Sunday Reads: The end of the world? It’s no nightmare.

Les amoureux du Quai du Louvre, Paris, 1955, photo by Frank Horvat

Les amoureux du Quai du Louvre, Paris, 1955, photo by Frank Horvat

 

Today’s images come from the blog, We Had Faces Then. This is a fantastic photo blog, where the tagline proclaims:

A gay man of a certain age and a certain sensibility searching for meaning in the flickering images of classic Hollywood.

I have decided to feature photos of Merle Oberon, I hope you enjoy them.

 

Paul Lukas and Merle Oberon in Berlin Express  (Jacques Tourneur, 1948)

 

 

So, late last night…I am saving images for this morning’s post, and the two above are the last things I see before I go to sleep. I don’t know if that had something to do with influencing my dreams? It could also be the fact that we have a disaster leading the country, and no one serving as National Security Adviser…technically…the Bolton Beast starts his reign on Monday.

 

Many of you might have already seen that clip on Friday’s Maddow, if you haven’t take a look.

But, my dream from last night was this…

The end of the world, I am sitting with my family in Florida, my aunt Celeste and the rest of the circus. We are all drinking and laughing outside while we await the apocalyptic explosion that is to commence shortly, when… “Mother Earth collides with Mars.”

The joke being, “HaHa…Wait, there was no collusion!”

“Hey, the end of the world is not brought on by tRump?”

Yeah, our last words to each other were not I love you, but we were astounded by the reason the Earth was being annihilated…and that tRump was not the actual direct cause of the destruction of the planet.

Now that is some fucked up dream. Is it because in the back of my mind…Mueller is taking so damn long…the earth would be colliding with some other celestial body before tRump gets charged or impeached?

tRump has been on the Twit box a lot this morning and last night. I was only going to share today’s tweets but might as well give you a few from last night, so you can have a perspective on the links throughout the rest of the thread.

 

I want to throw up every time I see or hear any direct communications or commands from this asshole.

Here are a few responses to the Hair Loser’s tweets. (Dak, I love that nickname.)

I wonder how long before Hair Loser walks back the Syria tweet?

 

 

Onward, with a few other responses to the fire at tRump Tower from last night:

Then there was this tweet:

Not sure on the veracity of that statement…Just putting that out there.

*Edited to add this link:

Trump Tower fire is second 2018 blaze in sprinkler-free residential tower – CBS News

The fire on the 50th floor New York City’s Trump Tower that left 67-year-old Todd Brassner dead and six firefighters injured was the second fire in the building in 2018. President Trump’s centerpiece Manhattan skyscraper opened in 1984, but does not have sprinklers on its residential floors, a measure required in new buildings since 1999. President Trump, then a private citizen and property developer, lobbied to try and prevent the mandate at the time.

New York City in 1999 became last big city in the nation to require sprinklers, according to the New York Daily News. Under the 1999 legislation, buildings constructed before then were only required to have sprinklers if they underwent gut renovations.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Trump was one of the developers in the late 1990s who lobbied against sprinklers in buildings. He then recanted once the legislation passed with grandfathering provisions that meant existing buildings did not need to install them, saying that he understood they made residents “feel safer.” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on Saturday that there is extra fire protection at Trump Tower when Mr. Trump is there.

Then-New York city mayor and now staunch Trump ally Rudy Giuliani signed the bill requiring sprinklers into force on March 24, 1999, having opposed it when it was first proposed in 1997. The legislation was spurred on by a major fire in a so-called “fireproof” apartment block with no sprinklers on New York’s Upper West Side the previous December, and another in a Brooklyn housing project the same month in which hallway sprinklers failed. Survivors wanted all buildings to have sprinklers, but the legislation that was passed was not retroactive, much to the delight of existing property owners who cited cost as a major reason not to be compelled to retrofit their buildings. At the time the legislation was being discussed, Mr. Trump had just started construction on a 72-story tower near the United Nations, and he subsequently said he would install sprinklers there at a cost of $3 million.

Saturday’s fire is the second fire in Mr. Trump’s Fifth Avenue building this year: Two civilians suffered minor injuries and a firefighter was hurt by debris in a fire on Jan. 8 on the top of the building. That blaze was sparked by an electrical issue, Mr. Trump’s son, Eric, said at the time. Eric Trump said the fire had been in a cooling tower.

Well, there is that.

 

In other news this weekend:

 

 

And hey, let’s not forget this little nugget:

That is huge…and I don’t think enough people are talking about it.

Meanwhile, in Gaza:

 

 

 

Here, add Tony Robbins to the list of assholes. (Granted, I personally had him on the list to start with, but this truly confirms my suspicions.)

Robbins actually pushes back on this woman, forcing her to step backwards. It is a physical intimidation…and it is disgusting.

 

So much of this post is disturbing, as the reality of our world today. This last tweet can put everything into focus. This was a mock headline that The Boston Globe published in April 2016:

Boston Globe Trump front page: The GOP must stop Trump – The Boston Globe

PDF: A front page in Trump’s America

Donald J. Trump’s vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.

It is easy to find historical antecedents. The rise of demagogic strongmen is an all too common phenomenon on our small planet. And what marks each of those dark episodes is a failure to fathom where a leader’s vision leads, to carry rhetoric to its logical conclusion. The satirical front page of this section attempts to do just that, to envision what America looks like with Trump in the White House.

I’d say they were spot on…

This is an open thread. Have at it.

 

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Wednesday Reads: Natural Born Assh*les

Last night, while looking for comedies on Filmstruck…my son noticed the 1994 Oliver Stone movie, Natural Born Killers. Yeah, I said the same thing…eh, what the hell is that doing in the comedy section? But…he wanted to watch it. I had not seen the film since it came out in the theater and I thought, what the hell.

I think tRump must really enjoy this film, because there is a line in there about a snake biting a woman:

Old Indian: Once upon a time, a woman was picking up firewood. She came upon a poisonous snake frozen in the snow. She took the snake home and nursed it back to health. One day the snake bit her on the cheek. As she lay dying, she asked the snake, “Why have you done this to me?” And the snake answered, “Look, bitch, you knew I was a snake.”

I know that orange natural born asshole likes to tell this tale, I didn’t realize just how much he likes it:

‘The Snake’ at CPAC: How Trump appropriated a radical black singer’s lyrics for immigration fearmongering – The Washington Post

One of President Trump’s earliest documented uses of “The Snake” came in January 2016, on the eve of the primary season that he would go on to storm.

Speaking to a crowd in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with the state’s all-important caucus just days away, the candidate put on reading glasses and read the story from a piece of paper: A talking snake fatally bites a woman after she takes it in to give it care.

“I read this the other day, and I said, ‘Wow, that’s really amazing,’ ” Trump told the crowd.

Trump used the poem repeatedly on the campaign trail to illustrate the threats posed by refugees from Syria and other countries. The United States is the woman who naively gives others refuge; immigrants are the snakes who deliver the fatal strike.

“The Snake” was back this week after a hiatus, when Trump did another rendition during a freewheeling speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

For someone who is not known as a man of letters, this is one of Trump’s only literary touchstones. It is a crowd-pleaser, part xenophobic fearmongering, part tale told by Grandpa — “story time with Trump,” as one college supporter said that day in Iowa.

Funny, when I think of the snake, I think it is tRump, but we didn’t invite him in. Certain Russian factors forced him upon us.

But the lyrics have a far more complex origin than Trump’s use might imply. The poem originated in the 1960s from a soul singer and social activist in Chicago, Oscar Brown Jr. Its appropriation as a tool to drum up fear about immigrants has turned heads; some of Brown’s family are asking Trump to stop using it. And now, people are reading deeper into the president’s fixation with the parable.

This is the story of the president and “The Snake.”

So, please go to the link and read the story of the asshole and the snake.

The rest of today’s “stuff” is cartoons.

Nick Anderson cartoon: 04/03/2018 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson - Nick Anderson cartoon

04/03/2018 Cartoon by David Cohen

Cartoon by David Cohen -

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 04/03/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

04/03/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

 

 

 

 

 

Cold, Dead Numb Nuts: 04/03/2018 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Cold, Dead Numb Nuts

04/03/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Nick Anderson cartoon: 03/30/2018 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson - Nick Anderson cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 04/01/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

04/02/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

03/30/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Lorraine Motel: 04/03/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Lorraine Motel

04/02/2018 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

No Stomach Left Unturned: 04/02/2018 Cartoon by Peter Dunlap-Shohl

Cartoon by Peter Dunlap-Shohl - No Stomach Left Unturned

Life during Trumptime: 03/17/2018 Cartoon by Peter Dunlap-Shohl

Cartoon by Peter Dunlap-Shohl - Life during Trumptime

April, sex, ass: 04/02/2018 Cartoon by Ed Hall

Cartoon by Ed Hall - April, sex, ass

Funneled: 03/30/2018 Cartoon by Ed Hall

Cartoon by Ed Hall - Funneled

USS Trump: 04/02/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - USS Trump

Bully: 03/30/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Bully

ways a black person can avoid being shot by police: 04/01/2018 Cartoon by David G. Brown

Cartoon by David G. Brown - ways a black person can avoid being shot by police

04/01/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

I think that was a turd joke?

04/01/2018 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

Putin, Trump, Stormy Easter bunnies: 03/31/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Putin, Trump, Stormy Easter bunnies

Trump Census Policy: 03/31/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Trump Census Policy

And with that….this is an open thread.

 


Sunday Reads: A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

 

A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

-Paul Verrall from Born Yesterday

 

 

Good afternoon…..

Now…

This is frightening:

 

Donald Trump Says He May Want To Be President For Life – News & Guts Media

Speaking at a GOP fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago Saturday afternoon, Donald Trump dropped a bombshell.  First, Trump talked about the 2016 election, which he won but still can’t get past.  He remains distraught over a “rigged system” and wonders why Hillary Clinton hasn’t been prosecuted, among many topics in a free-wheeling speech.

But his off-the-cuff remarks took a bizarre turn when he praised China’s President Xi Jinping for consolidating power and effectively making him president for as long as he wants.  It’s an appealing idea to Trump.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Pause and think about that for a second.  What would possess him to say this out loud?  This is scary territory.  The remarks were closed to the press but a recording was obtained by CNN.

What the fuck, right?

 

By the way, Flake: ‘There should be’ Republican challenger to Trump in 2020 – CNNPolitics

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he thinks President Donald Trump will and should have a Republican challenger in the 2020 presidential election.

“I do think the President will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think that there will be an independent challenge,” the Arizona senator said in an interview for David Axelrod’s show…
Uh…a challenger in 2020? How the hell these people still see that tRumphole in office in 2020 is beyond me…(I realize that he will more than likely get away with all this shit, but fucking hell.)

More Tweets of note:

 

I know a lot of you are like me, overwhelmed at all the shit. Who knows, maybe it is just that we are not meant to be up in the morning…Check this out: Can’t get to sleep early? Science is on your side. – Vox

We live in a world that worships the early riser. Think of everything we’re told on the virtues of waking up early:

”The early bird catches the worm.”

”Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man… “ (Ben Franklin’s most famous saying).

”Nice of you to join us today” (snarky dictum of teachers and bosses everywhere).

The message is clear: Starting early is the way to get ahead; lateness is ugly as sin.

In 2016, I reported on the science of chronobiology, which finds we all have an internal clock that keeps us on a consistent sleep and wake cycle. But the key finding is that everyone’s clock is not the same. Most people fall in the middle, preferring to sleep around 11 pm to 7 am. But many — perhaps 40 percent of the population — don’t naturally fit in this schedule.

There are night owls among us — whose whole circadian schedules are shifted later — and morning larks, who are shifted earlier. These traits are determined by genetics and are extremely hard to change. What’s more, the research is finding that if we fight our chronotypes, our health may suffer.

But most striking to me wasn’t the health implications of messing with your clock. It was the stigma late sleepers feel in a society ruled by early risers. Simply put: These late sleepers are tired of being judged for a behavior they cannot easily control. If they can’t change their sleep patterns, maybe society should become more accepting of them.

Then there is a story like this to just get you so pissed off….There’s No Such Thing as ‘Consensual Sex’ When a Person Is in Police Custody | American Civil Liberties Union

On the night of Sept. 15, 2017, Edward Martins and Richard Hall, narcotics detectives with the New York Police Department, pulled over an 18-year-old woman and her two male friends for being in a park after dark. After finding marijuana in the car’s cup holder, they handcuffed the woman and told her friends to leave. The woman says that the detectives then put her in their unmarked police van with tinted windows and raped her as she cried and repeatedly told them “no.” Semen collected in a forensic evidence kit matched the DNA of both men.

In November, Martins and Hall resigned from the NYPD and currently face rape and kidnapping charges. Both pleaded not guilty. Their defense against these allegations is almost as disturbing as the crimes they are accused of. They claim that they had consensual sex with the woman while she was in their custody.

And here’s the thing: This defense might actually work because New York state law allows it.

Read the rest of it at the link…

Tonight is the Oscars…will you be watching?

03/04/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

“Statuette” (Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News)

 

 

 

Hope everyone has a good day and evening…this is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Bloody Discounts

For your consideration today:

On the gun control fight….

Who is Dana Loesch? The NRA’s defender after the Florida shooting | US news | The Guardian

 

But as students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida last week continue to speak out publicly against the NRA’s “blood money,” the gun-rights group has announced that it will send spokeswoman Dana Loesch to participate in Wednesday’s CNN town hall conversation with Parkland shooting survivors.

The move comes as the NRA appears to be attempting to dial down attention to the speech that longtime leader Wayne LaPierre is scheduled to give at CPAC later this week. Instead it is putting Loesch in the spotlight.

 

Florida school shooting: Survivors confront lawmakers, other students march in solidarity – CNN

Just one week after surviving a massacre that killed 17 people, grieving students confronted Florida lawmakers Wednesday to demand a ban on assault weapons.

As they took up their fight in Tallahassee, students from Palm Beach to Washington walked out in solidarity — disgusted by yet another school massacre with no change in gun laws.
Here are the latest developments:

Go to the link to read the latest…

 

 

Here is something of interest, it is the National Rifle Association – Member Discount List   this links to the state of Georgia…however, if you go to the page you can search for your own state’s discount list. Funny…one of the lawyers I used to work for is on the Georgia list. He used to tell me all the time, he was a “Christian” first. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

 

Security Clearance: 02/18/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Security Clearance

American: 02/16/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - American

Politicizing Parkland: 02/20/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Politicizing Parkland

Business As Usual: 02/21/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Business As Usual

Watching The Door: 02/20/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Watching The Door

Hand Puppets: 02/19/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Hand Puppets

School of Glock: 02/21/2018 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - School of Glock

02/20/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

 

 

 

 

You may remember this cartoon from last week…

 

 

02/20/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: The “Twits” are strong with this “Orange” dickhead.

 

The image above is from the Instagram of one of the survivors from the Valentine’s Day murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is just one of the victim reactions to the killings…another has been the vocal call outs and public outcries from many MSDHS students. They are not taking the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. They want action. Take a look at what these brave student survivors are doing to stand up for their murdered friends and fellow children nationwide.

 

As many have pointed out, the out spoken nature of this reaction is different from the mass murders of before. Perhaps because the media is actually paying attention to them?

I don’t know. But as you can see, tRump has been busy this morning:

Fucking hell…

 

Parkland students are fighting back…

I only want you to realize that this is the world we live in….

 

And this is the pretender to the throne, the president that we have to serve as protector in chief:

 

 

This is an open thread…


Wednesday Reads: Such a nice guy…

A card tRump could never send…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

When you got friends…who needs lawyers? Wait, or is that vice versa…

Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Says He Paid Stormy Daniels Out of His Own Pocket – The New York Times

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, said on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to a pornographic-film actress who had once claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.

In the most detailed explanation of the 2016 payment made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, Mr. Cohen, who worked as a counsel to the Trump Organization for more than a decade, said he was not reimbursed for the payment.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

He declined to answer several follow-up questions, including whether Mr. Trump had been aware that he made the payment, what the motivation was or whether he had made similar payments to other people over the years.

Mr. Cohen has previously said that Mr. Trump has denied an affair with Ms. Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels.

Cohen’s statement about what he called “a private transaction” was the first time that he has acknowledged a role in the payment, which was first reported in January by The Wall Street Journal.

Gee, hell of a guy.

tRump has great lawyers, huh? Remember this?

Trump’s lawyer claims responsibility for president’s problematic tweet – NBC News

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer took responsibility Sunday for a tweet that Trump sent the previous day, in which the president said for the first time that he knew his former security adviser, Michael Flynn, had lied to the FBI before he fired Flynn in February.

The tweet caused an uproar in Washington because it implied Trump knew Flynn had committed a felony — lying to the FBI — when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing.

Interfering in the FBI’s investigation could be construed as obstructing justice, potentially creating legal jeopardy for Trump. Within a few hours, Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, stepped in to say that he wrote the tweet, not the president.

Dowd told NBC News that he drafted the tweet and then sent it to White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino to publish. When asked for the original email he sent to Scavino, Dowd said he dictated it orally.

 

 

Cartoons to the rescue:

Jasper and the First Amendment: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Angelo Lopez

Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - Jasper and the First Amendment

Valentine to Hope: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - Valentine to Hope

Rob Porter: 02/12/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - Rob Porter

 

02/13/2018 Cartoon by Lisa Benson

Cartoon by Lisa Benson -

Nick Anderson cartoon: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson - Nick Anderson cartoon

02/13/2018 Cartoon by Kevin Siers

Cartoon by Kevin Siers -

02/09/2018 Cartoon by Kevin Siers

Cartoon by Kevin Siers -

Doug Jones rains on Gop parade: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Doug Jones rains on Gop parade

02/09/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe -

Trump Bone Spur Salute: 02/08/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Trump Bone Spur Salute

The Flu: 02/11/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - The Flu

Deficits: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Deficits

02/09/2018 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

02/13/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

02/10/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

Media Magnet: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Eric J Garcia

Cartoon by Eric J Garcia - Media Magnet

I think the best thing about that cartoon is the dead squirrel on top of tRump’s head.

02/13/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

02/12/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

One Korea: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Rob RogersCartoon by Rob Rogers - One Korea

Gerrymandered State: 02/12/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Gerrymandered State

Deficit Apocalypse: 02/11/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Deficit Apocalypse

Visitors: 02/13/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Visitors

 

 

Parade: 02/09/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Parade

 

 

 

 

 

This next cartoon is from 1941:

And I will end it with that magnificent cartoon from Luckovich…

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: “Kook” and Kremlin Spook

 

Yesterday evening Time Magazine broke a news story about Carter Page. Carter Page Touted Russia Contacts in 2013 Letter | Time

Apparently Page had written a book on his “academic” views of Russia, and in trying to get the book published…actually bragged about being a spy. However, in the last paragraph of the article, the editor who has remained anonymous summed up his opinion of Carter in very much the same way that most people view Carter:

“I just came to see him as a kook”

Yeah, I think that we all can agree about that…

From the link above:

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page bragged that he was an adviser to the Kremlin in a letter obtained by TIME that raises new questions about the extent of Page’s contacts with the Russian government over the years.

The letter, dated Aug. 25, 2013, was sent by Page to an academic press during a dispute over edits to an unpublished manuscript he had submitted for publication, according to an editor who worked with Page.

“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” the letter reads.

As anyone reading or watching the goings on with Page, it doesn’t take much to see how bumbling a fool he was…maybe that was the main attraction for the Russians? (That is my own question to ponder, as you know Putin wants to create chaos.)

As this excerpt from the book COLLUSION by Luke Harding  in Politico describes…the two Russian spies who recruited Page described him as an “idiot”:

Why Carter Page Was Worth Watching – POLITICO Magazine

As FBI wiretaps showed, the techniques for meeting with Buryakov were distinctly old-school. Typically, Sporyshev would ring Buryakov and tell him he had to give him “something”—a ticket, a book, a hat, an umbrella. The two would meet outdoors. This sometimes happened outside Buryakov’s bank office on Third Avenue—an inconspicuous brown tower with a 1960s abstract sculpture at street level opposite the foyer. They would exchange documents.

Sporyshev’s biggest headache was finding Americans willing to become intelligence sources for Russia. This was tough. He had approached two young women working in financial consultancy who had recently graduated from a New York university. Sporyshev told Podobnyy he was skeptical anything would come of it. Or, as he put it in chauvinist terms: “In order to be close you need to either fuck them or use other levers to execute my requests.”

The Russian spies, however, had one promising lead. This was a guy—an energy consultant based in New York City. Unlike the women, he was eager to help. And, it appeared, keen to make money in Moscow. There was a drawback: The source—whom the FBI called “Male-1”—was something of a dimwit.

The FBI intercepts record:

PODOBNYY: [Male-1] wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back. I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am. Plus he writes to me in Russian [to] practise the language. He flies to Moscow more often than I do. He got hooked on [the Russian state energy company] Gazprom, thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up. Maybe he can. I don’t know, but it’s obvious he wants to earn loads of money.

SPORYSHEV: Without a doubt.

On a little more about Page:

In a blog post for Global Policy, an online journal, he wrote that Putin wasn’t to blame for the 2014 Ukraine conflict. The White House’s superior “smack-down” approach had “started the crisis in the first place,” he wrote.

Page’s rampant pro-Moscow views were at odds with the US State Department under Clinton and with almost all American scholars of Russia. After all, it was Putin who had smuggled tanks across the border into eastern Ukraine. Not that Page’s opinions counted for much. Global Policy had a small circulation. It was edited out of Durham University in the north of England.

His relationship with the journal fizzled out when he wrote an opinion piece lavishly praising a pro-Russian candidate ahead of the U.S. presidential election—Trump.

And then something odd happened.

In March 2016 candidate Trump met with the Washington Post’s editorial board. At this point it seemed likely that Trump would clinch the Republican nomination. Foreign affairs came up. Who were the candidate’s foreign policy advisers? Trump read five names. The second was “Carter Page, PhD.” Given Trump’s obvious lack of experience of world affairs, this was a pivotal job.

One former Eurasia Group colleague said he was stunned when he discovered Page had mysteriously become one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers. “I nearly dropped my coffee,” he told me. The colleague added: “We had wanted people who could engage in critical analysis of what’s going on. This is a guy who has no critical insight into the situation. He wasn’t a smart person.”

Read more at the link…some insight as to what Page spoke of while he was in Russia, and how

Page’s loyalty to the SVR was breathtaking. Podobnyy wasn’t an “imagined bogeyman” but a career operative working against the interests of the United States. And, moreover, one who had bad-mouthed Page behind his back, calling him “a bit of an idiot”.

Whatever Page’s motives were for helping Russian intelligence—greed, naivety, stupidity—his actions surely justified the FBI’s interest in him. There was a simple way of avoiding U.S. surveillance and a FISA court warrant. It could be summed up like this: Don’t hang out with Russian spies.

All this talk of Russia, it may be a good time to watch Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove….

Buried In Trump’s Nuclear Report: A Russian Doomsday Weapon : Parallels : NPR

The Trump administration released a report on the state of America’s nuclear weaponry on Friday. The assessment, known as a Nuclear Posture Review, mainly concerns U.S. nukes and missiles.

But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device. The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”

“The radius of total or near-total destruction is the size of a pretty large metropolitan area, actually,” says Edward Geist, a Russia specialist at the Rand Corp. who has spent time looking at the weapon. “It’s difficult to imagine in normal terms.”

If it sounds somewhat familiar…the Status-6 has made an appearance before…

Status-6 made its first public appearance in 2015, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting with his generals in the city of Sochi.

Russia state television reported on the visit. The camera shows Putin seated at a long table. Then it cuts to a shot over one of the general’s shoulders. He is looking at what appears to be a drawing of a new nuclear weapon called the Oceanic Multipurpose System Status-6.

Here is the main point:

Status-6 would launch from beneath a Russian submarine. It would shoot at a depth too deep to be intercepted and travel for thousands of miles. Upon reaching its target along the U.S. coastline, it would detonate, swallowing up whatever city happened to be nearby.

“The only possible U.S. targets are large port cities,” says Mark Schneider, a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy, wrote in an e-mail. “The detonation of Status-6 in any of them would essentially wipe out their population into the far suburbs.”

“The detonation would cause a very large amount of radioactive fallout,” adds Pavel Podvig, an arms control expert who runs a blog called Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Podvig believes the weapon could potentially bathe the entire Northeast Corridor in radioactive soot.

Status-6 would probably be used as a “third-strike” weapon of last resort. If Russia fell under attack from the U.S. and couldn’t retaliate with its missiles, it might trigger Status-6: a doomsday machine. Or at least a doomsday-ish machine.

 

Did you all see the tweet from Paul Ryan before he deleted it yesterday?

Via Reuters: House Speaker Ryan deletes tweet praising $1.50 pay increase

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan deleted a tweet on Saturday cheering a $1.50 increase to a Pennsylvania school secretary’s weekly pay because of a $1.5 trillion tax cut after it drew criticism that he was out of touch with ordinary Americans.

Ha, no shit!

The Trump administration and Republicans have cast the massive tax cuts, which came into effect in January as creating jobs and boosting economic growth. But critics have argued that they benefited the rich and would blow up the national debt.

Some social media users accused Ryan of being out of touch, with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom posting on Twitter that “Guess someone told Paul Ryan you shouldn’t go around praising yourself for giving a working person an extra $1.50 a week — because he deleted this tweet.”

Paul Ryan Removes Tweet Bragging About GOP Tax Bill After Widespread Mockery | Mediaite

On Saturday, Ryan tweeted a link to an Associated Press story with a summary that said, “A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”

Immediately after Ryan tweeted the story, many left-of-center critics pounced on the speaker for praising the minuscule raise — given that annual Costco membership are only $60 — while many corporate higher-ups have gained a much more substantial amount from the GOP tax bill.  The Wisconsin Republican was then pressured to delete the tweet.

Specifically, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed Ryan for the tweet. “Paul Ryan deleted his embarrassing tweet of a blatant admission because he and Republicans don’t want you to know the truth: the #GOPTaxScam is a gift to corporate America and the top 1% at your expense.

He also doesn’t want you to know he got $500.000.00 from the Koch family,” tweeted Pelosi.

 

There was a horrible racist attack in Italy: At least 6 people injured by far-right shooter in Italy – Axios

It comes as more ultra-right only white political parties become more popular in Europe.

Can Europe’s new xenophobes reshape the continent? | World news | The Guardian

Tensions high in Athens ahead of nationalist rally | Greece News | Al Jazeera

And for the last of today’s post, updates on the latest train wreck:

CBS News is reporting that the Amtrak train was on the wrong tracks….

Amtrak train crash today in South Carolina leaves 2 dead, 116 injured – live updates – CBS News

At least two people were killed and 116 others injured when a train traveling from New York to Miami struck a freight train Sunday morning, authorities said. The crash left thousands of gallons of oil spilled at the scene near Columbia, South Carolina.

The collision occurred in Cayce around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, Lexington County spokesperson Harrison Cahill said. He said the injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones.

The two people killed were later identified as Amtrak personnel, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a news conference Sunday. McMaster said the CSX freight train was on the right loading side track “where it was supposed to be” before the collision and the Amtrak train was “on the wrong side.” He did not elaborate.

There were approximately 148 people aboard the train, including 139 passengers and 8 personnel.

Amtrak Train Collision in South Carolina Kills at Least 2 and Injures 116 – The New York Times

The CSX train was stationary, Mr. McMaster said, and appeared to be on the correct track. “It appears that Amtrak was on the wrong track,” he said.

The first engine of the freight train was torn up, he said, and the engine of the Amtrak train, Train 91, was “barely recognizable.”

“It’s a horrible thing to see — to understand the force that this involved,” Mr. McMaster said.

In a statement earlier Sunday morning, Amtrak said the lead engine and some of the passenger cars had derailed.

It was the second major crash involving an Amtrak train in less than a week. On Wednesday, a train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing a passenger in the truck.

 

 

More updates on the train crash in the comments below…this is an open thread.