Tuesday Reads: Fourth of July Hijacking and Other News

Good Morning!!

Do you suppose Trump knows that the 4th of July was designated as a day to celebrate the Declaration of Independence? Does he know that the founding fathers didn’t think we should have a large standing army? Naaaaah . . . what was I thinking? The 4th of July is just another day to celebrate himself and the massive military machine he controls.

The New York Times: Trump Says Tanks Will Be on Display in Washington for July 4.

President Trump said on Monday that the Pentagon would put military tanks on display on Thursday in Washington as part of his plans to turn the annual Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s capital into a salute to the country’s military prowess.

The tanks will join an airborne display of the nation’s firepower, including a flight of Air Force One over Washington and a performance by the Navy’s Blue Angels jets. Mr. Trump, who is to speak at the celebration, has requested that the chiefs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stand next to him as aircraft from each of their services fly overhead and their respective hymns play on loudspeakers.

“It’ll be like no other — it’ll be special, and I hope a lot of people come,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We have some incredible equipment, military equipment, on display — brand-new. And we’re very proud of it.”

Does Trump care that many Americans, including those in the military, aren’t thrilled with his hijacking of the holiday? No, of course not.

Mr. Trump’s Fourth of July homage to the military sets up a cultural clash between the Republican president and a mostly Democratic city that has for decades celebrated America’s independence with almost no public participation by presidents of either party. The City Council for the District of Columbia, which was not happy with Mr. Trump’s decision, posted on Twitter that “we have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks.”

The president’s decision also reflects the divide between Mr. Trump and the forces at his command. Top military officials have expressed deep concern about letting the armed forces be used by the president to advance a political agenda, and earlier resisted his efforts for a military parade on Veterans Day.

Pentagon officials have long been reluctant to parade tanks, missiles and other weapons through the nation’s capital like the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and China. They say the United States, which has the world’s most powerful military and spends more on defense than the seven next largest military spenders combined — China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Britain and Germany — does not need to broadcast its strength.

And if this is supposedly a “bipartisan” celebration, why are Trump’s buddies getting special seating and why are the tickets being handled by the RNC?

HuffPost: RNC Giving Out Tickets To Trump’s Hijacked Fourth Of July Celebration.

President Donald Trump has hijacked what for decades had been a nonpolitical Independence Day celebration on the National Mall, packing his ticketed-event speech with political appointees and Republican donors.

The Republican National Committee has been offering major donors tickets to Trump’s speech, as have political appointees at the White House and executive branch agencies….

Trump has been enamored of public displays of military might since he attended the Bastille Day festivities in Paris in 2017. His plan for a massive military parade last year was canceled after a Defense Department estimate became public showing that it would cost $92 million and damage the city’s roads because of the weight of tanks and other equipment.

The current plans for Thursday do not include a parade, but Trump is still pushing for tanks or other military vehicles to be displayed on the National Mall, The Washington Post reported, even though their weight is liable to damage the grass and roads. Flyovers by military planes ― including Air Force One and the Navy’s Blue Angels squadron ― are also planned.

It’s going to be a giant Hatch Act violation and it reflects Trump’s attraction to authoritarian leaders.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University history professor and expert on fascism, said Trump’s need to display military hardware is a feature of authoritarians throughout history. “He needs to colonize our lives. He needs to colonize our public spaces,” she said, adding that it was “dismaying” that the Pentagon this year failed to thwart Trump’s impulses. “The military has been domesticated. I think the will to resist him has evaporated.”

Groups that advocate for government transparency and ethics, meanwhile, railed against the RNC’s involvement.

“This partisan appropriation of a public event is consistent with the record of an administration that has no regard for lines between personal or partisan interests and its public obligations,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

There’s more about the problems with Trump’s plans at the link.

And of course Trump’s Nazi fans will show up for the long nighmarish weekend. The Daily Beast: Proud Boys and Allies to Rally in D.C. to Capitalize on ‘Trumpstravaganza.’

Members of the far-right Proud Boys men’s group and their allies will rally in D.C. on July 6, just a week after violence at rival Portland rallies ratcheted up tensions between groups on both the right and left. The Proud Boys event and a rival counterprotest threaten to add even more tension for what’s already shaping up to be a hot, strange week in Washington.

The Proud Boys—self-described “Western chauvinists” who adhere to a dizzying array of rules, including restrictions on how much they can masturbate —will be joined by a number of right-wing internet personalities at the “Rally for Free Speech” at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza.

The event’s website lists a number of right-wing internet provocateurs, including conservative smear-pusher Jacob Wohl, anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, British far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos, and former Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec. The bill also names a host of lesser-known social media figures, including YouTube prankster-turned-congressional candidate Joey Salads and “Copper Cab,” the YouTuber who became famous in 2010 for the viral “gingers have souls” video.

Meanwhile some veterans plan a sort of counter-protest. HuffPost: Vets To Give Out Thousands Of USS John McCain Shirts At Trump’s July 4 Event.

Irked by President Donald Trump’s plan to hold his own July Fourth event on the National Mall, veterans plan to give out thousands of USS John S. McCain T-shirts to make the president face a crowd of people honoring the McCain family’s legacy and the idea of putting one’s country before oneself.

VoteVets, a left-leaning nonprofit group founded in 2006 by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, is organizing the effort in response to Trump’s unprecedented “Salute to America” celebration. While Americans will still be able to catch the annual fireworks display on the National Mall, Trump is hosting his own event at the Lincoln Memorial, where he will give remarks and has set up a ticketed area for VIPs, friends, family and members of the military. Trump’s event will include military flyovers and possibly tanks.

“Today, we learned the news that Donald Trump is turning the national 4th of July celebration into a 2020 campaign event, complete with a ticketed VIP section for friends and supporters,” reads a Sunday email from VoteVets. “That’s not what America is about.”

VoteVets has already raised enough money to make more than 5,000 T-shirts, which veterans will hand out to people on the National Mall and, before that, deliver to members of Congress. All of the shirts, which feature an image of the Navy destroyer named after three generations of John S. McCains — including the late Arizona senator and Trump critic — are being made by Rags of Honor, a company that employs homeless veterans.

It’s all so depressing.

In other news, Trump is upset about the way people mocked his daughter Barbie Ivanka’s behavior at the G20, so he sent Sarah Huckabee Sanders (didn’t she already leave?) to tamp down the Twitter brigade.

But some unnamed White House officials were confused by Ivanka’s behavior overseas. The Daily Beast: Ivanka’s North Korea Photobombs Perplex White House Officials.

When Donald Trump and his advisers crossed over from South Korea into the heavily fortified demilitarized zone between North and South Korea over the weekend, the cameras were ready. Images of the president greeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “my friend” in a last-minute meetup streamed across televisions worldwide.

Trump wasn’t alone. After a few snapshots, Ivanka Trump, along with her husband, Jared Kushner, followed the president into what’s known as the Freedom House—a building on the South Korean side of the zone. That’s when the cameras stopped. The media was reportedly blocked from entering and covering the historic event.

It wasn’t until later that reporters learned Ivanka and Kushner did more than accompany the president into the Freedom House. They were reportedly present at a closed-door meeting between the two leaders, who ended up speaking about one of the most sensitive topics on the planet—North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program.

WTF?!

Here’s a story you won’t find surprising, even if the mainstream media does.

NBC News: New study shows Russian propaganda may really have helped Trump.

The study, by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does not prove that Russian interference swung the election to Trump. But it demonstrates that Trump’s gains in popularity during the 2016 campaign correlated closely with high levels of social media activity by the Russian trolls and bots of the Internet Research Agency, a key weapon in the Russian attack.

“Our results show that the weeks when Russian trolls were accumulating likes and retweets on Twitter, that activity reliably foreshadowed gains for Trump in the opinion polls,” wrote Damian Ruck, the study’s lead researcher, in an article explaining his findings.

The study found that every 25,000 re-tweets by accounts connected to the IRA predicted a 1 percent increase in opinion polls for Trump.

In an interview with NBC News, Ruck said the research suggests that Russian trolls helped shift U.S public opinion in Trump’s favor. As to whether it affected the outcome of the election: “The answer is that we still don’t know, but we can’t rule it out.”

Given that the election turned on 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, “it is a prospect that should be taken seriously,” Ruck wrote, adding that more study was needed in those swing states.

Just as we knew all along, the election was stolen from Hillary and from us.

That’s it for me today. What stories have you been following?


47 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Fourth of July Hijacking and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      former “fashion designer” that designs some of the worst looking shit I’ve ever seen! WTF is this child good at?

      • quixote says:

        Whether a student gets 2/100 on a test or 8/100 doesn’t matter. Both are major fails. In that spirit, I have to say that a fashion designer (generic, not Barbie Dump) seems a better candidate for some intelligence than a reality show host whose only shtick was looking ugly while yelling, “You’re fi-yahed!”

  2. dakinikat says:

    Moving this up here for you BB!!

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    OMG!! It’s happening!

    The Washington Post: House Democrats sue Trump administration over president’s tax returns

    House Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court seeking access to President Trump’s tax returns, accusing the Trump administration of an “extraordinary attack” on Congress in preventing the disclosure of the president’s personal financial records.

    Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, filed the lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department after months of feuding with the administration over the returns.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who have denied Democrats’ demands for the returns, are named as defendants.

    “Defendants have mounted an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the IRS, and the tax laws on behalf of the American people who participate in the Nation’s voluntary tax system,” the 49-page lawsuit states.

  5. NW Luna says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      Maybe Trump had a heart attack?

      • dakinikat says:

        His dementia has been awful. Yesterday some of the things he said were over the top. It’s like he thought he was back in the 1960s or something. That’s what my mother used to do when she was like within a year of dying but she kept telling me it she’d gone out on a double date with her Cousin and it was hard to find boys with the war going on.

      • dakinikat says:

      • dakinikat says:

  6. NW Luna says:

    Sue Bird on Megan Rapinoe. Hilarious!

    So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend

    • dakinikat says:

      lol

      O.K. so now that that’s out of the way, I’ll answer The Question. The one that’s probably most on your mind. And by that I mean: What’s it like to have the literal President of the literal United States (of literal America) go Full Adolescent Boy on your girlfriend? Hmm. Well… it’s WEIRD. And I’d say I actually had a pretty standard reaction to it: which was to freak out a little.

      That’s one thing that you kind of have to know about me and Megan: our politics are similar — after we won the WNBA title in Seattle last season, no way were we going to the (f*cking) White House! — but our dispositions are not. And as we’ve been talking through a lot of this “stuff,” as it’s been happening to her, you know, I’ll be honest here….. some of it scares the sh*t out of me!!

      I mean, some of it is kind of funny….. but like in a REALLY? REALLY? THIS GUY??? kind of way. Like, dude — there’s nothing better demanding your attention?? It would be ridiculous to the point of laughter, if it wasn’t so gross. (And if his legislations and policies weren’t ruining the lives of so many innocent people.) And then what’s legitimately scary, I guess, is like….. how it’s not just his tweets. Because now suddenly you’ve got all these MAGA peeps getting hostile in your mentions. And you’ve got all these crazy blogs writing terrible things about this person you care so much about. And now they’re doing takedowns of Megan on Fox News, and who knows whatever else. It’s like an out-of-body experience, really — that’s how I’d describe it. That’s how it was for me.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Tanks, Flyovers And Heightened Security: Trump’s Fourth Of July Ups Taxpayer Cost

    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/02/737144875/tanks-flyovers-and-heightened-security-trumps-fourth-of-july-ups-taxpayer-cost

    University of Denver Professor Andrew Sherbo, who tracks such figures, said the Boeing 747 used for Air Force One could come at a cost of $205,000 an hour (the jetliner is only considered Air Force One when the president is aboard).

    The cost per flying hour for the F-35 can be $20,000 or more, according to Department of Defense comptroller figures.

    The Blue Angels could cost a more reasonable $6,000 per day, since air shows are tied to their training, said Sherbo, a former Pentagon official who now teaches finance.

    That evening, the Capitol Concerts portion of the program is budgeted at $6.4 million from the National Park Service budget, which is under the Interior Department, said Annie Orloff, Udall’s press secretary.

    It will be followed by a joint show put on by two firework companies, Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci, who will launch from behind the Lincoln Memorial for a display lasting 15 to 20 minutes. As a result, they are donating an estimated $750,000 or more as part of the plans, said William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks.

    “It will be a pretty overwhelming display,” said Weimer. “We saw an opportunity and approached the government in March to make the donation and try to give back to the country that has been so good to us. … It’s a privilege and an honor for us to do this.”

    They will be followed by Garden State Fireworks, a mainstay of the annual D.C. program since 2013, which will put on a 20-minute show from a new location at West Potomac Park. It will come at a cost of more than $250,000, said Christopher Santore, a choreographer whose family founded the company in 1890.

    plus this:

    They say there’s precedent to worry.

    The Trump administration still owes the D.C. administration $7.3 million from the Jan. 2017 inauguration. As a result, members such as D.C.’s representative in Congress, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, are sounding the alarm that appropriators must replenish the account, known as the Emergency Planning and Security Fund, before it goes dry.

    “We are very concerned with an event we can’t even price at a time when we are owed money,” Norton said. “And I don’t think the city can refuse to provide the necessary security. So it is extremely unfair to the city to hold an unprecedented event and not at least choke up money to make it happen.”

    No word on the tanks yet … how much the fuck they cost and you know the Lincoln Memorial s for VIP guests now of the RNC …

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-fourth-hijacking-rnc-tickets_n_5d1a6e06e4b07f6ca5821251

    oh, here’s the tank cost from your link .. BB

    “He’s going to have tanks out there. It’s going to be cool,” joked one RNC fundraiser on condition of anonymity. He said he received an offer for the free tickets on Friday but did not request any. “He wants to have a parade like they have in Moscow or China or North Korea.”

    Trump has been enamored of public displays of military might since he attended the Bastille Day festivities in Paris in 2017. His plan for a massive military parade last year was canceled after a Defense Department estimate became public showing that it would cost $92 million and damage the city’s roads because of the weight of tanks and other equipment.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Dump should really really really rethink his penchant for not paying his bills – especially his security detail bills. Even his goons are most likely chicken-hawks when it comes to real danger. Who in their right mind would take a bullet for this guy?

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    I find it amazing that I can still dredge up new feelings of outrage with this horrible man.

    There is no depth to his loathsomeness.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You and me both. Just when I think I can’t get any more disgusted, he does something more disgusting than ever.

    • dakinikat says:

      Every day I wake up and look at what’s going on and say “What fresh hell is this?’ and every day it goes down lower and lower into the depths of hell. WTF is it christians that they see this guy as anything other the their devil incarnate?

      • quixote says:

        The usual, dakinikat. Their religion was ginned up to keep poor whites happy by giving them blacks to look down on. (Which surprised me when I read the history of white evangelicism in the US, but made perfect sense once I read up on it.) And the Thing in the White House promises to keep the patriarchy and the racism and the Good Old Order going and damn the torpedoes.

        It makes sense to me that they love both their club and him. They’re the same thing.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Here BB! Weirdos gotta be Weird!

  10. dakinikat says:

    • RonStill4Hills says:

      I am starting to get a little pissed at all the carping and sniping about how the USWNT celebrates goals.

      I don’t remember ever hearing Messi and Ronaldo getting nitpicked in this way.

      Our ladies have been great sports and great competitors and they haven’t disrespected anyone.

      International Footballers are suppose to have a little bit of swagger.

      I hope we win the final in authoritative fashion!

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. dakinikat says:

    Good news!!!

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. dakinikat says:

    I was looking at how the Trump co-opted the Dept of Interior site and the National Park site sticking his political event and military dictator political event in and around the things.

    The traditional “A Capitol Fourth” which is the concert, etc. is being held on the West Lawn of the US Capitol.

    http://www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/home/?utm_source=promourl&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=capitolfourth_2018

    That’s where the firework display happens.and the PBS broad cast will be

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s late at night too. “This July 4th, A Capitol Fourth continues its 39-year tradition of celebrating our nation’s independence on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol building. Two-time Emmy Award-nominated actor and producer John Stamos returns to host the country’s longest-running live national July 4th TV tradition.”

  16. dakinikat says:

  17. K McVere LLC says:

    Will this nightmare circus never end? I’m so sick of hearing his name.

  18. NW Luna says:

  19. bostonboomer says:

  20. NW Luna says: