Website slow, click here because a quirk of this website is that it opens a much longer webpage than it should This is a blog with my own opinion plus new stories that piqued my interest. A few of them are from websites you are unlikely to read. I hope they interest you too.... Now covering stories about Hong Kong and China.
July 9, 2020
|Click above to enlarge|
Twitter has a spell check:
July 8, 2020
While auditors applauded the company for a “number of positive and consequential steps,” they warned that progress is being undone by other “vexing and heartbreaking decisions,” effectively setting Facebook on a “seesaw of progress and setbacks.”
One example: failing to act on a series of recent posts by President Donald Trump in which he labeled protesters as “THUGS” and said that “looting” leads to “shooting.” The posts were left up after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Trump and claimed, despite evidence to the contrary, that they didn’t incite violence and therefore didn’t violate company rules.
After Facebook’s inaction on the Trump posts, other politicians and businesses ran ads with similar language, advocating that armed vigilante citizens shoot “looters” and “ANTIFA terrorists.” Even though the ads violated the platform’s rules, they weren’t flagged by the company and received more than 200,000 impressions before they were brought to Facebook’s attention and removed.
In addition to carving out problematic exceptions for the president, the report found Facebook is generally “far too reluctant to adopt strong rules to limit misinformation and voter suppression,” effectively “weaponizing” the platform to suppress voting.
“With less than five months before a presidential election,” the report said, “it confounds the auditors as to why Facebook has failed to grasp the urgency.”
July 7, 2020
From The Washington Post review of Mary Trump's book:
Mary wrote that her father had a “natural sense of humor, sense of adventure, and sensitivity,” which he worked hard to hide from the family patriarch.
“Softness was unthinkable in his namesake,” she writes.
“Fred [Sr.] hated it when his oldest son screwed up or failed to intuit what was required of him, but he hated it even more when, after being taken to task, Freddy [Fred Jr.] apologized. ‘Sorry, Dad,’” Mary wrote of the way her grandfather treated her father, known as Freddy. Fred Sr. “would mock him. Fred wanted his oldest son to be a ‘killer.’”
Donald, seven-and-a-half years younger than his brother, “had plenty of time to learn from watching Fred humiliate” his eldest son, Mary Trump wrote.
“The lesson he learned, at its simplest, was that it was wrong to be like Freddy: Fred didn’t respect his oldest son, so neither would Donald.”
Donald delighted in tormenting his younger brother Robert, whom he perceived as weaker, Mary Trump writes. Donald repeatedly hid his brother’s favorite toys, a set of Tonka trucks he received for Christmas, and pretended he didn’t know where they had gone. When Robert threw a tantrum, “Donald threatened to dismantle the trucks in front of him if he didn’t stop crying.”
Among other things, Mary Trump claims that Fred Trump, Sr. limited his son’s “access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable,” which she said “perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it.”
“That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends — ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance,” she added.
July 6, 2020
These are times of pain, mass death, fear and deprivation and the Trump show may be losing its allure, exposing the empty space once filled by the empathy and seriousness of presidents leading in a crisis................“You’re never going to come out a major natural disaster unscathed but you can mitigate the damage by an empathetic response that describes the path out of this. That’s what Trump is literally incapable of doing.”
July 5, 2020
COVID-19 NEWS: Elegant but unproven, RNA experiments leap to the front in coronavirus vaccine race. Will they work?
When pundits point out that with four months to go until Election Day, it isn’t too late for Trump to turn his campaign around, what they’re really saying is that there’s sufficient time left on the calendar for a candidate who grasped why he or she was losing to change course and abandon a clearly failing strategy.
Trump’s malignant narcissism makes that impossible. Unable to grasp that he lucked into the White House as a result of a perfect storm of factors despite being the most unpopular candidate in history, Trump is convinced that his ugly demagoguery was a stroke of political genius, and is now doubling down on the bigotry in the belief that he might finally score a win in the culture wars even as the public is trending away from his side of the conflict.
In the Trump era the f-word is beginning to appear in headlines: America Is Done With Trump and Stupid Cruel Tough Guy Acts
As stubborn older American men cling to the belief that their brand of Fuck You masculinity isn’t a ridiculous failure, the Get This Guy The Hell Out Of Here coalition is growing.
Trump has gone from ‘merely losing’ to ‘flailing’ in one month as he faces a November election wipeout
This Kos story, worth quoting, is not by me.
Ivanka Trump buried for her COVID-19 advice during the packed Mt Rushmore rally: ‘What a clown’ and Donald Junior tests positive, goes to Mt. Rushmore anyway , summary of Michelle Goldberg's OpEd about Trumps white power Rushmore speech.
July 3, 2020
Karma is circling the White House:
Guilfoyle was supposed to be in South Dakota on Friday.
Best quote this week:
Read article in The Mary Sue here
It happened again at the White House on Monday. President Trump’s press secretary was speaking to reporters when one asked about his denial of reportsthat Russian operatives offered bounties to Taliban members who kill American troops in Afghanistan. But, a reporter noted, Trump had also claimed that he had never been briefed on the subject — so how could he be certain there were never any bounties?
McEnany was ready for this one.
Quickly flipping pages in her briefing binder, McEnany launched into an extended critique of the New York Times, which broke the Russia story last week. Reading from her notes, she rattled off a series of alleged errors published by the Times in its reporting about Russia over the past four years, including a claim that 17 intelligence agencies had agreed about Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Only four agencies had done so.)
Then she unleashed the uppercut punch: “It is inexcusable, the failed Russia reporting of the New York Times. And I think it’s time that the New York Times, and also The Washington Post, hand back their Pulitzers.”
And with that, McEnany snapped her binder shut and strode out of the briefing room, trailed by the unanswered shouts and murmurs of the White House press corps.
Such dramatic exits have become a signature of McEnany’s brief tenure as press secretary. Since taking the job in April, the former Trump-friendly CNN pundit and spokeswoman for Trump’s reelection campaign has often waited until the briefing’s conclusion — that is, the moment when shedetermines the briefing is concluded — to unload on the assembled reporters.
The excoriation is typically punctuated by a binder slam and a determined stride away from the lectern, almost like the slugger who doesn’t bother to watch the pitch he just swatted as it sails into the bleacher seats. The unspoken message seems to be: Take that, hacks!
|Watch Morning Joe video|
July 2, 2020
EXCERPT: You may have heard that Donald J. Trump is president of the United States. If you are inclined to forget it for a moment, he is ever ready to remind you by incessant tweets, abrasive public comments, loud rallies, expensive ads, and the hallelujahs of his chorus of supporters that he is the man. Not only is he the president, he is, he insists, the greatest president ever, whose administration is dizzy with success and muscle-bound with accomplishments. His midterm self-assessment was modestly entitled “500 Days of American Greatness.” Trump’s presidency is quite possibly the most imperial of imperial presidencies, characterized by contemptuous disregard for any constitutional limits on his power (“I have an Article 2 [of the Constitution] where I have the right to do whatever I want as president” he once said).
I reiterate these well-known attributes of our narcissistic chief executive by way of background for this astonishing Wall Street Journal story:
President Trump’s case for re-election reprises his pitch for a first term in office, as he and his team try to portray presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden as an incumbent while accentuating his own outsider credentials.In advertisements, interviews and social-media posts, Mr. Trump is highlighting Mr. Biden’s four decades as a Delaware senator and vice president — the most consistent message among several the president has driven so far about his competitor.
Now, it’s not surprising that an incumbent president running for reelection at a time when objective conditions in the country are dreadful — in part because of his own hubris, negligence, and, yes, narcissism — wants to avoid a “referendum” election. And that’s particularly true of an incumbent whose personal favorability indices are as horrible as Trump’s (about half the electorate has a very unfavorable opinion of him). Typically, a president in this sort of jam will try to engineer a “choice” election; when Jimmy Carter was in a world of hurt in 1980, his strategy was to frame the election as a “two futures” choice between him and his controversial challenger Ronald Reagan. It didn’t work, but it made sense.
But I don’t believe a president running for reelection has ever sought to depict his challenger as the real incumbent and pose as the real “outsider.” And it’s particularly laughable coming from a president so endlessly puffed up with his own presidential status. I’m guessing “Hail to the Chief” plays in an endless loop in the back of Trump’s mind 24/7. This “outsider” strategy even sounds ludicrous to one of the architects of the 2016 Trump “insurgency”:
Trump's agreement to look the other way on Putin's dark deeds is nothing new — remember the Mueller report?
|A story you probably missed|
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Trump was briefed and there was a large intra-agency meeting held by the National Security Council. When the White House denied that Trump had ever heard anything about this, sources came up with a date for the briefing: Feb. 27. Further reporting from the Associated Press indicates that Trump was shown an earlier version of this intelligence more than a year ago, and that then-national security adviser John Bolton personally briefed him in March 2019. Financial documents also back up the story, and the name of one Afghan middleman has surfaced.
Indeed, it's obvious Trump is lying about this is just from the fact that he's dismissing the entire story as a "hoax," even though his White House officials and Republican politicians are not contesting that these intelligence reports about Russian bounties actually exist. Yet Trump continues both to deny that he was briefed and also to claim, preposterously, "this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax."
What happens to a person like Donald Trump when they suffer a narcissistic injury, such as what happened in Tulsa with his failed rally?
Donald Trump is incapable of tolerating losing without withdrawing into delusional paranoid explanations of what happened. His fundamental need to be always right and an absolute ruler, a God above all criticism, is what has led to his inability to tolerate democracy, and his repeated efforts to destroy it with his attacks on Congress, the judiciary system and a free press.
A few days after the Tulsa rally, Trump traveled to Arizona where he spoke to thousands of hand-picked adoring supporters at a right-wing evangelical church. So on one day he is in the pits of despair and anger, but the next day he is elated and flying high. How does such an emotional rollercoaster impact his mind?
Trump is able to appear more in touch with reality when he is being worshiped. Indeed, when his primitive needs are not being challenged, he can look like a normal person — it's what has made him a successful con man. When he is challenged, however, his cruelty, sadism, paranoia, lack of conscience, incitement to violence and active pursuit of policies that kill people become obvious. These traits are properly described as "evil." In professional terms, they mean he is a psychopath.
At his rally in Tulsa, Donald Trump admitted to ordering that testing for the coronavirus be limited and slowed down so that it would appear that fewer Americans are becoming ill in this pandemic. In Trump's mind, this helps his re-election chances. Trump is killing people. Does he know that he is doing that? Or is he so delusional that he cannot connect his actions to the many thousands of Americans who are now dead?
Trump knows what he is doing, and he does not care. Many people cannot accept that Trump doesn't care about all this human suffering because they cannot grasp the idea of the president of the United States being as deeply disturbed as he is. That denial is a pretty normal reaction; nobody wants to believe we have a president who lacks human empathy and is willing for others to die for his personal gain.
July 1, 2020
My tweet for the day (click to enlarge)
I posted this frivolous story on Daily Kos early this morning. It took four hours for Catte Nappe (get it, cat nap), a regular reader of my stories there, to find the answer.
Now for the serious news:
|Subscription, but this is the gist of the OpEd|
\A perilous pattern persists that underscores Mr. Trump’s strange propensity to serve Russian interests above America’s. Recall that, during his 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump publicly urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and praised WikiLeaks for publishing stolen documents.
He denied and dismissed Russian interference in the 2016 election, then took Mr. Putin at his word at a Helsinki meeting while undercutting the U.S. intelligence community, and obstructed the Mueller investigation and distorted its findings. Mr. Trump recklessly removed U.S. troops from northern Syria and allowed Russian forces to take over American bases.
Next, Mr. Trump unilaterally invited Mr. Putin to attend the Group of 7 meeting, a move that apparently upended the organization’s annual summit. Subsequently, without any consultation, Mr. Trump announced his decision to remove nearly a third of U.S. troops from Germany — a sudden and inexplicable withdrawal that weakens the U.S.-German relationship and harms NATO, while benefiting Russia.
Most recently, we have learned that even Russian efforts to slaughter American troops in cold blood do not faze this president. Mr. Trump brushes off the information, evades responsibility and fails to take action — not even lodging a diplomatic protest. Now Mr. Putin knows he can kill Americans with impunity.
What must we conclude from all this? At best, our commander in chief is utterly derelict in his duties, presiding over a dangerously dysfunctional national security process that is putting our country and those who wear its uniform at great risk. At worst, the White House is being run by liars and wimps catering to a tyrannical president who is actively advancing our arch adversary’s nefarious interests.Conclusion:
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He has been similarly taken advantage of by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, working in concert with Russia, managed to completely outmaneuver Trump on the Syrian civil war:
Two sources described the President as woefully uninformed about the history of the Syrian conflict and the Middle East generally, and said he was often caught off guard, and lacked sufficient knowledge to engage on equal terms in nuanced policy discussion with Erdogan. "Erdogan took him to the cleaners," said one of the sources.
These sources told Bernstein that Trump was often "delusional" in his dealings with foreign leaders, and did not become more "skillful or competent" as time went on. He refuses to listen to experts or really to anyone, except those, like his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who fawn over him, telling him how terrific he is. These high-level White House aides came to believe at some point that "the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States."
These are major leaks of highly guarded conversations, obviously by people who were close to Trump, and we rightly wonder why in the world they didn't speak out before. But consider the fact that we've had all those other shocking insider accounts of this administration and it has made no difference. Republican officials have been unmoved by all of them. In fact, major figures in the party have enabled him every step of the way, and it's not as if they didn't know what was on John Kelly's or Rex Tillerson's minds when they left the White House. And as long as a circle of political loyalists protected Trump, he obviously wasn't going to change and wasn't going to go anywhere.
So, no — it probably wouldn't have mattered if these people had stepped up and told the truth earlier. But maybe it will matter now. Trump is proving himself incapable of handling the gravest crisis of his presidency and his polling numbers are dismal. If these people who come forward now can deliver the coup de grâce, perhaps it was all for the best.
According to Gallup’s ongoing tracking of the percentage of Americans who approve of a president’s job performance, Carter’s and Bush’s numbers sank below 40 percent during this period and pretty much stayed there through Election Day. It’s as if they both met their fates on the cusp of summer.
And the cusp of summer has been a mean season for Trump, who has never flailed more pathetically or lashed out more desperately and who just experienced the Carter-Bush dip. According to Gallup, his approval rating fell to 39 percent in early June from 49 a month earlier. So if Carter and Bush are harbingers, Trump is toast.
He’s toast by other measures as well. Two much-discussed polls by The Times and Siena College that were published last week suggested that in key swing states, as well as nationally, he’s the limping dead, trailing Joe Biden by double digits. That assessment is mostly consistent with other modeling and projections since the economy turned on Trump.
According to some abstruse algorithm that The Economist regularly updates, he has only a one in 10 chance of winning the Electoral College and thus the presidency. According to a historical averaging of election-year polls by the website FiveThirtyEight, Biden’s lead over Trump right now is the biggest at this stage of the contest since Bill Clinton’s over Bob Dole in 1996, when Clinton won his second term.
Trump’s response? To set himself on fire.
His gratuitously touted instincts are nowhere to be found, supplanted by self-defeating provocations, kamikaze tantrums and an itchy Twitter finger. There’s a culture war for him to exploit, but instead of simply pillorying monument destroyers, he created his own living monuments: a white supremacist astride a golf cart in a Florida retirement community and a pistol-toting Karen shouting at peaceful Black protesters from the stoop of her St. Louis manse. As a statement of values, it’s grotesque. As a re-election strategy, it’s deranged.
“Trump is in a deep hole and his reaction is to keep digging,” David Axelrod told me. “What he’s doing is shrinking his vote to excite his base.” But that base is almost certainly not big enough to carry him to victory.
An Ohio state legislator said, “I don’t want to cover people’s faces” because “we’re created in the image and likeness of God.” A Palm Beach, Fla., woman complained that masks “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door,” while a fellow Palm Beach resident denounced mask advocates for “practicing the Devil’s law.” A North Carolina woman burned a mask, complaining that it represented “nanny state overreach.” Wait till these freedom-lovers find out about speeding laws, seat-belt laws and drunken-driving laws, which restrict their “right” to get wasted and careen down the highway at 95 mph without a seat belt.
Granted, few Americans are as maniacal in their opposition to the basic dictates of public health. But far greater numbers seem recklessly indifferent to them. A 30-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., man went drinking with his buddies and even shared drinks with them in a “super packed” bar. A few days later, he woke up with a 103-degree temperature. “I didn’t take this seriously,” Jimmy Flores now admits. “I didn’t think I was gonna get covid.”
Summarized on HUFFPOST
|No subscription required. Top story on HuffPost|
And on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese control — a day usually observed by huge pro-democracy marches — a scattered crowd of protesters tried to rekindle that energy, only to be corralled by the police and arrested over offenses that did not exist a day earlier.
The Chinese government’s new security law for Hong Kong is less than a day old, and already the city is feeling its chilling effect. The law was designed to stamp out the anti-government demonstrations that have wracked the semiautonomous territory for more than a year. But it also threatens the fabric of life that has made Hong Kong, with its freewheeling cultural scene and civil society, distinct from the rest of China.
“You can say this law is just targeting protesters and anti-Chinese politicians, but it could be anyone,” said Isabella Ng, a professor at the Education University of Hong Kong who founded a charity that helps refugees in the city.
专家说，这可能会将香港带入一个新时代，公民自由受到严格限制，对党的忠诚至关重要。纽约大学法学教授、中国法律体制专家孔杰荣(Jerome A. Cohen)说：“总的来说，这是接管香港。”
JUNE 30, 2020
The man is seriously sick...
"As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it!"
|Click above to read relies to this tweet|
Now we know: Trump actually puts down his phone when he putts.
Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” was set to hit bookstores in July.
Looking back on the nation’s recent past, baffled Americans are left to ponder two questions: how could this have happened? And what can we do to escape from the terrible straits in which we find ourselves?
A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice, with the persistence of racism offering just one example of what neglect has produced. Yet it deserves to be emphasized: the neglect was not Trump’s doing; he was merely its ironic beneficiary. We are its victims.
A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership — thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home — has become intolerable.
A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.
Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. This article is in The Spectator’s July 2020 US
Introducing the Slate Trump Vincibility Watch: Do White Power and Potential Treason Make for a Good Campaign Pitch? Not as much as they used to, apparently!
If the election were held tomorrow, assuming the pandemic-ravaged nation were able to hold an election at all, every available indicator says Trump would lose. But November is more than four months away, and many things can change between now and then. Theoretically, some of those things might be bad for Joe Biden instead of bad for Trump. Verdict: Right now, Trump is SLIGHTLY NON-INVINCIBLE.
Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon known for his outspoken support of the city's pro-democracy movement, said the law "spells a death knell to Hong Kong because it supersedes our law and our rule of law."
"The democratic movement will have to adjust its strategy because it's a fact that a lot of the people in the democratic movement are scared -- either they find ways to leave or emigrate or to sidestep the movement." Lai, who was arrested in February in relation to a protest march, said he would stay in the city and "keep on fighting."
Rights group Amnesty International said the legislation "represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history."
"The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully," said the head of Amnesty International's China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said reports on China passing the security law "proves that 'one country, two systems' is not credible." Tsai said that Taiwan will start an office from July 1, which will "provide humanitarian aid for our friends in Hong Kong."
In Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the passing of the law "regrettable."
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exports of US-origin defense equipment and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong. Pompeo said the move was necessary to protect American national security as the tensions between the US and China continue to escalate.
"As Beijing moves forward with passing the national security law ... We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China," Pompeo said.
This is the first action the US government has taken to upend the special status trade relationship between the US and Hong Kong, following the determination that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China due to Beijing imposing the national security law on the city.
It comes as Beijing on Monday said it would impose visa restrictions on certain Americans in response to Washington's move last week to place similar limits on Chinese officials over Hong Kong.
Articles you probably missed:
JUNE 29, 2020
(CNN) — In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.
I like Rick Wilson but not enough to subscribe to Daily Beast to read this. Still, I thought I'd share what you can see for free: You can read more excerpts here.
He’s tired of the job, but he knows that without the power of his office (and Bill Barr to protect him), every conceivable chicken will come home to roost. He’s not quitting. Yes, everyone would love to believe the rumors sweeping Trumpland and the Washington media that it’s gotten so bad Donald Trump is considering quitting the race. Never gonna happen. Trump isn't suiting until the last dog dies. It's dumb wish casting. If Trump is fucked we all are for the next four months.
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Lot's of news....
Other version uses this image:
The big revelations of the moment — the reports that Russia may have paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, and the news that a U.S. attorney was ousted after investigating Trump cronies — are a reminder that Trump has found a gaping hole in our system.
If a president refuses to cooperate with congressional oversight in just about every conceivable way — and if that president has the near-total backing of a party that controls one chamber of Congress — any such scrutiny can basically be ground to a halt, with no repercussions.
But a group of House Democrats is now calling on its chamber to get a lot tougher in this regard.
This group of Democrats — which is led by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and includes other high-profile lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee — is introducing a resolution Monday that, if successful, would dramatically increase the House’s ability to compel compliance with oversight.
This resolution would create a new, modernized mechanism by which the House could seek to levy stiff fines on officials who defy subpoenas for testimony or documents. It would in effect bring into the 21st century a power that Congress has used only rarely in the past — the power to enforce its own subpoenas.
Lieu’s resolution — which is backed by Reps. Val Demings, Jamie Raskin, Joe Neguse, David Cicilline and Madeleine Dean, all of the Judiciary Committee — would change House rules to create a stiffer mechanism of accountability for flouting oversight.
Under it, any House committee that wanted to bring proceedings against an official for defying subpoenas could refer a resolution of contempt to the full House. If approved, the House can authorize its counsel to go to court to sue and ask it to freeze the offender’s assets.
This process would give the official 20 days to comply with the subpoena, after which the House counsel would ask the court to levy a fine of up to $25,000, to be increased as high as $100,000 over time.
The process would also provide for the House to negotiate with the administration over their reasons for noncompliance (the administration can also contest the fine in court), and to reach an accommodation if possible.
In effect, this attempts to modernize Congress’s power to employ civil enforcement of subpoenas, which it does have (see this Congressional Research Service report), and tries to create a rigorous process for it.
“This is a power Congress has repeatedly used in the past, and the courts have upheld,” Lieu told me.
JUNE 28, 2020
No subscription needed to read this:
JUNE 27, 2020
“We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs.
Trump targets individual anti-racism protesters in post-golf tweetstorm to catch those who committed violent crimes against statues.
Park Police Major Crimes Unit and FBI's DC Violent Crimes Task Force apparently have nothing better to do.
CLICK TO READ STORY:
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wrote about it in his book about the campaign, saying Trump would order two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish sandwiches and a chocolate milkshake.
CLICK TO READ STORY:
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wrote about it in his book about the campaign, saying Trump would order two Big Macs, two Filet-o-Fish sandwiches and a chocolate milkshake.
|Not a link|
JUNE 26, 2020
Click to read my story.
How a cognitive failing explains why so many people reject the facts about the pandemic - and why Fauci doesn't seem to understand this.
Read story - My thought is that thanks to Covid-19 even if Trump wins in GA, NC, and TX, if he only loses in FL he will be defeated. The reality of Covid-19 there may prove him to have been the incompetent dangerous liar he is.
As CNN’s Harry Enten pointed out, Biden doesn’t need to win a single one of these states to prevail in the election. If Biden wins any of these states, he’s most likely already surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next president. I wouldn’t bet on him winning all four states; the idea that Biden will win Texas, in particular, seems farfetched — if not impossible — despite what this poll found. But Biden’s 9-point lead in Florida should be particularly concerning for Trump. The president absolutely needs to hold the Sunshine State to maintain his grip on the presidency, and this poll — as well as many others — makes it look like a real challenge for Trump.
Why you read this blog? Where else will you find links to stories like this?
JUNE 25, 2020
From BuzzFeed News (image embellished by me)
JUNE 24, 2020
subscription): Trump’s sway over Lindsey Graham — and all Republicans — is weakening
Late in the 1939 film classic “The Wizard of Oz,” one learns — probably without realizing it — a fundamental lesson of politics. Dorothy’s stalwart friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion come to free her from certain death at the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. The witch’s Praetorian guards surround the noble band as she arrives to set fire to the Scarecrow. Seizing a handy bucket, Dorothy flings the water and, quite by accident, melts the Wicked Witch.
To the girl’s surprise, the captain of the guard cries: “Hail to Dorothy!” One second they’re ready to kill for the witch; the next, they delight over her smoldering remains. The lesson: To rule by fear, a leader must remain fearsome.
Hold that thought as we turn to the latest from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). Over the weekend, Graham appears to have thwarted the Trump administration’s power play in the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office. Since when does Graham tell the president no? A human windsock, whose loyalties exquisitely reflect the gusts and lulls of power in the GOP, Graham was the wise-cracking wingman to the late Sen. John McCain when the Arizonan carried the party’s flag. But that went out the window when President Trump took over. Graham swung the full 180 degrees to become Trump’s golf buddy, footstool and dutiful apologist.
Two things have happened recently to weaken Trump’s sway over Graham — and the same shifting breezes are being felt elsewhere in the Senate. First, Graham passed his reelection primary test with flying colors on June 9, winning nearly 70 percent of the votes. Any concern the senator might have had that he must mollify the president or risk a Trump-backed challenger melted away.
Meanwhile, Trump’s own poll numbers melted down. A recent Fox News survey of registered voters found just 38 percent in favor of reelecting the president. A number in the 30s is the political equivalent of a bucket of water in the face.
Osterholm avoids being too optimistic and fostering false hopes the way Fauci tried to do (in my opinion) yesterday before Congress. I don't think Fauci was a doctor who treated terminally ill patients, but if he was I think he'd be the one who tells his patients what they want to hear (you might be one of the 5% who lives for five years on chemo) rather than what they and their family need to hear to prepare for death sooner rather than later.
As much as I dislike sports analogy so many people think in those terms that saying we're in the second inning of a baseball game is a good way to communicate that we've barely begun the quest to beat the virus.
I do know that a baseball game has nine innings, and also that if it is tied at the end of the ninth it goes into the grimly termed and for Covid-19 aptly named "sudden death" extra innings.
Here's what Fauci said yesterday:
Fauci: Coronavirus vaccine could be available by end of 2020.
This is a lot different that what Osterholm says:
“Our goal obviously is to try to get to a vaccine, which is very, very important. If we can do that, then that’ll help us get to that immunity status without having to have people end up dying from it or getting sick.”
Still, Osterholm expects it will be some 18 months — well into 2021 — before a vaccine is ready for much of the world.
Trump supporters mocked for ignoring public health guidelines at rally: ‘The Superspreadysburg Address’
|In case you hadn't guessed, I added the photo.|
Quote: Just the rumor that Nadler intends to subpoena Barr was enough to get Jim Jordan to wrestle up some paper and pin down a letter. In what may be the most amusing example of projection not coming directly from Trump, Jordan accuses Nadler of having a “partisan posture” toward Barr by, you know, wanting him to ask him things. Jordan also finds it just outrageous that Nadler would think there was anything at all to see in Barr announcing the resignation of a U. S. attorney who had not resigned, or saying that Trump had fired that attorney, when Trump denied it.
Donald Trump thinks coronavirus testing is a plot to destroy him — and no, he's not kidding - Amanda Marcotte
Lifelong con man has convinced himself he can make voters un-see the pandemic if he just keeps lying about it
JUNE 22, 2020
Yesterday's Daily Kos story was recommended, stayed on all day, and prompted over 300 comments:
JUNE 21, 2020
Here's a quote from the WaPo OpEd:
But Trump is not an everybody wins sort of president. Some people soar and others don’t. He stood at the microphone, pinching at the air with his hands, ruminating and fulminating until everything becomes a blur of interminable, unearned preening. He has been draining the swamp, he says, even as so many of his former staff accuse him of being the slimiest of all its monsters.
Trump says niece "not allowed" to write book because of nondisclosure agreement, Jonathan Swan, AXIOS
I asked the president about his niece's allegation that he "dismissed and derided" his father when he began to succumb to Alzheimer's.
- "It's totally false; the opposite," Trump said. "Actually, the opposite. I always had a great relationship. I didn't know that she said that. That's a disgraceful thing to say."
JUNE 20, 2020
Increasingly, Trump seems content to try and re-run the playbook he used in 2016 in hopes that it works again. Elsewhere in that Politico interview, he warned other Republican candidates—including those running to help preserve the party’s Senate majority—not to tiptoe away from him, no matter what his poll numbers look like. And in recent days his team has made another aggressive effort to troll Biden (much as they did Hillary Clinton) as physically and mentally unwell. The president has brought back top aides from his last presidential run and is turning to one of his most prominent surrogates from that race to help, as well.
On Thursday, Politico reported that the Trump campaign had enlisted former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani—who as Trump’s personal lawyer launched a dirt-digging expedition into the Bidens that led directly to the president’s impeachment—to “spearhead a campaign to press for more debates this fall, starting earlier than usual and to have a say in choosing the moderators,” so that Trump can have more opportunities to publicly humiliate Biden, someone who the president seems convinced will crack under a one-on-one grilling.
Asked on Thursday if he now has an official title on Trump 2020, Giuliani told The Daily Beast, “No sir I am just helping out.”
JUNE 19, 2020
How superspreading is fueling the pandemic — and how we can stop it - VOX - it fills the entire screen...
This is the image they used with my addition.
|Click above to enlarge.|
From Jennifer Rubin
It seems the leader of the MAGA crowd would be most at home when the Confederacy was still revered (by racists who promulgated the “Lost Cause” nonsense), when scientists lacked the ability to contradict him and when only certain kinds of voters (his) could manage to cast their ballots. For the rest of us who live in a modern, multiracial, technologically sophisticated 21st-century America, he seems like a poor fit for president.
Click above to watch cartoon