Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

While I was browsing for interesting stories this morning, I watched Trump’s embarrassing speech at the opening of the 9/11 center at NATO headquarters. He began with a lecture on how the U.S. is paying so much for defense and other countries are failing to meet the 2% GDP requirement. How long is he going to keep beating this dead horse?

After that, he seemed to imply that NATO had spent too much money on the 9/11 memorial. He said that the U.S. would not abandon NATO, but he did not reaffirm article 5, which states that if one NATO country is attacked, all have been attacked.

Last night a reporter for The Guardian, Ben Jacobs, was assaulted by the GOP candidate for the House in Montana.

The Guardian: Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter.

The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting: “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he whaled on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published on the Fox News website. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

At least 3 Montana newspapers have now unendorsed Gianforte, and the election is today.

This might explain Gianforte’s anger toward Jacobs and the Guardian. On April 28, Jacobs published this story on Gianforte, whom Trump endorsed in voice message: GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies.

A Republican congressional candidate has financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US, the Guardian has learned.

Greg Gianforte, who is the GOP standard bearer in the upcoming special election in Montana, owns just under $250,000 in shares in two index funds that are invested in the Russian economy to match its overall performance.

According to a financial disclosure filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives, the Montana tech mogul owns almost $150,000 worth of shares in VanEck Vectors Russia ETF and $92,400 in the IShares MSCF Russia ETF fund. Both are indexed to the Russian equities market and have significant holdings in companies such as Gazprom and Rosneft that came under US sanctions in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of the Crimea.

The Moron-In-Chief is now in trouble with two countries and the U.S. Department of Defense for his blabbing of top secret intelligence. First it was Israel, now the U.K.

Politico: Israel changes intelligence sharing with US after Trump’s revelations to Russia.

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

“We discussed the issue with our friends in America,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We did our checks.” The defense chief didn’t specify what changes had been made, saying: “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media, some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” ….

Israel has changed the way it shares intelligence with the U.S., Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump divulged to Russia classified information reportedly obtained from Israel.

Manchester police making arrests after bombing

The Guardian: UK police stop passing Manchester bombing information to US over leaks.

British police have stopped sharing evidence from the investigation into the terror network behind the Manchester bombing with the United States after a series of leaks left investigators and the government furious.

The ban is limited to the Manchester investigation only. British police believe the leaks are unprecedented in their scope, frequency and potential damage.

Downing Street was not behind the decision by Greater Manchester police to stop sharing information with US intelligence, a No 10 source said, stressing that it was important police were allowed to take independent decisions.

Relations between the US and UK security services, normally extremely close, have been put under strain by the scale of the leaks from US officials to the American media.

After chairing a meeting of the emergency Cobra meeting Theresa May said: “I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared between our security agencies must remain secure.” She is due to meet the US president at a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Not Good.

As for the Defense Department’s reaction to Trump leaks, have you read the transcript of Trump’s call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte? It’s beyond shocking. Not only did the Moron-in-Chief praise Duterte for his extra-legal murders of suspected drug dealers and addicts, but also he revealed the location of two U.S. nuclear submarines!

Trump’s good buddy Rodrico Duterte

Reuters: Trump praises Duterte for anti-drug campaign in call transcript.

Trump commended Duterte’s actions in the same call in which the U.S. president invited him to Washington, according to a transcript of their conversation published by the Washington Post and the investigative news site The Intercept. The document included a “confidential” cover sheet from the Americas division of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time drug users and dealers, have been killed in the Philippines since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about one-third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during legitimate operations. Human rights groups say official accounts are implausible.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte, according to the transcript.

“Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Duterte thanked Trump and said “this is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.”

“I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,” Trump replied.

And then there was this:

The attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) is escorted by two harbour tugs in this file picture. – Wikimedia Commons

Buzzfeed: The Pentagon Can’t Believe Trump Told Another President About Nuclear Subs Near North Korea.

Pentagon officials are in shock after the release of a transcript of a call between President Donald Trump and his Philippines counterpart revealed that the US military had moved two nuclear submarines towards North Korea.

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

According to the transcript, released Wednesday, Trump called Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte April 29, in part to discuss the rising threat from North Korea. During that call, while discussing ways to mitigate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions, Trump said: “We have two submarines — the best in the world. We have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this, but [Kim] could be crazy, so we will see what happens.”

It takes a madman to recognize another madman, I guess. In reading the transcript, I got the feeling that Trump would like nothing more than to use those nukes. But now, all our enemies know where they can fine our nuclear subs.

By announcing the presence of nuclear submarines, the president, some Pentagon officials privately explained, gives away the element of surprise — an irony given his repeated declarations during the campaign that the US announces far too many of its military plans when it comes to combatting ISIS.

Moreover, some countries in the region, particularly China, seek to develop their anti-sub capability. Knowing that two US submarines are in the region could allow them to test this.

Finally, it is unclear why Duterte would need to know the specific number of subs in the region. The Philippines is not a part of US military efforts to deter North Korea, so why would Duterte need to know such details?

There is so much Trump Russia news that I’ll have to give you the rest as links only.

Three big stories broke last night, and I posted them on JJ’s thread.

NYT: Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer.

WaPo: How a dubious Russian document influenced the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe.

CNN: AG Sessions did not disclose Russia meetings in security clearance form, DOJ says.

More Trump Russia stories:

Politico: Manafort advised Trump team on Russia scandal.

Daily Beast: Reince Priebus Sweating Secret Comey Memos, White House Sources Say.

The Atlantic: The Known Unknowns of the Russia Investigation.

Politico: White House tries to avoid ‘paralysis’ amid investigation.

Other News:

NBC News: Trump Failing to Track Foreign Cash at His Hotels.

Axios: Trump’s “street fighters.”

NBC News: Ben Carson Says ‘Poverty Is a State of Mind.’

The Atlantic: Pope Francis, Trump Whisperer?

Bloomberg: Obama Feted in Berlin as He Praises Merkel Before Trump Summits.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread below, and I hope you enjoy your day.

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34 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Can you believe that all this is happening?

    The press is under assault. Our allies do not trust us. The GOP agenda will ruin our nation. The POTUS is attacking NATO which must bring a smile to Putin. Trump associates may have been selling our democracy to the Russians. Cabinet picks are showing their unqualifications as they head up vital positions. The environment is in danger. Trump is praising dictators and murderers.

    Who or what can we trust? We are in a constitutional crisis led by a lying, corrupt, seriously unbalanced man with assistance from a groveling, greedy, power hungry GOP who continue to place party above patriotism.

    This man must be removed. Quickly before we all go down in flames. It is becoming increasingly clear that we are in danger as long as the power remains in the hands of this monster.

    And yes, he is a monster. One who needs to be removed from office.

    • bostonboomer says:

      We desperately need to get rid of this horrible man.

    • jan says:

      I was wondering why just about every republican running for office or in the White House has received money from Russia, and why all of a sudden is NATO under attack by republicans. I think the Russians want to break up NATO and maybe absorb much of Europe into their realm. After that a war on the US would be winnable. The republicans seem to be selling us out.

    • Fannie says:

      Have never seen anything like him in my life time! His wife hates him more than I do.

  2. NW Luna says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    I can’t believe he told that murderous dictator where our subs are located. He needs to be dealt with swiftly but Paul Ryan is obviously ready to sell all of us out to get those horrid tax cuts through. Then every where will be Louisiana and Kansas. There will be no real jobs other than on poor farms, private jails, and mansions.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Here’s a fun read:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. bostonboomer says:

    WaPo:

    ‘Anyone . . . with a pulse’: How a Russia-friendly adviser found his way into the Trump campaign.

    As Donald Trump surged in the Republican primary polls in the early months of 2016, his outsider campaign faced growing pressure to show that the former reality-TV star and noted provocateur was forming a coherent and credible world view.

    So when Carter Page, an international businessman with an office near Trump Tower, turned up at campaign headquarters, former officials recall, Trump aides were quick to make him feel welcome.

    A top Trump adviser, Sam Clovis, employed what campaign aides now acknowledge was their go-to vetting process — a quick Google search — to check out the newcomer. He seemed to have the right qualifications, according to former campaign officials — head of an energy investment firm, business degree from New York University, doctorate from the University of London.

    Page was in. He joined a new Trump campaign national security advisory group, and, in late March 2016, the candidate pointed to Page, among others, as evidence of a foreign policy team with gravitas.

    • quixote says:

      It’s the same as Dump’s way of finding money after no real bank would touch him after all his bankruptcies. “Russian mafia? Sure. No prob. Their money’s green.”

      And when no real campaign workers would touch his reality-show-election-from-hell, it was, “Russian plants? Sure. No prob. Double down with the Syndicate. Then they won’t call in the debts.”

      It’s been his MO since the 1980s. Maybe at prep school, for all I know. Carter Page wasn’t some unfortunate mistake. It’s the same thing he’s been doing since forever.

  9. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I love Ms. DeLauro’s fire!

      DeVos and her ilk deserve a very special place in hell for those who actively seek to impoverish people of color and exploit children of all stripes for their own enrichment.

  10. Enheduanna says:

    Have you seen THIS:

    And then he pointedly does not endorse Article 5…(which I was not aware of prior to this).

  11. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  12. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • quixote says:

      And the Bro Back Pat™ after the Shambling Disaster “lost” the handshake. What’s up with that?

      “You can’t stop me patting you down. Haha. I win anyway.”

      /*wide-eyed stare of total disgust*/

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. dakinikat says:

    Today the Trump administration released its comprehensive budget for the Federal government for FY 2018. The White House has requested that Congress appropriate approximately $42 million to NEH for the orderly closure of the agency. This amount includes funds to meet matching grant offers in effect as of October 1, 2017, as well as funds to cover administrative expenses and salaries associated with the closure.

    https://www.neh.gov/news/press-release/2017-05-23

    • NW Luna says:

      WTF?

      If this slash-and-burn administration stays in office much longer, it will take a century for the US to recover.