Thursday Reads

Spring Tree, Georgia O’Keeffe

Good Morning!!

Another old white man joined the race for the Democratic presidential nomination today. Yes, Joe Biden is running, unfortunately. I won’t be turning my TV on today; I don’t want to listen to “savvy” pundits talk about how the Democrats’ savior is another old white man in his dotage. I’m already sick and tired of the 2020 campaign and the primaries are still 8 months away.

Some antidotes to the Biden media frenzy:

Truthdig: Joe Biden Is a Fraud, Plain and Simple.

Harper’s: No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy.

Payday Report: Union-Busting Lawyer to Host Biden’s 1st Fundraiser Thursday.

And this from Twitter is laugh out loud material:

I watched Biden’s announcement video so you don’t have to. He talked about Charlottesville and Trump’s response the white supremacist march and the murder of “a brave young woman” Heather Heyer (he didn’t say her name). You’d think Biden would be worried that this will inspire reporters to bring up his questionable past on race issues. I was surprised that he never mentioned the threat Russia still poses to our elections and our democracy. You’d think that would be stronger issue for him since he was an insider when the Russian attacks took place in 2015-16.

I’m glad to see that even older white man Bernie Sanders is finally getting vetted by the mainstream media. The latest examples:

CNN Politics: Bernie Sanders in 1970s Senate race called millionaire senators ‘immoral.’

Bernie Sanders harshly criticized the wealth of US senators during his first campaign for office in 1971, calling it “immoral” that half the members of the Senate were millionaires.

Sanders’ decades-old comments, which were picked up in December 1971 by the Bennington Banner, a local Vermont newspaper, are resurfacing as the US senator from Vermont has acknowledged that he is now a millionaire in large part due to his 2016 best-selling book, “Our Revolution.” [….]

A Walk in the Meadows at Argenteil, Claude Monet

Sanders made the comments when he was running for US Senate at the time under the banner of the Liberty Union Party, a self-described “radical political party” that advocated nationalization of industries and redistribution of wealth to tackle inequality.
The senators serving at the time, Sanders said, advocated “the interests of corporations and big business —- their fellow millionaires.”

In the same article, Sanders proposed eliminating the annual salary of members of Congress (which was $42,500 in 1971) and instead replacing their pay with whatever the average income was in their home state. At the time, Sanders said it would amount to $7,600 for representatives from Vermont.

CNBC took a look at Sanders’ tax returns: Bernie Sanders draws mayoral pension while running for president — his campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna once blasted such ‘double-dipping.’

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, for years has drawn a pension for his eight-year stint in the 1980s as mayor of Burlington even has he received a salary as a member of Congress.

Sanders, who earns $174,000 as a senator, received $5,241 from Burlington’s pension system in 2018, according to his federal income tax return.

His total income with his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, that year was $561,293, which was down from the more than $1 million they earned in the prior two years, largely as a result of his book about running for president in 2016.

Public financial disclosure records show that Sanders, who began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991 and in the Senate in 2007, has received nearly $62,000 in Burlington pension payouts since 2005.

Olive Trees at Collioure, Henri Matisse

And, in case you missed it, Bernie didn’t do very well at yesterday’s She The People Presidential Forum.

Bloomberg: Bernie Sanders Faces Skeptical Audience at Forum for Minority Women.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders faced a skeptical audience of minority women in Texas Wednesday, a group that will be critical in deciding the Democratic presidential nominee from a racially diverse field of candidates and a record number of women.

Pressed by multiple questioners to address why women of color should support him, Sanders leaned heavily on his economic message, drawing audible expressions of frustration from some of the more than 1,500 people attending the She the People forum in Houston.

“Black women will be an integral part of what our campaign and our administration is about,” he said after being prompted by a moderator of the event, which brought together eight Democratic presidential candidates for separate discussions about issues affecting minority women.

That comment came at the end of his response to a question about how he would appeal to the black women who predominantly backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, to which Sanders offered a long answer about supporting whomever ends up being the party’s nominee.

As usual, Bernie didn’t answer the question.

The Daily Beast: Bernie Sanders Met With Boos After Name-Dropping Martin Luther King at She the People Summit.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was met with audible groans from the audience Wednesday night at the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston for his response to a question on the rise of white nationalism. Sanders, one of eight Democratic contenders for 2020 featured at the summit, which described itself as “the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color,” prompted boos from the crowd after defaulting to his usual talking points about immigration reform and mentioning his attendance at the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King when asked how he’d handle the issue of white-supremacist violence and what specifically he’d do for women of color. The questioner, former NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Sayu Bhojwani, later tweeted that Sanders “had a rough time” with the question but “came around.” Others were less forgiving. “Bernie was asked important questions and he answered none of them,” tweeted disability-rights advocate Stephanie Olarte. “It is so sad that the moderators ask the questions in different forms to get an answer Y NADA.”

Click the link to read more reactions.

Pink Peach Trees, Vincent Van Gogh

You probably read it already but The Washington Post published an op-ed by Hillary Clinton yesterday:

Hillary Clinton: Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.

First, like in any time our nation is threatened, we have to remember that this is bigger than politics. What our country needs now is clear-eyed patriotism, not reflexive partisanship. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress share the constitutional responsibility to protect the country. Mueller’s report leaves many unanswered questions — in part because of Attorney General William P. Barr’s redactions and obfuscations. But it is a road map. It’s up to members of both parties to see where that road map leads — to the eventual filing of articles of impeachment, or not. Either way, the nation’s interests will be best served by putting party and political considerations aside and being deliberate, fair and fearless.

Second, Congress should hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up-or-down vote on impeachment. In 1998, the Republican-led House rushed to judgment. That was a mistake then and would be a mistake now.

Clinton argues that we should follow the example of Watergate, in which public hearings led to “a formal impeachment inquiry.”

Third, Congress can’t forget that the issue today is not just the president’s possible obstruction of justice — it’s also our national security. After 9/11, Congress established an independent, bipartisan commission to recommend steps that would help guard against future attacks. We need a similar commission today to help protect our elections. This is necessary because the president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger….

Fourth, while House Democrats pursue these efforts, they also should stay focused on the sensible agenda that voters demanded in the midterms, from protecting health care to investing in infrastructure. During Watergate, Congress passed major legislation such as the War Powers Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. For today’s Democrats, it’s not only possible to move forward on multiple fronts at the same time, it’s essential.

Now that’s leadership. If only she were president!

Some Mueller/Russia stories:

NBC News: Mueller report shows Trump campaign left itself wide open to Russians, officials say.

Alfred Sisley, The Small Meadows in Spring, 1880-1

The Mueller report’s narrative of secret meetings between members of Donald Trump’s orbit and Russian operatives — contacts that occurred both before and after the 2016 election — portrays a political campaign that left itself open to a covert Russian influence operation, former intelligence officials and other experts say….

“The Russians came up against a group of people who were not intelligence savvy and who were predisposed not to listen to the intelligence and counterintelligence community,” said Luis Rueda, who spent 27 years as a CIA operations officer. “The Russians made a very bold and aggressive attempt to take advantage of that — to try to compromise people, to try to leverage their access.”

The FBI, as part of its counterintelligence mission, is continuing to investigate Russian attempts to influence the Trump administration and assess the national security damage from Russia’s 2016 effort, current and former U.S. officials tell NBC News….

John Sipher, who served in Moscow and once helped run CIA spying operations against Russia, said, “It’s clear that the Russians had a pretty extensive full court press on this administration.” The full extent of how successful it was may never be known, he said.

“Being able to lock it down and prove in court? That only comes when you catch somebody red-handed, or when you have a source on the inside of your adversary who hands you documents.”

Good to know that the counterintelligence investigation is continuing.

The New York Times: Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Fixation on Targeting Hillary Clinton.

Spring, Pablo Picasso, 1956

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had a tenuous hold on his job when President Trump called him at home in the middle of 2017. The president had already blamed him for recusing himself from investigations related to the 2016 election, sought his resignation and belittled him in private and on Twitter.

Now, Mr. Trump had another demand: He wanted Mr. Sessions to reverse his recusal and order the prosecution of Hillary Clinton.

“The ‘gist’ of the conversation,” according to the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, quoting Mr. Sessions, “was that the president wanted Sessions to unrecuse from ‘all of it.’”

Mr. Mueller’s report released last week brimmed with examples of Mr. Trump seeking to protect himself from the investigation. But his request of Mr. Sessions — and two similar ones detailed in the report — stands apart because it shows Mr. Trump trying to wield the power of law enforcement to target a political rival, a step that no president since Richard M. Nixon is known to have taken.

Read the rest at the NYT.

The New York Times: Trump Vows Stonewall of ‘All’ House Subpoenas, Setting Up Fight Over Powers.

The Trump administration escalated its defiance of Congress on Wednesday, as the Justice Department refused to let an official testify on Capitol Hill and President Trump vowed to fight what he called a “ridiculous” subpoena ordering a former top aide to appear before lawmakers.

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House. “These aren’t, like, impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.” [….]

Mr. Trump’s flurry of moves this week to block multiple congressional investigations signaled a new phase of constitutional friction that could redefine long-murky boundaries of Congress’s power to conduct oversight of the executive branch — and the power of presidents to keep government affairs secret from lawmakers.

Are we in a Constitutional crisis yet?

So . . . what else is happening? What stories have you been following?


34 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice day, Sky Dancers!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The FBI busted another crazy Trump supporter.

    The Daily Beast: Rhode Island Man Threatened to ‘Eradicate’ All Democrats, Eat Pro-Choice Professor: Feds.

    A Donald Trump supporter from Rhode Island allegedly threatened to kill and eat a college professor and “eradicate” Democrats, according to federal officials.

    Matthew Haviland, a 30-year-old resident of North Kingstown, threatened to murder and eat the professor in a series of March 10 emails, according to prosecutors. Haviland was arrested on Wednesday after an FBI investigation, and faces federal cyberstalking and threat charges.

    In emails to the professor, who has publicly advocated for abortion rights, Haviland allegedly threatened to “rip every limb from your body and eat it, piece by piece” and “savor” the teacher’s “innards.”

    “You will have your face ripped off and eaten by me, personally,” Haviland wrote in another email to the professor, whose name and affiliation were not revealed by the feds.

    Haviland threatened Democrats in other emails, saying that people wearing “pink fucking hats”—an apparent reference to the “Pussy Hats” worn by Women’s March participants—“should all be slaughtered,” according to his indictment. He also allegedly wrote that all Democrats “must be eradicated.”

  3. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      The authorities admitted that there was no evidence of human trafficking. I also have to wonder why none of the other high-profile men are getting publicity like Kraft. He should go down, but why is he the only focus?

  4. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      The Robert’s court shredded it’s credibility years ago (and I mean no disrespect to the women on that court).

  5. “If only she were President.” Amen to that. It makes me sad again. If only she were President.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Biden putting foot in mouth already.

    • dakinikat says:

      #BindersFullOfMediocreWhiteMen

    • bostonboomer says:

      I just noticed that was from 2017, but it’s still relevant. Biden is taking the same point of view as Bernie Sanders–Trump voters were worried about pocketbook issues and they aren’t racists. Sorry Joe. No.

      • quixote says:

        Gawwwd. Biden. He is so bloody pathetic. He has always been so bloody pathetic. He always will be so bloody pathetic. And so full of Dunning-Kruger Effect, he’ll never ever ever get it.

        Even if that had some grain of truth to it early on (in the sense that what made some people resent blacks was the racism of wanting them to get to the back of the line and “wait their turn,” rather than direct racism of white supremacy) even in that case, it was in August of 2017 that the Twenty Megaton Pig Lagoon said there were fine people on both sides of a Nazi rally that killed Heather Heyer.

        Biden was saying that in November of 2017. Anyone who was supporting the Orange Buckethead at that point was a solid racist. The only ones who didn’t see that were the solid racists. Which, together with sexist, was always Biden’s forever home. We already knew that. It’s so exhausting.

    • NW Luna says:

      Joe is talking bullshit as usual.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    This is scary.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    If you still need proof of Trump’s dementia, watch this video.

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. palhart says:

    I had identical thoughts today about Biden’s bid: Not another old white guy trying to speak ? for progressive, liberal women and for voters of color ?, when he’s already shown his colors (Anita Hill). His reasons for running were unconvincing and tired. I’m still not certain of his judgment. I’d like to sail off into the wide blue yonder for the next 6 years.

    • NW Luna says:

      He can sail off into the wide blue forever. If all these past primary losers can run, why not the candidate who won the primary and who won the popular vote? Oh, riiiiiight, she’s female.

      • NW Luna says:

  11. roofingbird says:

    I have trouble getting excited about Sanders’s million dollar comment. In the 70’s the median income was around $10,000. Sure, that was a disparity, but I think it hides the bigger problem of disparity now. The actual wealth of some is now beyond the capacity to imagine and evaluate. Right now homes in SF cost over a million.

  12. roofingbird says:

    Clinton would know what’s what on impeachment, since she was involved in the groundwork for the Nixon impeachment.

  13. RonStill4Hills says:

    I haven’t even heard mention of Hills WaPo op-Ed.

    I have heard wall-to-wall “Uncle Joe Could Carey Scranton” coverage, but nothing about Hills.

    This continuous focus one mediocre white men, no offense to exceptional white men, they exist I know that, reminds me of what the High Sparrow said to Marjorie Tyrell when she said she has no desire to fuck weak inbred idiot King Tommen,

    “Congress does not require desire on the woman’s part, only patience.”

    Wow a lot of accidental truth there.

    Of what they are telling us is that only a white male candidate can get white working class votes then I say fuck them and let’s build a coalition of people who are smarter than that.

    44 out of 45 presidents have been white males. Everyone else has had to get over it trust that people who aren’t the same as me can still be competent bad trustworthy.

    The “we got white guts too” faction of the Democrats is disappointing ting and also chasing a foolish fantasy. The votes they think Biden will bring are not going to leave Trump.

    Wake up and smell the bigotry.

  14. RonStill4Hills says:

    That fact that we WANT what we want has inherent value all by itself.

    The media needs to quit try to con us into taking what is on offer because the only important thing is beating Trump. The candidates that we actually like are light years better than Trump already so I will stick with my girls, you support Biden.

    The MSM were a little less convinced of defeat Trump at all costs back in 2016 I seem to recall.

    Seems like e-mails and semi g over prepared held a lot of sway back then.

    I refuse to falls for their manipulations.

    They want us to settle, then after we are locked in they will start telling us why a seventy something, old guard, out of touch, blah blah blah, can’t win either.

  15. roofingbird says:

    I’m not happy about Biden either, however, I was thinking that he would be pretty much bound to pick a female VP as a running mate.

  16. I did laugh out loud at that. Biden is insufferable.