Notes and Comment Blog

We’re a free republic or we’re not

Sep 20th, 2019 5:45 pm | By

The Wall Street Journal on Trump and Ukraine:

President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden ’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent.

“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Giuliani has suggested Mr. Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fight corruption had to do with an investigation of a gas company for which his son was a director. A Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son Hunter Biden.

Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. After the July call between the two presidents, the Ukrainian government said Mr. Trump had congratulated Mr. Zelensky on his recent election and expressed hope that his government would push ahead with investigations and corruption probes that had stymied relations between the two countries.

Mr. Trump on Friday defended his July call with Mr. Zelensky as “totally appropriate” but declined to say whether he had asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Mr. Biden. At the same time, he reiterated his call for an investigation into Mr. Biden’s effort as vice president to oust Ukraine’s prosecutor general. “Somebody ought to look into that,” he told reporters.

In recent months, Mr. Giuliani has mounted an extensive effort to pressure Ukraine to do so. He said he met with an official from the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office in June in Paris, and met with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Mr. Zelensky, in Madrid in August. Mr. Giuliani said in an interview this month that Mr. Yermak assured him the Ukrainian government would “get to the bottom” of the Biden matter.

The August meeting came weeks before the Trump administration began reviewing the status of $250 million in foreign aid to Ukraine, which the administration released earlier this month. Mr. Giuliani said he wasn’t aware of the issue with the funds to Ukraine at the time of the meeting.

Walter Shaub puts it this way:

It’s not complicated. If the executive really did abuse his power to push a foreign government to knock out his political rival before the next election, that’s either too much for you or nothing ever will be. Don’t need a statutory citation. We’re a free republic or we’re not.

It’s the “if the executive really did” part that’s not entirely nailed down.

Cory Booker:

This story is stunning and should be shaking Washington right now—Donald Trump’s moral vandalism disqualifies him from being president. As I’ve said before, it’s time for impeachment proceedings.

Joyce Vance:

Trump didn’t ask Ukraine’s President to work with our government – he asked him to work with Trump’s personal lawyer to investigate the front runner to be Trump’s opponent in the 2020 election.

We’re doing — we’re doing — we’re going to Mars

Sep 20th, 2019 4:57 pm | By

Onward with the Remarks. Time to talk about Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace.

Q    Mr. Trump, can you talk about the exciting new space program to the moon, sir?  And what does that mean for both countries?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  So we’re doing a great program.  We have — Vice President Pence is very much involved.  And we have a tremendous space program.  If you look at our facilities, they were virtually closed up.  There was crabgrass growing on the runways and now they’re vital.

And, you know, we’re doing — we’re doing — we’re going to Mars.  We’re stopping at the moon.  The moon is actually a launching pad.  That’s why we’re stopping at the moon.  I said, “Hey, we’ve done the moon.  That’s not so exciting.”  They said, “No, sir.  It’s a launching pad for Mars.”  So we’ll be doing the Moon.  But we’ll really be doing Mars.  And we’ll be — we’re making tremendous progress.

What they wanted to say, of course, was “No, you dumb fuck, did you not read any of the material? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Then they talk about minerals. Trump helps a lot.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It’s very important to Scott.  We talk about it a lot.  Because that business can get out of control a little bit, from the standpoint of environment.  And you have really approached it in an environmentally-sensitive way.

Coal, as an example: You’re the leader of safety in coal digging.  And we’ve actually studied it because we’re doing a lot of coal.  And you have very — literally, you almost have no — you know, you used to have a thing: black lung disease.  And in Australia, you almost don’t have it anymore.  You’ve got all of the dust down.  And, you know, they’re very — they become wet mines, basically.  But it’s great.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON:  Well, it’s a very technologically-advanced industry in Australia.


PRIME MINISTER MORRISON:  All of that resources industry are — from the robotics that’s involved in the production and all the way through.

But that, critical metals, space — these are the things we’re going to be talking about because Australia has a wonderful partnership with the United States, not just militarily and not just strategically, but also economically.  And that’s going to be a big part of this conversation we have today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And environmentally, I have to say —

Q    (Crosstalk.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And environmentally, the things that they have done, environmentally, with digging.  Digging is a — you know, when you talk minerals, it’s about digging.  And what you’ve been able to do with environ- — with the environment, having to do with taking minerals out of the ground, including — and, you know, I would say even especially — because you’re leading on coal.

I will tell you: I sent a whole crew over, because you’re record is so good in terms of illnesses from digging.  Better than anybody in the world.  So we’re going to catch you on that, okay?

Digging. It’s about digging. I can understand digging.

Also let’s not forget the nuclear.

TRUMP: So, we’ll see what happens.  Look, the United States is in a class by itself.  We have the most powerful military in the world, by far.  There’s nobody close.  As you know, we’ve spent tremendous and hopefully — and we pray to God we never have to use it, but we’ve totally renovated and bought new nuclear.  And the rest of our military is all brand new.

The nuclear now is at a level that’s it’s never been before.  And I can only tell you because I know — I know the problems of nuclear.  I know the damages that — I know what happens.  And I want to tell you: We all hope, and Scott hopes — we all pray that we never have to use nuclear.  But there’s nobody that has anywhere close to what we have.

How about that UN, huh?

Q    What is your message at UNGA next week?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, UNGA is going to be very exciting, and we look forward to it.  We’ll be there.  You’ll be there?

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON:  Yeah, I’ll be later in the week.  Yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  And, for you, it’s a much longer trip.

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON:  It is a bit, yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  But we look forward to it.  We have a big message for UNGA.  We have a big message.  And I very much — I haven’t been back to New York in a long time.

We have a big message and he has absolutely no idea what it is. It’s probably something like:

It will work out, and that’s great, or it won’t work out, and that’s great. It always works out. It will be big. The nuclear will be there, and the moon. They told me, sir, the moon will be there. We’ll see what happens.

There’s a question about Iran and military action, and Trump takes the opportunity to share his biography with everyone.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  The easiest thing for me to do — and maybe it’s even a natural instinct, maybe I have to hold myself back.  I remember during the debates, and when I was running against Hillary and the Democrats and the media — I view them all the same; I view that partnership very much the same.

But when I was running, everybody said, “Oh, he’s going to get into war.  He’s going to get into war.  He’s going to blow everybody up.  He’s going to get into war.”  Well, the easiest thing I can do — in fact, I could do it while you’re here –would say, “Go ahead, fellas.  Go do it.”  And that would be a very bad day for Iran.  That’s the easiest thing I could do.  It’s so easy.

And for all of those that say, “Oh, they should do it.  It shows weakness.  It shows…”  Actually, in my opinion, it shows strength.  Because the easiest thing I could do, “Okay, go ahead.  Knock out 15 different major things in Iran.”  I could do that and — all set to go.  It’s all set to go.  But I’m not looking to do that if I can.

And I think I’ve changed a lot of minds.  People are very surprised that — and many people are extremely happy.  Many people are thrilled.  And many people are saying, “Oh, I wish you’d hit the hell the out of them.”  Well, let’s see what happens.  But it will take place in one minute; I could do it right here in front of you and that would be it.  And then you’d have a nice, big story to report.

And I think it shows far more strength to do it the way we’re doing it.  And again, whether it’s next week or two weeks or three weeks doesn’t make any difference.  Whether it’s now or in three weeks doesn’t make any difference.  But I think the strong person’s approach and the thing that does show strength would be showing a little bit of restraint.  Much easier to do it the other way.  It’s much easier.

And Iran knows if they misbehave, they’re on borrowed time.  They’re not doing well.  I’d like to see them do great.  I’d love to see them do great, but they’re not doing well.  They’re doing very poorly.  They’re doing far worse than they’ve ever done before.  They’re having riots in their streets.  They’re having a lot of problems in Iran right now.  They could solve it very quickly.

But the easiest thing for me to do is say, “Okay, let’s go.  Let’s just do it.”  Very easy for me to do.  But it is interesting, because when I was campaigning, everybody here thought that I was going to be like — it would be one day.  But what I have done is I’ve defeated ISIS, I’ve rebuilt our military to a level that it’s never been before, spent a lot of money.  The budgets are not so hard to fix for me, but when you’re spending one and a half trillion [dollars], so far.  Now, another $738 million — billion — on the military.  But think of it: one and a half trillion dollars.  And we have the greatest in the world.

But I think restraint is a good thing.  I think it’s a good thing.

Well that’s all enormously reassuring. I very much get the sense that he’s fully aware of the weight of responsibility on him and all that could go wrong.

Also he’s punched Afghanistan harder than anybody ever has.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Yeah, well, we were thinking about having a meeting.  I didn’t like the idea that they couldn’t produce a ceasefire.  I wasn’t in favor of that.  I said, “No.  If they can’t produce a ceasefire, then why are we bothering?”  And they thought that it was a sign of strength to kill 12 people, wound others — badly wound some others.  And one of those 12 people was a young man — young soldier from Puerto Rico, from our country.  And when I heard that, I said, “I don’t want to deal with them anymore.”

We have hit — in Afghanistan, we have hit the Taliban harder than they’ve ever been hit in the entire 19 years of war.  They’ve been hit harder.  It’s come back to me through absolutely impeccable sources that they are saying, “Wow.  We made a mistake with this guy.  We made a big…”  They made a mistake.

Because he’s such a tough scary guy. Like Rambo but with goldy hair.

And as for North Korea, he’s done miracles there.

I was totally willing to have a meeting.  I’ll meet with anybody.  I think meetings are good.  I think meetings are good.  There’s no such thing as, “Oh gee, we shouldn’t.”  I really believe meetings are good.  Worst that happens, it doesn’t work out.  That’s okay.  Even then, you get to know your opposition.  Don’t forget, I’m looking at them like they’re looking at me.  You get to know your opposition.  You can see if they’re real.  Sometimes you develop a relationship, like we do, but sometimes you develop — and many times you won’t.  But you get to know your opposition.

I think the best thing that’s happened to this country is the fact that, at least for three years, the fact that I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.  I think that’s a positive.  His country has tremendous potential.  He knows that.  But our country has been playing around for 50 years and getting nothing.  And we have a relationship.  There’s never been a relationship with them.

We’ll see what happens.  It might work out.  It might not work out.  I’m not saying it will, but in the meantime, he hasn’t been testing any nuclear.  You’ve had no nuclear tests since — since — for a long time.  And he has been doing some short-range missiles, but so does every other country — do short short-range missiles.  Every country is doing them.  They’re pretty standard fare.

Whew!! That’s that fixed then! What a relief!

In the end, it always works out

Sep 20th, 2019 4:24 pm | By

The White House transcribed today’s Remarks. Thank you, White House, because I sure didn’t want to listen to all that.

Trump says we’re “dealing with Saudi Arabia.”

So we’re dealing with many nations.  We’re dealing with some of the neighbors to Saudi Arabia.  And of course, we’re dealing with Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia is very much involved, from the standpoint of what we’re doing and what they’re doing.  And we’re working together with others.

We’re also working on the cost of this whole endeavor.  And Saudi Arabia has been very generous.  We want to see if it works out.  And if it works out, that’s great.  And if it doesn’t work out, that’s great.  In the end, it always works out.  That’s the way it is: It always works out.

Look at that. We get dealing, and doing, and working. Then we get it will work or it won’t work and it always does work. This is someone whose mind is almost entirely empty. A toddler can talk more interestingly and cogently than this. It’s shockingly basic. He’ll be grunting and pointing soon.

He grunts about Iran for awhile.

We want to see them do well.  But it looks to me like, with what’s happening, maybe they want to keep going at it.  And when they go at it with us, there’s no way they win — no way they win in any way or in any capacity.

In any way or in any capacity. This is cornered dude who hasn’t done any reading on the subject trying to fill the empty space with synonyms. It fools no one.

(On the other hand Robertson thinks we say “for I”:

PRIME MINISTER MORRISON:  It’s a tremendous honor for Australians for Jenny and I to be here with the President and Mrs. Trump.

And for we to have you.

Then they get to it.

Q    Do you want to address this whistleblower story?


Q    The whistleblower, whether it was (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It’s a ridiculous story.  It’s a partisan whistleblower.  Shouldn’t even have information.  I’ve had conversations with many leaders.  They’re always appropriate.  I think Scott can tell you that.  Always appropriate.  At the highest level, always appropriate.  And anything I do, I fight for this country.  I fight so strongly for this country.  It’s just another political hack job.

Q    Mr. President, on that point, did you discuss Joe Biden, his son, or his family with the leader of Ukraine?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It doesn’t matter what I discuss.

Well in a sense that’s true, but in other senses…it really isn’t, and we really do get to know if you do reckless or corrupt things. We’re not just the furniture around here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It doesn’t matter what I discuss.  But I will say this: Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden’s statement, because it was disgraceful, where he talked about billions of dollars that he’s not giving to a certain country unless a certain prosecutor is taken off the case.

So, somebody ought to look into that.  And you wouldn’t, because he’s a Democrat.  And the Fake News doesn’t look into things like that.  It’s a disgrace.

Joe Biden doesn’t hold office at this time. (I hope he never will, but that’s another subject.)

But I had a great conversation with numerous people.  I don’t even know exactly who you’re talking about, but I had a great conversation with numerous people — numerous leaders.  And I always look for the conversation that’s going to help the United States the most.  That’s very important.

Q    Mr. President, do you know the identity of the whistleblower?  Do you know the identity of the whistleblower?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.  I just hear it’s a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.  But I don’t have any idea. But I can say it was a totally appropriate conversation.  It was actually a beautiful conversation.

He doesn’t know which conversation they’re talking about, but it was a totally appropriate conversation and a beautiful conversation. Whichever one it was. Totally. And he doesn’t have any idea.

Q    Mr. President, on the whistleblower, have you read the complaint?  Have you read the complaint of the —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, I haven’t.  It’s — it’s —

Q    Who in your White House has?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I just tell you, it is — everybody has read it and they laugh at it.  And it’s another —

Q    But you haven’t read it?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It’s another media disaster.  The media has lost so much credibility in this country.  Our media has become the laughingstock of the world.

But he hasn’t even read it. He hasn’t read it. Couldn’t he get someone to read it aloud to him? Very slowly? Over and over?

More to follow.

Le mot du jour

Sep 20th, 2019 12:29 pm | By

Merriam Webster today:

Good morning! Today’s #WordOfTheDay is ‘misprision’



We hear her voice again

Sep 20th, 2019 12:20 pm | By

Gulalai Ismail has escaped Pakistan and is free in New York.

A Pakistani human rights activist who spoke out against the army has fled the country after months in hiding.

Gulalai Ismail is now in the US, having eluded a country-wide hunt and a travel ban imposed by Pakistan’s authorities.

They accuse Ms Ismail of “anti-state activities” and “inciting violence”.

The activist said she was forced to run as she feared for her life, telling AFP news agency: “If I had ended up in prison and tortured for many years, my voice would have been silenced.”

Her father, Muhammad Ismail, told BBC Urdu that Ms Ismail had six cases filed against her in the Pakistani courts. And that she had decided her life was in serious danger.

“Gulalai decided to leave the country at this time because she realised that her life is under threat and she has to leave the country otherwise anything could happen to her,” he said.

Ms Ismail added in a statement: “The last few months have been awful. I have been threatened, harassed, and I am lucky to be alive.”

She reported the beginning of that awful on Facebook, but then she went quiet. I’m so glad she’s out.

For many years, Ms Ismail has been an outspoken critic of human rights abuses, especially against women and girls.

However, it appears she attracted officials’ attention in the last year, particularly after she began to advocate for women alleging they had been victims of sexual abuse during an army crackdown near the border with Afghanistan.

She herself was alerted to the allegations when a boy came to her to complain about his mother’s treatment at the hands of security services.

“Dozens of women had come to tell us that the incident of sexual harassment was not unique,” she told AFP in Washington this week. “It is systematic. It had been happening for years.”

Pakistan is not one of the better countries to be a woman.

Hey, we’ve already done the moon

Sep 20th, 2019 11:47 am | By

Aaron Rupar watched Trump babbling:

TRUMP: “I defeated the caliphate … I defeated the caliphate, ISIS.” He then threaten to release ISIS fighters at the border of European countries if those countries don’t agree to take them back. “Then they’ll have to capture them again,” he says.

“Our media has become the laughingstock of the world … the media of our country is laughed at all over the world now. You’re a joke.”

“We’re going to Mars. We’re stopping at the moon. The moon is actually a launching pad. That’s why we’re stopping at the moon. I said, ‘hey, we’ve already done the moon. That’s not so exciting.’ They said, ‘no sir, it’s a launching pad for Mars.'”

There’s that “sir” again.

Trump on military strikes against Iran: “It’s all set to go. But I’m not looking to do that … I could do it right here, in front of you. And that will be it. And then you’ll have a nice big story to report. I think it shows far more strength to do it the way we’re doing it.”

Trump claims the Taliban is terrified of him because of how hard he’s hitting them: “It’s come back to me through absolutely impeccable sources that they’re saying, ‘wow, we made a mistake with this guy.'”

The Guardian sums up:

Typically confusing, and contradictory, statements from Trump just now.

Trump referred to the whistleblower controversy a “ridiculous story”.

And then: asked whether Trump discussed Joe Biden in conversations with Ukraine, Trump said: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed”. He added: “Someone ought to look into Joe Biden.”

Trump also said the whistleblower was “partisan”, before telling the White House reporter he did not know who the whistleblower is.

Dunno who whistleblower is, whistleblower is partisan.

Trump doesn’t think about epistemology much, does he.

Trump says he never

Sep 20th, 2019 10:38 am | By

Trump says nah he didn’t.

Who could fail to believe that?

Donald Trump has denied a report alleging he made a promise to a foreign leader, which sparked a whistleblower’s formal complaint.

The complaint is reported to relate to a July phone call with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Washington Post said an intelligence official found the comment “so troubling” they went to the department’s inspector general.

One guess is that it has to do with trying to steal the next presidential election with the help of the military.

Democrats are trying to get the complaint turned over to Congress, with the details still unknown.

However, some reports allege that Mr Trump asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter – who previously served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company – in return for continued US military support.

Totally normal. “Hey, Volodymyr, how’s about you help me sabotage Joe Biden, and in return I’ll send you weapons.”

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson said the complaint consists of a “serious or flagrant problem, abuse or violation of the law” that involves classified information, a letter to lawmakers revealed.

Which Trump and his enforcers are keeping secret. That’s not supposed to be how this works.

Earlier this month, before the whistleblower’s complaint came to light, House Democrats launched an investigation into Mr Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s interactions with Ukraine.

Three Democratic panel heads – Eliot Engel (foreign affairs), Adam Schiff (intelligence) and Elijah Cummings (oversight) – said Mr Trump and Mr Giuliani had attempted “to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the president’s re-election campaign and target a possible political opponent”.

They allege that Mr Trump and Mr Giuliani tried to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden.

Well at least they didn’t try to pressure the Ukrainian government into kidnapping Stormy Daniels.

The meltwater becomes runoff

Sep 19th, 2019 5:13 pm | By

Another scary thing about the Greenland ice shelf:

When the remnants of Europe’s second summertime heat wave migrated over Greenland in late July, more than half of the ice sheet’s surface started melting for the first time since 2012. A study published Wednesday in Nature shows that mega-melts like that one, which are being amplified by climate change, aren’t just causing Greenland to shed billions of tons of ice. They’re causing the remaining ice to become denser.

“Ice slabs”—solid planks of ice that can span hundreds of square miles and grow to be 50 feet thick—are spreading across the porous, air pocket-filled surface of the Greenland ice sheet as it melts and refreezes more often. From 2001 to 2014, the slabs expanded in area by about 25,000 square miles, forming an impermeable barrier the size of West Virginia that prevents meltwater from trickling down through the ice. Instead, the meltwater becomes runoff that flows overland, eventually making its way out to sea.

Most of Greenland isn’t a dense slab of ice, it’s more like a snow cone (to us non-glaciologists that is).

A dusting of fresh snowfall covers a thick layer of old snow, called firn, that’s slowly being compressed into glacier ice but still contains plenty of air pockets. When the top of this snow cone melts in the summer, liquid water percolates down into the firn, which soaks it up like a 100-foot-thick sponge.

As opposed to flinging it all into the ocean and drowning Bangladesh. That’s what we don’t want.

Ice slabs have already caused Greenland’s runoff zone to expand by about 26 percent, according to the new study. So far the additional runoff has only added about a millimeter to global sea levels. Greenland now contributes a little under a millimeter per year to rising sea levels, through a combination of icebergs breaking off glaciers and melt occurring at the surface and base of the ice sheet.

But if Greenland’s surface hardens more, runoff could rise dramatically.

And that would be bad.

Meadowlarks, dark-eyed juncos, horned larks and red-winged blackbirds

Sep 19th, 2019 1:37 pm | By

Say goodbye to the birds.

Over the past half-century, North America has lost more than a quarter of its entire bird population, or around 3 billion birds.

That’s according to a new estimate published in the journal Science by researchers who brought together a variety of information that has been collected on 529 bird species since 1970.

“We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community,” says Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “By our estimates, it’s a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds.”

Rosenberg and his colleagues already knew that a number of bird populations had been decreasing.

“But we also knew that other bird populations were increasing,” he says. “And what we didn’t know is whether there was a net change.” Scientists thought there might simply be a shift in the total bird population toward more generalist birds adapted to living around humans.

But no; overall loss as well as shift.

Common birds with decreasing populations include meadowlarks, dark-eyed juncos, horned larks and red-winged blackbirds, says Rosenberg. Grassland birds have suffered a 53% decrease in their numbers, and more than a third of the shorebird population has been lost.

I think swallows must be another; they used to be abundant here in Seattle and now they’re not.

Oh well. There are lots of chickens now.

Uptown Funk and sapiosexuality

Sep 19th, 2019 12:41 pm | By

In the annals of “stupidest thing I’ve read today” we get Pink News

ah well enough said, isn’t it. We get Pink News.

Prepare to be stunned and amazed and admiring all at once:

In news nobody saw coming today, Mark Ronson has come out as sapiosexual, which describes being attracted to intelligence in a person above all else.

The chart-topping record producer behind hits such as ‘Uptown Funk’ revealed his sexual identity on today’s Good Morning Britain.

Hosts Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway congratulated the disc jockey for being “out and proud”.

I’d say this has got to be parody, but it’s Pink News – I don’t think they know what parody is.

Why would anybody see it coming? Why bother to say nobody saw it coming about some random claim about a random person?

And “has come out as”? Isn’t “coming out” meant to refer to something that is the object of unjustified stigma? To wit, being attracted to people of the same sex as opposed to the other one? Surely it’s not supposed to refer to attraction in general, is it? People don’t “come out as” being attracted to, say, people with short hair.

The UK morning talkshow held a debate on sapiosexuality after French equality minister Marlene Schiappa was mocked for coming out as a sapiosexual last month.

The 44-year-old, freshly single Ronson was, according to Garraway, “very involved in our debate backstage”.

Ronson said: “Yeah I didn’t know that there was a word for it.

“We were all arguing backstage in the dressing room with a couple of your producers. And yes, I feel like I am identifying as sapiosexual.

Shepard replied: “So, you are coming out as sapiosexual.

Ronson recently split from his wife Joséphine de La Baume in 2018.

Not sapio enough? Bit dim? Thick as a plank?

Mind you, Ronson doesn’t sound all that sapio himself.

What is sapiosexuality?

It’s not about what’s in their pants, it’s about what’s going on in their brain.

The term ‘sapiosexual‘ is relatively new. A LiveJournal user named Wolfieboy claims to have invented the word in 1998.

And 21 years later Pink News has decided we have to take it seriously?

I’m attracted to people who don’t talk this kind of unmitigated shite.

The Justice Department misinterpreted the law

Sep 19th, 2019 11:30 am | By

The Department of Justice, which is supposed to work for the country not for Trump, is helping Trump keep the whistleblower report secret, according to Adam Schiff.

The U.S. Department of Justice played a key role in a Trump administration decision to withhold a whistleblower complaint from Congress, U.S. House Intelligence panel chairman Adam Schiff said on Thursday, adding that lawmakers did not know yet if the White House was involved.

Do we trust William Barr to be doing anything other than protecting Trump? No we do not. Whose fault is that? William Barr’s. He might be doing something disinterested and reasonable right now, but he’s given us way too many reasons to think he’s not. By placing himself so firmly up Trump’s backside he gave away his credibility. That’s not our fault, it’s his.

Schiff, speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting with the intelligence community’s inspector general, said that the Justice Department had misinterpreted the law in blocking the complaint.

An honest mistake?

Cue hollow laughter

They don’t have to work

Sep 19th, 2019 10:52 am | By

Trump says working for him is a gloriously easy job, because he’s a dictator.

“It’s very easy, actually, to work with me. You know why it’s easy? Because I make all the decisions. They don’t have to work,” Trump told reporters last Friday as he explained why being his national security adviser, in his mind, is now a low-key post. Trump fired his third such adviser, John Bolton, last week, and he named a new national security adviser on Wednesday morning by tweet.

No worries! President Pinhead makes all the decisions, from out of his very own rotting brain, so his people can just kick back and watch ESPN all day.

To outsiders, it’s felt like watching an increasingly unbound, or unleashed version of the Trump presidency.

But to many Trump allies, aides, and longtime observers, the president is showing the world the way he’s always operated.

Yes but the way he’s always operated in the past was as a rich but small-time real estate hustler. Now he can do damage on a global scale, all by him tiny greedy piggy self.

There is little policy process left as the White House faces consequential decisions on Iran, North Korea, China, trade and the economy, even as the president intends to use the last-named as a major selling point for his reelection bid.

“You can’t just turn the economy on and off. These are big, slow-moving machines. And he’s operating under this major fallacy that he can keep telling the market things, and they will keep believing him on China or whatever else,” said one adviser close to the White House. “And that he can just all of a sudden turn things around with a China deal or whatever it is and it doesn’t work that way.”

Quite so. He operates under a lot of major fallacies of that kind – the kind that tells him he has magic powers. It’s a bad combination: a deeply stupid man who thinks he has magic abilities and has access to vast powers.

The crooks are guarding all the doors

Sep 19th, 2019 10:27 am | By

Oh, I see, it’s yet another heads we win tails you lose situation. The Intel IG is saying he can’t share the whistleblower’s report with Congress because he’s not authorized to…by the Trump-appointed DNI. On Sunday Adam Schiff was saying there is no one above the Intel IG, but apparently they’ve found a way around that.

The inspector general for the intelligence community, who is currently meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, has so far been unwilling to share details of the controversial whistleblower complaint, according to multiple sources.

Michael Atkinson has been telling the committee that he is not allowed to provide details of the substance of the complaint because he was not authorized to do so, the sources said. He is discussing the process for his handling whistleblower concerns.

Some context: The inspector general does not have the authority to discuss the details of the complaint with Congress because the director of National Intelligence has not shared the actual report with the committee and has apparently not otherwise authorized Atkinson to share those details.

The intelligence whistleblower act does not allow for details to be provided until the actual complaint has been given to Congress, CNN legal contributor Steve Vladeck explained.

But the director of National Intelligence is refusing to share the actual report with the committee, in defiance of a subpoena, which according to Schiff he has no authority to do.

All these rules work only if the people subject to them are not crooked as the Lombard Street stairs. The DNI is not a normal DNI, he’s a creature of Trump, and he’s stonewalling Congress because he’s a creature of Trump.

Secrets and lies

Sep 19th, 2019 9:42 am | By

Meanwhile on the lower floors of Trump Is a Criminal Tower, he’s suing in New York to keep his tax returns hidden.

President Donald Trump asked a federal judge Thursday to block an effort by New York prosecutors to obtain his tax returns.

Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York against the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed the president’s accounting firm for eight years of Trump’s state and federal returns.

The lawsuit opens a new legal front in Trump’s long-running fight to prevent his tax returns from becoming public and comes as his campaign is fighting a separate effort in California. A new law in the Democratic-led state says presidential candidates must release five years of tax returns to appear on the state’s March 2020 primary ballot. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have sued, and a hearing is set Thursday in federal court in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Democratic-led congressional committees are trying to obtain his tax returns and other records that could provide a window into his finances. Trump and three of his children filed a lawsuit in April seeking to block two House committees from getting records that his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, has said includes tax returns. And in July, the president sued to block the application of a new state law in New York that could allow a House committee to obtain his state tax returns.

Making tax returns public has been a voluntary move until now, but Trump’s adamant refusal to do what presidential candidates (and presidents) have been doing since Watergate kind of hints at dirty secrets.

The INF Treaty

Sep 19th, 2019 8:53 am | By

So about this “oh oops Trump made a promise to Putin and that’s what the whistleblower blew the whistle on” story – a Twitter thread on the timeline:

7/28: Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence—one of the few grown-ups left in the Trump universe—announces he is resigning soon.

7/31: As wildfires rage in CA, Trump calls Putin to, we’re told, offer help with the wildfires in Russia.

8/2: For no apparent reason, the US pulls out of INF Treaty, because what could be better than allowing Putin to use intermediate-range nuclear missiles?

8/6: Jon Huntsman, the US ambassador to Russia and not an obvious Trump loyalist, resigns.

Oh. Yikes.

8/8: Coats advises Sue Gordon, who would replace him as DNI, to follow him out the door.

8/12: The #Whistleblower complaint is filed.

8/15: Coats steps down as DNI. Sue Gordon also resigns.

8/16: Joseph MAGAuire takes over as Acting Director of National Intelligence, attempts to hold on to the hot-potato whistleblower complaint, in brazen defiance of the law that he turn over report to Schiff/House Intelligence.

Oh jeez.

It all sounds so Hollywood…but then this is Trump, so why wouldn’t it sound Hollywood? What else does he know?

8/25: At the G7 in Biarritz, Trump insists that Russia be allowed to re-join. In private, his defense of Putin is more vociferous than his public statements, reports say. 9/9: News breaks about the CIA being forced to exfiltrate a Moscow mole in 2017.

Trump insists to no avail…but still. (And, no avail so far.)

To sum up………………..oh jeez.

Rules are rules

Sep 18th, 2019 4:42 pm | By

It’s like this.

The rules are:

1. People are whatever gender they say they are

2. Cis people are comfortable with their assigned gender

3. Cis people may not reject the word “cis” as describing them

4. Only genuine trans people can be trans, and only genuine non-binary people can be non-binary

5. Cis people who say they are non-binary are wrong

The question is how it’s possible to reconcile 1 with 5, or 5 with 1.

Not actually glad to help

Sep 18th, 2019 4:16 pm | By

Owen Jones a few days ago:

Massive kudos to @samsmith, who by coming out will help other non-binary people who have to confront the ignorance and bigotry of others.

The people who get angry at *pronouns* are exactly the same who call the left always offended/”triggered” snowflakes.

Janice Turner replied today:

Everyone is non-binary, Owen. I’m non-binary. Every feminist is non-binary, because we don’t adhere to sexist gender stereotypes. So are you going to congratulate us too?


No you’re not, glad to help!

Now just a god damn minute. If the rule is that people are what they say they are, where does he get off replying that way?

Furthermore, how does he think he knows that? What is it that he thinks he knows?

Also – does he know anything about feminism over the past half-century?

It’s almost as if they don’t even mean it about “non-binary,” they just mean “us and our friends, who are cooler than you.”

(Also, for full disclosure, his flippant sexist dismissal of a woman older and wiser and more thoughtful than he is makes me angry.)

His mark X

Sep 18th, 2019 4:03 pm | By

Trump is “autographing” The Wall.

With a Sharpie.

Jim Acosta:

Down at border, Trump just signed section of wall (fence) with sharpie. This, after an official minutes ago rejected the idea that the wall is a “vanity project.”



The prestige of the city

Sep 18th, 2019 12:10 pm | By

Apparently some people made the mistake of thinking that when Trump made noises about homeless people he was actually worrying about the homeless people. Pause for raucous mirth. Come on now – we all know better than that.

Maybe he‘d even realized that his own actions, like making immigrants fearful of accessing federal assistance or aiming to slash health care for low-income Americans or pushing for cuts to public housing, had contributed to the problem.

Stop, stop, it’s too much.

Curious to know more, reporters asked the president about his sudden interest in addressing homelessness on Tuesday in California, where he told them that…yeah, he just doesn‘t like the sight of homeless people or what they’re doing to the values of real estate properties—especially those owned by foreign investors.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump said aboard Air Force One, adding that the homelessness crisis is causing residents of those cities to leave the country. “They can’t believe what’s happening. We have people living in our…best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings…where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” he said, probably internally shuddering at the idea of homeless people crowding the entrance of Trump Tower. “In many cases they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave. And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up.”

Look. These are rich cities full of rich people and they’re not supposed to have to look at disgusting poor people. Their cleaners and gardeners are supposed to do their work out of sight of the rich people, and the peons who live in the city are supposed to live their nasty little lives out of sight. What good is it being rich if you have to look at dirty nasty poor people all day?

No obligation to be honest with the media

Sep 18th, 2019 11:41 am | By

Aaron Rupar on Corey Lewandowski’s in-your-face confirmation that he lied to the news media:

Lewandowski, dripping with disdain, all but admits he lied during media interviews, prompting the audience to gasp at his brazenness. Hard to believe this guy is considering a run for US Senate.

Russell Berman at the Atlantic tells the story:

If anyone really got to Lewandowski, it was Barry Berke, the attorney Democrats hired to consult on their investigation and the staff member they designated to question the witness after all the lawmakers were done. Republicans had objected to staff members having the opportunity to question Lewandowski, and judging by Berke’s effectiveness, it was clear why they would be concerned. Berke caught Lewandowski in a lie when he played a clip of the former campaign manager saying on MSNBC that he did not recall the president asking him to get involved with Sessions or the Department of Justice. “I have no obligation to be honest with the media, because they are just as dishonest as anybody else,” Lewandowski replied, drawing gasps in the hearing room.

Trump tells Lewandowski to tell Sessions to obstruct justice, and Lewandowski tells MSNBC host Ari Melber that he has no memory of doing that, and then tells a Congressional hearing that he “no obligation to be honest with the media.”

The shamelessness is record-breaking.

House Judiciary Dems tweets:

Lewandowski admitted that he lied to the media and the American people. Here it is in his own words.

There’s an interesting bit where he says he tells the truth when he’s under oath, with a “come at me bro” air, as if that answer obviously met all requirements.