Monday Reads: 2016 has been like a year long Red WeddingPosted: December 26, 2016 Filed under: Afternoon Reads 23 Comments
Well, it’s the last week of 2016 and the only thing I can think is that it’s a prelude to 2017 which is lining up to be an even worse year although we don’t know which of the icons that wrote the soundtrack to our lives will die at this time. I’m actually more concerned about the death of more important things like civil liberties and civil rights.
But, before I move on to my tribute to people who resisted Fascism in the past as inspiration for what faces us in 2017, let me just say goodbye to George Michael whose life, loves and music was unapologetically, in your face sexuality after being outted by Tabloids. George Michael was fierce.
I can barely get through a week without listening to his outstanding tribute with Queen to Freddie Mercury. He considered it his proudest but saddest moment. I’ve linked to a video of Queen and George in rehearsal for that performance where you can see David Bowie watching with Seal. It feels like George RR Martin wrote the script for 2016 where all the good guys get killed and the bad guys take over the kingdom. Seriously, it feels that way to me.
Here’s some inspiration from the past to help us buckle up as we careen towards 2017 and the take over of our government by Fascists. A flamboyant sportscaster led a secret mission to get his family out of Germany during those famous 1936 Berlin Olympic games. His story is now coming to light.
But here’s where we can start. Stanley Wertheim was a little more than 2 years old when Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. He doesn’t remember much from his childhood in Warburg, about 400 kilometers southwest of Berlin.
“I have some memories, but they’re vague. And only memories of certain incidents,” he says.
In one of those incidents, Stanley wandered out of his family’s backyard.
“And saw everyone saying ‘Heil Hitler’ and raising their arms, and so I did the same thing,” Stanley recalls. “Until, finally, some man caught me by the back of the neck and dragged me back to my house. ‘Cause that could have resulted in serious consequences.”
Stanley Wertheim is Jewish. Everything he did — or didn’t do — could have resulted in serious consequences.
The Olympics came to Berlin when Stanley was 6. The world was becoming concerned about German militarization and discrimination against Jews. And the regime hoped to send the message that there was nothing to fear.
So, the Games were important for Hitler and the Third Reich, but they weren’t of much consequence to 6-year-old Stanley Wertheim and his family.
“Well, that meant nothing to us except that Ted would be here,” Stanley says.
Also worth reading is the obituary of 96 year old Marion Pritchard who saved the lives of around 150 Jewish people and children in acts of bravery that should be told and retold. She was a true hero.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
We take time now to remember Marion van Binsbergen Pritchard who died this month at the age of 96. During the second world war in her native Holland, she helped more than 150 Jews evade the Nazis. Her son Ivor Pritchard told us how she became a rescuer.
IVOR PRITCHARD: She was riding her bicycle down the street and came upon a scene where the Germans were collecting Jewish children, just picking them up by the arm and the leg and the hair and throwing them into a truck. And there were two women who saw this. And they went up to the Germans and protested, whereupon they took the two women and put them in the truck, too, and drove off. And my mother witnessed this.
CHANG: From that moment forward, she committed herself to protecting Jews. She shuttled young children from one hiding place to another. Little ones couldn’t be moved in the dark after curfew because they might cry out, so she transported them in broad daylight.
PRITCHARD: She would put a child on her bicycle and pedal down the street. And the German soldiers would see the young woman with her child and wave at her, and she would wave at them. And she would go right by to wherever she needed to go.
CHANG: For almost three years, Marion helped hide a Jewish man and his three children in a home outside Amsterdam. One day, several Germans and a local Dutch collaborator came to the door looking for Jews. They left without finding the hidden family. But then…
PRITCHARD: The Dutch collaborator came back by himself. And she had a revolver that had been given to her by the friend in the resistance. And she didn’t know what else to do, so she shot him. So now she’s got a Dutch collaborator dead on the floor. What’s she going to do?
CHANG: Marion had a friend who found a delivery man to pick up the body and a mortician to dispose of it. This is the lesson that Marion Pritchard took from that story.
PRITCHARD: The world, at that time, did not neatly divide up into perpetrators, victims, bystanders and rescuers. The delivery man wasn’t actively involved in the resistance. The mortician wasn’t actively involved in the resistance. And yet, when asked, they cooperated.
In two truly bizarre acts of weirdness, the Trump administration seems to have declared itself the beacon for radical christianity in an act of unconstitutional unrepentant reptilian ickiness. Then T-Rump himself sends out a weirdish christmas greeting that looks like a raised white power fist. It was such a tiny fist with such tiny fingers.
Sean Spicer is going to be T-Rump’s press secretary and he’s already caused quite the controversy with a badly worded tweet which appears to be the way of things right now. One badly worded tweet after another on things that are blatantly not constitutional, legal or American. Who tweets out about freaking Kings these days anyway? George RR Martin are you writing this script? Please, let us know.
President-elect Donald Trump’s team yesterday accused media critics of politicizing Christmas after a holiday message from the Republican Party sparked a Twitter war over whether the GOP was comparing Trump to Jesus Christ.
The message released yesterday by the Republican National Committee read in part, “Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind.
“Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King,” the statement continued.
That last clause caused social media users of both parties to question whether the “new King” referred to on “this Christmas” was Trump.
For a lift, check out our Seventh Ward Santa who made the NPR news.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Happy Sunday, Happy Christmas, Happy HanukkahPosted: December 25, 2016 Filed under: just because 13 Comments
Enjoy your day, this is an open thread.
Christmas Eve Open ThreadPosted: December 24, 2016 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics 11 Comments
The best I can do today is post some interesting links. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.
I’ll start with some introductory excerpts and add more links when I run out of space.
Quartz: How Russia surpassed Germany to become the racist ideal for Trump-loving white supremacists.
For America’s white nationalists, there is only one nation—and one leader—worth emulating. And it has nothing to do with lederhosen or Wagner.
Richard Spencer, the current face (and haircut) of US’s alt-right, believes Russia is the “sole white power in the world.” David Duke, meanwhile, believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.” And as Matthew Heimbach, head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, recently said, Russian president Vladimir Putin is the “leader of the free world”—one who has helped morph Russia into an “axis for nationalists.”
For those Americans who are just now familiarizing themselves with Russia’s current political proclivities—due to the recent, high-profile Russian hacking allegations, say, or the brutal military campaign in Aleppo—Moscow’s transformation into a lodestar for America’s white supremacists is enough to cause whiplash. After all, just a few decades ago Moscow was a beacon for the far-left, and its influential Communist International provided material and organizational heft for those pushing Soviet-style autocracy around the world. Over the past few years, however, the Kremlin has cultivated those on the far-right end of the West’s political spectrum in the pursuit, as Heimbach told me, of reifying something approaching a “Traditionalist International.”
Moscow’s appeal to the American far-right is, in a sense, understandable, if no less worrying. The links between Russia and America’s white nationalists and domestic secessionists have both expanded and deepened over the past few years. And the Kremlin, as with its invasion and occupation of swaths of Ukraine, has gone to only minimal lengths to obscure such ties.
Sarah Kendzior: Trump and Putin: The worst case scenario.
On Dec. 22, president-elect Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin both announced that they intend to increase their respective countries’ nuclear arsenals. Their use of language eerily paralleled each other. “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted. “Russia should fortify its military nuclear potential and develop missiles that can penetrate any missile-defense system,” Putin said at a defense ministry meeting.
The joint statements set off speculation that the United States and Russia are planning an increase in nuclear capacity that is in stark contrast to standard anti-proliferation policy.
This is an erroneous interpretation. Trump and Putin aren’t heading to war with each other—they’re heading to war together. Trump is a vociferous defender and admirer of Putin and is suspected by multiple intelligence experts of being assisted and even co-opted by the Kremlin. Russian interference in the US election has been affirmed by multiple US intelligence agencies and has led to calls for a congressional investigation. Rather than engaging in an arms race against each other, Trump and Putin are possibly teaming up as nuclear partners against shared targets.
Sound fantastical? It’s not: Trump has been obsessed with nuclear weapons for several decades, and has expressed his desire to coordinate with Russia on nuclear policy since the 1980s. In 1984 Trump, backed by Roy Cohn, the political operative who advised Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, proclaimed his goal of negotiating nuclear deals with the Soviets: “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles,” Trump said. “I think I know most of it anyway. You’re talking about just getting updated on a situation… You know who really wants me to do this? Roy… I’d do it in a second.”
This rhetoric mirrors Trump’s current rejection of expert advice and conviction that his instinct is enough to guide policy. (“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he said in March 2016 when asked whom he consults on foreign affairs.) During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Trump refused to look at intelligence briefings or collaborate with anyone outside his inner circle. This advisory team is comprised of corporate raiders, warmongers, and white supremacists, some of whom—like his nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, or national security advisor, Michael Flynn—are personally tied to Putin as well.
The American Interest: The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections.
Even before the November 8 election, many leading Democrats were vociferously demanding that the FBI disclose the fruits of its investigations into Putin-backed Russian hackers. Instead FBI Director Comey decided to temporarily revive his zombie-like investigation of Hillary’s emails. That decision may well have had an important impact on the election, but it did nothing to resolve the allegations about Putin. Even now, after the CIA has disclosed an abstract of its own still-secret investigation, it is fair to say that we still lack the cyberspace equivalent of a smoking gun.
Fortunately, however, for those of us who are curious about Trump’s Russian connections, there is another readily accessible body of material that has so far received surprisingly little attention. This suggests that whatever the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with President Putin, he has certainly managed to accumulate direct and indirect connections with a far-flung private Russian/FSU network of outright mobsters, oligarchs, fraudsters, and kleptocrats.
Any one of these connections might have occurred at random. But the overall pattern is a veritable Star Wars bar scene of unsavory characters, with Donald Trump seated right in the middle. The analytical challenge is to map this network—a task that most journalists and law enforcement agencies, focused on individual cases, have failed to do.
Of course, to label this network “private” may be a stretch, given that in Putin’s Russia, even the toughest mobsters learn the hard way to maintain a respectful relationship with the “New Tsar.” But here the central question pertains to our new Tsar. Did the American people really know they were putting such a “well-connected” guy in the White House?
This is an important article, IMHO.
Chicago Sun-Times: Gene Lyons: Trump apes Putin, but U.S. is not Russia.
If Vladimir Putin gave a damn about American public opinion, he’d encourage Donald Trump to make at least a symbolic gesture to prove he’s not the Russian strongman’s vassal. So far, there’s no sign either party to their oddly one-sided alliance feels the need.
Trump’s every significant appointment and foreign policy pronouncement has been exactly as the Russians would have it. “The man has very strong control over his country,” Trump has said. “He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.” So what if Putin’s leadership skills include having political rivals and troublesome journalists jailed or killed?
More telling are Trump’s cabinet picks: first, national security adviser Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a flaky conspiracy-theorist who not only gave credence to the delusional “Pizzagate” tale, but has also dined publicly with Putin and done paid gigs on the Kremlin-sponsored “Russia Today” TV network.
Then there’s Rex Tillerson, the ExxonMobil CEO who has done billions in business deals with state-dominated Russian oil companies and accepted that country’s highest civilian medal from Putin himself….
Also, did you know that Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign director forced to resign last summer after reportedly taking millions from the Russian puppet government in Ukraine, actually lives in Trump Tower? Did he ever really quit stage-managing the campaign? It’s worth wondering if, like the omnipresent Trump children, he remains on the president-elect’s private payroll.
Add the skeptical noises that Trump has made about NATO, his seeming indifference to Russian military interventions in Ukraine and its role in the ongoing Syrian slaughter, and it becomes hard to imagine anything Putin might want that Trump’s unwilling to give him. It’s a good bet President Trump will withdraw U.S. support for NATO economic sanctions imposed after Russia’s seizure of Crimea — a blow to our European allies and a boost to the faltering Russian economy.
Politico: Trump writing his own White House rules.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he might do away with regular press briefings and daily intelligence reports. He wants to retain private security while receiving secret service protection, even after the inauguration. He is encouraging members of his family to take on formal roles in his administration, testing the limits of anti-nepotism statutes. And he is pushing the limits of ethics laws in trying to keep a stake in his business.
In a series of decisions and comments since his election last month — from small and stylistic preferences to large and looming conflicts — Trump has signaled that he intends to run his White House much like he ran his campaign: with little regard for tradition. And in the process of writing his own rules, he is shining a light on how much of the American political system is encoded in custom, and how little is based in the law.
On Jan. 20, Trump will take the oath of office having never released his tax returns, the first incoming president not to do so in four decades, and he has not given a press conference since he was elected, flouting another custom for presidents-elect. It remains to be seen whether he will file a personal financial disclosure during his first year in office. Presidents are not legally required to do so, but all have since 1978.
“If it’s not written down, you can get away with it. That’s the new premise. And that’s pretty staggering,” said Trump biographer Gwenda Blair, author of “The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire.”
Share Blue: Trump-Putin alliance grows, asThe Putin pens flattering letter to “His Excellency Donald Trump.”
Share Blue: A Black descendant of American slaves and slaveholders, I am the realest of Real Americans.
The Atlantic: Trump Is Making Little Attempt to Reconcile the Country.
Politico: Trump’s unpopularity threatens to hobble his presidency.
The American Prospect: Donald Trump’s Epistemological Netherworld.
What stories are you following today?
Friday ReadsPosted: December 23, 2016 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: nuclear arms race, Russians 23 Comments
It’s Friday! Do you know where your closest bomb shelter is?
Well, those of you with grandchildren might get to do the everything-old-is-new-again game from your childhood. Duck and Cover anyone?
Future President Crazy Pants has aides scrambling to say, no, he really doesn’t mean to tear down the Legacy of Ronald Reagan and start a nuclear arms race but that’s exactly what he said on Morning Joke this morning. Isn’t it amazing how not even his closest advisers can stop the crazy train that winds around his cranium where the synapses should be?
Der Cheetoh Hitler says “Let it be an arms race”. WTF else is that supposed to mean?
The president-elect Donald Trump has stunned nuclear weapons experts by appearing to call for a renewed arms race on his Twitter feed and in a TV interview.
“Let it be an arms race,” the president in waiting was reported to have told Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe programme, in an early phone call on Friday.
According to Brzezinski he went on to say: “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
The incendiary comment followed a tweet on Thursday in which Trump threatened to preside over a major ramping up of the US nuclear arsenal.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he wrote.
The volley of remarks had Trump aides scrambling into damage limitation mode, but their efforts were powerless to neutralise the shock waves of alarm and bewilderment provoked by the president-elect’s remarks
I certainly remember the practices and movies we had to watch during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Are we headed that way again?
But wait, weren’t the Russians the bad guys? Orangeholio appears to be violating the Logan Act as well as all kinds of other laws as we careen towards the end times with the Great Orange Satan. He basically said buddy “Putin’s thoughts are so correct,”
President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised Vladimir Putin and shared a Christmas letter the Russian president sent him.
“A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct,” Trump said in a statement. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”
In the attached letter, Putin emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two countries.
“I hope that after you assume the position of the President of the United States of America we will be able – by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner – to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level,” the Russian leader wrote.
RaspPuti thinks all this worry over an arms race is just sour grapes. Fearless leader says we should embrace his new puppet and our KGB overlords. But then he said this:
Putin also reiterated at the news conference his interest in better ties with the United States after the inauguration of Trump, who, during the campaign, espoused positions favorable to Russia, including joining forces to fight terrorism and considering recognizing Russia’s annexation of Ukraine.
The Russian president played down the significance of Trump’s tweet Thursday calling for the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, calling it “nothing unusual” and saying that Moscow did not intend to pursue an arms race “that we can’t afford.”
Putin did say that Russia was modernizing its nuclear strike capability, which he said would enable it to overpower any missile defenses the United States is developing. Russia, he said, “will be stronger than any aggressor.”
Meanwhile, Election Observers have stated that the North Carolina elections were handled so badly that they state isn’t a recognizable democracy. Let that sink in for awhile.
In the just released EIP report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.
Indeed, North Carolina does so poorly on the measures of legal framework and voter registration, that on those indicators we rank alongside Iran and Venezuela. When it comes to the integrity of the voting district boundaries no country has ever received as low a score as the 7/100 North Carolina received. North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.
That North Carolina can no longer call its elections democratic is shocking enough, but our democratic decline goes beyond what happens at election time. The most respected measures of democracy — Freedom House, POLITY and the Varieties of Democracy project — all assess the degree to which the exercise of power depends on the will of the people: That is, governance is not arbitrary, it follows established rules and is based on popular legitimacy.
So, it’s likely Clinton could’ve won North Carolina and the voter suppression and tossing of provisional ballots just let the big guy waltz through.
The Rockettes and Mormons are livid at the thought of participating in the Trump Installation. No one wants the karma of recognizing Cheetoh Hitler. The Rockettes parent company is indicating that participation would be voluntary now. I wonder how that will work. The Beach Boys–which is basically Mike Love who is a well known celebrity asshole–are considering an offer. I doubt Brian Wilson will want any part of it and wonder if he can exercise his copyright rights. Meanwhile, Miami will have the real celebs performing a protest concert. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is getting an earful, though.
I have a few things that I’d like to share that will take you back even further than Cold war. Here’s some wonderful old photos of New Orleans including some of its more shameful history.
So, that’s it for me today. I’m exhausted and I just need a break from stuff badly.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today
Thursday Reads: News with Portraits of StressPosted: December 22, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump 28 Comments
So . . . another chapter in my life crisis: My mother twisted her ankle a couple of days ago. She went to the doctor, but he sent her home with no treatment to speak of. She spent the night with a friend because she couldn’t really walk. Yesterday morning she was unable to put any weight on it. Now she is staying with my niece, but I’ve been having to deal with my many siblings while trying to figure out what to do when she comes home. Luckily, she is going to my brother’s house over Xmas. Of course this is on top of my current mountain of stress over my living situation. Not to mention the coming apocalypse on January 20.
Anyway, I feel–and probably look like–the Picasso painting above; so please forgive me if this post is incoherent.
It looks like we’ll have to put up with Kellyanne Conway for the foreseeable future. The Guardian reports: Kellyanne Conway chosen as Donald Trump’s counselor.
Donald Trump has named his former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, to serve as counselor to the president, making her the most influential woman in the White House….
Conway, a pollster and political strategist, has been serving as a key member of Trump’s transition team since his victory on 8 November. She came on board as campaign manager in August shortly after Trump had secured the Republican nomination, and after two others – Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort – had been fired from the position….
Trump has touted Conway as an example of his support and promotion of women. The president-elect’s victory on 8 November “also shattered the glass ceiling for women”, Trump’s statement announcing her appointment read. Conway was the first female campaign manager for either major party to win a presidential general election….
The role of counselor to the president is not a position all presidents appoint. It is usually an influential adviser role with a focus on communications. The last person to hold that title was John Podesta, who served under Barack Obama before leaving to run Hillary Clinton’s campaign in February 2015.
Yeah, whatever. If you want to read a bunch more bullshit about Kellyanne, you can click on the link above.
The New Republic’s Jeet Heer: Trump’s Tweets Are a Threat to Our National Security.
TheWashington Post has created a nifty tool designed to address one of the novel problems of our political era: a president-elect who persistently uses Twitter to spread lies. A web-browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, RealDonaldContext annotates some of Trump’s tweets with fact-checking from the Post. For instance, last month Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Below that, if you use the extension, is a note saying, “This is incorrect or false,” with this explication: “Trump didn’t win in a landslide in any sense—but more importantly there is absolutely no evidence that there were a significant number of votes cast illegally, much less ‘millions’ of them.”
RealDonaldContext meets a genuine need, given the importance tweeting plays in Trump’s media strategy and the frequency with which he lies. Trump’s authoritarianism is manifest in his attempt to impose a false reality on the world, which will become all the more dangerous when he assumes power. Thus, fact-checking his tweets is not only essential journalism, but an act of resistance—a reminder that Trump can’t make a lie come true by fiat alone.
Yet fact-checking, while necessary, is also only a partial solution. Trump’s core supporters, and the Republican Party that has decided to appease them, have proven willing to swallow his lies wholesale; they are immune to fact-checkers. Moreover, the problem with Trump’s tweets isn’t just that they often contain falsehoods, but that they are deliberate provocations with the potential to cause real conflict….
Trump will soon be president, and every tweet and other utterance will matter greatly. “The president’s words, as uttered in speeches and other official statements, literally shape American foreign policy,” Shamila N. Chaudhary, a senior fellow at New America, wrote at Politico. “In turn, State Department bureaucrats rely on the commander in chief to articulate clear, thoughtful and consistent views, based on facts and a knowledge of history. Only then can the entire weight of the large State Department bureaucracy follow seamlessly behind him—and carry out his goals.” In other words, the problem with Trump’s tweets isn’t just that they contain lies and speculation; it’s that a steady, sober foreign policy is made impossible by those tweets. If other nations take Trump’s tweets literally, as China did, there is a real possibility of military conflict.
Read the rest at the link. I think this is a very serious problem, but Trump will probably be just as belligerent in speeches and in person. It’s a fucking nightmare.
Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty at the WaPo: Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look.’
Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part.
Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players.
“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage but also the international stage, depending on the position,” said Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller.
To lead the Pentagon, Trump chose a rugged combat general, whom he compares to a historic one. At the United Nations, his ambassador will be a poised and elegant Indian American with a compelling immigrant backstory. As secretary of state, Trump tapped a neophyte to international diplomacy, but one whose silvery hair and boardroom bearing project authority.
“He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” said Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz, and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public.”
“The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ magazine or Vanity Fair,” Ruddy said. “It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”
As Trump formally announced his vice presidential pick in July, he said that Mike Pence’s economic record as Indiana governor was “the primary reason I wanted Mike, other than he looks very good, other than he’s got an incredible family, incredible wife and family.”
And in picking retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his nominee for defense, Trump lauded him as “the closest thing to General George Patton that we have.”
Mattis has a passing physical resemblance to the legendary World War II commander, as well as to the late actor George C. Scott, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Patton in the 1970 biopic. Trump also seems particularly enamored with a nickname that Mattis is said to privately dislike.
“You know he’s known as ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, right? ‘Mad Dog’ for a reason,” Trump said in a recent interview with the New York Times.
I’m sorry, but isn’t there anyone in a position (and willing) to prevent this insane monster from destroying our country?
Oh wait, James Comey (with help from Loretta Lynch) already made sure tRump could turn the US into a reality TV show except with real nuclear weapons.
Sari Horwitz at the WaPo: The attorney general could have ordered FBI Director James Comey not to send his bombshell letter on Clinton emails. Here’s why she didn’t.
Twelve days before the presidential election, FBI Director James B. Comey dispatched a senior aide to deliver a startling message to the Justice Department. Comey wanted to send a letter to Congress alerting them that his agents had discovered more emails potentially relevant to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
The official in Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates’s office who received the FBI call immediately understood the explosive potential of Comey’s message, coming so close to the presidential election. Federal attorneys scrambled into offices on the fourth and fifth floors of Justice Department headquarters, where they huddled to figure out how to stop what they viewed as a ticking time bomb.
“It was DEFCON 1,” said an official familiar with the deliberations. “We were incredibly concerned this could have an impact on the election.”
Aides at Justice and the FBI — located in offices directly across the street from each other on Pennsylvania Avenue — began exchanging increasingly tense and heated phone calls, nearly a half-dozen throughout the afternoon and evening of Oct. 27 and into the next morning.
Justice officials laid out a number of arguments against releasing the letter. It violated two long-standing policies. Never publicly discuss an ongoing investigation. And never take an action affecting a candidate for office close to Election Day. Besides, they said, the FBI did not know yet what was in the emails or if they had anything to do with the Clinton case.
Remarkably, the country’s two top law enforcement officials never spoke. As Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch could have given the FBI director an order to not send the letter. But Lynch and her advisers feared that Comey would not listen. He seemed to feel strongly about updating Congress on his sworn testimony about the Clinton investigation. Instead, they tried to relay their concerns through the Justice official whom the FBI had called.
Their efforts failed. Within 24 hours of the first FBI call, Comey’s letter was out.
Read the rest at the link. Why does James Comey still have a job?
What stories are you following today?