All entries by this author

Republicans say: never mind

Jan 3rd, 2017 9:40 am | By

For now, that is.

The news broke 15 minutes ago that

House Republican leaders have pulled a proposal that would gut its independent ethics panel, amid widespread criticism of the plan, multiple lawmakers tell CNN.

Even Trump objected – except what he objected to was the timing, the prioritization, not the substance.

Trump called out his fellow Republicans Tuesday for proposing to curb the powers of the independent ethics panel as their first move of the year, although the President-elect suggested the ethics panel was “unfair.”

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority.

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Self-cleaning swamp

Jan 3rd, 2017 9:10 am | By

It’s a useful symbol, if nothing else – the surprise vote by House Republicans to kill the independent ethics office that oversees…Congress. No stinkin’ ethics for them! It’s helpful of them to make it so very clear.

The surprising vote came on the eve of the start of a new session of Congress, where emboldened Republicans are ready to push an ambitious agenda on everything from health care to infrastructure, issues that will be the subject of intense lobbying from corporate interests. The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

It also came on the eve of a historic shift in power in Washington,

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On the eve of destruction

Jan 2nd, 2017 4:32 pm | By

The Republicans are getting all their ducks in a row for their big project of destroying everything now that they have the chance.

For six years, since they took back the House of Representatives, Republicans have added to a pile of legislation that moldered outside the White House. In their thwarted agenda, financial regulations were to be unspooled. Business taxes were to be slashed. Planned Parenthood would be stripped of federal funds. The ­Affordable Care Act was teed up for repeal — dozens of times.

When the 115th Congress begins this week, with Republicans firmly in charge of the House and Senate, much of that legislation will form the basis of the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s.

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Becoming a stan

Jan 2nd, 2017 12:27 pm | By

Paul Krugman on Trump the strongman:

In 2015 the city of Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, was graced with a new public monument: a giant gold-plated sculpture portraying the country’s president on horseback. This may strike you as a bit excessive. But cults of personality are actually the norm in the “stans,” the Central Asian countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, all of which are ruled by strongmen who surround themselves with tiny cliques of wealthy crony capitalists.

Americans used to find the antics of these regimes, with their tinpot dictators, funny. But who’s laughing now?

We are, after all, about to hand over power to a man who has spent his whole adult life

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He’s got a plan

Jan 2nd, 2017 11:42 am | By

The Wall Street Journal tells us that Trump’s childish blurts on Twitter are actually all part of his cunning plan.

In fact, there seem to be specific objectives behind many of Mr. Trump’s seemingly scattershot missives and comments. Often, say those who know him, he is posturing or positioning in pursuit of broader goals. He doesn’t mind roiling the waters in the process—and, as a consequence, some of what he says isn’t to be taken literally.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who speaks regularly with Mr. Trump and is developing a lecture series and book examining Trumpism, suggests the president-elect is in this regard similar to Franklin Roosevelt, who sometimes seemed to cultivate chaos in preparing the ground for

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Trump is easily distracted by shiny objects

Jan 2nd, 2017 11:18 am | By

Again, the Times says Trump lies, in a headline:

Why Corporations Are Helping Donald Trump Lie About Jobs

The byline is The Editorial Board, so it’s not just one writer, it’s basically the whole outfit.

President-elect Donald Trump would like everybody to believe that his election is energizing the economy by forcing businesses to create thousands of jobs in the United States. And companies like Sprint seem perfectly happy to go along with this fiction because they know they can profit handsomely by cozying up to Mr. Trump.

They point to his lie about the 5000 Sprint jobs, and add:

In sum, Mr. Trump’s statement was hot air, just like his tweet in which he thanked himself for an

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Upside the head

Jan 1st, 2017 5:46 pm | By

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Have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way

Jan 1st, 2017 3:39 pm | By

Trump is skeptical about the Russian hacking. He wants good evidence before he accepts the claims.

Speaking to a handful of reporters outside his Palm Beach, Fla., club, Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump cast his declarations of doubt as an effort to seek the truth.

I see what the NY Times did there. They said he’s bullshitting.

“I just want them to be sure because it’s a pretty serious charge,” Mr. Trump said of the intelligence agencies. “If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong,” he added, referring to intelligence cited by the George W. Bush administration to support its march to war in 2003. “So I want them to be sure,”

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He’s amazed

Jan 1st, 2017 11:34 am | By

The Woodward-Costa interview with Trump last April, part 2.

Woodward asks the great pussygrabber for his thoughts on why Lincoln succeeded. He doesn’t say what he means by “succeed” and of course Trump doesn’t ask.

But he does answer.

DT: Well, I think Lincoln succeeded for numerous reasons. He was a man who was of great intelligence, which most presidents would be. But he was a man of great intelligence, but he was also a man that did something that was a very vital thing to do at that time. Ten years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible. So he did something that was a very important thing to

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Only thought process

Jan 1st, 2017 10:52 am | By

Going back to the roots of the catastrophe. Last April Bob Woodward and Robert Costa interviewed Trump. They asked him when the dream was born. He indicated that the earliest hint was perhaps while Romney was campaigning against Obama. He thought Romney was weak – very, very weak.

I thought that — I thought Obama was very beatable. Very, very beatable. You know, you had a president who was not doing well, to put it nicely. And I looked at that very seriously. I had some difficulty because I was doing some big jobs that were finishing up, which I wanted to do. My children were younger. And four years makes a big difference. And I also had a

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The list

Jan 1st, 2017 10:10 am | By

Reina in Istanbul joins Pulse in Orlando, Le Bataclan in Paris, the Sari in Bali, and the Hippodrome in Mali in the class of nightclubs that have been the scene of terrorist mass murders by Islamists. It’s not yet known that the mass murderer at the Reina in Istanbul is an Islamist, but slaughtering people at nightclubs is a fad with Islamists and not with anyone else (that I know of).

Police in Istanbul are hunting for a gunman who opened fire at a well-known nightclub, killing at least 39 people.

The attack happened at Reina nightclub early on Sunday, as hundreds of revellers marked the new year.

Officials say some 15 foreigners were killed, including citizens from Israel, France,

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There is only one way to live

Dec 31st, 2016 3:33 pm | By

Muhammad Sabir is the founder of Slumabad, an organization that works to give homeless children access to education and economic opportunities. He posted a photo on Facebook yesterday and asked people to share it.

Please share it onward
ہم ایک گھر کے لیے خوار اور حاکم شہر
شمار گنبد و محراب کرتا رہتا تھا

This photo tells a story of poverty, inequality and deprivation of basic human dignity and rights. It puts all human development in question and asks basic simple questions from us:

Can we call ourselves civilized, while we see our fellow human beings living on footpath like animals?

Is there only one way to live left for millions of deprived souls?

کہ ہم غریب ہوئے ہیں

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Tweeting in a more dignified manner

Dec 31st, 2016 3:03 pm | By

Dan Rather is underwhelmed by the New Year tweet by Donnie from Queens. I’m kidding: he’s not underwhelmed, he’s disgusted.

I guess the President-elect’s New Year’s resolution doesn’t involve tweeting in a more dignified manner?

Donnie from Queens doesn’t know from dignified. He’s vulgarity personified. He’s a living breathing insulting demonstration that vulgarity has nothing to do with poverty, except poverty of feeling and sense and consideration.… Read the rest


Dec 31st, 2016 11:47 am | By

NYT reports Trump continues to be more childish every day.

Americans woke up on the last day of 2016 to a message from President-elect Donald J. Trump wishing them a happy new year.

But the holiday missive, posted on Mr. Trump’s official Twitter account around 8 a.m., came with a pointed jab.

“Happy New Year to all,” Mr. Trump wrote, “including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” (Some social media users homed in on Mr. Trump’s use of the word enemies, rather than opponents or another word for those who oppose him.)

That’s so typical, isn’t it, and so symptomatic. We have no … Read the rest

In the interest of our country and its great people

Dec 31st, 2016 10:16 am | By

I’ve been marveling at Trump’s “statement” on the Russian hack.

It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.

I’ve been marveling at the grandiosity of it. He says it as if he’s doing us some big favor, some spectacular concession out of his deep love for our greatness and out of his own remarkable generosity.

He is such a lying fraud.

Taking a security briefing is not some kind extra favor he’s doing us, it’s an important part of his jobRead the rest

He is making a good-will gesture

Dec 30th, 2016 3:58 pm | By

The Times on Trump’s embrace of Putin:

President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has pledged to reset relations with Russia, may have been tossed a lifeline by President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday. The Russian leader, skilled at keeping several steps ahead of his adversaries, announced that he would not retaliate in kind against the Obama administration for imposing new sanctions and expelling Russian diplomats from the United States.

That clears the way for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin to declare that they are starting anew — just what both men have publicly called for.

Then they report on his fanboy tweet.

For effect, Mr. Trump “pinned” the post to the top of his Twitter feed, ensuring that

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Decline and fall

Dec 30th, 2016 3:50 pm | By

Trump four hours ago:

Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!

Trump one hour ago:

Russians are playing @CNN and @NBCNews for such fools – funny to watch, they don’t have a clue! @FoxNews totally gets it!

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Scowl more

Dec 30th, 2016 3:36 pm | By

The Times got a candid shot of Trump talking to reporters yesterday.

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In otherwise opaque comments

Dec 30th, 2016 3:17 pm | By

The Times has a little video clip of Trump trying to sound grownup and intelligent when he answers a question. He fails miserably, while making exaggerated duck face the entire time. It’s painful to watch.

The Times calls this word salad “remarks” that he made

late Wednesday, when he was asked at his Mar-a-Lago estate about Mr. Obama’s plan to take action against Russia. In otherwise opaque comments, Mr. Trump appeared to concede the need to make computers more secure.

That “otherwise opaque” is good. If you can’t bear to watch the clip:

“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” he said. “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has

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Back into harm’s way

Dec 30th, 2016 11:42 am | By

The Guardian has been investigating the way women are abused in family court in the UK:

Violent and abusive men are being allowed to confront and cross-examine their former partners in secretive court hearings that fail to protect women who are victims of abuse, a Guardian investigation has found.

Mothers involved in family court hearings have given graphic descriptions of the “torture” of being questioned by abusive men – a practice still allowed in civil cases but banned in criminal courts.

They describe how former partners can make repeated, sometimes spurious, court applications to continue the harassment.

In one case, a mother was cross-examined for two hours by her ex-husband despite him being the subject of a restraining order

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