Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why I Watch (So Much) CNN

I've been watching cable news way too much lately. I'd gone almost a decade without viewing much of it going into the 2016 primary season. I became glued to it because I felt like Trump's campaign was a phenomenon that was fascinating from so many perspectives, and that once November 8th had passed, we'd never see anything like it again. Of course, it didn't go that way.

I rarely turn to MSNBC. Scarborough is terrible, the mid-day programming is meh, and the prime time shows are preaching to the choir. When a big story is breaking, I make a point to watch Don Lemon, and also sometimes Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper. Back in 2016, Lemon seemed like a deer in the headlights, but now he's pretty masterful at managing the otherwise awful CNN panel format.

Why do I bother? It's not like I'm going to learn anything there I'm not going to lean on the internet. In fact, cable news is, for the most part, months behind. I mean, it's been pretty apparent since late 2016 that Trump's campaign had colluded with Russia to steal the election, and we knew in October 2016 that the New York branch of the FBI was conspiring against Hillary. Most of the news hasn't even gotten that far. But that's why I watch CNN. I learn just how far the press has gotten in their willingness to call a particular spade a spade. In the case of Trump/Russia, the press would barely acknowledge it at all until Buzzfeed published the Steele "dossier." They were skeptical about it for a long time, but hookers and pee make for good TV. The next big milestone was probably the Comey firing, when the talking heads could start musing about obstruction of justice. However, almost no one would actually discuss WHY Trump obstructed justice. As more Russia news came out, such as the Trump Tower meeting, much of it was discussed as more or less as a series of isolated incidents.

Things are changing now. Trump's attacks on Mueller, particularly the revelation that Trump tried to fire him, is starting to elicit talk of Trump actually covering up crimes, and sometimes, the TV personalities will even allude to those crimes being Russia related. Occasionally, they'll discuss whether or not a sitting President can be indicted.

But they haven't gotten to where we were (though that could've changed tonight; I haven't gotten my nightly Lemon fix yet) in December of 2016. We knew that Russia had meddled in the election, with the help of the Trump campaign, and that the election was stolen.

I don't know whether they'll get there, but I'd say the next steps are for the CNN types to acknowledge, on air, that Trump cheated. Then they'll need to discuss what the consequences should be for stealing an election. Finally, and I don't think this'll happen, CNN panelists and perhaps hosts will call for an overturning of the election. That's what I'm watching for.

The fact that there's progress at all makes this situation different than in the past. During the Bush years, the press rarely acknowledged that the administration lied us into war in Iraq, or that the administration ignored pre-9/11 warnings.

The mainstream press will just never be out ahead of these types of stories. I've been following it for 20 years, I'm nearly 40, and I know by now that I'll never be satisfied with what I'm watching.

But we're moving. And as the mainstream press moves, mainstream American opinion will move with it.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thread of the Day -- Today's Reminder That Republicans Are Terrible People

I could've picked a dozen threads today and used the same title:

I have a longer post about the media's reaction to incidents like this one coming in the next couple of days, but for now, Jesus Christ. Poor Kurt. More than a year later, this one remains actual, for real (not "HOOCOODANODE") shocking to me. Way beyond the pale.

Click here or on the tweet for the whole thread.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Late Night Track -- Oh Daddy (Ivanka's Theme)

RTs for a week for the guy who puts Ivanka's head on Christine McVie's body. Two weeks if Don Jr.'s head is on Lindsay Buckingham's body and Jared's is on Mick Fleetwood's.


Weekend Long Read -- Franklin Foer on Paul Manafort

I actually have a lot of writing in the hopper the next week or two, but do not miss Franklin Foer's Paul Manafort profile in the upcoming March issue of The Atlantic:

THE CLINIC PERMITTED PAUL MANAFORT one 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, his voice often soaked in tears. “Apparently he sobs daily,” his daughter Andrea, then 29, texted a friend. During the spring of 2015, Manafort’s life had tipped into a deep trough. A few months earlier, he had intimated to his other daughter, Jessica, that suicide was a possibility. He would “be gone forever,” she texted Andrea.

That's just the first paragraph. Read the whole thing.

This is Pulitzer-worthy, and from the same guy who wrote the expose the Trump Tower/Alfa Bank server connection that everyone, excluding me, dismissed two weeks before the 2016 election. I haven't had an Atlantic subscription in at least a decade, but I may be about to change that.

And I'll go out on a limb and predict that Manafort will die of unnatural causes either in prison or before he goes -- by his hand or by mysterious ones.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thread of the Day -- Tea Pain on the Gates News

Day 2 of this feature... I'm not always going to agree with the threads I share, and I don't know where I fall on this. I'm out on some "citizen journalists" like Louise Mensch and Eric Garland. Others, who I haven't seen make massive screwups, such as Seth Abramson, I keep an eye on.

Today's thread is from one of the biggest -- Tea Pain (h/t Kimberley Johnson, who I like and who swears by him). I don't read his stuff often and I haven't decided what I think of him. But he makes a big prediction today and I wanted to see if it turns out to be true, which is that Mueller is working to remove Trump from office on obstruction of justice charges and then prosecute him for other things once he's out. I think he's dreaming, but we'll see.

Click here or on the Tweet for more.

Earworm of the Afternoon -- Pretty Penny

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Daily Comb Over - January 23, 2018

One crisis averted, and now onto the next.  Granted that neither CHIP nor DACA should have even been controversial issues to begin with, but the Republicans really don't care what the public thinks:

CHIP has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception in 1997, but this year, legislators let the deadline for reauthorizing it pass as they bickered over other health care issues, primarily the latest Republican-led push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
While Americans are split over how to handle Obamacare, three-quarters of the public want CHIP renewed, according to the September Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

Support for allowing these immigrants to remain in the U.S. spans across party lines: 84 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 69 percent of Republicans think they should stay.
But we have 16 more days until the next shutdown, so let's take a look at something more pressing: the future of monetary policy in the United States:
The Senate has approved President Trump's selection of Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve beginning next month. Senators voted 85-12 to confirm Powell to lead the nation's central bank, a post that's considered the most powerful economic position in government, per the AP. Powell will succeed Janet Yellen, the first woman to lead the Fed, when her term ends Feb. 3. Trump decided against offering Yellen a second four-year term as chair despite widespread praise for her performance since succeeding Ben Bernanke. 
Let me rephrase that for you. Obama appointed a very successful Fed Chair, so Trump not only had to undo that success but in replacing Chair Yellen, he appointed former-investment-banker-not-an-economist Jerome Powell.

But it's not all bad news. The conservative Powell has been a voice of reason in the past, pushing Republicans to promptly raise debt ceilings and has cautioned against defaults.  And given that he has served as a member of the FOMC (the Fed Open Market Committee) for just over five years already, he has plenty of experience working under Yellen and learning about what makes good economic policy. And, in truth, it's really not that difficult to be a Fed Chair when times are good. Your only responsibility is to make sure inflation does not exceed 2%.

As an economist, I was fine with the choice when it was made.  After all, President Obama originally nominated Powell as part of a bipartisan appointment to maintain balance at the FOMC (the arch-conservative economist Fred Mishkin had retired) which absolutely needs to remain a nonpartisan entity.  And Obama would not have nominated a blind partisan from the Right to fill that position. 

And just remember Bloomberg's assessment last summer:

Powell (center)
If it wasn't going to be Yellen, our choices were the clueless supply-sider Gary Cohn (not a dove) or Warsh or Taylor who literally want to tear everything down. We quite literally dodged a bullet.

Of course, time will tell if he will be more like the Republican-appointed Ben Bernanke who staved off disaster or the Republican-appointed Alan Greenspan who undermined the recovery tools in order to prop up the woeful Bush Era recovery.

Catch you on the flip side.

Thread of the Day -- What Are the Republicans Getting At?

I'm trying something new here today because there's so much interesting stuff on Twitter that I think should be shared and also saved for posterity. I'm terrible with keeping up regular features, but I'm going to try to post a THREAD! that catches my eye every day. Here's today's:

The Republicans, like Congressman Devin Nunes (pictured above) have been trying to do anything they can to pull Mueller, the Congressional investigations, and the press off the scent of Russian collusion in the election. FBI text messages, "the memo," questioning the loyalties of various law enforcement and intelligence personalities. Attorney and blogger Susan Simpson asks, in essence, "So what?"

Click here or on the Tweet for more.

Susan's blog, The View From LL2, can be found here.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Late Night Track -- Washin' and Wonderin'

These are my hands
These are my faults
These are my plans
And these are my nasty little thoughts...

Best #WomensMarch2018 Signs

Des Moines

March On

We've survived a year of Soviet Agent Orange in Washington... we're a good amount worse for wear in a number of ways, but it's amazing to see our energy so high today.

New York:


Los Angeles:




Washington DC:





Morristown, NJ:


St. Louis:

Orange County:

Oklahoma City:


Palm Beach:

Traverse City, MI:

Montgomery, AL:

Asheville, NC:


Los Angeles:



Sioux Falls, SD:

Yakima, WA:



Iowa City:

Park City, UT:



Raleigh, NC:

Springfield, IL:


Portland, OR:



Columbia, MO:

Walla Walla, WA:


Fayetteville, AK:

San Diego:





The Daily Comb Over - January 20, 2018

It's the weekend edition which means we get to look back at all the crazy over the last 48 hours. It all started with this tweet:
And this one:
Oh right, this one too:
OK so maybe it actually started with White House Chief of Staff Kelly saying that there would be no wall and Mexico would not pay for it, calling Trump "uninformed."

But where it went became very dangerous. Rather than push Republicans to vote for the bipartisan funding bill that would keep the government from shutting down, Trump suddenly demanded of them, "if there is no Wall, there is no Deal!"

On top of that, he and the rest of the Republicans continued to hold CHIP and DACA hostage, trying to wedge Democrats in and force them to choose between the two.  Essentially, they took popular programs, turned each one of them into a crisis and then put them in a pit to create a third crisis.

What's that Susan Sarandon? Hillary would have been worse? It's not your kids being given a death sentence.
And so obviously as goes everything with Trump, the worst possible outcome occurred.

The government just shutdown, giving us the border wall of Trump's dreams:
The Border Wall

As for you? Go march today and let them hear it.

Catch you on the flip side.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Daily Comb Over - January 17, 2018

Did you see it?

What do you mean, "see what?"

It was only the grandest, most stupendous, huuuugggggeeeesssstttt event of the year: The Fake News Awards!
Oh, of course you missed it. The GOP website has been down for hours.

So fake!

So instead, let's focus on some real news: the impending recession. One sure sign of a recession is clusters of mass layoffs occurring across multiple industries. In the last month, we've had reports of:

  1. 12,000 jobs lost at GE
  2. 10,000 jobs lost at Macy's
  3. 9,000 jobs lost at Sam's Club... ok just more from Walmart.
  4. 3,000 jobs lost at Walmart
  5. 2,000 jobs lost at Tenet
  6. 1,600 jobs lost at GM
  7. 1,515 jobs lost at AT&T
  8. More than 1,000 jobs lost at Allergan
  9. 600 jobs lost at UAMS
  10. 300 jobs lost at Pfizer
  11. And last but not least, 215 more jobs lost at Carrier -- someone tell this lady that Trump screwed her.
All in all, that's roughly 42,000 jobs lost.

If any of you have heard about any other layoffs, please leave a comment below.

Catch you on the flip side.

Late Night Track -- Long Distance Runaround

Further Down the Peehole

A couple of months ago I wrote:

As you've probably read, Keith Schiller, Trump's former personal bodyguard, testified that a Russian did, in fact, offer Trump five Russian women at the hotel that the dossier indicated, on the day that the dossier said the "pee pee tape" was recorded, but that Trump turned him down and went to bed, and Schiller went to bed too and didn't see anything.
What are the odds of such a wholly unlikely story having one of its deniers confirm that 95 percent of it is true and then not have the end be true? This sort of trail doesn't stop at the water's (or urine's) edge. I went from 80 percent believing in the pee pee tape to sure today.

Well, cue Ron Howard narrator voice. From TPM on the Stormy Daniels story:

Noted just in passing in Weisberg’s piece is that Daniels said that her rendezvouses with Trump were arranged by Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller. That’s interesting.
This is the same Keith Schiller who testified on Capitol Hill back in November that at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow an unnamed Russian offered to “send five women” to Trump’s hotel room. This got a lot of attention since it seemed to line up with perhaps the most notorious claim in the Steele dossier: that a number of Russian prostitutes were sent to Trump’s room during this pageant and that there was compromising evidence of the event.
But Schiller testified that he told the man, “We don’t do that type of stuff.” 

Narrator: They do.

There will be a pee-pee tape.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Daily Comb Over - January 16, 2018

We finally heard from Dr. Ronnie Jackson Ronny Jackson, MD about Trump's health.  Aside from the many inconsistencies (the largest of which was his weight), perhaps the biggest surprise is that Trump scored perfectly on a cognitive exam designed to test for any mental impairment.
“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy and the White House physician, told reporters on Tuesday.
So what is it? How can a man who has benefited so much from taxpayer assistance ($885M to be exact) be so resentful of women, workers, minorities, Jews, Muslims, LGBTs, other languages, other cultures, children, animals, domestic-born wives, etiquette, etc. It's as if he sees himself as the bright yellow corn kernel in the middle of a big pile of shit.

Ultimately, it's because he's just plain evil.  All this talk about him playing off distractions or being mentally ill only exist because it's just hard to comprehend evil.  And yet we have all witnessed evil acts carried out by evil people.

We ask ourselves why the Germans went along with Hitler and the Nazis when anyone looking back at Nazi Germany can see how evil that regime truly was.  Will historians say the same thing about the Trump Regime in 70 years?

Mentally ill or just evil? 

Then again, there is the weight inconsistency, so who knows if any of it can be believed. He really may be mentally ill after all.
Catch you on the flip side.

The Daily Comb Over - January 15, 2018

After going off on shitholes, you may assume that Trump had hit rock-bottom for the week, but you'd be wrong.  Rather than attending an MLK Day event, Trump decided to spend the day golfing. Just like he did when he should have been making an announcement to the State of Hawaii not to panic after a false warning was sent out about an impending ballistic missile attack.

If there's one constant about the Trump Regime, it's golf. estimates a $50 million bill to the American taxpayers in Year One for the 91 golf vacations that Trump has taken.

Trump out golfing today on MLK Day

If there's a second constant, it's racism.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the 12 minutes of comments he did give about Dr. King, 3 days ahead of MLK Day:

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Proclamation to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Issued on: January 12, 2018

Roosevelt Room

11:38 A.M. EST
As a must, Trump will of course thank his two black friends before starting his speech.

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank Secretary Carson, along with Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., and the many distinguished guests joining us here today. It’s a great honor.
 And there you go.
Earlier this week, I had the tremendous privilege to join Isaac and Alveda to sign into law legislation re-designating the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. The new law expands the area to protect it and historic sites for the future generations of Americans — are becoming. So important. And this is a great honor for us and a great honor to Dr. King.
He tries to make it sound like Dr. King's children are close friends of his when in actuality they publicly chastised him over his racist remarks about Haiti and Africa.
Today, we gather in the White House to honor the memory of a great American hero, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He would go on to change the course of human history.
As a young man, King decided to follow the calling of his father and grandfather to become a Christian pastor. He would later write that it was “quite easy for me to think of a God of love, mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central.” That is what Reverend King preached all his life: love — love for each other, for neighbors, and for our fellow Americans.
 He gives us one quote from Dr. King, and that's it? That's the one he wants to use?
Dr. King’s faith and his love for humanity led him and so many other heroes to courageously stand up for civil rights of African Americans. Through his bravery and sacrifice, Dr. King opened the eyes and lifted the conscience of our nation. He stirred the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul.
 And Trump has made it his mission to undo that great sacrifice.
Today, we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.
This April, we will mark a half-century since Reverend King was so cruelly taken from us by an assassin’s bullet. But while Dr. King is no longer with us, his words and his vision only grow stronger through time. Today, we mourn his loss, we celebrate his legacy, and we pledge to fight for his dream of equality, freedom, justice, and peace.
Nothing personal at all. No connection whatsoever. Then again, we learned last year that he knows nothing about Black History. Nor does he care one bit about learning a thing about Black History -- aside from maybe hearing Frederick Douglass's name in passing.
I will now sign the proclamation making January 15, 2018 the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday and encourage all Americans to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King’s extraordinary life — and it was extraordinary indeed — and his great legacy.
I wish someone in the press had asked him to name just one thing that made it "extraordinary indeed."
Thank you. God bless you all. And God bless America.
And with that, I’d like to ask a great friend of mine, Secretary Carson, for remarks. Then we’re going to be signing the very important proclamation. Thank you very much.
Oh wait, he didn't even go the full 12 minutes? He handed off the baton to Ben Carson?
SECRETARY CARSON: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s an honor to be here today celebrating this solemn occasion. And I thank you for signing legislation to designate the birthplace, church, and tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King as a National Historic Park.
His monumental struggle for civil rights earned these places in his life, faith, and death the same honor as Mount Vernon and that famous humble log cabin in Illinois.
This April, we will observe the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. I remember so vividly that day, as a high school student in Detroit. Far from silencing his dream, death wrought him immortal in the American heart. His message of equality, justice, and the common dignity of man resounds today, urgently needed to heal the divisions of our age.
Today, we honor the legacy of the man who marched on Washington for jobs and freedom, achieving both for millions of Americans of all races and backgrounds. But his legacy also calls us to remember where these ideas — equality, freedom, liberty — get their power.
Our good efforts alone are not enough to lend them meaning. For by what shall I be called equal to another man? It cannot be by wealth, for there will always be one richer than me. It cannot be by strength, for there will always be one stronger than me. It cannot be by success or happiness or beauty or any other pieces of the human condition which are distributed through providence. So perhaps providence alone is the answer.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
With these familiar words, our Declaration of Independence recognizes the true author of our common dignity — one that is beyond every human law and institution. If we forget this source of our fundamental equality, then our fight to recognize it in our society will never be fulfilled.
This is a truth that Dr. King carried with him from Selma to Montgomery, from a pulpit in Atlanta to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, from a cell in Birmingham to the entire world.
This year, we will not remember his slaying as the ending but as a beginning — as a moment when his truth rose stronger than hatred, and his cause larger than death; as a moment when he called to new life with his Creator, before whom all men shall one day stand in equal rank bearing with them no riches but the content of their character.
This year we'll remember people like Ben Carson standing beside Trump as he normalizes racism one giant step at a time.
If we keep this conviction at the center of our every word and action, if we look upon out countrymen as brothers with a shared home and a common destination, then instead of meaningless words rolling off of our tongue, we will truly create one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
And we’re going to have a word from Pastor Isaac Newton Farris, the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King. (Applause.)
OK so maybe Trump spoke for 2 minutes? We'll skip Pastor Farris's comments for brevity's sake and jump back in where Trump resumes. Here we go:
THE PRESIDENT: This is a great and important day. Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday 2018, by the President of the United States of America, a proclamation. Congratulations to him and to everybody.
What the fuck? Congratulations to him? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Does Trump think King cares that you extended MLK Day into 2018 when you are out there spouting racism 365 days a year?
[The proclamation is signed.]
PARTICIPANT: Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)
11:50 A.M. EST
And there you have it.

Catch you on the flip side.