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"NBC: Trump's extortion of Ukraine 'inflicted permanent damage' and boosted Russian influence"
No question the President's policy towards Ukraine hurt the US ally and helped Russia.

A protester at town hall in Milford, N.H., yells at Biden: “How much did you make from Ukraine?” Biden responds: “I’ve released 20 years of my tax returns. Your guy hasn’t released one. What’s he hiding?” Huge applause from the crowd.

Good answer from Biden! Good comment from someone else: "The sad thing is that we really have no idea if that was a Trump supporter or a Bernie supporter."

"Massive new 1.5 Gigawatt Solar Farm in Upper Egypt is Visible from Space "
One of the big criticisms of solar farms is that the panels prevent sunlight from getting to the ground where it aids plant life. In the desert, this objection doesn't matter.

This impeachment is historically unusual as it isn't done yet. New evidence of misconduct continues to come out.

People on the news last night pointed out that cases like an impeachment, the investigations are usually long-since completed and tied up in a bow before they ever get to the trial/Senate stage. The investigation here is far from over!

New: Lev Parnas is seeking permission to share a bunch of new material with House Intel, including the contents of an iPhone

Impeachment messaging was a disaster for the White House. The Trump Administration's "war room," far from being a model of efficiency was a complete cluster$%#@.

The Speaker gets out her invitation for the President to deliver his SOTU speech early, along with some pointed commentary.

"Five top Pentagon officials have resigned in the last week. Should we, um, be worried?
With hindsight (Writing this 25 March 2020) I wonder if Pentagon officials wanted to not be in charge during the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"Christianity Today Editor Condemns President Trump as 'Morally Lost and Confused'"
Would have been better to have said this before impeachment, but hey, it's big news because the religious right has long been in the President's corner.

"Cats Review: I Have Seen Sights No Human Should See"
Reviewers speak of a horrifying trainwreck of a film.

Speaker Pelosi will not send articles of impeachment to the Senate until she's been persuaded that they won't simply be flushed down the toilet there.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell is frustrated because he wants a quick 'n' dirty, open-and-shut, rapid trial where if you blink, you've missed it.

Woo hoo! House Democrats needed 216 votes to impeach, got 230 votes on Article 1 and 229 on Article 2.
BTW, Representative Tulsi Gabbard voted "Present."

Oh, and in contrast to what the President says,
Stealth fighters are difficult for radar to detect (not impossible, just difficult). They're perfectly visible to regular human eyes.

Ah! Impeachment Eve! What a cheerful day! It was cold, wet, dark and a weekday, but we probably had over 100 people with us!

The President's letter to Speaker Pelosi. The paragraph on "Obstruction of Congress" is especially warped. Trump claims that it's perfectly normal for Presidents to claim the power to hold back ALL witnesses and ALL documents from the House, even during an impeachment investigation. That makes complete hash of the "balance of powers" theory that is the philosophical basis for the Constitution. The letter reads as though the President dictated it, then a minion cleaned it up and added big words.

Several House Democrats announce they'll support impeachment, even though doing so will likely cost them their seats.

"Israeli Blockade of Gaza Causing Contaminated Water, 25% of Illnesses and 12% of Infant Deaths"
Gee, I wonder why Palestinians in Gaza keep protesting at the border fence between Gaza and Israel. [/snark]

Neither Senate Majority Leader McConnell nor Senator Graham, nor Senator Paul appear to be the slightest bit serious about being "jurors."

Cool! Pennsylvania's Senator Pat Toomey (R) is in favor of a serious Senate trial for the President as opposed to the quick open-and-shut that others would prefer.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell believes the case for removing the President from office is "weak" because there are very few direct observations, very few fact witnesses. Okay, so why is that? Well, presidential obstruction. Could the courts clear the way from that obstruction? Sure, but by the time all of the issues are resolved, the President would have long since become a private citizen or would be years into his second term. I agree that the Democrats made the correct decision, to proceed now with what was available to them.

"Top 5 Differences between Chill Trump and 'Angry' Greta Thunberg"
78-year old President vs 16-year old private citizen. Hmm. Funny, but most of the world supports Thunberg!

"Melania Trump Thinks Greta Thunberg Had POTUS Attack Coming

Apparently speaking out against climate change means the 16 year-old should expect to be mocked by world leaders.

"Michelle Obama sent Greta Thunberg a public message of solidarity following Trump's vitriolic attack on her"

Heh! "Curses! Foiled again!" Republican Party wanted to make a stink about a "middle of the night" vote on impeachment. Democrats said nah, let's do the vote Friday morning.

Very, very interesting. Representative Devin Nunes says that half a dozen news organizations asked him in September what he was doing in Vienna (around the 5:00 minute mark), at a time, it turns out, when the President and Rudy Giuiani were trying to get Marie Yovanovich fired? Turns out Nunes also made a series of highly suspicious phone calls to Lev Parnas at that time as well. Why didn't Nunes hold a press conference back in September? Why did he wait until now to start trying to explain all this?
As to the interviewer Maria Bartolomo, it sure would have helped to have pointed out to viewers that Nunes did not get his phone records subpoenaed. The Intelligence Committee subpoenaed the phone records of Lev Parnas and Nunes showed up there.

Reason #65,872 as to why the NY Times should never, ever be used as a source for political stories by liberals. Ever!

"Democrats made a careful political calculation intended to project unity and protect moderate lawmakers who face steep re-election challenges in conservative-leaning districts."

Is this a reasonable surmise? Hmm. Yeah, okay. Seems plausible enough. Problem is, it's completely unsourced! Absolutely no Democratic lawmakers or staffers are quoted who can attest that this is true! This is what the advice columnist Miss Manners derisively referred to as "mind-reading."
Is President Trump a liar or perhaps a racist? "Aw, gee. I mean...we can't read his mind or anything!" This is an absolutely ridiculous double standard!

Hmmph! That's too bad. Senator Harris drops out of the presidential race, but still working hard for the American people by calling for Stephen Miller to be fired!

"Kentucky governor restores voting rights for 100,000 nonviolent felons"
Bit off a clarification: Voting rights to be restored to those who have completed their sentences. He isn't giving voting rights to those still behind bars. I think extending voting rights to those still serving their sentences goes a bit too far. Being able to vote is something a convict should be looking forward to.

Excellent, concise summary of how the President knew everything on what was going on with his pressing Ukraine to help him with the 2020 campaign Trump was current and up to date on all of the details.

"Wisconsin high school senior opens mosque doors to shelter over 100 peers during school shooting"
Heroine for the day!

Seventeen-year-old Duaa Ahmad’s quick thinking allowed her to open doors at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Oshkosh chapter mosque and usher inside students who were running in fear.

"Former NSA Lawyer on Laura Ingraham’s Spying Theory: ‘I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Heard a More Uninformed Conversation’ About Intel"
Now, now. Laura Ingraham isn't stupid, she just thinks (correctly, I think) that her audience is! Her theory fails the "Occam's Razor" test (the simpler theory is probably the correct one). She proposes an overly complex theory. There's no need to imagine records being obtained from the NSA. It's far more likely that the impeachment inquiry obtained phone records on Rudy Giuliani;s good buddy Lev Parnas and found, hey wow!, that both Representative Devin Nunes and discredited reporter John Solomon had called Parnas numerous times. Neither one has come up with a convincing and innocent-sounding reason as to why.

Hmm. Yeah, I think Newt Gingrish is the last person to be able to complain about impeachment! Especially about the timing of it being in December as the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton began on 19 December of that year!

Reasons to push ahead with impeachment in a prompt manner.

Heh! So after telling Sean Hannity that he doesn't really remember what he talked about on those many revealed phone calls to Rudy Giuliani right about the time that the President wanted to pressure Ukraine into helping him, Devin Nunes accuses Democrats of making up conspiracy theories. Nunes: “I think it’s what happens when it shows that you’re losing and you’re losing badly..." Yeah, except Democrats aren't losing and you gotta lotta 'splainin' to do!

"Feelings Hurt by 'Two-Faced' Trudeau and Laughing NATO Leaders, Trump Leaves Summit Early in a Huff "
"There is nothing [Trump] hates more than important people laughing at him."
Problem here is that the President is now aware that other world leaders regard him as someone who can barely tie his own shoes without help. His pushing to get NATO allies to pay more for their defense is extremely short-sighted and neglects more important things the allies do for the US.

I look at two claims the President made yesterday.

A deep dive on the conspiracy theory that Ukraine is responsible for interfering in the 2016 election.

Would the Founding Fathers have impeached Clinton? Of course not, because it was quite typical for "gentlemen" (wealthy white men) to have mistresses, so Clinton's extramarital flings would never have been investigated to begin with.
But Trump's dealings with foreign powers, in this case Russia specifically, were a subject of very deep and serious concern to the Founders and was the subject of serious Constitutional consideration. Yes, President Ttump most definitely would hae been impeached!

November                         back to top

The way the President is handling the issue of climate change, it's a lose-lose situation for all of humanity. He's far too scientifically illiterate to be able to intelligently debate the issue, but he's not humble enough to accept the word of those who know better than he does, so he does his best to hide the evidence so that he feels he doesn't look like an idiot. This is one of the many reasons why we need to remove him from office!

Good study example in propaganda. The piece states accurately that militants from Gaza launched a barrage of rockets against Israel. What the piece completely leaves out, however, is that Israel had previously killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander. Now, killing that commander was entirely justified as Israel is at war with Islamic Jihad, but by leaving out that fact, it looks to Americans as though Gaza struck irrationally and without cause. Also, again, there's a big difference in reactions from politicians and regular citizens among Democrats.

I saw a Congressman being asked about the idea of the House waiting for the courts to say that Trump's people have to testify. He pointed out that the ruling by US District Judge Kentanji Brown was really great, but the case she ruled on was started back in April. No, Congress isn't going to wait for the Judiciary.

Update: This answer was given on 26 November. It is now 24 March 2020 and the COVID-19 coronavirus has brought much of our political life to a screeching halt.  Had the House waited until this July for all of the evidence to be made available, the case for impeachment would likely have been just tossed out. As it is, the President was impeached, but as in the two previous cases of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, was not removed from office.

I agree with Secretary of State Pompeo and with the President that it's a "mean and nasty world" out there. I also feel, however, that both of them have played a substantive role in making the world meaner and nastier. The President's rant in this piece about how judges shouldn't interfere in immigration policy is a perfect case in point. immigration policy was far from satisfactory under previous presidents, but Trump has made it far worse and much less humane.

Always good to see the other side attempt to make a comprehensive case like this. It  reminds us of just how empty their case really is! Yeah, it'd really be nice if people like Acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney or Energy Secretary Perry or the President's lawyer Giuliani were to testify under oath, but if they did that, then we'd really know they were guilty!

"Re-Habit: Transforming Abandoned Big-Box Retailers to Housing for Homeless"
There's a grand idea! Take an otherwise useless building and do something useful with it!

With the age of big box stores waning, all those massive abandoned retail facilities could be transformed almost instantly into housing for the homeless using a variety of plug-and-play prefab elements.

Despite Charles Koch having made some marginal forward progress towards accepting climate change, he’s still the same evil, deceptive misinformer he always was. Natural gas is a little bit better than regular oil, but it's really not all that much of an improvement. Far better to just use straight wind, solar, etc.

A few months ago, the President was upset. He wanted to go to the site of a mass shooting and to play the role of Healer-in-Chief. Problem was, people saw him as being a part of the problem as opposed to being a neutral observer. Ranking Minority Member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes has the same problem. He's not a solution to the problem, he's part of it.

There's been a recent sort of, kind of, mini-controversy about Hunter Biden getting a sweet gig as a member of Burisma in Ukraine, which granted, does appear to be a conflict of interest for his dad, the former Vice-President.
But reading this piece, it's far from clear what a "sports liaison" actually does to earn $95k a year of American taxpayer dollars.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney takes issue with testimony given by Dr. Fiona Hill. But Mulvaney's comments simply amount to his giving a press conference without any legal consequences should he be found to have been lying. It would be far better to do as Dr. Hill did and to give testimony under oath and to give prosecutors a chance to cross-examine him. Then we'd be able to take his arguments seriously!  

When Press Secretary Grisham complained a little while ago of the Obama Administration leaving a "mess" for the Trump Administration, I immediately thought of various foreign policy situations where no, this President has messed things up all by himself. The two Koreas are a very clear case of self-made problems! North Korea has been a nuclear threat for a long time. The President has made the problem much worse, not better. South Korea wasn't a problem at all and now that's a disaster!

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy makes a case against impeachment, based on rhetorical changes within Democratic charges.
Democrats went from "quid pro quo" to "extortion" and then to "bribery," but these were just rhetorical shifts. The essential accusations never changed.

Good quickie recap of yesterday's impeachment testimony.

"Trump blocks Navy SEALS' effort to oust convicted war criminal who posed with Iraqi corpse"
Commander in Chief provokes a lot of hate and discontent in the Navy by insisting that a war criminal he pardoned be permitted to keep his SEAL status.

"White House press secretary claims Obama aides left mean notes in White House—then backtracks
Press Secretary put out highly implausible story, without a shred of proof, that impugned the professionalism of Obama's staff. and now wonders "I don't know why everyone is so sensitive." 

"Pinochet-Style Dictatorship': Bolivia's Coup Government Threatens to Arrest Leftist Lawmakers and Journalists"
As Bolivia's new far-right government behaves pretty much the way everyone expected them to.

A Western media that "ceaselessly celebrates its own accuracy and impartiality" badly fails to cover what happens to Palestinians, this time in Gaza.

Woo hoo! Not only did the Democratic governor win by a convincing margin but, very importantly, Democratic turn-out was up while Republicans were unenthusiastic.

About five million years ago, a star orbited a black hole in the center of our galaxy. It was spat with so much force, it's travelling at 3.7 million MPH or 1,028 miles a second.
How doe that compare to light? Eh, light travels at 6.706e+8 MPH or 186,000 miles a second, so it's nowhere near that speed, but it's travelling too fast to ever return. Once it leaves our galaxy, it'll be gone forever.

Long-time Trump ally Roger Stone convicted! Stone was found guilty on all counts.

"Trump attacks Marie Yovanovitch for having served the U.S. in Somalia"
The piece includes the Intelligence Committee Chairman asking the former Ambassador to respond to the President's tweet. She was required to deny having had the power to make Somalia go bad. This is truly disgusting and demonstrates the complete moral bankruptcy of the President.

So, how did the President's tweet on former Ambassador Yovanovich play to Republican Party members? Poorly. Very poorly.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! In the first minute of the top video, Speaker Pelosi pulls a hilarious stunt!
And yes, I agree. Impeachment is no an occasion for good cheer. It is a grim necessity.

Three hearty, full-throated cheers for Senator Sanders. The rest of the Democratic field doesn't appear to have much to say about event in Bolivia.

"This is EXACTLY the time, when there is a blatant coup in Bolivia, that we need to hear from the presidential candidates," Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war group CodePink, wrote.

Good! The President loses yet another fight to keep his tax returns secret.

Yeah, I was pleased that the Appeals Court said for the President to turn over his tax returns, but I was also very much aware that the legal battle wasn't finished. "The fat lady* ain't sung yet."

*In The Ring of the Nibelung, one of the Valkyries is the last one to sing. Today, Valkyries are usually portrayed as having athletic figures, but back in the old days, they were often heavier.

*Sigh* And we get the complaints from the (Hat tip to Mad Magazine) "usual gang of idiots," who want fireworks and yelling, etc. Never mind the fact that we got lots of substance as to why the impeachment is necessary!

Good summary of highlights from yesterday.

The President and his supporters have been complaining that they have no voice in the impeachment process, that they were going to have to wait until the Senate trial to present a defense. Representative Devin Nunes had an uninterrupted period, with plenty of media attention, in which to present a defense. He didn't even try to defend the President's actions.

Very important point made here as many GOP members try to make it appear that the President released aid to Ukraine for a legitimate purpose. The timeline here makes it clear that aid was released because Trump and his people said "Oh, $%#@! We've been busted!"

The President makes a series of accusations on Twitter.  I provide responses.

Woo hoo! Israelis who live on occupied territory and produce products must label those products so that consumers know they're supporting occupation!

The younger George Bush got a polling bounce from the capture of Saddam Hussein, Obama got a bounce from the killing of Osama bin Laden, but two weeks after the killing of the ISIS leader, the President's approval rating is actually a bit lower than before. The blogger examines the reasons why.

More on the former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's defense of the President. She stretches logic to the breaking point. She tries to draw a distinction between a crime that was attempted and a crime that succeeded. The law has neve drawn any such distinction.

Here's the problem with the claim that holding back aid for Ukraine was intended to accomplish some legitimate objective. No one in the Pentagon had any idea why the aid was being held up.

Rep. Elaine Luria took her experience as a Navy Vet and devotion to country as an opportunity to show why Trump needs to be impeached at all costs.

Awesome ad because it's all true!

Gawd, I'd love to slap Senator Rand upside the head! Doesn't matter what the President's goals and motives were, withholding aid in secret and without telling anyone what you're doing, is wrong!!! Period!!! If the President wants to argue his case, fine. But that's not what this President was doing.

The former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley engages in wild, hysterical overstatement by comparing impeachment to the death penalty.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) put out a request to the Republican minority to provide a list of witnesses they'd like to call in the impeachment hearings. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) demonstrates his complete lack of seriousness by naming the whistleblower who kicked off the impeachment investigation and Hunter Biden.

“This inquiry is not, and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.”

Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) says "I think there needs to be a very high bar for removing a president from office." I agree with that, but impeaching President Clinton for getting a BJ and not telling the truth about it while under oath very significantly lowered all sorts of bars. The action of the current President would have been considered cause for his immediately removal by the Founding Fathers. I think the President's actions are far worse than, as Toomey suggests. mere "errors of judgment," the President used the powers of his office to pressure a foreign official into supporting his campaign for re-election.

Very good review that treats Don Jrs claims with the skepticism they deserve. The younger Trump claims his family has taken a big financial hit from his father being President, but his father has refused to release his tax returns, a step every president since Nixon has taken.

This quote:

Sondland testified that after he found out that congressionally-authorized military aid to Ukraine had been put on hold, he asked around about why and just “could not get a straight answer.”

Pretty much blows to pieces any notion that the squeezing of Ukraine was anything other than gangster-type move on the past of the Trump Administration.

Secretary of State Pompeo apparently thought that working for the President would be a stepping-stone to a position as a senator. He didn't realize that everything Trump touches, dies.

Ahh! (Sigh of relief and gratitude) Back in May, AG Barr said that he thought it was wrong that judges were able to block federal actions. Thank Heavens they're able to!!!

On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland, Oregon temporarily stopped the Trump administration from enacting a policy that would require visa-seeking immigrants to prove they could pay for health insurance in the United States...

Jeanine Pirro asks when Democrats will be held accountable for the impeachment inquiry. Ha, ha, ha! Never, because they've done nothing wrong! Nothing to "get over" and the President is not, by any stretch of the imagination, innocent! As the blogger says, there's quite a bit to unpack here. Pirro's lies and misleading statements come fast and furious.

Test scores are down a bit. Education Secretary DeVos is very concerned about that. But her only answer appears to be more privatization. Education is a labor-intensive as opposed to a capital-intensive industry. Putting in money and expensive machinery is far less important than paying good salaries so that teachers can concentrate on their teaching and not on how to feed themselves and their families. Privatization is a useless and irrelevant answer.

So, almost two decades after the younger George Bush invaded Iraq to bring it democracy, what've we got there?
"Friday saw some of the largest demonstrations in modern Iraqi history. Protesters are demanding an end to corruption and sectarianism and want a government that can deliver basic services. They are also objecting to US troops being in the country, as well as Iranian influence."

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has moved all White House press briefings to Fox News. A little bit amusing, but cause for anger is that near the end of this video, Grishom expresses great concern about Americans suffering from gun violence while Democrats are working on impeachment. The headline from a blog piece yesterday was "Despite recent promises, Trump abandons blueprint for gun reforms." Democrats passed a gun safety measure back in February. You know where that bill is now? Sitting on the Senate Majority Leader's desk and he has absolutely no intention of ever moving it forwards. So please, spare me the crocodile tears about how the President is working so hard for America. .

Octobere                         back to top

Very cool! The Dixie Chicks were driven off the stage in 2003. Happy to see all three of them have gotten over it and are raring to go!

"Bernie Sanders: Give Aid to Gaza; & It isn't Anti-Semitism to Say Netanyahu Gov't Racist"
I'll give Senator Sanders three hearty, full-throated cheers for this!

"Jared Kushner says Trump's 'record of accomplishments is unimpeachable'"
No, I'm not at all clear on what the President's "record of accomplishment" might consist of and the article doesn't get into those details. Why have Democratic efforts to impeach the President not succeeded? Well, the charge "Obstruction of Justice" appears to apply here. It's not as though we've examined the evidence and decided he isn't guilty, it's that most of the evidence remains hidden.

Heh! MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace yesterday just had no $%#@s left to give! She was furious that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was being disparaged and insulted by Fox News people.

The booing of the President at the baseball game was a glorious moment that we want the world to witness and be aware of.

The President very dramatically described the ISIS leader as "whimpering and crying." The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has no idea where the President got that idea.

Blogger compares photos of Obama and Trump Administration figures during raid on bin Laden and al Baghdadi, respectively. The first has real drama, the second looks like just a picture taken at a dull committee meeting

During a press conference on Sunday, President Donald Trump congratulated himself after the U.S. military reportedly killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Russia was informed of the raid ahead of time, but Democrats were not. Why not? There was absolutely no reason whatsoever to fear that Democrats would leak anything about a covert mission. Zero. Zilch. None. Nada. Zip. It is insulting as $%#@ for the President to make any such suggestion.

The OLC, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, had issued an opinion saying that whistleblower complaints don't really have to be transmitted to Congress, even though the law clearly states that they do.
The Inspectors general blast that decision.

"Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over Certain Mueller Grand Jury Materials To House"
Woo hoo! Very cool to see this! Big step forward!

Gotta say, this is about the most unimpressive argument I've heard in a while! This is about the most threadbare argument for not turning over information to Congress that, frankly, should have been turned over with the full, un-redacted Mueller Report as soon as the AG had had a chance to read through it.

Representative Elijah Cummings passes away.

When I read about Mike Pompeo and his relations with subordinates, I recall that, as a Congressman, he thought Secretary of State Clinton should have fired people over the Benghazi tragedy. She said she couldn't do that because no one under her had done anything wrong. His response made it clear that if he were in her position, he'd do it just as on general principles.
Here, he shows an equally irresponsible attitude towards the people who serve under his command. He's told that the President and Vice-President dissed his people and he changes the subject.

"Fox News' Napolitano: Schiff Is Following GOP Impeachment Rules"
Very important point to remember in light of Republican complaints that the Democrats aren't being transparent enough.

Examining a deeply complicit and compromised Justice Department "whose legitimacy stands on it being viewed as independent from the White House."

Fox News interviews the Press Secretary:

KILMEADE: The president, yesterday, called the Never-Trumpers "scum." Does he regret that?
GRISHAM: No. No he shouldn’t. The people who are against him, and who have been against him, and working against him since the day they took office are just that. It is horrible that people are working against a president ...

But "working against the president" applies to pretty every political opponent of every president since George Washington!

On Republicans barging into the House SCIF:
Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) said 

"The moment we walked into the room, Chairman Adam Schiff saw us, took the witness, and walked out of the room because they refuse to have a hearing in a transparent way."

If hearings are excessively transparent, witnesses are then able to coordinate their testimony. There's a reason certain information is not immediately made available.

Uh. Mah. Gawd! Representative Matt Gaetz compares occupying the SCIF to the movie "300"!!! As another commenter put it: "Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohhmert, & Steve King sat in an air-conditioned SCIF and ate pizza for 5 hrs."

Good point that the rules the crashing of the SCIF yesterday was supposed to protest were written in 2015 by Republicans.
Representative Gaetz hilariously overstates the seriousness of the occupation of the SCIF yesterday. His rhetoric is way over-the-top!!!

The Greek philosopher Socrates was fond of doing this, of stretching arguments to their logical, and sometimes absurd, conclusions. Complete presidential immunity from any sort of legal proceeding means that the President could shoot multiple people on Fifth Avenue, police would be helpless to intervene and no one could investigate him for it.

"Mark Zuckerberg Falters Under AOC's Grilling: 'Lying Is Bad'"
Gotta say, AOC is really getting the hang of this.
"AOC: Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying they voted for the Green New Deal?"
Because that would kill the career of a Republican Congressman! Finally, she gets this confession out of him:
"ZUCKERBERG: Congresswoman, I think lying is bad."
Glad to see we got that cleared up!

"House Republicans ignore national security to block impeachment testimony"

...over two dozen House Republicans pushed their way into the House's sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in an effort to disrupt the testimony of the next witness, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper.

Back when I was a young'un, Republicans advertised themselves as the "law'n'order" party to contrast themselves with the hippies who were protecting against the Vietnam War and in favor of socially good things. Yep, back in the old days.

And of course the President was in on the "Brooks Brothers Riot 2.0"

Was this a "trial run for when Trump loses the presidency?"

Democrats deliberately underplay their response.

"White Folks ‘Embarrassed to Admit’ They Just Learned About the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Through an Episode of ‘Watchmen’"
Watchmen is a TV series that takes place amny years after the comic book series left off. The Tulsa race riot of 1921 is featured in the first episode. I recall people saying that Africa-Americans never had a generation of sacrifice where they scraped and earned and built up for their children. They did, actually. But they got knocked back.

One of the things the President attempted to take credit for was the defeat of ISIS, even though they were well on the way to defeat when he took office. All he had to do was to maintain the policy he had inherited. Well, that's now blown to $%#@!!!

Ambassdor Taylor's bombshell testimony agains the President.

White House freaks out and calls Ambassador Taylor a "radical unelected bureaucrat" because...well, of course they do. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham calls Taylor's testimony "just more triple hearsay," but actually, Taylor was communicating directly with both the Ukrainians and the State Department.

Excellent, concise, to-the-point summary of the charges against the President as far as the shakedown of the Ukrainian President goes provided by the Speaker of the House.

Groan! A feminist once wrote about hearing an old man at a parties describing how his houses got robbed and about how that robbery felt like being raped. Robbery is indeed a bad thing, but it was obvious to the feminist that this guys had never been raped, nor had they ever experienced anything even sort of like rape. In the same vein, the President whines that his getting impeached is just like a "lynching." He complains that he's getting impeached "without due process or fairness or any legal rights." This is from someone who has been refusing to provide documents and instructing witnesses not to testify.

Senator Harris is deeply offended by the President's "lynching" remark. Julian Castro is the only other Democratic candidate to have responded so far. Also, press corps pushes back.

Whooo-weee!!! Wacky talking! Interesting claim that I had not heard from the President during his promoting his own golf club for a G7 meeting, that he would have provided the whole thing for free. That is not what he was saying up until now!

Why does the story about Hillary Clinton's emails have a "quiet ending"? This is a deliberate and conscious choice, made with malice and forethought. This is not a choice that's being forced on anyone. The media is deliberately choosing to allow this story to have a quiet ending.

NY Times presents massive online ad buys by the Trump campaign without getting around to noting that the ads are heavy on lying until their 26th paragraph.

Rachel Maddow rakes NY Times over the coals for their hostile and dishonest reporting on Hillary Clinton and her emails.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invokes a policy of not dicussing "internal deliberations inside the administration." Which would make sense IF we weren't discussing criminal or impeachable matters.

Hmm, let's see (checks research), no, ID cards are still not required to buy groceries and in-person voter fraud still happens in about one out of every four or five million cases. The President is still pushing a myth that has been investigated and debunked countless times since the younger George Bush looked at it in 2002. This is not some harmless obsession on the President's part. He's planning to use this claim to challenge the 2020 election results.

Media takes kid gloves treatment to the President wanting to hold next G-7 Summit at his Doral resort. NY Times:

President Trump will host the next G7 summit at his resort near Miami, a move benefitting the Trump Organization that will alarm ethics watchdogs.

Some better wording might be that the President is in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Would the President object to such wording? Fine, let him object and have him show that he's not violating the Constitution!

I'll give this the complete three hearty, full-throated cheers! The President drops his plan to use his Doral club for next year's G7 meeting! He blames "Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility." Uh-huh. Yeah, yeah. Whatevuh.

Oh, and it turns out that he President never bothered to call the Mayor of the town of Doral to coordinate a G7 meeting with him.

The President compares the Turks and the Kurds to two children fighting. Which only makes sense if the Kurds are represented by an 11-year old with a stick and the Turks by a 17-year old with steel-toed boots and a heavy chain. Otherwise, the comparison is absolutely ridiculous.

MSNBC is my news channel of choice, so it's pleasing to see them getting the Kurdish situation right. Is there really a cease-fire on the Syrian border? No one should simply take the Trump Administration's word for that.

"State Department probe of Clinton emails finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information"
Whuuh?!?!?! People were still investigating "Her Emails"?!?!? Not the slightest bit surprised to see their conclusion, that there is not and never was a story there.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears to completely misunderstand how the impeachment process works. During the indictment phase, which is equivalent to what happens during the House-run phase of impeachment, the defendent never gets a lawyer. It's during the Senate-run trial phase that lawyers can come into the process. No one during any of the hearings on Benghazi was ever accused of committing a crime, so lawyers were irrelevant. No, Pompeo has absolutely no excuse to not produce evidence.

Is impeachment an un-democratic process that nullifies the previous election? Uh, no.

Laura Ingraham of Fox News tries to make a claim about the President's financial status. Problem is that his finances are a complete black box to everyone but him. Any assertions that he's lost money on his presidency is nothing more than an evidence-free assertion that's clearly being made for partisan, self-interested purposes.

Holding the next G-7 meeting at Trump's own Doral resort would be a blatant Constitutional violation.

The President tries very hard to make the events of the past week sound like some two-sided, negotiated deal. It wasn't. Turkey got everything. Kurds got nothing. Also, I'm puzzled as to how Turkey had been putting up with constant cross-border attacks from the Kurds. The Kurds had American advisers. Were the American advisers authorizing those attacks or at least condoning them? I find that very hard to believe.

"CORRUPTION: Mulvaney Admits Quid Pro Quo, 'Get Over It'"
Is the President permitted to not spend money that has been allocated by Congress? Yes, but he has to notify Congress and to get their agreement. No, we should not simply "Get over it." The President can't just hold back money for secret reasons. Many people were aware that the money was being held up, but very, very few people knew why. Lots of lying and deception from a very few people in the Trump Administration.

Woo hoo! A truly despicable character, Alex Jones, loses a round in court.

Secretary of State "Pompeo: Trump 'makes decisions and then absorbs data and facts'"
Erm, isn't that kind of, um, backwards? Shouldn't he "absorb data" first and then "make decisions"?

"The President (is) always very focused on what's the objective, what is it that we're really, truly trying to achieve."

Okay, but what exactly is it that he's trying to achieve? If helping Russia, Syria, Iran and ISIS was the goal, then yeah, he's succeeded. Also, for Pompeo to say that Turkey had "legitimate security concerns" appears to suggest that the US was allied with terrorists.

President Trump tries to qualify himself to receive a Nobel Peace Prize by arranging a cease-fire between Turkey and the Kurds.
Back in 1904, Teddy Roosevelt brokered a peace between Russia and Japan. He won great praise for that. Why was he successful? Because he had nothing to do with starting that war!

"Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump"
President very clearly had no idea why the photo made the Speaker of the House look like a heroine and him like a bum. The piece makes it clear that for the President to have abandoned the Kurds was very much an issue at that meeting. The Speaker liked the picture so much, she promptly apropriated it for her own twitter page.

"House overwhelmingly votes bipartisan condemnation of Trump withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria"

Okay, I had heard parts of this before, but this clears things up:

At some point, she pressed Trump on his plans on Syria. He answered by saying he wants to keep America safe, she said. Then Pelosi batted that down as a goal, not a plan. Trump, she said, did not appreciate her questions and ensuing commentary on the consequences of the pullout for Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

There were two major details in the whistleblower's complaint The first, that the President made a call to the Ukrainian president in which he basically cam across like a gangster putting the squeeze on a shopkeeper. The second was that all records of the call were placed in a high-security computer server. The administration has now confirmed that the second detail is true as well.

Turkish offensive into Northern Syria is stopped as Russians flood into area after being invited in by Kurds. According to Turkey's president, Turkey managed to seize about 1k square miles of territory.

Turkey's leader, Tayyip Erdogan, appears to be unimpressed with the "pressure" our President is deploying against him.

"Historically accurate election forecaster predicts Trump will win by even greater margin in 2020"
The fact that Moody's prediction crashed and burned in 2016 is entirely understandable given the last-minute monkey-wrench-in-the-works that FBI Director Comey threw in. Comey's sabotage  was especially damaging given the constant, non-stop stories about Clinton's emails in prior months.
But the big problem with the prediction they're making here is that their prediction is very heavy based on how well the economy is doing. Back in 1992, the economy was super-important. Today, not so much. Today, many, many Americans (including myself) are deeply concerned that the President is a wannabe fascist dictator. The Moody's model can't account for this, so I don't give this prediction any credibility at all.

Oh, okay! So now, two decades after leading an impeachment, Newt Gingrich is insisting that the House impeachment inquiry is an “unconstitutional coup d’etat.” Eff you, Gingrich!!! %$#@ing hypocrite!!! Chris Wallace of Fox News says: “This is the exact opposite of unconstitutional.”

Very underwhelming, very little and very late response to Turkish invasion of Northern Syria.

Whuuh!?!?! John Bolton, that crazy guy who has been trying to start up a war with Iran for the past two decades, comes out of the Trump-Ukraine scandal looking like a good guy!?!?!?! Awww. That can't be right!

Then-national security adviser John Bolton was so disturbed by the efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate President Donald Trump’s political opponents that he called it a “drug deal,” former White House official Fiona Hill reportedly told Congress on Monday.
Lengthy piece on a Ukrainian oligarch who appears to play a central role in the current Trump scandal.

"Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics"
There was a video of a deranged, President Trump brutally killing his domestic opponents. Was it put out by the President's opponents? Erm, no actually. It was a sympathetic portrayal i which Trump was depited as the hero! Good to hear there's been some strong pushback on this. I don't find it the slightest bit believable that Don Jr. and Sarah Sanders, who were both present at the event where the video was shown, didn't see it. Not do I believe the President hasn't yet seen it. It's good that the Press Secretary has delivered a pro forma denunciation of it.

Very interesting. Regardless of whether Trump or his followers or offspring saw or approved of the video, it's quite revealing about at least a portion of the Trump Movement.

"Eric Boehlert Blasts The NY Times For Continuing To Promote Right Wing Liar Peter Schweitzer"
Absolutely baffling as to why the NY Times puts so much trust into a clearly dishonest and incompetent reporter.

Impeachment inquiry is focused on two subjects, Ukraine and obstruction of Congress.

"We are ready to go at a moment's notice' Secretary Mnuchin on Turkey sanctions
The issue isn't complicated at all. It's the direct result of the President's betrayal of the Kurds. There wouldn't be any bloodshed there at all had he simply kept the old policy in place.

"Trump's Saigon Evacuation Moment, as US Troops Flee and Syrian/Russian Forces are invited in by Kurds"

Not since 1975 have [US forces] had to rush for the exits in quite this ignominious a fashion, and it is said that they are angry about it, especially about the US betrayal of the Kurds who bravely fought alongside them against ISIL [ISIS].

Rally to support the Kurds.

"It's about time: Biden, Democratic candidates punch back against shoddy press coverage"
Good! For far too long, Democrats have assumed the media,, and especially the NY Times, was their friend. It isn't and it's about time they started treating the press as an opponent, if not an outright enemy.

There are some arguments that simply aren't reasonable. There are arguments to which, no, there are not two sides. Fairness and hearing people out are both good things, but pedophilia is not just another form of sexuality. Climate change is real and serious and we need to work against it. What on earth is the "other side" of the Holocaust?!?!?! That der Fuhrer was right? No, this is another issue to which there is only one correct side.

A look at the ambiguous role that Russia plays in the Turkish-Kurdish battles and how Bashar al-Assad fits into it all.

I agree with Chris Wallace. If the US really wanted to stop Turkey from invading Northern Syria, by far the best way to have done that was to keep US troops mixed in with the Kurds. I'm not the slightest bit convinced that Turkey would have invaded if it meant tangling with US troops,, even if there were only 50 of them.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio seems to be concerned about the Kurds. Hmm, what could a Republican Senator do about the situatiin? Hmmmm.

Who would Republicans really like to replace Trump? Trump voters don't want VP Mike Pence or Senator Mitt Romney or Nikki Haley as replacements for the President. There's a reason he poses as a boxer at his rallies. They want someone who can "own the libs" and do rhetorical battle with us.

"From that list, only Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Liz Cheney seem like contenders, along with Don Jr. -- and, yes, Ted Nugent, although he's been threatening to run for office off and on for twenty years and he never does it. (UPDATE: I should have also included Ted Cruz on the list of genuine contenders.)"

"Turkey Shells position of US Special Forces in Syria, almost Provokes Firefight"
An entirely predictable problem. A hasty, withdrawal combined with a hasty advance (Turkey's Erdogan had to strike before US political opposition could force the President to keep troops in place) resulted in US troops caught in the middle.

"Boeing, FAA share blame in certification of the 737 Max"
I read this and just kept thinking of the Jared Kushner quote:

What this President did is he represented an outsider who came in, brought in a ton of people who never would've been in Washington before who were not 'qualified' by conventional standards..

Very true, but I don't see anything good about that. I believe the new people and new way of doing things has been a complete and utter disaster. Business prefers to do its own regulating. We learned long ago that business can't be trusted to do that. Putting businesspeople in charge of protecting the public is a fool's game.

"The Day After Bill Barr Meets With Murdoch, Shep Smith Announces He's Leaving Fox (Updated)"
Very sad to hear this as Shep Smith was a rare voice of reason and sanity at Fox News.

I read a Fox News piece. "David Bossie: Impeachment inquiry? No, Americans are witnessing an impeachment conclusion"
The Fox News people here insist over and over there was no quid pro quo. Which is very sad, because I did read the first two pages of the "transcript" and there very definitely was a quid pro quo. It was a little bit coded because the President is in the habit of talking like a gangster, but his meaning was not at all subtle.

From an ABC News story:

Asked about two men with ties to Rudy Giuliani arrested earlier today, Pres. Trump says, "I don't know those gentlemen. Now, it's possible I have a picture with them, because I have a picture with everybody."

Yeah, okay.

"Ivanka Trump Says She Got Her 'Moral Compass' From Her Father"
This is an entirely credible claim from the First Daughter. Allegedly, her portfolio contains women and children. She has said little or nothing about how women and children are treated at the border and/or by ICE, so yes, I find it entirely believable that she inherited a complete lack of anything resembling morality from her daddy.

The New York Times responds to a letter from the Joe Biden campaign: "Our coverage of the Biden campaign and Hunter Biden has been fair and accurate."
Kind of a problem with that statement is that the Times made unsubstantiated charges about Biden and his son that, when they were investigated by Bloomberg News, were promptly discredited. What that means is that the Times never bothered to investigate the claims before publishing them. The Times would do far better to acknowledge the fair and accurate criticisms of its work rather than to try and say that everything is fine and that it hasn't made any errors.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey makes a lot of demands concerning impeachment, unreasonable ones in my view.

Nate Silver has been aggregating polls for years, so when he says Fox News generally does a good job polling people, I tend to credit him on that. According to them, 61% now approves of impeaching and removing the President. In another poll here, the people who stand by him shrank from 45% in July to 40% now.

Secretary of State Pompeo impugns Kurds as
"a terrorist threat." Suggests Turkey had "legitimat security concerns."

"6 Of The Most Gobsmacking Lines From WH Screed Against Impeachment Probe"
The letter from the White House Counsel is...wow! The most preposterous, insanely idiotic, ridiculously un-American arguments imaginable! The document essentailly argues that the entire impeachment process is illegitimate.

My problem with Ellen DeGeners being nice and all buddy-buddy with the younger George Bush is that she's handing out forgiveness too cheaply. Forgiveness and accepting someone back into polite society should follow confession and repentance! Bush has not even confessed anything yet. DeGeneres is simply handing out forgiveness for free.

Yeah, the latest rant from the White House says:

"The Whistleblower’s facts have been so incorrect about my “no pressure” conversation with the Ukrainian President..."

Uh, no. The conversation with President Zelensky sounded like a gangster threatening a store-owner in barely-coded terms. If I had been in Zelensky's shoes, I would have interpreted the President's conversation as deeply threatening and as applying great pressure on me.

“The so-called Whistleblower, before knowing I was going to release the exact Transcript..."

Erm, when were you planning to release it? The call was in late July and nobody knew anything about it until just a few weeks ago.

"Fox News' Gregg Jarrett: Abuse Of Power Is Not Impeachable
Erm, if absue of power isn't impeachable, what on Earth IS?!?!?! What's the point of having the iimpeachment clause to begin with if abuse of power isn't included?!?!?

"Baghdad’s Youthquake: Iraq’s Young Protestors ‘Have Nothing Left To Lose"’
"The demonstrators were motivated by a wide variety of things – anger over corruption, a lack of jobs, deficient state services..."
Sounds to me as though the US did a pretty crappy job building up any infrastructure or doing anything to construct a modern state. One of the problems was that they thought there would be lots of domestic constituencies that would eagerly take part in reconstructing the country on democratic lines.

Of course, the fact that the US invasion force allowed Baghdad to be thoroughly trashed after they occupied it didn't help matters. Vast amounts of priceless ancient artifacts were lost, but very importantly, bureaucracies were looted down to their bare walls.

Relevant to abandontment of Kurds: "Conflicts of interest hang over Trump's policy toward Turkey"
We've been aware of these conflicts of interest ever since Donald Trump first ran for president.

"Report: Trump GOP Allies Frustrated WH Didn't Tell Them About Blocking Sondland's Testimony
The problem with acting like a king, that is, unilaterally and without bothering to keep anyone notified, is that allies are left in the lurch after you've blindsided them.

One of the President's personal attorneys argues that the President hasn't violated any laws. MSNBC's Ari Melber quotes the particular law that the President has broken by soliciting foreign help for his re-election campaign.
The specific provision:

11 CFR 110.20(b). “Anything of value” includes all in-kind contributions, including the provision of goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge.

Good! The President asked China for electoral assistance in the 2020 election. China has said "No" in a clear and unequivocal fashion.

From the beginning of the Trump Administration, "the resistance" took two forms. There were the out loud, open and upfront people like Speaker Pelosi who worked diligently to get a Democratic majority seated in the House and Robert Mueller, who collected evidence of the President's wrongdoings. Then there were the people who claimed to be working to oppose the President's policies quietly, from the inside. Their refrain was "Hoo boy! If you only knew about the stuff we prevented from happening!" Speaker Ryan and Ivanka Trump fall into this category. Well, now with the President being determination to pull US forces out of Syria, how do the two sides look? "Graham saw himself as someone who could save the world, or at least the Kurds." Oops!
The rubber hit the road and the insiders like Senator Graham proved to be utterly useless.

"ICE Arrests Husband Taking Pregnant Wife to Hospital to Give Birth, Forcing Her to Drive Alone"

"Pat Robertson: Trump May 'Lose The Mandate Of Heaven' Over Kurd Abandonment"
President abruptly abandons our allies the Kurds and leaves them to the tender merces of the Turks and the Syrians.
Greatly appreciate Robertson saying that abandoning tthe Kurds is wrong, but it's too little, too late. After two and a half years of treating the President like a god-emperor, he can't just switch it off now.
Hmm, I've heard the Chinese use the term "Mandate of Heaven," but never heard it from a Westerner before.

"Trump: 'If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits'"
Oh good grief! The title of this piece sounds like a parody doesn't it? It isn't.
One of the twitter responses: "That set of tweets is two parts Ozymandias, with three parts Wizard of Oz, with just a dash of 'KNEEL BEFORE ZOD'"

The successful attack on the Saudi oil refining facility on September 14th by drones was a game-changer as a much weaker opponent, using cheap weapons, managed to badly hurt a big power.
BTW, "Washington blames Iran, but the evidence for that is dodgy. The Americans have yet to produce a radar map showing where the missiles originated..." This means that the Houthi claim that they launched the drones remains plausible.

Senator Lindsey "Graham Wants To Make Whistleblowers Publicly Testify In Impeachment Inquiry"
Sure, because of course we want to prevent whistleblowers from testifying against Our Glorious Leader, right?

Apparently the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has decided he's gotten all out of the American President that he's going to and so can toss aside the President. Kim has complained that US has shown up for talks “empty-handed,” and that the US has "not discarded its old stance and attitude..." Not really clear on what that means.

Essential diplomatic terms like “denuclearization” and “Korean Peninsula” have still not been defined, meaning progress in the nuclear talks haven't moved much beyond where they were in January 2017.

"The Rush to Testify is Bad News for the White House"

This afternoon we learned that Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the EU and GOP megadonor, will appear for a closed door deposition before House committees on Tuesday, October 8th. According to CBS News it will be the “same format” as Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker’s testimony yesterday. (I take this to mean that he will appear without a government lawyer.) This seems to me to be a development of great importance.

For nine months, the President has fought a scorched-earth, knock-down-drag-out, furiously-contesting-every-inch-of-ground defense in the hopes that Democrats would become exhausted. Democrats are strong and united while the administration is showing cracks in the facade and signs of real weakness.

Senator Sanders had suffered a heart attack. Everything looks good now and his prognosis for recovery is good.

Heh! Senate Majority Leader "Moscow Mitch" McConnell has declared that he will block impeachment. After the past two weeks that Democrats have had under Speaker Pelosi (Who's quite serene and content right now), I wouldn't bet a single nickel on the Republicans. McConnell hasn't shown a tiny fraction of the skill that would be needed to defeat impeachment.

"Trump brazenly (and on camera) pushes for foreign campaign help"
Yeah, this is...wow! We don't need to prove anything! He's providing all the proof for us!

Heh! Representative Jim (the guy who lost his jacket) Jordan shows us that even loyal followers of the President really can't deal with a lot of his rhetoric.

And let's never forget! The rot in the GOP runs deep. This was never just about a rogue president acting on his own.

Y'see, one of the problems with a wannabe fascist dictator is that he's under the impression that he's an all-around, super-competent Renaissance man who's capable of doing it all by himself. It's a waste of time trying to convince him that he needs a Bill Clinton type of "War Room" when he's convinced that all he has to do is to yell at the press and to send out tweets.

Rachel Maddow traces the involvement of
the Vice-President's ever-modifying excuses for "not knowing" that he was pressuring Ukraine's President even more blatantly than the President was.

Heh! Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, threatens to sue if Senator Warren becomes President. Aww, c'mon! Warren didn't write this piece gerself and post it? Zuckerberg has to realize he comes across as the villain here!

A reporter asked about why the President was being impeached, suggested that Democrats are overreacting and are making too much of their case for impeachment. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff delivers a very good answer to that. He begins:

Well, if you think about what the framers were concerned about at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, they were paramountly concerned about foreign interference in American affairs. They wanted to ensure that the president of the United States was defending the interest and national security of the United States and not corruptly, secretly advancing some private agenda with a foreign power....

Secretary of State Pompeo has confessed that yes, he was on the call that's the subject of the impeachment inquiry.

In an amazingly relevant and on-point book, Rachel Maddow writes about oil, gas and politics. "Blowout" also tells quite a bit about Russian President Putin.

September                         back to top

"Russia Says Trump Needs Its Permission To Release Call Transcripts With Putin"
Of course! Calls between an asset and his handler should be treated with respect!

Story about a former, truly awful and abusive head of ICE. A truly horrifying anecdote from the story:

ICE agents arrested a victim of domestic violence at a courthouse where she had sought a protective order, allegedly acting on a tip from her abuser. The agents then appear to have lied about the incident on an affidavit, claiming they approached her after she exited when surveillance footage showed them accosting her inside the courthouse.

Damn! This poor woman got slammed coming and going! She was abused, reported that to the authorities and then another arm of the authorities arrests her for immigration violations!
[The folllowing i to be read in a very snarky mannrer] "The American people think we members of ICE are Nazis. Why, WHY do they think that?!?!?!"

Around the beginning of August this year, the President nominated someone for the position of DNI who was completely and utterly unqualified. The President felt it was fine for the press to do all of his vetting for him after candidates were nominated for and perhaps working in positions. Problem in this particular case is that an Army Staff Sergeant was actually working at Mar-a-Lago while downloading child porn. He was what agents call "compromised" as there was about a 100% likelihood that foreign agents were aware of this.

A buddy suggested I read a piece that calls impeachment of the President a mistake. I put out a few thoughts on that. Nah, full speed ahead!

WTF NY Times!?!?!!?!?!? No, it isn't necessary for anyone to "understand" who the whistleblwer is! What is absolutely necessary is for people like this to be protected when they come forward with information that citizens critically need!!! Shame! Executive Editor Dean Baquet should resign immediately!!!

Do whistleblowers need protection? Erm, uh, YEAH!!! There's a reason for the whistleblwer law!!!

As usual, the Young Turks put the President's words into context. This is not the first time he's made comments like this! These are the words of a fascist!

This whole aspect of the story absolutely screams of guilty knowledge.

"The transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature."

How many other crimes/goof-ups have been hidden?
House of Representatives decides to go ahead with an impeachment.
Details come out as President releases a call summary (not a transcript) of the call to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which President Trump describes as "perfect" and a "beautiful conversation." Also:
Shortly after Trump's press conference, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) emerged on Capitol Hill after reading the official whistleblower complaint that sparked the still unfolding controversy and said he found the document "deeply disturbing" and the complaint itself "very credible."

Like the novelist Émile Zola publishing J'Accuse about the Alfred Dreyfus affair, Greta Thunberg is changing the terms of the human-caused climate change debate.

What's very sad here is that at the 3:30 mark, when Michael McFaul, a former US Ambassador to Russia, points out that he told Edward Snowden to use the whistleblower procedures and laws instead of breaking the law and having to escape to Russia. The Ambassador ends up getting the rug pulled out from under him by the President's current actions.

The essential facts of the case against the President come out. Trump sought to hold up military aid to a US ally, Ukraine, in order to get their cooperation in a scheme to aid the President's re-election in 2020.

Is it appropriate for Ukraine to investigate someone who's operating in their territory? Of course it is. Where Santorum messes up is in suggesting that it's okay for the US President to place himself into a long-since investigated and concluded story.

"Biden Calls For Release Of Trump Call Transcript, Whistleblower Testimony"
Yeah! Yeah! We used to hear from right-wingers ALL the time: "If you weren't guilty, why are you trying so hard to cover your tracks?"

The President says:

"...me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine. Nothing was said that was in any way wrong,"

IF the President's actions in this case are so proper and above reproach, then he should stop interfering with the whistleblower and permit the complaint that was made to proceed as the law says it should!

This is one of the reasons people don't trust the intelligence agencies when they say Iran is responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities. If the Trump Administration told the DNI to not tell Congress about a whistleblower and if the DNI is obeying orders, that means the independence of the agencies is compromised and the President is telling them all sorts of things, one of which is probably to lie about the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Presidential interference with whistleblower investigation detailed.

D-a-a-yummm!!! Some of the women of Outnumbered are *gulp* making sense!!! One of the women even pointed out that the President is not an absolute dictator (much to his annoyance) and he cannot just send US troops into harm's way on a whim. More of this, please!

Problem with Iran policy is that it's largely self-created problem.

The whistleblower reporting process appears to have worked fine until it was time to inform Congress what the whistleblower's assertions were. Looks like direct interference by the President prevented the appropriate action.

On 9-11 in 2001, Donald Trump was a famous, instantly recognizable person and there were reporters all over the wreckage. If he had been in the immediate vicinty of the destroyed buildings, reporters would have taken dozens of photos and would have dicussed his presence. Seriously, the comment that "He repeated an exaggerated account of how he had assisted the recovery effort after the World Trade Center..." is just ridiculous. He didn't "exaggerate," he lied!!!

"Kellyanne Conway suggests Trump is better because he doesn't 'study' situations before making decisions"
I find this piece to be very disturbing. As I quoted from a blogger earlier today, it's highly likely that Iran assisted the Houthis in the drone attack on Saudi oil installations, but there's nothing good or seemly or proper about our Secretary of State making wild, hysterical, completely unsubstantiated accusations to that effect. That just shows the world we're being run by a group of children who don't have the patience to build a case before running to public forums to make serious accusations.

Good! The number of people in the US who were concerned about climate change five years ago was 25%. That's climbed to 38%. Needs to be higher, but that's an excellent trend!

Treasury Secretary Steven "Mnuchin added that the [Iran] policy is 'absolutely working.'” No. No, it most certainly is not working! The Trump Administration's policy towards Iran is a complete cluster$%# and always has been because the President has always described his problem with Iran in extremely broad, vague terms.

An MSNBC newsperson returns after maternity leave and points out that raising children is a bit more complicated then just "Have more babies." Looking at you, anti-choicers!

The departure of NSC Adviser John Bolton might mean a bit less craziness on the part of this administration's Iran policy. Hopefully, anyway. We'll see.

Trump Administration makes the very highly questionable claim that 1k Talban had just been killed and that they were ready to start peace talks at Camp David. None of the necessary diplomatic groundwork has been laid for the Taliban to come to the US, let alone Camp David. This kind of agreement doesn't just happen overnight. Both sides need confidence-building measures and mutual understandings.

On a lighter note, John Oliver shows us why the filibuster really should be abolished.

Sarah Sanders: "I am only the third woman and the first mom to ever be the White House press secretary," she continued. "And yet women attack me relentlessly, instead of being proud that we have more women doing those types of jobs."
Just as with Sarah Palin in 2008, Sanders appears to think that some modest political accomplishments, plus the fact that she wears a skirt, entitles her to women's solidarity. The fact that she lied continually for a wannabe fascist dictator is something she wants people to overlook.

Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz claims at about the one-minute mark that for presidents to spend money without Congressional authorization is very routine and happens all the time. He never gives specific examples. I did a search and found examples of President Obama attempting to spend money without specific authorization from Congress and found that these examples always involved considerable pushback from Congress. Nah, I call BS on that claim.

"Federal Judge Slams FBI Terror Watch List As Unconstitutional"
Very happy to hear this as I and millions of others decided in 2002 that the list had many Constitutional problems. I felt back then that it really should have had a way for wrongly-listed people to be able to get taken off the list.

Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath points to how shabbily Senate Majority Leader "Moscow" Mitch McConnell treats his constituents and gives us her heartfelt promise to do better.

Very cool! Walmart is limiting sales of guns and ammunition! Saw a piece a few minutes ago on how right-wingers are screaming about how Walmart is giving in to liberals. Yee-hah to that!

Good! A Palestinian student had been accepted into Harvard, but was denied entry for no clear reason. He's now here in the US and is free to start classes.

Meghan McCain is upset that people have their hair on fire about gun violence in this country and that they've turned into "gun grabbers." It is reasonable to expect the other side to remain calm and reasonable when there is progress occurring. Since Sandy Hook, when 20 children died, absolutely nothing has been done and there's absolutely zero prospect of anything getting done as long as Republicans have a majority in the Senate. So yeah, liberals are running around with their hair on fire for a reason!

"Trump Suddenly Decides NOT To Kill Sick Immigrant Children "
I'll give the President one really weak cheer (out of three) as he's obviously responding to PR blowback and not out of any genuine humanitarian motives.

Some lunatic said: “If antifa gets to the point where they start killing us, I’m going to kill them next,” Kohfield, 32, said.
1. Antifa will never do an such thing as they are not responsible for having committed a single murder ever.
2. Very happy to hear that this dangerous lunatic was stopped in a way that others like him will be stopped later!

"Joshua Dubois: What the President secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School"
President Obama played the part of a true mensch after Sandy Hook. He acted as a true "Comforter in Chief!"

Bret Stephens is the fellow who's gotten all bent out of shape over bedbugs. But his main claim to fame is his denial of global warming. It's all very fine and well to present "the other side," but not if the other side is complete and utter horse%$#@. Shame on the NY Times for publishing his shoddy work!

At the end of lengthy description of the latest shooting and a summary of the latest insane loosening of gun laws (Texas), %$#@ing Chuck Todd blames "gridlock!" No, Todd!!! Gridlock is when both sides are to blame!!! That's not the case here!!!

August                         back to top

Neil Cavuto is definitely what in the English Parliament would be called a "back-bencher." He's certainly far from a star on Fox News. But he does some good pushback on the President's accusation of  Fox News being disloyal.

"Sick Migrants Undergoing Lifesaving Care Can Now Be Deported"
Rchel Maddow has been reporting on this for a while. Glad to see others are picling up on it.

The NY Times didn't exactly do a single-sourced story

Peters clearly did only a cursory review of old stories. He didn't interview a single rank-and-file member of the Tea Party, though he did interview several political insiders who were linked to the Tea Party's upper echelons.

It was quickly clear to people on the left that the Tea Party was an "astroturf" movement as opposed to a grass-roots movement. A well-funded, top-down movement with a clear chain of command. The NY Times reporter comes up with "Misty Watercolor Memories Of The Tea Party Movement."

The President claims that China called him.. China denies it. It's a sign of the times that people (including myself) assume the authoritarian regime that relentlessly controls information and is currently threatening Hong Kong is probably the side that's telling the truth.

President's really shows at the G7 summit he's just an absolutely awful negotiator. In order to be successful in international negotiations, you have to know what both you and the other guy want. That requires detailed knowledge, study, conversations and thought.

"Stephen Miller: Migrant Kids Already Had 'Psychological Damage' Before They Got Here"
Shorter Stephen Miller: "When kids arrive at the border, they might have problems to begin with, so we're just adding to those problems! We're not creating new problems from scratch!"

Those who oppose pregnancy choice like to pretend their case is simple and just. Babies are good and should live. So when a blck woman tries to point out how racist anti-choicers are, her mic is quickly cut off.

CNN hires Andrew McCabe. Fox News tries to act as though they're morally superior after just having hired former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

Governor Jay Inslee drops out of the presidential race. He won pretty much universal respect from Democratic candidates, ensuring a good appointed position, probably as head of the EPA.

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made it very clear that his heart was in Wisconsin and  went home as much as possible. He just didn't like Washington DC at all. So now that he's retired, he's moving his whole family  to Washington DC!

Seems the President really, truly, was serious about purchasing Geenland from Denmark! This is what minions are for. You send a minion over to Denmark, make a discreet inquiry, they say "Oh, hell no!," you withdraw the offcer. It's all done in private and nobody knows.

The real problem with the President's attitude, and the reason we know he's a racist, is that he thinks that all of the Jewish-American people should think and vote in lock-step unanimity. They should all have the same opinions of Palestinians and of Benjamin Netanyahu and his policies towards Palestinians.

Took five years for the killer of Eric Garner to be fired, but it's finally been done!

The President keeps repeating the claim that he was robbed of the electoral votes of New Hampshire in 2016 by in-person voter fraud. The Chair of the FEC calls him out yet again to either provide proof or to stop making wild, baseless charges. Clearly, the President is trying to excuse losing the 2020 election in advance.

Good! The war-hawks of the Trump Administration get slammed and ignored! Britain joins the rest of Europe in refusing to join the US against Iran.

The "1619 Project," a really good magazine-sized supplement from the NY Times, is available outside the paywall! Link in the piece that reviews it.

And of course there was a right-wing backlash.

It's California vs the Trump Administration. Good news is that CA appears to be winning!

Good! The 9th Circuit Court has absolutely smacked down the Trump Administration's bizarre assertion that detainees don't need basic necessities like soap and toothpaste.

Not that calling her by the name of a famous Native American did her any political harm, but the President is thinking of reviving the slur anyway because he has no imagination. In the meantime, Senator Warren has a plan for that! She's worked out how to mend our broken promises to Native peoples.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) wants to visit her grandmother, who is a Palestiian and lives in the West Bank. But Tlaib's proposed visit became, in Tlaib's view, a political football, so she's dropped it.

The President got very upset when he learned tha she had been offered the chance to see her grandmother, but had turned it down. Funny how, in his telling, people always seem to want something from him and they're always desperate to get it!

Oh, good grief! Some idiot convinced the President that Greenland is for sale!!! He seems pretty serious about buying it!

Our local paper reprinted a WaPo columnist who agrees with the State Department's assertion that disagreeing with Israel's policy towards Palestinians equals anti-Semitism. This is a deeply misguided viewpoint that equate the foreign policy of a state with how a group of people is viewed.

"How The El Paso Killer Echoed The Incendiary Words Of Conservative Media"
The NY Times is far from a reliably liberal paper, but they do good pieces from time to time. This is one of them.

Wealthy guy holds a fund-raiser for the President's re-election in the Hamptons. Hell, YES, we have the right to protest that!!!

Wealthy guy who supports the President appears to think that supporting politicians is like a buffet dinner where you're not ordering the racism, just the tax cuts. Nuh-uh. Doesn't work that way.

A company the rich guy was associated with, Equinox, tried to reassure employees by using jargon and management-speak:

"What we have always done and will do in this instance is look out for our employees, and that means understanding the impact, discussing the impact, and then doing the right thing,"

Problem is, they had just violated this understanding!!! Emplyees werer upset that their company was now asociated with the President.

This is a wholly predictable and entirely expected result. "NYC's $15 minimum wage hasn't brought the restaurant apocalypse — it's helped them thrive"
Keynesian economics predicts this. As wages among food service industry workers rise, so too do people eat out more, thereby putting those rising wages back into the restaurants.

Woo hoo! The Rachel Maddow Show interviewed House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler tonight and the good ship Impeachment has weighed anchor, the engines are fully steamed up and it's underway!!! With the documents mentioned in this piece below, Congress is getting the evidence it's called for. Nadler expects to vote on articles of impeachment by roughly, approximately the end of this year!

Representative Veronica Escobar was invited to stand with the President as he visited El Paso. She said fine, but she wanted to speak with him first. His response made it clear that she was wanted only as a prop for his visit. What she wanted to say was that when it comes to mass shootings the President is part of the problem!

Maggie Haberman of the NY Times feigns innocence/indignation over blatant hypocrisy by the Times, documented by MSNBC's Joy Reid and others.

The President maintains that his rhetoric "brings people together." I guess that's true, if one reads that in the same way that der Fuhrer did. He also brought people together against the Jews and other "undesirables.

Whoa! Tardigrades, "'water bears' that can survive pretty much any environment — including space" were spilled out on the Moon! Who needs Sci-Fi?

Important to keep in mind that mass shooters are often misogynistic.

Fox News host Sean Hannity proposes "surrounding" schools and shopping malls to protect them from mass shooters. Doing that would require a force far larger than invaded Iraq back in 2003 as there are about 100k public and 35k private schools, along with 116k shopping malls. And remember, many places that have been attacked had armed guards! Yeah, I'd rather just reduce the number of military-style guns in the hands of the public.

I've always regarded Congress' demand for the President's financial information to be such a simple, straightforward, open-and-shut case, the DOJ just disgraced itself by arguing otherwise.

As expected, the whole "Presidential" and "Above the fray" image the Trump Administration was trying to project didn't last very long. Kellyanne Conway is "hopping mad" that apparent liberal sympathies on the part of the Dayton shooter weren't reported on. 

The former president tweets that Americans should: “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.”
For some strange reason [/snark], the current President took offense and regarded that as a personal attack.

The Senate Majority Leader's campaign team says these young men wearing "Team Mitch" t-shirts and molesting a cardboard imgae of AOC are not affiliated with the Senator's re-election campaign. The piece notes that the same young men showed up at a rally with large cardboard heads of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.
BTW, "KY ranks 9th in rate of women murdered by men😓"

NY Times publishes a stupendously, amazing tone-deaf piece:

It remained unclear whether Mr. Trump’s 10-minute remarks, coming after one of the most violent weekends in recent American history, could position him to unify the nation...

The MSNBC show tonight, that replacing both Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, is making it very clear that the President shares a good deal of the blame for the killings of this last weekend. No, his 10-minute speech, read off of a teleprompter,  will NOT "position him to unify the nation."

More on the NY Times piece.

"Philly’s Archbishop Chaput: ‘Only a fool’ can believe gun control will solve mass violence"
First, we're not trying to "solve mas violence," we're trying to limit the damage. And yesh, I notice that the celibate Archbishop blames, first and foremost, a "culture of sexual anarchy." Kinda tells you where his head is at.

President's statement on Twitter:

The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.

Hmm, so if media coverage of the President is making people angry, what kind of coverage is he asking for?!?!?! Yeah, I'm trying to think of my best over-the-top comickal-book style prose that would do justice to North Korean announcers.

Thinkpiece on the latest shootings:

"Trump Claims Deadly El Paso, Dayton Shootings Were Caused By 'Mental Illness'"
One of the contniuing, never-ending,  problems with Republicans blaming mass shootings on mental illness is that if mental illness was the correct diagnosis, why are they then supporting a court case to dismantle the ACA/Obamacare?!?!?!?!

"The House’s top Republican blames video games for mass shootings"
1. Countries like Japan also have violent video games and yet they don't have the same mass shooting problem. Studies show little to no connection between violent video games and violent crimes in real life.
2. Non-shooting games like Mario Brothers and Pokemon are also very popular. From Video Games Chart early October 2019,  I count 46,414,000 shooting video games shipped and 64,090,000 non-shooting games. If there is going to be a moovement to restrict video games, we'd need to distinguish between harmful and non-harmful games.

"Local Politicians Call for Action Following 2 Mass Shootings"
Representative Madeline Dean says:

"While we do not know that any one law or series of laws will eliminate the possibility of a mass shooting, we know that passing commonsense gun reform can reduce the likelihood of mass shootings."

Yeah, I spoke with someone in the anti-war movement who wanted to get Trump into office in order to "heighten the contradictions." Under questioning, he admitted that was a stupid idea.
Trigger warning on this piece: Lots of hate and discontent towards the DSA leadership.

The President's rhetoric on Baltimore is no slip of the toungue. The "invasion" charge is one that he's run in commercials since May of 2018.

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Martinez's post on Sunday evening and declared that by repeatedly using the words "infestation" and "invasion" to address a "specific, targeted group of people," Trump is implying that they are "vermin." "This is the language of white supremacy & it goes all the way to the top," the freshman lawmaker tweeted. "It's not a matter of political stances. This is stoking hatred + endangering the country."

Ronna McDaniel, Chair of the Republican National Committee, says "No thanks to Democrats..." a tax credit of an annual $1k per child was raised to $2k. The tax credit she's talking about was passed during 2017, a time when Democrats were effectively shut out of any control of the government. She also makes a pretty stupendous claim for the credit "lifting...Americans out of poverty." The credit would, at best, lift a child out of food insecurity to where a child could count on regular, nutritious food. Not trivial, but nowhere near as significant as claimed.

"Beto Says Trump Is 'Encouraging' White Supremacist Violence With His Racism"
Beto O’Rourke is right. The President offers useless rhetoric along the lines of "thoughts & prayers" while making rally speeches that encourage more shooters.

"Mulvaney Insists Trump's Rhetoric Can't Be Blamed For El Paso Shooting"
Actually, it can be. The term is "Stochastic Violence." The person who incites the violence is not directing a specific person to commit a specific action, the person committing the violence is not receiving a military-style order. Rather, the person who incites the violence speaks in general terms and the person who commits the violece understands what to do.

It's kind of difficult for the US to make the case in Afghanistan that "We're here to save you" from the Taliban, ISIS, whatever, when the US is actually responsible for more civilian casualties than the "rebel" forces are.

Progress in Saudi Arabia! "Saudi Arabia will allow women over 21 to travel without permission of male guardianship"

12 billion tons of ice melt in Greenland in a single day. Post includes pictures of seawater coming up through the sewers in Miami Beach.

Lengthy, thoughtful piece on the now-discarded INF Treaty.

So, now that the President has attacked Congressman Cummings over urban poverty in Baltimore, what exactly is his policy on urban poverty? Well, developers exactly like him are a big part of the problem and the policies he's proposed are designed with developers like him in mind.

"Varney: Totally Not Racist Trump Only ‘Describing Reality’ Of Baltimore"
A problem with Stuart Varney's case here. Senator Sanders and Representative Cummings describe Baltimore in bad ways so as to set up their proposed solutions for the city. The President was simply bad-mouthing Baltimore in a way that wasn't simply racist, it was highly reminiscent of der Fuhrer talking about der Juden. The President did not and does not have any proposals to try and resolve Baltimore's urban poverty problems.

The 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq were the Western powers and Arab allies against that lone state. If the US goes to war with Iran, it'll be the US versus Iran, period!

After a clearly-unqualified candidate for an, what exactly is his policy on urban poverty?  important federal post drops out of the application process:

Trump says to the press "you vet for me" when he names a candidate for a position, says we save a lot of money that way

See, here's the problem. You really, really need someone with meaningful, relevant experience to run the US Government! It can be as a Representative, Senator or Governor. Lengthy time in the military or as state official works too, but the current President is a cautionary tale of what happens when you move someone who's completely unqualified to the Oval Office. You get someone who believes that it's the media's job to vet the candidates that the President puts forward!!!

And actually, the law is very clear. the President can't just pick whomever he wants for the position of DNI.

"Trump imposes more tariffs on China, but he’s out of ideas. Now China holds the cards."
Two and a half years into the job, the President still has no idea what he's doing.

*Sigh* The President was asked about the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. It was very clear by his answer he had drawn a complete blank on what that event was. Such an embarrassment to our country!

Democrats are solidly opposed to climate change and Governor Jay Inslee gets a lot of credit for that.

Mueller's testimony appears to have really lit a fire underneath a lot of Democrats to impeach the President, but Speaker Pelosi isn't so sure.

President completely dismisses the idea that he's a Russian asset, fueling certainty that he's a Russian asset.

"As Trump denies racism, most Americans don't believe him"
Essentially, if you're a white, non-college educated, Republican man, you're likely to give the President the benefit of the doubt. If you're pretty much anyone else, well, I liked this line:

As a rule, those who don’t have a problem with race find it unnecessary to repeatedly tell skeptics that they don’t have a problem with race.

So how much progress have the Trump appointees made in coming up to the standards of regular bureaucrats and politicians? Trump's people try to claim that HUD Secretary Ben Carson is smart. He may be smart in certain areas but he acts like a bull in a china shop here. He arrogantly assumed he could use a property when the property owner hadn't agreed to let him use it and invited a politician to join without having given the politician more than a few hours advance notice.

Striking parallels between how youthful criminals (who know they're guilty) and the President, who denies global warming, justify their actions.

July                         back to top

This photo is going viral. A young Russian woman (17) calmly reads the Russian constitution that allows peaceful protest. Police stopped, not sure of what to do.

Ex-Fox News military analyst Ralph Peters has some really on-point criticisms to make about the appointment of Representative John Ratcliffe to the position of DNI.
Also, Ratcliffe claims to have played a major role in the terrorism-financing case of the Holy Land Foundation. Funny thing is, neither prosecutors nor defense attorney recall his playing any role at all in that case.

Update: Good! Ratcliffe clearly wasn't qualified for the post. He was a yes-man and a sycophant and that was all the President cared about. Fortunately, looks like others made it clear that the DNI is supposed to be more than that.

During World War II, the Axis Powers considered themselves to be allies. When Japan declared war on the US, Germany followed suit.
After 9/11, the younger George Bush declared Iran, Iraq and North Korea to be an "Axis of Evil." When Bush later invaded Iraq, Iran and North Korea didn't even send messages of sympathy because the "Axis" was nothing more than an American speech-writers fantasy.
Now an American senator has declared yet another "Axis of Evil" and this time, the President is is very clearly not on the same page as he doesn't regard either Russia or North Korea as "evil." So the new declaration is even more stupid and useless than the last one was.

See, here's the problem. Like the President, I'm a white Christian. Are either of us qualified to decide whether we're racist? Of course not. That's like telling a high school student that she's about to take a math test, the test will determine whether she gets into college or not and oh, she gets to grade the test herself. What student in her right mind would not give herself 100%? Of course the President doesn't consider himself racist, he's grading his own test!

A writer at the NY Times admits he made a hash of a statement. Essentially, he felt he was qualified to decide who was a "real" Midwesterner. A blogger agrees that his statement was supremely arrogant and racist.

I dunno, I have lots and lots of comickal book-type conspiracy theories as to why the President pursues the energy policy he does. Convincing answers here. Also, perhaps it's just that combating climate change will require an activist government and right-wingers prefer small, cheap government.

Senator Elizbeth Warren wonders why John Delaney is even bothering to run if nothing can be done.

"Centrist" in this case appears to mean "right-winger." What real and genuine Democrat goes to Fox News to complain about getting his butt kicked in a debate?

Hmm. Yeah, "Republican-lite" is much better term for Delaney.

Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham think that "failed liberal solutions" are really terrible for the nation's urban poor. Hmm, I fear that the 1968 movie Oliver! shows us the sort of solution they'd prefer.

"Marianne Williamson (aka Jill Stein 2.0)" attracted lots of negative attention by people who compare her to the current President.

Comment from a Daily Kos blogger: Williamson: [words to the effect of] "we don’t need political insider game and policy wonk. We need a truth teller."

Blogger: Which, yeah, fine. But we kind of need a person who knows how to do policy and you know, be a politician, to actually govern.

The President claims that anonymous validators are calling his office and praising him for...well, it's not exactly clear what. But those unknown African-Americans sure do appreciate him and praise him to the skies.

"This is how America's Afghanistan War ends-- Not with a Bang but with a Mess"
A thinkpiece on how war in Afghanistan might end.

"Trump shrugs at North Korean missile tests, evidence of growing threat"
Sure, what else can the President do? Admit that his whole North Korea strategy is a complete bust?

A speech by the Senate Majority Leader where he never quite gets around to addressing WHY Democrats and Republicans are so divided on election-security bills. Might be because Republicans do better when there's a light turn-out. Might be because Republicans are counting on Russian interference because they know which party the Russians favor.

As Antifa is in the news, I looked up the ADL definition of it. While all sorts of white supremacists and Trump supporters (including the shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival) are responsible for hundreds of murders, Antifa has not been charged with any. As Antifa is not an organized group, whether someone is a member is a highly controversial question.

"Michele Bachmann: Trump is without a doubt ‘the most biblical president I’ve ever seen’"
Michele Bachmann never defines "Biblical" or "Godly" except to say that the President is pro-Israel.

At around this time (July 29th), the President could very easily have made his signing of the 9/11 First Responders bill a bipartisan affair. He couldn't find a way to include a single Democrat, even though the problem in getting the bill through was mostly due to obstruction by the President's own party. Sorry, but I don't see how this President fits any definition of "Biblical" where it seems to be perfectly okay to snub the opposition party in what should have been a bipartisan celebration!

"National intelligence director will resign; Trump picks conspiracy-promoting loyalist as replacement"
The proposed DNI replacement is an extremely unimpressive figure, given to wild conspiracy theories that fly on Fox News, but not in any serious forum.

"Four dead, including suspect, and at least 15 hurt after shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival"
Problem with the "good guy with a gun" theory is that criminal assaults tend to happen very quickly. The police were nearby and engaged in less than a minute. But the shooter was still able to kill and wound over a dozen people in all.
BTW, the shooter didn't smuggle the gun into the festival, he crossed a creek and then cut through a fence.

Wow! President's just going full-fledged Nazi on us! Mildly surprised he doesn't just use terms like untermensch.

President Trump tweeted that Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district is a “rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

"‘INFEST’ — The Ugly Nazi History of Trump’s Chosen Verb"

The President states in his twitter feed on the district of Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings that Baltimore is "FAR WORSE and more dangerous" than the US-Mexican border is.
Hmm, how dangerous is that? In April of this year, a Fox News reporter was mocked and scorned because he wore a bulletproof vest to make a report there. As a commenter remarked:

Nota bene: There has never, ever been any requirement or need to wear a flak jacket at the US-Mexico border, and nobody's ever heard of a reporter doing so at any time.

So there appear to be many misconceptions about the state of the US-Mexico border to begin with.

Heh! The former POTUS & FLOTUS make it very clear they do not share the President's low opinion of Baltimore!

Representative Ted Lieu brings out the really essential answers from the Mueller hearing. More on why the House is moving towards impeachment.

Also: "The reports of impeachment's death have been greatly exaggerated"

The Attorney General has believed, wrongly, for 30 years that the death penalty is a deterrent. This is a long-debunked viewpoint.

"In a blow to Trump, auto manufacturers reach deal with California"
An example of liberal capitalism. It helps auto companies financially to be able to ignore pollution controls, but the companies also recognized that humanity as a whole benefits when they all observe the same limits.

Judge Napolitano of Fox News gives us much wisdom (!) on hate speech coming from people with authority. The official term is "The fish rots from the head."

Yep! Absolutely perfect encapsulation as to how Warren and Sanders approach problems and suggest solutions!

Warren: “I have a plan to build 3.2 million housing units.”
Sanders: “We’re going to tell the developers you just can’t come in and build expensive condos and drive working class people out."

The NY Tims is actually making the problem of racism worse by continually describing racists as honest, hard-working salt o' the earth types.

Good! Governor of Puerto Rico resigns! This follows many large street protests.

The amazingly tight-lipped and leak-free Special Counsel's office is accused of leaks. The list that was provided to substantiate this accusation is very weak on evidence that any of the alleged leaks actually came from the Special Counsel's office.

"Jeffrey Epstein Reportedly Found Injured In Jail Cell
Not at all clea whether he was assaulted or whether injuries were self-inflicted.

The Senate Majority Leader demonstrates that he just doesn't give a rat's ass when it comes to, y'know, doing his job!!! His job is to determine whether continuing to mine coal is preferable to moving our energy supplies to renewables (wind, solar, etc.) and he clearly just can't be bothered.

We get live testimony from Rober Meller on his report. Big takeaway of the day so far is that a Republican asked Mueller if the President could be charged after he leave office. Mueller replied that was an affirmative.After Robert Mueller's testimony,

"Trump Yells 'Fake News,' Hurls Personal Insults At Female Reporter For Quoting Mueller Testimony"
Heh! The President hollers: "Read [Mueller's] correction."
There is no correction. Mueller got it right the first time that the President could be charged after he leaves office. There is no correction to be made on that.

Here's yer quick, concise, made-for-sharing clip saying in effect that "Yes, the President is guilty of leading a band of crooks in subverting our elections for the lowest and meanest of motives."

Hard to see why anyone would characterize the hearing as being good for the President.

The fellow who had mailed pipe bombs to 65 liberals last October, claims it's not his fault. He was radicalized by the President and Republican Party.

As the blogger points out, the public does not agree that this President has been good for race relations. Also, the NAACP recently offered a chance for him to speak in front of them. He was under the impression he could show up, give a speech and then leave, but they made it clear they wanted to ask questions. This president who boasts of having great relations with the African-American community, chickened out and refused their invitation.

Hilarious video! A fairly nerdy senator gets questioned a "tracker" and the tracker ends up looking ridiculous.

"Senate passes 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, not unanimously"
Good! The 9/11 survivors bill is finally passed, no thanks to two idiot senators.

Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker. European Union didn't offer any words of support. US and UK are on their own when it comes to challenging Iranian naval actions.

This appears to provide an answer as to why the Trump Administration is so dead-set against doing anything about climate change. Doing something about that would require an activist government that would spend lots of money. That's obviously not compatible with slashing expenditures. Of course, the Kansas experiment with slashing government expenditures (2012-2016) was an utter and absolute disaster.

The Kansas disaster, from NPR:

Revenues shrank, and the economy grew more slowly than in neighboring states and the country as a whole. Kansas' bond rating plummeted, and the state cut funding to education and infrastructure.

President endorses an agreemet on a two-year budget deal that raises debt ceiling for two years.

"Fox And Friends Very Upset Sunday Talk Shows Discussed Racist 'Send Her Back' Chants
Fox & Friends ignore the fact that a rally is not a policy speech that's devoted to facts, figures and a clear argument. The whole point of a rally is just to get the crowd excited. Yes, the President's whole speech was an hour and a half, but it's entirely appropriate to focus on the "Send her back" chant as that was a truly newsworthy part of the rally.

"Trump Brags He'd Win Afghanistan War In A Week If It Was 'Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth'
President essentially brags that he could use nuclear weapons and be done with the Afghanistam problem in short order. There's an historical precent for that. In 146 BCE, Rome had fought three wars with Carthage, the Second one being an especially lengthy and costly one. Rome responded to their victory in the Third war by leveling all of the buildings, salting the fields so that nothing could grow and selling all of the inhabitants into slavery. But as Afghanistan poses no national security threat to the US, why would anyone with even a lick of common sense even suggest such an uttrely barbaric thing? Why not simply leave that country?

At the 5:55 mark, Stephen Miller says that the Republican Party under this president is a believer in the rule of law. I mean...whu-u-uut?!?!?! This president has done everything possible not to respect the rule of law!!! Ever single day, we're hearing about things like Kellyannne Conway flipping off people for trying to enforce the Hatch Act, former aide Hope Hicks declaring that she can't testify about whole areas under some made-up theory of "absolute immunity" from having to testify to Congress, all kinds of questions about how the Trump Administration has tried to jam a plainly discriminatory question into the 2020 Census, etc., etc.

Representative Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says the President had “'violated the law six ways from Sunday' before and during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe."

A look back at the Moon landing of 50 years ago (July 18th).
Also" "27 Pictures That Will Change Your Perspective Of The Moon Landing"

Cool group photo of surviving Apollo astronauts. More, including some NSFW references at the end.

See, this is what amazes me. Followers of the President talk about his "accomplishments in office." I was a history major in college and a sailor for about a decade. He has zero foreign policy accomplishments! His North Korea policy consists of splashy photo-ops and...that's it! His Iran policy has moved the US backwards to where we're less safe than before, etc.

Aww! The poor President! [/snark] He wanted to just come onto the stage, give a speech and leave. The audience wanted to [shudder] ask him questions!!! What do they think? He's the president of all the people or just of white, straight evangelicals?

*Sigh* Does the President have any idea what the "debt ceiling" is?

"Trump says the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone, Iran says it didn't, and the whole mess … is a mess"
Well, that's an absolutely fascinating response! Iran denies that their drone was shot down!

So much news, the blog just does a "News Dump" piece.
Excellent Seth Myers piece.
To Germany's Angela Merkel - Hoo yah!
The conversation between the President and the Yazidi woman is shocking, not because the President is at all rude or impolite to her, but because he clearly hasn't been briefed on her story.
Yeah, Ivanka Trump doesn't even try to pretend that she's any sort of restraining influence on her father anymore.
Senator Rand Paul has no idea how to deal with reporters who have legitimate questions and refers the fellow to a Fox News interview that the fellow has already seen.

More on Ivanka: She keeps trying to put herself into the news as a hidden voice of reason or brave (undercover) voice of dissent. Problem is, she's about the most useless, meaningless flyweight irrelevancy ever! Whenever a tough issue comes up, she goes invisible.

Ah, poor Senator Rand Paul! So misunderstood about the appropriation for 9-11 First Responders! [/snark] Hmm, funny, but Senator Paul says there was a Pay-For in the initial draft of the big tax-cut-for-the-rich bill. Never knew that, probably because everyone knew it was a complete joke that we'd find some way to pay for a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

Representative Elijah Cummings made it very clear that he was very disappointed with how the Department of Homeland Security cares for the people it detains.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell comments on the Presidents' accusation against four Congresswomen of color. McConnell takes issue with the idea that Trump made a racist attack on them. McConnell presents the attack as a mere political disagreement. Problem is, the President's attack was so clearly racist, it's spelled out in discrimination law.

Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, “Go back to where you came from.”

Which is pretty much exactly what the President said.

"The Mythical Moderating Influence"
Did the Vice-President and/or the acting Chief of Staff let the President know that his speech was a PR disaster? Most probably, yes. Did Ivanka or Melania play any role in letting the President know his speech went too far? I find that very, very highly unconvincing.

Well, for a little while the President at least pretended he was against people chanting about sending a sitting Congresswoman "back."

Representative Ilhan Omar gives us words of wisdom about what true patriotism really means.

"Jeffrey Epstein Denied Bail in Child Sex-Trafficking Case"
Was Epstein a flight risk?

At the time of his arrest, investigators found piles of cash, dozens of diamonds and an expired Austrian passport, with Epstein’s picture and a different name, in a safe in his Manhattan home.

Hmm, yeah, I think so.

Describing the President at a rally:

Trump, alluding to Democratic congresswoman of color, says they "want to demolish our constitution, weaken our military, eliminate the values that built this magnificent country." The crowd boos them loudly.

Trump fans eventually break out in "send her back!" chants directed toward Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who serves in Congress who Trump viciously smeared.

Soledad O'Brien weighs in:

This is racist. If you’re chanting this, you’re a racist. If you’re a journalist asking white people if this is racist—you’re an idiot.

"Trump Tries To Distance Himself From 'Send Her Back' Chant At Rally"
“'I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,' Trump told reporters in the Oval Office."
Bit of a problem with the President's explanation is that a video of him at the rally shows him with a pleased and satisfied grin and him waiting until the chant stopped before continuing.

"Controversial agency relocation slammed as attack on science by lawmakers, employees"
The Rachel Maddow Show has been focusing on this story quite a bit. *Sigh* Once, the US was a scientific superpower. Now, that lead is fast disappearing.

Thanks to Jon Stewart and company for responding to Senator Paul's game-playing today and gotta give kudos to Fox News for giving him a platform from which to speak! As for Senator Paul, I just have no words that are adequate to convey my deep disgust for him.

Senator Paul attempts to defend himself.

The comedian Jon Stewart used to run an occasional segment "Evil or Stupid?"

"Trump continues racist attacks on non-white congresswomen: 'If they want to leave, they can leave'"
Hmm. Dunno. Hard call here,

"Trump says he’s not concerned about being racist because "many people agree" with him"
Shorter President Trump: "Hey, there are a lot of racists in the US!"

"Pelosi draws Republican fire for calling Trump's racist tweets racist"
Actually, there really IS a House rule saying you can't call the President a racist. Problem is, he clearly is one. Republicans can't afford to let there be any daylight between them and the President, though.

Representative Liz Cheney demonstrates the strength of the Democratic case by saying a number of false things about Democrats.

US criticizes how China treats Uighurs. Problem is, US has such a small and degraded moral profile these days that Chinese is easily able to push back.

The President's Twitter account is declared a public forum and not his personal property, which limits what he can do with it. Removing people from it is one thing he can't do.

Update: Apparently, he's still blocking people from it.

"BREAKING: Judge Blocks DOJ Legal Team Shake Up In New York Census Case"
Good! This is very, very excellent news for the Census case! The Trump Administration is going down in flames over this!

The President wonders why the judge in the census question case "won’t let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use. Could this be a first?" Erm, the judge won't permit the Justice Department to do a wholesale replacement of their legal team in the middle of the case. Not the same thing at all.

"Why Trump's census surrender is such a 'humiliating defeat'"
It didn't have to be. Back during 2005, the younger George Bush undertook a project that he didn't have an electoral mandate for, to re-do Social Security. It was a political disaster for him. Y'know why no one remembers it as a disaster for him? Because when it was clear that it was going nowhere, he said "(eff) it!" and moved to the next project. The current President isn't that smart and turns a setback into a major cluster%$@#.

Uuh...whut?!?!?! "Statement from the Press Secretary | The White House"
"The Iranian regime took action today to increase its uranium enrichment. It was a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level."

*Sigh* No, it was a mistake to violate the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and to then insist on unrealistic conditions to reinstate it. The new Pres Secretary isn't any improvement over the old one. This one just couldn't care less about even trying to make a logical case. "There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms." My head hurts trying to even guess what that's supposed to mean!
Stephanie Grisham also claims "Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action." But the policy of maximum pressure has been tried for a while and has rather spectacularly failed!!! Y'know "Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result each time."

"U.S. seeks a Congress-approved deal with Iran, says Trump envoy"
It would certainly have been nice to have gotten Congressional approval for the nuclear deal with Iran back in 2015, but getting that approval at that time simply wasn't possible as Republicans were opposing everything the Obama Administration did, period.

"Rep. Rashida Tlaib On Detention Centers: 'Traumatic' And 'Inhumane'"
Martha Raddatz and Fox News interviewed two people with ICE and Homeland Security. Gotta say, they're smooth, professional and accomplished liars. Representative Tlaib brings fire to the subject of imprisoned migrants! Also, if conditions were actually so nice for migrants, why were no reporters able to access the detention centers?

The President and his people push back strongly on reports of horrendous conditions, but they're pitting their word against very considerable evidence.

"Trump blames teleprompter for Revolutionary War 'airports' flub

As prt of his July 4th speech, the President described the military situation in 1775: "Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket's red glare it had nothing but victory."

Many years ago, President Bill Clinton was giving a speech and realized that the wrong speech had been loaded into the TelePrompTer. He said "Oh, okay" and winged it, He knew enough about the subject to give a reasonable approximation of what he was going to say anyway. No, it is absolutely NO excuse to say it's the fault of anybody but the person giving the speech.

From Axios:

President Trump is considering an executive order to try to move forward with the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Says a senior administration official: "We didn’t come this far just to throw in the towel."

But that's exactly what you're supposed to do! When you've litigated a question all the way to the Supreme Court and tell them that the absolute drop-dead deadline was last Friday and then you lost your case, you're supposed to "throw in the towel"! These people have no idea what "rules" and "deadlines" mean.

Israelis are actively hiding archives about the Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe") of 1948, when Palestinians were expelled from what is now Israel.

Lou "Never heard a shot fired in anger" Dobbs calls generals "Snowflakes" because they were unenthusiastic about moving military equipment for an obvious campaign stunt.
I protested the Iraq War several months before it began and give the military zero blame for anything that went wrong there. The younger George Bush and Cheney deserve ALL of the blame!!!

Sounds as though nobody missed very much by not watching the President's rally. The stations that skipped live coverage of it appear to have made a sound financial decision. Up in Philadelphia? I had an umbrella with me and opened it up twice, but the rain was never all that heavy.

The blogger details the complete and utter cluster$%#@ that was this President's July 4th. Bonus: Bette Midler adds a few words plus several responses to critics.

Cool video here! As the blogger says: "This was a nice, if brief, reminder of how America was built, spoiler alert, it wasn’t all white dudes…this museum is on my list of places to see."

From Fox News: "Harry Kazianis: Trump haters wrong to criticize him for Fourth of July celebration"
"However, any conservative knows by now that anything involving President Trump is a triggering event to the left – and that’s a real shame."
What's "triggering" me is the unnecessary and wasteful addition of military hardware into what has normally been a day of picnics and music and civilian celebrations. I also find it highly offensive that the Republican National Committee gets tickets to distribute while the Democratic National Committee gets none. Why is making July 4th a partisan holiday something to cheer?

In some extremely good news today, the Census will forward without the question that the Trump Administration was trying to add to it!

"Trump Posts Cryptic Tweet On Citizenship Question Just As DOJ Backs Down For 2020" *Sigh* The President has no idea how to lose gracefully!

"BREAKING: DOJ Says It's Been 'Instructed' To Try To Get Citizenship Question Back On Census"

Extensive thinkpiece on what it means that strip clubs are going cashless. One of the problems is then the establishment gets a cut of the tips that customers used to offer directly to the dancers.

Not that I've ever personally known someone from Alabama, but if anyone from there ever tells you that Alabamans aren't all stupid, point this law out to them. Thankfully, it's now been repealed, but we've known for a few years now that Alabama had a law that gave sheriffs the ability to set the food budget for prison inmates and to profit from any excess! Can you imagine a more blatant conflict of interest that's more explicitly designed to lead to hungry inmates?!?!!?

More idiocy from the same state:  A woman who was shot was being held legally responsible for the death of her fetus. I gues the theory was that she said to herself "Hey, I think I'll get myself an abortion via getting shot!

John Bolton, the National Security Adviser, was left to fume and sputter in Mongolia while Jared, Ivanka and Tucker Carlson of Fox News went along to the North Korean border. These visits usually take weeks to plan, this one was clearly put together very rapidly. Not surprisingly, it didn't produce much in the way of actual diplomacy.

Wall Street Journal asks: “Democrats march in lockstep with the left. What are they offering voters who backed Trump in 2016?"
Hmm, gee, I don't know! [/snark] Basic sanity. Fundamental competence. A meaningful level of adherence to custom and tradition. Maybe when Congress subpoenas an official, the President and his people won't resist in a fanatical, scorched-earth manner. well. Far too much "Both Sides."