Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

I feel like a zombie this morning. I’ve been house-sitting for my brother for the past two weeks, and it has been somewhat disorienting. I’m finally going to go back home sometime this afternoon. I guess my state of mind is a combination of being away from home and following the constant breaking news that never seems to end. I don’t even know where to begin today.

You’ve probably already heard the latest news: Hurricane Harvey is still raging; Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio; Trump is on his way to Texas; Multiple Russia stories broke yesterday and over the weekend; North Korea launched a missile that flew over Japan; Trump threatened North Korea again; and multiple Trump advisers have been dissing him.

The remainder of photos in this post are from the Houston disaster.

Links to recent stories in case you missed them:

Hurricane Harvey

Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck is captured carrying Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden to safety, The Associated Press reported.

New Yorker: Hurricane Harvey and Public and Private Disaster in Houston, by Jia Tolentino.

Washington Post: Harvey takes aim at Louisiana as Trump plans to survey stricken Texas.

Forbes: Hurricane Harvey Greatly Complicates The Government Shutdown Calculation.

Politico: How Washington Made Harvey Worse.

Arpaio

HuffPost: Trump Defends Pardoning Joe Arpaio During Hurricane, Saying He Did It For ‘The Ratings.’

ABC News: Already-pardoned Arpaio asks judge to undo conviction.

Trump/Russia

NBC News: Mueller Team Asking if Trump Tried to Hide Purpose of Trump Tower Meeting.

Washington Post: Top Trump Organization executive asked Putin aide for help on business deal.

New York Times: Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected.’

ABC News: Trump signed ‘letter of intent’ for Russian tower during campaign, lawyer says.

North Korea

CNN: Trump says ‘all options on table’ after North Korea launches missile over Japan.

The Guardian: Trump and Abe vow to increase pressure after North Korea fires missile over Japan.

Advisers Dissing Trump

New York Times: Does Trump Represent U.S. Values? ‘The President Speaks for Himself,’ Tillerson Says.

Bustle: What James Mattis Implied About Trump & His Inability To Inspire Is Unprecedented.

Politico: Trump unusually silent after aides challenge him.

More interesting stories

The Guardian: Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer.

Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s Richard Wagner is seen rescuing Wilford Martinez from his flooded car along Interstate 610, according to The Associated Press.

Explosive allegations about Donald Trump made by online writers with large followings among Trump critics were based on bogus information from a hoaxer who falsely claimed to work in law enforcement.

Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of criminal inquiries into Trump that were invented by a source whose claim to work for the New York attorney general was not checked, according to emails seen by the Guardian. The allegations were endorsed as authentic and retweeted by his co-writer Louise Mensch.

The source’s false tips included an allegation, which has been aggressively circulated by Mensch and Taylor, that Trump’s inactive fashion model agency is under investigation by New York authorities for possible sex trafficking.

The hoaxer, who fed the information to Taylor by email, said she acted out of frustration over the “dissemination of fake news” by Taylor and Mensch. Their false stories about Trump have included a claim that he was already being replaced as president by Senator Orrin Hatch in a process kept secret from the American public.

“Taylor asked no questions to verify my identity, did no vetting whatsoever, sought no confirmation from a second source – but instead asked leading questions to support his various theories, asking me to verify them,” the source said in an email.

After being approached for comment by the Guardian on Monday, Taylor posted what he described as a “mea culpa” on Twitter. “As a ‘citizen journalist’ I acknowledge my error and do apologize,” he wrote.

Mensch denied using the bogus information and said her allegations about Trump’s model agency came from her own sources. Asked why she had retweeted Taylor’s false posts, Mensch said: “I don’t think anybody can vet anybody else’s sources.”

Read the rest at the Guardian. LOL!

Bloomberg: Trump Punishes Longtime Aide After Angry Phoenix Speech, Sources Say.

Donald Trump was in a bad mood before he emerged for a confrontational speech in Arizona last week.

Marty Malloy on Twitter: “Blessed to be safe and dry with Stewie. Hoping for the same for the people and pets of Houston.”

TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full. Backstage, waiting in a room with a television monitor, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said: TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.

As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.

Hahahahahahaha! You may have seen on Twitter that the Trump people may have even advertised on Craigslist for paid actors to come to the rally, and still the space that holds only 5,000 was half-full.

Other sources claimed the ads were fake, but still funny, IMHO.

Sean Illing at Vox: 10 legal experts on why Trump can’t pardon his way out of the Russia investigation.

Last Friday, President Trump pardoned former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was convicted in July of criminal contempt after ignoring a court order to cease his signature immigration roundups but hadn’t yet been sentenced. Trump ignored the court’s judgment and ended the case without any formal Justice Department review.

To some, Trump’s decision is a sign that he’s preparing — or at least willing — to pardon people associated with the growing investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. Robert Bauer, a law professor at New York University and former White House counsel to President Obama, argued in the Washington Post that the pardon may be a “test run for shutting down the Russia investigation.”

I reached out to 10 legal experts and asked them if the Arpaio decision is a signal of how Trump might seek to undercut the Russia investigation. I also asked what it would mean for the investigation if Trump pardoned key players in the scandal like Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, or Jared Kushner before any of them could be convicted.

Andrew White is seen below helping a terrified neighbor after pulling her and her dog from her home in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood, Getty reported — White was out with his boat as well.

While it’s impossible to predict what Trump will do, nearly all the experts I spoke to agree on one thing: If Trump does use his pardoning powers to thwart the Russia investigation, it’s very likely to backfire.

If someone like Flynn or Kushner were preemptively pardoned, he wouldn’t be able to plead the Fifth Amendment if he were called to testify against Trump. The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against self-incrimination. But if someone has been pardoned, they no longer face the threat of prosecution, and so they can’t use a desire to avoid incriminating themselves as an excuse not to answer a question.

So in addition to potentially obstructing justice, Trump would only leave himself — and his colleagues — more vulnerable if he decided to pardon anyone currently under investigation. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t pull the trigger anyway. But he might want to think long and hard about the implications before he does.

Read more at Vox.

Trump biographer Tim O’Brien: Felix Sater Is a Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine.

Felix Sater is back, and making it even more difficult for President Donald Trump to write off questions about his ties to Russia.

Among the many characters who have populated Trump’s checkered history in real estate, Sater is the guy with one of the diciest resumes. A career criminal with ties to both organized crime and federal law enforcement, he partnered with Trump for years on a series of high-profile and unsuccessful real estate deals, including the Trump Soho hotel and condominium in Manhattan.

On Monday, the New York Times and the Washington Post disclosed a series of emails involving Sater’s efforts in 2015 and 2016 to help the Trump Organization build a Trump Tower knock-off in Moscow. There’s is a little hitch that makes that noteworthy: Trump was also running for president at the time.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email to Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in 2015. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

According to Bloomberg News, Cohen recently told a congressional committee investigating Trump’s ties to Russia that he debriefed Trump three times about the Moscow deal. But Cohen apparently had a different impression than Sater of the value of the deal, telling congressional investigators that it “was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”

Head over to Bloomberg to read the rest.

One more from Politico: Bolton writes in op-ed he can’t get in to see Trump anymore.

A rescue worker carries two dogs to safety after evacuating their family from floodwaters in Houston, Texas.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton once enjoyed regular access to President Donald Trump, but can no longer get a hearing with him. “I requested a meeting with him and I was turned down,” Bolton told POLITICO, though he declined to offer further details.

Bolton went public with his complaint in an op-ed published Monday in National Review in which he laid out a blueprint to exit the Iran nuclear deal because he couldn’t deliver it to the president himself….

Bolton said in his op-ed that “staff changes” now prevent him from seeing the president. He wrote that although former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon had asked him to draw up a plan to extricate the United States from the Iran deal in late July, that plan never made it to Trump’s desk after Bannon was fired earlier this month.

Given news reports that the president was reluctant to recertify the nuclear agreement — and that the president asked to see additional options — Bolton is raising an eyebrow about why his plan wasn’t considered.

“The idea was I would go see him and, you know, the timing of the certification decision and Reince Priebus’s firing were not far apart,” he said. Priebus’s replacement as White House chief of staff, John Kelly, has limited the number of visitors to the Oval Office.

Again, LOL!

So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?


112 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Bloomberg: European pension cuts U.S. investment on Trump worries

    A $53 billion Finnish pension fund is cutting its exposure to U.S. stocks, due to concerns about President Trump’s behavior. The “breaking point” for Varma Mutual Pension Insurance was Trump’s reaction to the recent racial tensions in Charlottesville, according to a Bloomberg interview with Varma CEO Risto Murto

    • NW Luna says:

      That is probably only the beginning. Other countries will soon follow. Are we tired of winning yet?

      • Enheduanna says:

        Not yet – we’ve got the upcoming trade war with China, impending nuclear war threat, lack of immigrant labor for farming, and government shutdown to go.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Bloomberg has a story by a Russian business journalist, Leonid Bershinsky.

    Trump’s Business Record in Russia Is Humiliating. He never had what it takes to negotiate with Moscow.

    The latest Trump-Russia revelations — this time concerning a Moscow real estate project scuttled in early 2016 — fit in well with the comical history of Trump’s attempts to do business in Russia. They are the latest proof that, unlike many craftier U.S. entrepreneurs and executives, the current U.S. president never figured out how to deal with Russians.

    • Mary Luke says:

      Fascinating .

    • Enheduanna says:

      This does ring true on a lot of levels. The truth is they’ve been playing him like a fiddle for decades probably.

      • bostonboomer says:

        What’s interesting is that he simply doesn’t think long-term. As Dak says, he lives in the present and has no sense of the future or of history. He’s a shallow simpleton.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  4. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  5. RonStill4Hills says:

    In the Dred Scott case Chief Justice Roger Taney said (paraphrase) “The black man does not have any rights that the white man is bound by law to respect.” The Arpaio pardon recapitulates this point and expands on it. NOBODY has any human rights that law enforcement, the justice system or the prison complex is bound by law to respect. Trump has now set the precedent that the legislature, the judiciary, and the Constitution itself has no power to tell Trump and his “Get Tough Posse” what to do. Arpaio was ordered by a court to cease violating the human rights of prisoners and he willfully violated it. Trump has vindicated the point that “you have no rights unless we say you do.” White Male Partiarchy at it’s finest.

    • NW Luna says:

      Trump should be thrown into one of Arpaio’s concentration camps to help him understand — if he is capable of understanding.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Arpaio should absolutely be in jail – but I’m not so sure freedom is going to be a bed of roses for him. I’d like to see him fade into obscurity and irrelevance – a fate worse than death for arrogant narcissists like him (and tRump). Their legacies are hatred and false pride – nobody will want a statue of them in their park.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Reposting from last thread:

    Hillary Book Tour!! More places to be added.

    SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
    WASHINGTON, DC
    Warner Theatre/DC with Politics & Prose
    Info on Pre-Sale Tickets

    SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
    TORONTO, CANADA
    Enercare Centre
    GET TICKETS

    OCTOBER 3, 2017
    BROWARD, FL
    Broward Center for the Performing Arts
    GET TICKETS

    OCTOBER 9, 2017
    DAVIS, CA
    Jackson Hall
    DETAILS TO COME

    OCTOBER 23, 2017
    MONTREAL, CANADA
    Palais des congrès de Montréal
    GET TICKETS

    OCTOBER 24, 2017
    ANN ARBOR, MI
    Hill Auditorium
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    OCTOBER 30, 2017
    CHICAGO, IL
    Auditorium Theatre
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    NOVEMBER 1, 2017
    NEW YORK, NY
    The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center
    GET TICKETS

    NOVEMBER 9, 2017
    MILWAUKEE, WI
    Riverside Theater
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    NOVEMBER 13, 2017
    ATLANTA, GA
    Fox Theatre
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    NOVEMBER 28, 2017
    BOSTON, MA
    Boston Opera House
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    NOVEMBER 30, 2017
    PHILADELPHIA, PA
    Kimmel Center Academy of Music
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    DECEMBER 11, 2017
    SEATTLE, WA
    Paramount Theatre
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    DECEMBER 12, 2017
    PORTLAND, OR
    Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
    REGISTER FOR PRESALE

    DECEMBER 13, 2017
    VANCOUVER, CANADA
    Vancouver Convention Center
    GET TICKETS

    https://www.hillaryclintonbooktour.com/

  7. NW Luna says:

    The Response to Hurricane Harvey by Members of the Clinton Foundation Community

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. NW Luna says:

    More info re: Hillary’s appearances:

    Thank you for registering. Here is what you need to know about ensuring you have the best opportunity to purchase great seats or a VIP Experience Package.
    • On September 6, you will be emailed an invitation to purchase tickets with a special password
    • These tickets can only be purchased exclusively thru the officially recognized ticketing outlet linked thru the tour website.
    • The password will be valid from September 6 thru 17 for use, but it is not a guarantee that seats will be available, so we encourage you to order your tickets immediately to increase the likelihood you will be able to access the best seats.
    • There are an extremely limited number of VIP Experience Packages available that include an opportunity to meet and take a photograph with Hillary Clinton. These packages also include a signed, first edition copy of her new book, What Happened.
    • These seats will be the first to sell, so we encourage you to act quickly if you wish to purchase in this section.
    • Check your inbox on September 6 for information on how to purchase your priority pre-sale tickets. If you do not see the email, it is likely because it has been caught by a spam or junk filter. Please check your spam mailbox. Because of inconsistencies in filtering technology, we cannot be responsible if you do not receive the email offer.
    We look forward to having you join us for an exciting evening where Hillary Clinton will share her experience as a woman in politics, how to get back up after a loss, and how we can all look ahead.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    I cannot watch the devastation in Texas. It is absolutely heartbreaking. Especially knowing that the rain will continue for several more days. People wading through the streets with water up to their hips seeking shelter. Unimaginable.

    But the aftermath will be worse. Homes destroyed and uninhabitable. Roads washed away. No electricity for who knows how long. Grocery stores depleted. Unemployment for many. Hospitals and nursing homes damaged. Education interrupted. Cars and trucks ruined. And who knows what the death rate will be.

    Presently some of the agencies who should be are understaffed. I have little faith in the current administration and congress to adequately deal with the fallout. We are facing the utmost travesty from this storm and the prediction is that there is more to come in our future.

    It will cost us billions over the years to rebuild. And we cannot factor in future storms that the scientists are predicting more to come.

    And our asshole POTUS has turned his back on global warning! Al Gore warned of this years ago and was ignored by those who could have acted but refused.

    Can we survive. Maybe only barely. Horrible is an inadequate word to describe what ignorance has wrought.

  11. Sweet Sue says:

    Trump in Texas thanking the crowd for such a big turnout.
    It’s always about him.

  12. Sweet Sue says:

    We picked up our cremated kitty’s ashes, today. Both my husband and I are weepy.
    There was a small baggie of her beautiful fur attached to the box and we weren’t expecting that.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Oh Sue – I’m so sorry. I’m sure she had a wonderful life with you.

    • Fannie says:

      We weep with you. Our pets are the best. And if I had a chance to meet the many people helping in Texas, I want to meet those getting the animals out. Sorry sweet sue.

      • Fannie says:

        Just received email from cousin in Austin – she’s bringing in supplies at the Fair Grounds for Rescued Dogs, and started up the Austin Pets Alive “helping people help pets”……….They have a facebook page for donations, etc.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Thank you, Fannie darling.

    • NW Luna says:

      (sniff) So sad. Fur beings give us so much love.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Sue. It’s so painful to lose a beloved pet.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Thanks, BB. Never say never but this might be the end of pets for us.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I can’t have them anymore, unfortunately, at least for now. I need to be able to travel as long as my mom stays with us. I’ve been through losing beloved cats several times, and I’m not sure I could go through it again.

    • palhart says:

      Sue, I will be doing the same thing in the near future with my adorable, male Siamese, Blaise, 16, with colon cancer. I saw signs in February and he was later diagnosed. I hope he lives at least to his 17th birthday, January 8th. So sad.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I’ll be thinking of you and Blaise, palhart.

      • NW Luna says:

        Oh no. So sorry. I hope it is slow-growing and he will still be with you in January. I lost two of my beloved furfriends during the last few years and it still hurts. My vet was very good about Rxing hospice meds to keep them comfortable.

    • NW Luna says:

      Sue, I don’t know if this is anything you may want, but if you want her fur spun into thread or yarn — if you weave or knit or crochet — I am a handspinner and have spun my kittys’ fur. I could do that for you.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Ah, Luna, you really are an angel. There’s not much; I’ll just keep it with Rosie’s ashes but thank you for your incredibly sweet offer.

        • NW Luna says:

          Rosie was obviously much loved and cared for — may the memory of her happiness with you be a blessing to you and your husband.

  13. dakinikat says:

    This is so fucking unbelievable I don’t even …

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. cheekos says:

    Trump has his priorities–Sherif Joe’s pardoning, getting filmed holding the Texas (Red State, so far), and his USA rally hat on–INDOORS, at a meeting.

    The point that is totally up to his JackAss image, is that “The Whole World is Impressed with the recovery effort”. Just think, how many other nations can begin to match our Infrastructure. Islands in any of the poor archipelagos in Southeast Asia cannot be easily re-supplied from neighboring areas–like Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas sends first responders, National Guard, Medical Personnel, Red Cross and ON and ON! Haiti, Nepal, etc. are virtually impossible to get to.

    I wonder how quickly Trump’s response, if the disaster were a Blue State have been. Personally, I believe that any president offers nothing; but, he gets in the way. Of course, for Drumpf, it serves as a distraction from the most important matters, such as the Groundbreaking for the new Trump Block-Leavenworth. Hopefully opening sooner than later~

  16. dakinikat says:

    #BREAKING Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study

  17. dakinikat says:

    Shorter Economic Study: Trump’s economic policies are recessionary.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  19. Enheduanna says:

    Hah! Via Palmer Report (I know I know) – Spicey gets to meet the Pope!

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/08/29/sean-spicer-finally-meets-pope-francis/614090001/

    Did Pope Francis grant the private audience to Spicer to spite tRump?

    • NW Luna says:

      I’ve seen that reported from other places. Good for Spicer. And I bet he enjoyed it more without tRump.

  20. NW Luna says:

  21. Enheduanna says:

    I actually went into a solid many-months-long depression after November. It took me months to get close to normal again, and I’m still mad and depressed more than usual.

    tRump is too shallow and callous to care enough to age. He doesn’t carry the weight of the office on his shoulders. His only shallow concern is his image of himself.

    Melissa McEwan’s has a good summary of him:

    http://www.shakesville.com/2017/08/trump-is-terrible-person-and-terrible.html