Thursday Reads: Thundersnow and DC Horrors

thundersnow-and-its-risks

Good Afternoon!!

That’s a photo of “thundersnow,” because that’s what I’m expecting to see during the Nor’easter that’s happening here today. I’ll be viewing it from my 10th floor apartment, so maybe I’ll get a good view when it happens. It’s been a pretty mild winter in the Boston area, but February is when we tend to get the worst storms and this one is supposed to be a big one–now they’re saying we might get 15 inches. I’m hoping it won’t last long. For everyone else in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm. We had a 55-car pile-up here yesterday.

Here’s the latest on the storm from NBC News: New York, Boston Brace for Foot of Snow: Schools Closed, Flights Canceled.

The Northeast has gone from short sleeves to snow boots in less than 24 hours.

More than 2,700 flights were canceled and all public schools in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia were closed Thursday as some 50 million people braced for a nasty nor’easter that could dump a foot of snow or more — the largest so far this season.

The Latest on the Northeast Storm

  • Fifty million people from Maine, along the Interstate 95 corridor, down through Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are being affected by a winter storm dumping about 2 inches of snow per hour.
  • Snow total estimates for major cities: Boston, 12-18 inches; New York City, 8-12 inches; Philadelphia, 3-5 inches.
  • A blizzard warning has been issued for southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern and central Long Island, New YorkRic. Wind gusts have reached about 50 mph in some areas.
  • More than 2,700 flights have been canceled, with at least 60 more already scrapped for Friday, FlightAware reported. Runways were temporarily closed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 11 a.m. ET and could reopen by noon.
  • Schools throughout Boston, New York and Philadelphia are closed, as well as some government institutions.

So that’s a slight distraction from the political horrors taking place in our nation’s capital, but not enough of one. It’s ugly down there. Here’s the latest:

As I’m sure you know, yesterday tRump’s pick for SCOTUS,  Neil Gorsuch, told Democratic Senators that he’s “disheartened” by tRump’s personal attacks on judges. He told this to more than one Senator–Chuck Schumer mentioned it on MSNBC last night–but tRump has chosen to try to destroy the career of Richard Blumenthal, who has gotten the most media attention for repeating Gorsuch’s weak criticism.

Even though a Gorsuch spokesman confirmed his boss’s words, tRump is claiming it didn’t happen. The Daily Beast: Trump Pretends Gorsuch Didn’t Say What He Said.

Donald Trump attempted to whitewash critical remarks made about him by his own SCOTUS pick Thursday morning. Even though a representative for Neil Gorsuch confirmed that he had expressed dismay at the president’s attack on a federal judge, Trump claimed his words had been twisted. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told the media that the conservative judge said it was “disheartening” and “demoralizing” to see Trump attack a federal judge for ruling against his travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries. Gorsuch’s camp confirmed that this account was true, but Trump still went on the attack. “Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” the president tweeted. (Blumenthal has previously admitted lying about his military service.) Shortly after Trump’s tweet went live, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse confirmed to MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Gorsuch had made the remarks, adding that the judge got “pretty passionate about it.” Additionally, Sasse said, Gorsuch remarked that “Any attack on brothers or sisters of the robe is an attack on all judges.”

Every day there are new new horrors; it’s getting hard to keep up with the constant tales of corruption as tRump tries to turn the U.S. into an authoritarian dictatorship. Yesterday the Senate confirmed racist xenophobe Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The day before it was Republican megadonor and anti-public school advocate Betsy DeVos who was handed control over the Department of Education.

The Sessions horror only slightly distracted from tRump’s completely unethical promotion of his daughter’s brand on Twitter (retweeted on his official Twitter account!)

Sean Spicer also attacked Nordstrom during his press briefing yesterday. TPM:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that Nordstrom’s decision to stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line is an attack on the president’s policies and his daughter.

Spicer told reporters during his daily press briefing that the decision — which Nordstrom said was a result of poor sales, not politics — was because of the clothing company’s displeasure with President Donald Trump’s executive orders and his policies.

“I think this is less about his family’s business and an attack on his daughter,” Spicer said. “He ran for president. He won. He’s leading this country. I think for people to take out their concern about his actions or his executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.”

Today Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News to promoted Ivanka’s products.

Kellyanne is a federal employee and promoting products is a violation of the law.

Just posting this stuff is making me feel so angry that I want to scream; so I’m just going to give you a few more reads I saved for today’s post and then go try to decompress for awhile.

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David Corn at Mother Jones: The Mysterious Disappearance of the Biggest Scandal in Washington.

The biggest election-related scandal since Watergate occurred last year, and it has largely disappeared from the political-media landscape of Washington.

According to the consensus assessment of US intelligence agencies, Russian intelligence, under the orders of Vladimir Putin, mounted an extensive operation to influence the 2016 campaign to benefit Donald Trump. This was a widespread covert campaign that included hacking Democratic targets and publishing swiped emails via WikiLeaks. And it achieved its objectives. But the nation’s capital remains under-outraged by this subversion. The congressional intelligence committees announcedlast month that they will investigate the Russian hacking and also examine whether there were any improper contacts between the Trump camp and Russia during the campaign. (A series of memos attributed to a former British counterintelligence officer included allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.) Yet these behind-closed-doors inquiries have generated minimum media notice, and, overall, there has not been much outcry.

Certainly, every once in a while, a Democratic legislator or one of the few Republican officials who have bothered to express any disgust at the Moscow meddling (namely Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio) will pipe up. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi days ago called on the FBI to investigate Trump’s “financial, personal and political connections to Russia” to determine “the relationship between Putin, whom he admires, and Donald Trump.” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), responding to Trump’s comparison of the United States to Putin’s repressive regime, said on CNN, “What is this strange relationship between Putin and Trump? And is there something that the Russians have on him that is causing him to say these really bizarre things on an almost daily basis?” A few weeks ago, Graham told me he wanted an investigation of how the FBI has handled intelligence it supposedly has gathered on ties between Trump insiders and Russia. And last month, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pushed FBI Director James Comey at a public hearing to release this information. Yet there has been no drumbeat of sound bites, tweets, or headlines. In recent days, the story has gone mostly dark.

Read the rest at the link.

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Navy Seal William Ryan Owens, who died during Trump’s botched Yemen raid.

Uri Friedman at The Atlantic: Trump’s Attack on the Legitimacy of Critiquing Military Operations.

In the wake of the Trump administration’s first counterterrorism mission, which reportedly killed 14 al-Qaeda fighters, one U.S. Navy SEAL, and an unknown number of civilians in Yemen, the president and his press secretary have set a remarkably steep standard for when the administration’s military actions can be criticized: If the action is against an enemy and involves sacrifice, it must be accepted as a success.

That message was underlined by a series of tweets sent Thursday morning by Donald Trump, who was responding to John McCain’s characterization of the raid as a “failure.” McCain, as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is one of the congressional leaders charged with oversight of the American military. But the Republican senator “should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media,” Trump wrote. “Only emboldens the enemy!”

“Our hero Ryan [Owens] died on a winning mission (according to General Mattis), not a ‘failure,’” he declared, in reference to the soldier who was killed and his defense secretary, James Mattis.

On Wednesday, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, similarly insisted that the raid was an unqualified success. “I think anyone who would suggest it’s not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens” and should apologize, he told reporters. “He fought knowing what was at stake in that mission. And anybody who would suggest otherwise doesn’t fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was, and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks.”

More at the link.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT

Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT

The Hill: Blumenthal: We’re careening ‘toward a constitutional crisis’

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday warned that the country is heading toward a “constitutional crisis,” moments after President Trump attacked him for sharing Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s concerns with the president’s attacks on judges.

“I said to Judge Gorsuch and I believe that ordinarily a Supreme Court nominee would not be expected to comment on issues or political matters or cases that come before court, but we’re in a very unusual situation,” Blumenthal said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“We’re careening, literally, toward a constitutional crisis. And he’s been nominated by a president who has repeatedly and relentlessly attacked the American judiciary on three separate occasions, their credibility and trust is in question.”

More stories to check out, links only:

Think Progress: Trump’s first 20 days reveal troubling patterns, according to experts on authoritarianism.

Politico: What was Mitch McConnell thinking?

Evelyn Turner at USA Today: I tried to help black people vote. Jeff Sessions tried to put me in jail.

Huffington Post: Congressman To File Bill Requiring A Psychiatrist At The White House.

Politico: Alabama AG Luther Strange to replace Sessions in the Senate.

Scott Turow at Vanity Fair: How the Democrats Can Stop Neil Gorsuch and Why they Must.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.

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48 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Thundersnow and DC Horrors”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice Thursday everyone.

    • dakinikat says:

      Stay warm and safe!!!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Wow, 10th floor? We lived on the 10th floor in Hanover Square Downtown NYC and it was a great view. Amazing what you can see at that height. How are you adjusting to apartment living? I think about you all so much.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m getting there, I guess. I’m glad to have a place to live anyway. I’m still not completely unpacked and the situation with my car is difficult. Going anywhere is a big deal because I have to walk quite a ways to the car and then if I buy anything I have to park temporarily, carry things up the elevator, and then take the car back and walk back home. I’ll be glad when I can get a real parking place. I don’t know how long it will be.

    • NW Luna says:

      Hope you stay dry and warm!

    • Fannie says:

      Take care BB………….you’re not going to have to shovel snow anymore. I’ve had snow since second week in Dec. Just the last two days it’s raining, and today I see grass!

      Thanks for all the links, of all the these, Sessions blows my mind.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’ll have to shovel my car out at some point. It’s in an open parking lot. I left the shovel in the back seat.

    • janicen says:

      Glad to know you’re safe and warm. I’ve been thinking about you Northeasterners getting walloped up there. Take care.

  2. bostonboomer says:

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  3. dakinikat says:

    Why Jeff Sessions Is So Uniquely Dangerous
    FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, AT LEAST.
    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a52895/who-is-jeff-sessions-attorney-general/

    Sessions will be an attorney general for police unions and constitutional sheriff associations, and for those line officers who believe— against the great weight of evidence— that the profession of policing itself is under attack. When the time comes to commit to federal oversight over police departments that have long exhibited patterns and practices of misconduct or discrimination, Sessions will likely avoid offending law enforcement communities with what he calls “overreach.” Vital reforms that would save lives (of both police and civilians) simply won’t happen.

    What Sessions won’t be during his tenure at the Justice Department is an attorney general for those who need his help and support the most. Sessions will not prioritize citizens who have had their lives ruined by racial disparities in policing, or by the persistent use of excessive force by officers who are shielded from accountability. He won’t be an attorney general who will side with those consigned by petty judges to cycles of poverty and crime, or those circulating in and out of a new generation of debtors’ prisons.

    On this, both Sessions and his new boss, President Trump, have been clear.

    And to think Grant actually set up the office to ensure the rights of Black Americans in the 1870s and to especially contain KKK activity.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

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  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Great post,bb!

    Be thankful that you no longer have to worry about shoveling, or the plows pushing the snow back into your driveway.

    My car is buried out there and though my son in law just plowed the city snowplows have yet to clear my street which means the bottom of my driveway will be three feet high by sundown.

    The snowfall is beginning to taper off but they are predicting more snow over the weekend! Ugh.

  7. Enheduanna says:

    I found this at Melissa’s – they want to abolish the Dept. of Education in two years:

    http://www.shakesville.com/2017/02/this-is-real_8.html

    My educator sister wasn’t too concerned about DeVos and I tried to tell her – they’re coming for your pension girl! This doesn’t state that but it would happen somehow if this bill actually got passed. It has 7 co-sponsors.

  8. NW Luna says:

  9. NW Luna says:

    The new right might feel strong, and be in power this season, but theirs is a fragile, ugly strength. They have exoskeletons, but no backbone. They allow their hearts to rot inside a carapace of denial. Their strength is the strength of invertebrates, of impermeable things that can bite and sting but cannot stand upright when it counts.

    I’ve got no time for that sort of strength. Not now, not ever. Give me courage instead, the courage to remain permeable, to remain open, the potential for empathy and learning. Make me brave—I don’t care about strong.

    https://thebaffler.com/blog/meltdown-phantom-snowflakes-penny

  10. NW Luna says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Trump is already having a tantrum and tweeting.

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    • bostonboomer says:

      //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Fannie says:

      The courts just showed us who the asshol is…………especially when it comes to the law of the land. Nobody, but nobody has respect for Trump. He’s out sending TRex to Mexico, and sending his goons to Arizona to build a better wall. He is wrong, and everybody in the world knows it……….it’s about equal protection under the laws, and these laws apply to his Muslim Ban. Tonight we are all humans, and tomorrow when you wake up, make calls, and write letters to the courts.

      Bring it Trump, bring it.

    • palhart says:

      Payback from the kid in the Oval Office: filling the 4 9th court appellate court vacancies with extreme conservative judges.

  12. dakinikat says:

  13. NW Luna says:

    No stamina:

  14. Earlynerd says:

    BB, I hope you stay warm and safe through the storm.

    Thank you for this post and all the important links – it may be hard to take, but reality needs to be kept front and center right now.

    At least some good news from the 9th – and Nordies! Washingtonians could celebrate their AG and their circuit court by buying a extra bangle or two at their hometown store.

  15. Fannie says:

    We have been watching this very closely…………..it’s pretty much near my home town of years ago, near Chico, California. On one hand, the DWR says it’s not a problem, but when you read the Sacto Bee, it’s bigger than just a mess.

    I have several stories to be told about the Oroville Dam………..but what I see is not good.
    Bill worked here for some time.

  16. RonStill4Hills says:

    Two comments.

    1) By the new standard of criticism Il Douche is trying to impose, Benghazi should never have been critiqued.

    2) I said at the time that Vodka Gate was Watergate marinated in treason sauce. It was a break in by the goddamned Russians!

  17. bostonboomer says:

    It sure looks like Michael Flynn is a Russian spy.

    Bombshell Report Suggests Trump’s National Security Adviser Is Dishonest and a Threat to US Policy

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/02/flynn-trump-washington-post-russia

  18. Pat Johnson says:

    Let’s see how far the Right will go to further investigate this atrocity. Our government is and has been in “cahoots” with Russia which begs for an open investigation surrounding these people and their ulterior motives.

    It is becoming apparent that those surrounding Trump have been “hand picked” as major staff members. Flynn, Tillerson and most notably Bannon have been shown to have “ties” to the Russian government. It accounts for Trump’s curious approach to any criticism of the master criminal and murderer, Vladimir Putin.

    This stuff is way beyond serious at this point. Our government is at stake. Just the fact that Flynn and Pence lied about conversations that have been exposed should be enough to wake the GOP to the consequences.

    Nation first should be the wake up call to the majority party who can and should call for hearings.

    But will they? And if not why not?

    • catscatscats says:

      If these ties can be proven beyond anyone’s doubt, I am all for voiding 45’s “win” and defaulting to the real winner, our Hillary.