All entries by this author

Threats and intimidation

Jan 13th, 2017 10:03 am | By

Ethics? Ethics? The hell with ethics, we like our presidents corrupt.

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Thursday issued a stern letter, including a veiled threat of an investigation, to the federal government’s top ethics monitor, who this week had questioned President-elect Donald J. Trump’s commitment to confront his potential conflicts of interest.

In an unusual action against the independent Office of Government Ethics, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah accused the office’s director, Walter M. Shaub Jr., of “blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance.”

And he of course said this as a purely impartial outside observer.

Mr. Chaffetz, in his letter, noted his committee’s authority to reauthorize the office, a

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Jeff Sessions tacitly endorses sexual assault

Jan 13th, 2017 6:57 am | By

Let’s go back in time a few months – three months, to be exact: back to October 10 last year, when Jeff Sessions said grabbing a woman “by the pussy” isn’t sexual assault. I wonder if he thinks lynching is murder.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a top Donald Trump surrogate, said on Sunday that even if the GOP nominee actually grabbed a woman “by the pussy,” as he bragged about in a leaked tape from 2005, that behavior would not amount to sexual assault.

“I don’t characterize that as sexual assault,” Sessions told The Weekly Standard in the spin room after Sunday night’s presidential debate. “I think that’s a stretch. I don’t know what he meant.”


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Guest post: Is it true? Is it normal?

Jan 13th, 2017 6:33 am | By

Guest post by Stewart of Gnu Atheism.

It would be foolish to attempt to lay down the law about what is true regarding the Trump dossier attributed to Christopher Steele, who is reported to be in hiding. Nonetheless, one ought to exercise one’s critical faculties (and that is intended to mean one’s own critical faculties, not those belonging to any third party) in examining the evidence either jostling or not jostling for our attention.

Firstly, it seems that the media so disdained by Trump is racing, at breakneck speed, to normalise him and the story of Steele and the dossier is already being pushed down almost out of sight among other headlines regarding Trump and his incoming administration. It … Read the rest

Representative John Lewis testifies

Jan 12th, 2017 5:33 pm | By

From John Lewis’s testimony in the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions:

A clear majority of Americans say they want this to be a fair, just, and open nation.  They are afraid this country is headed in the wrong direction.  They are concerned that some leaders reject decades of progress and want to return to the dark past, when the power of law was used to deny the freedoms protected by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and its Amendments.  These are the voices I represent today.

We can pretend that the law is blind. We can pretend that it is even-handed.   But if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are called upon daily by the people

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Just roll with it

Jan 12th, 2017 1:42 pm | By

So Barack just surprised Joe with a Medal of Freedom, so we need some memes in case we get too maudlin.

First the surprise.

And now some memes.

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John Lewis and Corey Booker

Jan 12th, 2017 1:08 pm | By

John Lewis and Corey Booker testify on the nomination of Jess Sessions to be Attorney General.

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Paging Deep Throat 2

Jan 12th, 2017 12:31 pm | By

Richard Wolffe has a few observations on Trump’s appalling press conference.

Donald Trump is not what he seems. The supposed master of media manipulation stumbled so often at his first press conference, it is hard to recall why anyone thought the TV star was good at this stuff in the first place.

That one doesn’t make me wince with embarrassment, because I never did think Trump was good at this stuff. I didn’t think about him at all until a few months ago, and when I started I certainly never thought he was good at anything.

Judging from Wednesday’s trainwreck press conference – the first since July – Trump and his handlers have no self-discipline and no strategy

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You may end up having things unravel

Jan 12th, 2017 11:10 am | By

Politico had an interesting conversation with Joe Biden.

Regarding Trump’s campaign against the intelligence community, Biden said, “it’s very damaging to our standing in the world for a president to take one of the crown jewels of our national defense and denigrate it,” Biden said, describing disconcerted leaders telling him, “basically, ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe.’”

Trump’s reaction to the intelligence reports, Biden argued, is perhaps understandable from someone who has never been in government and never been exposed to the kind of work produced. Reaching into his briefcase, he held up an iPad with the seal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on its black case, explaining that the code word-protected device gives him

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Presidents who have a sense of limited presidential power

Jan 12th, 2017 10:24 am | By

The Times gently points out that Trump isn’t in a position to tell us what hiking gear to buy.

L.L. Bean, the Maine retailer known for its boots, jackets and preppy New England aesthetic, has found itself embroiled in a partisan battle that Donald J. Trump reignited on Thursday with a tweet.

Faced with a boycott over a Bean family member’s contribution to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, Shawn Gorman, L.L. Bean’s executive chairman, declared four days ago that “we stay out of politics.”

But then Trump perpetrated that grotesque tweet:

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The dignity of the office

Jan 12th, 2017 7:17 am | By

The morning Donnie.

It’s disgusting that he thinks he gets to say anything at any time about “fake news” when he’s been such a dishonest and determined promoter of actual fake news himself. I know I just said that yesterday, but attention to Donnie from Queens requires a lot of repetition. Birther fake news, the Central Park 5 fake news, “Crooked Hillary” fake news, those jobs at Carrier fake news, to name just a few.

Also – it is beyond inappropriate for a president-elect to … Read the rest

Let it

Jan 11th, 2017 5:51 pm | By

Some Portland Zoo inhabitants are happy with the snow.

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They are paid to cheer

Jan 11th, 2017 5:31 pm | By

Trump provided his own cheering crowd for the press conference.

When Donald Trump gathered the press at Trump Tower 20 months ago to announce his unlikely candidacy for president, he reportedly paid actors to fill the marble lobby and cheer.

I wonder if he has a recording of people cheering him that plays while he sleeps. Poor guy – he’s so needy.

On Wednesday morning, when the president-elect once again faced hundreds of reporters from around the globe gathered in his lobby — this time for his first press conference in seven months — Trump filled the room with paid staffers who clapped and cheered as he blasted members of the media as purveyors of “fake news.”

The Greek

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BillO in his undies

Jan 11th, 2017 5:10 pm | By

Meanwhile, in another part of the vipers’ den

In the weeks after Roger Ailes was ousted as the chairman of Fox News in July amid a sexual harassment scandal, company executives secretly struck an agreement with a longtime broadcast personality who had come forward with similar accusations about the network’s top host, Bill O’Reilly.

The employee, Juliet Huddy, had said that Mr. O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, at a time he exerted significant influence over her career. When she rebuffed his advances, he tried to derail her career, according to a draft of a letter from her lawyers to Fox News that was obtained by The New York Times.

BillO, that great stalwart of Conservative … Read the rest

Should have thought of that sooner

Jan 11th, 2017 4:50 pm | By

The chief ethics honcho doesn’t think much of Trump’s plan for how to avoid conflicts of interest during his “presidency.”

The head of the Office of Government Ethics is publicly slamming President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to continue profiting from his international company while he is in the White House.

Walter Shaub took the extraordinary step of saying Trump’s plan to retain a stake in the Trump Organization while his adult sons run the day-to-day operations falls short of what the OGE had advised him to do. The office counseled Trump to sell off his business assets and place the proceeds in a trust overseen by an independent manager.

Did you notice that Trump’s lawyer said, in an aggrieved way, that … Read the rest

A shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters

Jan 11th, 2017 4:02 pm | By

From the Washington Post yesterday:

Coretta Scott King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., urged Congress in a letter to block the 1986 nomination of Jeff Sessions for federal judge, saying that allowing him to join the federal bench would “irreparably damage the work of my husband.” The letter, previously unavailable publicly, was obtained on Tuesday by The Washington Post.

“Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts,” King wrote in the cover page of her nine-page letter opposing Sessions’s nomination, which failed. “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of

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What reforms do you recommend?

Jan 11th, 2017 3:48 pm | By

Trump the birther called CNN “fake news” and refused to take a question from the CNN reporter but then took one from Breitbart – yes Breitbart, that haven of non-fake genyoowine news. (What was Breitbart even doing there?)

One of the stranger moments in Wednesday’s deeply strange Donald Trump press conference came when the president-elect got into a shouting match with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who was trying to ask him a question.

Earlier in the presser — his first one since July — Trump had attacked CNN for disseminating “fake news” because it broke the story that both the sitting president and the president-elect had been briefed on allegations that Russia has “compromising personal and financial information” regarding Trump.


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Several peculiar comments

Jan 11th, 2017 11:35 am | By

The Atlantic has the best summary of the press conference I’ve seen.

Trump insisted, despite copious reporting to the contrary as well as his own son’s statements, that he did not and never had business dealings in Russia. When a reporter asked him if he would release his taxes to prove that, he once again demurred, claiming they are under audit. (He has not proven that claim, the IRS says there’s nothing to prevent him from releasing taxes that are under audit.) Yet he also seemed to suggest that having won the election, he no longer had any incentive to release the returns. “The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters,” he said. “I mean, I

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Trump says “Don’t be rude”

Jan 11th, 2017 11:19 am | By

Trump’s exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN:

 … Read the rest

Lived experience

Jan 11th, 2017 10:28 am | By

That was an awful experience. Painfully, squirmingly, let me out of here awful.

I hate watching the way he bares his lower lip so that you see his teeth – it’s so ugly and hostile and wolfish.

I hate, as always, watching his dreadful stunted clumsy gestures.

I hate hearing him say CHInah over and over again. He says “China” the normal way when it’s “the China sea” but when he names the country it’s CHInah every time. He also says – less often – JaPAN, with the same dopy aggressive emphasis.

I hate his word salad.

I hate his stunted vocabulary. I hate all the “very very” this and “he’s a fantastic guy” that.

I hate how dim he … Read the rest

Russia said

Jan 11th, 2017 9:44 am | By

Trump has issued a public statement disputing the claims in yesterday’s news with his usual dignity and taste, as well as his usual epistemic caution. He chose Twitter as the best venue for this well-reasoned official statement.

Russia just said it’s not true, Donnie tells us. Ah well then – case closed. There is no possible way Russia could be lying about it, so we have no choice but to take their word for it and move on.

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