Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

I’ve been struggling with a chest cold and now my sinuses are acting up. This seems to be the story of my wintertime life now. Anyway, I’m not sure how coherent this post will be.

Here are the big stories I’m seeing this morning.

Trump is doing everything he can to sabotage any bipartisan agreements in Congress that would keep the government from shutting down. He’s also hitting back at John Kelly for his remarks to Democrats and Fox News yesterday. Read a brief summary of Kelly’s crimes at Axios: John Kelly risks a Steve Bannon moment.

Late last night, a few hours after Fox News aired Bret Baier’s interview with John Kelly, a source close to the president told me Trump would explode when he saw what his chief of staff said. The source — who has spent a lot of time with Trump — predicted the president would hate the interview because Kelly came off as the mature professional who patiently educated an uninformed Trump, and helped him see the light and evolve on “The Wall.” [….]

What Kelly said that crossed Trump: 

“As we talked about things — where this president is and how much he wants to deal with this DACA issue and take it away — I told them that, you know, there’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through as a campaign [sic]. And I pointed out to all of the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed. But this president, if you’ve seen what he’s done, he has changed the way that he’s looked at a number of things. … So he has evolved in the way he’s looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”

The moron’s Thursday morning tweets:

And finally, Trump doesn’t want children’s health care to be included in a continuing resolution.

Putting CHIP in the mix was the only way Republicans could hope to get any Democratic votes for the CR. It looks like the moron really wants a government shut down.

The Washington Post: Trump Upsets Republican Strategy to Avoid Shutdown.

President Trump blew up Republican strategies to keep the government open past Friday when on Thursday morning he said a long-term extension of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program should not be part of a stopgap spending bill pending before the House….

With a possible government shutdown looming this weekend, the House had planned to vote late Thursday on a stopgap spending bill that would keep government funding flowing to Feb. 16 as delicate negotiations continue to protect young, undocumented immigrants brought illegally as children from deportation.

Republican leaders have spent the week pressuring Democrats to vote for the spending bill, arguing that opposing it would effectively block a six-year extension of the children’s health program, attached to the spending bill as a sweetener for lawmakers in both parties.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said on Wednesday that it would be “unconscionable” for Democrats to oppose funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program with a “no” vote on the short-term spending bill.

But Mr. Trump’s tweet appeared to give Democrats a ready excuse to oppose the measure: the president wants the health program severed from the spending bill.

Blaming a shutdown on the Democrats won’t work. Republicans control the government, and the “president” can make exceptions to pay the military and other essential services.

Doctors who don’t work for Trump are pushing back on Ronny Jackson’s characterization of the moron’s health as “excellent.”

The New York Times: Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say.

Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral and the White House physician, said Tuesday in his report on the president’s medical condition that Mr. Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less.

Dr. David Maron, the director of preventive cardiology at Stanford University’s medical school, said Wednesday that it was alarming that the president’s LDL levels remain above 140 even though he is taking 10 milligrams of Crestor, a powerful drug that is used to lower cholesterol levels to well below 100.

Dr. Maron said he would “definitely” be worried about Mr. Trump’s risk for having a heart attack if the president were one of his patients. Asked if Mr. Trump is in perfect health, Dr. Maron offered a blunt reply: “God, no.”

Other cardiologists also disputed Dr. Jackson’s rosy assessment of the president’s heart health. Several said Mr. Trump’s goal should be to get his LDL below 100, or even under 70. He has a real risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially considering his weight and lack of exercise, they said.

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said that it is impossible to ignore the dangers of the president’s elevated cholesterol levels when providing an overall assessment of Mr. Trump’s health.

“That’s a really high LDL,” Dr. Topol said. “We’re talking about a 70-plus-year-old man who is obese and doesn’t exercise. Just looking at the lab value, you would raise a big red flag.”

He added: “I would never use the words ‘excellent health.’ How you could take these indices and say excellent health? That is completely contradicted.”

Read more expert opinions at the NYT link.

Dana Millbank at The Washington Post: Is Trump’s doctor okay?

Examining the White House physician’s briefing on President Trump’s physical, I was alarmed — not about the president’s health, but the doctor’s.

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson was so effusive in extolling the totally amazing, surpassingly marvelous, superbly stupendous and extremely awesome health of the president that the doctor sounded almost Trumpian. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” he said, repeating “excellent” eight times: “Hands down, there’s no question that he is in the excellent range. . . . I put out in the statement that the president’s health is excellent, because his overall health is excellent. . . . Overall, he has very, very good health. Excellent health.”

And just how excellent is His Excellency’s excellent health, doctor? “Incredible cardiac fitness,” was Dr. Jackson’s professional opinion. “He has incredible genes. . . . He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, making a rare house call to the White House briefing room, offered a second opinion. “He is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, he has evidence of heart disease, and he’s borderline obese,” Gupta pointed out, citing Jackson’s own findings. “Can you characterize that as excellent health?”

Dr. Ronny must have gotten a pretty good brow-beating before he went out to face the White House press corps.

That’s probably not coming from a legit “WH senior advisor,” but it sure sounds like the moron in chief.

Here’s some interesting news on the Russia story.

McClatchy: FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump.

The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

Read the rest at the link. This might be a good time to reread that big scoop by Ruth May at the Dallas Morning News in December: How Putin’s proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns. Also check out this Twitter thread:

Read the rest of the thread on Twitter.

That’s all I have the strength for right now. What stories are you following today?


55 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Politico has a good article on John Kelly’s ham handed efforts to work with Congress.

    DACA-shutdown talks still stalled after Kelly hits the Hill

    • NW Luna says:

      “I’m more positive than ever before,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez said following the meeting.

      Uh …. that’s not saying much.

  2. NW Luna says:

    Thanks for the informative post, BB, and I hope you get better soon. There’s so much going around — more than usual for this time of year. I keep re-getting a cold.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s what happened to me. I came down with a cold right after New Year’s and then it got better. Then this more serious relapse.

      • NW Luna says:

        Microbial evolution in action … they change just enough that your immune system doesn’t recognize them and so has to work & develop new antibodies. Meanwhile you’re still weak from the previous infection. I still feel exhausted.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Hope it gets better soon BB! Remember to stay hydrated and run a humidifier. It’s been so dry here with these cold snaps I am shocking everything I touch. At night I can SEE flashes of static electricity coming off my kitties’ fur!!

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Of course Trump wants a government shutdown. It plays right into his idea of “strength”.

    He is up against the “enemy” (Dems) and holding fast. His base will love it!

    So stupid. So incompetent. So ill informed. So ridiculous.

    Meanwhile, DACA and the rest of us must sit here like idiots and wait for this lunacy to play itself out.

    Trump has so damaged the office that it may take a miracle to clean up the mess.

    Oh, and by the way, he is off again to Florida this weekend to “celebrate” his first complete year in office. The man has no shame whatsoever.

    One whole year of this nonsense and it feels like a decade.

    • Enheduanna says:

      His base that depends on the government being open won’t love it. At least they’re keeping the parks open and thus all the businesses surrounding those. They do not appear to be taking steps to pay the troops, though.

      Dems need to stand firm for DACA – that should be non-negotiable simply from a moral POV.

      • NW Luna says:

        Parks will be closed if there’s a government shutdown. Soc Security checks will go out. Veteran’s health centers will stay open. Passport offices will close.

      • NW Luna says:

        Sorry. Just read that Trump is planning to keep parks open to fool the people into thinking the Rethugs aren’t the bad guys they actually are.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Whether or not Gorka possessed a security clearance during his months in the Trump administration is also at question, with reports suggesting he had none. A background check prior to the issuance of a clearance likely would have turned up Gorka’s warrant.

      IF they’d done a thorough background check. *rolls eyes*

  5. NW Luna says:

    Definitely read the comments on this one!

    Finish this sentence: ‘The state of the union is …’

    President* Trump is scheduled to give his State of the Union address on Jan. 30. Before he does, we want to hear how you think our country is doing. Tell us your view of the state of the union by submitting below. [asterisk added]

    The state of the union is a s…hole within a s…house with a s…head running the place.


    A tweet away from annihilation.

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. NW Luna says:

    urgh. Can’t figure out how to make the image show w/ the new WP edit controls. You’ll have to click thru to see the comic.

  8. bostonboomer says:

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    I know there is so much shit going on but I was curious about what y’all think…. about the controversy over the pink pussy hats? How some do not think they are inclusive. It has become a violent discussion on many groups regarding the anniversary of the woman’s march.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I haven’t heard about it. What is the controversy? Why do they have to be “inclusive?”

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Ready for this…because not all pussies are pink and woc are offended by the pink color.

        • quixote says:

          Um, *nobody’s* genitalia are bubble-gum pink. (Or if they are, I don’t want to know.) And the vulva of brown people are light-colored, just like the insides of their mouths. And if they’d prefer darker pussy hats, is anyone stopping them from knitting one?

          I’m sorry, but that’s just dumb. And also too, personally I’d prefer almost any color rather than that hideous Pepto-Bismol pink. So if we can start a movement for chestnut-brown hats, count me in. Or coal-black. I like that too.

          • NW Luna says:

            Yes, all vaginas are pinkish — as all interior mucous membranes are. Unfortunately too many people are uneducated about women’s genitalia and think that “vagina” means external genitalia. Makes me mad. Nobody calls a man’s penis his scrotum.

          • NW Luna says:

            And I HATE pink.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Here some links

        I made a comment on the Facebook page for the Women’s March 2018 group that my pussyhat was purple…to take it for what it was worth, and that to me the hat is a symbol of the movement. I mean…I think this debate is fucking ridiculous, personally.

        Shit, four people jumped down my case that I was a bigot. Not inclusive and hurtful to woc and trans. Idk, if I said it sounds all to much like a Russian conspiracy plant to gin up diversion would ya think I’m crazy?

        • Enheduanna says:

          That totally sounds suspicious to me JJ – you could absolutely be correct.

        • quixote says:

          Russian movement-splitting bots? I hadn’t thought of that. But it sure works to muddy one of the strongest resistance movements we have. And it picks on a women’s movement. And it’s so absurd my first thought is, “What? Couldn’t be.”

          So, you know what?, probably. Yes. Astute suspicion, in any case.

        • jan says:

          At the very least it is republican propaganda at work. They say these things and then say to their base that “liberals are racist, too, maybe more than us”. That way the message of the women’s movement is lost on the right wing crowd of women.

        • NW Luna says:

          It is ridiculous. The hat had ears FFS. And pink because it’s allegedly a women’s thing. Planned Parenthood has used magenta as their signature color for a few years now — nobody seems to mind that.

    • quixote says:

      JJ, all the controvdersies about trans inclusiveness, not just the hat one, strike me as odd.

      1) Women have raging controversies about inclusion, but men don’t. Why not? Is inclusion a non-issue for transmen? Seems very unlikely. To me, that makes it feel like another instance of, “Center *me*, you (other) women aren’t that important.”

      2) Women have since history began been subsumed under men. Women are supposed to somehow understand that “he” applied to a group includes them. Except when it doesn’t, of course. Transwomen, being women, should be ready for such a noticeable part of women’s experience. (Yes, I’m being facetious. But *honestly*.)

      3) They’ve never explained to my satisfaction why pink hats with ears aren’t inclusive. The symbol for worker’s parties is often an obviously masculine fist. It’s never taken to mean that men or women with less robust fists aren’t part of the movement. You can find a hundred examples. There’s nothing uninclusive about it if the people wearing the hats are including you. The complaint about non-inclusion really seems to be what I was talking about in 1). It’s really annoyance about not being the focus. Well, trans issues *aren’t* the focus of the resistance. So what?

  10. quixote says:

    (Totally offtopic: I was trying to reach bb, dak and JJ, so I sent an email to SkyDancingBlog at gmail. Not sure if that gets checked? I don’t have twitter. Nothing major.)

  11. NW Luna says:

    Trump Towers buyers in India offered chance to meet Donald Trump Jr., raising ethics concerns

    The launch of the new towers comes amid rising concerns that President Trump’s children — including Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are running their father’s business while he serves as president — are using their names to profit from their father’s presidency, and that foreign officials and others may stay in Trump hotels or buy Trump properties in attempts to curry favor or gain special access to the first family.

    A study released last week by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found that the price of the popular “Ivanka Suite” in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, for example, increased from $914 a night last year to $2,134 a night in 2018.

    “Concerns”? Clearly it’s profiting off the Trump presidency.*

  12. NW Luna says:

    France’s epic Bayeux Tapestry is headed to Britain, in a loan for the ages

    It is probably the most famous piece of medieval embroidery in the world, a ribbon of scrolling tapestry 70 yards long that tells in pictures the story of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, an epic tale of gore, glory and God.

    There is nothing quite like the Bayeux Tapestry, a near-cinematic work of narrative genius. President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement Thursday evening that his government will allow the priceless treasure to leave France for the first time in almost 1,000 years to be exhibited in Britain [in 2022] is a sensational stroke of cultural diplomacy.

    Not only is the tapestry extraordinary, so is its mere survival: The wool yarn embroidered on linen has bested both moths and Nazis. During the French Revolution, the panels were to be confiscated to cover military wagons, but they were rescued by a local lawyer.

    Who stitched the nine panels? Many hands. But it is unknown whether the embroiderers were men or women or both. At the time, Gameson said, embroidery was “a high-status occupation” pursued by experts of both sexes.

  13. RonStill4Hills says:

    Not a WOC or Trans and I don’t pretend to understand.

    I have a question though, if you pick fights with your allies even as your enemies are arrayed against you, how can you then complain that everyone is against you?

  14. NW Luna says:

  15. NW Luna says:

  16. RonStill4Hills says:

    This is who the Trumpsters are:

    They are proud to be these people.

    This guy perfectly represents Trump whole deplorable movement.

  17. RonStill4Hills says:

    On another subject, Pope Frank let me down defending the dude who covered up child abuse.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Yeah I don’t see Francis trying to diversify the priesthood which would go a long way to detoxifying it.

    • NW Luna says:

      Somehow I don’t think Jesus the liberal street preacher, who said “as you do to the least of these people, so you do to me” would agree with abusing children.