Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

 

Today is a big day for Trump. He’ll be talking on the phone to his idol Vladimir Putin. He must be on pins and needles. I can just imagine his inner dialogue: “I wonder if he likes me? I think he likes me. He’s such a strong leader! And he’s so dreamy!” Politico:

Trump is scheduled to speak to Putin at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Oval Office, according to the daily guidance email sent late Monday evening by the White House. The two men spoke most recently a month ago following a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Leaders from both nations have conceded that U.S.-Russia relations, which Trump had suggested that he might be able to revive, have in fact sunk to low levels not seen since the Cold War.

But Trump is the master of “the art of the deal,” so I’m sure he’ll fix those problems “very quickly.”

From Axios, a summary of the Wall Street Journal article today (behind the paywall) on Jared Kushner’s latest ethics problems:

Jared Kushner failed to specify his part-ownership of Cadre, a real estate startup also backed by Goldman Sachs, George Soros, Peter Thiel, and Vinod Khosla, as well as debt consolidation loans bad credit direct lender adding up to at least $1 billion from multiple big banks, per the WSJ‘s review of government financial disclosure forms….

One visible example: Kushner has been tapped to head the American Technology Council, whose participants may very well include Thiel or Khosla-backed companies.

Ivanka has problems too, according to Huffington Post: Ethics office says it wasn’t consulted about Ivanka Trump job.

The New York Times and Politico reported March 20 that the president’s older daughter was working out of a West Wing office. A White House official told CNN that she would get a security clearance but would not be considered a government employee.

The next day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer assured reporters that Ivanka Trump would follow the ethics restrictions that apply to federal employees. He said she was acting “in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics.”

Related: Ivanka Trump White House job raises ethics questions

But the ethics office, in a letter made public Monday, said it was not consulted. Director Walter Shaub said he reached out to the White House and to Ivanka Trump’s lawyer on March 24 to tell them that Ivanka Trump should be considered a federal employee, subject to those rules….

The rules require Ivanka Trump to disclose her financial holdings and either sell assets or recuse herself from matters in which she has a financial interest.

Shaub gave his account in a letter to Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tom Carper of Delaware, who had asked him about the ethics rules for Ivanka Trump’s White House job.

More details at HuffPo.

Meanwhile The New York Times is refashioning itself as a Trump propaganda site with today’s loving profile of Ivanka. The piece begins with a description of Ivanka’s failed effort to get her father to apologize for his bragging about sexual assault on the “Access Hollywood” tape.

Ivanka Trump made an emphatic case for a full-throated apology, according to several people who were present for the crisis discussion that unfolded in Mr. Trump’s 26th-floor office. Raised amid a swirl of tabloid headlines, she had spent her adult life branding herself as her father’s poised, family-focused daughter. She marketed her clothing line with slogans about female empowerment and was finishing a book on the topic. As she spoke, Mr. Trump remained unyielding. His daughter’s eyes welled with tears, her face reddened, and she hurried out in frustration.

I guess she’s not that successful at “softening” him. On her White House role thus far:

The two trade thoughts from morning until late at night, according to aides. Even though she has no government or policy experience, she plans to review some executive orders before they are signed, according to White House officials. She calls cabinet officials on issues she is interested in, recently asking the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, about getting humanitarian aid into Syria. She set up a weekly meeting with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary.

In interviews last week, she said she intended to act as a moderating force in an administration swept into office by nationalist sentiment. Other officials added that she had weighed in on topics including climate, deportation, education and refugee policy….

Ms. Trump, 35, a former model, entrepreneur and hotel developer, says she will focus on gender inequality in the United States and abroad, by aiming to create a federal paid leave program, more affordable child care and a global fund for women who are entrepreneurs, among other efforts. Her interest in gender issues grew out of a “Women Who Work” hashtag and marketing campaign she devised a few years ago to help sell $99 pumps and $150 dresses. On Tuesday, the career advice book she worked on before the election, whose title echoes her hashtag, will be published.

By inserting herself into a scalding set of gender dynamics, she is becoming a proxy for dashed dreams of a female presidency and the debate about President Trump’s record of conduct toward women and his views on them.

Ivanka Trump, Ivanka Clothes, Trump Failures, political cartoon

Oh really? I certainly don’t see her as a “proxy” for Hillary. WTF?! The Times also seems to call into question what Planned Parenthood funding does (emphasis added):

…recently, with congressional Republicans threatening to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood (even though the women’s health organization says it receives no federal funding for abortions), Ms. Trump approached its president, Cecile Richards, to start a broader dialogue. She also had a proposal: Planned Parenthood should split in two, Ms. Trump suggested, with a smaller arm to provide abortions and a larger one devoted to women’s health services.

White House officials said Ms. Trump was trying to find a common-sense solution amid the roar of abortion politics. But Planned Parenthood officials said they thought Ms. Trump’s advice was naïve, failing to understand how central reproductive choice was to the group’s mission. Ms. Richards sharply criticized Ms. Trump for not publicly objecting to the Republican health care bill that failed in March, and Ms. Trump felt stung.

Tough shit. Toughen up Ivanka. You wanted the job, now do it. And why is the Times suggesting that Planned Parenthood might be lying about how it uses federal funds?

The White House is still cleaning up from Trump’s “dizzying day of interviews” yesterday. Politico:

President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the “right circumstances.”

The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was “looking at” breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.

And Monday still had nine hours to go.

“It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”

The interviews — published by Bloomberg, Face the Nation and the SiriusXM radio network — seemed timed to the president’s 100-day mark but contained a dizzying amount of news, even for a president who often makes news in stream-of-consciousness comments. Trump’s advisers have at times tried to curb his media appearances, worried he will step on his message. “They were not helpful to us,” one senior administration official said. “There was no point to do all of them.”

It’s frightening that no one can control him, even his loyal daughter and son-in-law.

More from Politico on the Civil War question: Historians see a dark underside to Trump’s Civil War riff.

The president’s comments on Monday struck some historians as darker than a history goof, with the president seeming to minimize the painful history of slavery in the United States and to talk up Jackson’s role as a strongman leader who proudly owned many slaves.

“It’s the kind of comment that will get applause from neo-Confederate circles in the South,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University.

Confederate flags were a common sight at Trump rallies during the 2016 campaign, and monuments to Confederate leaders are common in Southern states.

Some in Trump’s circle, including chief strategist Steve Bannon, have sought to liken Trump to Jackson, a populist. In March, Trump visited Jackson’s gravesite in Nashville, Tennessee, where he declared himself “a fan.”

“Steve Bannon has made Jackson the epitome of the hardscrabble, American folk hero,” added Brinkley. “And Trump has bought into Steve Bannon’s version of Andrew Jackson.” ….

“What I saw in that comment was his belief, his attraction to a kind of strongman history,” said David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University. “It’s so completely out of any knowledge or context to suggest that somehow Jackson would have headed off the Civil War.”

Here’s a bit of positive news: Michael Slager, Ex-Cop Who Shot Walter Scott, to Plead Guilty in Civil Rights Case.

A white former South Carolina police officer will plead guilty Tuesday in a federal civil rights case over the fatal shooting of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott, two attorneys close to the case told NBC News.

The state of South Carolina, meanwhile, will drop a pending murder charge against Michael Slager, who was fired after cellphone footage of Scott’s killing went viral. Slager’s first murder trial ended last December in a hung jury.

Slager, 35, has claimed he pulled over Scott on April 4, 2015, due to a broken taillight. The incident escalated, he has claimed, when Scott, 50, wrestled away his Taser and fled. The cellphone video, recorded by a bystander, shows Slager shooting Scott in the back while he was running away.

The defense in Slager’s first trial claimed the former North Charleston police department patrolman feared for his life and fired in self-defense.

Slager’s federal trial was set to begin on May 15, and jury selection was slated to begin May 9. A federal judge in March ruled that jurors in Slager’s federal trial would be allowed to view the video.

I’ll put a few more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?


65 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Lots of Cable News news today.

    HuffPo: With Trump In The White House, MSNBC Is Resisting The Resistance. (Andy Lack is upset because the liberal hosts at night are ruling cable news and he wants to dump them.)

    The Daily Beast: Sean Hannity Eyes Fox News Exit, Insiders Say.

    New York Magazine: Murdochs Might Not Be Done Cleaning House at Fox News.

    • Enheduanna says:

      That’s very interesting that AM Joy on weekends has more viewers than Morning Joe gets during the week. I make a point to have the station set to her program rather than the Sunday gasbag cavalcade, as Charlie Pierce puts it. And I make a point to leave when Greta comes on, which I think you do as well BB!

      So yeah – this guy Lacks is an a$$. The one thing we don’t have enough of – a liberal point of view on TV – he hates.

  2. bostonboomer says:

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  3. bostonboomer says:

    Marisa Kabas on Medium: Chelsea Clinton Doesn’t Owe You Sh*t.

    Despite growing up before the country’s judging gaze, by all accounts Chelsea has emerged a success in business, family, and being a general fine person. She’s never gotten into any Bush twins-type hi-jinx, or murdered endangered species for sport. She’s stayed out of trouble, grinned through it all—and there was oh-so-much to grin through—and now serves as the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, adjunct professor at Columbia University, author, and a fierce (but respectful) critic of the Trump administration via her personal Twitter. But still, she’s treated as if she owes us an explanation for simply living.

    It’s frankly bizarre, on the heels of her mother’s crushing defeat in the 2016 presidential election and the heavy misogyny that pervaded the campaign season, to watch left-leaning journalists come for Chelsea and her maybe-possibly-at-some-point-but-who-knows political ambitions.

    • NW Luna says:

      Exactly!

      Though (sigh) there goes another journalist with the “crushing defeat” when it should be “clear winner of the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.”

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Salon: Historian Timothy Snyder: “It’s pretty much inevitable” that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy.

    “Yale historian and author of the new book “On Tyranny” says we may have one year left to save American democracy.”

    • Mary Luke says:

      Frightening but I think he’s probably correct.

    • NW Luna says:

      Too many signs are there — talking about throwing out the 1st Amendment, for only one example. I hope the checks and balances — which only work if neither party is conniving along with the tyrant — impede him. We saw how the the Electoral College didn’t work.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Good post, BB! The obvious conflicts of interests of Trump and everyone related to him keep piling up, and most of the media seems desperate to avoid the also obvious conclusion.

    I was reading that clip from the NYT about Planned Parenthood and thought “They sound suspicious about PP’s funding — but PP does not get any federal funds for pregnancy terminations.” Then I read your comment that you’d noticed their unusual tone also. Yeah, the “liberal” media./s

    • dakinikat says:

      I linked and quoted this article yesterday but this New Yorker analysis is a must read.

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/08/how-trump-could-get-fired

      Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who is on the Judiciary Committee, believes that the Administration’s actions denigrating or denying the power of equal branches of government portend a “constitutional crisis” akin to Nixon’s refusal to accept the appellate-court judgment regarding the White House tapes. Last week, lawmakers from both parties announced that White House officials had refused a request from an oversight committee to turn over internal documents related to the hiring and resignation of Michael Flynn. In a letter to the House oversight committee, Marc T. Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, said that the Administration is withholding documents because they “are likely to contain classified, sensitive and/or confidential information.” Blumenthal told me, “I foresee a point that there will be subpoenas or some kind of compulsory disclosure issued against the President or the Administration by one of the investigative bodies—the F.B.I. or the Intelligence Committee or an independent commission, if there is one—and, at that point, there may be the sort of confrontation that we haven’t really seen in the same way since United States versus Nixon.”

      His conflict of interests and the entire Trump Family syndicate is just well on its way to creating a Constitutional Crisis.

      Thanks for staying on top of this BB!!!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Have y’all seen the latest comment from Pelosi and Warren on pro life Dems.

      It’s fucking Bullshit

  6. dakinikat says:

    RE: Ivanka. How many times have wives and daughters been used as human shields for the misogynistic, asshole men in their lives?

    • jan says:

      She doesn’t yet realize that her father doesn’t really listen to her or really care about her any more than he does the random man on the street. All he loves is an opinion about himself. So far she has held him in esteem, and that is the only thing he cares about. Some day that will not be enough for him and he will reject her. That is what she and those wives and daughters of a$$holes learn too late.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Anyone seen the White House presser?

    Given by what’s his name…looks like he is auditioning for Spicy job.

  8. Fannie says:

    We going bring up Hillary Clinton’s special today with Christiane Amanpour? The niceness of it all just put me at ease.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup …

      http://www.businessinsider.com/hillary-clinton-lost-election-fbi-russia-2017-5?r=UK&IR=T

      Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during an event on Tuesday that she believed she was “on the way to winning” the 2016 presidential election until the FBI announced 11 days before it that it was revisiting the investigation into her use of a private email server.

      The former secretary of state said that while she took “absolute personal responsibility” for her defeat, “a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off.”

    • dakinikat says:

      • Enheduanna says:

        I will never ever believe Hillary was to blame for the loss. The media, tRump’s collusion with Russia (and I firmly believe he is guilty of this), Comey violating the Hatch Act, GOP vote suppression, outright vote rigging (broken machines in Detroit anyone?), misogyny – that was what she was up against. Hillary did everything humanly possible and did it well. She fought with honor and dignity and did not deserve to lose to a system designed to favor the former very conservative slave states of the country.

        In my heart she will always be the winner of that election – and this country basically has a broken and undemocratic electoral process.

        • Fannie says:

          Here is what they said today, only if she would have spoken like she did today, more people would have voted for her, only if she had gone to Wisconsin, only if, she would have…..I am so damn sick of this bull story the media promoted then, and today. She admitted her campaign wasn’t perfect, none are. But the standards for Hillary Clinton, was totally different for the White Supremacist male, Trump who along with Russia, and Wikileaks stole this election.

          And on the same day she spoke out, Trump made a wonderful telephone call to his Buddy Putin. It stinks to the high heavens, it does.

        • NW Luna says:

          She did win the popular vote, and in any other modern country that makes her the winner. Only voter suppression and quite likely vote rigging, as Enheduanna says, stole the Electoral College win from her.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Meanwhile … snowflake white evangelical christians want to be protected from the gays, the musims and the rest of us … so guess who is giving them solace?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Blatantly unconstitutional.

    • jan says:

      in other words, freedom of religion only applies if you are hard right christian. That was not what the founders had in mind. They knew that this country would be strictly puritanical if the puritans had their way. People forget or never knew that the puritans put Quakers in stocks and fined them for the sin of not being members of puritan churches.

    • Fannie says:

      What bullshit.

    • NW Luna says:

      Hmmm. Looking at the leaked wording, it says it applies to all persons of all faiths. However, they only spell out the usual right-wing trash talking points as being the certain things which are protected against — gets confusing here because they are really talking about the “freedom” to discriminate being guaranteed in the name of non-discrimination. Logic-twisting.

      But if it applies to all faiths, I’ll be protected from getting fired when I refuse to provide healthcare to misogynists, racists and rightwing radicals. This aspect should be crowd-promulgated and used to bite back at them.

  10. Enheduanna says:

    I know you all have seen this already – I’m still speechless:

    Ladies and gents, our Secretary of Commerce:

    http://www.shakesville.com/2017/05/trump-is-terrible-person-surrounded-by.html

    Wilbur Ross describing the Syria strike as “entertainment” for the crowd at Mar-a-Lago. I guess along with their chocolate cake.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Exit polls predicted Hillary Clinton to win in four key Trump states.

    Exit polls are showing that Hillary Clinton won in four key battleground states that the vote tally gave to Donald Trump. These states are North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida.

    According to the exit polls conducted by Edison Research and reported by TDMS Research show that in North Carolina, there was a 5.8 point discrepancy in favor of Donald Trump, which would have awarded him the state. In Pennsylvania, there was a 5.5 point anomaly to Trump, a 4.8 percent swing to him in Wisconsin, and 2.7 point swing to him in Florida, taking him over the line in these three states as well.

    If Hillary Clinton had won these states, she would have been declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election.

    In other countries, exit polls are considered a very accurate measure of voter intent and a clear indicator of election fraud, and have at times been used to prove fraud and force a new election, as CNN reported the Ukraine had to do back in 2004. Unlike opinion polls, they are known to be accurate to within a very small margin of error.

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is questionable, because the article claims Hillary won the primaries by election fraud too. Sorry!

    • NW Luna says:

      The point about exit polls still stands. Something sure looked funny about returns from Florida, PA, and NC from what I remember of that horrible night.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, I agree. But the Bernie bullshit ruins the argument. Hillary beat him by 4 million votes, and he mainly won caucuses. It’s ridiculous to say the primaries were rigged somehow.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    CNN: Sources: Former Acting AG Yates to contradict administration about Flynn at hearing.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/02/politics/sally-yates-michael-flynn-testimony-contradict/

  13. dakinikat says:

    BB: Our friends the Dutch!!!

  14. dakinikat says:

    • Fannie says:

      She’s a friggin’ wing nut, and nobody but nobody could live with this woman. She needs a hot shower with Trump and Putin, and then look in her well stocked linen closet full of white sheets.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    James Comey hearing is starting now.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I am on the couch with a cup of coffee watching this hearing.

      Trying to figure out when to take my shower (if at all) since I don’t want to miss one minute of it.

  16. bostonboomer says:

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