Good Morning Sky Dancers!
A friend and fellow Lousiana muckraker posted one of my favorite Nina Simone songs with an apology to those who might be offended by some of the lyrics. What folks ought to be offended by is the reason it still rings true even though she wrote the song upon hearing about the murder of Medgar Evers decades ago. I’m personally jumping into Mike Espy’s senate race to volunteer or donate because, well, somebody needs to represent all of the people in Mississippi, and since I can’t personally get rid of either of my worthless senators this year, might as well help a neighbor find some justice and peace.
Word around the hill is that the placeholder in the White House realizes the House of Representatives has been hit by a blue wave. Actually, it’s more of a rainbow wave because of the diversity of the incoming freshmen cohert but it will mean that he likely will be held accountable for his wrongdoing and law breaking. The fewer senators he gets provides more hope to gum up the works there too. While the rainbow wave includes a diverse number of democratic women with equally diverse ideas, the wall of white on the Republican side still includes a token murder of Aunt Lydias.
Newly appointed and looking for a voter mandate Senator Cyndy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) needs to be tossed out to show there’s been some change for the better in the state of Mississippi. After enthusiastically saying a few weeks ago that she’d attend a public hanging, we now find out she’s been out on the stump telling white voters that voter suppression is a ‘good thing’ especially for “certain” colleges. Mississippi can still knock the wind out of my sails even though I’ve been down here in the deep south for more than 20 years. There’s no shame among a large group of racists in that state and they’re still in high, high places even though they are low, low, low on humanity.
Here’s some of the latest on that and some other antics of dirty rotten white republican evangelical women doing their Aunt Lydia thing.
Meanwhile, outrageous acts are still resplendent in KKKRemlin Caligula’s reign of hate and ransack. For example, Betsy DeVos believes that victims of false rape charges should be protected in schools. Republican evangelical type white women are the absolute trash of the universe.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday released her long-awaited rewrite of rules governing campus sexual harassment and assault allegations, narrowing the cases schools must investigate and giving the accused more rights.
The proposed regulation replaces less formal guidelines created under President Barack Obama that tilt more toward accusers. DeVos rescinded the Obama measure a year ago.
Under the proposal, fewer allegations would be considered sexual harassment and schools would be responsible only for investigating incidents that are part of campus programs and activities and that were properly reported. Accused students would be entitled to lawyers and cross-examination.
“The proposed regulation is grounded in core American principles of due process and the rule of law,” the Education Department said in a summary of its proposal. “It seeks to produce more reliable outcomes, thereby encouraging more students to turn to their schools for support in the wake of sexual harassment and reducing the risk of improperly punishing students.”
In addition, schools are encouraged to offer supportive measures to accusers even if they do not file a formal complaint. The department will not consider a school to be skirting its responsibility to investigate an accusation if instead it offers accusers accommodations such as a schedule change, a no-contact order or new housing.
The rules come after years of rising pressure on universities to better respond to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct. Ahead of the release, advocates for women and others charged that the rewrite will result in victims’ claims being ignored or minimized.
In other words, please don’t get in the way of future Judge Kavanaughs and their boys will be boys antics. But, while Betsy has little regard for the safety of girls in the country, she fears for her own safety and seems to be surrounded by more marshalls. What is it about the Trump cabinet that they fear constituents?
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began receiving around-the-clock security from the U.S. Marshals Service days after being confirmed, an armed detail provided to no other cabinet member that could cost U.S. taxpayers $19.8 million through September of 2019, according to new figures provided by the Marshals Service to NBC News.
While it remains unclear who specifically made the request, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions granted the protection on February 13, 2017, a few days after DeVos was heckled and blocked by a handful of protesters from entering the Jefferson Academy, a public middle school in Washington. DeVos was confirmed as education secretary on February 7 of that year.
“The order was issued after the Department of Education contacted administration officials regarding threats received by the Secretary of Education,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The U.S.M.S. was identified to assist in this area based on its expertise and long experience providing executive protection.”
The cost of security provided to DeVos was $5.3 million in fiscal year 2017 and $6.8 million for fiscal year 2018, according to the Marshals Service — an amount that is ultimately reimbursed by the Education Department. The estimated cost for fiscal year 2019 is $7.74 million.
That far exceeds the $3.5 million spent on security for former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July amid questions about lavish spending habits during his 17-month tenure at the agency. An EPA inspector general report, released Sept. 4, found the price tag for Pruitt’s security detail was “not justified” and far exceeded the security costs incurred under past EPA heads.
Typically, cabinet secretaries are protected by security arranged by their departments’ internal enforcement units.
DeVos’s two immediate predecessors at the Education Department, Arne Duncan and John King Jr., each followed that model. Duncan and King, who served under President Barack Obama, were staffed by security agents who would escort them door to door.
After receiving the Marshals’ protection, DeVos spent less than 4 percent of her time visiting traditional public schools in the school year that began in September 2017, according to a tabulation by NBC News and the Watchdog group American Oversight, which was founded by lawyers, including several from the Obama administration, who focus on government ethics and conflicts of interest.
No other current cabinet official has been granted protection by the Marshals, the agency confirmed. In the past, only the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy received a detail from the agency.
A judge just ordered Sarah Huckabuck and her boss to restore CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials. Poor Sarah will just have to put up with a free press and the recognition that the first amendment includes more than her deluded idea that it gives her family a right to terrorize every one with their religious tenets.
A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Donald Trump a week earlier.
The ruling from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, was the first victory for CNN in the ongoing case.
“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today,” Acosta said outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
“Let’s go back to work!” he added.
CNN’s lawsuit, announced Tuesday, argues that Acosta’s constitutional rights had been violated by Trump and five other members of his administration, as well as by the U.S. Secret Service. The other defendants include chief of staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy chief of staff Bill Shine and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles.
In a statement, CNN and Acosta said they “look forward to a full resolution in the coming days.”
No propaganda from the Huckabeast yet. However, Mr. Kellyanne Conaway has a lot to say. Some one in this triangle’s days are numbered.
George T. Conway III, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, said the Republican Party has become “a personality cult” under President Trump and that he would “move to Australia” rather than vote for the president again.
“I don’t feel comfortable being a Republican anymore,” Conway said in an exclusive interview for the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” about his decision to drop his party registration earlier this year. “I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult.”
Asked if he thinks the president is fully stable, Conway responded: “No comment.”
Conway’s remarks came just days after he spearheaded the formation of a new legal group, called Checks and Balances, set up to provide a platform for conservative lawyers to speak out against what he sees as Trump’s violations of “timeless principles” and constitutional norms.
He cited as a prime example a recent Trump tweet criticizing then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for bringing indictments against two “very popular” Republican congressmen — Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins — on corruption charges “just ahead of the midterms.”
“I mean, it’s not fun,” Susan Collins said, sitting in her Senate office on Tuesday. It was her first day back at work following last week’s midterm elections, and the Maine Republican was not quite radiating fresh-start and renewal vibes. “Death threats are not fun. Protests are not fun. Being mobbed — sorry, I know the media hates that word — being mobbed when I go to vote. I do not enjoy that at all. I find that exhausting.”
Returning senators of either party could echo Collins’s despair over the ruptured, strident and increasingly bellicose state of Trump’s Washington; they would also share her foreboding over what’s in store as subpoenas start flying, Mueller Time nears and the president swings into re-election rally mode, probably in the next week or so. But Collins, who is 65 and coming off two of the most punishing years of her Senate career, seems to be entering a particularly grim existential zone.
As both parties have dug in, Collins’s relative independence has made her the perennial “essential vote” on increasingly enormous questions of state. Her openness to bipartisanship has, paradoxically, made her a bipartisan target. Republicans catalogue Collins’s RINO (“Republican in name only”) apostasies, as when she cast one of the three G.O.P. no votes against the Obamacare-repeal bill last year. Democrats hailed her “heroic” and “courageous” vote against the repeal, until she voted in favor of the Republican tax cut; for good measure, many women now regard the Republican, who is in favor of abortion rights, as a leading gender-traitor over her support for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Collins has been maddening people across the political spectrum for years, of course; the main difference, maybe, is that people are just generally madder now. She represents an almost quaint archetype of the solemn centrist who was always deliberating very carefully over something or other. Her close friend and former colleague Joseph Lieberman was a vintage exemplar of the breed, as was her fellow Maine Republican Olympia Snowe. But these kindred spirits are gone now, Trump has raised the stakes and patience for quaintness has long since expired. People mock Collins for being serially “troubled” or “saddened” by the latest Trump outrage but never sufficiently so to actually do something about it. They accuse her of fashioning a shtick as a free-agent vote because she loves the attention (as opposed to those other senators who hate attention).
So, there are a few headlines on the Mueller probe today. I’m just going to post them because I think we’ll probably hear breaking news on these all day.
Darren Samuelsohn / Politico: ‘Preparing for the worst’: Mueller anxiety pervades Trump world
Eliana Johnson / Politico: GOP pushes Trump for new attorney general amid Mueller uproar
Never a dull moment these days. I’m still trying to learn how to live with living continual national chaos.
My latest pool question: What outrageously inappropriate thing will Melania wear when visiting California fire survivors?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
During the 2016 presidential campaign, we constantly heard complaints from Trump and media folks about Hillary’s health, her failure to hold regular press conferences, and her supposed lack of “stamina.” But, as we Sky Dancers knew then, it was all projection. Trump won* and now we have a “president” who won’t go out in the rain, who needs hours of “executive time” every day so he can watch TV and tweet and who, at most, can manage a couple of events per day.
Today he and Melania are going to visit the Marine barracks in Washington, DC, and then returning to the White House where Trump will deliver “remarks” supporting the military at 1:30PM. I guess that’s it for today. He had some “executive time” this morning, and his tweets seem to suggest that he’s getting “inside” information from fake acting AG Whitaker.
The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff followed up on Trump’s claims.
The “president” is as moody as the stereotypical menopausal woman.
A political clobbering, bickering aides and now a public grenade launched across the White House by the first lady have placed President Donald Trump in a position he loathes: backed into a corner.
A week after standing in the East Room and declaring victory in the midterm elections, the President is isolated and growing more furious by the day. He’s openly speculating about replacing more members of his Cabinet, though so far has stopped short of executing the dismissals, leaving those aides in a career purgatory.
At an election night party at the White House, Trump left attendees guessing when he was spotted in a huddle with a potential replacement for his chief of staff, John Kelly, who himself stood awkwardly in a corner.
“Yes, he’s pissed — at damn near everyone,” a White House official said, noting the mood in the Oval Office is darker than normal this week. After nearly a month straight of campaigning before adoring crowds, the applause has gone silent and the President has retreated. The tempest has led to rampant speculation inside the building about the fates of other senior staffers, some of whom are beginning to plan their exits.
Such a whiny crybaby. Whaaaaaa!
Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair: “Insanity, “Furious,” “On His Own”: Trump’s Post Midterm Blues are Vexing His Staff and Roiling the White House.
As Donald Trump’s West Wing careens through one of the most turbulent weeks of his presidency, White House officials are struggling to understand the source of the fury fueling the president’s eruptions. “This is a level of insanity I’ve never seen before,” one former West Wing staffer told me. Current and former officials are debating different theories for Trump’s outbursts, ranging from his fears over his son Don Jr.’s legal exposure to the prospect that House Democrats will unleash investigations in January. “He’s under a tremendous amount of mental stress,” one prominent Republican close to him told me.
What’s surprising to some advisers about how bad the past week has been is that Trump initially seemed to take the midterm losses in stride. Last Tuesday, he was in high spirits as he watched election returns come in with about a hundred friends at the White House. Trump told people that his barnstorming rally schedule had mobilized his base and held Republican losses to historical lows, while increasing Republican gains in the Senate. “He really thought he won the midterms,” a prominent Republican who spoke with Trump said.
But by Wednesday, after hours of commentary about the suburbs’ distaste for him and with seat after undecided House seat slipping toward the Democrats, his mood slid, too, hitting bottom in a bizarre and combative press conference. “He was furious about the narrative. He said, ‘Look, I went to all these states and now people are saying Trump lost the election,’” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. Within hours, Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matt Whitaker, who’d been a frequent cable-news critic of the Robert Mueller investigation. Next, Trump directed his press office to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, something he’d wanted to do for months but had been talked out of by aides. “This is a matter of the president now being on his own without any countervailing force whatsoever,” a person close to Trump said. “It’s just 100 percent Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump wants.”
More about Trump’s tantrums at the link.
Speaking of insanity, Trump gave an interview to The Daily Caller this week that was one of the craziest ever recorded–and that’s saying something. Here’s what he had to say about supposed “voter fraud.”
This is a problem in California that’s so bad of illegals voting. This is a California problem and if you notice, almost every race — I was watching today — out of like 11 races that are in question they’re gonna win all of them.
The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes, which is what I’ve been saying for a long time. I have no doubt about it. And I’ve seen it, I’ve had friends talk about it when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.
The disgrace is that, voter ID. If you buy, you know, a box of cereal, if you do anything, you have a voter ID.
Well, over here, the only thing you don’t is if you’re a voter of the United States. A voter in the United States of America. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on. Really a disgrace. And they try to shame everybody by calling them racist or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.
If you look at what happened in New Hampshire, where thousands of people came up and voted from a very liberal part of Massachusetts and they came up in buses and they voted. I said, ‘what’s going on over here,’ my people said, ‘you won New Hampshire easily except they have tremendous numbers of buses coming up.’ They’re pouring up by the hundreds, buses of people getting out, voting. Then they’re supposed to go back within 90 days. And of the people that are supposed to go back, almost none of them do. In other words, they go back after the vote is over. They go back — and I think it’s like three percent — I mean, almost nobody goes back to show that, you know, that they were allowed to vote. And so what do you do? Recall the election. Recall the election. I mean, there, you should be able to recall the election.
Jesus, what a moron. You need “voter ID” to buy groceries? People putting on costumes to vote twice? What name do they use the second time? What names and addresses do these thousands of Massachusetts voters use to vote in New Hampshire? This guy is loony tunes and he’s supposedly running our country.
If you want more, Paste Magazine put together a compilation of The 10 Craziest Excerpts From Trump’s Interview with The Daily Caller.
Trump also used the interview to praise fake acting AG Matt Whitaker, while pretending not to really know him. More of Whitaker’s weird history came out over the past couple of days. Read them and weep.
Dana Millbank at The Washington Post: Matthew Whitaker is steeped in time travel and Bigfoot. He’s the right man for the job.
Walter Shaub has a more serious take on what’s happening with Whitaker at Slate: This Is the Saturday Night Massacre. It’s just happening in slow motion.
With the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, America is in uncharted territory. The last time a president made a personnel change to undermine an investigation of his associates, Congress forced him to resign. That was when President Richard Nixon pushed out his attorney general and deputy attorney general so he could fire the special prosecutor. The fallout from this Saturday Night Massacre, as it is known, has stood as a warning to subsequent presidents. Yet President Trump has launched a piecemeal Saturday Night Massacre of his own. He first fired FBI Director James Comey last year for his handling of the Russia probe, then he fired the attorney general for failing to protect him from the Russia probe. His intent to undermine an investigation of his campaign has been clear throughout—he barely tried to hide it—but the difference this time is that he has acted with impunity. What comes next could be anything.
The thing about traveling in uncharted territory is that you don’t know where you’ll end up. This may seem like a simplistic observation, but it’s one worth making. Uncharted territory is the last place a conscientious government official wants to be and the first place an unscrupulous one wants to go. Precedents and norms are guideposts along well-traveled paths in government that lead to impartial decision-making. Conscientious officials find these guideposts helpful as they continuously check their motives to make sure they are putting the public’s interests ahead of their own and other private interests. If circumstances deliver them into uncharted territory, it becomes harder to gauge whether they are serving the public’s interest.Forty-five years ago, the leaders of the Department of Justice found themselves in similar uncharted terrain. An unscrupulous president was attempting to abuse his authority to undermine a special counsel investigation of individuals associated with his campaign for reelection. Special prosecutor Archibald Cox had demanded President Richard Nixon’s tapes of White House deliberations. Nixon responded by negotiating a compromise with Attorney General Elliot Richardson that would have allowed him to withhold the tapes, summarize the contents of some of them, and let a third party verify his summary.* But Cox rejected the compromise, so Nixon ordered Richardson to fire him.
Head over to Slate to read the rest.
Tomorrow is the day the grand jury meets. Here’s hoping Mueller has some indictments coming. There have been hints and rumors galore over the past week.
Vanity Fair: Nigel Farage’s Name Keeps Coming Up in the Mueller Probe.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
Yeah, I’m just diving in with the cartoons:
Oh, there was so many cartoons this week….
I can imagine more will come from the latest crap breaking last evening, or as someone on MSNBC called it, Tuesday night.
As he jetted to Paris last Friday, President Trump received a congratulatory phone call aboard Air Force One. British Prime Minister Theresa May was calling to celebrate the Republican Party’s wins in the midterm elections — never mind that Democrats seized control of the House — but her appeal to the American president’s vanity was met with an ornery outburst.
Trump berated May for Britain not doing enough, in his assessment, to contain Iran. He questioned her over Brexit and complained about the trade deals he sees as unfair with European countries. May has endured Trump’s churlish temper before, but still her aides were shaken by his especially foul mood, according to U.S. and European officials briefed on the conversation.
For Trump, that testy call set the tone for five days of fury — evident in Trump’s splenetic tweets and described in interviews with 14senior administration officials, outside Trump confidants and foreign diplomats, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Ugh…this is an open thread.
We’ve gone through two years with an unfit, incompetent “president,” but I don’t know how much longer we as a country can deal with this quickly worsening situation. Thank goodness the Democrats won the House and will be able to exert some control over this maniac beginning on January 3, 2019. In the meantime, the government is likely going to continue getting more dysfunctional; and every day we’re hit with so much news that it’s impossible to process all of it.
As comic relief, I’m illustrating this post with photos of dogs’ facial expressions when they’re getting treats. Click the link to Vieler Photography to learn more.
Here is some of what’s going on today.
Robin Wright at The New Yorker: Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage.
In unrelenting rain, more than sixty world leaders—Presidents and Prime Ministers, kings and princes, from a third of all the nations on Earth—shared big black umbrellas as they marched together down the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, on Sunday. They gathered to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War, and to express global unity. Donald Trump was not among them. He drove to the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the dry comfort of his limousine. Aides cited security. The only apparent threat was from an unarmed topless activist, with the words “Fake Peacemaker” emblazoned across her chest, who tried to run near his motorcade.
The President did the same thing the previous day, calling off a trip to honor the more than two thousand Americans buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, some fifty miles outside of Paris. (All told, fifty thousand Americans died in the First World War.) The White House cited foul weather. The response was fast and furious on the President’s favorite medium. Nicholas Soames, the grandson of the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a Conservative Party member of the British Parliament, tweeted, “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.” He added the hashtag “#hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.” Michael Beschloss, the Presidential historian, tweeted a picture of President John F. Kennedy and the French President Charles de Gaulle getting soaked (without umbrellas) in Paris when they honored the war dead, in 1961. There were numerous jibes on Twitter, including one from @votevets, about whether the decision had something to do with Trump’s hair. The same day, despite the rain, the leaders of France and Germany managed to visit Compiègne—also fifty miles from Paris—where the Armistice was signed in a railway car a century ago.
Trump flew his entourage almost four thousand miles for the commemoration but showed little interest in most of it. He lunched with his counterparts and offered brief remarks at a second American cemetery. But, otherwise, it was a dud of a trip. His disdain was all the more striking for the fact that he needs the rest of the world more than ever. The U.S. midterm elections produced a divided Congress, limiting movement on major domestic issues for the next two years. As he mounts his reëlection bid for 2020 Trump will need foreign-policy breakthroughs to appear either productive or Presidential. Yet he seems, instead, to be withdrawing further.
And back in Washington, Trump also failed to visit Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. Today, he’s on Twitter making excuses for his behavior.
At the Atlantic, James Fallows questions the “helicopter can’t fly in the rain” excuse:
Why, exactly, did Donald Trump not join Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Justin Trudeau at Saturday’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the original Armistice Day? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone outside the White House does at this point.
As you’re looking for explanations, you can dismiss this one. Helicopters can fly just fine in the rain, and in conditions way worse than prevailed in Paris on November 10.
Fallows is a licensed pilot and flew on Marine One when he worked for Jimmy Carter. Click on the link to read why Trump’s excuse is complete bullshit. I hope someone in the Marines speaks up about this.
Trump is also busy trolling Emmanuel Macron on Twitter. The Washington Post: In a morning tweetstorm, Trump takes repeated aim at France’s Macron.
In the first of several barbs Tuesday on Twitter, Trump again misrepresented what Macron had said during last week’s radio interview and reminded him of the U.S. military’s role in aiding France in World War I and II.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia,” Trump wrote. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two — How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.”
Trump also inaccurately summarized Macron’s comments when he initially tweeted about them Friday while on Air Force One arriving in Paris. Trump said he found Macron’s comments “very insulting” and said that France should “first pay its fair share of NATO.”
In his tweet on Tuesday, Trump again referenced France’s spending, writing: “Pay for NATO or not!”
I won’t bore you with anymore of the “president’s” churlishness, but there’s more at the link.
Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting AG is being challenged in court. Charlie Savage at The New York Times:
The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.
Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the plaintiffs said in a draft filing obtained by The New York Times.
The legal action escalates the uproar surrounding Mr. Trump’s installation of Mr. Whitaker as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, from criticism of his basic credentials and his views on the Russia investigation to challenges to the legality of his appointment. Last week, Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s top Democrat, sent a letter demanding to know why Mr. Trump chose an “unconfirmed political appointee” as acting attorney general, rather than follow the Justice Department’s statutory line of succession.
Maryland is asking a judge — Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, a 2010 Obama appointee — to rule on who is the real acting attorney general as part of a lawsuit in which it sued Mr. Sessions in his official capacity. Because Mr. Sessions is no longer the attorney general, the judge must substitute his successor as a defendant in the litigation, so she has to decide who that successor legally is.
The stakes are extraordinary. The acting attorney general is the most powerful law enforcement official in the United States and wields tremendous influence, from overseeing criminal and national-security investigations to deciding how to enforce immigration, environmental and civil rights laws.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who will likely chair the House Intelligence Committee next year warns Whitaker in today’s Washington Post: Matthew Whitaker, we’re watching you.
The president and Whitaker should heed this warning: The new Democratic majority will protect the special counsel and the integrity of the Justice Department. Should Whitaker fail to recuse himself — all indications are that he plans not to — and seek to obstruct the investigation, serve as a back channel to the president or his legal team or interfere in the investigations in any way, he will be called to answer. His actions will be exposed.
It is no mystery why the president chose Whitaker, an obscure and ill-qualified official never confirmed by the Senate, which many legal experts believe makes the appointment itself unconstitutional. Trump chose him to protect himself, his family and his close associates from the special counsel’s investigation and other investigations within the Justice Department.
Though I had many profound disagreements with Sessions, he was correct to follow the rules meant to ensure public confidence in the fair administration of justice and recuse himself, even though the president viewed Sessions’s compliance as a singular act of disloyalty. We must demand the highest ethical standards of everyone at the Justice Department, including the attorney general.
There is no indication that Whitaker has likewise consulted with ethics officials, as his past public statements, associations and the manner of his appointment make clear that he should have no role in overseeing the special counsel’s investigation or any matter related to the president and his campaign.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
CNN has decided to quit playing around with Trump and Sarah Huckleberry. NBC News: CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration over Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
CNN has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for revoking correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials, the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” a statement from CNN reads.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Trump in addition to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, and the U.S. Secret Service and its director Randolph Alles and an unnamed Secret Service agent….
The lawsuit says that Acosta and CNN have been favorite targets of the administration, adding that they intend this suit to “ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people.”
A number of derogatory tweets and comments made by Trump about CNN are mentioned in the suit. The suit noted that Trump retweeted “a video depicting him tackling and punching a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face, adding the comments ‘#FraudNewsCNN’ and ‘#FNN.'”
Read more at NBC News. Interestingly, CNN is represented by legendary conservative attorney Ted Olson, who turned down Trump’s attempts to hire him.
Counting of votes from last Tuesday’s election continues in several states. Yesterday, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner of Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in Arizona. Russia-friendly Dana Rohrabacher lost to Democrat Democrat Harley Rouda. The Florida recounts continue, and Democrat Stacey Abrams is still holding out in Georgia.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Judge orders review of provisional ballots in Georgia election.
A federal judge on Monday ordered election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted in Georgia’s close election for governor.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order calls for a hotline for voters to check if their provisional ballots were counted, a review of voter registrations, and updated reports from the state government about why many voters were required to use provisional ballots.
The court decision comes as votes are still being counted in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams trails Kemp and would need to gain more than 20,000 additional votes to force a runoff election.
Totenberg said she’s providing “limited, modest” relief to help protect voters. The order preserves Tuesday’s deadline for county election offices to certify results and the Nov. 20 deadline for Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to certify the election. The ruling enjoins Crittenden from certifying the election before Friday at 5 p.m.
Amy Totenberg is the sister of NPR’s SCOTUS reporter Nina Totenberg.
That’s it for me. What stories are you following today?
Today is usually a solemn day where we remember the sacrifice of many to our country. Many of the men and women in this country give up their private lives and some times their lives altogether to defend the things that let our country aspire to become “a more perfect union” and to share our values of “liberty and justice for all”. Their personal sacrifices were made to make all of us better off.
We find many days in our national calendar to recognize their commitment to our country. Today is a big one. My Dad was a world war II bombardier in the US Army Air Corps. His uncle and namesake took mustard gas in his lungs in trenches in France during World War I. While Uncle Jack made it back home, he died quite young as the mustard gas eventually took his life. My family has served in every war since Revolution and we were always reminded to honor our legacy.
There are so many instances of all kinds of Americans stepping up to this duty that it’s not difficult to wonder why we don’t fully step up for all of them. Most Native Americans were not even considered citizens until 1924 but many fought in World War I. The Library of Congress has maps that show where their bodies were buried in the fields of such historic battles as Verdun. Many lie in the places where the current Placeholder in the Oval office skipped out on a service honoring them, because, well, rain.
While searching through our collections for maps to use for display in the exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, I found one among our uncatalogued holdings that caught my attention. As the title states, it is a map presenting the role of North American Indians in the World War. The map was published by the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army in 1925. The North American Indian in the World War map documents the places where Native Americans fought with distinction during the First World War. Furthermore, it represents part of the broader social and political fight for Native American citizenship.
The map shows Native American participation, graves, notable battles, and military decorations awarded in France and Belgium.
The information for the map was taken from the work of Dr. Joseph Kossuth Dixon, a former Baptist preacher who became a photographer, author, and Native American rights advocate. Prior to the war, Dixon led three expeditions throughout the United States. Some of Dixon’s photographs can be found at the Library.
After World War I, Dixon traveled through Europe with the hope that documenting Native American service in the military would aid the struggle to obtain general U.S. citizenship. Forty percent of Native Americans were not citizens until 1924, though more than 12,000 served in the U.S. Army during World War I. As part of their service, many Native Americans of the 142nd Infantry, 36th Division became the nation’s first “Code Talkers.” Code Talkers sent messages encrypted in their native languages over radio, telephone, and telegraph lines which were never broken by Germany. On June 2, 1924, almost six years after the end of the war, Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act granting citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States.
African Americans also made a huge commitment of lives to the battlefields of World War I too which they too considered “the war to end all wars”. We focus a lot on the stories of World War II with its Navajo Codetalkers’ vital role in helping end the war in the Pacific theatre. We also talk a lot about the Tuskegee Airmen and their role in the fight in the European theatre of WWII. Black Americans were also present on the battle fields of WW1. This war not only shaped black lives in the countrry then, it shaped the lives of black Americans today. Do you know about the migration of southern blacks to the factories of the north?
World War I was a transformative moment in African-American history. What began as a seemingly distant European conflict soon became an event with revolutionary implications for the social, economic, and political future of black people. The war directly impacted all African Americans, male and female, northerner and southerner, soldier and civilian. Migration, military service, racial violence, and political protest combined to make the war years one of the most dynamic periods of the African-American experience. Black people contested the boundaries of American democracy, demanded their rights as American citizens, and asserted their very humanity in ways both subtle and dramatic. Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom.
When war erupted in Europe in August 1914, most Americans, African Americans included, saw no reason for the United States to become involved. This sentiment strengthened as war between the German-led Central Powers and the Allied nations of France, Great Britain, and Russia ground to a stalemate and the death toll increased dramatically. The black press sided with France, because of its purported commitment to racial equality, and chronicled the exploits of colonial African soldiers serving in the French army. Nevertheless, African Americans viewed the bloodshed and destruction occurring overseas as far removed from the immediacies of their everyday lives.
The war did, however, have a significant impact on African Americans, particularly the majority who lived in the South. The war years coincided with the Great Migration, one of the largest internal movements of people in American history.
Between 1914 and 1920, roughly 500,000 black southerners packed their bags and headed to the North, fundamentally transforming the social, cultural, and political landscape of cities such as Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. The Great Migration would reshape black America and the nation as a whole.
Black southerners faced a host of social, economic, and political challenges that prompted their migration to the North. The majority of black farmers labored as sharecroppers, remained in perpetual debt, and lived in dire poverty. Their condition worsened in 1915–16 as a result of a boll weevil infestation that ruined cotton crops throughout the South. These economic obstacles were made worse by social and political oppression. By the time of the war, most black people had been disfranchised, effectively stripped of their right to vote through both legal and extralegal means.
Jim Crow segregation, legitimized by the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court ruling, forced black people to use separate and usually inferior facilities. The southern justice system systematically denied them equal protection under the law and condoned the practice of vigilante mob violence. As an aspiring migrant from Alabama wrote in a letter to the Chicago Defender, “[I] am in the darkness of the south and [I] am trying my best to get out.”
Wartime opportunities in the urban North gave hope to such individuals. The American industrial economy grew significantly during the war. However, the conflict also cut off European immigration and reduced the pool of available cheap labor. Unable to meet demand with existing European immigrants and white women alone, northern businesses increasingly looked to black southerners to fill the void. In turn, the prospect of higher wages and improved working conditions prompted thousands of black southerners to abandon their agricultural lives and start anew in major industrial centers. Black women remained by and large confined to domestic work, while men for the first time in significant numbers made entryways into the northern manufacturing, packinghouse, and automobile industries.
h/t to NW LUNA:
Aside from their mass involvement in these voluntary organizations and efforts, a key difference between women’s service during World War I and that of previous wars was the class of women involved. Typically women who followed armies were from the working classes of society, but during the Great War, women from all classes served in many different capacities. Upper class women were the primary founders and members of voluntary wartime organizations, particularly because they could afford to devote so much of their time and money to these efforts. Middle- and lower-class women also participated in these organizations and drives, although they were more likely to be serving as nurses with the military or replacing men in their jobs on the home front as the men went off to war. For the first time in American history, women from every part of the class spectrum were serving in the war in some capacity.
Another significant change to women’s service during the Great War is that American civilian women donned uniforms. The uniforms allowed women to look the part and claim credibility for their services, as well as to be taken seriously by others; many women saw their wartime service as a way to claim full citizenship, and the uniforms symbolized “their credentials as citizens engaged in wartime service.” 2
Other women donned uniforms because of their association with the military—World War I was the first time in American history in which women were officially attached to arms of the American military and government agencies. Yeomen (F) served with the Navy and the Marine Corps, while the Army Nurse Corps was attached to the Army. In France, 223 American women popularly known as “Hello Girls” served as long-distance switchboard operators for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
And of course, those of us knowing the sacrfice of our military, well, we’re ashamed by these dreadful headlines this weekend: “Donald Trump jokes about ‘getting drenched’ during Armistice speech.”
‘You look so comfortable up there, under shelter,’ Donald Trump said while addressing second world war veterans at his armistice ceremony speech in Paris. ‘We are getting drenched, you’re very smart people,’ he said. The US president’s comments come a day after he cancelled a trip to a cemetery due to bad weather. Trump then went on to compliment the veterans: ‘You look like you’re in really good shape all of you. I hope I look like that someday, you look great’
And then, there’s this : “Macron reportedly asked Putin not to privately meet Trump during World War I commemorations — but they talked anyway.” Evidently, Putin ass kisisng was the Trump priority and not recoginzing the sacrfice of the millions of veterans of World War I lying dead in graveyards.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said France specifically asked him not to hold one-on-one meetings with US President Donald Trump during World War I commemorations in Paris this past weekend — but he ended up chatting with him anyway.
Putin on Sunday afternoon said he agreed to France’s request so as to “not violate” France’s planned events. “We will agree that we will not violate the schedule of the host party here: At their request, we will not organize any meetings here,” he told the Russian state-owned RT news channel, according to the state-run Interfax news agency.
Less than an hour later, however, Putin told reporters that he did end up having a brief conversation with Trump.
When asked by journalists whether he had a chance to talk to Trump, Putin said “yes,” Interfax and RT reported. According to RT, Putin added that the chat was “good.” Where and when that talk took place is unclear.
There are so many ways that KKKremlin Caligula is unfit for the job but the absolute lack of gravitas he brings to the world stage and to the rituals we set up to honor each other is perhaps the most mind boggling. The first lady was not much better. She showed up to the somber events dressed like an 8 year old ready for an Easter Egg Hunt and other rites of spring. Her tone deaf ensembles just about take the cake. From the “I don’t care do you?” jacket, to the colonial occupier costumes she wore to visit African nations, right to the fuck me pumps she always wears while tromping around national disaster sites, she’s got one hell of a display of really bad form.
While we wait for Mueller to dosey doe around the absolutely astounding appointment of a radical, radically unqualified Attorney General, I can only hope he’s as good as they say. The massively good news of the weekend was the apparent call to real hearings discussed by incoming Democratic Committee Chairs. Here’s a good list of who they are from WAPO.
I’ve picked the five that will upset the Trump family crime syndicate the most to highlight.
Schiff, 58, represents parts of Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Burbank. As the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, he has been one of Trump’s favorite foils in Congress. Schiff has repeatedly criticized the House’s Russia investigation, which his GOP colleagues conducted, saying it was inadequate.
Now Schiff will get his chance to conduct his own targeted investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia. He has said that he wants to look at whether Russians used laundered money for transactions with the Trump Organization. He also wants more information about communications the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had with his father and others about a June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Cummings, 67, will likely head the committee that could make life the toughest for the Trump White House because of its broad investigative powers.
Cummings would likely seek Trump’s business tax returns and other company-related financial records. He said he will work to make the president accountable, but will also challenge Republicans to uphold their oversight responsibilities, saying, “I think we as a body can do better.”
The Maryland Democrat, who represents parts of Baltimore city and most of Howard County, has said he would also like the committee to examine prescription drug prices and whether some states have engaged in voter suppression.
“We cannot have a country where it becomes normal to do everything in Trump’s power to stop people from voting,” Cummings said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
He would also seek to bring Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross before the committee to testify about the decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.
Nadler, 71, has been in Congress since 1992 and has served on the Judiciary Committee for much of that time. He represents a large swath of Trump’s hometown of New York.
He is expected to make one of his first priorities as chairman protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and requesting that Mueller’s materials are preserved in case he is fired. Nadler said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Matthew Whitaker, whom Trump named acting attorney general last week, “should recuse himself” from Mueller probe because he “expressed total hostilities to the investigation” and “if necessary” the Judiciary Committee will “subpoena” him to appear before the committee
The Judiciary panel would also oversee impeachment proceedings, if Democrats decided to move in that direction. But Nadler has expressed caution about the idea, saying there would have to be “overwhelming evidence” from Mueller and some bipartisan support.
The panel is also expected to look into family separation at the border and the Trump administration’s management of the Affordable Care Act.
Financial Services Committee
Waters, 80, is expected to chair a committee with oversight of banks, insurers and investment firms. She has opposed Republican-led efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and is promising colleagues that she will prioritize protecting consumers from abusive financial practices. The California lawmaker, whose district centers on south Los Angeles County, can also conduct aggressive oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and steps it has taken to reduce enforcement actions against student lenders, pay-day lenders and others.
The president railed against Waters on the campaign trail this year, frequently mentioning her during his rallies. Waters accuses Republicans of serving as Trump’s “accomplices.
In other words, the cavalry is coming. This time it includes native americans, black americans, hispanic americans, women, the glbt community.
Have a peaceful day of remembrance!
What’s in your reading and blogging list today?
Hey, I thought up the post’s title before I saw that tweet…referring to tRumps “squrriel’s nest toupee”…but before we get to a few links on the Orange Turd’s Paris trip, take a look at this thread.
As I said, that thread deserved the full treatment. For serious.
So what has happened today?
Now, here are several tweets for your review:
In honor of Armistice Day, (yesterday) …
Also, a new recording:
The soundscape of the Great War must have been devastating: constant artillery bombardment, rifle shots, fighter planes buzzing overhead and the screams of soldiers encountering gas. But we don’t actually know quite what the World War I sounded like. Magnetic tape didn’t exist yet and recording technology was in its infancy, requiring sound to be mechanically produced using a needle and soft wax or metal. Taking such machines into the field was not practical.
Still, there were people on the front recording. Special units used a technique called “sound ranging” to try and determine where enemy gunfire was coming from. To do so, technicians set up strings of microphones—actually barrels of oil dug into the ground—a certain distance apart, then used a piece of photographic film to visually record noise intensity. The effect is similar to the way a seismometer records an earthquake. Using that data and the time between when a shot was fired and when it hit, they could then triangulate where enemy artillery was located—and adjust their own guns accordingly.
At least one bit of that “sound ranging” film survived the War—the film recording the last few minutes of World War I when the guns finally fell silent at the River Moselle on the American Front. As Richard Connor at Deutsche Welde reports, part of a new exhibit called Making a New World at London’s Imperial War Museum uses those graphic sound waves to recreate the moment the Armistice went into effect and the guns fell silent.
As part of a celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, the museum commissioned the sound production company Coda to Coda to use the film strip of the guns firing away at 10:58 A.M. on November 11, 1918, then going silent when the clock strikes 11, the symbolic moment politicians determined the war would end, to try and recreate what that instant may have sounded like.
More information at the link.
Here is where you can hear the recording:
That link is to the direct Coda to Coda website, it plays the full one minute of the last sounds of WWI.
The Facebook link below does not play the full recording.
One hundred years later, the absence from the orange asshole mouth fuckwad, is overwhelming:
(Hey, the point is he is there in the fucking rain. And he was there on Saturday.)
I guess Putin was the reason he was late?
Read some of the responses to that tweet.
I guess tRump finally did show up for the dinner…coming into the event through the back door…WTF?
You can see all the dignitaries photos, on the red carpet etc., at that Daily Mail link above.
A few more articles:
This is an interesting interview:
Last surviving prosecutor at Nuremberg trials says Trump’s family separation policy is ‘crime against humanity’ | The Independent
The lawyer said it was “painful” when he heard about how the Trump administration had separated more than 2,000 children from their families after they had crossed the US-Mexico border.
Video at the link.
Can you fucking believe this shit?
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government impose criminal liability on correctional facility staff who have sexual contact with people in their custody. These laws recognize that any sexual activity between detainees and detention facility staff, with or without the use of force, is unlawful because of the inherent power imbalance when people are in custody. Yet, one immigration detention center is trying to avoid responsibility for sexual violence within its walls by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.
E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time of the assault, E.D. was 19 years old.
She filed suit against the detention center and its staff for their failure to protect her from sexual violence, even though they were aware of the risk. The record in the case, E.D. v. Sharkey, shows that her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.
Although the employee pled guilty to criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, the defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations. Their argument rests in part on their assessment that the sexual abuse was “consensual” and that they should be held to a different standard because the Berks Family Residential Center is an immigration detention facility rather than a jail or prison.
Read the rest of this disturbing case at the link.
Some updates on the California killer:
And lastly, these few articles that have a tie-in…civil war.
n the 158th year of the American civil war, also known as 2018, the Confederacy continues its recent resurgence. Its victims include black people, of course, but also immigrants, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, trans people, gay people and women who want to exercise jurisdiction over their bodies. The Confederacy battles in favor of uncontrolled guns and poisons, including toxins in streams, mercury from coal plants, carbon emissions into the upper atmosphere, and oil exploitation in previously protected lands and waters.
Its premise appears to be that protection of others limits the rights of white men, and those rights should be unlimited. The Brazilian philosopher of education Paulo Freire once noted that “the oppressors are afraid of losing the ‘freedom to oppress’”. Of course, not all white men support extending that old domination, but those who do see themselves and their privileges as under threat in a society in which women are gaining powers, and demographic shift is taking us to a US in which white people will be a minority by 2045.
More of course, at the link.
Those racist will tell you, the Civil War was strictly over the question of “state’s rights”:
Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said he believed states have a right to nullify federal law, CNN reports. In a campaign speech for his GOP primary run for Iowa Senator, Whitaker touted the need for states to have “political courage” to nullify federal laws. “Now we need to remember that the states set up the federal government and not vice versa. And so the question is, do we have the political courage in the state of Iowa or some other state to nullify Obamacare and pay the consequences for that?” Whitaker said in response to a question at a September 2013 campaign speech. “The federal government’s done a very good job about tying goodies to our compliance with federal programs, whether it’s the Department of Education, whether it’s Obamacare with its generous Medicare and Medicaid dollars and the like… But do I believe in nullification? I think our founding fathers believed in nullification. There’s no doubt about that.” According to a Des Moines Register columnist, Whitaker reportedly made similar remarks about nullification in April 2014 but said he didn’t believed states would do it.
I swear that Whitaker looks like a skinhead/Nazi.
And….at last we come to this:
- The Russian media has published more than 30 articles in the past few days suggesting that America could devolve into a civil wardue to the 2020 election.
- Stories that seek to undermine faith in Western democracy among Russian audiences are a staple of the Russian media, much of which is state-controlled.
- The source for these articles was an opinion piece published by conservative commentator Niall Ferguson, who references a “cultural civil war” but concludes that civil war is not imminent.
- This type of coverage in the Russian media highlights the challenge of contending with information that is distorted to the point of inaccuracy but is not explicitly fake.
The Russian media is obsessed with the American civil war. No, not the one that erupted in 1861 over the secession of the South — the civil war that’s coming with the next US presidential election.
tRump’s 30% are just hateful enough…and armed enough, to actually do something crazy like start a war.
This is all I have for today…btw….Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday, he would have been 48 years old. I miss him so fucking much.
This is an open thread.
It has been another insane week in the USA, a third-world country that was once (theoretically) a democracy.
Nowadays, we’re ruled by an senile old man who thinks he’s a tin-pot dictator.
He throws tantrums at idiotic, incomprehensible press conferences and acts like a spoiled child at press scrums as he lumbers toward his helicopter.
He screams at reporters and calls them “enemies of the people,” reserving his most vicious epithets for black women journalists.
The Washington Post: ‘What a stupid question’: Trump demeans three black female reporters in three days.
President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for reporters, whom he calls “fake news” and “enemy of the American people.” He’s also had unkind things to say about women and people who are African American.
This week, he hit a trifecta, singling out three African American women who are journalists. The women — Abby Phillip, April Ryan and Yamiche Alcindor — earned his contempt apparently just for asking him questions.
Trump called one of Phillip’s questions “stupid,” described Ryan as “a loser” and brushed off Alcindor, saying her question was “racist.”
Phillip, a CNN reporter and former Washington Post journalist, drew Trump’s wrath on Friday, after she asked whether he hoped Matthew G. Whitaker, Trump’s appointee as acting attorney general, would “rein in” special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Trump’s presidential campaign.
“What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question,” Trump snapped. He didn’t answer the allegedly “stupid” question, but he did pour more contempt on Phillip. “I watch you a lot,” he said. “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”
He suggested he was considering pulling other reporters’ press credentials to cover the White House, as he did with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday. Among those he brought up in that context was Ryan.
“You talk about someone who’s a loser,” Trump said of Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks and a contributor to CNN. “She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise, or she gets a contract with, I think, CNN. But she’s very nasty and she shouldn’t be. You’ve got to treat the White House and the office of the presidency with respect.”
When the “president” is a fucking asshole and a complete moron, he doesn’t deserve anyone’s respect. Just my not-so-humble opinion.
Today, the wannabe dictator is in France where he undoubtedly will make a complete ass of himself in his dealings with foreign leaders and foreign press. And . . . he’s already done it. Is anyone surprised that Trump doesn’t know the difference between the Baltics and the Balkans?
Supposedly Trump is in France in honor of Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. He was supposed to travel to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial but he cancelled because it was raining. So now he’ll be sitting in his hotel room, probably tweeting and watching TV.
Max Boot registered his disappointment on Twitter.
Boot wrote at The Washington Post: Trump should use his trip to France to learn a few simple lessons from history.
I am still haunted by my visit 14 years ago to the World War I battlefields of France, from Verdun to the Somme. All those long, neat rows of graves — all those young men struck down in a senseless, inconclusive conflict that claimed 40 million lives. Particularly heartbreaking were the markers commemorating “Soldat Inconnu, Mort Pour la France” (an unknown soldier who died for France) — someone whose identity has been erased from history.
I pray — with no expectation that my prayer will be answered — that President Trump will pause during his visit to France this weekend for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I to contemplate what happened and why. He will have a chance for some sober reflection, if he is capable of it, when he visits the American war cemeteries at Aisne-Marne and Suresnes. But it does not augur well that he will skip President Emmanuel Macron’s Paris Peace Forum,designed to bring together leaders to foster international cooperation.
Macron has been clear-eyed about what caused the Great War: “the leprosy of nationalism.” He warns that the danger of another catastrophe is rising because nationalism has been loosed on the world once again. “The world is fracturing, new disorders are appearing and Europe is tipping almost everywhere toward extremes and again is giving way to nationalism,” Macron said in a televised address. “Those who do not see what is going on around us are sleepwalking. Not me.”
His choice of word — “sleepwalking” — is significant because one of the best new histories of the outbreak of World War I, by the Cambridge University historian Christopher Clark, is called “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.” One cannot help thinking of the present day when Clark writes of “monarchs and statesmen” such as Kaiser Wilhelm II who “were positively obsessive about the press and spent hours each day poring through cuttings.” Sound like anyone we know? So, too, we can hear contemporary echoes when Clark describes “aggressive ultranationalist organizations whose voices could be heard in all the European capitals,” even though they “represented small, extremist constituencies.” Their aggressive ideology was the kindling that ignited when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.
Trump also picked a fight with French President Macron. Politico:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday slammed Emmanuel Macron after the French president suggested earlier this week that Europe needs to build a “real European army” to protect itself from Russia, China and the United States.
“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia,” Trump tweeted shortly after landing in Paris to attend a ceremony commemorating 100 years since the end of World War I.
“Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” the president continued.
Of course Trump had no idea what Macron was actually talking about, but somehow Trump’s delicate feelings were soothed. Politico: Truce in Paris after Trump’s offense at Macron’s EU army pledge.
It was an awkward truce to avert a Twitter war, a day before the big Armistice Day commemoration in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump, meeting at the Élysée Palace on Saturday morning, appeared to smooth over any differences after the visiting American took offense on Friday to comments Macron had made earlier in the week.
Macron, in the interview with Europe 1, had called for the EU to create its own army, “to protect us against China, Russia and even the United States of America,” citing Trump’s intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
Macron’s comments were perhaps provocative — but not for the reasons cited by Trump. Many other European leaders do not support the idea of an EU army, which many view as an overly integrationist approach to European common security and defense policy. It can be a subject of heated disagreement in Brussels.
Macron told Europe 1: “We will not protect the European if we don’t decide to have a real European army. Faced with Russia, which is at our borders and which showed us that it could be threatening, we must have a Europe that defends itself more on its own, without only depending on the United States and in a more sovereign way.”
He also castigated Trump from withdrawing from the INF treaty. “Who will be the main victim?,” Macron asked. “Europe and its security.”
None of us will ever forget how James Comey kneecapped Hillary Clinton in 2016 because she used a private email server. Well guess what? Comey used his gmail account for FBI business! The New York Post: James Comey discussed sensitive FBI business on his private email.
Fired FBI chief James Comey used his private Gmail account hundreds of times to conduct government business — and at least seven of tho..se messages were deemed so sensitive by the Justice Department that they declined to release them.
The former top G-man repeatedly claimed he only used his private account for “incidental” purposes and never for anything that was classified — and that appears to be true.
But Justice acknowledged in response to a Freedom of Information request that Comey and his chief of staff discussed government business on about 1,200 pages of messages, 156 of which were obtained by The Post.
The Cause of Action Institute, a conservative watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit for Comey’s Gmail correspondence involving his work for the bureau.
The Justice Department responded that there were an eye-popping 1,200 pages of messages for Comey and his chief of staff that met the criteria.
Yes, these are right-wing sources, but the info seems legit.
I’m running out of space, and I haven’t even touched on the subject of Trump’s fake Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Here’s the latest:
Federal investigators last year looked into whether Matthew G. Whitaker, as an advisory board member of a Miami patent company accused of fraud by customers, played a role in trying to help the company silence critics by threatening legal action, according to two people with knowledge of the inquiry.
Whitaker, named this week by President Trump as acting attorney general, occasionally served as an outside legal adviser to the company, World Patent Marketing, writing a series of letters on its behalf, according to people familiar with his role.
But he rebuffed an October 2017 subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission seeking his records related to the company, according to two people with knowledge of the case.
The FTC alleged in a 2017 complaint that the company bilked customers with fraudulent promises that it would help them market their invention. The FBI has also investigated World Patent Marketing, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Whitaker was not named in the FTC complaint. World Patent Marketing, without admitting fault, settled the case for more than $25 million earlier this year, according to court documents.
More on the scam company from The Guardian: Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings.
The appointment this week of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has sparked sharp concerns among lawmakers over the possibility that he may bottle up Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
Inside the Department of Justice, however, the fears are more expansive. Whitaker is seen as a rogue and under-qualified new leader whose impact won’t just be felt on the Mueller probe but throughout the federal government.
“He’s a fucking fool,” one trial attorney inside the department said of the new AG. “He’s spent so much time trying to suck up to the president to get here. But this is a big job. It comes with many responsibilities. He just simply doesn’t have the wherewithal.” [….]
“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people,” said one former official from the department. “It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”
Trump has already begun to disown Whitaker. The Washington Post: Trump distances himself from Whitaker amid scrutiny over past comments and business ties.
With the White House scrambling to manage public examination of Whitaker’s background and resistance to his leadership within the Justice Department, Trump sought to douse speculation that he had installed the partisan loyalist to curtail the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump insisted that he had not spoken with Whitaker about the investigation being led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — and the president upbraided a reporter when she asked whether he wanted Whitaker to rein in Mueller. “What a stupid question,” he said.
Defiant and testy as he departed the White House on Friday morning for a weekend visit to Paris, Trump claimed four separate times that he did not personally know Whitaker, who had been serving as chief of staff at the Justice Department.
“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Trump told reporters, adding that he knew him only by reputation.
That claim is false, according to the president’s past statements as well as the accounts of White House officials — one of whom laughed Friday at Trump’s suggestion that he did not know Whitaker.
Read more at the link if you missed the “testy” press availability yesterday.
More Whitaker stories, links only:
The New York Times: Matthew Whitaker: An Attack Dog With Ambition Beyond Protecting Trump.
That’s all I’ve got. What stories are you following today?