Extra Lazy Saturday Reads: Happy Birthday Dakinikat!!

Good Afternoon!!

The illustrations in this post are by comic illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti.

Wannabe dictator Donald Trump has left the country, and he’ll be gone for 12 days. Maybe we’ll get a little peace here in the USA while he’s gone. Of course he’ll probably manage to stir up trouble in other countries. The Guardian: North Korea looms large as Donald Trump embarks on Asia trip.

Donald Trump’s five-nation trip to Asia may take him away from his battles with opponents and prosecutors in Washington, but it will inject his volatile, combative personality into the heart of the most dangerous nuclear standoff in the world.

The president has broken precedent by clearly and repeatedly threatening to carry out a first strike against North Korea. On the eve of his Sunday departure, he did it again.

“We have one problem. That’s called North Korea,” Trump told Fox News. “I must tell you North Korea’s a thing that I think we will solve and if we don’t solve it, it’s not going to be very pleasant for them. It’s not going to be very pleasant for anybody.”

As usual on Fridays in the Trump era, we got some breaking news on the Russia investigation last night. The New York Times reported: Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian Officials in 2016.

As with previous threats of “fire and fury”, being “locked and loaded” and ready to “totally destroy” North Korea, Trump did not elaborate, but the comments were made in the context of significant escalation on both sides. North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test in September, most probably of a thermonuclear bomb, marking a significant step up in its capabilities. It has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles over the summer.

The US has boosted military exercises with its partners and for the first time in a decade, it has three aircraft car

Click on the link to read the rest.

Back here at home we got some breaking news on the Russia investigation last night. Remember when Friday nights were slow except for occasional government news dumps? The New York Times reports: Trump Campaign Adviser Met With Russian Officials in 2016.

Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign, met Russian government officials during a July 2016 trip he took to Moscow, according to testimony he gave on Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee.

Shortly after the trip, Mr. Page sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing insights he had after conversations with government officials, legislators and business executives during his time in Moscow, according to one person familiar with the contents of the message. The email was read aloud during the closed-door testimony.

The new details of the trip present a different picture than the account Mr. Page has given during numerous appearances in the news media in recent months and are yet another example of a Trump adviser meeting with Russians officials during the 2016 campaign. In multiple interviews with The New York Times, he had either denied meeting with any Russian government officials during the July 2016 visit or sidestepped the question, saying he met with “mostly scholars.”

Mr. Page confirmed the meetings in an interview on Friday evening, but played down their significance.

“I had a very brief hello to a couple of people. That was it,” he said. He said one of the people he met was a “senior person,” but would not confirm the person’s identity.

We’re also learning more about George Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign; it seems he was much more than a “coffee boy.” NBC News: Papadopoulos Repeatedly Represented Trump Campaign, Record Shows.

…the public record shows that Papadopoulos, who attempted to set up a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, was a more prominent figure than previously understood.

Papadopoulos was in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention where he was invited by the American Jewish Committee to speak on a panel about U.S. foreign policy, organizers said….

“Among the panelists in our 2016 Republican National Convention program — in a session titled ‘Defining America’s Role in Global Affairs’ — was George Papadopolous, then a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser”….

Papadopoulos’ public role for the Trump campaign continued. In late September, just six weeks before Election Day, he gave an interview as a Trump campaign official to the Russian Interfax News Agency, where he said that Trump will “restore the trust” between the U.S. and Russia.

And he met with Israeli leaders during the inauguration in January as a foreign policy adviser for the newly-sworn in president. “We are looking forward to ushering in a new relationship with all of Israel, including the historic Judea and Samaria,” Papadopoulos told the Jerusalem Post the following day.

Read more at NBC News.

More breaking news from last night: CBS news revealed that La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger, “may have been kidnapped by Islamic militants.”

CBS News has learned one of the four American soldiers killed in the ambush in Niger may have been kidnapped by Islamic militants who opened fire on a group of U.S. and Nigerien troops in early October.

The Pentagon has not said how Sgt. La David Johnson became separated from the other soldiers….

According to “village elder” Adamou Bububaker, after the battle ended:

“Two of the bodies were in the vehicle and another on the ground,” he said. They had been stripped of their uniforms.

But Johnson’s body was found two days later, about a half a mile away. Nigerien military sources tell CBS News they believe ISIS fighters decided to try and kidnap Johnson.

The fighters later shot him and dumped his body in the bushes, his hands roped together.

This is the man whose widow Trump shamefully called a liar and whose mentor was publicly smeared by former general John Kelly.

The Republican tax plan is obviously a disaster; but some of the things we’re learning about it are just unbelievable. Check this out from The Chronicle of Higher Education: Republican Tax Proposal Gets Failing Grade From Higher-Ed Groups.

“The House tax-reform proposal released today would discourage participation in postsecondary education, make college more expensive for those who do enroll, and undermine the financial stability of public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities,” said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education and under secretary of education in the Obama administration, in a written statement.

In broad terms, the bill would eliminate or consolidate a number of tax deductions meant to offset the costs of higher education for individuals and companies, including the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides stopping wage garnishment for students and tax deduction of up to $2,000 for tuition, a credit for student-loan interest, and a $5,250 corporate deduction for education-assistance plans.

The bill proposes new taxes on some private-college endowments and on compensation for the highest-paid employees at nonprofit organizations, including colleges and nonprofit academic hospitals. The plan would also tax the tuition waivers that many graduate students receive when they work as teaching assistants or researchers.

Imagine if I had had to pay taxes on the tuition waver I got from Boston University during my Teaching fellowships? I would have had to pay income taxes on around $40,000 per year in addition to my teaching income! I would not have been able to go to graduate school at all. Much more at the link.

Yesterday Trump mused about being able to control law enforcement in the U.S. He hasn’t even been “president” for a year, and he’s already publicly expressing his desire to be a dictator. Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair’s The Hive: Trump Subtly Wonders If The F.B.I Would Please Jail His Enemies.

When Donald Trump famously asked F.B.I. director James Comey to kindly drop all inquiries into Michael Flynn, and then fired him when he did not, the president triggered a series of events that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation into Russian collusion has now resulted in three indictments and the potential for many more. Thursday afternoon in the White House, Trump indicated that he has learned the dangers of attempting to use the Justice Department as his personal goon squad. “The saddest thing is, because I am the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the F.B.I.,” he told WMAL radio host Larry O’Connor. Still, he said he is “very frustrated” that he can’t use law-enforcement agencies to do what he really wants: investigate the Obama administration‘s Uranium One deal, which the right is scrambling to position as “clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence.”

“I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her e-mails and with her dossier, and the kind of money—I don’t know, is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier . . . which is total phony, fake, fraud and how is it used?” he railed, expressing how “unhappy” he was with the way the justice system is supposed to work. “But you know as president, and I think you understand this, as a president you’re not supposed to be involved in that process.”

He admits he’s not supposed to be doing this, but he’s continuing to call on the DOJ to prosecute Hillary Clinton in interviews and on twitter. At the Washington Post, Ann Applebaum reminds us that Totalitarian ideologies never die. Not even in America.

Nothing is ever over. No historic trauma is ever resolved. No historic villain is ever buried, and no historic lessons are permanently learned. Everything and everyone can be revived, and anything can be unlearned — even in the most settled civilizations.

Evidence of this is all around us. After two generations of atonement, an elected German politician — Björn Höcke, speaker of the parliamentary group of the new far-right party Alternative for Germany — wants Germans to stop apologizing for Nazi crimes; he describes the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame.” In China, a government once embarrassed by Maoism is peddling a sanitized version. Last year, 17 million Chinese made pilgrimages to the chairman’s home to pay homage to the man whose madness starved far more of his countrymen than that.

In Russia, Stalin has returned. Nearly half the country now views him with sympathy, respect or admiration. Stalin sent millions of Russians — and others — to die in labor camps, deprived millions of food so they starved to death, ordered hundreds of thousands executed, and left his country stunted and impoverished. In his own lifetime, Russians were terrified of him; soon after his death, he was denounced by his successors. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, it seemed, briefly, as if the victims of his terror might finally come to terms with his legacy.

For a long time, Americans thought they were immune to this sort of thing. But are we really? In the United States of my childhood, there seemed no more settled question than the Civil War. In school I was taught that slavery had been defeated, that Lincoln was a hero and that the remaining wrongs were at least partly righted by the civil rights movement. Even the Old South/“Gone With the Wind” nostalgia had faded and shrunk to a small group of battlefield-visiting enthusiasts.

But it never faded away altogether — and now it’s back. With a president who looks at white-supremacist marchers and sees “very fine people” and a White House chief of staff who describes Robert E. Lee as an “honorable man” who “gave up his country to fight for his state,” we may not be as far as we once thought from a revival of Southern exceptionalism, and even treachery on a broader scale. Roy Moore, Republican candidate for the Senate in Alabama, has said repeatedly that the “law of God” is higher than the law of the Constitution itself.

Please go read the whole thing.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend! Also please do check out our short term loan services here at paydayloansnow. Free consultation!

35 Comments on “Extra Lazy Saturday Reads: Happy Birthday Dakinikat!!”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Some good news from the ACLU:


    SAN ANTONIO — The federal government has released 10-year-old Rosa Maria Hernandez. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit seeking to release her from government custody and reunite her with her family.

    “Rosa Maria is finally free. We’re thrilled that she can go home to heal surrounded by her family’s love and support,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Despite our relief, Border Patrol’s decision to target a young girl at a children’s hospital remains unconscionable. No child should go through this trauma and we are working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

    Rosa Maria, who has cerebral palsy, was en route to gallbladder surgery from her home in Laredo, Texas, to Corpus Christi, when she was stopped at an immigration checkpoint. U.S. Border Patrol followed her to the hospital and camped outside her room until she was discharged. Agents then immediately seized Rosa Maria — who was still recovering in her hospital bed — and jailed her 150 miles away in a facility for children, alone and without her parents. They had no warrant. Rosa Maria had never been separated from her parents, and her medical condition requires constant attention. She has lived in her parents’ care in the United States since she was 3 months old.

    More at the link.

    • palhart says:

      She doesn’t understand that Bernie was NOT a Democrat, but was using the party for campaign advantage and never raised a cent for the party? Her ego has gotten in the way of good sense.

    • NW Luna says:

      WTH? replacing Clinton with Biden? That would have gone over like the proverbial lead balloon. Not to mention it wasn’t up to her who the nominee is. The nominee is up to We The People to choose with our votes (except in caucus states where lots of our votes don’t count).

      • Catscatscats says:

        Luna, i seem to recall reading back in 2008 that it is really up to the party not the people as to who gets the nomination. Made sense to me in the context of 2008. Remember they wouldn’t even let her have the roll call, states with primaries she had won declared for Obama and gave him all their delegates. They dressed it up, but Obama was selected by the party not nominated by the people, at least in my mind! And didn’t Mook say that the party holds caucuses and the states hold primaries? Which are easier to manipulate to the desired outcome? Didn’t Joy say in her twitter feed that Obama lost big primaries but won caucuses and still won the nomination? Between the Parties and Putin, we the people don’t seem to have much weight in the process.

        • Enheduanna says:

          That’s true – but why pretend to have a democratic process.

          How gracious of Donna to recognize Clinton’s voters, including the vast majority of women of color. Brazile saw what she wanted to see – I saw a joyous and energized campaign and I was excited as hell.

          • Catscatscats says:

            I saw it, too! Chris matthews was talking about his Bobby Kennedy book with Joy. He said just look at the pictures, especiially this one. Just look at the faces of those young people, he said. They were as far as I could tell hopeful young boys/men. Funny, i remember the many sad and crestfallen faces of young girls/women on election night at the Javitt’s Center. Why don’t they see what we see? Are we really invisible? Do they have any idea what her victory meant to us?

          • NW Luna says:

            Women have been invisible for far too long.

            The Silencing of the Hillary Clinton Supporter
            The media’s obsession with the white populist narrative serves two purposes: telling women who supported Hillary they don’t matter and exonerating itself from being culpable in her loss.

            There was a similar article last month, but I can’t find it now.

        • NW Luna says:

          Urgh, those caucuses with the Obots … there was some funny stuff going on there. My caucus was an appalling experience in 2008. Little did I know it would be even worse in 2016. I do remember the weird throwing the votes to Obama even though Hillary won them at the convention. I don’t want to remember any more — it’s tragic.

      • Fannie says:

        Replacing her because she fainted, and then mocks her the way Trump did, saying she can’t do the job. This is a man’s job, not a weak woman. Women don’t have the stamina to hold the highest office in this land. Women should be ashamed when they get sick, dehydrated with pneumonia. Donna’s thinking is much like Trump and Sanders! Hurry open the door, let the white man, she knows how to play the game so they WIN.

    • roofingbird says:

      Pretty disgusting..

  2. NW Luna says:

    Love the illustrations, BB. Though I wish he’d done some with two women as a couple and two men as a couple also.

  3. roofingbird says:

    It’s a good article by Anne Applebaum, with a very good ending.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    It looks like Tony Podesta is cooperating with Mueller. He claims he didn’t know the organization he was working for under Manafort was a phony front group. He could be another source of testimony against Manafort to get Manafort to flip on Trump.


  5. Enheduanna says:

    Saw this a C&L and thought of Dak. This is exactly what it’s like at my house too:

    Simon’s Cat – Off to the Vet!

    • palhart says:

      That was so typical of cat/human interplay, especially tricking your cat for the vet appointment. None of my cats ever sat on their rumps like that, however. Otherwise, well done.

      • NW Luna says:

        Cats trying to get their human awake in the morning — mine have some of the same behaviors!

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Happy Birthday to Dakinikat!

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    What a refreshingly pragmatic attitude!

    One of the UK’s top gynaecologists has said the decision to allow women in Scotland to take abortion pills at home is “admirable” and she hopes there will be support for the move in England.

    Prof Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said it was another step in making it easier for women to access safe care.


  9. NW Luna says:

    Hmmm. What’s going on?

    • NW Luna says:

      Looks like internal power rearrangement rather than being triggered by an external source.

      Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billionaire, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom’s young crown prince consolidates power. Saudi King Salman appointed two new ministers on Saturday to key security and economic posts, removing one of the royal family’s most prominent members as head of the national guard, as part of a series of high-profile sackings that sent shock waves in the kingdom.

      An aviation source said security forces had grounded private jets in Jeddah, possibly to prevent any high-profile figures from leaving.

      The kingdom’s top council of clerics tweeted that anti-corruption efforts were “as important as the fight against terrorism”, essentially giving religious backing to the crackdown.


      • quixote says:

        The 30-something year old Crown Prince has been consolidating power the last couple of years and neutralizing all the other Crown Princes. (I’m being — slightly — facetious.) (I’ve never learned their names well enough to keep them straight.)

        This sounds like more of the same. Probably triggered by the fact that one of the Yemeni rebel (Houthi) missiles almost hit a populated area for once, so Mr. Head Banana felt he had to beat somebody up in a show of force. Just guessing.

  10. Sweet Sue says:

    Does Carter Page have the strangest affect you’ve ever seen? Where is he on “the spectrum” off the charts? This is a serious question.