Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

Can things get any worse? I suppose they always can. But I don’t know how much more horrible news I can handle. I know I’ve said that before, and I just keep plugging along. But It’s not easy. It helps to know that I’m not alone. I know everyone who reads and/or comments on this blog probably feels this way too.

Terrible natural disasters and mass shootings are nothing new. What’s different now is Trump as “president.” That makes every disaster so much worse. Everything he touches turns to shit.

At least when Obama was president, we knew that someone stable, serious, and intelligent was in charge. We knew he would say the right things after a horrible event. We knew that he would be meeting with his cabinet and advisers to find solutions for problems and that he would go to the scenes of tragedies to comfort people who were desperate and grieving. Trump only cares about how events affect him and his fragile ego.

by Alfredo Protti

This morning, as Trump walked to his helicopter to leave for Puerto Rico, he again criticized the people there who are struggling to survive and lied about his administration’s failure to help people in desperate need.

USA Today:

As he took off Tuesday for Puerto Rico, President Trump defended the federal response to the hurricane that ravaged the island two weeks ago.

“In Texas and in Florida we get an A-plus,” he said, citing recovery efforts from earlier hurricanes on the U.S. mainland. “And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico, and it’s actually a much tougher situation.” [….]

On Sunday, Trump described critics of his government’s response to the humanitarian disaster “politically motivated ingrates.”  Yet some residents took issue with Trump’s tone. “People need water, gasoline and tarps, without the politics,” resident Liza Minnelli Pacheco told USA TODAY.

Trump continued to attack the mayor of San Juan, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, suggesting that the people of Puerto Rico need to “give us more help,” by “driving trucks.”

Trump made it clear that all he cares about is that officials in Puerto Rico praise him for the government’s response, regardless of how bad has been.

He also addressed the mass shootings in Las Vegas, which resulted in the deaths of 59 people so far and injuries to more than 500 others. He characterized the police response as “a miracle,” and claimed that the shooter was quickly taken out. From Shareblue:

TRUMP: Look, we have a tragedy. What happened in Las Vegas was in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job. And we’ll be talking about gun laws in as time goes by.

The facts:

Dancer resting, Edgar Degas

According to the timeline from the Las Vegas police department, it took nearly two hours from the time the gunman started killing people from his hotel room for police to enter the room. When they entered, they found the gunman had already killed himself.

While law enforcement on the ground certainly acted heroically, the police were badly outgunned by the sniper who reportedly had more than a dozen high-powered rifles in his room. He also used  tripods and scopes for his killing spree.

We’ll see what happens on Trump’s PR visit. My guess is he won’t go to any of the most troubled areas or try to comfort any agonized survivors of Hurricane Maria.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t link The National Review, but I found this article on the Las Vegas shooter interesting: Based on the early reports, the Las Vegas shooting is very, very strange. I’m not going to quote from it, because you need to read the whole thing. You might also want to check out the Twitter timeline of Rukmini Callimachi (recommended in the article), who writes about ISIS for The New York Times.

Another good piece to check out Splinter: Every Member of Congress Who Took Money From the NRA and Tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Las Vegas.

In other news, there are some developments in the Russia investigation.

Bloomberg: Mueller Tasks an Adviser With Getting Ahead of Pre-Emptive Pardons.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a distinctly modern problem. The president, judging by his tweets, could try to pardon people in his circle even before prosecutors charge anyone with a crime.

The Orange Trees, Gustave Caillebotte

Mueller’s all-star team of prosecutors, with expertise in money laundering and foreign bribery, has an answer to that. He’s Michael Dreeben, a bookish career government lawyer with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances under his belt.

Acting as Mueller’s top legal counsel, Dreeben has been researching past pardons and determining what, if any, limits exist, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dreeben’s broader brief is to make sure the special counsel’s prosecutorial moves are legally airtight. That could include anything from strategizing on novel interpretations of criminal law to making sure the recent search warrant on ex-campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s home would stand up to an appeal.

“He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years,” said Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama. “If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”

Click on the link to read more about Dreeben and his expertise on presidential pardons.

Politico: Hundreds of White House emails sent to third Kushner family account.

White House officials have begun examining emails associated with a third and previously unreported email account on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private domain, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Hundreds of emails have been sent since January from White House addresses to accounts on the Kushner family domain, these people said. Many of those emails went not to Kushner’s or Ivanka Trump’s personal addresses but to an account they both had access to and shared with their personal household staff for family scheduling….

The morning paper Leon Kroll (1884-1974)

The existence of additional accounts on the family domain beyond the two personal accounts used by Kushner and Ivanka Trump and reported earlier raises new questions about the extent of personal email use by the couple during their time as White House aides. Their use of private email accounts for White House business also raises concerns about the security of potentially sensitive government documents, which have been forwarded to private accounts.

The Washington Post: Trump’s company had more contact with Russia during campaign, according to documents turned over to investigators.

Associates of President Trump and his company have turned over documents to federal investigators that reveal two previously unreported contacts from Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.

In one case, Trump’s personal attorney and a business associate exchanged emails weeks before the Republican National Convention about the lawyer possibly traveling to an economic conference in Russia that would be attended by top Russian financial and government leaders, including President Vladi­mir Putin, according to people familiar with the correspondence.

In the other case, the same Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, received a proposal in late 2015 for a Moscow residential project from a company founded by a billionaire who once served in the upper house of the Russian parliament, these people said. The previously unreported inquiry marks the second proposal for a Trump-branded Moscow project that was delivered to the company during the presidential campaign and has since come to light.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

The Fisherman, Frank Richards, 1890

Finally, a long read from Julia Ioffe at The Atlantic: Did Manafort Use Trump to Curry Favor With a Putin Ally?

On the evening of April 11, 2016, two weeks after Donald Trump hired the political consultant  Paul Manafort to lead his campaign’s efforts to wrangle Republican delegates, Manafort emailed his old lieutenant Konstantin Kilimnik, who had worked for him for a decade in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort wrote.

“Absolutely,” Kilimnik responded a few hours later from Kiev. “Every article.”

“How do we use to get whole,” Manafort asks. “Has OVD operation seen?”

According to a source close to Manafort, the initials “OVD” refer to Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, a Russian oligarch and one of Russia’s richest men. The source also confirmed that one of the individuals repeatedly mentioned in the email exchange as an intermediary to Deripaska is an aide to the oligarch.

The emails were provided to The Atlantic on condition of anonymity. They are part of a trove of documents turned over by lawyers for Trump’s presidential campaign to investigators looking into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election. A source close to Manafort confirmed their authenticity. Excerpts from these emails were firstreported by The Washington Post, but the full text of these exchanges, provided to The Atlantic, shows that Manafort attempted to leverage his leadership role in the Trump campaign to curry favor with a Russian oligarch close to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Manafort was deeply in debt, and did not earn a salary from the Trump campaign.

Click on the link to read the rest of this interesting article.

That’s all the news I can stomach writing about today. What stories are you following?


71 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. RonStill4Hills says:

    A+ in Florida and Texas? Riiiiiiight. Not Katrina, I’ll give them that. Not much more.

    • NW Luna says:

      “And their truck drivers should be driving trucks” That requires fuel, roads that aren’t flooded or covered with hurricane debris, and undamaged vehicles. What a callous idiot.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Where to start right? Maybe first those truck drivers need to make sure their families are safe and have water, food and shelter.

      • Fannie says:

        Most of the drivers don’t have homes, they are trying to care for their families, while health issues are mounting by the minute.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I hate to say this but it was kinda hard for me to feel sorry for the citizens of Naples and Marco Island – those folks are wealthy and can weather the storm. The immigrant farmers in Immokalee sure, but basically Floridians who live on the coast are gonna be OK.

      Houston – that’s hard. I wouldn’t wish that kind of destruction on an uninhabited swamp.

      • Catscatscats says:

        Didn’t Houston knowingly build on a flood plain?

        • Enheduanna says:

          I don’t know the history of that but I wouldn’t blame the residents now. Half of SFO is on landfill. Mexico City is also an old lake bed and that is why the earthquakes are so devastating there. Any city near the coast is vulnerable now.

          • catscatscats says:

            I wouldn’t knowingly build a new home, or live in a home built, on a flood plain, lake bed or landfill. You know eventually something bad is going to happen when nature wants it back and now with climate change accelerating the inevitable, it is going to happen sooner rather than later with extraordinary force. But that’s just me.

          • Enheduanna says:

            I have almost zero sympathy and even carry some resentment for people who build expensive homes right on the beach. Especially if taxpayers get stuck with rebuilding the beach after storm erosion.

            It’s a little harder to pick where you want to live for a lot of people. People have to go where the jobs are and affordable housing is.

            Places along the coast of Washington State and Oregon grew well before anyone was aware of the massive earthquake danger. Ditto if Yellowstone ever blows -we’re all cooked.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m still trying to figure out how your’re supposed to be proud about any death count. Who says that kind of thing?

    • dakinikat says:

      look what this monster did …

      • Catscatscats says:

        No, you asshole, natural disasters are not sporting events or an opportunity to measure your penis against those of the other guys at the urinal. Has he met with Mayor Cruz yet? Someone should leave him in a remote area on the island for ONE DAY so he can experience existential challenges in real time.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Do I have to look? Lemme psyche up. Is that the same outfit Melania wore to Houston??? How gauche.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I watched part of it, but I had to shut off the sound. He basically made everyone praise him and then ignored the mayor of San Juan.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I guess the question I never see answered is why we allow sales of automatic weapons be allowed for purchase by the public at large. No one ever offers a rational answer.

    Why do we allow military weapons getting into the hands of anyone with the means to afford them?

    Handguns and hunting rifles differ greatly from weapons that can send out 20 to 30 bullets a second that rip apart bodies as targets. Not sure where self defense enters the picture in defending these sales. These weapons were originally designed for warfare.

    The question today is motive. As if discovering one will ease our minds. Does it matter when in actuality it is the access to these weapons by anyone with a few bucks to spare is the problem?

    Think of what this one murderer did in the space of minutes. Killed 59 people and injured hundreds more using weapons created for the battlefield.

    Does it really matter why? He had access. Congress has made it easier to obtain. In some cases you are able to bypass background checks.

    Our nation is one big solid mess. Congress threatens to eliminate healthcare. They refuse to discuss commonsense gun control. The POTUS is allowing our food, water and air to become a polluters paradise. Climate change is changing the landscape. Increased danger to our weather patterns is certain to take over our future. Racism is no longer hidden but practiced outright. Our Commander in Chief,who knows absolutely nothing, is playing “chicken” with an unstable dictator that may produce a nuclear conflict.

    No one is in charge except the “money boys” and corporations looking to better their bottom line at the expense of the planet. This is where we find ourselves in the year 2017.

    This is what indifference looks like. Disaster followed by more.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      MONEY.

    • NW Luna says:

      There are no rational answers. Insecure boys want their toys. They also pull out the “slippery slope” argument — that if semi-automatics are restricted, then soon hunting rifles will be. Yes, that’s really what I heard when I tried to discuss this with a gun lover. It’s nonsense, of course.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Fox News and hate radio have them all believing we want to take their guns away completely. I also have a neighbor who firmly believes this.

    • Enheduanna says:

      We could very well be witnessing the demise of our democracy. Democracies do apparently devolve into fascism which is where we’re absolutely headed.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      Saying money is an over simplification.

      Fear is one of the most animating factors for the right wing. I always say that the reason that police use of unwarranted force against marginalized communities persists, is because ENOUGH people in this country like it that way.

      If it keeps the “bad people” at bay, on balance, they are happy. Even if tragedies occur like clockwork. They don’t really expect to be on he receiving end of police violence anyway.

      Same thing here, many right-wingers believe that if OTHERS get hurt by guns in the hands of madmen, it is worth it, if they can have a weapon to keep “bad people” at bay.

      They never expect to be the victim of police misconduct and they never expect to be the victims of a random shooting. That happens at other peoples workplaces, nightclubs and concerts.

      The fear of black or brown boogie men keep them on the extreme edge of the gun debate politically.

      Here is where the money comes back in, people with a financial interest brainwash conservatives to believe that allowing limits on military style automatic weapons means that they are failing to protect their families.

      Fear, greed and gullibility in equal measure.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I am seeing articles in the press reminding me of the terrible terrible gun laws we have – such as we’re not allowed to study gun violence. How Orwellian is that?

        The NRA is controlling the GOP who in turn keep getting elected by these bigoted dumbasses who believe what they see on Fox and hear on hate radio. Propaganda outlets stoking fear of home invasions by black or brown people (stories augmented by POTUS) when the truth is they’re more likely to shoot each other in some hillbilly crime of passion against an ex-wife.

        • NW Luna says:

          we’re not allowed to study gun violence

          Yep. No federal funds can be spent on studying gun deaths, injuries, anything connected with firearms and health. The CDC and NIH and any other federal organization which does research or awards grants to other researchers has its hands tied.

          Bernie voted for this ban on gun research. I told some Slandersbots at my caucus about this, and one said “No, that can’t be, it must have been something else. He wouldn’t do that.” You can’t fix stupid.

      • Catscatscats says:

        My second amendment clinging, gun owning Repub friend told me, straight faced, when I asked him how he would stop the gun violence, that to start, he would have the police go into the inner cities, put POC up against a wall and take their weapons away. Problem solved. You cannot reason with that kind of mentality. He is well educated, smart, well to do and never donates to charity.

        • RonStill4Hills says:

          But that’s it. Armed white, rugged individual patriotically holding the line against the savages, armed non-white, violent assailant. The BELIEVE in shoot first asked question later as it pertains to People of color.

          How else can you BLAME Trevon Martin and canonize Randy Weaver?

        • NW Luna says:

          Cats, that gunner friend is a piece of shit. He may be well educated and smart, but he’s a racist piece of shit.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Jennifer Rubin worth reading again:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/10/03/trumps-coverup-now-makes-sense/?utm_term=.ed2996fce242

    In short, Trump through multiple avenues had ongoing contacts with Russians during the campaign, contacts which he, his aides and his relatives went to great pains to deny. Since the extent of Russian propaganda efforts (styled in ways to appeal to his supporters and smear Clinton) has come to light, Trump’s Russia connections have become an exceptionally inconvenient fact pattern. One can imagine why Trump was so agitated by an investigation that sought both to uncover his Russia connections and to examine his business dealings. That investigation was and remains a sword of Damocles hovering over his presidency.

    The new WAPO stuff is amazeballs. Thx BB!

    • Enheduanna says:

      I don’t believe tRump was ever in this to win the presidency and all this shady behavior on the part of tRump & Co. was money-grubbing schemes any way they could work them. The behavior fits their true natures – they couldn’t have stopped themselves if they’d wanted to and no one thought he’d actually win so why be restrained?

      Well he won. Now they’re getting the investigation they never thought would happen.

      • catscatscats says:

        Agree. Running in the primary and the GE was just to enhance his brand, he didn’t expect to win. It was one big publicity stunt. Now that he has his hand in the biggest candy jar he has ever seen, he refuses to open his fist to get it out, He is presidentin’ the same way he did business: corruptly, unethically, immorally, and illegally, trying to crush whoever gets in his way with his gold plated money clip. He was too stupid to realize that Russia had him by the gonads. He doesn’t care what happens to this country or to anyone who voted for him and assumes his dirty money will keep him from total ruin. I hope he is very, very wrong about that.

        • Enheduanna says:

          Amen! Well said.

          He’s bringing about his own worst fears – exposed as a low-life braggart with no real accomplishments, intelligence, class or bragging rights to begin with.

          • Sweet Sue says:

            Good comment and you know that he never thought he’d actually “win.” My only consolation (and it’s a small one) is that anyone can see how miserable he is every day he’s not holding a rally in Dixie.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

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  6. bostonboomer says:

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    • Pat Johnson says:

      Yet look at the idiots willing to play along. I’d heave one back so hard he would fall on his ass.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The people in that crowd aren’t even the ones who need help. He’s a fucking monster!

        • Pat Johnson says:

          Let that picture be “Nero fiddles while Rome burns” in capturing his “playfulness” while the entire island sinks under the destruction.

          Meanwhile, his plane awaits as Melania breaks in her new “hurricane pumps” and stands by.

    • Catscatscats says:

      Oh, yeah, paper towels, that is what I would be jonesing for if I had no food, water, medical supplies, electricity or phone for almost two weeks after my home was destroyed by a hurricane. Can’t you just see millions of used paper towels blowing across the devastated island and into the big, big water? The sign of a truly happy people, so grateful that Donnie T is their Prez.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Trump’s Puerto Rico Visit Is a Political Disaster
    The president told residents to be “very proud” they hadn’t endured a “real catastrophe” like Katrina, doing little to erase the impression that he sees hurricane relief more as a political story than a human one.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/trump-puerto-rico-visit/541869/

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Heads up, Las Vegas, he’s all yours tomorrow! Take comfort in the “miracles” visited upon you and be sure all are ready to “praise” our fearless leader when your turn rolls around.

  8. Enheduanna says:

    If you need a break from tRumpidiocy for a minute:

    https://www.thenation.com/article/we-need-to-reckon-with-the-story-what-happened-tells/

    I’m not sure about Katha Pollitt but this article was nice to read. About Hillary and her new book.

    • Catscatscats says:

      But don’t read the comments. I did, I can’t help myself and it always hurts. The CDS never ends. I like the one that says I am probably a racist for preferring a white woman to the oh so accomplished Obama in 2008.

      • NW Luna says:

        Oh not that again! Obama wasn’t so accomplished in 2008, or in 2016 for that matter though he did grow in office. But we wanted a candidate who was already grown up. Obama’s accomplishment in 2008 was having a penis.

  9. quixote says:

    The idea of that Dump going to disaster areas and behaving like a normal President and offering comfort…

    Comfort? Him? (Pardon me while I gag.)

    I get that that’s what Presidents are supposed to do. And I get that it marks him as an even bigger dump than before that he can’t even produce the usual pablum.

    But if he showed up and started gibbering in my shelter … I see myself getting the buckets out of the outhouses we’re using and starting to throw.

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

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  12. bostonboomer says:

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  13. bostonboomer says:

    Tillerson called Trump a “moron” and threatened to resign in July.

    NBC News: Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence

  14. bostonboomer says:

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  15. bostonboomer says:

    Ha! I was born in North Dakota and live in Massachusetts.

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • Enheduanna says:

      LOL – I truly believe that a colder climate invigorates people on a lot of levels. I was born and raised in the sweltering south and when it’s hot and humid all you can do is slow down. A bracing blast of cold air wakes you up. Maybe that has something to do with it.

  16. Enheduanna says:

    Just in case you weren’t absolutely sure about tRump’s children and how he raised them to be:

    https://shareblue.com/bombshell-emails-confirm-ivanka-trump-and-don-jr-lied-were-nearly-indicted/