This is just another day, I look forward to forgetting.
Take a look at this full thread:
Sure…listen and believe to this dude over your own intel sources.
Fuck Bernie Sanders.
This is an open thread…
I preordered the Andrew McCabe book, and I plan to read it today; but it appears that what he talks about in his interviews may turn out to be more revealing than anything in the book. I wonder if that’s because the FBI wouldn’t let him include some things (any book by an FBI agent has to be approved by the agency before publication) and, as Marcy Wheeler tweeted this morning, he just doesn’t give a fuck anymore? He didn’t include the fact that Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire in the White House or discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office even though we learned about it awhile ago.
Knox was referring to McCabe’s revelation that he briefed Congress’s gang of eight on why he opened a counterintelligence investigation of Trump. Natasha Bertrand says he did put that in the book though, so the FBI was apparently OK with it.
Wow! And not one of those eight people had the guts to speak out. And what about Mitch McConnell’s refusal in 2016 to allow a bipartisan announcement about the Russian interference in the election.Why didn’t Obama make the announcement anyway? Why didn’t the Democratic leadership speak out either before the election or afterwards when they were briefed about the FBI investigations in 2917? We deserve answers.
Trump has been following Putin’s orders and tearing down our country from within and destroying the Western alliance for two years and not one of these “leaders” has been willing to risk his or her career to let us know.
Here’s McCabe on the Today Show this morning:
Click this link to watch more of the Today interview.
Natasha Bertrand writes at The Atlantic: Andrew McCabe Couldn’t Believe the Things Trump Said About Putin.
In the months before President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, FBI counterintelligence agents investigating Russian election interference were also collecting evidence suggesting that Trump could be compromised by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who oversaw the bureau’s Russia investigation, told me in an interview conducted late last week that concerns about Trump had been building “for some time”—and that he was convinced the FBI would have been justified in opening a case against the president.
“We felt like we had credible, articulable facts to indicate that a threat to national security may exist,” McCabe told me. And FBI officials felt this way, he said, even before Trump fired Comey. That firing set off a chain of events that, as McCabe put it, turned the world “upside down.” McCabe wrote contemporaneous memos describing “key” conversations he had during that chaotic period—with the president, with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and others—that are now in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
McCabe’s new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, is not generally overstated in its approach to Trump. This reflects either an aversion to exaggeration on McCabe’s part—his self-image, it seems, is that of a just-the-facts-ma’am G-man—or an awareness that the Justice Department’s inspector general has, for all intents and purposes, branded him a fabulist, a charge he finds particularly wounding. McCabe, who was fired in March 2018, told me he’ll be filing a lawsuit against the Justice Department that will challenge the circumstances of his termination, which was ostensibly based on the inspector general’s findings that he had leaked information to the media without permission. In person, McCabe still seems awed by the “series of head-scratching, completely shocking events” that he witnessed two years ago.
You can read the interview at The Atlantic; here’s a brief excerpt:
Bertrand: Before Robert Mueller was appointed, Trump met with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval Office, where he disclosed classified information. How did you react when you found out about that conversation?
McCabe: It was the latest in a string of head-scratching, completely shocking events. For counterintelligence investigators, the idea that the American president would have a Russian foreign minister and his media into the Oval Office and that he would make a comment like that—a comment that so clearly undermined the effectiveness of his chief law-enforcement and intelligence agency—was just confounding.
Bertrand: That reminds me of a passage that jumped out at me in your book: “He thought North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles. He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so … the president said he believed Putin despite the PDB [Presidential Daily Briefing] briefer telling him that this was not consistent with any of the intelligence that the US possessed.” How do you explain that?
McCabe: It’s inexplicable. You have to put yourself in context. So I am in the director’s chair as acting director. My senior executive who had accompanied the briefer to that briefing, who sat in the room with the president and others, and heard the comments, comes back to the Hoover Building to tell me how the briefing went. And he sat at the conference table, and he just looked down at the table with his hands out in front of him. I was like, “How did it go?” And he just—he couldn’t find words to characterize it. We just sat back and said, “What do we do with this now?” How do you effectively convey intelligence to the American president who chooses to believe the Russians over his own intelligence services? And then tells them that to their faces?
McCabe will be in studio with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tonight.
In other news, Trump’s fake “national emergency” is accumulating lawsuits. The latest, from The New York Times: 16 States Sue to Stop Trump’s Use of Emergency Powers to Build Border Wall.
WASHINGTON — A coalition of 16 states, including California and New York, on Monday challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.
The lawsuit is part of a constitutional confrontation that Mr. Trump set off on Friday when he declared that he would spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than Congress had granted him. The clash raises questions over congressional control of spending, the scope of emergency powers granted to the president, and how far the courts are willing to go to settle such a dispute.
The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argues that the president does not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it is Congress that controls spending….
The lawsuit, California et al. v. Trump et al., says that the plaintiff states are going to court to protect their residents, natural resources and economic interests. “Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border,” the lawsuit says.
Today is day four of the “emergency,” and Trump has spent those four days golfing in Florida and sending out angry tweets about Andrew McCabe and the Russia investigation.
This is also happening.
It will be interesting to see what happens to Roger Stone after he posted a threatening message about the judge in his case yesterday. Buzzfeed News: Roger Stone Posted A Photo Of The Judge Presiding Over His Case Next To Crosshairs.
The post comes days after the judge, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, rejected Stone’s effort to get his case reassigned to a new judge.T
Jackson also previously ruled that Stone couldn’t talk to news outlets in front of her courthouse.
Stone, 66, took to Instagram to bring attention to special counsel Robert Mueller, saying he used “legal trickery” to place his case in front of Jackson, a US district judge in the District of Columbia. Stone’s case is being prosecuted jointly by Mueller’s office and the US attorney’s office in Washington.
“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson , an Obama appointed Judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges again [sic] Hillary Clinton and incarcerated Paul Manafort prior to his conviction for any crime,” Stone wrote in the caption to the photo, including the hashtag #fixisin….
The photograph — a version of which appeared earlier on a site pushing false conspiracy theories — featured a target symbol near the judge’s head. The symbol is also associated with the Zodiac killer.
That was completely irresponsible and could easily lead one of the Trump crazies to attack Judge Jackson. She will likely need protection from Federal marshals now. I hope she throws Stone in jail.
No word from the “president” on this as yet.
I’m sure you seen the embarrassing videos of Mike Pence’s appearance in Munich last week in which he was greeted with stony silence when he mentioned Trump and called for European countries to withdraw from the Iran deal. Well, the White House is claiming he did too get applause.
Maybe they meant to type “(Crickets)”?
The White House has posted online the remarks made by Vice President Mike Pence last Friday at the Munich Security Conference, but there’s a glaring error. In the beginning of his address, Pence said it was his “great honor” to speak “on behalf of a champion of freedom and a champion of a strong national defense, the 45th president of the United States, President Donald Trump.” In the transcript, it says this was followed by “(Applause).” In reality, it was followed by (Silence).
As video from the event shows, Pence expected to be met with some sort of a reaction, as he paused, awkwardly, before moving on. The White House hasn’t said why it inserted this fabrication, or why they didn’t go with something more exciting, like (Audience starts chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” while twirling star-spangled rally towels) or (German Chancellor Angela Merkel dons a MAGA cap, initiates The Wave)
Nancy Pelosi had a different message for our allies. Politico:Nancy Pelosi to Europe: Trump is not the boss.
Pelosi and a delegation of U.S. lawmakers were in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday to reassure European partners at a time when transatlantic relations have been deeply fractured by Trump’s criticism of allies and his unpredictability in policymaking.
Among the messages that Pelosi said she brought to the EU capital was that the U.S. president is not all-powerful. Of course, it was a lesson Europeans watched her teach Trump in the standoff over a recent government shutdown — where she forced the president to back down.
“We’re not a parliamentary government even though we’re parliamentarians,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “We have Article 1, the legislative branch, the first branch of government, coequal to the other branches and we have asserted ourselves in that way.”
Pelosi said that one European colleague had asked why the House of Representatives had only recently adopted a resolution in support of NATO. She said that she explained it was because she and the Democrats had only retaken control of the majority at the start of the year.
“I said because we just got the majority and then we can control, we can manage what goes on to the floor,” Pelosi said. “But once the Republican colleagues had the opportunity to vote on this, H.R. 676 NATO Support Act — what was it? 357 to 22 no’s. I think that that sends a very clear message.”
One more bit of news: Unfortunately Bernie Sanders has decided to run for president, and he’s already attacking “identity politics.”
Good luck with that, Bernie. Goddess I hate that man.
So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Every day releases a new barrage of evidence and reasons to throw every thing we’ve got into the arsenal of removing this unfit and clearly illegitimate president. The latest Dumped Trump appointment went on Sixty Minutes to discuss the many ways he experienced an unsuitable personality for any serious job actively chip away at American law, constitutional values, and norms. I’m not sure if I’ll actually read former FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s book since it just verifies what we know. However, it is certainly yet another Tell-All that shows us how deeply in trouble the we are because the Republican Party refuses to act on its sins. We clearly are reaching the point where ridding the country of this parasite is our only way to a decent future.
I spent Saturday night at the Krewe de Vieux parade in my first chance to do Carnival Season where I could avoid the news but not politics. I’m going to share some photos of the floats and krewes which are clearly political. This is not exactly a G rated krewe so be care viewing some of the videos if you’re sensitive to crass stuff.
And this was clearly my favorite. My friend Grace snapped a pic of her in the den.
Back to the Paley interview and this link that will let you watch it if you missed it.
McCabe is a lifelong Republican who had a sterling 21-year career at the FBI; serving as head of counter-terrorism and number two under Comey. But he was fired last year for allegedly lying to his own agents about a story he leaked to a newspaper. Not since Watergate has the FBI been drawn so deeply into presidential politics. Andrew McCabe was pulled into the center of the tempest on May 9, 2017 when he was summoned by the president hours after Comey was fired.
This is probably the best look we’ve had to date of what started the Mueller probe. It seems to have come directly from the number of Trump Campaign-Russian interactions that we’ve heard about for the past 3 years. This is from Carrie Johnson at NPR.
“I don’t know that we have ever seen in all of history an example of the number, the volume and the significance of the contacts between people in and around the president, his campaign, with our most serious, our existential international enemy: the government of Russia,” McCabe told NPR’s Morning Edition. “That’s just remarkable to me.”
While he declined to conclude that Trump or his advisers colluded with Russia, McCabe said the evidence special counsel Robert Mueller has made public to date — including new disclosures about an August 2016 meeting between former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the FBI has linked to Russian intelligence — “is incredibly persuasive.”
Trump worried McCabe from the outset with what CBS characterizes as a “bizarre” interview.
Before he was fired from the FBI, Andrew McCabe was summoned to the Oval Office to interview for the position of FBI director. “It was a bit of a bizarre experience,” says McCabe, recalling his meeting with President Trump.
“He began by talking to me about his Electoral College results in the state of North Carolina, which I didn’t really know about or understand how that related to the position of FBI director,” says McCabe.
Mr. Trump also talked about “the support that he enjoyed within the FBI,” says McCabe. “He estimated that 80% of FBI employees must have voted for him, and he asked me if I thought that was true. I said, ‘I have no idea who people in the FBI voted for. It’s not something that we discuss at work.'”
There are more really strange anectdotes including Trump indicating that he wanted McCabe to say that every one in the FBI supported the Comey firing which was clearly not true. But meanwhile, we have bigger fish to fry at the DOJ in its current state. From Morgan Chalfani at The Hill: “Five things to watch as Barr takes the reins of Justice, Mueller probe.”
Barr is expected to make major changes at the Justice Department, beginning with his choice for deputy.
Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Mueller’s investigation, is expected to depart in the coming weeks after two years on the job. Barr told lawmakers last month that Rosenstein had informed him of those plans and that he had agreed to stay on for the transition.
Various names have been floated as potential candidates for the role, which is subject to Senate confirmation. The New York Times reported that Barr intends to name Jeffrey Rosen, the current deputy secretary of Transportation, to serve as his No. 2.
It is unclear whether Barr will keep on Matthew Whitaker, the controversial figure whom Trump appointed acting attorney general following Sessions’s ouster. Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa who worked as Sessions’s chief of staff, quickly emerged as a top target of Democrats as a result of statements he made criticizing Mueller’s investigation before joining the Justice Department.
Whitaker tangled with House Democrats in a testy hearing earlier this month, during which he defended his decision not to recuse himself from Mueller’s investigation and insisted he had done nothing to interfere with the probe. Whitaker also frustrated lawmakers by refusing to answer various questions about the investigation and his conversations with Trump.
Even if Barr does not decide to keep Whitaker, some say it’s possible he could find a new home in the White House.
“He had to navigate some pretty treacherous waters and he did that very skillfully and if the president is looking for someone else to serve the administration that brings some excellent experience under fire, then I think Matt would be somebody that would fit that description,” said Ian Prior, who worked with Whitaker as a department spokesman under Sessions.
Even though real evil is resident in the White House, Republicans clearly want to put and keep Democratic politicians on the defensive. From Cheryl Gay Stolberg at the NYT: “Republicans Hope to Sway Voters With Labels That Demonize Democrats”.
In the 116th Congress, if you’re a Democrat, you’re either a socialist, a baby killer or an anti-Semite.
That, at least, is what Republicans want voters to think, as they seek to demonize Democrats well in advance of the 2020 elections by painting them as left-wing crazies who will destroy the American economy, murder newborn babies and turn a blind eye to bigotry against Jews.
The unusually aggressive assault, which Republican officials and strategists outlined in interviews last week, is meant to strangle the new Democratic majority in its infancy. It was set in motion this month by President Trump, who used his State of the Union address to rail against “new calls to adopt socialism in our country” and mischaracterize legislation backed by Democrats in New York and Virginia as allowing “a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”
Then last week, Republicans amped it up, seizing on a Twitter post by a freshman representative, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, which even some Democrats condemned as anti-Semitic, and ridiculing the “Green New Deal,” an ambitious economic stimulus plan unveiled by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist. Suddenly even Jewish Democrats were abetting anti-Semitism and moderate Democrats in Republican districts were Trotskyites and Stalinists.
“Socialism is the greatest vulnerability by far that the House Democrats have,” Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in an interview, adding that he had also instructed his team to spotlight “all the extreme wild ideas” that Democrats espouse, “on a daily basis, on an hourly basis if it’s available.”
House Republicans have identified 55 Democrats they regard as vulnerable, including many freshmen. Some flipped Republican seats last year, some represent districts carried by Mr. Trump in 2016, and some are in districts held by Republicans until recently. Bruised by their losses last year, Republicans are determined to start earlier and be more aggressive on the offense in 2020, and are hoping to exploit the Democratic presidential candidates’ courtship of the left.
An advertising offensive is already underway. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee affiliated with House Republican leaders, began running digital ads last week that link two freshmen who flipped Republican districts, Representatives Colin Allred of Texas and Antonio Delgado of New York, to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her “radical Green New Deal assault on the American economy.”
But, they have the crazy to deal with all the same and the latest bit sinking Republican Policy is the obvious failure of the tax cuts to deliver to any one but the very rich among us.
Jonathan Swan–writing for Axios–characterizes it like this: “Governing on the edge.” My stomach frankly can’t take any more of this. I’m an old lady that wants a peaceful retirement and a stable social security income.
A senior government official who was involved in the spending negotiations over the past few weeks told me the experience taught them something disturbing.
“We’re going to go to the edge on everything,” the official said on Friday, shortly after Trump signed the bill to fund the 25% of the government that had shut down for 35 days on his watch.
Why it matters: The White House has just gotten through a spending fight that pushed Congress — and the federal workforce affected by the shutdown — to the brink. But even uglier skirmishes are imminent, including whether to raise the federal government’s debt limit and break Congress’ self-imposed budget caps.
What’s next? In a phone conversation this morning, I asked a senior White House official if he thought the shutdown had any benefit for the Trump administration.
I certainly hope Marcie can make sense of all of this for me. Here’s her take on the McCabe interview. Check out her latest dissection of the four big Trump turncoats or three if you want to dump Manafort.
Four times so far in this investigation, Trump’s aides have started the sentencing process for their crimes designed to obstruction Robert Mueller’s investigation. All four times, before four different judges, their misplaced loyalty to Trump above country has come up. And with both Flynn and Manafort — where the judges have seen significant amounts of non-public information about the crimes they lied to cover-up — two very reasonable judges have raised explicit questions about whether Trump’s aides had betrayed their country.
Trump wants this to be a case of contested claims of betrayal. But the judges who have reviewed the record have used striking language about who betrayed their country.
I doubt we’re going to get any resolution of anything soon but I will say that I hope the Democratic committee chairs in Congress get the lead out! For some more video and fun on Krewe du View you can check this out!
If you haven’t read this from The Atlantic with the lede “When James Comey Was Fired” please do so.
I wrote memos about my interactions with President Trump for the same reason that Comey did: to have a contemporaneous record of conversations with a person who cannot be trusted.
People do not appreciate how far we have fallen from normal standards of presidential accountability. Today we have a president who is willing not only to comment prejudicially on criminal prosecutions but to comment on ones that potentially affect him. He does both of these things almost daily. He is not just sounding a dog whistle. He is lobbying for a result. The president has stepped over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he has encountered them. Every day brings a new low, with the president exposing himself as a deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants. If he were “on the box” at Quantico, he would break the machine.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It’s Friday Sky Dancers!
I am now fully convinced that KKKremlin Calgulia is as insane as the Roman Emperor Caligula. He signed the bill to fund the federal government then declared a national emergency because Congress won’t fund his pandering boondoggle of a wall. Then, he turned around to say “I didn’t need to do this” but he just wanted it all done “faster”.
I’m sure that’s what President Clinton thought when he declared a state of national emergency after the Oklahoma City Bombings. That’s probably what Dubya thought too after declaring his national emergency for 9/11. Right? Oh, and if you had we flew “rocket ships” over Japan on your Trump is crazy Bingo card then you win. This presser may have been his least coherent one to date and that says a lot.
Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post sums it up quite nicely! “We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump.”
We have a national emergency, all right. Its name is Donald Trump, and it is a force of mindless, pointless disruption.
The president’s decision to officially declare an emergency — to pretend to build an unbuildable border wall — is not only an act of constitutional vandalism. It is also an act of cowardice, a way to avoid the wrath of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the far-right commentariat.
It is an end run around Congress and, as such, constitutes a violation of his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” — which gives Congress, not the president, the authority to decide how public money is spent. It does not give Trump the right to fund projects that Congress will not approve. Authoritarian leaders do that sort of thing. The puffed-up wannabe strongman now living in the White House is giving it a try.
Let’s be clear: There is no emergency. Arrests for illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaked in 2000, nearly two decades ago, at more than 1.5 million a year. They declined sharply under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and, in 2017, were at their lowest point since 1971. In 2018, apprehensions ticked up slightly — but still barely climbed above 400,000.
There has indeed been an increase in families presenting themselves at legal points of entry to seek asylum — those groups of bedraggled Central Americans that Trump calls “caravans.” Under U.S. and international law, these people have an undisputed right to ask for asylum and have their cases evaluated. Again, they come to legal border crossings to seek admission. Only a handful try to navigate the forbidding rural terrain where Trump says he wants to build a wall.
What the administration really needs to do is expand and improve facilities for processing, caring for and, when necessary, housing these asylum seekers. But Trump doesn’t care about doing the right thing, or even the necessary thing. He cares only about being able to claim he is following through on his vicious anti-immigration rhetoric, which brands Mexican would-be migrants as “rapists” and Central Americans as members of the MS-13 street gang.
Facts do not matter when you’re crazy. Trump held a press conference this morning that proved once again that he’s unfit to hold the office of President of the United States and that he has mental/neurological problems that make him a clear and present danger.
But more than the president “telegraphing” that decision to Hannity, it was Hannity instructing Trump on how to emerge from his border wall mess unscathed in his eyes. The host first pushed Trump to declare a national emergency while interviewing him from the border during government shutdown that ended up lasting 35 days.
The New York Times also reported this week that the White House had reached out to Hannity directly to get him on board after his harsh criticism of the bill the day before. Their message, according to the Times: “Mr. Trump deserved support because he still forced concessions that he would never have gotten without a five-week partial government shutdown.”
HRC responded to an announcement from the Trump-Pence White House that along with signing the bipartisan spending bill, passed by Congress this week after intense negotiations, Trump would take the unprecedented and potentially unconstitutional move of declaring a national emergency to fund a border wall.
“There is no national security crisis at the border. To declare one based on the reality on the ground is an abuse of power that undercuts the rule of law,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “A solid majority of the American people reject funding for a wall on our southern border because it is a waste of money, unnecessary and ineffective. This emergency declaration is just the latest extreme step that Donald Trump and Mike Pence have taken to divide America. From revoking protections for more than a million Dreamers, including 75,000 LGBTQ young people, detaining tens of thousands of immigrants, making asylum claims almost impossible and separating thousands of children from their parents, the Trump-Pence Administration has harmed our country and violated the trust of the American people.”
The intent of emergency powers is to provide the president with a pathway for ensuring national security and other functional aspects of the federal government during a crisis in which timely action is necessary. Only in extraordinary circumstances should a president invoke emergency powers.
The Human Rights Campaign joins coalition partners, including RAICES and United We Dream, in calling for refugees and asylum seekers to be welcomed into the United States, as they flee violence and persecution in the countries they left behind.
Pelosi and Schumer have already attacked the speech and the declaration. This is via AP.
Congress’ two top Democrats say they’ll use “every remedy available” to oppose President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency to shift billions of federal dollars into building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH’-see) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday they’ll take action “in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public.”
They say Trump’s decision to declare an emergency is unlawful. They say it would “shred the Constitution” by usurping Congress’ power to control spending.
White House officials say some of the money would come from military construction projects. Pelosi and Schumer say Trump would be using money needed “for the security of our military and our nation.”
Democrats can file lawsuits and force congressional votes to block Trump’s money transfers. Trump could veto the legislation should it pass.
Trump says he expects legal challenges.
Among the notable things Trump said are that Japan is glad we’re no longer flying “rocket ships” over their heads. Ah, Godzilla can go back to retirement, I guess.
That’s just one of the crazy ass things he said this morning. He’s off wth “Angel Moms” again. He paraded them with pictures of their dead children in front of the press to shame them into his point of view. But, the “angel” status doesn’t seem to include any mother who lost her child in a school shoot up or the mother who lost her daughter to the crazed Trump supporter who ran into a crowd of people in Charlottesville.
I’ve just about had it up and over with the right wing riding this issue and these grieving parents. Again, they show no concern for parents of children lost to street violence and to those lost by white guys shooting up public places with weapons of over kill. BTW, these Angel moms want to kill the spending agreement until Trump gets what he wants. They want to cause mass suffering. And even HE made it more difficult for himself with his garbled little presser today.
Charles Pierce sums up this Constitutional Crisis and the role Mitch McConnell is playing. Either the NI or the Russians must have something horrid on both McConnell and Lindsey Graham. They’ve gone completely out of the boundaries of any kind of sense of upholding the Constitutions’ instructions and the institutions it framed.
It can be argued that this precipitous move by the White House is another bit of legerdemain through which the president* can make the Andrew McCabe revelations vanish from the news cycle. That seems less important than usual now that the Senate has decided to share the president*’s delusions and bring us along for the ride.
This is a direct assault by this president* on the Congress’s Article I powers. Usually, presidents use these powers to do things like levy sanctions on countries that are slaughtering their own people. What this president* is trying to do is to redirect money already appropriated for a project that Congress already has declined to fund—the last time only a couple of days ago. That is purely a dictatorial action. It is an abuse of power. It cannot be allowed to stand.
The argument being made by some on both the left and the right that, OK, if he can do this, then the next Democratic president can declare a national emergency on gun violence, say, or the climate crisis is sadly beside the point, and Democrats, in particular, should shut up about it. (This means you, Speaker Pelosi.) This is a clear and present danger to the constitutional order. Without the power of the purse, Congress has no power at all.
Mitch McConnell knows this. He even has been warning against this very power grab for a couple of weeks now. But he seems determined to neuter his own institution in order to curry favor with a failed president* and a bunch of idiot pundits from Fox News. He is abandoning his own responsibilities in the hopes that the courts will bail him out. And, again, there is no national emergency to be declared. Not outside of the Oval Office, anyway.
Well, you get the idea. Our President is a nutjob and sooner or later, the damage he causes will kill a huge number of people and damage our constitutional republic beyond repair.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It never fails:
Like this shit:
One more tweet:
Let’s see if there are any funny cartoons to get us laughing:
I wanted to end with this book review…it looks interesting:
A landmark study calls time on the misogyny that fed the Jack the Ripper myth. Why has it taken 130 years for a book telling the stories of the women to appear?
Few women have had the moment of their deaths returned to more often, and with as much relish, as Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. In each case their throats were cut, and four of them had their entrails removed. Kelly, the only one of “the canonical five”, as Jack the Ripper’s known victims are called, to die in her bed, was completely mutilated. Forests have been felled in the interests of unmasking the murderer, but until now no one has bothered to discover the identity of his victims. The Five is thus an angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth.
Read the full review at the link…
It will be published later this month. The Five from Penguin Books.
This is an open thread.
Trump’s lies are getting worse. It’s difficult to believe, I know; but it’s true. Here are just two of the outrageous claims Trump made at his El Paso hate rally last night.
As usual, Trump told fantastic lies about the number of cult followers he attracted to his hate rally.
During his rally at the El Paso County Coliseum, Trump touted his base supporters, saying “there has never been anything like this in the history of our country.”
“If you would say as an example that tonight 69,000 people signed up to be here,” he said. “Now the arena holds 8,000. And thank you, fire department. They got in about 10,000. Thank you, fire department. Appreciate it.”
The El Paso Fire Department, however, said Trump’s statement was untrue.
Fire public information officer Enrique Aguilar told the El Paso Times on Monday that Trump did not receive any special permission to exceed the limit and confirmed that there were 6,500 people inside the building during the president’s rally. The coliseum holds about 6,500 people. There were also thousands more watching Trump’s speech on big screens outside the facility.
Aguilar added that “it might be 10,000 with the people outside,” but said that the fire department didn’t specifically track the number of people outside of the coliseum, the El Paso Times reported.
During the rally, Trump repeatedly attacked the media, and one supporter physically attacked them.
A man wearing a Make America Great Again hat barreled into the press pit at Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday night and started shoving reporters, knocking over their equipment, and yelled “fuck the media,” minutes after the president had lashed out at journalists.
About half way through his lengthy, campaign-style speech, Trump ridiculed the media for “refusing to acknowledge” his administration’s successes, invoking loud boos and jeers from the crowd.
“I guess 93% of the stories are negative. No matter what we do, they figure out a way to make it that,” the president said, rattling off topics, such as North Korea, the economy, and manufacturing, which he feels that the media has unfairly skewed.
As Trump went on touting how his successes, a man in a red MAGA hat suddenly burst toward the group of reporters and photographers who were covering the speech, pushing them over, knocking their cameras and tripods, and repeatedly yelling, “fuck the media.”
Trump saw the attack and asked if everyone was OK before going back to his blatant lying. But who made sure there was no protection for reporters and camera people at the hate rally? More from the Buzzfeed story:
Several reporters told BuzzFeed News that there were no security guards or police officers near the press arena until “after the photographer got shoved.”
“I am calling bullshit on the way that and the way he got escorted out,” said Jorge Salgado, a photographer who captured part of the incident. “He was violent. He was pro-trump and wearing a ‘Fund the Wall’ shirt’ and he came out of nowhere.”
For a moment, Rene Delgadillo, a producer with Telemundo 48 in El Paso, said she thought the man “was going to hit us.”
She and a reporter were taking notes when she said heard a man scream and then start pushing other reporters down as he “made his way through the space designated for media.”
“People went crazy during that moment,” she said of the crowd around them.
Howard Dean tweeted about the rally this morning.
I think Trump has sounded like Hitler for a very long time, but it’s still good to see someone like Dean calling attention to it.
Shortly after the incident in the press pen, Trump again attacked the media. From Vox:
Trump’s speech on Monday was his first at a rally in 2019. He set the tone by attacking the media just seconds into it, saying, “Look at all the press back there, can you believe that? This is like the Academy Awards used to be. They’ve gone down a long way since they started hitting us a little bit, right? That was a long fall, but there they are.”
The crowd responded with loud boos.
About 10 minutes after Skeans was attacked, Trump laid into the media again while deflecting from the notion that his campaign colluded with Russia.
“There’s also collusion between the Democrats and the fake news, right here,” he said, prompting more “CNN sucks!” chants….
As was the case both during his presidential campaign and the recent midterm cycle, attacking the media was one of Trump’s central themes on Monday night. At one point, he called fact-checkers “some of the most dishonest people in media.” He also mockingly mimickedreporters who try to cover him.
Responding Trump’s lies about abortion (see video above) Vox’s Anna North writes that we’d better pay attention to the way Trump and his gang are lying about abortion: Trump’s misleading comments about Gov. Ralph Northam and infanticide…may be part of a broader strategy.
At a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, President Donald Trump accused Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, of supporting infanticide.
“The governor stated that he would even allow a newborn baby to come out into the world,” Trump told the crowd, “and wrap the baby, and make the baby comfortable, and then talk to the mother and talk to the father and then execute the baby. Execute the baby!”
Unfortunately Northam and a VA lawmaker contributed to the confusion around a VA bill.
The controversy started when Del. Kathy Tran, the bill’s sponsor, was asked in a committee hearing if the bill would allow an abortion when a woman is showing signs of labor.
“My bill would allow that,” Tran said.
Tran later said that she “misspoke” in the committee hearing, and that “I should have said: ‘Clearly, no, because infanticide is not allowed in Virginia, and what would have happened in that moment would be a live birth.’”
But the controversy had already begun. On January 30, Gov. Northam was asked on the Virginia radio station WTOP to give his thoughts on Tran’s response.
“Do you support her measure?” reporter Julie Carey asked. “Explain her answer.”
“This is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that are involved,” Northam said. “When we talk about third-trimester abortions,” he went on, “it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable.”
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” he added. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Obviously, the point is that some babies are born with no chance of survival. Doctors and parents will decide how to handle these tragic cases. No one supports “executing” babies. The bill has now been tabled, but Trump and the GOP will keep hammering this lie indefinitely.
I don’t really understand the Beto O’Rourke craze; maybe I’m just too old and jaded to get excited about another great white hope. I’ve tried watching his speeches and they leave me cold. But he did try to fight back against Trump last night.
EL PASO, Texas — The showdown between Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke Monday night over the president’s border wall unfolded at competing rallies with thousands of people in venues barely a block apart.
But the events practically took place in parallel universes: One with rowdy MAGA-gear wearing Trump backers chanting “USA, USA!”; the other serenaded by a mariachi band before O’Rourke took the stage for a lengthy takedown — at times in Spanish — of the president’s signature project….
O’Rourke was mobbed by thousands of supporters as they marched to a baseball field so close to Trump’s rally that the loud speakers from Trump’s event could be heard at O’Rourke’s.
“With the eyes of the country upon us, all of us together are going to make our stand, here in one of the safest cities in the United States of America,” O’Rourke said. “Safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls. Secure because we treat one another with dignity and respect.”
He said, “We are the example that the United States of America needs right now.”
Read more details at the link above.
I’ll end with something truly unbelievable–the GOP has stolen Hillary’s 2016 slogan! And she noticed.
What else is happening? What stories have you been following?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I actually was present on a day that UCLA/MIT/Stanford and other institutions opened a computer connecting node to more than just a few places during an expansion of what was to become the world wide web.. This would eventually be the internet/world wide web beyond something than connecting a few universities and government entities. The original turn on in happened in 1969. My high school math department got a grant and one of those huge printers that came to life when they started expanding it to a few more places around 1970. They undoubtedly wanted to show us our future.
Again, it was just a big printer with huge green bar paper rolls that hooked us to an out of state university (Michigan, I think) and it printed some welcome message that didn’t impress me. We all stood there and watched it kind’ve like the first time in junior high when a guy from bell labs turned on a projector with a small red beamed called a laser. They had no idea if it would be the future of communications but that was the dream. The next time I saw that bean at university was its planetarium with Pink Floyd playing in the background. Now, both my eldest and her husband use them for operations in their respective medical practices.
I started actually using the world wide web in graduate school back in 1978 and eventually got a computer and modem around 1980 and hooked in with a phone line. Back then, all you saw were green lines of characters but it was still quite fascinating and the best thing was finding all those nerds beyond Nebraska.
I now sit here as an old lady on a small computer typing all kinds of things to you and posting pictures and knowing that my old skills at FORTRAN and BASIC are worthless. Needless to say, I think any technology developed during the Nixon administration must’ve been funded with war and political sabotage in mind.I also know that the internet and lasers have morphed from dream of benign and useful communications to a whole lot more.
A whole lot more. But, then you know that or you wouldn’t be reading this here from me down here. The fascinating science of 40 plus years ago is also highly weaponized and aimed at nearly all of country’s endeavors. This from today’s New Yorker and written by Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow.
Psy-Group stood out from many of its rivals because it didn’t just gather intelligence; it specialized in covertly spreading messages to influence what people believed and how they behaved. Its operatives took advantage of technological innovations and lax governmental oversight. “Social media allows you to reach virtually anyone and to play with their minds,” Uzi Shaya, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer, said. “You can do whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. It’s a place where wars are fought, elections are won, and terror is promoted. There are no regulations. It is a no man’s land.”
In recent years, Psy-Group has conceived of a variety of elaborate covert operations. In Amsterdam, the firm prepared a report on a religious sect called the Brunstad Christian Church, whose Norwegian leader, Psy-Group noted, claimed to have written “a more important book than the New Testament.” In Gabon, Psy-Group pitched “Operation Bentley”—an effort to “preserve” President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s hold on power by collecting and disseminating intelligence about his main political rival. (It’s unclear whether or not the operations in Amsterdam and Gabon were carried out. A spokesperson for Brunstad said that it was “plainly ridiculous” that the church considered “any book” to be more important than the Bible. Ondimba’s representatives could not be reached for comment.) In another project, targeting the South African billionaire heirs of an apartheid-era skin-lightening company, Psy-Group secretly recorded family members of the heirs describing them as greedy and, in one case, as a “piece of shit.” In New York, Psy-Group mounted a campaign on behalf of wealthy Jewish-American donors to embarrass and intimidate activists on American college campuses who support a movement to put economic pressure on Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.
This is one fascinating story. There’s also a lurid one regarding Jeff Bezos and his totally public affair and craziness with AMI. Bezos, head of Amazon and WAPO has his own internet toils, tribulations, and amassed wealth. And now we venture forth to the land of billionaires, grudges, and honey pots. No one certainly hinted at any of this on that huge print out on green bar paper the day I met the world wide web.
The brother of Jeff Bezos’ mistress, Lauren Sanchez, supplied the couple’s racy texts to the National Enquirer, multiple sources inside AMI, the tabloid’s parent company, told The Daily Beast.
Another source who has been in extensive communication with senior leaders at AMI confirmed that Michael Sanchez first supplied Bezos’ texts to the Enquirer.
The leaked texts, published last month, included notes from Bezos like, “I want to smell you, I want to breathe you in. I want to hold you tight.”
AMI has previously refused to identify the source of the texts, but a lawyer for the company strongly hinted at Sanchez’s role during a Sunday morning interview on ABC.
“The story was given to the National Enquirer by a reliable source that had given information to the National Enquirer for seven years prior to this story. It was a source that was well known to both Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez,” attorney Elkan Abramowitz told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Asked directly whether Sanchez was the source, Abramowitz said, “I can’t discuss who the source was. It’s confidential within AMI.”
An AMI spokesperson declined to comment for this story. Asked directly more than a half-dozen times whether or not he supplied the texts to the Enquirer, Sanchez declined to respond.
Depending on whom you believe, the Enquirer’s exposé on Bezos’s affair was a political hit inspired by President Trump’s allies, an inside job by people seeking to protect Bezos’s marriage, or no conspiracy at all, simply a juicy gossip story.
The saga might have been easily dismissed as little more than tabloid fare, but it has taken on a more serious cast in recent days. A volley of charges and countercharges about how and why the Enquirer launched its investigation has emerged for several reasons, including the history of the Enquirer, which has acknowledged taking actions during the last presidential campaign that benefited Trump politically. Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly lodged attacks on The Post’s coverage of him and on Bezos, who bought the news company in 2013. And Bezos, the head of a retail giant that is famously loath to comment to the media, has authorized his security chief to speak about his investigation.
Bezos’s longtime private security consultant, Gavin de Becker, has concluded that the billionaire was not hacked. Rather, de Becker said in an interview, the Enquirer’s scoop about Bezos’s relationship with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez began with a “politically motivated” leak meant to embarrass the owner of The Post — an effort potentially involving several important figures in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
As the Daily Beast first reported last week, de Becker has publicly named only one subject of his investigation, Michael Sanchez, Lauren’s brother and a pro-Trump Hollywood talent manager who is also an acquaintance of provocative Trump backers Roger Stone and Carter Page.
Hit me with your laser beams. Will Bunch–writing for the Philadelphi Inquirer connects dots this way: “Bezos, the National Enquirer, the Saudis, Trump, and the blackmailing of U.S. democracy.”
And what if I told you something else: That the Bezos scandal is ripping away the curtain on a secret world that’s been hiding in plain sight: That a nation founded in the ideals of democracy has been increasingly fallen prey to a new dystopian regime that melds the new 21st century dark arts of illegal hacking and media manipulation with the oldest tricks in the book: blackmail and extortion.
Pull up a chair.
You probably know by now the basics about Bezos and the National Enquirer: In January the Amazon mogul announced that he and his longtime wife MacKenzie are divorcing, hours ahead of a report in the National Enquirer laden with the content of racy texts between the billionaire and his mistress. On Thursday, Bezos — who’d hired a well-known investigator to find out how the supermarket tabloid got his private communications — took to Medium with a post accusing the Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, whose CEO is David Pecker, of threatening to publish embarrassing photos of Bezos and his lover if he didn’t drop his investigation and state (falsely, Bezos asserts) that its coverage was not politically motivated.
Ironically, the Bezos-AMI affair sucked all the oxygen out of another big scoop published at almost exactly the same time. The New York Times reported American intelligence had learned that the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (commonly referred to as “MBS”) had railed to an associate against the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who’d moved to the United States and was writing anti-MBS op-ed columns for the Washington Post. MBS allegedly said he’d personally put “a bullet” into Khashoggi.
Then, of course, we’re learning more about the Russian interference in our elections. Today’s NYT has this: “In Closed Hearing, a Clue About ‘the Heart’ of Mueller’s Russia Inquiry”.
Comments by one of Mr. Mueller’s lead prosecutors, disclosed in a transcript of a closed-door hearing, suggest that the special counsel continues to pursue at least one theory: that starting while Russia was taking steps to bolster Mr. Trump’s candidacy, people in his orbit were discussing deals to end a dispute over Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and possibly give Moscow relief from economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.
The theory was offered almost as an aside by the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, during a discussion of contacts between Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and a longtime Russian associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, whom investigators have linked to Russian intelligence.
A closer look at the transcript, released late Thursday, shows that the prosecutors have been keenly focused on discussions the two men had about a plan to end the conflict that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014. Persuading the United States to ease or end the American-led sanctions imposed to punish Moscow for its aggression has been a primary goal of Russian foreign policy.
According to the transcript, which was heavily redacted, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kilimnik repeatedly communicated about a so-called peace plan for Ukraine starting in early August 2016, while Mr. Manafort was still running Mr. Trump’s campaign, and continuing into 2018, months after Mr. Manafort had been charged by the special counsel’s office with a litany of crimes related to his work in the country. The prosecutors claim that Mr. Manafort misled them about those talks and other interactions with Mr. Kilimnik.
All this just in time for this:
Artificial intelligence is the 60-year-old quest to make machines capable of mental or physical tasks seen as emblematic of human or animal intelligence. In the past seven years a technology called machine learning, in which algorithms gain skills by digesting example data, has allowed computers to become markedly better at understanding the world. That technology has birthed software able to read medical scans, virtual assistants that answer shouted trivia questions, and become the heart of every major tech company’s product strategy.
One element of the Trump administration plan would open some stocks of government data to academics and companies doing AI research. Tech companies such as Google parent Alphabet have plenty of 1s and 0s logging consumer habits stashed inside their data centers; but in other areas, such as health care, they struggle to amass the data needed to fuel AI projects.
The White House says it will ask agencies in areas such as health and transportation to release data that could advance AI research, using mechanisms that protect privacy. The results could resemble a project of the Veterans Administration, which developed a way to provide Alphabet temporary access to hundreds of thousands of anonymized health records to train AI software to predict kidney problems.
The plan awaiting Trump’s signature also directs federal agencies to prioritize AI when allocating their R&D budgets. It asks them to support training and fellowship programs that will help workers adjust to jobs changed by AI, and train future AI experts and researchers.
The administration strategy also acknowledges that artificial intelligence may cause unwelcome effects.
Is this another fine mess they’re getting us into?
During a conference call with press, a senior administration official noted that the order will include five “key pillars” on which agencies should focus their AI efforts.
These pillars include the creation of a set of ethical guidelines for AI development and implementation, as well as the prioritization of AI research and development. The administration also wants agencies to make it easier for AI researchers to access federal data, create fellowships and apprenticeships that will help workers prepare for automation, and find ways to collaborate with other nations without compromising U.S. “values and interests.”
Yeah, and call me when the administration does anything ‘without compromising U.S. “values and interests”‘.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?