Thursday Reads: If Only We Had A Woman President

With the forecast calling for heavy snow, there were plenty of parking spots available, as well as very light traffic, so much so that a pedestrian could cross the street unimpeded on Beacon Street at 5:45 p.m., normally the height of rush hour. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Good Morning!!

The snowpocalypse never materialized in Boston, after we were told to expect up to 14 inches of the white stuff. I know it was bad in some places to the south of us. But not to worry, there’s another snow event coming this weekend. Meteorologist David Epstein explains:

I can tell you with a lot of certainty that it’s very frustrating for any meteorologist to miss a forecast, but it’s also humbling. It’s just a fact of the matter: The atmosphere is incredibly complicated and always will be.

Meteorologically, the storm never really got its act together because too much dry air ate away at the precipitation shield on the northern and western flank.

Whatever that means.

Of course, there are always computer models that we all use to guide us, but frankly, their performance hasn’t been as good in the past few weeks.

Although the models successfully understood a storm would form, they did a poor job of placing the precipitation within the storm. I suspect the unusual blocking pattern that we are in is throwing the models for a loop.

While the European model did a better job forecasting this system than other models, it also was way overdone. But in other recent storms, other models have outperformed the Euro, so it’s dangerous to just follow one model.

For example, if we had believed the NAM model on Wednesday morning, we would have forecast 10 to 15 inches of snow in Boston. This model accurately predicted the amount of snow seen in New York, but it arced the precipitation band way too far to the northwest.

Weather nerds (Dakinikat) can read the rest at The Boston Globe. The good news for us is that we didn’t get a lot more snow added to what was already on the ground. Now we look ahead to the next storm and hope for the weather trend to become more springlike soon.

At least the weather provides a distraction from the ongoing nightmare of the Trump “presidency.” The news of Trump family corruption is coming thick and fast these days; but before I get to some of that, here’s another distraction: two annoying old white men threatening to beat each other up.

Creepy Uncle Joe

ABC News: Biden says he would have ‘beat the hell out’ of Trump in high school for disrespecting women.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took fresh jabs at President Donald Trump on Tuesday while speaking at an anti-sexual assault rally, telling students at the University of Miami that he probably would have “beat the hell out” of Trump if they’d attended school together.

“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,'” Biden said. “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'”

“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life,” Biden continued. “I’m a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room.”

Naturally Trump responded on Twitter.

The Washington Post: Septuagenarian smackdown? Trump, Biden trade fighting words.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are in a rhetorical smackdown over who could clean the other’s clock in a brawl.

Biden, 75, made similar comments in the closing days of the 2016 campaign. He has kept open the possibility of a 2020 bid for president and is gearing up to play a big role campaigning for Democrats running in this year’s midterm elections.

Trump, 71, dismissed the prospect of a Biden run recently at the annual Gridiron Dinner with Washington journalists, calling him “Sleepy Joe” and saying he could “kick his ass.” Trump also attacked Biden on Twitter in 2016, calling him “Our not very bright Vice President.”

This is just plain embarrassing. Connor Friedersdorf reacts to Trump’s “bluster” at The Atlantic: 

Donald Trump is an undignified lout who cannot master his own emotions enough to be anything better….

No recent president would’ve publicly degraded himself in this manner. Neither would a teenager of slightly above-average maturity. Yet Trump is unembarrassed, and unapologetic, for the damage he does to America’s reputation.

Americans have grown used to conduct of this sort because Trump engages in it so often. But bygone generations would be appalled by how he comports himself. And every instance of such behavior causes the world to look upon the U.S. the same way that most Americans look upon the real housewives of New Jersey.

Frankly, Biden isn’t much better. Why, oh why couldn’t we have a woman president? Speaking of which, did you see this exchange on Twitter yesterday? People were attacking a woman writer, Roxanne Gay–what else is new?–because she tweeted that Justice League was a bad movie. She responded:

The attacks continued. But guess who really liked that tweet?

The attackers didn’t like Gay’s response to that either.

Yes, people really did try to explain to her that Hillary isn’t president. Sigh . . . being a famous woman is really hard. Misogyny is utterly pervasive in this country.

Hillary’s former communications director Jennifer Palmieri has a new book coming out: Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World. Time Magazine has an excerpt: Inside the Last Days of the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

It’s the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 9. We are at the New Yorker Hotel and Hillary has just finished her concession speech. I decide to just nod and smile wistfully when supporters and reporters, men and women alike, laud Hillary’s concession speech. “Where was ‘this Hillary’ during the campaign?” they would lament. “Why didn’t we see this side of her when it mattered?”

Yes, I am sure you loved her concession speech, I thought to myself. Because that’s what you think is acceptable for a woman to do — concede.

Not just the right wing media . . .

Had I never left the Obama White House to be part of the campaign, I am sure I would have asked the same question. I probably would have printed out the transcript of her remarks, and pored over them, trying to isolate the essence of what she had said that made this speech so much more appealing than anything she had said during the campaign. And I wouldn’t have found it. Because I needed to have the experience of working for a female presidential candidate to understand that why we liked “this Hillary” so much better than “candidate Hillary.” Fundamentally it wasn’t about the words she used in her concession speech but what she represented. She was no longer a woman pushing to be president. She was a gracious loser putting the needs of her country above her own. It was the role of Hillary as an ambitious candidate that troubled us.

We think a woman shines best when she is selflessly putting others’ interest above her own. It is more flattering than seeking her own spotlight.

I have to tell you that when I first joined Hillary’s campaign, I didn’t think it was going to be that hard or even that big of a deal to elect the first woman president. Let’s just say after having gone through this campaign, I have a different perspective.

Read the rest at the link.

Now let’s turn to the latest Trump administration scandals. This time it’s Jared Kushner in the Spotlight.

The Intercept: Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket.”

We’ve all heard about how Jared has been reading all that classified information in the PDB–the president’s daily brief. Well it looks like he may have shared some of it with his pal Mohammed bin Salman.

In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab, according to the former White House official and two U.S. government officials with knowledge of the report. Like many others interviewed for this story, they declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about sensitive matters to the press.

In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so….

On November 4, a week after Kushner returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in official Washington by his initials MBS, launched what he called an anti-corruption crackdown. The Saudi government arrested dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and imprisoned them in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, which was first reported in English by The Intercept. The Saudi figures named in the President’s Daily Brief were among those rounded up; at least one was reportedly tortured.

Read the rest at The Intercept.

The New York Times: How 2 Gulf Monarchies Sought to Influence the White House.

A cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation worked for more than a year to turn a top Trump fund-raiser into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to interviews and previously undisclosed documents.

Hundreds of pages of correspondence between the two men reveal an active effort to cultivate President Trump on behalf of the two oil-rich Arab monarchies, both close American allies.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

High on the agenda of the two men — George Nader, a political adviser to the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., and Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee — was pushing the White House to remove Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, backing confrontational approaches to Iran and Qatar and repeatedly pressing the president to meet privately outside the White House with the leader of the U.A.E.

Mr. Tillerson was fired last week, and the president has adopted tough approaches toward both Iran and Qatar.

A bit more from the NYT piece:

Mr. Nader tempted the fund-raiser, Mr. Broidy, with the prospect of more than $1 billion in contracts for his private security company, Circinus, and he helped deliver deals worth more than $200 million with the United Arab Emirates. He also flattered Mr. Broidy about “how well you handle Chairman,” a reference to Mr. Trump, and repeated to his well-connected friend that he told the effective rulers of both Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. about “the Pivotal Indispensable Magical Role you are playing

George Nader with Trump

to help them.”

Mr. Nader’s cultivation of Mr. Broidy, laid out in documents provided to The New York Times, provides a case study in the way two Persian Gulf monarchies have sought to gain influence inside the Trump White House. Mr. Nader has been granted immunity in a deal for his cooperation with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to people familiar with the matter, and his relationship with Mr. Broidy may also offer clues to the direction of that inquiry.

Mr. Nader has now been called back from abroad to provide additional testimony, one person familiar with the matter said this week. Mr. Mueller’s investigators have already asked witnesses about Mr. Nader’s contacts with top Trump administration officials and about his possible role in funneling Emirati money to Mr. Trump’s political efforts, a sign that the investigation has broadened to examine the role of foreign money in the Trump administration.

The documents contain evidence not previously reported that Mr. Nader also held himself out as intermediary for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who met with Mr. Trump on Tuesday in the Oval Office at the beginning of a tour of the United States to meet with political and business leaders.

Rachel Maddow talked about this story at length last night, and she said the Special Counsel has called Nader back from abroad. But The Daily Mail is claims that Nader has fled: EXCLUSIVE: Mueller probe witness who met Jared Kushner and was ‘best friends’ with Steve Bannon flees the country after being revealed as a pedophile. Summary of the story:

  • Robert Mueller co-operating witness George Nader has  fled the United States for the United Arab Emirates, DailyMail.com reveals
  • Nader, a convicted pedophile, was allegedly a paid adviser for the UAE’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Zayef and had close ties to the Trump administration
  • He has been interviewed twice by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign
  • The Lebanese-born adviser was first stopped when he flew into Washington in January on his way to visit Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort
  • Nader has been cooperating with investigators following the stop and his lawyer said he ‘truthfully answered questions’
  • Investigators are interested in a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between bin Zayef, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon which Nader was at and may have brokered
  • They also want to about a meeting he was at in the Seychelles, attended by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and UAE’s de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Zayed

One more Kushner scandal from the AP: NYC agency investigating more than a dozen Kushner buildings.

New York City’s buildings regulator launched investigations at more than a dozen Kushner Cos. properties Wednesday following an Associated Press report that the real estate developer routinely filed false paperwork claiming it had zero rent-regulated tenants in its buildings across the city.

The Department of Buildings is investigating possible “illegal activity” involving applications that sought permission to begin construction work at 13 of the developer’s buildings, according to public records maintained by the regulator. The AP reported Sunday that Kushner Cos. stated in more than 80 permit applications that it had zero rent-regulated tenants in its buildings when it, in fact, had hundreds.

The false filings were made while Kushner Cos. was run by Jared Kushner, now senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. The false filings were all signed by a Kushner employee, sometimes by its chief operating officer. None were signed by Jared Kushner himself.

The false documents allowed the Kushner Cos. to escape extra scrutiny during construction at 34 of its buildings, many which showed a sharp decline in rent-regulated units following the work. Housing Rights Initiative, a watchdog group that uncovered the false filings, says that made it easier for the Kushner Cos. to harass the low-paying, rent-regulated tenants so they would leave, freeing up apartments for higher-paying tenants.

The Kushner Cos. said Wednesday that it is the victim of “politically motivated attacks.” It said it values and respects its tenants and operates under “the highest legal and ethical standards.”

I wonder if Jared and Ivanka are beginning to wish that Hillary had won?

There are more Trump scandals, but I have to wrap this up. What stories are you following?

 

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44 Comments on “Thursday Reads: If Only We Had A Woman President”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I have to put in some images, but there’s breaking news already.

    Politico: Trump lawyer John Dowd steps down.

    John Dowd, one of Donald Trump’s top personal lawyers, stepped down Thursday from the president’s legal team just days after calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to be shuttered.

    “John Dowd has been a valuable member of our legal team and we will continue our ongoing cooperation with the office of special counsel regarding this inquiry,” Jay Sekulow, another member of the Trump legal team, said in a statement to POLITICO.

    Sekulow declined to address how the Trump legal team would be organized going forward. Dowd had been spearheading negotiations with Mueller for a potential interview with the president, while Sekulow handled public communications.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    From The New York Times:

    Mr. Dowd, who took over the president’s legal team last summer, had considered leaving several times in recent months and ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice, one of the people said. Under Mr. Dowd’s leadership, Mr. Trump’s lawyers had advised him to cooperate with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russia’s election interference and possible ties to Trump associates as well as whether the president obstructed the inquiry.

    The president has instead in recent days begun publicly assailing Mr. Mueller, a shift in tone that appears to be born of the president’s concern that the investigation is bearing down on him more directly. He has also privately insisted he should sit for an interview with the special counsel’s office, even though Mr. Dowd believed it was a bad idea.

    Mr. Dowd’s departure marks the most prominent shake-up for the president’s legal team since he took over from the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz.

    The president was said to be pleased with Mr. Dowd’s resignation, as he had grown frustrated with him, particularly over the weekend when Mr. Dowd called on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation. Mr. Dowd said at first that he was speaking for the president, but later backtracked.

    • quixote says:

      “he had grown frustrated with him”

      And another case of the Dump screaming “Why can’t anybody make me look good!??!!!eleventy!! Bunch of incompetents!”

      But she was “over-prepared,” right?

      /*endless screaming*/

    • Mary Luke says:

      At this point, no decent lawyer can represent him. I question whether Trump can distinguish between truth and lies. If he can’t he is not competent to be President. If he can, and a lawyer reasonably believes his client plans to lie under oath, that lawyer is ethically required to withdraw.

      The fact that the esteemed on both sides of the aisle Ted Olson refused to represent Trump should be all we need to know.

      The awful part, as Rachel Maddow says, is that if a President is impeached, you want him to have good representation. We want our justice system to work fairly, no matter how wretched the defendant.

    • NW Luna says:

      “Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice” How could this be a surprise to any half-awake lawyer?

  3. Mary Luke says:

    I know meteorology is not infallible but the networks behavior was inexcusable on this. Late into the night, long after it was apparent there was no snow, the television networks continued to run footage and report as if a major storm were imminent. They caused needless school closings, chaotic child care reshuffling and missed medical appointments
    Finally one timid reporter ventured that the snow was not forming in the atmosphere because the air is too dry. One channel put up a map show in the storm “brushing” the Boston coast.

    This was the fault if network executives over hyping hoping for a big storm, not the fault of the meteorologists. It seems obvious today that the networks had the information and deliberately did not broadcast it until nearly midnight when rain fell if at all.

    Greed again.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. It’s ridiculous how they hype these storms and then try to cover for themselves when the forecast is wrong.

  4. Delphyne49 says:

    After reading that excerpt from Jennifer’s new book, I’m close to reliving the feelings I had on 11/9. This paragraph did offer some relief, though.

    I think a lot of women initially viewed the uncertain post-Nov. 9 world with unease. We had lived our lives playing by a certain set of rules, and they had failed us. We didn’t know what to make of it at first. Could it be that women are meant to go only so far in the world? No, that can’t be it. Women haven’t plateaued; it is the rules we were playing by that are outdated. We are learning to appreciate that with this uncertainty comes an empowering new sense of possibility. I look around at all that women are doing in America today and I am inspired. Women aren’t just running for office in record numbers, they are winning in record numbers, too. In the worlds of art, politics, and business, women aren’t following anyone’s rules — they are creating their own game.

    • NW Luna says:

      Agree with you on the hope in that paragraph.

      “I’m close to reliving the feelings I had on 11/9.” Yet you were able to read the excerpt; I admire that. I wish I could summon more equanimity — I still avoid reading anything which covers those events.

      • Delphyne49 says:

        I’m feeling stronger about it, but it has taken me until now to get there. A friend of mine had preordered What Happened and it was delivered on 9/12/17, the release date. I haven’t had the nerve to start reading it yet, but think I’ll be starting it in the next couple of days. I never did watch nor listen to/read her concession speech – too painful. The 2008 concession was painful enough.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • Delphyne49 says:

      I can only hope that some mutated creature from some polluted superfund site will rise up and devour Pruitt, along with the rest of the cabinet/”special advisors” and save room for Trump as dessert.

  6. dakinikat says:

    Trump just started trade war with China. Markets are crashing. Chinese annoying tit for tat. This is not going to work out well for any one but Uncle Vlad.

    • dakinikat says:

      • NW Luna says:

        Not content with wrecking healthcare, our national parks, and American democracy, he’s got to wreck the economy. The GOP owns this.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Trump is determined to recrash the economy.

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I think the tariffs may be RasPitins counter-sanctions to make sure that if he ain’t making money nobody is making money.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Donald Trump is an incredibly stupid man. Incredibly stupid beyond normal comprehension.

    So stupid that he refuses to take advice from anyone even if he has no idea what he himself is doing. His stupidity goes beyond the rational. This is the same person, when running as a candidate to lead the free world admitted that the only advice he heeds is his own!

    That statement in and of itself should have been enough to alert anyone that we were dealing with a delusional and obstinate man who could not be reasoned with. A man whose self importance overruled logic.

    In the midst of an investigation with a spotlight on collusion between himself and Putin, logic would dictate distancing himself from this murderous man. Not Trump. He treads wherever he wants, whenever he wants, regardless of the consequences. His slobbering fealty to this dictator is suspicious enough without having to cal into question the reasons for his adoration.

    He refuses to listen to his lawyers. He refuses to listen to his advisors. He refused to take advice from his national security team. He is consistently putting this nation at serious risk.

    He needs to go. The GOP leadership cannot keep ignoring this stupid, ignorant joke of a leader while he burns bridges with our allies as he family assaults the laws of the land.

    This man is so stupid it defies any sense of logic to allow him to remain in office. W. may have not been very bright but Trump makes him appear as a scholar by comparison.

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. And this goes double for those who still support and applaud this nitwit who should never be in this position. It is mind boggling to hear and read those who insist they are “proud” to have voted for him and would gladly do it again.

    God almighty!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Last night Lawrence O’Donnell said that Trump’s stupidity is the first thing anyone should take into consideration in trying to explain his behavior.

      • jane says:

        His stupidity is amazing. I haven’t heard him say anything that makes sense for a 6 year old. He never talks about a country or person with its name, or mentions anyones accomplishment. He just says ‘does great things, really great things’. Laws or tariffs are ‘gonna do great things’. We are gonna do ‘really strong stuff, really strong stuff’. That sounds like a very young child, not the POTUS.

    • NW Luna says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    I do not understand any one’s obsession with handsy, crazy Uncle Joe.

    Is it just me or are the press using the Facebook’s mess to deflect their role in Hillary’s loss?

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Is it just me or are the press using the Facebook’s mess to deflect their role in Hillary’s loss?

      Fuck yeah!

    • Pilgrim says:

      Dak, your feeling about Biden is one with which I concur. He’s kinda silly, and I sure hope the voters don’t make another mistake.

    • NW Luna says:

      We should send him knitting needles and some acrylic yarn.

      Male politicians who lose elections are treated far more deferentially than is a woman politician who wins the popular vote.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      It’s not just you, Dak. They know that unless they control the narrative, now, history will judge them very harshly as unwitting collaborateurs and useful idiots.

    • NW Luna says:

  9. bostonboomer says:

    A 70-year old man from Winthrop, MA was arrested with a “small arsenal” in his truck. In Texas it probably would be legal.

    The Boston Globe: Winthrop man, 70, allegedly carried assault rifle in vehicle to fight ‘jihadists on the highway’

    A 70-year-old Winthrop man who allegedly drove into Dorchester on Tuesday afternoon with a small arsenal of guns, ammunition, and body armor told police he needed the firepower to guard against “jihadists on the highway,” court records show.

    The startling admission by Stephen White was contained in a Boston police report filed in the case against him in Dorchester District Court. White was arraigned Wednesday on charges including unlawful possession of a large-capacity firearm and unlawful possession of a large-capacity feeding device. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

    He was held on $7,500 cash bail and ordered to surrender all firearms.

    According to the report, police seized items including an AR-15 rifle, .45-caliber pistol, more than 350 rounds of ammunition, and a black tactical vest with ballistic armor from White’s Ford Explorer in the area of Columbia Road and Massachusetts Avenue.

  10. NW Luna says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

  12. Sweet Sue says:

    Yep, Trump is replacing McMaster with Bolton. Now, I’m well and truly scared.
    Duck and cover, bitches!

  13. RonStill4Hills says:

    I went to a poetry reading in the library of the school where my woman friend and life partner works.

    It is a lovely school that means well so I forgive them the glaring omission in their Women’s History Month display. I assume they were afraid of controversy or something.

    At any rate it bugged the crap out of me throughout the reading, so I composed a little verse of my own.
    .
    I call it “Hills”

    There was a girl from Illinois
    Far brighter than any old boy
    She left nothing unspoken
    Nor was she e’er broken
    And I think her bursting with joy

    Three cheers for Madame President!