party.

Schooling under President Trump. Classrooms in Baltimore are at 40 degrees. Not that he's to blame specifically, the problem goes back to "white flight," but I'll betcha he doesn't find time to address the problem in his twitter rants this morning or any other morning.

AT&T and Comcast not only got a big tax cut, they got the end of Net Neutrality. How have they rewarded the American people for the generosity of the Republican Party? "Companies that announced big bonuses after GOP tax cut are now laying off their workers"

Gotta love the headline here!
"Trump Insists He's A 'Very Stable Genius' In Unhinged Twitter Rant"
Um..."the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence....."
Yeah, erm, Reagan had Alzheimer's and we saw signs of that in response to Iran-Contra.

Kinda depressing that the "War on Pot" seems to be about the only thing Rs & Ds agree on these days, but yes, the news on that is good. Neithe party has any use for Attorney General Sessions' "War." 

No, I disagree with the Fox News "comedian" Greg Gutfeld. I don't think the Wolff "Fire & Fury" book humanizes President Trump, that any amateur would produce the same horrific results that he has. Trump's style is to tear people apart and to divide them and to have everybody at each other's throats. He's not just "everybody's uncle."

President demonstrates his confidence that the Wolff book is "Fake News" by runnning away from reporters who try to ask questions about it.

It's good to see the phrase "open secret" redefined as "Well, why didn't you do anything about it?" As the Hollywood Reporter observes "they all—100 percent—came to believe [President Trump] was incapable of functioning in his job." So the real and important question the book raises is "Why has the Republican Party failed to act?"

The Obama Administration started easing marijuana regulations back in 2013. If having pot legalized was causing any problems, there has been plenty of time for anti-pot partisans to gather those facts and the current AG has had a year to present them. Attorney General Sessions clearly doesn't have any such facts, else he'd have presented them. Public opinion agrees with the last President, so it's pretty obvious that Sessions is reversing the last administration's pot policy purely and entirely due to his own personal belief.

Heh! Those who supported the Confederacy both during and after its existence used "State's Rights" as a major justification, so it's sweetly delicious to see pro-pot Republican senators use state's rights against AG Sessions here.

How did marijuana become illegal in the first place? An explainer.

*Sigh* Again with that marvelous, subtle diplomacy. The US gives Israel $3 billion a year in aid. Palestinians get $400 million. President Trump is threatening to withhold the aid to the Palestinians unless they start negotiating with Israel. Uh yeah, Sure. that's going to work! [/snark]

Further commentatry on "Fire & Fury."

Wolff book on how top aides regard Trump: “For Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, he was an ‘idiot.’ For Gary Cohn, he was ‘dumb as shit.’ For H.R. McMaster he was a ‘dope.’ The list went on.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says: “The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea.” Well, we are. but that doesn't mean we're prepared to overlook our President's mental health and fitness for office! 

Excellent! A more ridiculous waste of time, money and resources was hard to imagine. The commission accomplished nothing except to drive home the point that in-person voter fraud (the kind that could be battled with people having ID cards) was a non-problem.

One thing struck me in this piece (Excerpt of "Fire & Fury" by Michael Wolff). Rupert Murdoch had sagely warned that Trump's opportunity to make a real impression was going to be very short-lived. He had to make an impact within the first 100 days. Problem was, no one on the Trump team thought they were going to win the presidency, so no one had prepared any sort of agenda. Steve Bannon wanted to undertake a "shock and awe" approach, but his re-design of the immigration system called for the involvement of so few people and such limited advice and buy-in that it was a complete cluster-&%$@. Instead of "crushing the liberals," it energized us far more than it depressed us.

Yeah, mission accomplished. No questions about money laundering or Fusion GPS. But yeah, I very strongly disagree that Obama just sat around, refusing to deal with either North Korea or Iran. In both cases, he took the best approach that would yield best results. We need his kind of leadership back!

Kind of interesting as you consider that Laura Ingraham is speaking from the same movement that cried and wailed and beat their chests about "Sharia Law" being imposed on us poor, innocent Americans. But by suggesting that actresses wear more modest clothing in order to then be taken seriously as people who oppose sexual harassment, isn't Sharia Law what Ingraham is recommending here? And no, "staring" does not equal "harassment."

I agree with the blogger here (NSFW language) The Iranians are demonstrating hate and discontent with their leadership, but the President has absolutely zero moral authority to stand with Iranian protesters. He never gave a crap about them and never will.

Working in the White House is a rough job under any president. The burn-out rate is high and has been for many decades. Add to that a temperamental, president who likes a workplace in chaos and where there isn't much prestige in serving there. Add to that the publicity over the fate of Sean Spicer, who lied so much that no one will hire him and you've got a recipe for a very thin, stressed-out, overworked staff.

(I live in Horsham) The 2018 Horsham Town Council welcomed two new Democratic members, Bill Gallagher and Veronica Hill-Milbourne. Asked someone there when the Council last had any Democratic members. She thought it was sometime back in the 70s.

So, a bit over 100 days after Hurricane Maria, how's Puerto Rico doing? reports:
55% power consumption
*70% power generation
*97% of the island has water
*295,000 individuals have arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico, since October 3rd
*354 survivors are staying in 20 shelters that remain open

Presidetnt Trump takes credit for there being no deaths from commercial air travel in 2017. Erm, actually, the last such deaths were in 2009.

Ah, okay. I remembered upon reading about President Trump talking about health care associations "What? 'Millions' of people are joining these association? Really? I would have thought I would have heard of them by now." Well, it turns out that associations are not even real on paper. There have been a few small, private associations and they've had lots of waste, fraud and abuse problems. Congress hasn't even begun drafting any legislation for the kinds of national-scale associations that the President was referring to.

Four problems that President Trump claimed he was going to solve by now. Nope. Nowhere even close. They were 1. “'Everybody' was supposed to have health insurance." Number is actually down by 3 & 1/2 million.  2. "America was supposed to be 'respected again.'” Favoable view of US has crashed from 64% to 49%. 3. "The deficit was supposed to 'go away rapidly.'” The only piece of major legislation to get through increases the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years.  4. "Trump was supposed to have quit Twitter.” Yeah, he should have done that more for his own sake than anyone else's . 

First NJ Governor Christie canceled a railway tunnel from New Jersey to New York's Manhattan, now President Trump cancels another proposed tunnel! There's only one tunnel that leads to Penn Station, the busiest transportation hub in the US. It's old and it's deteriorating.

President Trump gets BJ from NY Times: "where NYT argues that unlike 'aloof' Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Trump is a president of the people."
Keep in mind that popular support for Net Neutrality is over 80% and a Trump-appointed FCC just repealed Net Neutrality without making the slightest attempt to explain why. No, Trump is not a "president of the people!"
And discussing the truly idiotic NY Times piece that claims that "President Trump has brought a reality-show accessibility to a once-aloof presidency, invigorating voters who felt alienated by the establishment."

Hmm, does a Chinese action film mark a sea change in world affairs? Chinese action film where Chinese hero defeats the bad guy, a white American. American Embassy is useless. 

Cause for all Americans to feel deeply ashamed. The Electoral Integrity Project "has measured 213 elections in 153 countries and is widely agreed to be the most accurate method for evaluating how free and fair and democratic elections are across time and place." If North Carolina were a country, it would rank somewhere in the middle of democratic integrity in terms of how free and fair its election in 2016 was.

"After Years of Lies, a Federal Judge Brought a Swift End to the Hillary Clinton Benghazi BS"
Good! Hillary Clinton gave public testimony about Benghazi in late 2013. That was really the last notable, meaningful word on the case. Everything since then has been the opposition political party just trying to score points and to tear down Clinton's reputation.