Thursday Reads: Stupidity, Insane Conspiracy Theories . . . And Baby Animals

Baby penguins

Good Afternoon!!

It’s hard to believe things could get any crazier, but I think maybe Trump is going to find ways to make it happen. It’s so exhausting, that I spent some time this morning looking at photos of baby animals. As always, it calmed me down somewhat. I hope these pictures will do the same for you.

The big news last night was the latest Devin Nunes insanity, but this morning that has been eclipsed by threats exchanged between Pence and North Korea. So for now, the planned summit between Trump and Kim John Un is cancelled. Politico reports:

President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that was scheduled for next month, saying Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” made the historic meeting untenable.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote to Kim in a letter released by the White House.

Baby Camel

In the letter, the U.S. leader thanked Kim for the “wonderful dialogue” that had developed in recent weeks between the two nations while leaving the door open to a rescheduled summit in the future.

“If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” the president said. “The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth.”

I still do a double take every time I see the words “President Donald Trump.” This can’t be happening, but it is. You can read the letter at the Politico link.

North Korea had threatened to cancel the meeting because of remarks made by Mike Pence on Fox News. CNN:

US Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea that it could end up like Libya if it fails to make a nuclear deal with Washington.

“There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal,” Pence said Monday.

Baby DonkeyWhen it was noted that the comparison could be interpreted as a threat, Pence told Fox News: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”

Previous comments, by President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, that the administration was looking at Libya as a potential example for North Korea to follow, provoked alarm in Pyongyang.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to abandon his nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief in the early 2000s. Within years, Gadhafi was overthrown and killed by rebels backed by Washington.

A North Korean official responded by calling Pence “stupid” and a “political dummy.”

A North Korean official has lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence and said Pyongyang is ready for a nuclear showdown if dialogue with the United States fails.

Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said if the US continued on its current path, she would suggest to North Korea‘s leadership that they reconsider the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Baby Skunk

“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States,” Choe said in comments carried by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency Thursday.Choe was responding to comments by Pence made Monday during a Fox News interview that she deemed “unbridled and impudent.

So, as Trump says repeatedly, “we’ll see what happens.”

Some Twitter reactions:

The art of deal folks! Trump just gave a little speech about the cancellation with Pence looking on adoringly.

So we’re still not sure what’s going on with Devin Nunes’ phony meeting to supposedly get classified information about an FBI informant who was asked to look into concerning contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign. First it was going to be a meeting with just Intel officials, Nunes, and Trey Gowdy, no Democrats allowed. Then after Democrats and some Republicans objected, the White House agreed to have two meetings–the Nunes/Gowdy meeting followed by a briefing the Gang of Eight. Now apparently Adam Schiff will be included in the first meeting.

MSNBC is reporting that Schiff was seen going into the DOJ for the 12PM meeting. Vox is reporting that Paul Ryan will also be in the noon meeting, but I haven’t seen reports of him entering the DOJ.

We don’t yet know if John Kelly was included in the meeting, which would be completely inappropriate. Still Kelly doesn’t need to be there, because Nunes will report everything to Trump anyway. I haven’t heard anything about who will be in 2PM meeting yet. Paul Ryan has said he won’t be there.

Baby Flamingo

If you didn’t see Rachel Maddow’s show on Tuesday, I’m sure you’ve heard about her interview with James Clapper, in which the former Intel chief said that Russian interference in the 2016 election clearly swung the result to Trump. PBS News Hour also interview Clapper: Here’s their report: Russia ‘turned’ election for Trump, Clapper believes.

Russians not only affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election — they decided it, says James Clapper, who served as the director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, and during the 2016 vote.

“To me, it just exceeds logic and credulity that they didn’t affect the election, and it’s my belief they actually turned it,” he told the PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff on Wednesday.

Clapper, who chronicles his life and career in his new book, “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence,” said Russians are “are bent on undermining our fundamental system here. And when a foreign nation, particularly an adversary nation, gets involved as much as they did in our political process, that’s a real danger to this country.”

Clapper also responded to Trump’s idiotic conspiracy theory about “spies” in his campaign.

Clapper called those accusations “distorted.” He said there is a “a big gulf between a spy in the traditional sense — employing spycraft or tradecraft — and an informant who is open about … who he was and what the questions he was asking.”

Baby Porcupine

“The important thing was not to spy on the campaign but rather to determine what the Russians were up to. Were they trying to penetrate to campaign, gain access, gain leverage, gain influence, and that was the concern that the FBI had? … I think they were just doing their job and trying to protect our political system.”

Even Carter Page says he didn’t have any problems with the FBI source who spoke with him. CNN: Carter Page: I ‘never found anything unusual’ in conversations with FBI source.

Former Trump campaign aide Carter Page on Tuesday discussed his encounters with an FBI confidential source during the 2016 campaign, saying he “never found anything unusual.”

Page said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” that he first met the individual while attending an academic conference at Cambridge University in July 2016, a week after his visit to Russia.

“I never found anything unusual, whatsoever,” Page told Cooper about their conversations. Page said he and the source stayed in contact for more than a year, including meeting up back in the United States.

Baby Llama

“We would talk about various things that are happening. And, you know, he’s someone who is, you know, long term, someone who had been in, part of the establishment in Republican politics. So typically around the convention time and halfway through a presidential year you keep bringing on more people in terms of potential supporters from the party, etc., and it just seemed like something like that,” he said.

In other news, the NFL released a new rule to prevent players from exercising their their free speech rights. The Daily Beast: The NFL’s New Anthem Policy Is Madness—But the Players Can Stop It.

In its own, typically blinkered and inimitable fashion, the NFL decided to dig in its heels on Wednesday, wrapping itself in the flag, and requiring players who are on the field to stand during the national anthem or face a series of penalties.

It’s a course of action that will fail, and spectacularly so. Ever since Colin Kaepernick—who has since been banished and is currently suing the NFL for collusion—began taking a knee, the league has wrung its hands, hemming and hawing as they tried to devise a means to stanch the tide of largely bad-faith criticism. In the end, they chose to silence its labor force….

Here’s the NFL’s newest solution to the grave and pressing matter of NFL players speaking out against systemic racism and the state-sanctioned violence perpetrated by law enforcement: Previously, all personnel were required to be on the field while someone belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with no further specifications regarding their behavior. That is, if someone wanted to take a knee, the NFL couldn’t do squat.

Baby Gray Parrots

Now the game operations manual has been adjusted, after two days of meetings between NFL owners and the league in Atlanta. Anyone who prefers not to place a hand on his heart during the anthem can remain in the locker room, but if they step on the field, they are required to “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

Read the rest at the link.

Trump was thrilled with the NFL’s stupid decision, and yesterday he suggested that any players who didn’t want to stand and salute the flag should be kicked out of the country. The Washington Post: Trump: NFL players unwilling to stand for anthem maybe ‘shouldn’t be in the country’

NFL players unwilling to stand for the national anthem should be barred from playing and maybe “shouldn’t be in the country,” President Trump said in a television interview that aired Thursday.

The president was reacting to the adoption Wednesday of a new NFL policy that could bring disciplinary action for players who kneel or make other protests during the national anthem.

Trump said he objected to a provision in the new policy that will allow players to stay in the locker room while the song is played, but added: “Still, I think it’s good.”

“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe they shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said in an interview that aired Thursday morning on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News.

I can’t wait until this fascist numbskull is impeached, forced to resign, or preferably sent to prison.

What stories are you following today?

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51 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Stupidity, Insane Conspiracy Theories . . . And Baby Animals”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Wow, Sarah K really nailed it!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Sacramento Bee: A yacht, cocaine, prostitutes: Winery partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraiser event.

    The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in…2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire, according to the lawsuit.

    Alpha Omega, which boasts “world-class wines in a convivial setting,” settled with Anase for an undisclosed amount in Napa County Superior Court the same year. The winery is owned by Robin Baggett, a major benefactor of Cal Poly, and its investors include his friend Rep. Devin Nunes.

    Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some who appeared to be “too young to consent.” At least one of the several John Does listed as defendants allegedly suggested that Anase should also “provide services of a sexual nature.”

    But she couldn’t just leave — she was on the water….

    When the cruise ended, the men “lined the prostitutes up on the deck of the yacht, reviewed out loud and in detail the sexual services performed and paid them in front of Plaintiff,” according to the lawsuit.

    Nunes wasn’t there, but it’s still embarrassing. I hope reporters ask him about it.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    NYT Editorial Board has suggestions for NFL players:

    Let us hope that in keeping with the league’s pinched view of patriotism, the players choose to honor the letter but not the spirit of this insulting ban. It might be amusing, for example, to see the owners tied in knots by players who choose to abide by the injunction to “stand and show respect” — while holding black-gloved fists in the air. Or who choose to stand — while holding signs protesting police brutality. We look forward to many more meetings of fatootsed gazillionaires conducting many more votes on petty rules to ban creative new forms of player protest.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    CNN reports that Trump lawyer Emmett Flood was in the Nunes meeting.

    • dakinikat says:

      How can that possibly be legal? He obviously cancelled the NK deal to pull the media away from the constitutional crisis he’s created. I can’t figure out how Gowdy got in? Doesn’t highly classified information mean anything?

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The WH marked the summit coin down to $19.95 and then deleted the web page.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/satellite-data-backs-theory-north-korean-nuclear-site-collapse

    Satellite data backs theory of North Korean nuclear site collapse
    Whether underground cave-ins have made the facility unusable is unknown

    A new analysis of satellite images and seismic waves from North Korea’s nuclear test site support theories that the underground facility has at least partially collapsed.

    Seismologists across the world have been tracking the clandestine nuclear weapons program for years by analyzing vibrations that emanate from explosions at the test site under Mount Mantap (SN: 8/5/17, p. 18). Now, researchers have paired 3-D satellite images of Mount Mantap with seismic tremor data to simulate how the mountain’s interior might have changed after a hydrogen bomb test on September 3, 2017.

    The simulations indicate that the blast — which triggered an earthquake of estimated magnitude 6.3 — caused a cave-in directly above the detonation site, researchers report online May 10 in Science. The simulations also suggest that a second rock collapse, about 700 meters south of the detonation site, caused a smaller quake about eight minutes after the initial explosion.

    These rock falls, which caused the face of Mount Mantap to sink about 0.5 meters, could have buried part or all of the underground test facility, rendering it unusable, says study coauthor Teng Wang, a remote sensing and geodesy researcher at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

    The results support another seismic analysis published online April 27 in Geophysical Research Letters suggesting an underground collapse at Mantap. That study led some media to speculate that North Korea didn’t pledge in April to halt nuclear testing because of international pressure, but because the test site could no longer be used.

  9. Enheduanna says:

    Thanks for the baby animals BB. I really needed them. Is that a baby donkey?? Squeeee

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

  12. bostonboomer says:

    It’s not behind the paywall!

  13. bostonboomer says:

  14. bostonboomer says:

  15. dakinikat says:

    New Orleans City Council votes to prohibit new short-term rental licenses for nine months

    https://wgno.com/2018/05/24/new-orleans-city-council-votes-to-prohibit-new-short-term-rental-licenses-for-nine-months/

    “Council President Jason Williams said what began as a way for locals to share their properties has evolved into “corporations buying up houses and apartment units and turning them into hotels.”

    “These national and sometimes international corporations are artificially driving up the cost to buy a home or rent a home in our city,” he continued. “That is patently unfair to people of New Orleans. I have a serious problem with that. There was not effective enforcement from the previous administration or voluntary compliance on the part of these companies and platforms. This study will look at all of this and more so that we can take next steps to protect our city.”

  16. bostonboomer says:

  17. Minkoff Minx says:

    That baby porcupine looks like a baby wild hog.

  18. Sweet Sue says:

    Wait, what? Excuse me, BB, is that a baby donkey? May I have it?