Friday Reads: Scumbag Blues

Good Afternoon Sky ancers!

The New York Times pinged me with this choice morsel this morning!  I don’t often quote malicious dictators, but when I do, I make certain it’s because they are colluding with what has slunk in to the oval office on the wings of vultures and their obviously brain dead carrion.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Thursday with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. President Trump said he looked forward to a second summit meeting with Mr. Putin “so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed.

Let me just remind you of a quote yesterday.  This one being from the Director of Intelligence, former Indiana Senator Dan Coates.

Coats made it clear he was totally in the dark about Trump’s meeting with Putin: “I don’t know what happened in that meeting. I think as time goes by and the President has already mentioned some of the things that happened in that meeting, I think we will learn more. But that is the President’s prerogative.”

He also said Trump hadn’t asked him for advice before the meeting: “If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted, I would have suggested a different way, but that’s not my role. That’s not my job. So it is what it is.”

He made clear he had no doubt about the Russian President’s role in the country’s interference efforts. “I think anybody who thinks that Vladimir Putin doesn’t have his stamp on everything that happens in Russia is misinformed,” he said.

We should all just mail our pass codes the Russian Federation Spy Agency and hang it up. He’s selling us out.

So, the debate continues over if KKKremlin Caligula is malevolent towards the United States and commiting Treason, so stupid he doesn’t get that what he’s doing is commiting Treason against the United States, or that his fee fees and self-identity cause him to commit Treason against the United States because he’s just one big raging malignant narcissist who can’t get beyond his Id.

Why?  And a bigger WTF is the behavior of elected Republicans and their shrinking, ever-more-stupid base of religious extremists and angry white men.

Does it even do any good to ask Why anymore when the germane question is how do we get the fuck out of this assuming Republicans are the party of Enablers.

‘Why the President is so nice to Putin, even when Putin might not want him to be?’   Adam Parker–writing for the New Yorker–interviewed Keith Darden, an international-relations professor at American University who has studied the Russian use of kompromat and believes Trump acts like one of its targets.

But, Darden explained to me, kompromat is routinely used throughout the former Soviet Union to curry favor, improve negotiated outcomes, and sway opinion. Intelligence services, businesspeople, and political figures everywhere exploit gossip and damaging information. However, Darden argues, kompromat has a uniquely powerful role in the former Soviet Union, where the practice is so pervasive, he coined the term “blackmail state” to describe the way of governance.

Kompromat can be a single, glaring example of wrongdoing, recorded by someone close to the Kremlin and then used to control the bad actor. It can be proof of an embarrassing sex act. Darden believes it is unlikely that sexual kompromat would be effective on Trump. Allegations of sexual harassment, extramarital affairs, and the payment of hush money to hide indiscretions have failed to significantly diminish the enthusiasm of Trump’s core supporters. But another common form of kompromat—proof of financial crimes—could be more politically and personally damaging.

Trump has made a lot of money doing deals with businesspeople from the former Soviet Union, and at least some of these deals bear many of the warning signs of money laundering and other financial crimes. Deals in Toronto, Panama, New York, and Miami involved money from sources in the former Soviet Union who hid their identities through shell companies and exhibited other indications of money laundering. In the years before he became a political figure, Trump acted with impunity, conducting minimal corporate due diligence and working with people whom few other American businesspeople would consider fit partners. During that period, he may have felt protected by the fact that U.S. law-enforcement officials rarely investigate or prosecute Americans who engage in financial crimes overseas. Such cases are also maddeningly difficult to prove, and the F.B.I. has no subpoena power in other countries. If, however, someone had evidence that proved financial crimes and shared it with, say, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, other American law-enforcement officials, or the press, it could significantly damage Trump’s business, his family, and his Presidency.

There is already inkles of kompromat coming from the Michael Cohen camp today.  It’s the the Trump paid off hookers sort of evidence that is sitting in the busy hands of the Mueller team. Trump beat the “grab ’em by the pussy” revelation easily so it’s unlikely the kind of thing that triggers Trump.

Investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen that include then-candidate Donald Trump talking about making a payment to a former Playboy model, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.

The recordings were found as part of the raid on Michael Cohen’s home office and hotel carried out earlier this year in New York, the sources told ABC News.

The New York Times first reported the news of the recordings.

The Playboy model in question is reportedly Karen McDougal, who has previously claimed that she had an affair with Trump. The White House previously denied McDougal’s claims.

Cohen is under criminal investigation by New York federal prosecutors in a case that’s separate from the one that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing.

Sources said that investigators were looking into Cohen’s personal business dealings as well as those with Trump’s alleged mistresses and media organizations as well as the 2016 campaign.

Guiliani is talking about it so who knows if it really bugs the Hair Furor?

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed payments to Ms. McDougal with Mr. Cohen on the tape. He said the recording was less than two minutes long and claimed that the president had done nothing wrong.

Mr. Giuliani said there was no indication on the tape that Mr. Trump knew before the conversation about the payment from the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., to Ms. McDougal.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said.

The men discussed a payment from Mr. Trump to Ms. McDougal — separate from the Enquirer payment — to buy her story and ensure her silence, Mr. Giuliani said. That payment was never made, Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had told Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, to write a check rather than send cash, so it could be properly documented.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording as part of their review of the seized materials and shared it with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

What did trigger D’oh Drumpfen Fuhrer was Dan Coates, Andrea Mitchell, and audience uttering nervously laughs over the news that no one has debriefed the two people at the Helsinki “Spy going home to his Master” Summit.

“Coats has gone rogue,” one senior White House official told the Post.

The optics are particularly damaging. Coats appears to be laughing at the president, along with an audience of intellectual elites. Plus, since the moment is only 35 seconds long, it’s likely to get a lot of play tomorrow on cable news — a venue Trump is obsessed with.

Thus, White House aides are worried that Trump will see the remark as a personal betrayal, which he cares far more about than the scandals that plague many staffers. Axios reported that sources close to Trump are “already speculating about whether Trump ends up firing Coats. Per a source with knowledge, Trump has never had much affection for Coats.”

Firing Coats, a respected two-time Republican senator from Indiana who tends to stay out of the headlines, would turn the Helsinki debacle into an even bigger scandal (though it’s hard to imagine most Republican lawmakers doing anything to counter Trump).

For what it’s worth, Coats suggested that he wants to stay on the job, and the interview wasn’t some effort to provoke Trump into firing.

“Are there days when you think, ‘Well, what am I doing?’ Yeah,” he said, when asked if he’s ever considered resigning. “But there’s lot more days saying, “You know, the mission here is critical. And to be able to be a part of it, be able to feel like you’re giving something back to your country — it’s a reward … As long as I’m able to have the ability to seek the truth and speak the truth, I’m on board.”

Still, we have to ask the big question:  WTF is wrong with Republicans?  What are they all covering up and why? Michelle Goldberg answers the question.

Perhaps, rather than covering for Trump, some Republicans are covering for themselves.

Last Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, indicted 12 members of Russian military intelligence for their interference in the 2016 election. The indictment claims that in August 2016, Guccifer 2.0, a fictitious online persona adopted by the Russian hackers, “received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress.” The Russian conspirators obliged, sending “the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.” Congress has, so far, done nothing discernible to find out who this candidate might be.

Then, on Monday, we learned of the arrest of Maria Butina, who is accused of being a Russian agent who infiltrated the National Rifle Association, the most important outside organization in the Republican firmament. Legal filings in the case outline a plan to use the N.R.A. to push the Republican Party in a more pro-Russian direction.

Butina, 29, appears to have worked for Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician linked to organized crime who is the target of U.S. sanctions. She developed a romantic relationship with Paul Erickson, a conservative operative close to the N.R.A. (Court filings cite evidence it was insincere on her part.) Erickson, in turn, wrote to a Trump adviser in May 2016 about using the N.R.A. to set up a back channel to the Kremlin.

The young Russian woman clearly understood the political significance of the N.R.A. In one email, court papers say, she described the central “place and influence” of the N.R.A. in the Republican Party. Through her pro-gun activism, she became a fixture of the conservative movement and was photographed with influential Republican politicians. A Justice Department filing quotes Torshin as comparing her to another young, famous Russian agent: “You have upstaged Anna Chapman. She poses with toy pistols, while you are being published with real ones.”

If the N.R.A. as an organization turns out to be compromised, it would shake conservative politics to its foundation. And this is no longer a far-fetched possibility. “I serve on both the Intelligence Committee and the Finance Committee,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, told me. “So I have a chance to really look at this through the periscope of both committees. And what I have wondered about for some time is this whole issue of whether the N.R.A. is getting subverted as a Russian asset.”

The events of the last week or so are convincing Russiagate skeptics even. Something is desperately wrong here.  This is Blake Hounshell writing for Politico.

And why does Trump inevitably return to questioning the irrefutable evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election? We can dispense with the explanation, conveyed anonymously by senior administration officials, that “his brain can’t process that collusion and cyberattacks are two different things.” We can also forget about the widely held theory that he views the various Russia investigations as a threat to the legitimacy of his election, and therefore a devastating blow to his sense of self-worth.

Or, at least, neither offers a sufficient explanation for why Trump consistently parrots Russian talking points on NATO, the American media, U.S. troop deployments, Ukraine and the legitimacy of the postwar liberal order. What does any of that have to do with his tender ego? Do we really think Trump has an informed position on, say, Montenegro’s history of aggression? Could Trump find Montenegro on a map?

Nor is it credible to point to actions his administration has taken that are “tough on Russia.” Trump has questioned proposals to supply the Ukrainian government with anti-tank missiles and sniped at Congress for wanting to impose fresh sanctions on Moscow.

What about my argument that Trump was constitutionally incapable of keeping a secret? That, too, is no longer operative. Since I first wrote, we’ve learned that Trump—a skinflint who once had his own charity pay a $7 fee to register his son for the Boy Scouts—was willing to shell out $130,000 of his own money to hush up a fling with a porn actress, Stormy Daniels. And he still hasn’t copped to sleeping with her, despite the discovery of their nondisclosure agreement and contemporaneous evidence that the affair really happened. None of this leaked out until well after the election, proving that Trump is indeed capable of keeping his yap shut when he wants. Not convinced? How about the fact that Brett Kavanaugh’s name didn’t leak out as Trump’s latest Supreme Court pick until minutes before the announcement?

The FT has even drug out the decayed old Kissinger to scare us. This from a lunchtime interview with Edward Luce.

We are both drinking Badoit sparkling water, which Kissinger has specifically requested. I sense I am losing my battle to get him on to Trump — or failing to detect his hidden message. Is he saying we are underestimating Trump — that, in fact, Trump may be doing us the unacknowledged service of calming the Russian bear? Again, there is a pause before Kissinger answers. “I don’t want to talk too much about Trump because at some point I should do it in a more coherent way than this,” Kissinger replies. But you are being coherent, I protest. Please don’t stop. There is another pregnant silence. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.”

By now Kissinger has abandoned his halfhearted stabs at the fish. I know he has briefed Trump. He has also met Putin on 17 occasions. He reports the contents of those meetings to Washington, he tells me. I try a different tack. To whom does Trump compare in history, I ask. This also fails to do the trick. Kissinger goes off on a tour d’horizon of the health of European diplomacy

 

 

I got a bad case of the Scumbag Blues.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Advertisements

Wednesday Reads: Oops Fukkit

I didn’t realize that today was Wednesday…

Here are a few cartoons:

To quote the director of national intelligence when he found out Trump invited the president of a hostile foreign power to the White House, “Say that again!?” • #putinwhitehouse #whitehouse #whitehouseinvitation #dni #directorofnationalintelligence #dancoats #saythatagain #foxinthehenhouse #henhouse #treasonoustrump #traitorinchief #whitehousevisit #trumpputin #editorialillustration #illustrator #digitalart

A post shared by Slyngstad Political Cartoons (@slyngstad_cartoons) on

After the Trump/Putin meeting in Helsinki, it is abundantly clear that Trump is an arm of the Kremlin. Any doubts there used to be are gone. The Trump dump hit the fan. • #treason #traitor #traitor45 #traitortrump #trumptreason #treasonoustrump #peepeetape #steeledossier #blackmail #trumpcolluded #collusion #mueller #muellerprobe #russiagate #shithitthefan

A post shared by Slyngstad Political Cartoons (@slyngstad_cartoons) on

Vladimir Putin occupies his second office. #Putin #Trump #Helsinki #OvalOffice #WhiteHouse #democracy #Russia

A post shared by Signe Wilkinson (@signewilk) on

If Trump were president in 1987, the Berlin Wall would still be standing. He would’ve sided with Gorbachev. • #surrendersummit #treasonsummit #treasonoustrump #trumpputin #trumppuppet #putinspuppet #trumpputinsummit #electionhacking #impeachtrump #impeach45 #impeachtrumpnow #impeach45now #threattonationalsecurity #foreignanddomestic

A post shared by Slyngstad Political Cartoons (@slyngstad_cartoons) on

First sketchbook pass on Helsinki Summit. #Helsinki #Putin #Trump

A post shared by Signe Wilkinson (@signewilk) on

Daily Drawing 597 – July 17th, 2018 Clown Card 20 "T is for Treason" Sean C. Jones @seancjonesart https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/07/16/republican-lawmakers-call-trump-putin-meeting-shameful/788752002/ https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/07/16/trump-traitor/irG5qZscfaHd4oy6yc4r2L/story.html http://thehill.com/homenews/397231-dictionarycom-shares-definition-of-traitor-after-trump-press-conference-with-putin https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/16/politics/john-mccain-statement-trump-putin-summit/index.html #dailydrawing #artofscjones #scj #seancjonesart #dumptrump #unamerican #trumpracist #traitor #treason #conman #demagogue #misogynist #liarinchief #votedemocrat #freepress #creep #spoiledbrat #sexist #moralsnotpolitics #vegasstrong #vegas #lasvegas #lasvegasart #tippyelvisartcollective

A post shared by Sean C. Jones (@seancjonesart) on

This is an open thread.


Thursday Reads: “The United States faces a national-security emergency” — David Frum

Baby reading for an apple, Mary Cassatt

Good Morning!!

I’m not too with it this morning. My mother is in the hospital and we still don’t know what is wrong with her. A few days ago, she started feeling weak and tired and she suddenly was unable to tie her shoes. Her blood pressure has been too high and her oxygen levels are too low. At the hospital the physical therapist found that her left hand wasn’t working properly, so that might explain the shoe-tying problem.

Whatever is wrong, it doesn’t seem to be life-threatening, because she has had all kinds of tests that have so far shown nothing wrong. She had an MRI yesterday and today they are going to check for blockage in her carotid artery she will work more with the physical therapist. A neurologist told my sister and my niece that she doesn’t think it’s serious, but they still don’t understand why her blood pressure is so high.

Anyway, I’ve been very anxious about Mom, and between that and the Trump madness. I can’t really think straight.

So what’s happening in the news today?

Mother and child, by Mitra Shadfar

I’m sure you’ve heard about the shocking story that broke in The New York Times last night: From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered.

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

So Trump saw specific information proving that Vladimir Putin ordered the interference into our election to help him win, and he has spent his entire administration so far attempting to cover up for what his buddy Putin did.

The Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, held at Trump Tower, was a prime example. He was briefed that day by John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director; James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence; and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of United States Cyber Command.

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was also there; after the formal briefing, he privately told Mr. Trump about the “Steele dossier.” That report, by a former British intelligence officer, included uncorroborated salacious stories of Mr. Trump’s activities during a visit to Moscow, which he denied.

The briefing revealed that a highly sensitive source close to Putin had provided information.

Mother and child, Pablo Picasso, 1901

According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence officials described the streams of intelligence that convinced them of Mr. Putin’s role in the election interference.

They included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence services. Officers of the Russian intelligence agency formerly known as the G.R.U. had plotted with groups like WikiLeaks on how to release the email stash.

And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.

That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified.

Instead, to keep the information from being shared widely, Mr. Brennan sent reports from the source to Mr. Obama and a small group of top national security aides in a separate, white envelope to assure its security.

Mr. Trump and his aides were also given other reasons during the briefing to believe that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hacks.

I was exhausted last night and fell asleep early. I woke up about 3:30AM and check Twitter. A number of people were saying that this story was likely leaked to the NYT in response to Trump’s performance in Helsinki and afterwards and that the highly placed source must have been burned–possibly by Trump–or the story would not have been leaked.

No one except the interpreters knows what Trump gave away to Putin during their more than two hour meeting in Helsinki, and now Russia is claiming Trump and Putin made a number of deals.

The Washington Post: As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity.

Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved.

Delfina Flores Y Su Sobrina Modesta, Diego Rivera

“Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.

But officials at the most senior levels across the U.S. military, scrambling since Monday to determine what Trump may have agreed to on national security issues in Helsinki, had little to no information Wednesday.

At the Pentagon, as press officers remained unable to answer media questions about how the summit might impact the military, the paucity of information exposed an awkward gap in internal administration communications. The uncertainty surrounding Moscow’s suggestion of some sort of new arrangement or proposal regarding Syria, in particular, was striking because Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, is scheduled to brief reporters on Syria and other matters Thursday.

This is interesting:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not attend Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting with Trump and has not appeared in public this week or commented on the summit.

One thing Trump and Putin apparently discussed was allowing Russia to question 11 American citizens, including former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

The Washington Post: Outrage erupts over Trump-Putin ‘conversation’ about letting Russia interrogate ex-U.S. diplomat Michael McFaul.

At this week’s summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed what President Trump described as an “incredible offer” — the Kremlin would give special counsel Robert S. Mueller III access to interviews with Russians who were indicted after they allegedly hacked Democrats in 2016. In return, Russia would be allowed to question certain U.S. officials it suspects of interfering in Russian affairs.

One of those U.S. officials is a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, a nemesis of the Kremlin because of his criticisms of Russia’s human rights record.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to rule out the Kremlin’s request to question McFaul and other Americans. Asked during the daily press briefing whether Trump is open to the idea of having McFaul questioned by Russia, Sanders said President Trump is “going to meet with his team” to discuss the offer.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

The Daily Beast: U.S. Officials ‘at a Fucking Loss’ Over Latest Russia Sellout.

Sunshine Mother And Child, by Shijun Munns

Current and former American diplomats are expressing disgust and horror over the White House’s willingness to entertain permitting Russian officials to question a prominent former U.S. ambassador.

One serving diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was “at a fucking loss” over comments that can be expected to chill American diplomacy in hostile or authoritarian countries – a comment echoed by former State Department officials as well.

“It’s beyond disgraceful. It’s fundamentally ignorant with regard to how we conduct diplomacy or what that means. It really puts in jeopardy the professional independence of diplomats anywhere in the world, if the consequence of their actions is going to be potentially being turned over to a foreign government,” the U.S. diplomat told The Daily Beast.

During President Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Putin pivoted a question about extraditing the 12 Russian intelligence officers whom Robert Mueller has indicted into a quid pro quo for going after longtime betes noire currently beyond his reach.

Putin singled out Bill Browder, whose exposure of widespread Russian tax fraud led to the passage of a U.S. human rights sanctions law Putin hates. Standing next to Trump, the Russian president accused Browder of masterminding an illegal campaign contribution to Hillary Clinton and alleging vaguely that he had “solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers guided these transactions.” Should Trump permit the Russians to question people around Browder, Putin hinted, he will let Mueller’s people be “present at questioning” of the intelligence officers.

Unfuckingbelievable!

I’ll end with this piece by David Frump at The Atlantic: The Crisis Facing America. The country can no longer afford to wait to ascertain why President Trump has subordinated himself to Putin—it must deal with the fact that he has.

Mother with children by Dattatraya Thombare

We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.

Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees….

The reasons for Trump’s striking behavior—whether he was bribed or blackmailed or something else—remain to be ascertained. That he has publicly refused to defend his country’s independent electoral process—and did so jointly with the foreign dictator who perverted that process—is video-recorded fact.

And it’s a fact that has to be seen in the larger context of his actions in office: denouncing the European Union as a “foe,” threatening to break up nato, wrecking the U.S.-led world trading system, intervening in both U.K. and German politics in support of extremist and pro-Russian forces, and continually refusing to act to protect the integrity of U.S. voting systems—it all adds up to a political indictment, whether or not it quite qualifies as a criminal one.

America is a very legalistic society, in which public discussion often deteriorates into lawyers arguing about whether any statutes have been violated. But confronting the country in the wake of Helsinki is this question: Can it afford to wait to ascertain why Trump has subordinated himself to Putin after the president has so abjectly demonstrated that he has subordinated himself? Robert Mueller is leading a legal process. The United States faces a national-security emergency.

Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Thursday!


Wednesday Reads: Lies Lies Lies

 

About that ridiculous shit show from tRump yesterday:

 

‘Did the dog eat his homework too?’ CNN’s Erin Burnett slams Trump – Business Insider

In a scathing opening monologue on Tuesday, CNN anchor Erin Burnett slammed President Donald Trump’s explanation that he misspoke during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Damage control, the president claims he misspoke once in his disastrous summit with Putin,” Burnett said on CNN. “Did the dog eat his homework too?”

During his press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, Trump initially said he did not “see any reason why” Russia would be responsible for meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. When asked if he would condemn Russia for its election interference, Trump refused to back the US intelligence community’s assessment, and instead, railed against the FBI and his political opponents.

“My people came to me … They said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said at the summit on Monday. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia.”

“I will say this,” Trump added. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

After a wave of critics from both parties criticized his remarks, Trump backtracked his comments and said in a tweet that he had “GREAT confidence” in the US intelligence community.

“How stupid does Trump think we Americans are?,” Burnett said in her monologue. “The president’s excuse for his embarrassing press conference where he sided with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence chiefs does not add up.”

 

Trump’s handwritten notes spotted on Russia statement – YouTube

Trump Adds Notes in Margins of Written Statement on Russian Meddling: ‘THERE WAS NO COLUSION’ | Mediaite

President Donald Trump couldn’t help but add one of his favorite phrases to staff-prepared remarks today.

When trying to convince the world that he actually meant to say he saw no reason it “wouldn’t” be Russia who interfered in the 2016 elections rather than “would,” the notes written in the margins of his prepared remarks – in all caps and in big, black Sharpie – read “THERE WAS NO COLUSION.”

Now, given how many times the president has seen and spat the word “collusion,” you’d think he’d know how to spell it at this point. Even more than the flimsy-at-best explanation of his remarks, perhaps this ought to alarm us, as it indicates beyond a doubt that no matter how familiar Trump appears to be with something, he refuses to absorb correct information about it.

One more thing about the statement tRump made yesterday:

Gloria Borger: Trump looked like he was in a hostage tape – YouTube

She is not the only one to bring up that point, that tRump looked like a hostage reading off a prepared document…I thought the same thing when I saw the tape.

And just a couple more tweets:

Yeah, curlygramma is right…Maddow’s show was awesome last night.

So simple and very true, why not hold hearings on all those questions that we ask daily here on the blog?

Then there was this horror news breaking on The Last Word:

Read the alert at the bottom of the screen on the picture in this tweet:

Fucking hell…let me say that again…fucking hell!

 

 

 

Cartoons, if you please:

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

CONSISTENT PRES: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - CONSISTENT PRES

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Bob Gorrell

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell -

Helsinki Summit: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Mike Keefe

Cartoon by Mike Keefe - Helsinki Summit

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Helsinki Summit: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Helsinki Summit

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

07/17/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe -

07/17/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

07/13/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

07/14/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

Check out the date on that one.

Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin ventriloquist: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by David G. Brown

Cartoon by David G. Brown - Trump meeting with Vladimir Putin ventriloquist

Summit Gift: 07/17/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Summit Gift

07/16/2018 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

HELSINKI “SUMMIT”: 07/16/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - HELSINKI "SUMMIT"

07/15 Mike Luckovich: Cozy time.

 

07/17 Mike Luckovich: Advanced puppetry

 

07/18 Mike Luckovich: What I really meant.

 

 

 

 

Bashing our Allies: 07/16/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Bashing our Allies

 

 

 

Those lies are gonna get ya!

This is an open thread.


Tuesday Reads: The “President” Is In Thrall To A Hostile Foreign Power

Good Morning!!

Yesterday the illegitimate “president” of the U.S. betrayed our country while standing next to Russia’s Vladimir Putin in on the world stage.  The Republicans in Congress so far have refused to do anything to provide oversight over this “president.” Will they finally take action now? Probably not. (NOTE: the rest of the images in this post are what I hope are calming paintings.)

At this point, our only hope is Robert Mueller’s investigation, which seems to be moving along pretty rapidly. Mueller recently indicted 12 Russian GRU military officers for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, and Clinton campaign email accounts. Then yesterday, a Russian woman, Maria Butina, was indicted for being a spy.

The Washington Post: Maria Butina, Russian gun-rights advocate who sought to build ties with NRA, charged with acting as a covert Russian agent.

A Russian woman with ties to a senior Russian government official was charged in Washington on Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, including by building ties to the leadership of the National Rifle Association and other conservative political organizations.

Maria Butina, 29, who recently received a graduate degree from American University, was arrested Sunday in the District and made her first appearance in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, where she was ordered held without bond.

by Mo Nong

Butina was allegedly assisted in her efforts by a U.S. political operative who helped introduce her to influential political figures. That person was not charged and is not named in court papers, but the description matches that of Paul Erickson, a GOP consultant who sought to organize a meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and Alexander Torshin, Butina’s Russian colleague and a former Russian senator, at a May 2016 NRA convention.

Read more details at The Daily Beast: Russia-NRA Arrest: This Is as Close as It Gets to Collusion.

It’s also possible that Paul Manafort could be working on a plea deal.

Law and Crime: Legal Experts Say Manafort Could Be Cutting Plea Deal as Judge Suddenly Delays Proceedings.

The judge overseeing Paul Manafort‘s federal court case on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud in Virginia delayed proceedings in a surprise move on Monday afternoon. According to legal experts familiar with the federal court system, this could be an indication that Manafort is about to cut a plea deal….

The delay may or may not have caught the prosecution and defense off guard–but was certainly a shock to those watching the events unfold from a distance. According to the publicly-accessible court docket, no party had submitted a request for such a delay and there was also no indication of an official court notice being filed as of late Monday afternoon.

Many legal observers noted that this was a strange turn of events with the trial fast approaching; several even indicated that this last-minute interruption could signal Manafort’s last-minute willingness to flip.

Read the rest at the link.

Wilhelm Wetlesen, Ung kvinne med katt (Young woman with cat), 1908

Yesterday was a day that will certainly go down in history. We saw an American “president” stand next to the Russian dictator and completely surrender our country’s values. And this followed on a disastrous trip in which the “president” horribly damaged our relations with our traditional European allies. Reactions:

Josh Marshall at TPM: The Worst Case Scenario Has Been Obvious for a While.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m pretty cautious in my arguments, cautious on a lot of fronts. I can be aggressive in how I frame those arguments. I sometimes speak in hyperbole. But in basic judgments I’m quite cautious. Something is fundamentally wrong here. There is no reasonable explanation for the simple facts we see other than that Russia has some kind of hold over President Trump.

I know that sounds wild and I have a very hard time sometimes quite believing it myself. But it’s so overwhelmingly obvious that we need to get real with ourselves and recognize what is happening. I don’t know what the specific details are. I don’t know whether Russia has some compromising information on the President, whether they have enticed him with personal enrichment. I truly don’t know. But none of the standard explanations – truculence, trolling, anger over questioning the legitimacy of his election – none of them remotely add up as an explanation. In the future, when we know more details, we will have a difficult time explaining how any serious people continued to think there could be an innocent explanation.

Brian Buetler at Crooked Media: Trump and Putin Colluded in Public.

President Trump hosted a bilateral press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday and colluded with him on a global stage.

Zhang Yaowu – Girl with cat

In examining such a varied and unhinged performance, it’s important to filter out background noise, which tells us nothing new, and isolate new and specific signs of corruption that can’t arguably be characterized as twisted forms of statecraft.

Trump has left a key under the mat for Putin to meddle in future elections on behalf of Republicans, and continued to welcome more interference today, with Putin standing by his side, but this time he hinted that he’d be willing to reciprocate for such illegal assistance by allowing Putin to breach American intelligence.

The press conference went fully off the rails near the end, when rather than defend the U.S. election system against Russian meddling, Trump spouted anti-Democratic conspiracy theories, and cut the legs out from under his intelligence chiefs—particularly Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats—by accepting Putin’s election-sabotage denials over their conclusions.

Coats, et al, “said they think it’s Russia,” Trump noted. “I have President Putin,Cl he just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Because Trump humiliated his own cabinet, he has revived questions about whether his comments will prompt resignations, or whether his aides and allies will remain complicit in Russian cyberattacks on the American political system. But our predicament is actually bleaker than that, and the fact that Republicans in Congress will almost certainly do nothing about what just happened effectively guarantees that Trump and Putin will soon consummate a new corrupt bargain to further subvert American democracy.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times: Trump Shows the World He’s Putin’s Lackey.

No matter how low your expectations for the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Monday, it was hard not to be staggered by the American president’s slavish and toadying performance.

An Old Woman with a Cat, Max Liebermann

On Friday, the Justice Department indicted 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence service for a criminal conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election and hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The same day, Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, gave a speech about America’s vulnerability to cyberattacks, particularly from Russia. “I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” he said, comparing the threat to the one that preceded Sept. 11.

But standing beside Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump sided with the Russian president against American intelligence agencies while spewing lies and conspiracy theories. “He just said it’s not Russia,” he said of Putin’s denials. “I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Continuing in a free-associative fugue, he asked, “What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the D.N.C.?” referring to a debunked right-wing claim about a former Democratic I.T. staffer. “What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily.”

Perhaps the most sinister part of the news conference was Trump’s seeming openness to a deal in which F.B.I. investigators could question people in Russia in exchange for letting Russians question Putin critics in America. Putin referred specifically to associates of his arch-nemesis Bill Browder, a businessman (and British citizen) who has succeeded in getting seven countries, including the United States, to pass laws punishing Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption. (The Russians who met with members of the Trump campaign at Trump Tower in June 2016 wanted to discuss this law, the Magnitsky Act.)

Read more at the NYT.

Mark Lander at the New York Times: Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad.

President Trump, who gleefully defies the norms of presidential behavior, went somewhere in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday where none of his predecessors have ever gone: He accepted the explanation of a hostile foreign leader over the findings of his own intelligence agencies.

The woman with the cat, 1900, Pablo Picasso

Mr. Trump’s declaration that he saw no reason not to believe President Vladimir V. Putin when he said the Russians did not try to fix the 2016 election was extraordinary enough. But it was only one of several statements the likes of which no other president has uttered while on foreign soil.

He condemned the Justice Department’s investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia as a “disaster for our country.” He suggested that the F.B.I. deliberately mishandled its investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee. And he labeled an F.B.I. agent who testified about that investigation before Congress as a “disgrace to our country.”

In the fiery, disruptive, rules-breaking arc of Mr. Trump’s statecraft, his assertions during a news conference with Mr. Putin marked a new milestone, the foreign policy equivalent of Charlottesville.

More at the link.

A few more reads, links only:

Max Boot at The Washington Post: We just watched a U.S. president acting on behalf of a hostile power.

The Washington Post: ‘Very much counter to the plan’: Trump defies advisers in embrace of Putin.

Axios: Trump officials embarrassed by Putin show.

The Daily Beast: The Republican Party Is Now the Blame America Party.

MSNBC just reported that Trump’s daily intelligence briefing has been cancelled. I’m not sure what that means.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Please post your own thoughts and links in the comment thread below.

 


Monday Reads: Spy Unattended

‘Amazing moment as French President Emmanuel Macron embraces each member of the #FifaWorldCup2018 championship team…in the pouring rain. ‘ Via/ Jim Roberts @nycjim

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I hope your morning is going better than mine. My day has been a metaphor for our country’s ongoing demise.  Rain poured onto my bed last night after a downpour and finally getting my neighbor to saw off all the trees covering my roof.  Then, I woke this morning to find my front bumper and a headlight on the ground in front of my car. The TV shows nothing but the Kremlin Asset occupying the White House via a Russian and White Nationalist Coup meeting all by his ignorant ass self with his Spy Master.

Today I am borrowing pictures of other countries that have real presidents behaving like presidents. I’m also lifting a few from our past when no one was rude enough to leave in a 92 year old Queen of England waiting in the heat only to push in front of her at the earliest possible moment.

And, inflation has already hit a six year high and basically eliminated any gain in income or taxes made by the “Average American”. Plus, the Fed is worrying about stagflation now which is generally and is the worst economic set up possible. High inflation and high unemployment simultaneously. Nixon did it to us last time. It’s purely the result of bad policy which is the hall mark of the Trump/Ryan/McConnell dumpsterfire that used to be the United States.  This is where all those tax dollars went:  “Worker wages drop while companies spend billions to boost stocks”.

Six months after the Tax Cut and Jobs Act became law, there’s still little evidence that the average job holder is feeling the benefit.

Worker pay in the second quarter dropped nearly one percent below its first-quarter level, according to the PayScale Index, one measure of worker pay. When accounting for inflation, the drop is even steeper. Year-over-year, rising prices have eaten up still-modest pay gains for many workers, with the result that real wages fell 1.4 percent from the prior year, according to PayScale. The drop was broad, with 80 percent of industries and two-thirds of metro areas affected.

“Now, economic confidence has been good, we’re in a strong economy, GDP is growing, but the question has been, where’s the paycheck?” said Katie Bardaro, vice president of data analytics at PayScale.

The answer is, largely, in the companies’ coffers. Businesses are spending nearly $700 billion on repurchasing their own stock so far this year, according to research from TrimTabs. Corporations set a record in Q2, announcing $433 billion worth of buybacks — nearly doubling the previous record, which was set in Q1.

When a company buys back some of its outstanding shares, the effect is usually to boost the value of the rest of its stock, sometimes making the company appear more valuable on paper. Because many senior executives are paid in company shares, buybacks temporarily boost their pay (as well as other shareholders’ portfolios), sometimes at the expense of investments in infrastructure or workers.

The popularity of stock buybacks in the wake of the corporate tax cuts has drawn lawmakers’ attention. A group of senators wrote to the SEC late last month, asking the agency to review the rules around buybacks. “The explosion of stock buybacks has funneled corporate profits to wealthy shareholders and corporate executives instead of workers and long-term investments that spur sustained economic growth,” they wrote.

Queen Elizabeth dancing with then President Gerald Ford.

But meanwhile, The Traitor-in-Chief considers the EU to be our “foe” and China and Russia to be our “competitors”. North Korea has jump started its nuclear weapons program while Trump tweets that every thing is peachy keen. There is a glimpse of congresssional oversight appearing on that front but for the most part, Congress is enabling the destruction of the country.

President Donald Trump is “gaslighting” the planet about North Korea’s nukes, according to a well-connected analyst. So Congress is moving on multiple fronts to force the White House to come clean on its negotiations with Pyongyang.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would, in the words of an aide involved in the process, give the administration some diplomatic “training wheels” and ensure that officials don’t agree to give away more concessions before North Korea’s nuclear capabilities are fully evaluated.

Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is demanding an official assessment from the nation’s top intelligence chief on whether the president’s positive outlook on the negotiations holds water.

Trump claimed after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore that the nuclear threat from North Korea is “no longer”—despite his own White House’s claims to the contrary.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, compared the administration’s recent declarations of success regarding the negotiations to “gaslighting.”

Canada’s Justin Trudeau dressed as Clark Kent, Superman, with his daughter for Halloween

Moscow has rolled out all the usual state propaganda for the Traitor-in-Chief as Putin gets his blowjob from his Be Best Spy.

U.S. President Donald Trump is no fan of American journalists, but he might love what the Russian media are saying about him ahead of his meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A political maverick who is being unfairly targeted by his own compatriots — that’s the common portrayal of Trump on Russia’s largely Kremlin-friendly TV networks, websites and newspapers.

Newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda dismissed the U.S. investigation into Trump’s “mythical work for the Kremlin,” and praised Trump for meeting Putin “despite opposition from his own elite and the hysterics of the media.”

Panelists on popular Sunday night talk show “Vecher,” or “Evening,” said Putin goes into Monday’s summit in Helsinki as the clearly stronger figure, notably coming off his hosting of the World Cup.

Universally sympathetic to Trump, they described him as hobbled by domestic political challenges — a problem Putin doesn’t face after 18 years of stifling political opposition — and by special investigator Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian election interference.

Arrival North Portico. Reception Line. Dinner and Toast for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

All those indictments against Russians in the Federation’s Spy Agency just haven’t made it to Russian State News.  From CBS: ‘Trump predicts “extraordinary relationship” with Russia at summit — live updates.’

Following slight delays in schedule,- Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have begun their day of meetings in Helsinki, Finland amid increasing tensions between the two nations.

“The world wants to see us get along,” Mr. Trump remarked during the leaders’ first formal meeting, adding, “I think we’ll end up having an extraordinary relationship.”

Following their first appearance together, the two leaders sat down for a private one-on-one discussion that lasted over 2 hours long. Mr. Trump told reporters at a working lunch afterwards that the meeting was “a very good start for everybody.”

Mr. Trump kicked off his day by tweeting that U.S.-Russia relations were being soured by U.S. “foolishness” including the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Then President Barrack Obama greets Prince George.

Russian Asset-in Chief tweeted out that the Mueller investigation was a “rigged witch hunt”.   Oh and THIS:

Trump holds call with Turkey’s Erdogan prior to summit

Amid news of the summit, the national security council confirms that Mr. Trump held a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to a Turkish readout of the call held on Monday, the leaders discussed topics raised at last week’s NATO summit, including developments Syria. President Erdogan also extended his wishes of success for the summit between Putin and Mr. Trump.

The Tangerine Wank  Maggot loves fellating DickTators.

As usual, Axios sums it up: 

The big picture: At today’s Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, you have an American president huddling alone with an enemy of the United States who infiltrated our election system.

  • They’ll do it on the first weekday after the president’s own government indicted a dozen Russian intelligence agents for carrying out the cyberattack. Also Friday, Trump’s top intel official declared that the current danger of more Russian cyberattacks is akin to warning signs before 9/11, when 3,000 were killed and terrorism reshaped the core of our country and lives.
  • You have an American president who publicly shrugs at the threat, and claims most of the coverage is fake — even as it echoes the precise warnings and conclusions of his own government officials.
  • When the meeting concludes, Vladimir Putin will postgame with a Fox News interview (Chris Wallace), while Trump will hit two Fox News shows (Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson) to give his own spin.
  • Trump will surely amplify his take on Twitter. This morning, he began Summit Day by tweeting: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
  • The post-summit sit-downs will be with the same Fox News many expected would be tempered — or even fade — after Roger Ailes was ousted. Instead, it’s now the most powerful White House visual stage in history, thanks to Trump.
  • And the same Twitter that was the playground for reporters and news junkies is now the most powerful presidential messaging system in history, thanks to Trump.

Be smart: Sitting silently back in D.C. will be the one man who can pull all these strings together, sort through the fact and fiction, and tell a tale no one will ever forget — Robert Mueller.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Queen Elizabeth

The tete-a Dick lasted more than 2 hours this morning.  WTF did he surrender to Putin and when will we ever know?

And while U.S. officials say they will maintain sanctions against Russia for seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Trump himself hasn’t ruled out recognizing that annexation of territory that Putin believes is rightfully his.

“We’re going to have to see,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One late last month.

Anna-Liisa Heusala, a Russian Studies professor at the University of Helsinki, said Putin wants “actual recognition or de facto acceptance” of his military action in Ukraine, Syria and other regional hotspots and affirmation of his view of Russia as a “superpower, above international norms and law.”

“From Russia’s perspective, its actions in Ukraine and the Crimea, which it partially justified with humanitarian causes, were a demonstration of its strengthened role and ability to set boundaries for the actions of other parties when these are deemed to seriously threaten Russian national interests,” she said.

May all the Wisdom Being save the Queen and rescue the USA from the Orange Plague!

 


Sunday Reads: Bitter Bigguns

 

 

I know that I have posted this picture before, but it has special meaning today….

GUNKISS • gunkiss: Her Derby name is “Bomba” I wanna make…

gunkiss:

Her Derby name is “Bomba”

I wanna make a derby comic pretty bad and I might just use her as char, I loved drawing her. *Printing it so I can have it as motivation for the comic*

Many body positive blogs have been reblogging this today making it skyrocket in notes. I just wanna thank you for the comments, the notes and asked I’ve received and welcome to all new followers. I really appreciate it!

I’ve been asked regarding having this pic as a print and t-shirt, etc

You can get merch with this pic here on my Society6 store =)

Again thank you so much ♥⚡!

Innit lovely? She is so fuckingfantastic, I had to buy some “merch” with this roller babe on it…

Ok, that is enough diversion for now, let’s get to the bitterness:

I appreciate Sarah Kendzior more than I can say, but honestly, I do dread her twitter post as well…because she is so spot on. It seems like you can go back through her feed and find just how prescient her threads have been:

In October 2017, U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson died in a hail of gunfire while fighting off militants in Niger. Soon after, his widow, Myeshia Johnson, received a call from President Donald Trump. After coldly telling her that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” Trump failed to remember the slain soldier’s name, leaving Johnson shocked and crying.

“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” she said.

As the U.S.’s deranged president threatens to go to war in Syria and possibly beyond, it is worth re-examining how Trump views the troops whose lives he is putting on the line. For all his macho posturing and exhortations about his beloved generals, Trump–a draft dodger who referred to avoiding STDs as “my personal Vietnam”–has long treated veterans and their loved ones with contempt. This contempt is not rooted in an aversion to the military as an institution–Trump bloated the military budget and has been striking the Middle East while threatening North Korea and other states–but an aversion to the concept of service to one’s nation itself.

Serving one’s country is a sacrifice, and sacrifice terrifies Trump. The idea that one would risk oneself–out of love, loyalty, or duty–is alien to him. Sacrifice, to Trump, is a sucker’s bet, a gamble beyond his comprehension–but one he is all too willing to let other Americans make.

[…]

In July 2015, Trump insulted John McCain, who was tortured as a military prisoner in Vietnam. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump scoffed. “I like people who weren’t captured.” The comment shocked the audience, but it is completely in line with Trump’s worldview. What offends Trump about McCain is not that he was captured, but that he was willing to risk being captured–especially for a cause greater than himself.

This is not to say Trump does not thrive on disaster. He began his career profiting off the financial ruin of New York City (“When bad times come, then I’ll get whatever I want,” he told Barbara Walters in the 1980s) and continued to spout this philosophy before his presidential run (“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have, you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great,” he told FOX News in February 2014.) Trump loves a catastrophe if he is its beneficiary.

[…]

…Trump, with his visceral revulsion at the concept of service, is still the greatest danger. It is Trump whose past has finally caught up with him; it is Trump who stands the most to lose; it is Trump who unilaterally can launch nuclear weapons. Trump has shown that human beings have little inherent value to him. If Trump senses he may have to make a personal sacrifice, he will sacrifice the world instead.

This is a post from April 2018. I think Sarah resent the link today because it makes a point about the latest events from the past week. Even with the news and confirmation that Russia fucked with our election…tRump is still going forward with the planned one on one meeting with his handler Putin. (I mean that with all sincerity.)

 

 

 

Here are some signs from London’s protest of Trump:

 

London!! You did not disappoint .. .thanks for your resistance and the great signs .. 🇬🇧#nationaldisgrace #americanidiot #worlddestroyer

A post shared by Jill Vedder (@j__vedder) on

If you click that link and go directly to the instagram site, you can scroll through about 6 more pictures in that particular post. Or you can just more your arrow up to the middle edge of the picture above, and you should be able to scroll through the images as well….

Brits Don’t Mince Words: The Most Irreverent and Radical Signs From UK’s Historic Anti-Trump Protest

Despite the American corporate media’s efforts to obscure the radical, irreverent, and often obscene signs on display across the United Kingdom on Friday, the disgust hundreds of thousands of Britons feel toward Donald Trump and Trumpism could not be suppressed as they took to the streets en masse to show their opposition to the U.S. president’s hate-filled policies.

Below, we present some of the greatest signs from Friday’s demonstrations, which “drastically exceeded” the expectations of organizers in both size and spirit.

I think that one above is my favorite….

As Trump Visited the U.K., Protestors Marched in Very British Style – The Atlantic

LONDON—The first protestors began assembling on Portland Place, just outside the BBC’s London headquarters, on Friday morning. They carried signs. “FEED HIM TO THE CORGIS,” said one. “TANGERINE TYRANT,” read another. “BOLLOCKS TO TRUMP.” “IKEA HAS BETTER CABINETS.” “TRUMP IS A TOSSER.” “I HAD TO FIX MY PRINTER FOR THIS.”

Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London on July 13.

 

This image is floating around my Facebook groups:

 

Wow, is that a joke?

Notice the ZTA sticker on the back of the car window? Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity | The official website of ZTA

Here is another picture making the rounds:

 

As far as “jokes” are concerned, these next few links are not jokes:

Michigan judge rules kids don’t have a fundamental right to literacy | TheHill

A Michigan judge ruled last week that children do not have a fundamental right to learn how to read and write.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Public Counsel, the nation’s largest public interest law firm, on behalf of Detroit students that sought to hold state authorities, including Gov. Rick Snyder (R), accountable for what plaintiffs alleged were systemic failures depriving children of their right to literacy, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m shocked,” said Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, the newspaper reported. “The message that it sends is that education is not important. And it sends the message that we don’t care if you’re literate or not.”

The suit also sought fixes to crumbling schools that, among other measures, Detroit Public Schools Community District officials reportedly said would amount to more than $500 million.

The state had argued for dismissing the suit, with the city’s lawyers saying local officials are “all too familiar with illiteracy’s far reaching effects.”

“Widespread illiteracy has hampered the City’s efforts to connect Detroiters with good-paying jobs; to fill vacancies on its police force, and to grow its tax base,” said lawyers for the city. “Illiteracy, moreover, has greatly exacerbated the effects of intergenerational poverty in Detroit.”

So, here is the decision:

U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III acknowledged the importance of literacy in his ruling on Friday in a 40-page opinion.

“Plainly, literacy — and the opportunity to obtain it — is of incalculable importance,” Murphy wrote. “As plaintiffs point out, voting, participating meaningfully in civic life, and accessing justice require some measure of literacy.”

But he concluded that those points “do not necessarily make access to literacy a fundamental right,” adding that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the past that the importance of service “does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental.”

Wait a minute…wasn’t there a fucking PSA campaign called, “Reading is Fundemental.”

Home | RIF.org

Oh no, it was an actual charity, the biggest one no less, founded in 1966!

Reading is Fundamental Logo

Reading Is Fundamental is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to make an impact and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. As the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental maximizes every contribution to ensure all children have the ability to read and succeed.

Click the link up top to find out more information and see ways you can get involved in the programs.

In other reading news: South Carolina police object to high-school reading list | Books | The Guardian

A police union in South Carolina has challenged the inclusion of Angie Thomas’s multiple award-winning novel about police brutality, The Hate U Give, on a school’s summer reading list, describing it as “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police”.

The intervention from the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3 came after Wando high school’s ninth-grade class was asked to read one of eight novels over the summer holidays. Two of the titles upset the police union: The Hate U Give, which follows a teenage girl after she witnesses the shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer, and Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys, which sees a teenage boy trying to overcome his distrust of the police after he is wrongly suspected of shoplifting and then beaten by an officer.

Hey, check out the name of the cop leading the objection, ironic?

In fact, there are eight books on the reading list, only two of which tackle police brutality. Thomas’s book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, but also includes a character, the main protagonist’s uncle, who is a black police officer and positive role model. It has won prizes including the Waterstones children’s book award, while All American Boys is the recipient of the Walter Dean Myers award for outstanding children’s literature.

You can read more at the link above, here is a screenshot of Blackmon from the local news link:

Then of course….there’s Maude:

Biden: McConnell blocked Russia warning – CNN Video

Former Vice President Joe Biden claims that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked the Obama administration from warning the public about possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Anyway, that is all I have for today.

I am hoping to start working out and skating so that I can build up to becoming fresh meat at a roller derby somewhere. I have already picked my name out, Fanny Bigguns.

“Feel the Girthquake as Fanny Bigguns rolls on by….”

Yeah, my big ass should be able to block pretty darn good. And, it can maybe help get rid of all this angst I’ve been building up over the last few years.

This is an open thread.