The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Emailgate’ Category

It’s a day of the week that ends with “ay,” so it must be Hillary Derangement Syndrome day. On Tuesday night Washington Post fired off a nuke into the political media with a shocking story called: “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier.” This sent the internet reeling with indignation. About half of the political press forgot that this information is about a year old. Let’s travel back in time to October 31, 2016 when the very first article about the Steele Dossier was written by David Corn of Mother Jones. In it Corn noted that the Dossier was originally commissioned by a Trump opponent (probably Jeb!) But after the GOP imploded and Trump became the nominee, they abandoned it, to be picked up by Democrats. In January 2017 both CNN and New York Times specifically mentioned that the Democrats had connections to the Clinton campaign and the DNC. So almost a year later, WaPo identified the Democrat (lawyer Mark Elias.) That’s the bombshell. I hope your bomb shelters are fully stocked folks.

So what reporter had the hottest take of all on this HUGE story? I’ll give you one guess. You’re right!Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 9.19.49 PM.png

Please note here Haberman’s use of the word “lie.” Lie! Infamously, this is a word the press will not use when describing Donald Trump or any member of his cabinet. Twitter user Patrick Karlsson put together a stunning thread of Haberman’s past tweets refusing to use the word “lie”about Trump. Over and over and over. It’s worth checking out here if you want to get very angry. “Untruths,” “falsehoods,” “inaccurate narrative,” etc. are the words Haberman has chosen when discussing Trump. Never “lie.” Not even once.

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Some members of the press did react with surprise at the surprise. Joy Reid tweeted: “Only the American media could make a scandal out of opposition research.” Michael Weiss: “OK, people, let’s cut the shit. Trump dossier was commissioned by the team of a *Republican* candidate (not hard to guess which one either).” Josh Marshall: “The Big WaPo Story & Why Everyone Needs to Thank Marc Elias.” Chris Hayes: “Ah yes. We’ve now entered the “Real Russia Scandal” phase.” NPR’s David Folkenflik: “Better headline for valid WaPo story: Trump oppo research dossier funded first by anon GOP foe and then by HRC/Dems.”

But the damage is done, once again. As Joy Reid also said: Who paid for the Steele dossier is the new “but her emails.”

Also worth noting: Sarah Huckabee Sanders retweeted Haberman’s sanctimonious tweet.

Also, Fox before the WaPo story.

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This is an open thread.

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It’s been quite the week (quite the 2 years, really.) Of course, the horrific massacre in Las Vegas has taken up the bulk of the news coverage since Sunday night. The murderer seemed to have planned things out quite extensively, including setting up cameras around the hotel and feeding the signal to his tablet, so he could see what was happening outside of the room and knew when the cops were coming. Needless to say, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson dedicated a fair amount of his show on Monday night discussing…Hillary Clinton. Clinton tweeted about the need for gun-laws and the NRA’s death grip on the Senate, so naturally, it had to be addressed. Wait until Fox News finds out Hillary isn’t running in 2020.

But a few other important stories came out over the past few days that I wanted to mention so we don’t forget them.

Because irony committed suicide a million times over the past year, we learned that Javanka had a 3rd (third) private email account on a private server. They forgot to mention this third one to the Senate, like they forgot to mention the other two.

The emails — which include nonpublic travel documents, internal schedules and some official White House materials —were in many cases sent from Ivanka Trump, her assistant Bridges Lamar and others who work with the couple in the White House. The emails to the third account were largely sent from White House accounts but occasionally came from other private accounts.

Then there’s, of course, the issue of several cabinet officials taking private planes for personal business. Tim Price already resigned over it, but he’s not the only one. Scott Pruitt, the evil EPA chief determined to destroy the environment, did lots of flying, as did Steve Mnuchin.

For lunch on April 26, Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, dined with top executives from Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest coal-burning electric utilities, at Equinox, a white-tablecloth favorite of Washington power brokers.

That evening, it was on to BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, for a meal with the board of directors of Alliance Resource Partners, a coal-mining giant whose chief executive donated nearly $2 million to help elect President Trump.

Before those two agenda items, Mr. Pruitt met privately with top executivesand lobbyists from General Motors to talk about their request to block an Obama administration move to curb emissions that contribute to climate change.

There are many more Pruitt meetings with agencies he is supposed to oversee. All while flying on the tax-payer’s private jet dime.

In rather stunning news, the US voted against a UN resolution condemning the execution of LGBTQ people, among others.

[UN resolution] called for the death penalty to be banned “as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations”, as well as criticising its use on minors, mentally ill people and pregnant women.

Of the 47 countries on the Human Rights Council, 27 voted in favour while 13 states voted against.

The United States voted against the motion, alongside Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Cuba, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya all abstained.

And let us cross our fingers, toes, legs, arms, anything we can, about the SCOTUS case dealing with gerrymandering in Wisconsin: Gill vs. Whitford. Though Democrats have won more votes in Wisconsin for the past 8 years, through extensive gerrymandering Republicans (evil Governor Scott Walker) have arranged so that Republicans control all levels of government in the state. That case is now before SCOTUS. After the briefings today, it is obvious that the court is divided along ideological lines. That’s why Gorsuch will be such a catastrophe for our country for generations to come. (Fuck you Bernie, Jill Stein, Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson, etc.) The swing vote will be Kennedy, and observers seemed to think he might have been leaning against Wisconsin. He only asked questions of state officials defending gerrymandering.

“Suppose the court…decided that this is a First Amendment issue, not an equal protection issue. Would that change the calculus?” Kennedy asked as the court debated the legality of the Wisconsin plan. A three-judge panel ruled that the GOP-led legislature tilted the table so sharply against Democrats that it ran afoul of the Constitution.

Kennedy also seemed irked when a lawyer for GOP legislators in Wisconsin would not immediately say whether a state law that explicitly stated a policy to harm either Democrats or Republicans would be illegal.

“If the state has a law or constitutional amendment that’s saying all legitimate factors must be used in a way to favor party X or party Y, is that lawful?” he asked attorney Erin Murphy, adding later: “I’d like the answer to the question.”

Murphy eventually conceded that such a law would be unconstitutional, a concession that seemed to open the door to the idea that a redistricting plan that was hopelessly skewed but contained no explicit partisan goal would also be suspect.

Even John McCain (in a joint statement with Sheldon Whitehouse) said he hopes SCOTUS will rule against Wisconsin. And at the briefing, there was a moment between Gorsuch and the notorious RBG.

The court’s newcomer, Justice Neil Gorsuch, said he worried that states would not know what standard they’re supposed to meet without “having every district subject to litigation.” He compared the tests courts were considering to a steak rub.

“What’s this court supposed to do? A pinch of this and a pinch of that?” he asked.

Gorsuch also seemed to irritate Ginsburg when he suggested that maybe the Supreme Court shouldn’t be intruding on how a state draws lines for state offices. “Where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines?

Moments later, Ginsburg shot back that the court’s been doing just that for years. “Where did one-person, one-vote come from?” she said.

I am not a religious man, but as somebody once said, “Let us pray.”

Of course I must end with Madonna. Fun fact: the solo guitar on this song is played by the uncredited Prince. Madonna and Prince recorded a duet for the “Like a Prayer” album called Love Song. But Prince also played guitar on three additional songs on the album, though his name was not (at his own request) included in the credits at the time: the title track, Keep It Together and Act of Contrition. Once Eric Clapton was asked what it felt like to be the greatest guitarist in the world. He replied: “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

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As I have written many times, often writing posts in the Trump-age feels like an exercise in futility because by the time they are posted they are already out of date. I fear this post will be the same… so we must stay on top of latest news via the comments!

What we know: FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with Rosenstein writing the explanation. (Rosenstein had previously been viewed as an honest man. He was confirmed just a few weeks ago to the Justice Deparment with a 94-6 vote in the Senate. But as Philippe Reines pointed out, if Rosenstein was an honest man he would have answered Trump and Sessions’ demand that Comey be fired with: “No, I refuse.” Instead, he wrote his own epitaph as a coward.) The administrations explanation for firing Comey is: it’s Hillary’s fault. Also, her e-mails.

I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.

This is, of course, laughable on its face and no one can take this explanation seriously except maybe Fox News, which suddenly shows great concern for how Comey treated poor Hillary Clinton. Even Roger Stone (!) expressed regret: “What Comey did to Hillary was disgraceful. I’m glad Trump fired him over it,” he said to Alex Pfeiffer. We know, of course, the firing had nothing to do with Clinton. It is about the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election.

Comey

James Comey has been an enigma for a long time. His press conference announcing that his agency would not recommend charges against Clinton over use of a private e-mail server, while blasting her in such a public manner, seemed inexplicable. Some stories later suggested Comey wanted to reveal information about Russian interference in our election in the summer of 2016, but was stopped by Obama. Then Comey refused to sign on to other agencies’ announcement of this info in the Fall of 2016 because it was too close to the election and he didn’t wish to interfere. But his Letter just days before the election, announcing discovery of new e-mails on the computer of Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s husband, did precisely what he claimed earlier he didn’t wish to do: he changed the outcome of an election. What a bizarre story arc for a man who once rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop the Bush/Cheney administration from spying on Americans. None of it made sense. Until last week when Comey testified before the Senate. Finally the fog lifted.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

In the end, this long term public servant fell for the oldest tragic flaw, the one Greeks wrote plays about: Hubris. Comey just thinks of himself as the last honest man in America. Our own Prolix has written a few times that Comey isn’t corrupt, he is Righteous and his own belief in his Righteousness is where things can get murky. It’s true that his Righteousness is why I think ultimately he could have been trusted with the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. But his zealotry came with unintended – even by him – consequences: the election of Donald Trump as President. In an honest desire to be seen as non-partisan Comey managed to ruin the reputation of his favorite agency. With his fear of being taken to task by Republicans, who would smear him and the FBI if he did not tell them about the Abedin e-mails, Comey compromised himself as an honest broker of truth. He misassigned the concepts of “bad” and “catastrophic.” He thought not telling Congress about the e-mails would be catastrophic. In fact, not telling Republicans and becoming the target of their wrath would have been bad. Affecting the outcome of a Presidential election was catastrophic.

-Joy Reid Sally Yates comment

(There were also the grave issues that in his testimony to the Senate Comey gave inaccurate information about Abedin’s e-mails, falsely claiming “tens and thousands” of messages had been sent by her to her husband’s computer. It took 6 days, and prodding from ProPublica and Washington Post, for the FBI to issue a correction. The same day Comey was fired. Trump had his bodyguard Keith Schiller deliver the firing letter to the FBI headquarters, but they didn’t realize Comey was not in the office. Comey was delivering a speech and learned he was fired when the news popped up on the screen behind him.)

-COmey fired Petri

This brings us to the present. What does Comey’s firing mean in the larger scheme of things? Many Clinton aides have expressed concern, not joy, at the developments. That Clinton aides, who dislike Comey as much as anyone, are concerned about the firing speaks volumes about the Clinton candidacy and the people who supported her. We are more concerned about the Republic than petty revenge. Because what does Comey’s firing mean for the Russia/Trump investigation and the future of the Republic? It is impossible to know just yet. Some high profile Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have lined up behind Trump. Collins told Judy Woodruff: “Well, the president didn’t fire the entire FBI.” Graham said: “I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” This is worrisome because it shows a continued support for the insupportable Trump, his administration and his policies. The good news is that some others Republicans have expressed concerns. (And not just the Nixon Library tweeting an objection to people calling Trump’s behavior “Nixonian.”)

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John McCain tweeted that “Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia’s interference in 2016 election.” Tea Partier Justin Amash tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into Trump/Russia, wrote:

I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.

Other notable Republicans who have expressed concern about Comey’s firing are James Lankford of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Senate Judiciary Committee member Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

I think we are at a cross-roads. What happens next is what history books will say about all of us. Will the firing of Comey bring about Trump’s downfall? Or will Republicans close ranks and save him, kill the investigation… and damn us all to a banana republic?

-History joke

Complicit

Posted on: April 12, 2017

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“The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.” – Carl Bernstein

“When I entered politics, I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism.” – Jim Hightower

When the Pulitzers announced that David Fahrenthold of Washington Post was receiving an award for National Reporting “For persistent reporting that created a model for transparent journalism in political campaign coverage while casting doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity toward charities,” no one was surprised. He was the highly favored candidate. Fahrenthold was one of the very few mainstream reporters who did not spend the 2016 election cycle sifting through Hillary Clinton’s stolen e-mails. One of the very few. (Because of his reporting on Trump’s charity donations, Fahrenthold was also the one to receive the Access Hollywood tape when NBC spent days trying to decide how and when to release it.) Fahrenthold began his investigation into Trump’s supposed (and non-existent) charitable donations on something of a hunch. He remembered Trump once saying on TV that he would donate $6 million to veterans groups and Fahrenthold wondered if Trump followed through on the promise. So he started researching and found a Pulitzer.

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Do you know who didn’t find a Pulitzer? Anybody who was sifting through Hillary Clinton’s stolen e-mails. The vast majority of the news media spent 18 months questioning Clinton on her use of a private e-mail server and then combing through tens Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 8.09.37 PMof thousands of stolen e-mails from the DNC and Clinton’s campaign. All they found was a risotto recipe and that one time Clinton and Huma Abedin split a crème brûlée. There
was also gossip. But nothing that a sane person could interpret as in any way significant to a Presidential campaign. And yet, according to statistics, E-MAILS was the topic of more conversation on the news than anything else. Though we might think the NY Times was the most egregious in their anti-Hillary coverage, it was – in fact, the Washington Post that by far led Hillary-hate; second only to Fox News.

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When CNN’s Jake Tapper was told by Robby Mook that there are allegations about stolen DNC e-mails and Russian interference via WikiLeaks, Tapper’s incredulous eye-rolling response should shame him for the rest of his life. (It won’t.) Not because he didn’t just take Mook’s word for it in the moment. But because Tapper never called any of his sources, whether in Congress or in the Intelligence Community, and ask: “Hey, what is he talking about? Anything to this?” Because he might have gotten an affirmative response and landed the biggest story of his life. By that time the FBI was alredy investigating Trump’s possible collusion with Russia. And the Gang of 8 in Congress was about to be briefed. Harry Reid would fire off multiple public letters to FBI Director James Comey, imploring additional information to be disclosed on Trump and Russia. To no avail. Comey was silent and the media treated Reid like a deranged lunatic. Very few reporters looked into these stories. Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek was one, and was widely derided by the Left and the Right. When David Corn of Mother Jones published an article about the Steele dossier in October, he was laughed at too. When Franklin Foer of Slate published an article claiming that a Trump server was communicating with a Russian Alfa Bank he was laughed at as well. His allegations were infamously dismissed by the NY Times as “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. sees no clear link to Russia” in an article by Eric Lichtblau. It is a headline that should be tattooed on Lichtblau’s forehead. (Lichtblau recently left the Times to be CNN’s lead investigative reporter…) The NY Times was flat out wrong. And they conducted an interview with Harry Reid for the story, and then threw it out unused. The story remains up, un-retracted. We, of course, now know for a fact that the Times was wrong. The F.B.I. was investigating Trump and they saw links to Russia. And Alfa Bank’s communications with Trump servers is one of the lynchpins of the investigation.

So what happens when journalism is wrong? Journalists love themselves because they say their job is to hold the powerful accountable for wrong-doing. But what happens when journalists are wrong? What happens when entire media empires fail to see the biggest story of their lifetimes and chase a red herring, plunging a nation into a crises? Where, to paraphrase, does a person the media ruined go to get their good name back? How do we collectively crawl our way out of the hole the media threw us all in?

The answer, I fear is…nothing happens. They pay no price. When the NY Times and Judith Miller published Dick Cheney’s fake stories about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs, then watched Cheney go on television and cite the Times as proof that Hussein had WMDs, and the country went to a catastrophic war in Iraq…nothing happened to the NY Times. They threw Miller out, as if her reports were not approved by editors above her and as if lawyers and standards/practices didn’t sign off on her reports. The Times paid no price. And they will pay no price for Clinton’s e-mails either.

Society of Professional Journalists writes: “Report the story, don’t become part of it.”  I wonder how they feel about NY Times’ Maggie Haberman receiveing an adoring write-up from CNN, as the reporter Trump hates the mostest. NBC/MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sees Maggie and raises her by being the most hated reporter of all the Presidents in Politico. And CNN’s Brian Stelter is the Young Messiah of Washington Post’s ode. Each of these articles was reposted on social media by the author, the subject, every other reporters both sides work with. It’s a veritable journalistic circle jerk of love and adoration. There are no consequences for their failures – to them. The only consequences belong to us. The only ones to pay will be the public, which now clings to the same reporters who brought us to hell to help dig us out. “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” Washington Post says. Except they broke all of the lights.

 

Comey

James Comey is the strangest, most mysterious man in the known universe. And boy, does he have a poker face. What is his deal? What is his game? Officially people in the world of politics still vouch for his integrity. But the rest of us mortals can probably say: “Comey, I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I like you. I’m not sure. I hate you. Huh?”

Most citizens probably never gave Comey much thought until his press conference announcing FBI would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for using a private e-mail server, although Clinton was very very naughty. The bizarre “She broke rules but we won’t prosecute” announcement brought out angry responses from Republicans and grudging gratitude from Democrats. When Comey was called to explain his actions before Congress, Democrats shielded him. Then the tables flipped when 12 days before the election Comey sent The Letter, making Republicans dance with joyful glee and sending Democrats into apoplectic fits of rage. There is no doubt that The Letter swung the election to Trump. Through all this Comey was investigating Trump’s connections to Russia. FBI started their investigation at the end of July. (July 27th is when Trump called on Russia to hack Clinton’s e-mails, but rumors of Trump’s relationship to Putin were already swirling. See Robby Mook/Jake Tapper clip below.) How in the world does the head of the FBI throw one candidate’s candidacy into chaos while knowing that the other candidate may be colluding with a foreign power to manipulate the election? These actions are inexplicable. And through it all Comey’s Mona Lisa smile is infuriating.

Now again Comey, with Trump installed in the White House, has unleashed the wrath of the Republicans and weary excitement from Democrats in Congress. Democrats need him. Republicans and Trump need him to shut up. If you’re keeping score, Comey has pissed off Republicans more often than Democrats. But he also handed Republicans the ultimate gift: The Presidency of the United States. What is his deal? What is his game? Will we ever actually know? Or will his motives and actions forever be the source of speculation? What will history books say about James Comey?

Of the people within Trump’s administration who seem likely to go down hard are Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone. (Davis Nunes says he’s never heard of Page and Stone… make of that what you will… )  CNN put together a handy guide to Stone’s public comments regarding his connections to Assange, WikiHacks and Guccifer 2.0. These are great for when Stone says he didn’t know anything about anything. The timeline spans from August 10, 2016 (“Stone tells a local Republican Party group in Florida “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange”) to March 20, 2017 (“It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged “Collusion with Russians” from 2day’s Intel Hearing.”) I hope Stone starts prepping himself for a stone cold cot.

Alfa Bank

One of the sources of concern to Trump and Co. is Alfa Bank. The second largest private bank in Russia it came to some people’s attention when it was caught trying to communicate with a Trump server. The original story on the bank’s strange behavior came to light before the election, but the story was dismissed by almost the entire media. NY Times infamously dismissed it on October 31, 2016 with the following headline: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” And with that, the media’s interest in the Trump/Putin connection died. The only person who followed up on it was a Republican writer Louise Mensch. She reported days later (late evening of November 7, to be exact) that the FBI had a FISA warrant to examine communications between Trump’s campaign and a Russian bank. Mensch claims the NY Times (Erich Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers wrote the article) knew about the FISA warrant. And that they even interviewed then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about it. But threw out the entire Reid interview and buried the FBI/FISA detail. She continues to question Lichtblau on twitter about why he did these things and he largely ignores her. Meanwhile Alfa Bank is now claiming they have been hacked and are suing one of the analysts who examined their suspicious communications with Trump organization.

The information on Trump’s connections to Russia were discussed in public as early as July 24, 2016 by Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. On CNN’s State of the Union, on the first day of Democratic convention, Mook told Jake Tapper there were great concerns regarding potential Trump campaign collusion with Russia, stolen DNC e-mails published via WikiLeaks, and RNC’s watering down of Republican platform on Russia/Ukraine. These are now all vital parts of FBI’s investigation that could sink Trump and will most certainly sink many of the key players of his campaign. The media did not investigate this story until it was too late. (Notice also the chyrons on the Mook/Tapper video. An intellectually dishonest representation of the e-mails being published by WikiLeaks.) The media dedicated all of their resources to the Clinton e-mails. They dedicated no resources to potential collusion between Trump and Russia. This will always be one of the great journalistic disasters of all time. Perhaps greater than their failure to vet the Iraq War (NY Times again.)

Trump

Which brings me to Donald Trump himself. I won’t use any of the big words like sociopathic or narcissistic. I think he’s just a man who has never in his entire life had to deal with consequences for any bad behavior. Rich white man. If he did anything wrong, he got a gold star from daddy and lawyers took care of the fallout. He said and did as he pleased. No blowback on anything his entire life. 70 years of this. Imagine what this complete lack of accountability and self-awareness can do to a human brain. He goes bankrupt 7 times? Meh, someone will take care of the fallout and get him more loans. Wife isn’t pleasing anymore? Meh, someone will take care of the divorce and settlement. Being sued for racial discrimination? Meh, someone will take care of the settlement. This is a man who has thrown money at his problems and the problems went away for 70 years. He behaved during his campaign the way he has behaved his entire 70 years on Earth. Badly. Rude, arrogant, mean, vicious, malicious. Said everything that came into his head. And the crowds adored him. Think about what a crowd of 10,000 people chanting “Lock her up!” can do to your brain. Adoration. Say and do anything you like – and TV gives you hours of non-critical coverage. The crowds go crazy. Your approval ratings go through the roof. Your opponents, seasoned politicians all, go down in flames. And you don’t even have to do anything different! It just happens. For a man who has spent his entire life with zero accountability runs his campaign the same way – and he is rewarded with the Presidency of the USA. Think what that does to your brain. Everything he has ever done and said has been vindicated. He does not recognize that things are different now. His brain can’t process this information. Incapable of self-awareness or awareness of others. For 70 years he has done as he pleased, said as he pleased. And an army of Yes-Men have enabled and encouraged his delusions for 70 years. But it is different now. He is stunned that his inauguration crowd isn’t as big as his predecessor’s! (A Black Man!)

“No, it’s just not possible. Fake news! The Black Man wire-tapped me! Obviously. Why do I have to retract this? I don’t have to do anything I don’t want. I want to golf. Why can’t I golf? I said I want to golf! This is my resort! This is my home away from gilded home in NYC! I’ll do what I want! I’m President! I won! I did everything the way I always do! And I won! People love me! They all voted for me! All voted for me! Because I’m President! Those who didn’t vote for me have no right to exist! Deep state is out to get me! How else to explain that these things I said are being held against me? I always say what I want! Why are you ganging up on me?! I’m not a puppet! Tillerson will go to Russia! Because I said so! Because I won! This is a conspiracy to destroy me! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t say about Putin! You don’t like Putin? Too bad! I love Putin! I’ll say what I want! I won! I’m President! And you are nothing.”

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I will finish on a completely different note. It is a story of love, regret and perseverance.

Through all the madness music has been a great source of solace to me. (Classical music and opera generally, but then…) Here is my favorite performer Madonna, in a “pirate” recording of her classic song “True Blue” at Barclay Center in Brooklyn on September 19, 2015, as part of her “Rebel Heart Tour.” Two nights earlier Madonna celebrated 30 years since her Madison Square Garden debut with a concert at MSG. (Amy Schumer was Madonna’s opening act at the NY shows in 2015, that’s why Madonna gives Schumer a shout-out in the clip below. At that tour way back in 1985, “The Like A Virgin Tour,” her opening act were the Beastie Boys.)

“True Blue” was written in thL. Cohene mid 1980’s by Madonna as a declaration of love for her then-husband Sean Penn. He was in the audience at MSG two nights earlier and there is private video of him watching Madonna singing the song. At Barclay’s (one of the two times I watched this show), Madonna told the story that after the MSG anniversary concert she received a letter from Penn. In it he wrote that watching her perform that night, after so many years and everything they’d each been through, he really appreciated everything she had accomplished and he acknowledged he was a fool to not have recognized her talents when they were married. “Thirty years!” Madonna screamed to the audience. “Thirty years I’ve been waiting for those words! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is marriage and why I will never get married again.”

Last time she sang “True Blue” live was in 1987, just as her marriage to Penn was falling apart.

Good Monday, all! If you read the headlines these days, the press seems to be behaving much better when it comes to Der Trumperer, actually finding, somewhere deep within their ADD-impaired noggins, the capability to focus on his overall awfulness instead of pounding on Hillary incessantly for not paying enough attention to them while dizzy and passing out from pneumonia. (Mommy issues, anyone?) See this “Many Scandals of Donald Trump” article in The Atlantic as an example. Well, see it if you want to experience a degree of boiling rage and nausea you haven’t experienced since you realized that yes, the Republicans were really, truly, f*cking srlsly going to let that mango-colored monkey run against Hillary Clinton. It turns out that Drumpf’s scandals are so numerous, The Atlantic complains it doesn’t have enough space on its pages to write all of them down. Poor babies! If I were a journalist and not a blogger, I might suggest that The Atlantic report on one scandal a day until November 7th. I guess that is just too much Hard Work(TM) for those with journamalism degrees!

In any case, the press is starting to focus its relentlessly negative eye where it belongs, on Dangerous, Despotic, Deplorable Donald. Does this mean they finally get the seriousness of this race? That they have understood the perils of their stunning lack of objectivity and “grading on a curve” when it comes to the pseudo-billionaire who has the overwhelming hubris to think he’s got what it takes to run for President?

Um, no.

If the press “corpse” is to revive itself, it needs to do something it hasn’t yet done, and hasn’t been able to do for the past 40 years: Report objectively on Hillary Clinton. Report on her qualifications, her policies and whether or not they would be good for America; report on what she would do if/when in office. Maybe even cover one of her speeches every once in a while. You know – exactly what they do with Drumpf.

They are showing a few signs of being able to do this. From the article linked above:

The investigation [into his charitable giving] is a new political headache for Trump. The Republican has sought to make hay out of accusations against the Clinton Foundation, but so far that group has no legal troubles. Trump’s charity, however, now finds itself in legal jeopardy.

A truthful and factual comparison! The Clinton Foundation hasn’t done anything illegal, whereas Trump’s Foundation is now under investigation. Could it be The Atlantic has re-discovered what the word “objective” actually means? Not so fast:

The 2016 presidential election could be the most scandal-plagued match-up since James Blaine’s allegedly corrupt business deals squared off against Grover Cleveland’s alleged illegitimate child in 1884. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the nominee, bringing with her a train-car’s worth of baggage. But the Republican candidate is at least as saddled with controversy as Clinton is—and while many of the Clinton cases involve suspicion and shadowy links, many of Trump’s are fully documented in court cases and legal proceedings.

[facepalm]

No, no, NO. Here’s what’s wrong with this allegedly “fair and balanced” paragraph:

  1. Hillary is not bringing baggage with her. Here’s how I’d write this sentence: “The media is dumping sh*t on her daily, and Hillary has been forced to carry it for the past 40 years.” That is not remotely the same thing. Her worst sin is that she hasn’t found a way to get the media to stop lying about her, for which they, of course, blame her as well. (More on that a bit later.)
  2. Saying “many of the Clinton cases involve suspicion and shadowy links” does not pass the smell test. In fact, ALL of the Clinton cases are nothing but innuendo. I’m going to say that again. ALL OF THE CLINTON CASES ARE NOTHING BUT INNUENDO. There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton has ever done anything wrong or illegal. Ever. So despite the media’s gleeful daily exercise of picking apart every single participle she’s ever dangled, searching for evil conspiracies, corruption, and most likely a vagina dentata, there’s “no there there.” And I don’t think there ever will be, frankly. Hillary’s just not that kind of girl.

To follow up on #1, here is my favorite thing the media does when it comes to HRC: continue to talk about a non-story that originated out of some malarial Republican’s nightmare every day, no matter whether there are “new developments” or not, and then say something like this: “Why is it that she can’t stop us from talking about this?” For example: the “d*mned emails” Bernie Sanders complained about. She has been tried and convicted in the press for being reckless and careless and not trustworthy with national security because…she had a private email server from which she sent a grand total of zero emails which were correctly marked as classified. How utterly absurd. Yet because she hasn’t said some kind of magic word, given enough press conferences, and/or apologized on bended knee to the press while self-flagellating for being an uppity wimminz, the press feels justified in yammering about this bullsh*t as if it’s real, and comparing it to actual Dangerous, Despotic and Deplorable things The Donald has said and done.

So until the media purges itself of its toxic, misogynistic hatred of Hillary Clinton, they’re still never going to get it. And this pathetic farce of an election will continue to be reported as though two equally despicable candidates are running, with equal negatives, instead of one amazing, inspiring public servant versus a putrid pustule of a human being.

This is an open thread.

original-summer-beach-2

Good Saturday afternoon Widdershins!

I just wanted to put up a quick post with some updates and some links to a couple of good articles.  I hope you are having great weather wherever you are today.  It is 96 °  here so I am sitting in my air-conditioned comfort.

Thank goodness this one is over.

Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the FBI about her use of a private email server as secretary of state, her campaign said Saturday, as federal investigators neared the end of the probe that has hung over her White House bid.

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, gave a voluntary interview for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday morning at FBI Headquarters in Washington, her campaign said.

“She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. “Out of respect for the investigative process, she will not comment further on her interview.”

Spokespeople for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.

Here’s another excellent piece  on how Bernie lost another competition:  that would be the competition to capture the Democrats on the left side of the party.Summer in an Irish Garden - Trudy Doyle

Elizabeth Warren is the surrogate he was supposed to be. His supporters have become Clinton’s.

Warren certainly did energize that crowd when she and Hillary appeared together in Cincinnati.

Warren was a compelling surrogate, giving Clinton the kind of strong and affirmative endorsement she needs to win over skeptical voters. And Clinton, in turn, was energized, touting her policies and platform—and indicting Trump for his attitudes and behavior. It was a grand display of party unity: Warren and Clinton, the left and the center-left, united against a common foe and cheered on by thousands of excited Democrats, all ready for the general election.

It’s definitely a good read and shows how Sanders screwed up yet again.

Okay this was just a quick little post to steer y’all towards a couple of good reads.  Feel free to add any comments you want to below…or continue enjoying your Independence weekend.


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

***Disaster Donations***

Quick links for donations.

Donations for our furry, and other critter friends:

Texas SPCA Donate Page

Houston TX SPCA Donation Page

Red Rover Group

For the Virgin Islands (Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands)
CFVI.net

All Hands Disaster Relief:
https://www.hands.org/

Puerto Rico’s First Lady’s organization:
http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

Americares (provides medical/health support)
http://www.americares.org/en/

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
3.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

PHONE CONTACT INFO FOR THE DNC:

202-863-8000

TELL PEREZ AND ELLISON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAZILE NUT!

Storify version of E. Rogers HVF explanation

Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones