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Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Kook, ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot - The New York Times

This is a week old but still pertinent in this cataclysmic and chaotic week in Washington.



"On Friday, a “president” with no political experience brought on a communications director with no communications experience.



Trump tapped Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street snake investment huckster, to be the new communications director, a move that caused Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who The New York Times reported “vehemently disagreed with the appointment,” to resign.



So, let me get this straight: Spicer was just fine with regularly walking out to that podium to spew and spin Trump’s lies, but hiring “the Mooch,” as Scaramucci is known, was the back-breaker? O.K., whatever, Sean.



This illustrates best what is wrong with this communications shop, and by extension, this administration: No one is concerned with the truth; they are only concerned with their own trajectories.



Nothing about this White House communications department was ever about communicating. On the contrary, it has always been about deception, concealment and equivocation. Informing the public was never the mission. Flattering Trump was the mission. But in the end, Trump will never be satisfied, because successful communications for him is to get people to buy his pack of lies, and that isn’t really working the way it once did.



Nothing will change with the arrival of the Mooch Communications Office because nothing has changed about the kook in the Oval Office. (Some may find that descriptor harsh, but I find no appellation too coarse to express my outrage over Trump’s character, behavior and agenda. If anything, no word feels grave enough to properly express it.)



Trump is suffering horrendous approval ratings, an impotent legislative agenda and his irrepressible impulse to shove his foot in his mouth. There is no real way to better package this disaster.



For that reason, I found this shake-up far less interesting than the developments last week about the inexorably advancing Russia investigation.



Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not interested in palace intrigue; I’m interested in the increasing possibility of prison and maybe even impeachment.



Think about all that happened last week: Donald Trump Jr. and the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were invited to testify in open session before the Senate Judiciary Committee about that shady meeting they had in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer. And Trump gave an astoundingly bizarre interview to The New York Times in which he publicly slammed his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and drew a “red line,” warning that Mueller should not investigate the Trump family’s business dealings.



Reuters reported: “The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s F.S.B. security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show.”



The Times also reported: “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly.”



The Times report continued: “Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”



Not only did NBC report that “Marc Kasowitz is no longer leading the president’s group of private lawyers,” Politico reported that Mark Corallo, spokesman for the Trump legal team, resigned because he “was concerned about whether he was being told the truth about various matters.”



If people on Trump’s legal payroll are worried that they aren’t being told the truth, how worried should the rest of us be? Very, I would venture.



Then there was the Washington Post report: “Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut” Mueller’s Russia investigation, “building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.”



The Post continued: “Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people.”



I understand the press giving a lot of attention to the drama of changing press people, but that doesn’t even register against the import of what’s happening on the Russia investigation front.



All those things that have never made sense — Trump’s warm-and-fuzzies for Vladimir Putin, the mass amnesia about meetings with Russians by people connected to the Trump campaign, Trump’s prickly protectiveness about releasing financial details and documents, including his tax returns — must be made to make sense.



Mueller will not be threatened, the investigation will not be closed or constricted and the truth will be known. Incriminating personal communications are often hard to find, but financial records are often also kept by third parties and tell their own story.



As they say, follow the money.



The Kook, ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot - The New York Times

Trump is something the nation did not know it needed , Only George Will could use Trump as a rationale for his small government agenda.- The Washington Post





Trump is something the nation did not know it needed - The Washington Post

Why Obamacare Is Still in Peril - The New York Times

"In a dramatic last-minute spectacle, the latest Republican plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act was defeated early Friday because of the courageous votes of three senators: Susan Collins, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski. This will come as an immense relief to millions of Americans who stood to lose their health insurance, but it would be naïve to think that this is the end of the road for the repeal-Obamacare movement.



For the last seven years, Republican leaders have engaged in a fraudulent campaign against the A.C.A. based on the lie that the law is either unworkable or collapsing. The law, which is based on conservative market-based ideas, is certainly flawed and could be improved, but it has helped 20 million people gain insurance and, as a result, provided needed medical care to the poor and the sick. Not only was the Republican diagnosis wrong, but also leaders like the House speaker, Paul Ryan, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, tried to push through legislation that was devoid of any ideas and would have weakened the health care system and left millions unable to afford health care. One telling sign: Insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and public interest groups like AARP opposed pretty much every proposal the Republicans put out over the last seven months.



Ultimately, this deceitful campaign ran aground by the narrowest of margins in the Senate thanks to the three Republicans and all 48 Democrats and independents. Much attention has rightly focused on Mr. McCain. Returning to the Senate after surgery and a brain cancer diagnosis, he delivered a stirring speech on Tuesday calling on lawmakers from both parties to reach “agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people.” He seemed to go against those sentiments early in the process when he voted to start debate. But, when it really counted, Mr. McCain did the right thing. An equal or larger amount of credit ought to go to Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski, who stood firm despite immense political pressure and, in Ms. Murkowski’s case, shameful threats by the Trump administration.



By contrast, senators like Shelley Moore Capito, Dean Heller and Rob Portman who had made a big show of protecting their constituents readily gave in to party leaders. They allowed the Senate to come within one vote of passing a bill that would have left 16 million more people uninsured and driven up insurance premiums by about 20 percent a year.



Though one threat has been put off, the A.C.A. is far from safe. President Trump and his health and human services secretary, Tom Price, have made it their mission to undermine the law. On Friday, the president again threatened to let Obamacare “implode” in order to make a deal. And Mr. Price, who worked closely with his former colleagues in Congress to devise repeal proposals, has been spreading lies about the law and making changes that would reduce benefits and lead to fewer people signing up for coverage.



It would be foolish to underestimate the administration, which has the power to do substantial damage. The administration could stop making subsidy payments to insurance companies authorized by the A.C.A. to help reduce deductibles for lower-income people. And it could stop enforcing the penalty for people who do not buy insurance, which would result in fewer young and healthy people signing up, leading insurers to stop offering policies in some parts of the country.



Or the administration could decide to work with Congress and state governments to improve the law. Congress could strengthen the insurance market by voting to make the subsidy payments, which it never explicitly did. The 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid could reconsider and help four million more people gain health insurance. And the administration and state governments could enact reinsurance programs and other policies to lower the risk to insurers and encourage them to sell coverage in rural and suburban areas.



After this failure, Republicans must figure out whose example they will follow. They can adopt Mr. Trump’s call for yet another scorched-earth campaign. Or they can listen to the likes of Mr. McCain about the benefits of bipartisanship and cooperation."



Why Obamacare Is Still in Peril - The New York Times

Friday, July 28, 2017

The worst is yet to come - "The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive." The Washington Post

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 "The Court of Mad King Donald is not a presidency. It is an affliction, one that saps the life out of our democratic institutions, and it must be fiercely resisted if the nation as we know it is to survive."

(Via.).The worst is yet to come - The Washington Post:

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation

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https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Trump-Press-Conference-Russia-Scandal-rtr-IMG2.jpg?scale=896&compress=80 

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation: ""

Boy Scouts Chief Apologizes For 'Political Rhetoric' In Donald Trump's Jamboree Speech : The Two-Way : NPR

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Boy Scouts Chief Apologizes For 'Political Rhetoric' In Donald Trump's Jamboree Speech : The Two-Way : NPR: ""

A 'Historic, Unprecedented' Failure For President Donald Trump | Morning...

Reince Priebus Out: President Donald Trump Tries To Reset His White Hous...

The A.C.A. Lives Another Day, but It Is Not Yet Safe - The New York Times







The A.C.A. Lives Another Day, but It Is Not Yet Safe - The New York Times

There are three branches of government, and two are in distress - The Washington Post





There are three branches of government, and two are in distress - The Washington Post

Trump names Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as White House chief of staff, ousting Reince Priebus. "A Ball Of Confusion" - The Washington Post




Trump names Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as White House chief of staff, ousting Reince Priebus - The Washington Post

President Donald Trump's 'Bad Policy' Made For A Political Reason. The Morning Joe panel discusses President Trump's announcement via Twitter on Wednesday a fresh ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. | Morn...

Don't Underestimate Donald Trump's Raw Power, Says Legal Scholar | Morni...

Stephen Helps 'The Mooch' Scaramucci Find 'The Leaks'

Turmoil in the Trump Administration: The Daily Show

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Stephen Makes A Change To Trump's 'Trans Ban' Tweet

U.S. House leader says willing to do conference committee on healthcare

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks into the Senate chamber for a healthcare vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017.







"With the Senate digging in for what could be a rare all-night session to debate amendments to a Republican healthcare plan that would roll back parts of the seven-year-old Affordable Care Act, Republican senators challenged their leaders and expressed frustration with the entire process.



“I’d rather get of out of the way and have it collapse, than have a half-assed approach where it is now our problem,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.



Graham was referring to a so-called skinny Republican healthcare bill that would repeal a few portions of the Obamacare healthcare law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act."



U.S. House leader says willing to do conference committee on healthcare

Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation

"David Cole, legal director of the ACLU and The Nation’s legal-affairs correspondent, argues that Trump would only be talking about pardoning himself if he was desperate—because he knows what the special counsel is likely to find—and is thus willing to pay a tremendous political price to avoid impeachment."



Is Trump Desperate Enough to Pardon Himself? | The Nation

Charles Blow hits another homerun in describing America's neo fascist President ‘First They Came For ...’ - The New York Times



Charles Blow hits another homerun in describing America's neo fascist Ptresident



"It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.



The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.



In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.



This threat Trump poses — to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety — may be without equal from a domestic source.



Everything he is doing is an assault and matters on some level.



His desecration of the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree matters. Not only did he turn his appearance before the boys into a political rally in which they booed both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he seemed to be appealing to their basest instincts.



What exactly did Trump mean when he regaled the boys with the story of the real-estate developer William Levitt, who, as Trump put it:



“Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.”



As the boys start to make noise, Trump responds, “Should I tell you? Should I tell you?” and then proceeds to say:



“You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.”



Is this a version of Trump’s “locker room talk,” that phrase he used to excuse his genital-grabbing comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape? This may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme, but it matters. The fact that its shelf life felt like only a few hours before the next outrage underscores the degree to which our national consciousness is being barraged by the man’s violations.



But yes, it matters too, just as Trump’s obsession with Obama and Clinton matters.



Also, his public trolling of Attorney General Jeff Sessions matters. The fact that he’s enraged at Sessions for taking the appropriate ethical step and recusing himself from the Russia investigation matters. The fact that Trump essentially told The New York Times on the record that he would not have chosen Sessions if he’d known Sessions wouldn’t have stood firm in protection of him, matters.



Trump’s continuous attacks on the media matter.



His pushing of the Republicans’ callous Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan — a plan that would strip health insurance coverage from tens of millions of Americans, and a plan that Trump has demonstrated no particular policy knowledge of — matters.



Trump’s tweet yesterday — on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman desegregating the armed forces, no less — that “the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” matters. There are thousands of trans people already serving in the military. The idea that a man with five draft deferments would dictate that people who volunteer to serve should not be allowed to is beyond outrageous — and it matters.



Trump’s pushing us closer to international military conflict matters.



And yes, the plodding Russia investigation, which to Trump is an agitation and threat, like an irremovable thorn in his flesh, matters.



This has come as a great shock and demoralizer to many Americans, not necessarily because they didn’t think Trump was capable of such depravity, but because they simply were unprepared for the daily reality of living a nightmare.



There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.



In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.



President Andrew Jackson’s atrocious American Indian removal program gave us the powerful Cherokee memorial letters. The standoff at Standing Rock gave us what the BBC called “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years.”



Crackdowns on gay bars gave us the Stonewall uprising. America’s inept response to the AIDS epidemic gave us Act Up and Larry Kramer. California’s Proposition 8 breathed new life into the fight for marriage equality and led to a victory in the Supreme Court.



The racial terror that followed the Emancipation Proclamation gave us the anti-lynching movement, the N.A.A.C.P., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson.



Jim Crow gave us the civil rights movement, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer and James Baldwin.



The latest rash of extrajudicial killing of black people gave us Black Lives Matter.



The financial crisis and the government’s completely inadequate response to it gave us Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent.



A renewed assault on women’s rights, particularly a woman’s right to choose, gave us, at least in part, the Women’s March, likely the largest march in American history.



This is not an exhaustive list, but just some notable examples.



It is a way of illustrating that the fiery crucible is where the weapons of resistance are forged; it is where the mettle of those crusading for justice, equality and progress are tested.



Unlike the examples listed above, Trump’s assault is intersectional and nearly universal. Multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.



So, in this moment of regression, all the targets of Trump’s ire must push back with a united front, before it is too late.



As Martin Niemöller so famously put it:



First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.





Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.





Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.





Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me."







‘First They Came For ...’ - The New York Times

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The GOP Fails to Repeal Obamacare (Again) & Trump Targets Trans Soldiers...

Health Care Vote: Senate Rejects Repeal Without Replace - The New York Times

"  The  Senate  on  Wednesday  afternoon  rejected  a  proposal  to  repeal major  parts  of  the  Affordable  Care  Act  without  providing  a replacement.  Follow  the  live  vote  tracker  to  see  how  each  senator voted. •  President  Trump  lashed  out  Wednesday  morning  at  Senator  Lisa Murkowski  of  Alaska,  one  of  two  Republicans  who  voted  on  Tuesday against  beginning  debate  on  repealing  the  health  law. •  Blue  Cross  Blue  Shield  warns  senators  against  repealing  the mandate  that  almost  everyone  have  insurance  without  something  to take  its  place..."



Health Care Vote: Senate Rejects Repeal Without Replace - The New York Times

Dumb bigot Donald Trump says US military will not allow transgender people to serve

Donald Trump says US military will not allow transgender people to serve.

Decision marks a reversal of a policy initiated under Obama in 2016

Nancy Pelosi: ‘This is a dark day for thousands of heroes in our military’

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/26/trump-says-us-military-will-not-accept-or-allow-transgender-people-to-serve?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Bloggeroid

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Senate dives into health-care debate despite deep divisions within the GOP. BREAKING: The Senate voted against the GOP bill to make sweeping changes to Affordable Care Act. - The Washington Post

President Barack Obama Owns Anthony Scaramucci | All In | MSNBC

New Facts Uncovered About Donald Trump FBI Pick, Confirmation Vote Looms...

New Facts Uncovered About Donald Trump FBI Pick, Confirmation Vote Looms...

President Donald Trump Targets AG Jeff Sessions In Early Morning Tweets ...

Stephen Introduces His Anthony Scaramucci Impression

Spicer's Out, Scaramucci's In and Kushner Speaks: A Closer Look

Spicer's Out, Scaramucci's In and Kushner Speaks: A Closer Look

Profiles in Tremendousness - White House Communications Director Anthony...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why Mueller may have the ability to indict Trump | MSNBC



Why Mueller may have the ability to indict Trump | MSNBC

Does Jared Kushner’s statement offer clarity? | MSNBC



Does Jared Kushner’s statement offer clarity? | MSNBC

Trump labels Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘beleaguered trying to force his resignation.

President Trump greeted Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office on Feb. 9.





LOL“So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” the president tweeted from his personal Twitter account on Monday morning.



Subscribe to the Post's Must Reads newsletter: Compelling stories you can't afford to miss



Over the past week, Trump has been attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions over of his decision months ago to recuse himself from the investigations into possible connections between Trump's campaign and Russia. Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, supported Trump from the early days of his candidacy and became a trusted adviser. Ten days after the election, Trump nominated Sessions for attorney general and said in a statement that “Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”



Trump labels Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘beleaguered’

Pardon me? Legal experts doubt Trump could absolve himself in Russia inquiry | US news | The Guardian

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"An apropos-of-nothing assertion by Donald Trump on Twitter on Saturday morning, that ‘all agree the US president has the complete power to pardon’, raised interesting questions: How broad is the president’s pardoning power, and does it extend to self-pardons?

As the Russia scandal deepens, with Congress preparing to interview Donald Trump Jr and special counsel Robert Mueller accessing the president’s tax returns, Trump has been seeking legal advice on the question of self-pardons, the Washington Post reported on Friday morning.

Notwithstanding Trump’s assertion that ‘all agree’ on the matter, legal experts say it is unclear if the president can self-pardon. The constitution does not weigh in explicitly on the issue and there is no direct precedent. No president has ever attempted to self-pardon.

Trump attacks Post over report Sessions discussed campaign with ambassador Read more Richard Nixon looked into it when he stood accused of obstruction of justice and abuse of power in the Watergate scandal. His personal lawyer told him he could do it but the justice department said he could not, said Brian C Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University whose recent book, Constitutional Cliffhangers, devotes a chapter to the issue of self-pardons."

Pardon me? Legal experts doubt Trump could absolve himself in Russia inquiry | US news | The Guardian:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why does the Trump administration have no qualms about lying to the American people?


Why America Can’t Quit O.J. Simpson







"As a nation, we can’t stop watching and talking about O.J. Simpson. His parole hearing this week was shown on all four major broadcast networks and several cable outlets. Over 13 million people tuned in. A few weeks ago, JAY-Z released a music video for “The Story Of O.J.,” the second single off his acclaimed new album 4:44. It’s a heady song about the impossibility of transcending race. Last year, a TV series about Simpson’s 1995 murder trial won several Emmys and a documentary about his entire life was awarded an Oscar. Decades after his trial and the height of his fame, we still remain hopelessly obsessed with Simpson—a man who’s been famous for half a century, ever since he was a football star at USC in the ‘60s; a man famous enough that his place in society could change from athlete to pitchman to Hollywood actor to what he is now: a perceived murderer. A pariah.



But now that he’s been granted parole, we can be certain that the story of O.J. will only continue to grow.



He is America’s cultural Rorschach test because there are so many different ways to see him; our country’s endless obsession in part because he symbolizes so much: the racial divide in America, the lionization of sports heroes, the scourge of domestic violence, the power of celebrity to impact the justice system, and so much more.



Allow me to go a bit deeper on a few.



While Simpson stands for so much more than race, we must admit that it remains at the core of his story. JAY-Z uses Simpson as the poster boy for the attempt to transcend race, positing him as a race traitor who tried to escape the strictures of racism by being so well-liked and non-threatening that white people saw him as the exception (“I’m not black, I’m O.J.” was his attitude). There is no transcending race. Period. The awareness of race is burned deep into our consciousness, so much so that our bias functions at a subconscious level. (Also, the notion of “transcending race” is always applied to Blacks. Do you ever hear about white people who are transcending their race?) And so many view Simpson’s stunning fall from grace as a consequence of his foolish attempt to transcend race, as if all of this is karmic retribution of some sort.



Payback is a recurring theme when it comes to Simpson—and what he symbolizes. For some, he is the embodiment of payback within the American justice system, perhaps even from two directions. For many Black people, his 1995 acquittal represented payback against a system that’s been unjust to generations of Black Americans. From Dred Scott to the Scottsboro Boys to Emmett Till to Rodney King to Trayvon Martin, the U.S. criminal justice system has often been a place where Black people struggled to find justice. Simpson represented one instance where this iniquitous system benefited the Black man.



The second form of judicial payback stems from his 2008 conviction on charges of robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, and assault with a deadly weapon—and his sentence of 33 years in prison (with parole in 9). Simpson was now seen as a symbol of overpunishment and how you can’t outrun the justice system. His lengthy sentence was widely perceived as forcing him to serve time for allegedly killing Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. He received an extremely excessive sentence for a first-time offender without a criminal record. O.J. may not be a sympathetic figure but this is a frightening prospect for the public at large: Whether or not you think O.J. is guilty, do we really want a justice system where, if the government fails to convict you of a crime in court, it can apply a massive penalty later? One can believe that Simpson was the killer and that the state did not have enough evidence to convict him. Those are not conflicting concepts. The concept of double jeopardy is crucial to the American justice system but it seems like the rules may have been bent with Simpson because there was so much residual anger toward him.



That anger is deep-seated. Simpson is seen, in the eyes of most, as a murderer who got away. The state failed to make its case in the 1995 trial but in the court of public opinion, Simpson was convicted. You don’t even hear O.J. talking about finding the real killers. To many he’ll always be persona non grata. And worse, if you do think he killed them, the brutal violence he used came as a shock."



Why America Can’t Quit O.J. Simpson

Neil de Grasse Tyson on the afterlife. Very moving.

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Why I am Agnostic

The future of the Finder

"This is the last installment of this column, and as such, I wanted to cover one of the most important features on the Mac: the Finder. This file manager, browser, and user interface layer is the tool that people use to launch applications, work with and manage files and folders, and control pretty much everything their computer does.

The early Mac was revolutionary, bringing the desktop metaphor to everyday computers. It wasn’t the first computer to use this type of interface, but it was the first one that was widely adopted. Instead of controlling a computer by typing lines of text commands, it used the WIMP interface: windows, icons, menus, and pointer. (And even before text commands, computers were controlled by punch cards, tapes, and other ways of inputting commands and data.)"

http://www.macworld.com/article/3209162/operating-systems/the-future-of-the-finder.html?utm_content=buffer732f0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

posted from Bloggeroid

The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission - The New York Times





"The truth can’t be repeated often enough: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which held its first meeting last week, is a sham and a scam.



It was born out of a marriage of convenience between conservative anti-voter-fraud crusaders, who refuse to accept actual data, and a president who refuses to accept that he lost the popular vote fair and square.



It is run by some of the nation’s most determined vote suppressors, the kind who try to throw out voter registrations for being printed on insufficiently thick paper or who release reports on noncitizen voting that are titled “Alien Invasion” and illustrated with images of U.F.O.s.



Its purpose is not to restore integrity to elections but to undermine the public’s confidence enough to push through policies and practices that make registration and voting harder, if not impossible, for certain groups of people who tend to vote Democratic.



Its first, shaky steps have already created chaos. At least seven lawsuits have been filed against it; dozens of states have rejected some or all of its bumbling, and possibly illegal, request for voter data; and thousands of voters have dropped their names from state rolls, with most telling officials that they didn’t trust the commission or were upset to find out how much of their personal information was public.



In short, the commission is a fraud on the American people, and a far greater threat to electoral integrity than whatever wrongdoing it may claim to dig up.



At the meeting last week, the commissioners lived down to expectations, repeating their stale and baseless claims about hordes of noncitizens, former felons, dead people and other ineligible voters storming polling stations.



President Trump himself dropped by to introduce the proceedings and attack the state officials who have refused to turn over voter data. “If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Mr. Trump said. That’s pretty rich coming from a man who refuses to release his tax returns. It’s also specious. The data on fraud allegations have, in fact, been analyzed for years, and have confirmed time and again what election officials from both parties report from firsthand experience: Voter fraud is extremely rare, and in-person fraud — the only kind that can be caught by those voter-ID laws — is essentially nonexistent."



The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission - The New York Times

The Story of Donald Trump's lawsuit against Bill Maher Over An Orangutan...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Archaeologists Dig Up An 800 Year Old Native American Pot. What They Found Inside Is Changing History!

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"In 2008, on a dig in the First Nation’s Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin, archaeologists made a small but stunning discovery: a tiny clay pot.Though it might not have seemed very impressive at first glimpse, this little piece of pottery was determined to be about 800 years old.And inside that pot? Something that changes how we’re looking at extinction, preservation, and food storage, as well as how humans have influenced the planet in their time on it.It’s amazing to think that a little clay pot buried in the ground 800 years ago would still be relevant today, but it’s true! It’s actually brought an extinct species of squash that was presumed to be lost forever. Thank our Indigenous Ancestors!Even they knew what preservation meant. They knew the importance of the future, Is it not amazing that they are affecting our walks of life even to this day? Here it is! The pot was unearthed on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin, where it had laid buried for the past 800 years."

(Via.).  Archaeologists Dig Up An 800 Year Old Native American Pot. What They Found Inside Is Changing History!:

Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic

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"...A review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern: Trump owes much of his business success, and by extension his presidency, to a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. Some ran a worldwide high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower—in a unit directly below one owned by Trump. Others provided Trump with lucrative branding deals that required no investment on his part. Taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics. “They saved his bacon,” says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s.

 

It’s entirely possible that Trump was never more than a convenient patsy for Russian oligarchs and mobsters, with his casinos and condos providing easy pass-throughs for their illicit riches. At the very least, with his constant need for new infusions of cash and his well-documented troubles with creditors, Trump made an easy “mark” for anyone looking to launder money. But whatever his knowledge about the source of his wealth, the public record makes clear that Trump built his business empire in no small part with a lot of dirty money from a lot of dirty Russians—including the dirtiest and most feared of them all..."

Trump’s Russian Laundromat | New Republic: ""

MSNBC BREAKING NEWS 7/22/17 Report: Russian Mob Money Helped Build Donal...

Stephen Rents The 'Trump Pee Pee Tape' Hotel Room For A Night

Friday, July 21, 2017

CNN hosts flabbergasted by Trump’s inability to speak coherent English i...

Washington Post: Trump Seeks Advice On Pardoning Himself, Family Members...

Indivisible National Day of Action - July 18, 2017

Exclusive - Goodbye, Sean Spicer: The Daily Show

President Trump Casually Makes Another Damning Admission: The Daily Show

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. had Russian intelligence connections - The Washington Post


"Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Moscow lawyer with powerful government contacts, represented a military unit founded by the Federal Security Service in court cases in 2011 and 2012, court rulings seen by The Washington Post show.

In those cases, Veselnitskaya represented Military Unit 55002 in a dispute over a five-story office building in northwest Moscow where a number of electronics companies were based. It was not immediately clear what the spy agency, known as the FSB, used the building for. But the state-run company that now occupies the property provides electronic components for Russian tech companies.

The news was first reported on Friday by Reuters, which said it had seen documents showing Veselnitskaya’s role in the legal tussle began as early as 2005 and lasted until 2013.

According to legal records, Military Unit 55002 was founded by the FSB, and it is located next to the Lubyanka, the headquarters of the Soviet Union’s secret police and intelligence agency for decades. The military unit works on procurement for the FSB, which directs Russia’s counterintelligence and border security agencies.

There is no information suggesting that Veselnitskaya is herself an intelligence agent or an employee of the Russian government. But the new information adds to the intrigue surrounding the June 2016 encounter, in which Donald Trump Jr. met with what he was told was a “Russian government attorney” who could offer damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin ordered a campaign of cyberattacks and propaganda aimed at undermining the American presidential election and discrediting Clinton. A special counsel is investigating possible coordination between Trump’s associates and Russian officials during the campaign. President Trump has denied that his campaign received assistance from Russia.

Veselnitskaya could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

The court rulings are the first legal evidence to emerge of a relationship between Veselnitskaya and the Russian intelligence establishment. Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist who accompanied her to the meeting at Trump Tower, has also reportedly told friends that he was a former counterintelligence officer. He has told journalists that that is untrue."

Lawyer who met with Trump Jr. had Russian intelligence connections - The Washington Post

Spicer resigns as White House press secretary, Scaramucci to be communications director




"White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday, following the appointment of wealthy financier Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director, according to a White House official.

Spicer’s abrupt and angry departure — which caught even senior West Wing staffers by surprise — reflects the latest upheaval in a White House that has been consumed by chaos and staff infighting since almost the day President Trump took office.

 Scaramucci has previously had a tense and fraught relationship with both Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who both vehemently objected to Trump’s decision to install Scaramucci in the top communications job. Scaramucci has coined a particularly crude nickname for Priebus, and Priebus previously blocked the financier from several other top White House roles.

Scaramucci had been in talks with the president and senior staff all week. But the shake-up comes amid intensifying tumult at the White House as Trump moves to respond to the widening special counsel probe into his campaign’s possible collusion with the Russian government and searches for ways to revive the administration’s stalled legislative agenda.

“The President wanted to bring on some folks, to add to the team. They were great,” Spicer said in a brief interview on Friday. “This is something you dream of. I can't thank the president enough.”

What Is The Senate Trying To Do?: Kathleen Sebelius | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Trump Turns on Sessions Amid Russia Probe: A Closer Look

#LiarInChief CBO: New health care bill would leave 32 million uninsured The president threatens and cajoles Republican senators as the CBO says the new, repeal-only plan will leave 32 million people uninsured and double premiums. - All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC




All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC

Senators to Trump: take a 'moral' stand on immigrants | US news | The Guardian





"A top Republican senator has challenged Donald Trump to make “a moral decision” on the fate of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, part of a revamped bipartisan push to grant permanent residency to so-called Dreamers.



“The moment of reckoning is coming,” South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham warned the president and his Republican colleagues at a press conference Thursday to unveil a new iteration of legislation known as the Dream Act.



Graham was joined by Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic cosponsor of the bill who first introduced legislation of the same name 16 years ago. Their proposal, which mirrors previous legislation that failed to pass Congress multiple times, would grant legal status and a path to citizenship to Dreamers if they were longtime residents of the US.



In a sign of tough odds facing the bill, the White House swiftly rejected the notion that the president would support such a measure.



“The administration has opposed the Dream Act and we are likely to be consistent in that,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, in an off-camera briefing with reporters on Wednesday.



Graham acknowledged the president’s candidacy was rooted in a hardline approach to immigration but cast the debate as an existential question for the party that now controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.



“President Trump, you’re going to have to make a decision,” Graham said. “The campaign is over.”




Senators to Trump: take a 'moral' stand on immigrants | US news | The Guardian

Trump supporters still fixate on Clinton as mood darkens. For now, any Trump voters who might be nursing doubts about the president are mostly not advertising that sentiment to the media. “They don’t want to admit that they may be wrong,” explained Cathy Robinson, 70. "Duh!) | US news | The Guardian





Trump supporters still fixate on Clinton as mood darkens | US news | The Guardian

Sessions learns loyalty can be a one-way street with Trump - The Washington Post



 Nothing is more important to President Trump than loyalty — to him.

In business and in politics, he has demanded it from the people closest to him. Some employees who abandoned him were never welcomed back. Politicians who failed to defend him after the most politically damaging moments of the 2016 campaign are still suspect in his eyes. And after six months as president, Trump is still known to publicly jab at people who failed to support his presidential bid.

But as Attorney General Jeff Sessions learned this week, the loyalty Trump expects isn’t always reciprocated.



Sessions learns loyalty can be a one-way street with Trump - The Washington Post

How Deranged Are Trump Supporters? New Poll Shows That It's Worse Than You Ever Imagined

Donald Trump



"Only 45% of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians about information that might be harmful to Hillary Clinton...even though Trump Jr. admitted it. 32% say the meeting didn't happen and 24% say they're not sure.

72% of Trump voters consider the Russia story overall to be 'fake news,' only 14% disagree.

Only 24% of Trump voters even want an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, 64% are opposed to an investigation.

Only 26% of Trump voters admit that Russia wanted Trump to win the election, 44% claim Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, and 31% say they're not sure one way or the other.

Even if there was an investigation, and it found that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia to aid his campaign, 77% of his supporters think he should still stay in office to just 16% who believe he should resign."



How Deranged Are Trump Supporters? New Poll Shows That It's Worse Than You Ever Imagined

Lawrence: Session Will Be A Witness Against Donald Trump | The Last Word...

Toying with Russia: The Daily Show

Was That Tweet From Trump Or Shakespeare?

President Trump’s first six months: The fact-check tally - The Washington Post




"Shortly before reaching the six-month mark of his presidency, President Trump made an assertion and then paused that perhaps he should not be so definitive. “I better say ‘think,’ otherwise they’ll give you a Pinocchio. And I don’t like those — I don’t like Pinocchios.”



As it turned out, the president’s claim — that he has signed more bills (42) at this point than “any president ever” — was completely wrong. Just among recent presidents, he’s behind Jimmy Carter (70 bills signed), George H.W. Bush (55) and Bill Clinton (50).



So it goes with Trump, the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered. As part of our coverage of the president’s first 100 days, The Fact Checker team (along with Leslie Shapiro and Kaeti Hinck of the Post graphics department) produced an interactive graphic that displayed a running list of every false or misleading statement made by the president. He averaged 4.9 false or misleading claims a day."



President Trump’s first six months: The fact-check tally - The Washington Post

Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police Shooting - The New York Times

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 "A day before the shooting, a lawsuit accusing Officer Noor and two of his colleagues of misconduct was filed in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by a woman who said the police had illegally taken her into custody for a mental health checkup in May, said Officer Noor had taken her phone from her hand ‘and then grabbed her right wrist and upper arm, thereby immobilizing her.’

Jordan S. Kushner, a lawyer for the woman, said Officer Noor ‘was a participant in what we consider a real egregious and dramatic violation of her rights.’ He noted that his client had initially called the police for help that day, just as the woman Officer Noor shot on Saturday did."

(Via.   )Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police Shooting - The New York Times:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kushner to testify Monday before Senate intelligence panel as part of Russia probe - The Washington Post




Kushner to testify Monday before Senate intelligence panel as part of Russia probe - The Washington Post

Amazon Echo review - CNET

Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions - The New York Times




"WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”



Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions - The New York Times

Big German Bank, Key to Trump’s Finances, Faces New Scrutiny - The New York Times





"During the presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump pointed to his relationship with Deutsche Bank to counter reports that big banks were skeptical of doing business with him.



After a string of bankruptcies in his casino and hotel businesses in the 1990s, Mr. Trump became somewhat of an outsider on Wall Street, leaving the giant German bank among the few major financial institutions willing to lend him money.



Now that two-decades-long relationship is coming under scrutiny.



Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks.



Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.



It was not clear what information the bank might ultimately provide. Generally, the bank is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances since it is the only major financial institution that continues to conduct sizable business with him. Deutsche Bank has also lent money to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and to his family real estate business."



Big German Bank, Key to Trump’s Finances, Faces New Scrutiny - The New York Times

Trump Tells The Times He Wouldn’t Have Appointed Sessions if He Had Known Sessions Would Recuse Himself on Russia - The New York Times - Reaffirmation of smoking gun number 1) obstruction




Trump Tells The Times He Wouldn’t Have Appointed Sessions if He Had Known Sessions Would Recuse Himself on Russia - The New York Times

Six ways Trump is 'dismantling' the US after six months in office | US news | The Guardian

 

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"Trump has been paralyzed on healthcare and tax reform, but his administration has been active in eroding safeguards and protections elsewhere "

(Via.).  Six ways Trump is 'dismantling' the US after six months in office | US news | The Guardian:

Tensions reach new high between Trump, GOP | TheHill

Tensions reach new high between Trump, GOP | TheHill: ""

Trump's undisclosed hour with Putin, a former Russian spy | MSNBC



Trump's undisclosed hour with Putin, a former Russian spy | MSNBC

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

People in Denmark Are Much Happier Than People in the United States. Her...

Trump and Putin had undisclosed second meeting, White House confirms | US news | The Guardian

Trump shakes hands with Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on 7 July 2017.





"...There was no one else with earshot, Bremmer added, and it is not known what the men discussed. Trump was not joined in the conversation by his own translator, which is thought to be a breach of national security protocol.

Bremmer added: “It’s very clear that Trump’s best single relationship in the G20 is with Putin. US allies were surprised, flummoxed, disheartened. You’ve got Trump in the room with all these allies and who’s the one he spends time with?”



Such was the level of concern that someone decided to bring it to Bremmer’s attention. He said he had expected the White House to go public. “I sat on this for days hoping they would talk about it. I knew last week. It didn’t happen. I’m an analyst; I’m not in the business of breaking news,” he said....



Trump and Putin had undisclosed second meeting, White House confirms | US news | The Guardian

The Republican Health-Care Meltdown | The New Yorker

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"If the Republican Party’s crusade to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is truly over, Monday night provided a fittingly sudden and chaotic ending. Early in the evening, two conservative Republican senators—Mike Lee, of Utah, and Jerry Moran, of Kansas—issued statements saying that they wouldn’t support the revised health-care-reform bill that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, released last Thursday. Since the Republicans have a majority of just two in the Senate, and two other Republicans—Susan Collins, of Maine, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky—had already announced that they wouldn’t vote for the legislation, the effort to secure its passage looked lost.
For several hours after Lee and Moran’s announcements, McConnell issued no public response. Then, around 11 P.M., he released a statement that said, “Regretfully, it’s now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.”
But McConnell didn’t leave it at that. Instead, he said that the Senate Republicans would now move to vote on repealing the A.C.A. immediately and dealing with the consequences later. Since those consequences would include causing turmoil in the private markets and reversing the Medicaid expansion that has provided health-insurance coverage to about fourteen million Americans, it seems very unlikely that McConnell will be able to get fifty votes to pass such an irresponsible piece of legislation.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether McConnell really believes such a reckless strategy is feasible, or whether he was simply looking to save face. President Trump, however, supports pursuing repeal without replacement. On Monday night, he tweeted, “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” That final sentence was almost certainly wishful thinking. And the entire statement was consistent with the lack of gravity, inattention to detail, and political gamesmanship that has characterized the Republican effort to undo Obamacare since the beginning.
The larger lesson of this sorry episode is that nobody—not McConnell, or Trump, or House Speaker Paul Ryan—can resolve the contradictions of today’s Republican Party. Once the political arm of the Rotary Club and the affluent suburbs, the Party is increasingly one of middle-class and working-class voters, many of whom are big beneficiaries of federal programs, such as Medicaid and the Obamacare subsidies for the purchase of private insurance. But the G.O.P. remains beholden to its richest, most conservative donors, many of whom espouse a doctrine of rolling back the government and cutting taxes, especially taxes applicable to themselves and other very rich people. It was the donors and ideologues, with Ryan as their front man, who led the assault on the Affordable Care Act.
These efforts had put several senators in a difficult place. Moran, who was first elected in 2010 and has a solidly conservative voting record, found himself being forced to defend a set of reforms to Medicaid that meant potentially closing many rural hospitals and taking health-care coverage away from more than a hundred thousand of his fellow-Kansans, according to the Urban Institute. Although Moran cast his decision not to support the revised bill in terms of needing more time for consultations and legislative deliberations, it was clear that he was feeling the political pressure.
In their statements on Monday night, both Moran and Lee said that the revised bill didn’t go far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act and reducing premiums. This, despite the fact that the measure contained an amendment—modelled on a proposal by Lee—that would have allowed insurers to offer cheap, catastrophic care policies outside the Obamacare insurance exchanges, so long as they also offered a comprehensive option through the exchanges. In recent days, insurers warned that the amendment was completely unworkable and could lead to the collapse of the exchanges. How much further does Lee want to go? In his statement, he also referred to the bill’s failure to abolish all the taxes that the A.C.A. introduced—taxes that only hit the donor class. In other words, the bill didn’t do enough for the wealthy.
Moran, for his part, said, “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.” But in order to enable people with preëxisting conditions or modest incomes to obtain health coverage at a reasonable cost, you have to restrict the choices of others. The young and the healthy have to be persuaded, or forced, to join the same risk pools as older and sicker people. Insurers have to be prevented from creaming off low-risk customers into separate markets. Rich people have to be taxed to pay for Medicaid, or for the subsidies that enable working families on modest incomes to buy private insurance. As Milton Friedman noted long ago, there is no free lunch.
Obamacare, for all its complexity and teething problems, was, and is, a serious and comprehensive effort to face up to these difficulties and trade-offs. The Republicans never got serious about how to replace it. They are now paying the price."

The Republican Health-Care Meltdown | The New Yorker

NY Subpoenas Records On Huge Manafort Loans From Small Bank: WSJ | Rache...

‘Plan C’ on Obamacare, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed - The New York Times



"WASHINGTON — With their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in tatters, Senate leaders on Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan appeared also to collapse.



Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.



“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Ms. Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”



Senator Rob Portman of Ohio hinted strongly that he too would oppose it.



The collapse of the Senate Republican health bill — and the failing struggle to find yet another alternative —highlighted a harsh reality for Senate Republicans: While Republican senators freely assailed the health law while Mr. Obama occupied the White House, they have so far not been able to come up with a workable plan to unwind it that would keep both moderate Republicans and conservatives on board."



‘Plan C’ on Obamacare, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed - The New York Times

How unpopular is Donald Trump? An updating calculation of the president's approval rating, accounting for each poll's quality, recency, sample size and partisan lean. July 18th 2017 538 Blog


Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post





"An American-based employee of a Russian real estate company took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., bringing to eight the number of known participants at the session that has emerged a key focus of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian.



Ike Kaveladze’s presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs’ company and attended as their representative."





Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post

Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post





"An American-based employee of a Russian real estate company took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., bringing to eight the number of known participants at the session that has emerged a key focus of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian.



Ike Kaveladze’s presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs’ company and attended as their representative."





Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified - The Washington Post

Joe: This is doubly humiliating for Trump today | MSNBC



Joe: This is doubly humiliating for Trump today | MSNBC

Donald Trump Jr: New Revelations Come To Light In Meeting | Morning Joe ...

Even Republicans Hate the Republican Health Care Bill: The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah | July 17, 2017 Trump Making Calls On Go...

The Opening Monologue Of 'Russia Week'

This country deserves much better than Trump - The Washington Post



"It’s exhausting, I know, but don’t let outrage fatigue numb you to the moral bankruptcy and gross incompetence of the Trump administration. This ugly departure from American norms and values must be opposed with sustained passion — and with the knowledge that things will probably get worse before they get better.



Heaven help us, look where we are. We have a president — commander in chief of the armed forces, ostensibly the leader of the free world — whose every word is suspect. President Trump is an inveterate liar. He dismisses provable facts as “fake news” and invents faux facts of his own that bear no relationship to the truth. He simply cannot be trusted.



We have a president whose North Star is naked self-interest, not the good of the country. Trump cares about his family, his company and little else. He dishonors the high office he holds, then reportedly spends hours each day railing against cable-news coverage that he finds insufficiently respectful. His ego is a kind of psychic black hole that devours all who come into its orbit.

We have a president whose eldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with emissaries purportedly sent by the Russian government to deliver dirt on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump claimed on Twitter that “most politicians” would have gone to such a meeting, which is another lie. Try to find politicians who say they would have attended.





We have a president who fired the director of the FBI for continuing to investigate “this Russia thing” — a sophisticated effort by the Russian government, according to U.S. intelligence officials, to tip the election in Trump’s favor. Will he also try to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? If he does, will Congress let him get away with it?



We have a president — was he made in Russia? — who has declared this to be “Made in America” week, despite the fact that so many of the retail products that bear his name or that of his daughter Ivanka are made in Mexico, China, Indonesia and Bangladesh. When asked about this irony by Politico, a White House spokeswoman responded, “We’ll get back to you on that.” They won’t.



Trump has broken his promise to help the struggling middle class. After pledging health insurance “for everybody,” he supported legislation that would strip more than 20 million people of coverage. His approval rating, according to a new Post-ABC News poll, has fallen to 36 percent — a historic low for a president at this point in his tenure. Yet Trump continues to enjoy strong support from self-identified Republicans, whose resentment against liberal “elites” he plays like a violin.





His administration is in shambles. Members of his inner circle snipe at one another via anonymous quotes to reporters. They compete for the president’s favor not by doing their jobs well but by showing a willingness to defend anything he says and does, no matter how ridiculous. In the space of a week, his surrogates went from “the campaign had no meetings with Russians” to “there was a meeting but no collusion” to “collusion is not actually a crime.” One wonders how they sleep at night.



Trump presents the world with something new: In place of American leadership, there is a vacuum. In keeping with the pattern set at the Group of 20 summit, adversaries will try to use Trump’s ignorance to their advantage while allies try to nudge him into doing the right thing. The “madman theory” of foreign relations can only be employed effectively by a leader who is actually steadfast and serious; Trump is neither.



There is no point in looking to Republicans for salvation. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) still hope to get Trump to sign into law massive cuts in taxes and entitlements. Many rank-and-file members fear Trump’s loyal support among the base. The former “party of Lincoln” has adopted the moral code of the Oakland Raiders’ late owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.”



So that is what Democrats and independents have to do — win. As long as there are pro-Trump majorities in the House and Senate, there will be no real congressional oversight and no brake on an out-of-control president’s excesses. Incumbency and gerrymandered districts mean that winning anti-Trump majorities in 2018 will be difficult. But not impossible.



The Democratic Party needs a plan, a message and a sense of urgency. Trump hopes to bully critics into submission, but the country is bigger than this one president. And much better."





This country deserves much better than Trump - The Washington Post

Monday, July 17, 2017

Team Trump's Absurd Defenses for Don Jr.'s Emails: A Closer Look

The Trump Healthcare Bill Is Like Trump, A Loser.


Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect - The New York Times





"WASHINGTON — Republican Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah declared Monday night they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, for now killing a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement."


Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect - The New York Times

On infamous Russia meeting, Trump's story keeps evolving | MSNBC

Image: Donald Trump, Andrzej Duda



"In June 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort had a private meeting with, among others, a Kremlin-liked Russian attorney and a former Soviet counterintelligence officer. The controversy surrounding the meeting has taken the president’s Russia scandal to a new level, and Donald Trump Sr. has done his best to downplay the significance of the campaign discussion.



This morning, for example, the president argued via Twitter:



“Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”



At a certain level, this is a continuation of the argument the president started pushing last week, insisting that opposition research is a routine part of any national political campaign, so there’s no need to make a fuss about the June 2016 meeting. If you have an opportunity to quietly obtain damaging information about your opponent, the argument goes, you take advantage of it.



According to actual “oppo” professionals, this argument is completely wrong, at least in the context of the Russia scandal. It’s one thing for campaign officials to pursue a possible lead; it’s something else entirely to meet with representatives of a foreign adversary that’s launched an espionage operation against the United States.



What’s more, the “anyone would have done the same thing” line is belied by recent history: in 2000, someone leaked the Bush campaign’s debate-prep materials to the Gore campaign. Gore’s aides promptly called the FBI – which is what Trump’s inner circle should’ve done, but didn’t.



But what stands out as especially notable about Trump’s latest pitch is the degree to which it contradicts the old pitches."



On infamous Russia meeting, Trump's story keeps evolving | MSNBC

The Stupid People's President - Trump Savagely Mauls the Language - The New York Times

By Charles Blow

"I know that there are things of graver consequence in Donald Trump’s regime than his diction, but as a person whose vocation concerns him with language, I am simply appalled by Trump’s savage mauling of that language.

His usage isn’t only idiosyncratic or some act of bungling idiocy, although it is surely both. But his usage is also a way of reducing language to the point that it is meaningless because the use of it is mindless, and in that compromised state, language becomes nearly worthless. As a consequence, truth becomes relative, if not altogether removed.

You see, Trump’s abuse of language isn’t simply a thing to blithely mock.

It is something with which we must all take great umbrage, because it has the power to degrade truth itself.

Yes, I could focus on the disastrous and callous Republican health care bill inching closer to a vote in the Senate.

Yes, I could use my energy and column inches to continue to catalog the thickening intrigue of the Russia investigation, and in particular, the growing number of people in the meeting where Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer.

The revelations keep coming, although Trump Jr., in an exchange with Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week, promised that what we knew at that time was “everything” there was to know. Either there is a new definition of “everything” of which I’m unaware, or Trump Jr. is doing what the Trumps do: lie until there is no alternative but to tell the truth, and even then only reveal as much truth as circumstances compel.

Trying to draw the truth out of these people is like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip — impossible.

I would submit that the Trumps lie in two ways: first, by directly and intentionally saying things they know well aren’t true, and second, by obfuscating with linguistic obtuseness, by overusing a nebulous relativism and by spouting an excess of superlatives to stand in for meaningful description and disclosure.

So, let’s take Trump’s responses during a press conference with President Emmanuel Macron of France last week. (By the way, that trip was marked by an embarrassingly pronounced inelegance by Trump, from the casual sexism of commenting on the French first lady’s body to the awkward testosterone-measuring handshakes.)

Trump has several verbal tics. One is that when he’s trying to flatter and finagle, everything is beautiful: countries, cities, people, bills, questions, even chocolate cake.

As The Washington Post pointed out last week:

“Beautiful” is one of President Trump’s favorite words. He’s used it at least 1,500 times on Twitter and in speeches since he began running for office, according to the database at Factbase. He uses it indiscriminately, the way a teenager might use ‘cool.’”

It is a device rather than a descriptor.

There was more: During the press conference with Macron, Trump twice referred to the 39-year-old Trump Jr. (who is the same age as the Macron, by the way) as a “young man.” That’s a stretch, but one used to make the Mini-Monster sound more innocent than his emails suggest he is.

At one point, Trump exclaimed: “France is America’s first and oldest ally. A lot of people don’t know that.” Actually, everyone who was awake in history class and reads books knows that. Alas, “a lot” is a relative term. More importantly, this is, I believe, projection, one of Trump’s compulsive traits. What he is guilty of is exactly what he accuses others of being guilty of. I would wager that Trump didn’t know that France was our oldest ally until preparing for this trip.

Trump complains endlessly about the media using anonymous sources, but Trump himself is addicted to anonymous sourcing, as demonstrated during the press conference. Trump discussed the Russian lawyer who met with his son:

“Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch. Now, maybe that’s wrong. I just heard that a little while ago. But a little surprised to hear that. So she was here because of Lynch.”

Who is “somebody”? Why are you repeating something at an official press conference with another head of state in another country that you freely admit may be wrong? And if you admit that it may be wrong, how can you state declaratively that “she was here because of Lynch”?

Trump also seemed to crack the door on revisiting his hugely reckless withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, but then added, “But we will talk about that over the coming period of time.” What does that mean? It means nothing, is what it means. It means, “I’m saying things amenable to the French while I’m in France because I’m like a chameleon: a lizard who can adjust his appearance for his environment.” That “coming period of time” will never come.

Listening to Trump speak is a dizzying experience for anyone interested in candor, clarity or concision. It’s as if he puts language through a meat grinder and what emerges is nearly unrecognizable, in either comprehension or certitude."