Thursday Reads: Another Bonkers Trump Interview and More Breaking News

Sunday Afternoon, by Marie François Firmin-Girard

Good Morning!!

By 9:00 last night, there were about 10 huge breaking stories related to the Russia investigation.

There was a rambling, incoherent New York Times interview with Trump in which he trashed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accused James Comey of blackmailing him, and threatened Special Counsel Robert Mueller, implying he’d better not try to look into Trump family finances.

On top of that, Trump still won’t let go of the dead GOP health care bill. And of course we learned that Sen. John McCain has an aggressive form of brain cancer that is likely terminal.

Right now we are waiting for Jeff Sessions to speak publicly. Will he resign? We’ll find out soon. In the meantime, here are some of the wild stories that broke last night. [UPDATE: He says he’s not resigning despite what Trump said about him (see CNN article posted down below. The announcement was about taking down a darknet website.] 

I’m going to devote most of this post to the NYT interview, because it’s just so incredible that this numbskull with dementia is in the White House. Here’s the article the Times published about it: Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions.

President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

Desire DeHau reading a newspaper, by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller was running an office rife with conflicts of interest and warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia. Mr. Trump never said he would order the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, nor would he outline circumstances under which he might do so. But he left open the possibility as he expressed deep grievance over an investigation that has taken a political toll in the six months since he took office.

Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

Much more at the link.

The Times also released an edited transcript of the interview: Excerpts From The Times’s Interview With Trump. Please read the whole thing if you can handle it. The “president” sounds like a third-grader. He can’t recall words, he has no idea what health insurance is, and he has no understanding of how the government works, and he has zero respect for the rule of law.

Some excerpts:

About health insurance and preexisting conditions:

HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.

TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

Painting of woman reading newspaper by Johanna Harmon

So Trump thinks health insurance costs $12 per year and you don’t use it until you’re 70 years old? WTF?! A little more:

TRUMP: Yeah. It’s been a tough process for him. This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. [garbled] This is a very tough time for him, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe we get there.

This is a very tough time for them, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe that it’s [garbled], that makes it a lot easier. It’s a mess. One of the things you get out of this, you get major tax cuts, and reform. And if you add what the people are going to save in the middle income brackets, if you add that to what they’re saving with health care, this is like a windfall for the country, for the people. So, I don’t know, I thought it was a great meeting. I bet the number’s — I bet the real number’s four. But let’s say six or eight. And everyone’s [garbled], so statistically, that’s a little dangerous, right?

Trump claims his “enemies” loved the horrible speech he gave in Poland.

TRUMP: I have had the best reviews on foreign land. So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president. I’m saying, man, they cover [garbled]. You saw the reviews I got on that speech. Poland was beautiful and wonderful, and the reception was incredible.

The “president” had a blast in France.

After that, it was fairly surprising. He [President Emmanuel Macron of France] called me and said, “I’d love to have you there and honor you in France,” having to do with Bastille Day. Plus, it’s the 100th year of the First World War. That’s big. And I said yes. I mean, I have a great relationship with him. He’s a great guy.

HABERMAN: He was very deferential to you. Very.

TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand….

People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes….

I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.

Claude Monet reading a newspaper, by Pierre Auguste Renoir

On the parade in Paris:

But the Bastille Day parade was — now that was a super-duper — O.K. I mean, that was very much more than normal. They must have had 200 planes over our heads. Normally you have the planes and that’s it, like the Super Bowl parade. And everyone goes crazy, and that’s it. That happened for — and you know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day. They didn’t go crazy. You don’t want to leave, but you have to. Or you want to leave, really.

These things are going on all day. It was a two-hour parade. They had so many different zones. Maybe 100,000 different uniforms, different divisions, different bands. Then we had the retired, the older, the ones who were badly injured. The whole thing, it was an incredible thing.

Seriously, he sounds like a child. Later Macron took Trump to Napoleon’s tomb.

TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? [….]

Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army….

But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. [crosstalk] It’s pretty amazing.

So what did Trump discuss with Putin during their recently revealed hour-long conversation after dinner at the G20?

We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr., Mr. Trump’s son] had in that meeting. As I’ve said — most other people, you know, when they call up and say, “By the way, we have information on your opponent,” I think most politicians — I was just with a lot of people, they said [inaudible], “Who wouldn’t have taken a meeting like that?”

Reading the News, by Evariste Carpentier

Does Trump even know that when Putin talks about “adoptions” he’s actually referring to U.S. sanctions against individual Russian oligarchs? Probably not. Trump goes on to claim that he never saw the email stating that the Russian government was supporting him in the 2016 election. He then goes on to claim that Hillary Clinton strongly opposed sanctions on Russia.

TRUMP: Well, Hillary did the reset. Somebody was saying today, and then I read, where Hillary Clinton was dying to get back with Russia. Her husband made a speech, got half a million bucks while she was secretary of state. She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing, while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money….

She was opposing sanctions. She was totally opposed to any sanctions for Russia.

BAKER: When was that?

HABERMAN: Do you remember when that was? I don’t remember that….

TRUMP: I just saw it. I just saw it. She was opposed to sanctions, strongly opposed to sanctions on Russia.

Cue the Twilight Zone music. There is much much more lunacy, but I’m running out of space. Please try to read the entire interview. I think it’s really important that we all understand how demented Trump really is.

Other important stories to check out:

Washington Post: John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, diagnosed with brain tumor

CNN: Jeff Sessions: ‘I plan to continue’ as attorney general.

Bloomberg: Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions. (Will Trump try to fire Mueller now?)

NYT: Manafort Was in Debt to Pro-Russia Interests, Cyprus Records Show (around $17 million in debt and to the same bank in Cyprus that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is connected with).

Politico: Republicans lament an agenda in ‘quicksand.’

Dakinikat posted this yesterday, but it’s worth reposting. The Daily Beast: GOP Lawmaker Got Direction From Moscow, Took It Back to D.C.

Paste Magazine: The Hidden Man: Why Paul Manafort is the Focal Point at the Trump Jr. Meeting.

NYT: Big German Bank, Key to Trump’s Finances, Faces New Scrutiny.


Wednesday Reads: We wrote letters…

We wrote the letters that made some GOP Congress members take notice. Mind you…it was none of my congressional assholes who made the difference the other night, but hey…it did the trick.

The fan is still spinning and the shit is still flying towards it, so keep sending those letters to the powers that be. Text the word RESIST to 504-09. Remember, Resistbot is a free service.

Now for the cartoons:

Day 180.1: In which we witness Death By 1,000,000,000,000 Cuts. #TheDailyDon #resist #magaisformorons #trumprussia #thisisnotnormal #dumptrump

A post shared by The Daily Don (@the.daily.don) on

Made in America Week: 07/19/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Made in America Week

HE DOESN’T GIVE A S………!: 07/19/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - HE DOESN'T GIVE A S.........!

MADE IN AMERICA WEEK: 07/18/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - MADE IN AMERICA WEEK

LIKE FATHER…..: 07/12/2017 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - LIKE FATHER.....

07/19/2017 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

07/19/2017 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

07/18/2017 Cartoon by Nate Beeler

Cartoon by Nate Beeler -

Good Shape Health Care: 07/19/2017 Cartoon by Steve ArtleyCartoon by Steve Artley - Good Shape Health Care

What Gets Called Treason?: 07/19/2017 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - What Gets Called Treason?

 

 

 

 

This is an open thread….

 

 


Tuesday Reads: The Death of Trumpcare, Don Jr.’s Meeting, and “Devil’s Bargain.”

Good Morning!!

Trumpcare is dead after two more GOP Senators said they won’t support the bill to “repeal and replace Obamacare. The Washington Post reports:

Two more Senate Republicans have declared their opposition to the latest plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, potentially ending a months-long effort to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and been a top priority for President Trump.

Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure. The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill.

They joined Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine), who also oppose it. With just 52 seats, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes to pass their proposed rewrite of the Affordable Care Act. All 46 Democrats and two independents are expected to vote against it.

In a pair of tweets Tuesday morning, Trump decried the defections, called for letting the Affordable Care Act “fail” and vowed to keep pushing for a GOP plan.

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” he wrote in the first tweet.

Remember when our joke of a “president” said repealing Obamacare would be “so easy?” Mother Jones in March:

“Together we’re going to deliver real change that once again puts Americans first,” Trump said at an October rally in Florida. “That begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare…You’re going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost—and it’s going to be so easy.”

Trump also argued on the campaign trail that electing a Republican-controlled Congress would allow him to quickly dismantle the health care law and pass other pieces of legislation. “With a Republican House and Senate, we will immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said at another event. “A Republican House and Senate can swiftly enact the other items in my contract immediately, including massive tax reduction.”

“We will [repeal and replace Obamacare], and we will do it very, very quickly,” Trump said during the final week of the campaign. “It is a catastrophe.”

Trump’s confidence in his ability to win the health care fight continued through the first few weeks of his presidency. On February 9, he bragged that when it came to repealing Obamacare, “Nobody can do that like me.” ….

By the end of February, Trump had changed his tune somewhat. “Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” the president said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

He still has no idea what’s in the bill he was so eager to sign.

So now Mitch McConnell says he will try to do a simple repeal of the ACA and worry about a “replacement” down the road. The Washington Post says that plan is dead in the water too.

Mitch McConnell pulled the second draft of his health-care bill last night after two more Republican senators came out against even bringing it up for debate on the floor: Utah’s Mike Lee and Kansas’s Jerry Moran.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” the Senate majority leader said in a statement sent at 10:47 p.m.

He announced that he’ll bring the bill that already passed the House up for consideration “in the coming days,” and the first amendment the Senate would take up would be for the full repeal of Obamacare (with a two-year delay for implementation). But to get that vote on repeal, conservative critics must vote to allow debate on the broader bill.

If the clean vote for full repeal failed, as it almost certainly would, senators could continue making additional amendments that may make the measure even more unpalatable to conservatives.

The latest Trump Russia news:

CNN is trying to find out who the eighth person in the Don Jr. meeting was.

CNN reported July 14 that there was also an eighth person in the room, according to two sources familiar with the circumstances, although the name has not been disclosed. The person was described to CNN by a source as a representative of the Russian family, the Agalarovs, who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. While it isn’t clear who the person is, a second source said he was an employee of the Agalarovs who was in the US before the meeting.

More hints: Trump Jr. attorney offers details about 8th person at meeting.

Donald Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, has told CNN he has spoken by phone to the eighth person in the room during the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.

CNN reported last week that the Awas there on behalf of a Russian family, the Agalarovs, who had asked for the meeting to be set up, according to two sources….

Futerfas says the person, who he declined to name, was a US citizen and said he was not employed by the Russian government. But Futerfas acknowledged he didn’t know his entire history. The Agalarovs and their attorney have not publicly explained who the employee was who attended.

Finally, Dan Diamond of CNN has pulled together “the ever-changing story about Trump Jr.’s meeting — what we know.”

The New York Times has a piece on “The Master of ‘Kompromat’ Believed to Be Behind Trump Jr.’s Meeting.”

The salacious video, of a naked man in bed with two women, was one of the most prominent examples of “kompromat,” the Russian art of spreading damaging information to discredit a rival or an enemy, in recent Russian history.

It was made available to Russian state television in the late 1990s and authenticated in public by Yuri Y. Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general, who at 66 has a long and storied background in kompromat. Mr. Chaika benefited from the video, as it destroyed a predecessor as prosecutor general, Yuri I. Skuratov, who had been looking into suspicions of corruption by President Boris N. Yeltsin and his associates.

Mr. Chaika (pronounced CHIKE-uh) is also the man who is widely considered to have been the source of the incriminating information on Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump Jr. was promised at a meeting last June in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and a Russian-American lobbyist. And yet, oddly, the accusations brought to New York fell flat, by the accounts of those present, despite their having originated from such a seasoned master of kompromat.

We’ll see. I’m not prepared to believe anything that comes from the Trump family or their attorneys.

 

This morning I downloaded the new book on Steve Bannon and the Trump campaign by Joshua Green. Here’s the intro from the New York Times review: How Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Rode the Honey Badger Into the White House.

Mellivora capensis — better known as the honey badger — is a thick-skinned and sharp-toothed little creature that in 2011 became a YouTube sensation thanks to a short video called “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.” In the clip, a honey badger chases off jackals, raids a beehive, survives a cobra bite and eats venomous snakes head first. Meanwhile, an unseen narrator extols the animal’s core virtue: “Honey badger don’t give a . . .” — well, a darn.

The video has been viewed more than 83 million times.

Most people who watch it probably find it fairly amusing — and plenty gross. But for Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and leading impresario of the alt-right, the video and its furry hero were something else: inspiration. The animal is the mascot of Breitbart News, the truth-optional publication Bannon took over following Andrew Breitbart’s sudden death in 2012 and with which he can maintain communication thanks to a White House waiver. After Trump made allegations about Bill Clinton’s sexual history in a debate last year with Hillary Clinton, Bannon exulted over his boss’s brazen but effective performance: “Classic honey badger,” he called it.

If there’s a lesson to draw from “Devil’s Bargain,” Joshua Green’s deeply reported and compulsively readable account of Bannon’s fateful political partnership with Trump, it is not to underestimate the honey badger. “If I didn’t come along, the Republican Party had zero chance of winning the presidency,” Trump told Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, in May 2016, and he was probably right. Only someone with his and Bannon’s transgressive instincts, along with their seeming incapacity for moral and intellectual embarrassment, could have defeated the well-oiled if soulless machine that was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

You’ve probably already heard about or read excerpts from the book. A couple of examples:

The Daily Beast: Trump’s Campaign Conceded in a Memo That Comey Was Having Major Impact.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign acknowledged in an internal memo that former FBI Director James Comey’s 11th hour decision to reopen an inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email helped shift the results.

Reported in Joshua Green’s new book Devil’s Bargain, the memo gives credence to an argument long espoused by Clinton world that Comey’s announcement propelled Trump to victory.

The memo was authored by some of Trump’s pollsters and data gurus just five days before the vote. Days earlier, Comey had reopened his investigation after FBI agents found additional emails on a laptop belonged Anthony Weiner, the now estranged husband of Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin. While polling began to swing towards Trump, virtually all prognosticators still had Clinton heading for a comfortable win on November 8. On the Trump campaign, however, Green writes that “it was suddenly clear” that the investigation “was roiling the electorate.”

“The last few days have proven to be pivotal in the minds of voters with the recent revelations in reopening the investigation of Secretary Clinton,” the memo read, according to Green. “Early polling numbers show declining support for Clinton, shifting in favor of Mr. Trump.”

It added: “This may have a fundamental impact on the results.”

The Daily Mail: Trump the foul-mouthed germophobe fired Chris Christie because New Jersey governor arranged for Obama to call his phone NOT The Donald’s on election night.

Author Joshua Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, writes that Christie had run against Trump for the Republican Presidential candidacy but quit in February last year after the New Hampshire primary.

The next month he shocked the Republican establishment by endorsing Trump and began leading his White House transition team.

According to ‘Devil’s Bargain’, Trump was in his War Room on election night when it started to look like he would pull of his shock victory.

The book says that ‘although he was surrounded by friends, aides and family members, there seemed to be a force field around him that discouraged a direct approach’.

Friends started congratulating Mike Pence instead and saluting him as ‘Mr Vice President’.

Trump sat down to ‘absorb the gravity of what was happening’ and a moment later Christie ‘burst through the force field and sat next to him’.

Christie said: ‘Hey Donald. The President talked to me earlier’ – the two had gotten to know each other after Superstorm Sandy. Christie said: ‘If you win he’s going to call my phone, and I’ll pass it over to you’.

Trump ‘flashed a look of annoyance, clearly resenting the intrusion’ and was repulsed by the idea of having somebody else’s phone next to his face.

Trump told Christie: ‘Hey Chris, you know my f***ing phone number. Just give it to the President. I don’t want your f***ing phone’.

Aides said that Christie’s move was the ‘ultimate mistake’ and one from which he ‘wouldn’t recover’.

If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be reading this book up until I have to go to the Dentist later this afternoon.

What stories are you following today?

 

 


Misc. Monday Reads

I’ve spent the morning searching through a lot of things and finally decided to give in to my inner child.  There are many exciting things afoot that will feed my need to escape and dream.  These are times that require much escape.  These are times that require us to dream.

First, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for a very long time. Tom Baker was my first doctor and will likely have that space in my heart relegated to sparking my imagination of time travel beyond a book.  I may have to make a huge amount of room for the new Dr Who, Jodie Whittaker. Not only is she a Whittaker with two ‘ts’ but she’s a she. That apparently is a bit too much for some men who can’t imagine the Doctor with a bevy of cute young male sidekicks.

Few TV casting announcements can have been as long awaited as the name of Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord and when the revelation finally came it sent social media into a frenzy.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world joined the debate about the news that Jodie Whittaker is to star as the first female Doctor.

While some people talked about the great role model the new Doctor would be for girls and women, others wondered why it had taken so long and some were firmly in the camp that the Doctor was only ever meant to be male.

People with young girls in their families appeared to be delighted at the announcement including David Owens who wrote: “My 8-year-old daughter pumped her fist and shouted “yes!” when the new @bbcdoctorwho was revealed. Think that tells you all you need to know.”

David Owens' tweetImage copyright DAVID OWENS

Simon Tucker responded saying: It’s great mate. My nieces can grow up in a world with a good Wonder Woman, a female Jedi, female ghostbusters & a female Dr Who.”

And @BlackRyu82 wrote: “My youngest daughter loves new Ghostbusters. We watched it together almost daily at one point. Super excited to watch Dr Who with her!”

Jodie Whittaker

One user applauded the move saying: “The lack of women, and lead women, in sci fi is embarrassing. Doctor Who just made a step in the right direction”.

And the casting milestone made some people feel quite emotional like Carla Joanne who tweeted: “Wow. I don’t even watch #DrWho & this made me choke up a little. I will def be tuning in”.

Be sure to check out All the Doctors, from Hartnell to Whittaker.

The 13th Doctor will make her debut on the sci-fi show when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas special.  It is sweet that many former Doctors are speaking up for the 13th Doctor.

Colin Baker, the former Doctor Who actor, has hit out at the “very sad” reaction from some fans to the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the lead character in the new series.

Baker, 74, who held the role between 1984 and 1986, endorsed Whittaker as the first actress to play the part. He wrote on Twitter that he was surprised by fans who opposed the casting of Whittaker, 35, because she was a woman.

“Cannot deny that I am amazed by the ‘never watch it again’ reaction by some viewers (I hesitate to call them ‘fans’),” he wrote. “Very sad. To those making ‘parking the Tardis’ jokes — name me one male Doctor that was unfailingly good at that!”

One of the first books I shared with Doctor Daughter was A Wrinkle in Time. This wonderful book is a science fantasy novel written by American writer Madeleine L’Engle. It was first published in 1963. I jumped on it immediately as an 8 year old with an avid reading appetite. I think it was on my Scholastic Book Club order in 3rd grade and I was always allowed to order one each month.  It’s now coming out as a movie and I may have to make a trip to Seattle just so we can see it together.

Young actress Storm Reid stars as Meg Murry, with an all-star cast of adult actors backing her up, including the cosmic trio of Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, and Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Chris Pine play Meg’s parents, Dr. Kate Murry and the mysteriously-missing Dr. Alex Murry. Newcomer Deric McCabe plays Meg’s gifted little brother, Charles Wallace.

We’re so excited for this movie, we’re gonna overlook the fact that the trailer contains yet another use of an edgy remake of a familiar pop song as its background music. A Wrinkle in Time will be out March 9, 2018.

And if course, folks can’t just let little girls and every one else enjoy that either without having issues with its young black star 13 year old Storm Reid but fuck them all.

Women are still badasses in the 7th season of Game of Thrones which debuted last night.  I had never been so thrilled to hear a song for opening credits in my life.  Several young women make the old men look like total piles of wimp.

Game of Thrones likes to keep viewers on their toes. Ever since Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) head went rolling at the end of the first season, we knew that none of our favorite characters were safe. And with scenes like Red Wedding [shivers] or Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and the entire Sept going up into green flames, many of us accepted that if we wanted to feel good at the conclusion of a show, we should look elsewhere. But every once in awhile, the series comes through, like with the Purple Wedding, where Joffrey met his doom. And in the season seven premiere, the show catered to the demands of viewers in a really important way. If the opener was any indication, the seventh season of Game of Thrones is all about women as important, powerful players in the fight for the Seven Kingdoms.

The cold open sees Arya (Maisie Williams), with her new face-swapping skills, parading as the deceased Walder Frey (David Bradley) and murdering all of his men with a batch of poisoned wine. This is just another item crossed off of her to-do list, which is primarily made up of killing all of her enemies. Arya has been elevated to the status of an assassin hell-bent on revenge, yet we’re still rooting for her. This falls in line with the treatment of male characters that are driven to the point of no return and start killing everyone in sight — their murderous mission becomes an epic saga. I’m glad Arya’s is given the same respect.

Here’s my favorite young woman of the North.

… fierce Lady Mormont Bella Ramsey), the youngest in the bunch, would hear no objections to girls and women also training for combat. I don’t blame her. The white walkers don’t discriminate based on gender, nor should the living.

I’m thrilled to have my weekly visit to Westeros where all the men are tormented and all the women can swing a sword with the best of them.  Plus, DRAGONS!

There’s just something about Jane Austin that’s worth celebrating even after 200 years.  I spent many a night with a flashlight, an Austin book, and a blanket fort discovering her world and characters.

Australian politics is full of well known figures that resemble characters from Jane Austen novels, notes Paul Brunton, emeritus curator of the State Library of NSW.

Be they the “pompous, the stupid, the self-serving, the snobbish, the superficial and less often the sensible and altruistic”.

It is Austen’s ability to create characters recognisable in contemporary society – to “dissect human nature with the skill of a surgeon” – that marks her genius, says Brunton, and one reason among many to observe the 200th anniversary of the author’s death this Tuesday.

While the cause of Austen’s untimely death in Winchester, July 18, 1817, is disputed, a series of public events have been planned to celebrate the life and works of the novelist who wrote three classics of English literature before the age of 25.

Austen is as beloved as her fictional heroines.

Two-hundred years ago, on July 18, 1817, Jane Austen slipped away from the world, taken by a mysterious illness when she was just 41 years old.

But could anyone be more alive?

Two centuries after her death, the beloved British novelist who gave us Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy — the timeless, feisty, perfectly mismatched lovers of Pride and Prejudice — is as vital as any author who ever lived.

Rather than fade away like some antique English rose turned to dust, Austen remains robust, revered, widely read, celebrated and reinvented by contemporary novelists, a darling of Hollywood and the BBC. You could even say she’s a global brand.

The “spinster” author who spun literary gold out of marriage, money, society, love and the foibles of human nature in a mere handful of Regency novels (including EmmaSense and Sensibility and Persuasion), is up there with Shakespeare at the top of the pantheon, says Paula Byrne, British author of the newly updated The Genius of Jane Austen: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood.

The Handmaid’s Tale (HULU version) has been nominated for 13 Emmies.  Samira Wiley is a shining star among the dynamic cast.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” racked up 13 Emmy nominations after its first season. The show, based on Margaret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is set in a dystopian society called Gilead, where handmaids are tasked with producing children for Commanders and their wives.

There has been a lot of buzz around the show, causing people to reflect on the state of our society in the current political climate. On Friday, NBC News caught up with Samira Wiley, who plays Moira, in the series, to celebrate her Emmy nomination for “Best Supporting Actress,” and to hear her thoughts on diversity, identity and the impact of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Image: Samira Wiley
Moira, played by Samira Wiley, is Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) best friend from college, her fellow handmaid-in-training at the Red Center, and a connection to life before Gilead. Jill Greenberg / Hulu.

 

So, it’s hard being a woman in the Gilead version of the USA as well as the Trump Version of the USA. This is another book that I read the minute it came out.  Disturbing yet a vision of a woman who can fight through anything.  It’s a good thing we have some sheros who can help us escape. In some ways, reading so many good books was my first act of Resistance. I can only image that most of these writers hoped to influence a few folks with some very radical notions.

I hope you enjoyed a trip into fantasy and fiction for Monday.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Cartoon Make-Up

McConnell Care: 07/14/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

This is Sunday? I guess with the little break during the week, I’ve been behind a day.

Dak and Boston Boomer have been on a roll lately, and with so much going down, it can be difficult keeping it all straight. I have a few links for you, but first some cartoons.

Transparent: 07/13/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Transparent

 

07/16/2017 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

07/14/2017 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

The New GOP: 07/15/2017 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - The New GOP

07/14/2017 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

07/14/2017 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite cartoonist is no longer working at his newspaper. Nick Anderson was given the “pink slip” earlier this week from the Houston Chronicle.

Read the link below.

Now for those few links…

I will say, nothing ever surprises me with people like McConnell. From Now This, a video reporting that Mitch the Horrible won’t even meet with the charitable organization…The March of Dimes… that is responsible for saving his life when he contracted polio in his youth.

 

More links on Healthcare:

Ted Cruz’s plan to discriminate against the sick is so vile that insurers finally see their industry is at stake | Eclectablog

If you’re a 40 year old with a pre-existing condition who earns $42,000 you could pay $10,000 a month for insurance in the worst case scenario under Trumpcare with extra Ted Cruz Venom, it is hard now a days to find an insurance as cheap as one sure insurance, plus finding a reliable insurance more difficult.

The best case scenario? You’ll pay about $900 a month, which is almost double what you’re paying now under Obamacare.

It’s been a few years so you may not remember what a pre-existing condition is — a term that only exists in America. The words sound severe but there’s a good chance that if you’ve ever had a uterus, depression, asthma, acne or anything that your insurance actually helps with, you probably have one

But won’t Cruz’s bill make life great for people who don’t have a pre-existing condition, right?

Don’t nature’s version of those of us with a good driving record deserve cheap coverage?

Well, it would let you buy a junk plan that may not even include hospitalization. We’re all “temporarily lucky” or “unlucky,” as Andy Slavitt says. When you suddenly get unlucky, your junk plan will be useless and then you’ll need to buy one of those sick expensive plans that soak up much if not most of salary — only you’re not allowed to buy one for SIX MONTHS.

This is a recipe for a collapsing insurance market. Experts have been wondering why the insurance industry, whose entire job is to assess risk, has stood by and watched Republicans design a nuclear bomb that will go off in their coffers.

On Friday, which may honestly be too late, America’s Health Insurance Plans finally spoke up to “strongly oppose this provision” which “is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market.”

Health Care: Families Unite to Protest GOP Senate Bill | Time.com

That just tells more stories about people…people the GOP will be killing if their healthcare bill passes.

In other sad news:

Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, First Woman to Win Fields Medal, Dies Age 40

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The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to between two and four mathematicians under the age of 40. Mirzakhani won the prize in 2014 for her work on geometry and dynamical systems.

She was also the first Iranian to win the prize.

In a 2014 interview with the Guardian, she described the excitement and challenge of mathematics.

“Of course, the most rewarding part is the “Aha” moment, the excitement of discovery and enjoyment of understanding something new—the feeling of being on top of a hill and having a clear view. But most of the time, doing mathematics for me is like being on a long hike with no trail and no end in sight,” she remarked.

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said: “Maryam is gone far too soon, but her impact will live on for the thousands of women she inspired to pursue math and science.”

“Maryam was a brilliant mathematical theorist, and also a humble person who accepted honors only with the hope that it might encourage others to follow her path. Her contributions as both a scholar and a role model are significant and enduring, and she will be dearly missed here at Stanford and around the world.”

Some news that broke late last night…Donald Trump Jr. paid attorney with funds from his father’s re-election campaign: report – Salon.com

I haven’t taken a look at the Twitter to see what new shit has hit the fan….but this bit of news this morning was a welcoming sight:

Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker announced as 13th Doctor | Television & radio | The Guardian

Yeah, the next Doctor Who will be a Ms.

The next star of Doctor Who has been announced after intense speculation – and the person stepping into the role of Time Lord is Jodie Whittaker.

She is the first woman to take on the role, playing the 13th Doctor in the BBC1 drama. Whittaker, who rose to fame in ITV’s crime drama Broadchurch, had been touted as one of the contenders.

Debate has been whirring over who would play the Doctor ever since Peter Capaldi announced in January that he was leaving the programme.

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who’s new head writer and executive producer, said: “After months of lists, conversations, auditions, recalls, and a lot of secret-keeping, we’re excited to welcome Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away.

“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

Whittaker said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

So with that, what are you all doing this Sunday afternoon?

This is an open thread.


Lazy Saturday Reads: Escape to Hope Island

Hope Island off the coast of Maine is for sale

Good Afternoon!!

Remember when we used to talk about finding a haven where we Sky Dancers could retreat from the world? If only we could raise $7.9 million, we could own this beautiful estate on an 86 acre private island, all we would have to do is to contact a west vancouver realtor and let him take care of everything else. From Boston.com:

A 25-minute boat ride from Portland, Maine, this estate on Casco Bay comes with more than just a three-bedroom, six-bathroom, 11,000-square-foot-plus main house.

Its $7,950,000 price tag also includes the 86-acre island on which it sits — Hope Island — along with a boathouse with an apartment; a barn with apartments; a carriage house; a tavern; a chapel; a stable; and a variety of other buildings. As you might assume, the home boasts some pretty incredible water views….

The island, with 11,050 feet of water frontage, has a rocky coastline, as well as sand beaches, a deepwater pier, and eight ponds.

In the main house, you’ll find two full stories and an unfinished basement. The kitchen boasts a center island with granite countertops, two bar sinks, cherry cabinetry, and a large pantry. The central entertainment room features custom millwork, a circular bar, built-ins, and French doors that lead to a terrace.

And from Boston Magazine:

Hope Island

The allure of Hope Island doesn’t rest on natural beauty alone, though. “No expense was spared in creating this magical island kingdom,” reads its property listing. What does that mean, exactly? For starters, there’s a more than 10,000-square-foot main house with six bathrooms, as well as several guest houses, a pier, a sizable boat house, a 10-stall horse stable, a couple of barns, concrete roads, a chapel, and even a tavern.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the island is powered by generators and submerged marine cables from nearby Long Island. There are also 15 water wells and nine separate septic systems. And if you ever needed to run an errand on the mainland, Portland Harbor is only a 25-minute boat ride away.

And to top it off, it’s called “Hope Island.” If only we could escape from the nightmarish Trump world we currently inhabit to a beautiful island close to Canada.

Our latest national nightmare includes Republicans who now say that colluding with the Russian government to help elect a president of the U.S. is no big deal. In fact, it’s just politics as usual and anyone would do it in order to win. Yesterday Jennifer Rubin posted a scathing takedown of her party: The GOP’s moral rot is the problem, not Donald Trump Jr.

The key insight from a week of gobsmacking revelations is not that the Russia scandal may finally have an underlying crime but that, as David Brooks suggests, “over the past few generations the Trump family built an enveloping culture that is beyond good and evil.” (Remember when the media collectively oohed and ahhed that, “Say what you will about Donald Trump, but his kids are great!”?Add that to the heap of inane media narratives that helped normalize Trump to the voters.) We now see that, sure enough, the Trump legal team (the fastest-growing segment of the economy) has trouble restraining its clients, explaining away initial, false explanations and preventing self-incriminating statements. (The biggest trouble, of course, is that the president lied that this is all “fake news” and arguably committed obstruction of justice to hide his campaign team’s misdeeds.)

Hope Island

Let me suggest the real problem is not the Trump family, but the GOP. To paraphrase Brooks, “It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a [party’s] mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing.” Again, to borrow from Brooks, beyond partisanship the GOP evidences “no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code.” [….]

Indeed, for decades now, demonization — of gays, immigrants, Democrats, the media, feminists, etc. — has been the animating spirit behind much of the right. It has distorted its assessment of reality, giving us anti-immigrant hysteria, promulgating disrespect for the law (how many “respectable” conservatives suggested disregarding the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage?), elevating Fox News hosts’ blatantly false propaganda as the counterweight to liberal media bias and preventing serious policy debate. For seven years, the party vilified Obamacare without an accurate assessment of its faults and feasible alternative plans. “Obama bad” or “Clinton bad” became the only credo — leaving the party, as Brooks said of the Trump clan, with “no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code” — and no coherent policies for governing.

Please go read the rest. Other than the fact that she quotes David Brooks and she characterizes Hillary as “ethically challenged,” I can’t disagree with much in Rubin’s op-ed. The Republican Party has completely lost its moral compass over the past half-century, to the point that they now believe that winning and money are the only things that matter and that basic morality, Constitutional norms, even common human decency and compassion are utterly irrelevant.

Here’s the latest on Don Jr.’s Trump Tower collusion meeting from CNN:

Trump Tower Russia meeting: At least eight people in the room.

Hope Island

The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort included at least eight people.

The revelation of additional participants comes as The Associated Press first reported Friday that a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin said he also attended the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. CNN has reached out to Akhmetshin for comment.

So far acknowledged in attendance: Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin and publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped set up the meeting. A source familiar with the circumstances told CNN there were at least two other people in the room as well, a translator and a representative of the Russian family who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. The source did not provide the names.

That meeting is getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. How many more people were actually in attendance?

People on Twitter had a lot of fun with the expanding numbers yesterday:

I should be posting articles about the people who attended that meeting, but I just don’t have the stomach for much more today. I’ll post some links in the comment thread. I have two more pieces to share and then I’ll end for today and try to get involved in some escapist fiction.

Edward Price at Politico: Why Does Jared Kushner Still Have a Security Clearance?

…the latest revelations undeniably have raised additional questions about the judgment of key figures in President Trump’s orbit, namely his eldest son Donald Jr., his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Only Kushner, however, holds an administration position and, as a result, a Top Secret security clearance.

The fact that Kushner, by all accounts, retains that clearance is an affront to America’s national security and a slap in the face to the career professionals subject to a different set of rules. I know this because, as a career CIA officer and later a spokesman for the National Security Council, I used to be one of them.

First, let’s review what we’ve learned about Kushner. He is among several Trump administration officials and associates to have acknowledged, long after the fact, his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak. In one such previously undisclosed meeting with Kislyak, Kushner reportedly sought to establish a covert backchannel with Moscow, employing Russian communication equipment in an apparent effort to evade U.S. surveillance. At the ambassador’s request, moreover, Kushner also met with the head of a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions, a discussion that went unreported for months. The banker, Sergei Gorkov, has close ties to Russia’s intelligence services.

Hope Island

In recent days, moreover, the Trump administration confirmed that Kushner also attended a June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian, who—in an email forwarded to Kushner—was described as a “government lawyer” privy to Moscow’s effort to denigrate Hillary Clinton and advantage Trump. In the face of persistent questions, Trump administration officials had—until last weekend—maintained for months that no campaign operatives had held any meetings with Russians. Kushner, it seems, was content to allow his White House colleagues to make liars of themselves as he left himself open to being compromised by the Kremlin, which has almost certainly known the truth all along.

I am confident in saying that my clearance would have been immediately revoked had I, as a career CIA officer, been accused of a fraction of these activities. In my case, the clearance process culminating in my first day at Langley lasted approximately a year, fairly standard for the period. It consisted of interviews, psychological exams and a lie detector test, while my family, friends and neighbors were subjected to questions about everything from my financial health to my drinking habits by humorless federal agents. When I ultimately was cleared to join the ranks of the CIA, the imperatives of unimpeachable integrity and sound judgment were stressed at every turn. It’s a mantra that becomes an ethos for our national security officials.

Read the rest at Politico.

Joy Reid at The Daily Beast: So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like?

This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putintweeted about what autocrats do when caught: “1: Deny, lie, slander accusers. 2: Say it was a misunderstanding. 3. Boast & say ‘What are you going to do about it?’”

The day after that tweet, Donald Trump stood on a dais in Paris beside the French president and said of his son’s now-confirmed willingness to receive campaign help for his father from Russia: “I think it’s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.”

That would be jaw dropping and bizarre coming from a mob boss at his pretrial hearing, let alone from the president of the United States. But that line is now standard issue among much of Trump’s political party, which has come around to the notion that collusion with a foreign power—even an adversarial one like Russia—is no big deal.

Trump, his family, and his defenders in the once Grand Old Party have mounted various defenses for his campaign’s collusion with Russians and their cutouts to win the 2016 presidential election. They have tried to ignore Russiagate. They have said collusion with Russia never happened. They have blamed Hillary ClintonBarack Obama, and Loretta Lynch (Trump now says the Russian government lawyer who met with Donald Jr. was only in the country because Lynch let her in. It will surprise no one to discover that’s not true.) And they have landed on the notion that even if collusion did happen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Check off all three of the Kasparov boxes.

Click on the link and read the rest.

I hope all you Sky Dancers have a nice weekend and that Robert Mueller is working hard to rescue our once-great nation.


Friday Reads: ру́сский Tяumpсский

Steve Sack / Minneapolis Star Tribune

If you can find any kind of innocent explanation for these headlines and meetings, then I frankly will dub you the champion of Double Speak. Let’s see White House Mommy wiggle her way out of these latest headlines on relationships between the Trump Family, the campaign, and Russian election hacking.

From NBC NewsFormer Soviet Counter Intelligence Officer at Meeting With Donald Trump Jr. and Russian Lawyer .

The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and others on the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, NBC News has learned.

The lobbyist, first identified by the Associated Press as Rinat Akhmetshin, denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies. He accompanied the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr.; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump campaign.

Born in Russia, Akhmetshin served in the Soviet military and emigrated to the U.S., where he holds dual citizenship. He did not respond to NBC News requests for comment Friday, but he told the AP the meeting was not substantive. “I never thought this would be such a big deal, to be honest,” he told the AP.

He had been working with Veselnitskaya on a campaign against the Magnitsky Act, a set of sanctions against alleged Russian human rights violators. That issue, which is also related to a ban on American adoptions of Russian children, is what Veselnitskaya told NBC News she discussed with the Trump team.

But, given the email traffic suggesting the meeting was part of a Russian effort help Trump’s candidacy, the presence at the meeting of a Russian-American with suspected intelligence ties is likely to be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate panels investigating the Russian election interference campaign.

This dude has some special skills.  This is from The Daily Beast: Trump Team Met Russian Accused of International Hacking Conspiracy. “Rinat Akhmetshin allegedly stole sensitive documents from a corporation years before he joined Natalia Veselnitskaya to meet Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner.”  Wow, he has mad hacking skills or knows folks that do. Imagine that!

The alleged former Soviet intelligence officer who attended the now-infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign officials last June was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy.

Rinat Akhmetshin told the Associated Press on Friday he accompanied Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to the June 9, 2016, meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Trump’s attorney confirmed Akhmetshin’s attendance in a statement.

Akhmetshin’s presence at Trump Tower that day adds another layer of controversy to an episode that already provides the clearest indication of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. In an email in the run-up to that rendezvous, Donald Trump Jr. was promised “very high level and sensitive information” on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Akhmetshin had been hired by Veselnitskaya to help with pro-Russian lobbying efforts in Washington. He also met and lobbied Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee for Europe, in Berlin in April.

In court papers filed with the New York Supreme Court in November 2015, Akhmetshin was described as “a former Soviet military counterintelligence officer” by lawyers for International Mineral Resources (IMR), a Russian mining company that alleged it had been hacked.

Meanwhile, back in Stoogeсский Tower, Trump lawyers admit to knowing about the emails for weeks now.  (There is never a dull Friday these days.) This is from Yahoo News.

President Trump’s legal team was informed more than three weeks ago about the email chain arranging a June 2016 meeting between his son Donald Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer, two sources familiar with the handling of the matter told Yahoo News.

Trump told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that he learned just “a couple of days ago” that Donald Jr. had met with the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, hoping to receive information that “would incriminate Hillary” and was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” A day earlier, on Tuesday, Donald Jr. released the email exchanges himself, after learning they would be published by the New York Times

Trump repeated that assertion in a talk with reporters on Air Force One on his way to Paris Wednesday night. “I only heard about it two or three days ago,” he said, according to a transcript of his talk, when asked about the meeting with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016 attended by Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chief, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

But the sources told Yahoo News that Marc Kasowitz, the president’s chief lawyer in the Russia investigation, and Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, were both informed about the emails in the third week of June, after they were discovered by lawyers for Kushner, who is now a senior White House official.

The exchange apparently was initiated on June 3, 2016, when a Trump family associate, publicist Rob Goldstone, emailed Donald Jr. with an offer of something “very interesting” … “official documents and information” that “would be very useful to your father.” On June 8, 2016, Trump Jr. forwarded an email to Kushner and Manafort about the upcoming meeting with the subject line: “FW: Russia-Clinton-private & confidential.” Trump Jr. wrote back later that day, telling Goldstone “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

The discovery of the emails prompted Kushner to amend his security clearance form to reflect the meeting, which he had failed to report when he originally sought clearance for his White House job. That revision — his second — to the so-called SF-86, was done on June 21. Kushner made the change even though there were questions among his lawyers whether the meeting had to be reported, given that there was no clear evidence that Veselnitskaya was a government official. The change to the security form prompted the FBI to question Kushner on June 23, the second time he was interviewed by agents about his security clearance, the sources said.

So, this makes THREE changes to Kushner’s form with an additional 100 or so names.  Gee, that doesn’t just sound like a bad memory does it?  Democrats are trying to have his security clearance revoked by passing a law. Republicans are blocking it and his father in law controls his access atm.

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner updated a federal disclosure form needed to obtain a security clearance three times and added more than 100 names of foreign contacts through the updates after initially providing none at all, reports CBS News’ Major Garrett.

The first form had no foreign names on it even though people applying for a security clearance need to list any contact with foreign governments. Kushner’s team said it was prematurely sent.

Then the team submitted the second one after they updated it with all of the names except for one — the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who met with Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in June 2016.

After omitting her name in the second form, that meeting was then conveyed to the FBI in the third revamping of the form before July.

This comes as some Democrats call for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked. On Thursday, House Republicans reportedly in the Appropriations Committee blocked a Democratic amendment to a spending bill that targeted Kushner. It would have prevented the government from issuing or maintaining a security clearance for a White House employee under criminal investigation by a federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.

The Chicago Tribune has an in depth look at Peter W Smith. He’s the guy that was trying to put together a team of Russian hackers who committed suicide shortly after spilling the beans to the WSJ. This part of his suicide note alone makes me suspicious.  Can’t you just here Kremlin Caligula ordering up this?

In the note recovered by police, Smith apologized to authorities and said that “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER” was involved in his death

And, oh wait we do know what icky Campaign mommy will say about all of this.

White House aide Kellyanne Conway accused critics of the Trump administration of moving the goalposts on the ongoing investigations into possible coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Russian nationals.

The goalposts have been moved,” Conway told “Fox & Friends” Friday morning. “We were promised systemic — hard evidence of systemic, sustained, furtive collusion that not only interfered with our election process but indeed dictated the electoral outcome. And one of the only people who says that seriously these days is still Hillary Clinton and nobody believes it.”

However, authorities investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election have long asserted that there is no evidence votes were physically changed as part of the effort. 

Conway’s analysis came in response to coverage of Donald Trump Jr., who admitted to meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign. Campaign manager Paul Manafort and top aide Jared Kushner were also in attendance.

So far, all the right wing media can say is it’s either Hillary’s fault or Lorretta Lynch’s fault. SAD!  I’m still wrapping my mind around the number of right wing Republicans that actually find Putin and Russia to be respectable.  Try read this from the NYT to understand the allure. Jeremy Peters believe the ‘revere’ Putin.

Mr. Putin is no archvillain in this understanding of America-Russian relations. Rather, he personifies many of the qualities and attitudes that conservatives have desired in a president of their own: a respect for traditional Christian values, a swelling nationalist pride and an aggressive posture toward foreign adversaries.

In this view, the Russian president is a brilliant tactician, a slayer of murderous Islamic extremists — and not incidentally, a leader who outmaneuvered and emasculated President Barack Obama on the world stage. And because of that, almost any other transgression seems forgivable.

“There are conservatives here who maybe read into Russia things they wish were true in the United States,” said Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. “And they imagine Russia and Putin as the kind of strong, traditional conservative leader whom they wish they had in the United States.” To these conservatives, she added, “Russia is the true defender of Christian values. We are decadent.”

Mr. Trump’s opponents have tried repeatedly to make an issue of the mutual admiration between him and the Russian president, anticipating that Republicans would not tolerate any whiff of sympathy from one of their own toward the leader of what Ronald Reagan called the “evil empire.” But Mr. Trump has never had to wait long for conservatives to leap to his defense — and often Mr. Putin’s as well.

Mr. Putin is no archvillain in this understanding of America-Russian relations. Rather, he personifies many of the qualities and attitudes that conservatives have desired in a president of their own: a respect for traditional Christian values, a swelling nationalist pride and an aggressive posture toward foreign adversaries.

In this view, the Russian president is a brilliant tactician, a slayer of murderous Islamic extremists — and not incidentally, a leader who outmaneuvered and emasculated President Barack Obama on the world stage. And because of that, almost any other transgression seems forgivable.

“There are conservatives here who maybe read into Russia things they wish were true in the United States,” said Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. “And they imagine Russia and Putin as the kind of strong, traditional conservative leader whom they wish they had in the United States.” To these conservatives, she added, “Russia is the true defender of Christian values. We are decadent.”

Mr. Trump’s opponents have tried repeatedly to make an issue of the mutual admiration between him and the Russian president, anticipating that Republicans would not tolerate any whiff of sympathy from one of their own toward the leader of what Ronald Reagan called the “evil empire.” But Mr. Trump has never had to wait long for conservatives to leap to his defense — and often Mr. Putin’s as well.

There’s a strange connection between Russia and white xtianists. (Via BB) They were allowed to basically invade the country once the USSR failed and they haven’t forgotten it. However, this has changed. Curiously, the Xtianist right still worships Putin.

While there are parts of the world where the persecution of religious minorities, including Christians, is a real problem, the United States is not one of them. Russia, on the other hand, has enacted laws that bar Protestant groups from proselytizing on penalty of fines, and has even gone so far as to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses entirely.

At first blush, then, it might seem odd that one of the Russian Orthodox Church’s leading hierarchs, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk—who was staying at the Trump International Hotel—not only participated in BGEA’s summit yesterday, but also, as first reported by Time, met privately with the vice president. Curiously enough, a key talking point from their meeting was that America and Russia should work together to fight international terrorism, a hallmark of the Trump campaign’s election season foreign policy rhetoric.

Metropolitan Hilarion heads the ROC’s Department of External Relations, and in this capacity he has worked tirelessly in recent years to cultivate relationships with Catholic and Protestant supporters of “traditional values” abroad, in order to work with them to promote Christian supremacy at the expense of women’s and LGBTQ rights—an example of what I call “bad ecumenism.” Such efforts are coordinated with the Kremlin’s foreign policy, which seeks to foster relationships with anti-democratic forces outside Russia. While Moscow made similar efforts during Soviet times, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rebranded post-Soviet Russia into the global standard bearer for “traditional values conservatism,” and in this capacity attracts primarily right-wing fellow travelers.

On the one hand, this policy would seem to make President and CEO of BGEA Franklin Graham a natural partner for Putin and the ROC, and, indeed, Graham has warmed considerably to both in recent years. In October 2015, Graham met with both Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, after which Patriarch Kirill declared Christians of all confessions who oppose marriage equality to be “confessors of the faith.” Graham reminded his followers on social media of his connections to Russia last month

There’s a good article to read about this unholy alliance from Talk Progress.

To fully understand how some members of the Religious Right came to appreciate Putin, it’s important to asses how Putin came to appreciate the role of organized religion — particularly brands that oppose LGBTQ equality.

Russia, after all, is hardly a bastion of religious freedom. The 2016 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom report listed the country as one with an increasingly “negative trajectory in terms of religious freedom,” pointing to policies that limit the activities of Muslims and other minority religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pentecostals.

Yet Graham’s remarks are the result of a years-long international power consolidation effort by Putin, who is is well known for using faith — particularly the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), a subset of Eastern Orthodox Christianity whose reach extends beyond Russian borders — as a mechanism to expand his country’s influence and antagonize Western opponents.

According to Christopher Stroop, a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida honors college and a published expert on modern Russian history, Putin became close with the ROC after beginning his third term in 2012.

“The Orthodox church domestically shores up the [Putin] regime, but it also works internationally to push the party line in pursuit of its own goals as well — and the church hierarchs are genuinely socially conservative,” Stroop told ThinkProgress, noting that Putin’s embrace of the ROC coincided with a broader shift toward right-wing populism.

“Putin has rebranded himself [and Russia] as a Champion of traditional values,” Stroop said.

Putin and the church are technically two entities with different agendas, but Stroop said they’ve developed a codependent strategy that benefits both parties. The Russian president often grants the ROC privileges not afforded to other faith groups to help him win domestic debates, for instance. Meanwhile, Russian priests in countries like Moldova and Montenegro have pushed back against efforts to align those nations with Western powers, and a Kremlin-funded spiritual center now sits near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

And as the New York Times reported last fall, Putin lifts up the church’s moral authority as a “traditional” answer to the west’s increasing liberalism, positioning Russia as an opponent to progressive causes such as LGBTQ rights and multiculturalism. This allows Putin to perpetuate the idea that Europe and America — not Russia — are faithless nations by comparison.

So, once again, the idea is that as long as “Traditional Values” are enshrined in law somehow, they don’t care who does it.  There’s been a piety show at the White House with a gross, disgusting laying of hands (more grabby grabby) and a cuckoo Pat Robertson.  Trump’s best base is the folks who fell for the longest running conspiracy theory every so they’re easy prey.

In an interview airing Thursday, Trump sat down with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. The aging icon of the religious right has been outspoken in his support for Trump, calling him “God’s man for this job.” It will be Trump’s second interview with CBN since he became president.

And earlier this week, photos surfaced from an impromptu Oval Office prayer session in which two dozen evangelicals laid their hands on the President and petitioned the Almighty on his behalf.

We were praying that God would give him guidance and direction and protect him,” said Richard Land, who served on Trump’s evangelical advisory board and is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The images of hands praying over the President’s distinctive coiffure caught fire on social media. To some, the timing seemed suspicious. Though raised Presbyterian, Trump is not affiliated with a church, nor does he attend worship services most Sundays. Was he “getting religion” just as the waters were rising around his White House? Was it a repeat of President Bill Clinton conspicuously carrying a Bible and meeting with religious leaders during the Monica Lewinsky scandal?

The White House disputes that interpretation. “The idea that someone would pray only when they’re in crisis is ridiculous,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy White House press secretary.

Land agrees. “That’s a very cynical and negative connotation of what happened.”

Instead, Land, a Southern Baptist who has been active in presidential politics since the Reagan administration, said he and two dozen fellow evangelicals were summoned to Washington for a “work day.”

The group, many of whom advised Trump during the campaign, heard reports from administration officials and gave feedback on issues like Israel’s security, judicial nominations and the Senate’s health care bill. Jared Kushner dropped by, as did Vice President Mike Pence — a fellow evangelical — who said the President invited the group to visit the Oval Office that afternoon and say hello, Land recalled.

As evangelicals gathered around Trump’s desk, he asked how their work meeting was going, Land said, and several praised his recent speech in Warsaw, in which the President pledged to protect Western values.

Okay. I need another shower.  This all creeps me out to no end. It’s like a terrifically bad movie plot.

So, let me know what you’re reading today?