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April 28, 2018

April 28-29, 2018

Back (April 26-27)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Excerpts:


The Full speech below: (If this doesn't play click here)


POLITICS = HUFFPOST
04/29/2018 12:06 am ET Updated 1 hour ago


Of course Trump's "counter-programming" by finding somewhere else called Washington where he was popular and delivering a wild stream of lunatic conscious speech is being covered everywhere, including on Fox. Someone, possibly a plant, started shouting "Nobel" when Trump claimed that a success in Korea would be all his doing. Immediately the entire audience becan the chant, Nobel, Nobel, Nobel.


If you watched the video and aren't familiar with the book, or the Hulu TV version of The Handmaids Tale, you probably don't know why comparing Sarah Sanders to Aunt Lydia was such an on target remark. My sense was that the lack of audience response deomnstrated that few in the room knew who she was. 

She is the cruel, psychopathic, oversear of all the handmaids. She took great pleasure in having the handmaids stone one of their brethern to death. I hope she comes to a well deserved end at the hands of the handmaids.

This is how Maureen Dowd put it this morning in her NY Times column:
Excerpts:


WASHINGTON — You can hear those heads exploding from here to Oslo.
Republican lawmakers are pushing Donald Trump, the most combative man in the universe, for a Nobel Peace Prize.
How unimaginable is this?
Just picture a wildly hirsute cartoon figure with a hair-trigger temper festooned with a medal of Alfred Nobel reading “Pro pace et fraternitate gentium” (“For the peace and brotherhood of men”).

“The guy who said he could be as presidential as any president except for Abraham Lincoln is instead about as presidential as Yosemite Sam,” says his biographer Tim O’Brien. “I really think of him as Yosemite Sam — just hopping around in anger, firing his gun wildly, sometimes at his own foot. He was so unhinged and ranting in that call to ‘Fox & Friends’ this week that even the hosts couldn’t wait to get him off the air.”
↔↔↔↔


It would be a paradox: The man so many Americans loathe as a villain taming a charter member of the Axis of Evil.

Of course, any Strangelovian thing could happen when Little Rocket Man and the Dotard actually get together, given that both Dear Leaders live in bizarro fantasy worlds with fawning courtiers, where lying and cheating abounds. (So far, Kim Jong-un has Trump beat in the fawning enforcement department since he had his uncle killed for, among other reasons, clapping halfheartedly for him.)



↔↔↔↔↔↔↔↔
Excerpts:

For a president who constantly reminds us how frank he is, Trump seldom interacts with the press. On the rare occasions when he does, his remarks don’t always provide a clear indication of what he’s thinking. By contrast, his body language — with Macron and in other sometimes-bizarre interactions with leaders — seems to reveal something more essential, more consistent, about his mind-set. It’s here we see the man as he really is.

↕↕


These physical encounters point to Trump’s need for dominance. Understanding his nonverbal interactions this way might tell us more about his thoughts and feelings than his words do. 

It’s easy enough, for example, to extract a story from the changing patterns of contact between Trump and Macron. While their earlier handshakes suggest a competition for dominance, Trump’s more recent loose-jawed smile of amusement, and his playful removal of “dandruff,” could now indicate a rough-and-tumble relationship between equals. Even if he’s still trying to show that he’s the top dog, he seems to be doing it in a friendlier spirit. 

On other occasions, Trump has aggressively refused physical contact with foreign dignitaries — he famously turned down a handshake with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting in the Oval Office last year. The gesture, CNN wrote, “was taken as a sign of the tensions between the two leaders.” (They did shake hands on Friday.)

It’s understandable, then, that so many observers focus on these details. With his cheap talk often signifying nothing, at least where tangible policymaking is concerned, the signals of nonverbal behavior, which make feelings evident in actions, become that much more significant. They’re no Rosetta Stone, but body movements, facial displays and, yes, inappropriate grooming are more reliable than words alone when trying to understand someone’s intent.

Perhaps this is why stories about Trump’s behavior are so attractive: It’s one of the only ways to figure out how the president truly feels in the moment.


Saturday, April 28, 2018



UPDATED here.

Joy Reid is on TV now. She is addresing the allegations against her on a very different matter than what Tom Brokaw has responded to (below). Hopefully you will be able to watch her show later in the day (here) if you missed seeing it live. This is a clip of her introductory remarks.

The chance of false accusations of sexual harassment being leveled against people in this era of #MeToo must to be taken seriously. When it comes to "he said she said" situation you have to make your own decision as to who you are going to believe.

  This is Tom Brokaw's side of the allegations being made against him.

Here's the letter signed by former female colleagues including Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchen, Stephanie Ruhl, Kristin Welker, Kelly O'Donnell, and Maria Schriver. Mika Brzezinski also voiced her support for the journalist, tweeting, "Add me to the list." 

Subject: Letter on Tom Brokaw
As professional women, we fully endorse the conversation around abuse of power in the workplace. In the context of that conversation, we would like to share our perspectives on working with Tom Brokaw.
We are current and former colleagues of Tom’s, who have worked with him over a period spanning four decades. We are producers, correspondents, anchors, directors, executives, researchers, personal assistants, editors and technical staff.
Tom has treated each of us with fairness and respect. He has given each of us opportunities for advancement and championed our successes throughout our careers. As we have advanced across industries — news, publishing, law, business and government — Tom has been a valued source of counsel and support. We know him to be a man of tremendous decency and integrity.
Click image below to enlarge:
Excerpt:
Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev, (Trump) has “forced new efficiencies.”

“You have to report faster, write faster, think faster, sleep faster,” says Talev, who has covered the White House for a decade. Sleep faster? “I’m trying to get 6½ hours of sleep in 4½ hours,” she says. “That’s my current project.”

Talev is joking—I think!—but it’s hard to tell these days. Every year, POLITICO’s Media Issue drills into the realities of the White House beat, looking at what it’s like to cover the presidency and how that shapes what we know about the most powerful office in the world. But it has never been quite like this, and “what we know” has never been quite so unreliable.

Reporters, often the biggest names at their news organizations, find themselves having to bend to the whims of an early rising 71-year-old who starts making news by blasting out aggrieved and, at times, outrageous tweets before the end of “Fox & Friends.” What was once one of the most prestigious gigs in journalism has become a daily slog. Craggy veterans crank out stories at odd hours as they scramble to report out the mercurial musings of a president who, with apologies to Lewis Carroll, believes as many as six impossible things before breakfast. 
Major news organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, rotate reporters each week to ensure that someone is up for the tweetstorms at dawn, and are hiring new correspondents to help with the expanded workload. Where presidential news once arrived on a fairly predictable schedule, the Times’ Peter Baker says the on-duty reporter now might have to knock out two stories before getting out of his or her pajamas.
…...
Two photos from The New York Times article 

A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening Thursday in Montgomery, Ala., is dedicated to victims of white supremacy. Click images to enlarge.



Back (April 26-27)

April 26, 2018

April 26-27, 2018

Back, April 24-25, 2018

April 27, 2018



For those wondering why Ryan fired the House chaplain: 


Republicans Reject Investigation Into Why Paul Ryan Fired House Chaplain Patrick Conroy was forced out of his job after praying for no “winners and losers” under the GOP tax law. We still don’t know why the head of the Department of Indian Affairs resigned. 



Bill Cosby Yells At Prosecutor After Guilty Verdict: ‘You Asshole!’ Too the bad prosecuter didn't then give Cosby the Vulcan salute and say  "live long and prosper... in prison." (HB)



Uh-Oh: Tom Brokaw Accused.

Just saying:
Sanders possesses a unique talent that,
 heretofore, has not quite been considered
 a talent: She can deaden a room.
You almost have to be in the White
 House briefing room, a claustrophobic
 space packed tight with reporters and
 photographers, to appreciate her art.
When the bright lights are on and
 the cameras are snapping and everyone is
 yelling, “Sarah! Sarah!” with their hands
 in the air, a palpable electricity flows through it.
 The moment Sanders unleashes her
trademark monotone, the energy drains.
The president’s comments come as the North American campaign faces significant competition from Morocco, the only other country vying to stage the 2026 World Cup. The FIFA Congress will meet to select the 2026 host in Moscow on June 13, just before the start of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
North America was initially heavily favored to defeat Morocco, in part because the three countries would offer dozens of high-quality facilities and require no new stadium construction to accommodate the massive tournament. Mexico and Canada would host 10 games apiece, in three cities each, while the U.S. would host 60 matches in 17 cities, according to the campaign. It will be the first World Cup with a field of 48 teams — a 50 percent increase.
But the competition with Morocco has become tighter than anticipated, ESPN reported, in part because of Trump, who has enacted a travel ban against mostly Muslim countries and drawn intense criticism for making vulgar comments about African nations. (Statements he denies making.)
The chairman of the North American bid, Sunil Gulati, said in January that political factors were complicating the effort.

“This will be a tough battle,” he said at the time, The Post reported. “This is not only about our stadiums and our hotels and all of that. It’s about the perception of America, and it’s a difficult time in the world.” Washington Post

Small But Good News:

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan resigns, vows to repay $39K harassment settlement


The #ToddlerinChief thread is one year old today! Excerpts from Washington Post

I've spent the past year curating the #ToddlerinChief thread Here's what I've learned.

 It would be hard to exaggerate the desperate craving many pundits possessed for Donald Trump to settle down into someone resembling a normal, grown-up president. Occasional gestures at maturity, like his joint address to Congress or play-acting like the commander in chief, were seized upon by commentators as examples of Trump growing into the office. That first tweet contained a garden-variety quote from one of Trump’s advisers characterizing him like a toddler. It seemed like a useful response to those wishcasting a mature Donald Trump.
It has been a year. From that tweet has grown 320 examples of staffers, outside advisers, Cabinet officers, treaty allies and members of Congress describing Trump like a toddler in news stories. If you don’t want to see them on Twitter, you can read them all on this Spoiler Alerts post. The sources include the Associated Press and Yahoo News. The toddler-like behavior includes demanding extra dessert and needing positive reinforcementpure oppositional thinking and poor impulse control.
I am aware that Trump is not a toddler — he also acts like a hormonal teenager at times and at other times like an old man nostalgic for a bygone era. There are several examples in the thread of behavior that more mature presidents might display from time to time but which from Trump still seem toddler-like. A year of curating the thread has been illuminating. Here is what I’ve learned (I edited down the entries)
1) For a guy who values loyalty, Trump has the most disloyal coterie ever. My criteria for adding something to the #ToddlerinChief thread has been quite clear. The story had to be sourced to someone with a vested interest in seeing Trump succeed:
It doesn’t matter if Democrats or pundits describe the president as having the emotional maturity of a toddler. That’s just partisan politics or conventional wisdom. No, what makes these stories stand out is that these descriptions are coming from fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill in the Cabinet or loyal treaty allies or — most often — from within Trump’s own White House staff. The point is, this is how Trump’s most trusted advisers view Trump.
The amount of blabbing to the press has been remarkable. Kudos to the journalists covering Trump, without whom this thread would be impossible. Regardless of staff turnover, there has never been a dry spell in terms of adding to the thread. Trump stresses his need for loyalty to everyone. It is extraordinary how little his staff heeds that request.
2) There was never any calm period.  For Trump’s toddler-like moods, however, there has never been a fallow period. Trump’s immature, impulsive behavior has never slacked off. 
3) Trump is a fundamentally lazy president. Being the president is not an easy job, but Trump barely makes an effort. Like a toddler, he needs a lot of downtime. He gets easily triggered by things he sees on television. And he watches a lot of television. 
4) Trump sounds like a different kind of toddler now. The president has learned that he can reject any adult supervision and insist that he be treated like a big boy. But he still will not get his way as much as a normal president, and the bad press will persist. This means more tantrums.
5) Trump will never stop acting like a toddler. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

April 26, 2018

Breaking: 


Daily Beast suspends Joy Reid's column as they investigate decade old homophobic comments out on her blog that she claims was hacked and did not author


  • Joy Reid's attorney said the FBI opened an investigation into her hacking claims
  • Reid, who has been accused of making homophobic and salacious comments on her old blog, The Reid Report, says she did not author the comments   
  • She has been suspended from her column with the Daily Beast while they conduct their own investigation 
  • In addition to the questionable blog posts, old tweets from the 49-year-old host have also surfaced 
  • In one tweet, she refers to Southern Baptist minister George Rekers, who was famously caught with a male prostitute, as a 'rentboy' 
  • 'Rush Limbaugh's fourth marriage offers a hopeful message for fat, grimey closet-cases everywhere. Get rich (Karl Rover, you're on deck!)' she added 
  • Reid currently is remaining in her hosting gig with MSNBC however

Good Morning!

My Daily Kos story today:


Can a malignant narcissist with impaired impulse control Mirandize himself?


I resist getting my hopes up when I read stories like 

Democrats may actually win the Senate in 2018, poll suggests A recent poll suggests that the Senate could be in play, while a recent race throws the House into question


I'm still not tired of watching this video, which Betsy Bits put on Twitter. Watch Trump's desperate pinky.
This is not the first time Trump has had difficulty getting his wife to hold his hand. Last May, a video emerged of Melania Trump slapping her husband’s hand away while the two of them walked side-by-side in Israel — and then one day later, Melania was seen moving her hand away from the president when he tried to hold it as the two were debarking from an airplane.

Today's news:

Ronnie Jackson withdraws his name, Scott Pruit goes before congressional committees, Rudy the Wretched is meeting with Mueller on The Don's behalf. 


On Fox and Friends this morning Trump discussed Michael Cohen. Watch the entire interview here!


"He would represent me and represent me on some things, he represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me," Trump said. "From what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong." He also said "it's a fix, it's a witch hunt." Living in Trump's mind I have to wonder about his obsession with witches and how many people are trying to find them. Trump launched into a tirade against the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia, before eventually replying: "I would give myself an A+." "Nobody has done what I’ve been able to do," he said. "And I did it despite the fact that I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn’t exist."
And then there's this:

Trump made 2 costly legal errors during unhinged Fox Friends interview



Michael Avenati isn't afraid of Fox and Friends and Trump's bluster. Watch him on Morning Joe from this morning. He hints that the $1.6 million payout was for Trump and not some anonymous Republican donor as claimed. Mika presses him on what, if any concrete evidence, he has about the Stormy affair.

If you missed Marcon's address before the joint session of Congress where he basically repudiated Trumpism here's a segment. So much for the bromance.

From E.J. Dionne, Jr. in WaPo:

But on the last day of his state visit on Wednesday, Macron showed he will not be trifled with. He used a speech to a joint session of Congress to engage in a full-scale takedown of Trumpism, wrapped in a love letter to the United States and a call on Americans to live up to the values embedded in our own history. 
Macron, speaking forcefully in English, held nothing back. He warned against “the illusion of nationalism” and politicians who “play with fear and anger.” He brought home the nature of the menace by alluding to the U.S. president who led the war against fascism. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” declared Macron, channeling Franklin D. Roosevelt.  
Macron predicted that, despite Trump’s abandonment of the Paris climate accord, the United States would one day rejoin it. Turning Trump’s signature campaign theme on its author, the French president issued his patented call to “make our planet great again.” For good measure, he pointedly asked climate change deniers to confront the consequences if they proved to be wrong. “Let us face it,” Macron said, “there is no Planet B.”  
“What is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, while sacrificing the future of our children?” Macron asked.



Chuck Grassley’s act of defiance


The veteran GOP senator and Judiciary Committee chairman is forging ahead with a Mueller-protection bill, bucking Donald Trump and his own leadership. 

Excerpt:


Chuck Grassley doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. 

Ignoring protests from the most powerful people in his own party, the Republican senator from Iowa is plowing ahead with a plan to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the bill will never make it to the Senate floor. 

And Grassley himself acknowledges it won’t become law, but he’s presiding over a committee hearing on the proposal Thursday anyway. The move by the 84-year-old senator, who can still do more pushups than many people half his age, is a rare act of defiance of Trump in the Republican-controlled Congress. 

Even so, Grassley told Politico during an interview in his Capitol office that his “relationship with the president is excellent as far as I’m concerned.” 

“Now, I don’t know what he thinks about it. But that’s the way I look at it,” Grassley said. Asked whether Trump has talked to him about Mueller, he demurred in quintessential fashion: “If I had a conversation with the president, I wouldn’t tell you about it.”


The Macron-Trump Summit and the Dandruff Factor - The New Yorker




EXCERPT: The summit this week in Washington, D.C., between Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump has caused an anxious transatlantic exchange between Francophile Americans and French observers of American life over a singular and urgent issue: the proper French translation for the word “dandruff.” The dictionary suggests “pellicules,” but that word, meaning film, or flakes, is far more generalized, and broadly applicable to things besides ugly hair-snow.

 This implies either that the French have a less particularized relationship with the problem—which rings true, I can’t recall hearing it mentioned often as a problem in France—or that Americans have a specially fraught one with it, which also rings true. Though the condition exists in France, it is governed by the typically French taste for fine discriminations: they don’t treat it as a simple shoulder plague but as a subject for quasi-medical distinctions. (“There exist many kinds of flakes,” one French magazine reports, “including fatty flakes and drier flakes, according to the nature of the particular epidermis.”) 

Certainly, Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday, in the Oval Office, to ostentatiously remove a pellicule sèche from President Macron’s jacket was interpreted in France, as it was here, as one more bit of primitive theatricalizing on Trump’s part—a primate dominance display. (Among primates, the less dominant tend to groom the more dominant, though Trump clearly intended his housekeeping to indicate his, well, right to intervene.)


But Macron’s ability to, so to speak, brush it off was part of his well-considered long-range manipulation of Trump. It was obvious, and became still more so during Macron’s joint address to Congress, on Wednesday morning, that he sees himself as a kind of wise, old-world counsellor to Trump. He seems to read Trump not as a diehard nationalist authoritarian, with whom no reasonable business can or should be done, but, rather, as one would read a typical American tourist in Paris. That was clearly the measure that Macron took of Trump at the Bastille Day parade last year: not very bright, shallow, but not necessarily possessed of evil instincts if he can be gently cajoled into civilized behavior. Continued 

Back, April 24-25, 2018

My most recent Daily Kos stories

The Toronto constable who didn't shoot story led me to revisit an article I wrote in 1998.HalBrown04/25/201875--
French Kissing: Trump, Macron, and Melania. Part Four of the Melania Chronicles.HalBrown04/24/201862--
Burning down the Trump House: Putting impeachment aside, Trump has a lot more to worry about in 2019HalBrown04/23/20181610--
What does Romney's loss in Utah convention mean? Plus, my first Wikipedia edit.HalBrown04/22/20183720--
NY Times reporter Maggie Haberman is on Trump's sh!t list. Last year she was on Sean Hannity's.HalBrown04/21/201874--
Rachel's amazing extraordinary show last night, and my take and Fox News' take on the Comey memosHalBrown04/20/2018318--
BREAKING: Trump doubles down on BREEDING CONCEPT Tweet following criticism.HalBrown04/19/20184819--
Our extremely stable mentally healthy president playing with his Twitter at 3:00 AMHalBrown04/18/20182827--
Let's get this straight, Jeanine Pirro, Trump was never alleged to have prostitutes pee on himHalBrown04/15/20186125--
Coffee-MSNBC-Web surfing-writing: What do you do in the morning before you get out and about?HalBrown04/14/2018144--
New York Post's benign cover vs. N.Y. Daily News' brilliant pea brain Trump PEE BRAIN coverHalBrown04/13/2018815--