The Widdershins

Too much news

Posted on: May 17, 2018


May 16 may have been one of the nuttier news days of the Dump administration. It was like the evening news dump, but all day long. And I was working with my boss in the room, so didn’t have much time to see it or absorb it until I got home. So this is an attempt to summarize some of the biggest developments – for my own sake and everyone else’s.

Dump called immigrants “animals.”

“You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

This is deep and dark, and an escalation of his own rhetoric attacking immigrants. Such dehumanization of a group of people (and you know Trump is not talking about Swedes) has a long and terrible history. Nazis called Jews “vermin” and the Tutsi in Rwanda were called “cockroaches” before they were mass murdered. What is also concerning is that apparently none of the evening news shows discussed this statement by Trump. Because of everything else happening a statement this alarming didn’t even warrant coverage.

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti has been teasing and baiting Cohen for days with seemingly deep knowledge about his money dealings and the question has been what does Avenatti know and how does he know it. New Yorker provided the answer that the whistleblower leaked the info out of concern after seeing that a government database was missing some records and this person feared a cover-up in progress.

The documents this law enforcement official allegedly could not find are not easily misplaced bureaucratic paperwork. Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are reports that banks and other financial institutions file if they have an inkling that someone might be engaging in money laundering or another illicit activity. They are filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which maintains a database for government and law enforcement officials. A suspicious activity report is not proof of any crime, just a red flag, and can help authorities establish patterns.

This sounds suspicious indeed but – let’s not overreact just yet. A few respectable people on twitter – Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare blog and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa argued that a) the documents “disappearing” can be for legitimate reasons (removed because of a secret investigation, for example) and b) even if the documents are missing, those are not the only copies. The banks that filed the SARs will have their own records, and there are records of the original transactions as well. So in order to successfully erase Cohen’s activities there are many databases that have to be erased. So if there is anything of interest, Mueller either already has it or can get it from the banks. (Probably already has it.)

There was also the the NY Times non-apology buried in the middle of a long article about their infamous story clearing Trump of any wrongdoing just before the election. We all knew the story was a lie when the Times Lichtlbau Timespublished it. And more importantly, they knew it was nonsense. They interviewed Harry Reid for the story – and then threw out his entire interview, choosing to clear Trump right there in the headline. While openly blasting and speculating about emails on the front page. In their non-apology they blamed the FBI for misleading them. I have no doubt their sources in the FBI misled them, but they had other sources of correct information, which they chose to ignore. I won’t get into the rehash of all that again, it makes my blood boil. But it’s worth noting that more than 18 months after the story was published and executive editor Dean Baquet has been defending it the whole time – they finally acknowledge that they did it wrong. And they accepted no responsibility for doing it wrong. They blamed the FBI. So after all this, fuck you NY Times and Dean Baquet. (BTW, the article itself reinforces the fact that Comey and FBI ratfucked us all by blasting Hillary’s emails and hiding the Trump investigation. They watched as Trump colluded with the Russians to throw an election and did nothing to stop it. Curses on Comey and whoever else in the FBI (yes, including Wray) did this. May they burn in hell.)

The Senate released transcript of Junior’s – and others’ – testimonies and they’re a doozy. Junior is a moron and everything he says reinforces the fact that they met with the Russians to get dirt on Hillary. And instead got an earful on the Magnitsky act. Apparently Kushypoop was livid at lack of dirt offered in the meeting, per testimony of Rob Goldstone:

After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?” Goldstone recalled of the meeting according to hearing transcripts released by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more.

Kushner presented a completely different picture of the meeting, of course; one where he was barely paying attention and left early. Sure Kushypoop, sure.

One really fascinating tidbit from Junior’s testimony are mysterious phone calls he made, but says does not remember. Daily Beast summarizes the events nicely and here’s a timeline I compiled from their article:

  • June 6, 2016 Rob Goldstone emails Don Junior with an offer “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” via well-connected Russian lawyer and Junior should talk to music producer Emin Agalarov to schedule an appointment.
  • Minutes after speaking to Agalarov, Junior places a 4-minute call to a blocked number.
  • Minutes after that, Junior calls Agalarov again and sets up the meeting for June 9.
  • Junior immediately places an 11-minute call to a blocked number.
  • June 8, 2016 Donald Trump says at a rally that the following week he will give a “major speech” where “we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”
  • June 9, 2016 Junior, Manafort and Kushner meet with Veselnitskaya and others where Junior asks Veselnitskaya: “So can you show us how does this money go to Hillary?” And when she drones on about Magnitsky Act, Kushner gets angry.
  • After the meeting ended, Junior placed a 3-minute call to a blocked number.
  • Trump’s speech on the Clintons never happened.
  • Junior says he does not remember who he called on any of those occasions.
  • Corey Lewandowski has said that at the time of these meetings Donald Trump used a blocked phone number at his home.

This is an open thread.



74 Responses to "Too much news"

David Corn is not here for NY Times’ gaslighting:

Excellent Rude Pundit right here.

@2, I’m ready to projectile vomit after reading about the so-called California Roundtable.

CA is the 6th-largest economy in the world. Seems like they’re doing just fine as a sanctuary state.

@2, I clicked “post” too early. Want to add that I was too naive and had no idea there were so many lickspittles in the country.

For those who are too up-to-date in their English and can’t guess the meaning:

Lickspittle: noun. A contemptible, fawning person; a servile flatterer or toady.

@1, Yes. There was plenty of info out there early in 2016 (and earlier) that Drumpf and his henchmen were up to their wattley necks in money-laundered rubles. Adam Kahn, Sarah Kendzior, and others were all over it. *agonized screaming*

@3: Probably tRump wants his hands on that surplus the state has.

@4: I’ve always been fond of toady.

@5, my first reaction was “who cares?” but yeah, it’s Alabama. One of those states where they want guvmint small enough to fit in your bedroom.

DYB, fantastic post. Blood simmering here too.

@7, Drumpf looks like the illustrations of Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Except he acts far, far worse.

Oh blast. You guys are distracting me from finishing up my section on neuropathology & neurodegeneration! Back to the edits….

@11: Okay back to work now.


3rd illustration down. Can’t find one with his nasty, bulgy eyes and chins over the top of his roadster.

Must read this book again. I especially loved the piper at the gates of dawn — the Great God Pan who cares for all wild things.

OK, definitely back to work now.

@14: Those were delightful Luna. Thanks!

Well, well, well…

@16, this has the earmarks of a Shakespearean play.

@17: But which one? I mean obviously a tragedy.

@17, oh these characters, plots, crimes, deceits and excesses of male hubris would have to be a modern day extrapolation of the bard’s work. Even Shakespeare couldn’t have imagined this miasma of intrigue and villainy!

Sorry, Fredster i meant @18!

Fredster, Titus Andronicus.

@21: And I never read that one.

So I just heard that Hawaii has issued a red alert for aviation due to high levels of ash exploding out of Kilauea. I’ve heard that ash is bad for jet engines. I wonder if the jets will go around the islands to avoid it. I booked this trip last summer. Typical me, booking something just in time for a natural disaster.

@21, Sue, i never read that one and just read the summary at wiki: you nailed it. What a nightmare!

Cats, a nightmare indeed.

Is it an age thing? I hear Yanni. Actually, I hear Yammy but, please don’t tell anybody.

From a Charles Pierce article describing a meeting of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

It was bad when Dana Rochrbacher, Tweedledum-CA spoke and even worse when Lamar Smith, Tweedledee-TX spoke. But you have to hand it to that noble son of the south, Mo Brooks-something-or-other-AL, who said this:

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity. Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise. “Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.

My head hurts from pounding it on the desk.

@28. Sheesh. The jaw just drops and stays there. So how about rising land masses? Has he calculated those into his little handheld calculator? There’s New Zealand, the Himalaya, similar little bungflecks. Does he have any idea of the volume of the oceans? (Don’t answer that.)

And these are the cornballs running the country.

Democracy-as-currently-constituted does. not. work.

@26- wow, I agree. No wonder it wasn’t required reading! Random acts of insanity and horror, certainly an apt analogy.

Thank you DYB for your wonderful post. This is my second day battling the stomach flu and have missed most of the news. You sum it all up for me…thank you. Back to bed…

@26 and 30 and guess who was subjected to the most violence, without cause? Lavinia! Brutally raped by two men who cut out her tongue and cut off her hands so she couldn’t identify them, then based on her uncle’s advice, killed by her father because she was raped.

@32- yes, all of the misogyny rolled into one. Her child was stolen by one of the rapists as well.

Abbott on tv now. I’m sure he’s going to offer his T&P to the parents and others.

Lots of sanctimonious T&P coming from DC now. A huge putrid offgassing of T&P. And of course, “it’s too soon” to do anything about guns.


@31, shadow, wishing you a quick recovery.

Oh goodness shadow, I just saw that after Luna mentioned it. Yes hoping for a speedy recovery for you.

Get better soon, shadow.

Rs, a bunch of mean old white men without gonads, move to cut off all funding from Planned Parenthood. Federal funds already don’t go for funding abortions. Now no well-woman heath care, no birth control, no counseling women on their healthcare options, no anything. PP also provides men’s sexual health care. Now ~30% of their total funding may be gone.

@40: Those douchebags can’t be gone soon enough.

House Farm Bill collapses:

Luv Effin’ Birds.

@44: They definitely give me a chuckle.


@46: Oh that’s too damned funny.


@48, afraid that’s a lost cause for the Rethugs.

@49: I don’t know what to say anymore.

@46, Good one!
I like Effin’ Birds too.

annie, rude pundit has a good piece on the TX shooting if you wish to check it out.

The Brits throw shade at Drumpf!

@56, a fairy tale wedding, i am going to savor that for awhile. Reality sucks and keeps on sucking.

@58: Exactly cats. Just some escapism that is really needed right now.

I did find this interesting. She has a diverse background also.

With Tania Tetlow, Loyola (N.O.) gets 1st female, 1st non-Jesuit president

@61, good one Fredster, some people are so damn clever! Also a variation on Tina Fey’s parody of Sarah Palin, no?

@62: Yep I think it’s a takeoff on the Fey parody.

Now if someone would only put one of those on the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

(I don’t know if I know how to do this. I hope this priceless video comes through.) Life in the wild takes skill!

@66: Worked great! The main thing is to be sure to put your youtube link on a separate line.

@58, Agree!

@64, Getting married #whileblack!

@65, how fun — and practical — for the heron!

A good article by Charles Pierce right here.

I can’t say it’s an enjoyable read but an important one. Here’s the part that had me thinking for a long time after reading it:

Anyway, Yates asked the assembled: What is going to happen when this administration is finally, blessedly over? It is a very good question and there is no very good answer to it. Nobody knows how many people, if any, are going to be convicted when all this shakes out, let alone how many of them actually might go to jail. Can we recover from the common high-end venality while simultaneously putting the political norms back in place? Can we reform the global damage done to American credibility while simultaneously getting back to sensible financial and environmental regulations? Is it possible to get the country back to normal on 10 levels at once?

I am not as optimistic as I once was.

And I share Pierce’s thought right there at the end.


“The people who hold that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don’t want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence,” he said.

Ahahahahahahaha! No, I don’t want to admit that because it damn well ain’t true. Where do these people crawl up from?

As to the “what is going to happen,” I was writing today to a friend and had that same question. Well, we’re all thinking that these days. If not HRC (we should be so lucky), who has the competence and experience and the right heart?

Can I afford to move to Canada or New Zealand? Though it does not bode well for world affairs if the U.S. stays fcked up or only partially recovered..

@69: Oh, one of the other parts of that piece. See, I ignored or forgot that because the first section was so damned depressing.

Guys, I’m still around limping along on this pitiful computer. My sister bought herself a new Air Book and was going to give me her old one. It turns out the warranty was expired and the repair was $775. So, that’s that. I had to get a new external keyboard and mouse. I hate putting a dime into this computer because it is not long for this world. (of course I’ve been saying that for quite awhile now)

Fredster, my emails are still disappearing. I can see the email and subject line but when I click to open, they all delete. I may have to set up a gmail account or something.

I early voted for Stacey Abrams last week. Hope she wins but if she doesn’t I’ll gladly vote for the other Stacy. If we can get a black woman elected as governor in GA, it will somewhat restore my faith in humanity!

There were tons of Dems running this time. All kinds of offices, judges, etc. I voted for every woman on the ticket! (and there were lots)

Roger Stone says he is prepared for an indictment from Mueller… but not for Russia.

Stone reiterated that he felt Mueller’s team has found “no evidence whatsoever of Russian collusion,” so he speculated that they may work to connect him to other crimes instead.

“It is not inconceivable now that Mr. Mueller and his team may seek to conjure up some extraneous crime pertaining to my business, or maybe not even pertaining to the 2016 election,” Stone said. “I would chalk this up to an effort to silence me.”


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