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Lot of young black people hit with much heavier sentences for doing far less than Paul Manafort did are now more cynical than ever.

Senator Warren describes a horribly, horribly inhumane and abusive system for processing unauthorized immigrants.

"Trump Humiliates Palestinians by Closing Consulate, Dealing with them Via US Embassy to Israel"
Gee, I wonder why Palestinians don't trust the US to broker a peace deal between them and Israel.

"Evidence shreds GOP argument that tax cuts pay for themselves"
This is one of those cases that was always more a matter of wishful thinking than it was of actual evidence.

David Gregory plays into the classic "Both Sides" narrative that benefits the misbehaving side far more than it ever does the law-abiding side. He acknowledges some sensible points, such as that the GOP essentially twiddled its thumbs and put their feet up on the desk as far as oversight went, but he returns to the "optics" angle and complains that it looks as though Democrats are overreaching. But Democrats are really just playing catch-up to two years of very little oversight.

I very much appreciate that Speaker Pelosi didn't do that in the case of Representative Ilhan Omar and her allegedly anti-Semitic comment. Pelosi kept cool, took the temperature of her caucus on the issue and hasn't made a public statement yet. Reportedly, her people are busy re-writing the resolution.

And in still more evidence that Democrats listen to their people, the DNC was prepared to hold a Democratic debate hosted by Fox News. The grassroots said "Aww, hell no!!!!" and now that won't happen.

Some of the President's supporters noticed angrily that Republican Congresspeople did nothing to support Trump personally during the hearing with Cohen. Does the Press Secretary do so? No, not really.

Kind of interesting that the President is asked about Jared Kushner's security clearance and he immediately turns it into a question of politics, as though Democrats had no legitimate national security interests on the line.

North Korea apparently decided soon after the failed meeting with the President to start conducting nuclear tests again.

Back during 2015, anti-choice groups said they wanted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. PPFA said they were providing pregnancy-related health care to low-income women. A study was done to see if existing hospitals and other health care providers could pick up the slack. It was found that they couldn't as they were already working at full capacity. Nothing prevents anti-choice groups from starting up health-care providers that could replace PPFA clinics. Only problem is, PPFA is a non-profit organization that needs Medicare reimbursements to keep operating. Producing an alternative set of clinics to serve these clients would be a guaranteed money loser. Vox confirms that the situation hasn't changed. If PPFA is run out of town, low-income women who depend on PPFA clinics will simply be left without that health care.

This is an amusing game of false equivalence. A Fox News guy named Larry Elder says, if Democrats "...started an investigation to collusion, it's now into the third year..."
Actually, for all intents and purposes, the Congressional investigation into the President's misdeeds is now organized and is just in its beginning phase as Republicans basically sat around twiddling their thumbs for two years.

Let me say something about the Ken Starr investigation. To this day, Bill Clinton called it a witch hunt. There were 14 convictions.

Very true. Ken Starr was trying to "climb the ladder," to move from the "low level" people in Arkansas to the "bigwigs," Bill and Hillary Clinton. Problem was, there was no ladder, no conspiracy. Starr gave up after awhile and then latched onto the completely unrelated matter of Paula Jones and then eventually found Monica Lewinsky.

"Students, Faculty Blacklisted by Canary Mission for pro-Palestine Views"
Up in Michigan, it's not a dating app, though it looks like one at first glance. It's an app that identifies people who show pro-Palestinian sympathies. A real problem with the site is that if delivers dossiers on otherwise-anonymous people.

Hey, the President's good buddy Kim Jong Un wanted the military exercises to stop, so hey, y'know..."Trump: I Ended Military Drills With S. Korea To Save Money! Also, Kim Jong Un Wanted It

"Detroit man sues three white women who had him arrested for 'gardening while black' "
Good to see some serious pushback on idiocy like this.

Bill Mitchell on Twitter:

In the history of the United States Congress, has there ever been a broad investigation into a sitting President's personal business and finances literally just looking for crimes? It's obscene.

Why yes. Yes there was just such an investigation. It was called "Whitewater." C'mon guy! It wasn't that long ago!

The press really needs to crank up the volume on the Russian collusion scandal so that it's at least as loud as it was on Bill Clinton's scandals during the late 90s.

"Nadler: House Judiciary Will Send Over 60 Doc Requests To Don Jr., Weisselberg, Others "
Woo hoo! Elections have consequences!

Don't know if there are interviewers that do well at interviewing* what a lawyer would call a "hostile witness," but Chuck Todd does an incredibly crappy job of interviewing Representative Jim Jordan here. Jordan's answers really did call for incredulous double-takes and "What are you babbling about?" looks.
One thing Jordan said: "Think about the two years under President Trump's leadership..." and then he went on about how marvelous the last two years were. That really, really seriously called for a "WTF?!?!?" reaction from Todd.

*Chris Cuomo is clearly much, much better when it comes to dealing with what lawyers call a "hostile witness."

Excellent overview/update on diplomatic situation between Israel, Palestinians and Iran.

Senator Rand "Paul Indicates He'll Vote Against Trump's Emergency, Forcing President's First Veto"
This is very good news! With Senator Paul being a firm "No" for the Wall, the House bill will now get confirmed by the Senate. President can still veto it, but that will make it absolutely crystal clear that the President is acting as a tyrant who's overriding the clearly-expressed will of the people.

"Chris Wallace Calls North Korea Meeting A 'Failed Summit' To John Bolton's Face"
What Ntional Security Adviser John Bolton defends here is a classic example of an under-resourced diplomatic effort carried out in a huge rush. As they say, a good lawyer never asks a question he doesn't already know the answer to, The President shouldn't have even considered having a meeting with the head of another state unless there are already a set of papers all ready and waiting to be signed. As far as I'm aware North Korea has still not even defined what they mean by de-nuclearization!

It was obvious from the very beginning that for the First Lady to take up hatefulness in social media was going to be a real problem as her husband was someone who expressed lots of hatefulness on social media. Over two years later, she still hasn't figured out how to deal with the complete and utter hypocrisy of ignoring her husband's use of social media.

At CPAC, the President gives a rambling, ***TWO-HOUR*** speech (bleaugh!!!) Audience members leave in droves after awhile. President claims no one left.

This reminds me of someone a year or so back commenting on Byzantine emperors and how they'd ramble on and their courtiers would have to pretend they were so fascinated by all these pearls of wisdom that were being dropped. The President's comments on North Korea shows a really disturbing disconnect from reality.

"I just returned from Vietnam, where I had very productive meetings with Charman Kim Jong Un. We get along. We’ve developed a good relationship, very good, and made great historic progress. … One administration gave billions of dollars to him and got nothing. We haven’t given him anything yet."

There are good reasons to have Representatives in safe districts. Democrats are fortunate to have such an energetic go-getter as AOC in just such a district. Obama also attended a lot of hearings because he wanted to learn as much as possible.

Jared Kushner says:

This is a non-story. The President was elected Commander in Chief, not John Kelly. Like it or not, as a constitutional matter, the President, and not his subordinates, is the final authority on what's classified and what's not--and who gets to see it.

Very true, but what makes this a story is that the President did not come right out and defend his decision. In fact, he hid his decision from everyone.

"RNC Chair Says Government Did Not Create The Internet"
Not only was the early internet pretty much entirely a government thing, but her two other examples, the car and the airplane, both got very significant government enhancements. Cars and airplanes are independent, but roads and airfields are usuallt built by the government.

I was around and paying attention during Reykjavik (1987). Don't think the comparison does Trump any favors. Reagan walked away from a good deal so that he could preserve "Star Wars," a missile defense system. The “Star Wars” concept sorta, kinda works these days because it's very downsized and is used on much smaller, short-range rockets. Did the US gain any great benefit from Reagan’s walking away? Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev wanted to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely, so no, I don’t think it was better for Reagan to have walked away.

So March 16th is the deadline by which the Senate must either pass a bill to support what the House has done on the Wall or it must pass a bill that rejects it. Filibuster isn't an option and they're counting calendar days, not days the Senate is in session. The House appear to have the four Republican Senators needed to agree with them. Yes, the President can veto a bill that rejects the Wall, but polls are already clear that about two-thirds of the American people oppose the Wall and a veto will then make it crystal clear that the President is acting as a tyrant who is brushing the Constitution aside

Congressmen during the Cohen hearing didn't rally to the President's defense. .Problem was that Cohen described a lot of really terrible behavior.

Commander in Chief is within his authority to grant security clearances even when subordinates disagree, but there were good reasons why intelligence agencies had to be pushed into giving the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance.

Media is, was and always will be biased against the political left. The 2010 Republican take-over of the House got much more coverage than the 2018 Democratic one did. Also, 2006 was good for Democrats and 1994 was good for Republicans, but pattern of bias still holds.

Representative Mark Meadows is the one who had a black HUD employee stand behind his as he talked about Michael Cohen.

Mia Love on CNN is doing a terrible job of trying to defend Mark Meadows. You can have family members/friends of the opposite race and still be, say and do racist things.

Another Twitter user:

Thomas Jefferson had black children. He held them in slavery. Strom Thurmond had a child with his family’s black maid. He opposed every civil rights bill that came up during the 60s and 70s and was openly segregationist. So trotting put a black employee ain’t, excuse me, ish.

February                         back to top

How far out does the Sun's gravity have an effect? It may go out to nearly 20 light-hours or 13.02 billion miles. Back in the old days, we thought our solar system extended to Pluto, 3.162 billion miles or 2.93 light-hours away.

A HUD official, who by total coincidence, just happened to be a black woman, stood behind one of the Republican Representatives at the Michael Cohen hearing when Representative Rashida Tlaid accused her of being a prop.

At that same hearing, if the Trump Administration and Congress were represented by teams of samurai, it was the Aonisaibushi, the youngest ones on the side of Congress, who made the deepest, most fatal cuts.

Hmm. So apparently, the real fear of the Green New Deal on the part of the GOP is that people on their side of the aisle might adopt a "Green New Deal-lite," which would of course, in their view, quickly become “Karl Marx’s Christmas list.”

Highlights of Michael Cohen's testimony yesterday.

Interesting commentary from Eric Trump. What exactly is so "historic" about the current talks between the President and the North Korean dictator? There's a reason other presidents refused to meet with any of the Kims prior to this.

Talks break down due to unacceptable demand that the US lift all sanctions in return for nothing. Well, one cheer out of three for the President not being a complete "light touch," patsy, "hat trick," etc.

"Woman in ICE custody gives birth to stillborn infant"
And the people in ICE wonder: "Why do the American people consider us to be Nazis?"

Venezuela is entirely correct to be wary of US "humanitarian aid."

"Conservative Christians Just Retook the United Methodist Church"
Very depresssing. Absolutely zero intention on the part of liberls to break away from the Church.

"House passes measure to block Trump’s emergency declaration"
Excellent! Only the beginning, but an excellent start!

"Voter fraud" is a very specific term. It means that someone approaches a voting station with the intention of pretending to be someone they're not. That's not what happened in North Carolina. What happened there was "electoral fraud," which was an organized effort to not only "harvest ballots," but to "help" voters fill them out. Simply bringing in a lot of filled-in ballots in sealed envelopes is not bad by itself. In NC, voters testified that the harvester collected their ballot before it was completely filled out. The harvester filled in the ballot pretending to represent the voter.

"Trump official admits he was warned about damage to separated migrant kids" but did nothing about it"
Shorter agents of ICE: "Why, why do Americans think we're Nazis?!?!?!" 

In the Trump Administration's battle against the Green New Deal sponsored by Senator Ed Markey and Representative AOC, it's difficult to think of a worse, more irrelevant spokesperson than the third-generation rich person Ivanka Trump. Gotta love her comment about "I've spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years." Well yes, but she spent he whole time talking to fellow wealthy people or her father's most hard-core, fanatical supporters, so it's hard to say that she learned anything.

This is rather serious. The President says he's conducting a trade war. If he doesn't have a basic grasp of economic policy, how in the heck does he expect to prevail in that war?!?!?!

President draws false equivalence between unproven allegations of voter fraud and a real live, actual case of election fraud. No, the two are not the same.

Filmmaker Spike Lee made a simple statement: "Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing,” President took that as a challenge. Hmm.

Just as with the Bill Clinton/Paula Jones case biting Republicans in the ass today, the release of thousands of Hillary Clitnon's emails is biting them as well. Justice Department can't claim confidentiality as they've already violated that. Many people pointed out at the time that for FBI Director Comey to comment on the Clinton not-guilty decision was a terrible idea that set an awful precedent.

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) claimed the Green New Deal — a plan to rapidly decarbonize the entire economy — would 'outlaw plane travel.'

Actually, proponents of the GND are suggesting a greater reliance on high-speed rail, but the piece here suggests we don't even need to do that.

The President finally comments on the Coast Guard Lieutenant who was stockpiling weapons and had a hit list of liberals to kill. Refuses to take responsibility for having provoked and encouraged the Lieutenant.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says: "I certainly don’t think that the president, at any point, has done anything but condemn violence – against journalists or anyone else..."
The President has still not commented or tweeted about the Coast Guard Lieutenant who had stockpiled weapons and had a list of Democrats he wanted to kill. Right before the midterm election, the President seemed highly irritated that the attempted mail bomb killer was taking press attention away from The Caravan down in Mexico. Yeah, as the blogger wonders, has Sanders ever met the President?!?!?!

House of Representatives produces resolution to deny President's "Natioal Emergency" that calls for Wall funding.

Good! This scum is going to jail! The perp, Jeffrey Epstein, operated a sex ring for underage girls. The question is why a current Trump Administration official gave Epstein such a light setence.

The Trump Administration's Labor Secretary reached an illegitimate deal back in 2008 and the judge has denounced that.

Uuh. Whut?!?!?! The President expects allies to fill the gap as US troops leave Syria?!?!?! And he's just now telling them he expects this?!?!

Update: In early June, the Northern border with Turkey is the site of all sorts of actions. The Southern border and Eastern portion of the country are both very quiet. Al Jazeera reports great bloodshed and destruction, especially in the city of Idlib. Russia and Syria appear to be the only combatants other than Turkey and occasional airstrikes by Israel.

The dangers in appointing amateurs into political positions. Ben Carson has been in his position for two years now and his grand, magnificent plans never seem to have gotten off the ground.

Yike! Coast Guard Lieutenant was planning a hit on lots of Democrats and liberals!

I don't have a problem with this person being a member of CNNs reporting team, but don't see why she's being made an editor. CNN shared the media-wide problem of having over-emphasized Trump speeches and of having seriously under-emphasizing Clinton's policy proposals during the last presidential campaign, so it's not at all clear why they feel the need to make sure right-wingers are represented.

Another view on the hiring of Sarah Isgur, a right-wing spokesperson with zero journalistic experience. CNN should admit that it's suffering from an organizational version of Stockholm Syndrome and should do some serious house-cleaning.

Sarah Isgur is a Republican political operative who was hired as a "political editor." Various people at CNN have said this is no big deal, but all of the examples of people being brought over from politics have been people brought over to be reporters not editors. The viewing public needs a much better explanation as what exactly Isgur will be doing at CNN.

"Ms. Isgur wouldn’t be making decisions about political coverage." So if she's not going to be makin decisions on political coverage, what is she, as a political editor, going to be doing?!?!?!

Update: Her assignment was cancelled as of March 8th.

In 1976, the elder George Bush started up "Team B" to challenge intelligence agency assertions about Soviet nuclear weapons. In 2002, the younger George Bush started up a pressure campaign on intelligence agencies to agree that Iraq had WMDs. In neither case was the attempt to go around the existing agencies successful. In both cases, the competition to the intelligence agencies simply told policymakers what they wanted to hear. Now, the President wants to start up a competing committee to report on climate change.

So how is that "War on Terror," that was started in September 2001, doing lately?

To sum up: our completed map indicates that, in 2017 and 2018, seven countries were targeted by U.S. air strikes; double that number were sites where American military personnel engaged directly in ground combat; 26 countries were locations for joint military exercises; 40 hosted bases involved in the war on terror; and in 65, local military and security forces received counterterrorism-oriented 'training and assistance.

No, Senato Bernie Sanders is not "the inevitable candidate."

Republican Party would love to run against Senator Sanders! He was their dream candidate back in 2016 and remains so today.

Back when I was a young'un, I read a number of paperbacks by and about the German generals of World War II. General Guderian had a serious problem for der Fuhrer's plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union. The effort lacked what Guderian called a "schwerpunkt," a main focus of concentration. Guderian's leader wanted to seize Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev (later Stalingrad). The German Wehrmacht was very powerful and capable, but it tried to do too much.
Same problem with Senator Bernie Sanders. He wants to tackle "Wall Street, the health insurance companies, drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry, and the large multi-national corporations..." Were I in charge of his campaign, I'd focus on climate change, I'd show voters how tackling that problem would require that we get people employed and productive. We'd have to move lots of money to those who actually need it. Everything would follow from that.

Update: This is precisely the strategy that Jay Inslee, Washington State Governor, is running on. Climate change is the whole point of his candidacy.

The House Freedom Caucus guy makes a poor case that we need to toss aside the normal appropriations process for this "emergency."

Turns out there was another moment of silence, when VP Pence spoke with great apparent emotion about how the Trump Administration cared so deeply about the Iranian people. No one brought it.

So I puttered around a bit on the internet to check on Finland's "free money" experiment (Yes, I checked out the right-wing Bretbart News, among others). The woman pictured here did indeed take a job that otherwise would have provided insufficient income (and was desperate for what to do when the experiment came to an end), but no, there was no real effect on unemployment, meaning that people look for more than just money when they look for work. As my mom said, work "gets people out of the house each day."

The essential fact of the matter that Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) dances around, is that there is a long ago-established procedure for getting more money for a project. The President can't get "enough" through that procedure, so he is taking an un-Constitutional shortcut that completely betrays everything that Jordan allegedly stands for!

Fox Newsperson Chris Wallace asks an extremely good question that Trump Administration spokesperson can't answer. It was whether a national emergency really, truly had to be declared.

No. Sorry. Wrong answer. At absolutely no time did the President attempt to work with Democrats. Democrats were shut out, ignored and sidelined.

Not too happy about the fellow replacing Heather Nauert as the UN Ambassador, but very pleased to see Nauert won't be taking that position. At least Nikki Haley was a governor for a considerable period.

It's impossible to look at Trump Administration preparations for securing the 2020 election in any sort of innocent light.

There’s no way to avoid seeing this DHS move as a treacherous betrayal of American democracy by President Trump. He’s inviting hostile foreign powers to invade our elections, the heart of our sovereignty. His oath of office meant nothing to him.

What's amazing about a WaPo piece they quote extensively from here is how much of his policy work the President delegates.

Heh! Oh yeah! The Munich Security Conference is off to a real good start! Bwah-hah-hah! The Vice-President delivered greetings to the conference from the President and got a few seconds of dead silence. 

Fox News was controlled by the younger George Bush, but the combination of eight years of a Democratic president, followed by two years of a weak Republican one, means Fox News has taken the initiative and has assumed command of the Republican Party.

Ahhh! Very, very good to hear this! Europe is fed up with the President trying to undermine the perfectly-satisfactory Iran deal.

"How Trump's Off-The-Rails Presser Will Play In The Court Fight Over His Border Move"
The President cites: “People that should have stepped up, did not step up.” As I said over a year ago, the President appears to see himself as a restaurant customer and the Speaker of the House as a maître d' who's there to deliver bills to the Oval Office to be signed. He doesn't appear to recognize that he has a role in getting bills passed.

I support Bill Weld's campaign for president for exactly the same reason I oppose Howard Schultz, the Starbucks executive who wants to run as a liberal independent. Both of them threaten to split the vote, Weld on the conservative/Republican side, Schultz on the liberal/Democratic side. Besides, Weld was a popular Governor of Massachusetts who foolishly gave in to the then-fashionable notion of term limits and thereby bowed out of running for several more terms.

"Trump’s Emergency Declaration Shows He Is Unfit for Office"

Lou Dobbs, a Fox Business Network host who frequently speaks to the president both through the screen and on the phone, expressed the premise of using a emergency order to circumvent democratic debate. "I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country," he said on air last month. "They have obstructed, resisted, and subverted for far too long.” (emphasis added)

So the President is being counseled to choose between the country's version of what would keep us safe, that is, to defend the Constitution, or "Trump’s version of it invests in his own office unlimited authority to define security and carry it out as he alone sees fit."

A look back at the Obama presidency, when Republicans engaged in a lot of silly, overheated, hysterical language about Obama being "lawless" and an "imperial" president and engaged in Constitutional overreach. Yeah, good times!

"Republicans distance themselves from Trump’s border wall ’emergency’"
Good! Let's hope Republicans put their money where their mouth is and vote to defeat this "emergency."

This constitutes a rather serious legal problem, the President's admission that he really didn't have to make an emergency declaration, but just found it was more convenient that to go through the usual procedures of, y'know, building support, carefully designing the Wall so that it would cause as little disruption, etc.

Just because a Bedouin village is officially "unrecognized" doesn't mean that it hasn't been in existence since at least the time when the land of Palestine was part of the Turkish Empire. .

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly said this morning, “You can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran.”
No, I don't agree with that statement at all. The Trump Administration is engaging in a lot of baseless scaremongering.

Is the President really 6'3"? It would make him seem a bit healthier and in better shape, but Jeb Bush is 6'3" and if you look at pictures of the two of them together, Trump is clearly shorter than Bush. In any event, the President is now officially "obese." That is not a sign of good health!

"Curtailing Trump War Powers, House Votes to End US Help to Saudi's Yemen War" Woo hoo!

Republicans are trying really hard to embarrass Democrats over Representative Ilhan Omar, but Democrats and she have long since dealt with her statement and the Rs have a really serious hypocrisy problem over them.

With about 630 days to go until the election, the press is off to a poor start. It reminds me of a piece I read back in the 90s about celebrities and their wearing "day off" clothing. Back during the early days of movies, celebrities would appear in public as indistinguishable from their movie characters. During the 90s, they adopted comfortable, casual clothing to wear in public as these were their "days off" (Actually, they were still "on duty" and always ready with good quotes). No, you can't learn anything meaningful about a candidate by observing their personal quirks during campaign season.

Hoo boy! 630 days until the 2020 election and we're getting So stupid SO early! A radio host asks Senator Harris a question and gets the audience confsed as to when she smoked pot and when she listened to Tupac. These two things did not occur at the same time. If one follows the conversation carefully, she didn't claim they did!

So who is the President likely to go with? The fellow who's been claiming for two decades without much evidence that Iran is a deadly and immediate threat or the intelligence agencies?

Update: So in a conflict between facts and evidence and what the President wanted to hear, what he wanted to hear won out

Republicans will pile on all kinds of horse**** in order to keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere. The fellow who talks at the very end is good but Representative Cheney (Daughter of Dick) proves the strength of the case aganst taking action on climate change by putting out lots of disinformation.

Many people from both parties criticized the remarks of Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as anti-Semitic, but six Republicans had some serious hypocrisy problems in doing so.

The two-year period of time when Republicans held the Presidency, the Senate and the House saw one big legislative achievement, a tax break that mostly benefited the wealthy. That one achievement is in serious public relations trouble right now.

"Trump claims he is hard at work during ‘Executive Time’"
Let's examine the evidence, shall we?

Slurring candidate Elizabeth Warren with the name of a famouu Native American is seen as okay,

Some seem to think this is harmless, like Native Americans disappeared in the 1880s or something. There are over 5 million Native Americans today, roughly equivalent to the number of Jewish Americans.

With Virginians split 47% to 47% on the governors 80s blackface photo, he isn't going anywhere.

Heh! President tries to put himself on the side of African-Americans and against Virginia's Governor Northam. It does not go well!

"Reeling from the shutdown and Trump’s tax law, Americans see 8.4% drop in average tax refunds"
Realization is sinking in that the President made a lot of false promises.

Sounds pretty accurate.

MSNBC just gave a precise explanation of Trump's thinking: 'He views The Rule of Law as presidential harassment' To comprehend this, remember Trump's life is built on the premise that there are no rules that apply to him. He even cheats at golf Everything follows from that

Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) teaches a master class in how to interrogate a hostile witness.
And the Representative is correct. There is "Executive Privilege," which is a very specifically-defined area where the president can keep certain conversations confidential, but AAG Whitaker is claiming a general, sweeping right of confidentiality that does not exist.

The President accuses Democrats on yesterday's committee of acting with "hatred and scorn" towards AAG Whitaker. I'd say they were severely provoked by Whitaker's insulting conduct.

Saw people on TV discussing this case last night. This is exactly how you'd describe the American idea of religious non-discrimination to a 3rd-grader (8-9 years old). People about to be executed should get their choice of religious representatives to comfort them in their final hour. That's just such a basic concept and so easy for everyone to understand!

Very happy to see that some conservatives are upset by the Ray decision. This is a very, very basic and fundamental legal principle, that all religions are equal under the law.

Very interesting. The former FBI agent figures Matt Whitaker was auditioning for the President to take on another role in the administration.

For the last two-plus years, Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has had one item in his portfolio, the Israel-Palestinian peace plan. Piece looks at the complications and difficulties with that.

Republican Congresspeople make an extremely underwhelming case for presidential privacy. The Executive Branch is subordinate to the Legislative Branch, especially when the Chief Executive is suspected of having committed crimes. No, there's no "dangerous precedent" being set by insisting on transparency.

Sounds like the Green New Deal is off to a very promising start. The authors had to thread a lot of needles.

Fox News freaks out about the AOC plan to save the human race.

Wow! Candace Owens, a very, very deeply confused young woman says that Hitler would have been fine had he just stayed in Germany! Part of the problem is that she doesn't define nationalism versus globalism versus the Third Reich's nationalism versus what the marchers in Charlottesville were standing for.

Update: Candace Owens says: "first, they ignore me and then they left laughed at me now they're fighting me."
Heh! I can assure Ms. Owens we're still very much in the laughing stage and are not going to leave there anytime soon!
But the most gobsmacking, amazing statement of all was that "I said the word nationalism is wrongly attributed to Hitler because he was not a nationalist." Erm, yes. Yes, Hitler most certainly was a nationalist*! She was right about that in her initial statement that she's trying to walk back here.

*From Robert Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism: "the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's historical destiny." This is about as far from Globalism as one can possibly get.

Aww, but how do ya really feel about Hillary vs Donald?

remember how Hillary freaked the fuck out and threw a twitter shit-fit because the House was investigating her? of course you don't. she sat and calmly answered questions for eleven hours, because she hadn't done anything wrong and she's not an erratic whiny-ass bloated man-child

"The House of Representatives Is Under New Management. They Aren't Wasting Any Time."
Woo hoo! This explosion of committee investigations is exactly what Americans voted for in the 2018 midterm election!

The President complains that the last president never received "presidential harassment." Actually, as the blogger documents, Obama got lots and lots of such investigations!

"House Intelligence approves releasing Russia transcripts to Mueller"
These official transcripts are necessary for Mueller to undertake prosecutions for things like lying under oath.

"Grand Ayatollah Sistani Slaps down Trump: You may not use Iraq against its Neighbors"
Grand Ayatollah Sistani is very highly respected in Iraq.

Thanks to Democrats being in control of the House, they held the first hearing on guns since 2011.

Good! House Democrats will re-open the Trump-Russia probe that House Republicans prematurely abandoned.

Speaker Pelosi gives a hilarious "Oh, he's so cute!" response to the claim of "ridiculous partisan investigations."

Still more SOTU reaction.

Interesting. No copy of the SOTU was distributed beforehand, making real-time fact-checking more difficult.

Huh! Wasn't aware of this. President's big line of the speech was very similar to that of Nixon's: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn't work that way.”
Yeah, investigation and legislation, it's a bit difficult to have both at the same time, but war has nothing to do with anything.

Very impressive! Stacey Abrams delivered the SOTU response and clearly wrote it all out beforehand, didn't change anything. Nice touch with having the people in the background. Lots of good ol' American sentiment.

Speaker Pelosi said it would take DAYS to fact-check all the lies in the SOTU. A factchecker: “Not much was new. We were done by 11:30."

Interesting criticism, reflective of the fact that the SOTU was written in a rushed manner. It was supposed to be about charging ransom for reopening the government. Lot of good critiques:

Good summary of the SOTU. Our local paper headlined: "Bipartisan call amid rancor," and there was a bit of softening, but lots of areas where the President let his partisan flag fly.

"Howard Schultz Has A Sad About Being Called A Billionaire"
Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz insists that just because he's a billionaire, that doesn't mean he's beholden to "the two parties." Perhaps not, but he is beholden to conservative financial ideas that most billionaires have in common. So yes, the "label" of billionaire is an entirely accurate one.

"Welcoming Girls, Boy Scouts Program Is Now Scouts BSA"

More evidence that the President's a wannabe dictator. Why, with a rubber-stamp Republican majority in the Senate, does he need "flexibility" for his appointments?!?!?!?!

I was just short of being 30 years old when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. During the time before then I was very much aware that for a person to escape from Eastern Europe was a PR problem for that region as it made it impossible to portray the people on that side of The Wall as living happy, fulfilled lives. Saudi Arabia now has that problem, compounded by the fact that the recently escaped Saudi teenager, Rahaf Mohammed, is transmitting pictures of her new, happy life in Canada.

Whoo wee! This is a "Baghdad Bob" level of obliviousness! What's the Press Secretary talking about "most productive Pesident in modern history"?

Good! Democrats are making a fuss about climate change!

"U.S. Announces Pullout Of Intermediate-Range-Nuclear-Forces Treaty With Russia"
Granted, the problem started well before Trump got into office, but was this really the best option?

"Trump hands Putin gift in missile treaty withdrawal"
Putin probably loves the idea.

BREAKING: Gov. Ralph Northam yearbook page shows blackface and Klan photo."
Yes, it was many, many years ago, the mid-80s. But major problem here, it was two decades after the Civil Rights Movement and he was 25, not just a stupid young fellow in his late teens.

Governor Northam will try to stay in office. Democrats have zero motivation to keep him there as he has a good Lieutenant Governor who would make a perfectly decent replacement.
Northam's failure to reveal his blackface/KKK photo many years ago shows a lack of good judgement and foresight. Had he revealed it himself many years back, there wouldn't be a problem today.

"AOC to Howard Schultz: Billionaires who want to be president should run for city council first"
Very true!

"Top Ten Reasons Saudi Women are Running away from their Country"
This is one of the many reasons Saudi Arabia is finding it difficult to modernize.

As a newsperson said the other day, this isn't just amazingly unprecedented. We've never had a president who showed so little interest in such an important presentation as the conclusions of all of the intelligence heads. It's clear from reading these other posts that the President is getting all of his information on this second and third-hand.

January                         back to top

A look at the President vs our intelligence services. The UN sides with our intelligence services.

Long-time political journalist Ron Fournier has long been the punchline for "Both Sides," the idea that most political disagreements are unnecessary squabbles that can and should be settled by the "grown-ups in the room." Hey, whaddaya know? Fournier was a Republican all along!

Sure looks as though, as the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell just plain hates democracy. I sort of understand where he's coming from. When voting is light, that favors Republicans. When everybody and his brother votes, that favors Democrats. So the GOP is stuck with the bad optics of appearing to be against democracy.

Wow! The actor James Woods has some serious problems with misogyny! Also, this piece goes into the rumor that, before her political career started, Kamala Harris went out with a much older man. He probably did help her career a bit, but it was ultimately her own qualities that got her the first political position she ran for.

"Trump administration’s claim that new sanctions won’t hurt ordinary Venezuelans is ‘just a lie’"
Sanctions are a very blunt instrument. Of course regular Venezuelans are getting hurt.

You know that someone's case is really weak when his examples are “Huey Long in Louisiana” and “the Black Panthers in Philadelphia.” Long was a prominent figure from the 1920s and 30s. The New Black Panthers (The old Black Panthers of the 1970s considered them to be pathetic jokes) were a really tiny group that was featured far more more on Fox News than anywhere else.

Speaker Pelosi is trusted more than the President is. Historically speaking, for a Speaker of the House to be more popular than a President is utterly unprecedented.

The last three leaders of the Soviet Union before Gorbachev were all really old men whose thinking was stuck back in the 1930s. Likewise, the US is now being run by really old men whose thinking is still stuck on fossil fuels, as though renewable energy didn't exist.

Congratulations to the new CIA Director Gina Haspel and frankly, all of the intelligence agency heads for telling it like it is and not confirming any of the President's talking points.

Fred Kaplan's a long-time military writer for Slate. I agree. Getting involved in Venezuela could be a really bad idea.

Hmm. Okay. Bad prediction on my part. SOTU is set for the 5th.

"Fox's Jeanine Pirro Attacks Mueller For Supposedly Tipping Off CNN On Stone Arrest"
Erm, the Rachel Maddow Show knew that something was up before the raid occurred. It was pretty common knowledge that something was about to happen. And we know from court filings that Mueller was concerned that Roger Stone might try to destroy evidence if he was given any sort of official warning.

Well yeah. Fighting for children is a great thing, but as people here point out, the First Lady's crusade suffers from serious problems of hypocrisy and double standards.

First off, the Center for Disease Control does not agree with this doctor's central assertion, that it's always unnecessary to have an abortion during the third trimester.

"Remarkably there's a group of female physicians and nurses who have come out very hard, trying to threaten my career," Hamada explained. "I've gotten some death threats, which I don't really take seriously."

Sorry, but I find it very, very highly unlikely that any doctor, woman or man, would make a death threat to another doctor over an abstract disagreement. I just don't find that this guy is the slightest bit credible.

Concerning the confrontation between the Native American drummer and the high school kids, people say that we should watch the whole set of tapes. I know people who did and bloggers have commented on them. No, Pink is right. The rest of the tapes don't tell us anything that wasn't already obvious. The punks who jeered at the Native American veteran were also witnessed yelling at women earlier because they were involved with the anti-choice march.

The President is acting to protect natural gas pipelines at the very moment when we really should be building fewer of them. Natural gas is fine as long as it doesn't escape into the atmosphere prior to having been burned. Problem is, when it does escape, methane is an even worse greenhouse gas than carbon is. Enough escapes on an annual basis that we're really better off not using it at all. We need to replace all fossil fuels with wind, solar, etc.

Three cheers for Qatar! Very cool! "Qatar Convinces Israel, Hamas to let it Aid 94,000 Poor Gaza Families"

Hmm. I don't think what the President complains about is so much that Democrats are all loyal to their leader and Republicans were a bunch of "rats," but that Speaker Pelosi was able to convince her members that the President was playing a very weak hand and all they had to do was wait him out.

Very interesting. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was asked to brief the House Ways and Means Committee on the impact that the shutdown was having and failed to show up. But it appears that the shutdown was very expensive.

Seems Speaker Pelosi knows more than she's allowed to tell us.

So the Fascism Watch is now set at five minutes of. That's actually GOOD news as the previous setting was at one.

An examination of the President's concession speech on the shutdown. Heh! “Smart walls.” Uh-huh!

If it wasn't obvious before, the appointment of Elliot Abrams makes it quite clear that US action in Venezuela have nothing to do with democracy or the will of the Venezuelan people.

Whether you think the 2016 campaign coverage was excessively focused on "Her Emails" or not, Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information and email protocols was absolutely sterling and highly professional compared to the Trump Administration's security clearance process. Some guy in the administration essentially just rubber-stamped at least 30 clearances for people who probably should not have gotten them. This is especially glaring for the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner. Fortunately, we now have a Democratic House and this will be looked into.

Talking about all of the stars of Fox News:

"Those prime-time personalities [on Fox News] for the most part have proven themselves over time to be more trouble than they’re worth."

So, why all the lies?

Seeing more of the "they are being arrested for lying, not for X crime" line. One, it's a start. Two, why lie about so many things if they weren't crimes? They lied because they knew the truth would get them in deep shit—and it probably still will.

A few weeks ago, the blog Daily Kos delivered a huge amount of roses for Speaker Pelosi. In this blog post, bloggers explain why. She gives off a flighty, confused appearance. Believe us, it's ALL appearance! Any appearance that she doesn't know what she's doing is all smoke and mirrors.

Nice, clear picture of Ultima Thule. That 20-mile long rock that's about six hours away at light speed.

"After vowing to never cave in shutdown fight, Trump caves"
Complete cave. No wall. Saw Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer at their press conference. Thought Pelosi was smart not to do a victory lap. The President's ego probably suffered a really hard blow. But hey, he was playing a very weak hand and it was just getting steadily worse.

Right-wingers furious.

Any appearance that Speaker Pelosi doesn't know what she's doing is all appearance.

"FAA Shuts LaGuardia Due To Trump Shutdown"
"Rally to end the shutdown" took place in Philadelphia and many other cities.

Jared "Kushner's security clearance was rejected by security specialists—until they were overruled"

See, here's the problem. Immediately after World War II and for a substantial period afterwards, the US reigned supreme and was unchallengeable. That's no longer the case. Russia is warning the US not to try and overthrow the government of Venezuela. Besides which, it's just as wrong for the US to change the government of Venezuela by force as it was for Russia to change ours by stealth and guile. It's now no longer the case that the US can simply do as it pleases. Other countries "have a dog in that fight" and will no longer watch helplessly as the US does what it wishes.

Federal workers stage a silent vigil Senate office building.
The President owns the shutdown says Fox Business News.
Commerce Secretary shrugs shoulders and wonders why federal workers can't just get a bank loan.
"Colorado Senator Is Tired Of Your Crap" Senator who doesn't usually make speeches goes off on Republican Party.
Republican Senator blames Senate Majority Leader McConnell for continued shutdown.

"Trump: Pelosi Cancelling State Of The Union Is 'A Great Blotch' On The Country"
The President suggests that Pelosi cancelled the SOTU because she "doesn’t want to hear the truth." But the SOTU can be delivered from anywhere. It can be delivered in writing, from the Sean Hannity Show, the Rose Garden, etc.

A short while ago, a group of three people, Senate Majority Leader Mitchell, VP Pence and Jared Kushner, tried to come up with a solution to the shutdown. Democrats rejected their ideas out of hand. Now, the Trump Administration is trying to do in foreign policy what it did in domestic policy, to have a conference where only friendly participants are invited. It's working about as well as the previous proposed all-Republican working group did.

Lara Trump (Second son Eric's wife) says: "the president is trying every single day to come up with a good solution here"
Problem is, the "solution" the President has come up with is supported by only about four out of 10 voters. 60% of us consider a wall to be a really stupid waste of money. And like a pirate who has taken hostages, he's bypassing democratic procedures.
Like Ann Coulter, who also feels hey, going without a paycheck or two is a little bit of an inconvenience, Lara is a person who's been wealthy for, if not her entire life, then at least for several decades and has absolutely no conception of what it's like for people of modest income to miss a paycheck.

Were voters impressed with Lara Trump's speech? Hah! Not in the slightest.

Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, puts herself on the correct side of the issue by visiting the place where furloughed federal workers are being fed. No one on the Republican side showed anywhere near as much common sense. Wher was Mitch? Trying to pull a bait-and-switch.

The "Both Sides" framing of the shutdown is very helpful to the hostage-taking President. No one else is helped by it. This is one of those things that appears to be neutral, but only the side that's plainly in the wrong is helped by it.

An accounting of all of the unarned protesters from Gaza killed by Israel sniper fire since March.

The blogger watches all the video on the confrontation involving Native American activist and elder Nathan Phillips and a crowd of high school students from Covington, Kentucky. He concludes that the detailed picture drawn from all of the videos is a bit different from the picture drawn by the initial viral video, but not by all that much. Mostly, the whole incident shows a complete failure of chaperoning.

The behavior of the students before the confrontation shows them to be just a vicious set of thugs.

Sometimes, when I see someone in the media, I wonder a bit as to their ethnicity. I never worry too much about it. The "cosplay socialist" here gets all deep and serious about Senator Kamala Harris, who has just declared she's running for President. Is she an African-American? Ehh, close enough. I think when people meet her they assume she's black, so I just don't see much of a point in getting all specific about exactly what her ancestry is.

Sorry, I know that Representative Tulsi Gabbard gets lots of love from fellow progressives, but the blogger is right. Gabbard is a Joe Lieberman-style Fox News Democrat with a bad case of "Both-sides-ism."

"Trump, Pence Honor MLK Day With Two-Minute Visit To Memorial"
Good to see this. Seems they're beginning to understand the political world consists of more than just Republicans.

Situation for furloughed federal workers on 30th day of shutdown. Not good. Not good at all.

Fox News person Tomi Lahren makes a really stupid comment about how "useless" marches and rallies are. Twitter user responds "I would really like to know how you, a woman, think you got the right to work and vote."
My own experience was that the marches against the Iraq War obviously didn't prevent the war, but by making it clear that the war didn't have all that much support, Bush never tried to start up a draft. That crippled the ability of the US to expand the war and ultimately meant that US had to pull out.