A retired judge scalded the Department of Justice and President Donald Trump in a new filing in the case against Michael Flynn.
Former judge John Gleeson filed a brief Friday accusing the president of improperly pressuring the Justice Department to drop the case against his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russia, reported Bloomberg.
“In the United States, presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” Gleeson wrote.
Gleeson was named a “friend of the court” and tasked with arguing against dismissal in the Flynn case.
“Look, it’s called insurrection,” he added. “We just send in, and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes.”
Trump drew bipartisan criticism in June after police officers and National Guard troops fired rubber bullets and deployed flash-bang grenades to force largely peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square outside the White House.
The incursion against protesters by U.S. law enforcement officials allowed the president, top White House aides and senior administration officials to walk across the street to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church — where Trump posed with a Bible for a political photo opportunity.
Amid other mass demonstrations this summer against police brutality and racial injustice, Trump has faced further scrutiny for his treatment of protesters and at times unwelcome federal intervention.
PTSD expert Seth Norrholm: Americans "are being psychologically abused by Donald Trump" also from Salon
Leading neuroscientist says America will face a health crisis from "post-Trump syndrome" for years to come
- A president who has driven a massive white privilege wedge through the heart of a once great nation, whose lack of leadership and malignant narcissism has helped make America the greatest failure of all global nations in the handling of the pandemic, CALLED Bob Woodward to blab like a bored teenager. That’s like a honey-slathered fawn inviting a starving grizzly over for drinks and a cuddle.
- It’s like he’s trying to sabotage his re-election but the sticky maw of courts awaits when 45 leaves office so one must assume he’s desperate to stay in power. Again, how braindead is this guy?
- Bob Woodward’s Rage is most assuredly timed to slam a spread of torpedoes into the side of the labouring tub that is the Trump campaign, complete with passengers like this screaming meemie and other great statesmen such as other people from his family.
- I have always admired Bob Woodward’s work. How he managed to convince Captain Cadmium to go on such a rampage of guilt-stapling blabbery is beyond comprehension!
- Sadly, Trump is more than likely just a lonely old man who thought Bob Woodward, from his own generation, was being a friend and he let down his guard and unleashed his tongue, which obviously has communications issues with his brain.
- I’ve been reluctant to write about Trump lately because the thought of the bigoted blob of misogynistic prevarication with the brain-of-a-goat makes me want to get into fist fights. But this latest self-swung shovel upside his chubby Cheeto face has to be addressed.
Right: 8 minute segment on CNN with tapes. President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.
Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said.
Disney's Mulan OPENLY THANKS Chinese Government, Star Praises Hong Kong Crackdown. The hell with Chinese human rights violations, Disney is for the dollars.
McConville at first declined to comment on Trump's increased criticism of the Pentagon's top leaders in recent days, saying the military is apolitical, and must remain that way particularly during an election year. He later responded when asked about private companies' influence in the decision to go to war....
.... McConville on Tuesday also said that the issue of Army bases named for Confederate generals has affected some of his soldiers, saying, "it's a very emotional issue." Trump has previously tweeted that he does not want the military to consider renaming those bases.
"What we want to do, at least as the leadership of the Army, is identify those things that may divide us and take a look at and come up with solutions that may bring everyone together and make us a more cohesive team," McConville said. from https://www.usnews.com/news...
It's no surprise that Trump's campaign is a giant grift. But will his donors keep pouring good money after bad? By Amanda Marcotte, Salon
EXCERPT: The "Death Star": At the beginning of this year, that's what Donald Trump's then-campaign manager, Brad Parscale, dubbed the billion-dollar fundraising operation at the heart of the Trump campaign.
The choice was a telling one, largely as a reminder that many Republicans in the Trump era are not only aware that they're the bad guys, but are proud to align themselves with some of the notorious villains of pop culture history. But more than one commentator was also quick to point out that the Death Star isn't just a symbol of evil, but of hubris, because it's destroyed by the plucky heroes who may be outgunned but have the wit and courage to defeat the foolhardy tyrants of the Empire.
"Dude, the Death Star gets blown up in the end of just about every Star Wars movie," MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted back in May, in response to Parscale bragging that he was about to "start pressing FIRE for the first time" on Trump's "juggernaut campaign."
Life rarely plays out like a children's sci-fi movie, but I am happy to say that the people who made Death Star jokes turned out to be right. The Trump campaign's Death Star had its own version of the ray-shielded particle exhaust vent that allowed the Rebel Alliance to fly directly into its reactor core to blow up the entire apparatus: The greed and incompetence that defines Trump and everyone around him. (See below)
The book also details AMI’s (National Enquirer) other attempts to tip the scales in favor of Trump by spreading unverifiable information on the president’s 2016 Republican presidential primary opponents.
Cohen recalls how Pecker called him gleefully during the primary about a questionable photo the National Enquirer planned on running, allegedly showing Sen. Ted Cruz's father Rafael and JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald passing out leaflets on a New Orleans street corner.
According to the book, Pecker showed Cohen a mock-up of the publication's spread on the photo before it was published. When Cohen asked about the photo's veracity, Pecker did not seem concerned.
“Does it matter?” Pecker said, according to the book. “All we have to do is allege that it is.”
The latest Lincoln Project ad shows Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse in the front row at a Trump rally (click below for video)
All of this “what if” speculation arises again because of the double whammy of a caustic book about Trump by his former lawyer Michael Cohen and of the multiple reports late last week that Trump in numerous ways had denigrated U.S. soldiers who had been killed or captured. Trump, of course, denies all the stories (and there’s no need to belabor the details here), but there is no denying he has said and done enough things similar to the ones in these new reports that most of them are at least broadly plausible.
While the decision-making process of voters, especially “swing voters,” involves a somewhat mysterious psychological alchemy, reports such as these certainly reinforce doubts about Trump. The simple reality many analysts and committed voters forget is that there is always a small but significant percentage of voters whose preferences — between candidates or between voting and not voting at all — remain quite fluid right up until Election Day. Committed voters might dismiss reports such as the ones that emerged against Trump last week, but the opinions of swing voters really do get buffeted around stories such as these.
All of which explains why some of us who are conservative still dream of a different Republican at the top of the ticket. We wonder if winning would be easier without all of Trump’s self-inflicted wounds or whether those wounds are more than counterbalanced by the way he motivates some nontraditionally Republican voters.
We’ll never know. What we do know, though, is that the stories of Trump’s alleged narcissism, racism, and cruelty come so repeatedly and so vividly that they wear on the nerves. If Trump would just get out of the way, maybe we would have a campaign dominated not by Trump’s outlandish personality but by ideas for America’s future.
Quote of the day: Trump reminds one of someone trying to fake fluency in a foreign language. Over and over, he makes glaring errors because he has no idea what he is talking about. Jennifer Rubin
Trump eyes spending $100M of his own money in reelection bid - sounds like a desperation move to me
Amid the clamor, it’s easy to overlook those who are not yelling, those who are keeping silent. Where are the senior officers of the United States armed forces, serving and retired—the men and women who worked most closely on military affairs with President Trump? Has any one of them stepped forward to say, “That’s not the man I know”?
How many wounded warriors have stepped forward to attest to Trump’s care and concern for them? How many Gold Star families have stepped forward on Trump’s behalf? How many service families?
The silence is resounding. And when such voices do speak, they typically describe a president utterly lacking in empathy to grieving families, wholly uncomprehending of sacrifice and suffering.
In June 2017, Sergeant Dillon Baldridge and two other soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Trump called the Baldridge family. On the call, Baldridge’s father, Chris, complained about the slowness of military survivor benefits. To which Trump replied, “I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000.” The promised check, of course, never arrived. Three months later, the elder Baldridge told his story to The Washington Post. “I could not believe he was saying that, and I wish I had it recorded because the man did say this. He said, ‘No other president has ever done something like this,’ but he said, ‘I’m going to do it.’”
Only then, after Baldridge went public, was Trump shamed into making good on his weird, inappropriate, and insincere promise of personal assistance.
Trump has rarely met families who received remains of their loved ones at Dover Air Force Base. Media reports count just four visits, because—in the words of an aide—he had been “rattled” by an angry outburst from the father of William “Ryan” Owens, killed in action in Yemen in February 2017. The elder Owens had refused to shake Trump’s hand.
Trump soon recovered his composure. At his first speech to a joint session of Congress in February 2017, Trump told Ryan Owens’s widow, Carryn, that Owens would have been happy because the applause at the mention of his name “broke a record.” Later that month, Trump gave an interview to Fox News and shoved blame for the failed raid that cost Owens’s life onto “the generals.” “They lost Ryan,” he said.
Trump has also abused General Stanley McChrystal, a former commander of forces in Afghanistan:“‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!”
And how did he treat Marine General John Allen, another former Afghanistan commander, who later coordinated the fight against ISIS? “His record = BAD”
Or Marine General James Mattis, Trump’s own former secretary of defense? “The world’s most over-rated general.”
So perhaps it’s no surprise that when Trump went looking for military character witnesses, he could find so few to vouch for him.
Few former employees of the Trump administration praise him as a boss. Few business partners speak of his honesty. Few tenants of Trump buildings have anything good to say about the homes he supposedly built. Few officials of any city have been willing to celebrate any contribution to urban life. Few beneficiaries of any Trump philanthropy.
Imagine a man who has lived in the public eye for half a century, supposedly one of the country’s leading business figures, and when in trouble he struggles to summon credible or trustworthy witnesses from outside the Fox Cinematic Universe. There’s just a gaping zero where goodness should be.
So when it is reported—first in The Atlantic, then by The Washington Post, the AP, CNN, and Fox News—that multiple sources have heard Trump sneer and jibe at America’s fallen, the reporting rings true because it is consistent with the public record. The denials ring false because they defy that public record.
The things reported fit in the mouth you know. Everybody knows it’s true, and most especially those who have been tasked to deny it
While even short drops can be lethal, people have survived horrendous falls. In 1972, Vesna Vulovic, a cabin attendant, survived a 10,160m fall when the DC-9 she was in exploded over what is now the Czech Republic. Earlier this week, a 102-year-old woman survived after toppling from her fourth-floor balcony in Turin. Fortunately, her fall was broken by a children's playhouse.
In very high falls, bodies can reach terminal velocity, the speed at which air resistance becomes so high it cancels out the acceleration due to gravity. Once at terminal velocity, you can fall as far as you like and you won't gather any more speed.
Vulovic undoubtedly reached terminal velocity before hitting the ground, but it is hard to achieve when falling from a building. "A free-falling 120lb [54kg] woman would have a terminal velocity of about 38m per second," says Howie Weiss, a maths professor at Penn State University. "And she would achieve 95% of this speed in about seven seconds." That equates to a fall of around 167m, which is nearer 55 storeys high.
In this fear-disordered view of the universe, Donald Trump does not appear to be a creature subject to reason or logic. He's more like the demonic entity in a horror narrative — Cthulhu or Candyman or Freddy Krueger or Vigo the Carpathian — who gains more power over you, and becomes more real, the more you think about him.
If those fictional creations have cultural or psychological or perhaps even metaphysical explanations, so does Donald Trump. If they are best understood as bits and pieces of leftover diabolical theology, or as metaphors for mental illness — well, so is Donald Trump.
There is no question that Trump feeds on attention, positive or negative, and delights in the anguish and anxiety of his enemies. That's been obvious from the beginning, when he rode down that now-legendary escalator and launched a campaign that was always more about speaking the unspeakable than about any specific ideas or proposals. But no one has been able to resist his hypnotic allure, and it does no good to blame "the media" or to claim that if the news networks hadn't begun airing his campaign rallies live, the entire Trump enterprise would have dried up and blown away.
That was also a circular, "Call of Cthulhu" phenomenon, with no beginning, no ending and a magical, self-reinforcing character. Media focused on Trump because the audience wanted more Trump, and in defiance of all known laws of the media universe, the more Trump they delivered, the more the audience wanted. Salon's core readership officially despises Trump, of course, and I can testify after years of back-and-forth experimentation that it remains challenging to persuade them (sorry, that would be you) to read about anything else.
I'm not claiming that Trump does not exist, or that there's no mathematical possibility he could be re-elected. If his 2016 campaign "drew to an inside straight," to use the poker metaphor I've heard many times, and won an election in statistically improbable fashion, that unlikely event is no less likely the second time around.
I'm saying that Trump's demonic power does not exist, or to be more precise that it's something we invented — all of us, the media and the public, his fans and his haters — and vested in him, for mysterious but deeply troubling reasons. We have known from the beginning that Trump was a showman and a con man, doing a transparent act that all of us could see through, in different ways and from different perspectives. (His supporters delight in his performance, to be sure, but I have always believed it's a profound categorical error to conclude that they're a bunch of ignorant rubes who take the things he says literally.)
If Trump's act "worked," in the sense that he successfully devoured an inbred and decrepit political party and won a flukish, "inside straight" election, that happened because some of us desperately wanted it to and the rest of us desperately feared it might. That's the Candyman-Cthulhu effect in action, or an illustration of the psychological truism that every fear hides a wish. The really difficult question America must answer, not just right now but over the long haul, is not whether or how we can make Donald Trump go away. The answer to that is obvious. It's why we needed him in the first place.
We must vote — by any means necessary. If you cannot brave your polling place, take heart in knowing there is still great value in voting by mail. This is true whether you’re in a swing state, where your vote counts extra, or whether you live in a state where a Trump victory or defeat is a foregone conclusion.
Although the popular vote does not determine the president, it’s important to “run up the score” in that tally to make a statement of public will. For Democrats — and for the sake of a healthier future for the Republican Party — this election result has to take on the appearance of a tsunami, a roaring repudiation of Trump misrule and abuses and the dysfunctional political culture that paved the way.
But there’s undeniable strategic value in our showing up in person, whether at our polling places or in the mass protests that might be necessary in the days and weeks that follow — even during a pandemic made worse by the administration’s maladroit response. Some risks are worth taking.
So if you can vote in person, do vote in person. I certainly will, even if I have to go on hands and knees through that broken glass that my friend John vows to brave.
A member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors, Tom Krattenmaker writes on religion and values in public life. His most recent book is Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower.
As Kristin Kobes Du Mez argues in her recent book, "Jesus and John Wayne," white evangelical culture has focused on the declining sanctity of white manhood. This is why Donald Trump captured 78% of the white evangelical vote in the face of numerous claims of sexual misconduct and racism. And, in the 2017 Alabama Senate race, former judge Roy Moore, who had also been accused of sexual misconduct, received 80% of the white evangelical vote.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in service to the United States, said on a campaign call, “I am not shocked to hear yet more instances of Donald Trump belittling the sacrifices of those who have shown more bravery than he is capable of," although she said she was “appalled.” She continued, "I take my wheelchair and my titanium legs over Donald Trump’s supposed bone spurs any day.” She argued, “I’m not shocked but I am appalled. Of course he thinks about war selfishly. He thinks about it as a transactional cost.” She added, “This is a man who spends every day redefining the concept of narcissism. A man who’s met a life of privilege, with everything handed to him on a silver platter.”
Later in an interview on CNN she said, “This is who he is, people know that this story is accurate because he’s consistently said these things over the years and continues to act in a way where he likes to use the military for his own personal ego as if we were some sort of toy soldiers you could pull out and line up on your desk to play with.” She pinpointed the defect in Trump’s character, saying that “he really doesn’t understand the sacrifice, and he truly does not understand what it means to put something above yourself to serve this nation and be willing to lay down one’s life for this nation.” As she pointed out, Trump “does nothing that does not benefit Donald Trump, bottom line.”
I doubt that Trump actually reads articles in The Washington Post. However he might click on their website and read the titles of their top stories (he’d need a subscription to do this but he could see the front page without one). If he did this today this is what he’d see:
The vaccine story uses a term: fixate which commonly means an obsession with something or someone. It is also a psychological term which originally referred to sexuality. (Freud distinguished the fixations of the libido on an incestuous object.) Here’s an excerpt from the Post article:
President Trump is so fixated on finding a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that in meetings about the U.S. pandemic response, little else captures his attention, according to administration officials.
Trump has pressed health officials to speed up the vaccine timeline and urged them to deliver one by the end of the year. He has peppered them with questions about the development status and mass-distribution plans. And, in recent days, he has told some advisers and aides that a vaccine may arrive by Nov. 1, which just happens to be two days before the presidential election.
Trump’s desire to deliver a vaccine — or at least convince the public that one is very near — by the time voters decide whether to elect him to a second term is in part a campaign gambit to improve his standing with an electorate that overwhelmingly disapproves of his management of the pandemic.
“We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1st,” Trump told reporters at a Friday news conference. “We think we can probably have it some time during the month of October.”
Trump has repeatedly offered similar promises, adding to the pressure scientists and officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health feel to develop, test and authorize a coronavirus vaccine on what some of the president’s aides refer to as “Trump time.”
But Trump’s attack on Griffin was a bridge too far for her colleagues, seven of whom took to Twitter over the weekend to defend her.
“Jennifer @JenGriffinFNC is a great reporter and a total class act,” wrote Baier, the network’s chief political anchor.
“Jennifer Griffin is the kind of reporter we all strive to be like,” said national correspondent Bryan Llenas. “She’s courageous, smart, ethical, fair and a class act. She’s earned the trust of viewers throughout a distinguished career and is credibile.”
“@JenGriffinFNC is a terrific reporter and a wonderful colleague,” State Department correspondent Rich Edson wrote.
“I’ll forever stand by @JenGriffinFNC,” said senior news producer Rocco Aloe.
“Jennifer Griffin is all you want in a journalist and a friend,” wrote senior field producer Yonat Friling. “She’s smart, courageous, she strives for professionalism and the truth. I am so proud to be her colleague.”
................Griffin, who joined Fox News in 1999, is one of the network’s most prized and distinguished journalists. In October 2019, after news anchor Shepard Smith, a frequent critic of the president, abruptly resigned, the network cited Griffin as evidence that a robust journalistic corps remained, despite external skepticism. “Tell that to Jennifer Griffin, whose report just went viral this week,” a spokesperson said at the time. “Or Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum or Catherine Herridge, who have all done outstanding journalism.” (Herridge soon left the network for CBS News.)
“Jennifer is a straight shooter and always pursues reporting with the goal of uncovering the truth,” former Fox News foreign correspondent Conor Powell, who worked with Griffin, told The Washington Post on Saturday. “Unlike a lot of ‘news people’ at Fox News, she never was worried about being on the wrong side of a story and angering the opinion shows.”
Anchor Neil Cavuto then endorsed her work. “Jennifer, you are a very good reporter,” he told her. Then, addressing his audience, he said, “She’s pretty scrupulous when it comes to making sure all the i’s are dotted, all the t’s are crossed.”
The copydesk wanted to focus on QAnon for this issue of Quibbles & Bits to emphasize that there’s more to the convoluted entity than the average reader might realize. The term we’ve decided to use — a mass or collective delusion — is not ideal; delusion could be interpreted as too sympathetic to Q believers, or as taking away their agency. (The word could also be related to a mental disorder, though that is not the context in which we’re using it here.) And, fair warning, you might still see conspiracy theory in a BuzzFeed News headline about QAnon since headlines and tweets aren’t conducive to nuance.
But delusion does illustrate the reality better than conspiracy theory does. We are discussing a mass of people who subscribe to a shared set of values and debunked ideas, which inform their beliefs and actions. The impact of QAnon is an example of “the real-world consequences of our broken information ecosystem,” the New York Times recently wrote. The proliferation of this delusion is in part a media literacy problem — which has become a reality problem.
Between the lines: Immigration has slipped significantly from 2016 in terms of Americans' priorities heading into the election — and most Americans do not support the construction of a physical border wall or hard-line immigration policies, per an NPR-Ipsos poll from late July.
- Immigration fell to 12th place in terms of most worrisome topics, the poll found. COVID-19 commanded a clear lead, followed by health care, political polarization, racial injustice and crime or gun violence.
- Still, the generic idea of a barrier that can protect people from elements they fear can provide comfort to people, which could potentially be converted to loyalty and votes.