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March 13, 2017

March 13th to…
Prior posts.

My opinions and selected news from progressive websites. LINKS:Huffington Post | Daily Kos | Politico  | Slate | Salon | Vox | The Hill | Think Progress  | AlterNet | BuzzFeed | NEW Axios (Bias: too soon to tell)

March 31, 2017
Link to Daily Kos

Trumpology: Watch Trump’s body language in this video.

Here’s an intriguing question. Why would Michael Flynn choose this NEVER TRUMP attorney to represent him?
Read Article

Can Trump Change Libel Laws? The short answer, thankfully, is no.

What does libel law say?

It is indeed hard for public figures to win libel suits. They have to prove that something false was said about them, that it harmed their reputation and that the writer acted with “actual malice.” That last term is misleading, as it has nothing to do with the ordinary meaning of malice in the sense of spite or ill will.
To prove actual malice, a libel plaintiff must show that the writer knew the disputed statement was false or had acted with “reckless disregard.” That second phrase is also a term of art. The Supreme Court has said that it requires proof that the writer entertained serious doubts about the truth of the statement.
That is a high bar, and public figures rarely file libel suits and seldom win them.

Can the president change libel laws?

No. Libel law is a state-law tort, meaning that state courts and state legislatures have defined its contours.   NY TIMES

Daily Beast

Non-political news of the weird:
Magnification mine

March 30, 2017
Overhead from G.W. Bush:
From NY Magazine:
The inauguration of Donald Trump was a surreal experience for pretty much everyone who witnessed it, whether or not they were at the event and regardless of who they supported in the election. On the dais, the stoic presence of Hillary Clinton — whom candidate Trump had said he would send to prison if he took office — underlined the strangeness of the moment. George W. Bush, also savaged by Trump during the campaign, was there too. He gave the same reason for attending that Bill and Hillary Clinton did: to honor the peaceful transfer of power. 
Bush’s endearing struggle with his poncho at the event quickly became a meme, prompting many Democrats on social media to admit that they already pined for the relative normalcy of his administration. Following Trump’s short and dire speech, Bush departed the scene and never offered public comment on the ceremony. 
But, according to three people who were present, Bush gave a brief assessment of Trump’s inaugural after leaving the dais: “That was some weird shit.” All three heard him say it. 
A spokesman for Bush declined to comment.

Trump proposed these cuts (State Dept., EPA, etc) in spite of what Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, described in an essay titled “The World Without America” as threats to “the domestic foundations of American Power,” including “crumbling infrastructure, second-rate primary and secondary schools, outdated immigration system, and slow economic growth.” 
In addition, Trump has antagonized the leaders of allied countries like Mexico, Australia and Germany, and he has repeatedly demonstrated an extraordinary lack of knowledge about foreign affairs. 
This is the president who faces what Warren Christopher, President Clinton’s first secretary of state, called problems from hell. A partial list, compiled by Project Syndicate, includes: intensifying conflicts and dissent within the European Union; the rise of illiberal forces, including welfare chauvinism and exclusionary nationalismthe danger to the continued independence of the buffer states surrounding Russia; a frayed consensus in support of western liberal democratic principlesaggression from a nuclear-armed North Korea and counter threats from the Trump administration of a pre-emptive strike; a foreign policy that The Economist reports has left America’s allies “aghast” — a policy that “seems determined to destroy many of the institutions and alliances created in the past half century.”  NY Times Mar. 30th

March 29, 2017

Not a link

I didn’t know what the “Snow Revolution” was. Now, thanks to Al Jazeera, I do and it has little to do with Trump. However, if you want to be well informed about Putin and Russia you need to know this.

First read this morning:

Auschwitz Survivor Confronts ICE Director: ‘History Is Not On Your Side’

“For no other reason but for being Jewish, I was hauled off by the Nazis.”

Rick Wilson, the GOP strategist who has emerged as a leading anti-Trump gadfly, was recently talking to a good friend of his who serves in Congress, representing a moderate but solidly Republican district in the upper Midwest. “He loathes Donald Trump,” Wilson told me. “Hates him with the fire of a million suns.” Yet the congressman told Wilson he’s terrified to cross the president, saying, “ ‘If I say something about [Trump], one tweet could kill me.’  

Talking to Republican Trump critics, however, the question seems na├»ve. “The fact of the matter is when they’re confronted with criminal malfeasance, and things that at the very minimum border on collusion with the enemy, they’re not going to do shit,” Wilson says of Republicans in Congress. “Donald Trump could murder a child on the White House lawn and eat him raw and those pussies in Congress will never do a thing.” (red emphasis added)

Advice to Jared Kushner on how he can solve the opioid abuse crisis

How can Jared Kushner, who wants to run the government like a private business, can solve the opioid abuse crisis?

Advice from Hal Brown

Easy peasy.

First make it a federal crime to use any opioids.

  • Legalize enhanced interrogation to encourage users to rat out their dealers. 

Next, privatize drug enforcement and, finally,  construct a massive private drug prison complex.


Task the DEA with going after only Mexican drug traffickers.

Hire mercenaries from companies like Blackwater to go after opioid users.


Compassionate incarceration will be the buzzword. This will mean that all inmates will be forced to work in running the prison as they do now, or in prison factories or sent to work on farms which had been dependent on illegal immigrants (under “light” guard since inmates will be wearing radio detonated bombs around their necks to deal with anyone who tries to escape). 

March, 28, 2017
Halfway through watching Rachel tonight and all I can say is this. 

 What is it going to take for the House to begin impeachment: Videos coming out of Trump at Mar-a-Lago doing a Cosby on an underaged illegal immigrant?

The gems from MSNBC last night

Trump son-in-law sought for Russia questions

Rachel Maddow reports on the background of the former Russian spy-turned-bank-official who met with Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and notes the remarkable number of significant tasks Trump has assigned to Kusher. 


Trump scandals are 'soul-sucking, attention-eating black hole'

The editor of 'Foreign Policy' argues that constant chaos and scandal inside the Trump White House are diverting attention from some of the administration's new policies on war and peace. Foreign Policy Magazine editor David Rothkopf joins Lawrence O'Donnell.

Some weird news not about Trump:

March 27, 2017


ACLU: ICE releases Portland ‘dreamer’ after public outcry

Snap-crackle-pop across the web - morsels you may have missed personally selected by my crack news team:

Canada will legalize weed | Night peeing caused by too much salt| Saturday Night Live will be live in April | Trump’s $1 million boyhood Queens home sold for more than $2 million | Elton Musk wants to implant a computer chip in your brain | Sarah Silverman, my favorite Jewish comedienne, gets show on HULU (sock it to them gurl ) | Just what we need, new technology to facilitate real human interaction | Portland bottle bill recycle goes from 5 to 10 cents April 1st | Your dose of snake news: Deadly coral snake venom make offer human pain relief

Is this batshit paranoid or plausibly predictive? Is it fear mongering or sounding an alarm?
There is no question that Donald J. Trump is a lying, thieving, backstabbing, two-faced, violent criminal. 
There is also no doubt that he is the front man for a far-right network of white nationalist politicians and businessmen that want to revive the Confederacy. This network has been contracted by Vladimir Putin to facilitate the takeover of the federal government of the United States as part of a larger effort to dismantle western nations, alliances and power. Collectively, they have occupied the White House and begun the process of dismantling the federal government, isolating the US from its allies, bankrupting the economy, restructuring and hyper-funding the military and cleansing the nation of people of color, the poor, people living with disabilities, non-Christians, and anyone else not deemed part of the master race. Together, under the authority of Donald Trump and his Republican Congress, the GOP and the Russian government are gutting the corpse of the United States and positioning its zombie carcass to carry out the will of an adversarial Putin led eastern alliance that is openly working to dismantle the Western World.

March 26, 2017
For no particular reason:
Age is catching up to our short fingered, balding, fat dictator.

The Biggest Lesson From the Trumpcare Debacle

It showed us how government by misogynists actually translates into policy.

"The cruel and stupid legislative clusterfuck known as the American Health Care Act has now failed. In trying to ram it through, however, Republicans succeeded in demonstrating, with coruscating clarity, what misogynist government looks like. In the negotiations over the ACHA, male Republicans treated women’s health as a token to be traded away, repeatedly upping the ante with inventive new ways to make women vulnerable. Before it went down in flames, the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare showed us how total disregard for women’s lives translates into policy."  Continued on Slate

March 25, 2017
Sometimes it’s the incremental comparatively little things that can add up to significantly undermine Trump and the cold-hearted GOP. Kraig Moss, below, was known as the “Trump Troubadour” and performed at many Trump rallies.
Cross Trump’s main man Putin and your blood may literally end up on the street: (Check yesterdays posts for more on this.)
The killer of Denis N. Voronenkov, Putin enemy, was identified as a 28 yr. old Russian agent. He was shot at the scene by a Voronenkov bodyguard and died at the hospital.
According to the NY Times: ”Mr. Voronenkov was a member of the Russian Parliament before defecting to Ukraine last year with his wife, Maria Maksakova, also a politician. He had offered to testify for the prosecution in a criminal case against Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Russia-aligned president of Ukraine who was driven from office by street demonstrators in 2014. He promised to deliver an insider’s account of the Kremlin’s deliberations and actions during the annexation of Crimea the same year."

March 24, 2017

Amid the flood of news let’s not loose track of Putin’s murderous ways. Thanks to Rachel last night:

March 23, 2017
Trump news you may have missed:

Is Donald Trump truly crazy?: Hepburn - Toronto Star

Evidence mounting that U.S. president is losing touch with reality

Trump will resign 'soon', says top Democrat Dianne Feinstein

From U.K. Independent: Senior Senator on Judiciary Committee drops hint she knows more than she can say 'right now’

I was hoping a national poll would ask the last question. It was phrased as benignly as possible - they didn’t say mentally stable. The underlying message is that most Americans by far think he is, or may not be, psychologically fit to be president.

EXCERPT: Conservatives are more likely to exhibit social dominance and bullying behavior. This is a function of their authoritarian tendencies. The election of Donald Trump  exemplifies this phenomenon.
American political elites often use language that robs poor and other marginalized people of their individuality, humanity and dignity. This language also creates a type of social distance between “middle class” or “normal” Americans and the economically disadvantaged.
Conservatism is a type of motivated social cognition that by its very nature is hostile to those groups located on the lower rungs of the social hierarchy.
Conservatives are more likely than liberals or progressives to believe in what is known as the “just world fallacy,” where people who suffer misfortune are viewed as somehow deserving their fates. Conservatives are also more likely than liberals or progressives not to use systems-level thinking as a means of understanding that individuals do not exist separate and apart from society.  Conservatives are also more likely to defend social inequality as “fair and legitimate.”
Social psychologists have shown that, in effect, poor people are invisible to the rich and upper classes

March 22, 2017

Trump can fire them both. Would he dare?

March, 21, 2017
Excerpt from NY Times article (emphasis added)

Why Letting Go, for Trump, Is No Small or Simple Task

 Below video from Thom Hartmann, no. 1 progressive radio talk show host.

Click to read
More from Depak Chopra: THE BLOG 
06/06/2016 04:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 06, 2016
March 20, 2017
From Why “Crazy Like a Fox” vs. “Crazy Like a Crazy” Really Matters

For the “crazy like a crazy” delusional person, the external behavior of sanity, charm, and high achievement actually masks a contained underlying insanity. Unlike the delusions of the schizophrenic which are bizarre and typically obvious to all, delusional disorder tends not to interfere with observable actions except when the delusions themselves are challenged.

“Crazy like a fox” defines a person whose apparent external irrationality masks underlying rational thinking. “Crazy like a crazy” characterizes a person whose apparent external rationality masks underlying irrational thinking.
Just so you know dept: 

If you followed today’s hearing and the coverage afterwards you know about the Tweets on Trump’s POTUS account. Most or all of his late night Tweetstorms come from his @realDonaldTrump. 
On the rare occasions he uses the official POTUS account he signs his Tweets DJT.

The Tweets today are signed @Scavino. This means they are from his social media directorDan Scavino.

Here’s what you should know about him:

Hes the former caddy who ended up as manager of his golf club Dan Scavino. When Trump posts on POTUS he adds DJT. Scavino is a reprehensible worm: Dan Scavino, frequently used social media while working on the Trump campaign to share links from sites that push fake news and conspiracy theories. He was also responsible for an anti-Semitic Trump campaign tweet and routinely attacked Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who cited Scavino as a reason she received death threats during the campaign.Here’s the major news so far: WASHINGTON ― The FBI director confirmed the existence of an investigation into possible ties between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian government officials.  Read more here… he is a reprehensible worm. 

Trump Brings His Devious Social Media Director, Dan Scavino, To The White House

March 19, 2017 
Trending on YouTube: A song for our times of Trump.

For my shrink readers:
Hey, give them their just rewards for being at the top of the mental health profession, after all they had to memorize a million medical terms, dissect a cadaver, and with some men, have their first wives put them through medical school to get there.

Here’s a list  gather from a Time Magazine article this week:

Vacancies yet to be Filled by Trump:

Assistant secretary for European affairs

Envoy to the E.U. at the State Department.

Undersecretaries for international issues at the Commerce and Treasury departments.

Policy chief at the Pentagon.

Head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationHead of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Permanent chief for the Office of Personnel Management.

Patent chief at Commerce

 Science adviser at the White House.

At the State Department, over a hundred vacancies.

Where the Trump team is temporarily filling vacancies:

Sam Clovis, the slimy surrogate, was asked to help guide the Department of Agriculture.

Curtis Ellis from conspiracy theory websites about Barack Obama being born in Kenya, was named a top aide at the Labor Department.

Matt Mowers, is doing something at the State Department (or nothing).

Former Breitbart News editor Sebastian Gorka works with the National Security Council.

 Omarosa Manigault is promoting White House outreach.

Former Trump GOLF-CLUB CADDIE Dan Scavino Jr. manages the President's social-media footprint.

March 18, 2017

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner!"... All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!” John F. Kennedy

Mar. 17, 2017
The Ultimate Historic Irony:
We are now hoping Germany can help save us from a despot.

Fox News vs. CNN and the rest of the reality based media:
How they each covered the coverage of the the British outrage over the accusation that they conspired with Obama on surveillance of Trump Tower - and now we have today’s White House apology. Hint, Fix News didn’t cover the later.

Watch the CNN video here.

White House apologizes to British government over spying claims

Here’s how Bloomberg covered the story.

From the UK Daily Telegraph:
Intelligence sources told The Telegraph that both Mr Spicer and General McMaster, the US National Security Adviser, have apologised over the claims. "The apology came direct from them," a source said.
General McMaster contacted Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the Prime Minister's National Security adviser, to apologise for the comments. Mr Spicer conveyed his apology through Sir Kim Darroch, Britain's US ambassador.
Mr Spicer had earlier repeated claims that Barack Obama used GCHQ to spy on Mr Trump before he became president.
"He’s able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on it," Mr Spicer said of the intelligence supposedly provided to Mr Obama by Britain.

Here’s how Fox News covered the same story - nothing about the White House apology!

Mar. 16, 2017

He’s not just a nutter, he’s the most dangerous nutter in the world, more dangerous than Kim Jong Un…

Never have words like this been used to describe a president, in one article no less:

On Wednesday, one of the most zany press conferences in recent memory took place on Capitol Hill.

But what made the whole affair so absurd wasn’t the substance of the two representatives’ remarks. Rather, it was the straight-facedness of it all.

That there was something, based fundamentally in the rational world, that had led everybody to this point.

But on Thursday afternoon, any sense of rational order was dashed anew,

I think it’s important to remember that the root cause of all this michegas is the fact that Trump is an emotionally unstable, fake news-loving nitwit, and that this specific outpouring of nitwittery has now consumed a lot of the time and energy of people on the government payroll who are, ostensibly, serious.

Sometime Saturday morning, a seething Trump awoke and read a crazy piece on Breitbart news, which related the strange accusations of right-wing radio host Mark Levin,

And, as is his wont, Trump impulsively tweeted about it, furthering this nonsense and plunging all of Washington into another round of, “WTF just happened?”

But the crazy had only begun to leach into the Beltway’s bloodstream. And the beating heart of the lunacy was the White House itself, which seemingly pursued several contradictory paths at the same time.

“either retract or provide the information” that proved his outlandish claim. 

All of this culminated in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, which quickly became such an orgy of goalpost-moving that RedState’s Jay Caruso called it a “rambling mess.”

He’s glommed onto someone else’s crazy idea, retrofitted it to serve his ends, and is endeavoring mightily to stretch this insanity out for as long as he can ― and to claim what spare advantage he can ― as a distraction to cover his own shortcomings. 

that this is all just a rambling conspiracy theory wholly divorced from the rational world ―

Maybe next time, everyone will remember that Trump likes to pull these nutter stunts before several congressional committees and intelligence agencies are drawn into the mania.  from The Huffington Post

Who ya gonna believe department
Wiretap news:
Spicer spent 10 minutes reading news reports he said prove that Trump Tower was under surveillance.

 Basically, what Trump is doing is saying that the House and Senate committees are wrong and justifying this by reading an interminable number of newspaper articles. Shit I think he’s on page six or seven, no wonder he was over an hour late in coming to the meeting….. and now Spicer is saying Obama went to British intelligence… and so we see he IS DISPUTING what the two congressional intelligence committees concluded. The president still stands by his allegation that Obama orderer surveillance of Trump Tower. All this because a paranoid president got some information from a Breitbart story.

My first Daily Kos article in awhile:

Mar. 15, 2017

Two worlds of Trump, this one he’d rather ignore:
Of course he wants to brag to a mostly white audience in Detroit how he’s going to help the auto industry, in part by repealing tough emissions standards. Turns out that the workers attending the speech were getting paid their salary. I rather doubt he liked sharing the screen below.

I love seeing Trump surrounded by white people. This is Detroit! They couldn’t find any black auto workers? I do see one dark skinned person behind him. He’s not smiling or applauding. Long shot shows a very few black faces, but the city is over 80% black and many work in the auto industry.

There wasn’t much there there in the leaked two page 2005 tax summary which dominated MSNBC last night. Was it a diversionary tactic someone came up with in the White House or a real leaker who intends to expose damning tax returns showing proof of Russia connections? We’ll just have to wait to find out.

Meanwhile it might appear that Trump’s paranoia is contagious. 
 I think we are seeing a case of paranoia contagion in the White House. Call in the CDC before Trump disbands it. 

A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies—inside their own government. In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them. \Politco
March, 14, 2017
Trump and Russia:
What do you think comes next? Do you think this administration can survive this scandal (with Russia)? Is the partisanship so deep they’re going to weather the storm?
No. There is a very serious chance that this could split the country in a very negative way. That’s what Barack Obama did not want to happen, which is why he didn’t bring all of this out before the election: “No Drama Obama.” He thought that the norms of the United States would be of help, and that the American public, with the information that they had in hand, without any thumbs on the scale, would make the right choice for president. He was horribly wrong. Actually, he wasn’t wrong. He was only wrong by 70,000 people and three counties.
I think this will end in impeachment. If it does not, the American system of government will split in two. I mean, like the Democrats will just stonewall and say, “This is treason.” Then you’re going to get the Republicans who will say, “We’re going to use every level of power to go after anyone that doesn’t agree with us.” But at the street level, you won’t see the changes. You’ll still have the right to speak out. There won’t be any arrests like there were in Russia with Pussy Riot. But people who support Trump will do all of that. They’ll come and attack you. They will silence you. There will be self-appointed groups of people and militias that will make it clear that Trump is God.

Fox News - Why stop at America First? How about “Make America Great Again”
According to Fox News, pro-journalism slogans like “Journalism Matters” are “anti-Trump.” A Fox & Friends First news report on Tuesday fretted over “newspapers cashing in on t-shirts splashed with anti-President rhetoric,” citing The Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the Los Angeles Times’s “Journalism Matters,” and the Chicago Tribune’s “Speaking Truth to Power Since 1847” as examples of “media bias on full display.” (Daily Beast)

March, 13, 2017

Prior posts.