Notes and Comment Blog


A VERY serious national security problem

Oct 23rd, 2019 4:12 pm | By

Mieke Eoyang, who is an expert in the field, explains why the whole barging into a SCIF stunt is not cute.

A few words on why Gaetz stunt to storm the SCIF to disrupt Laura Cooper’s deposition is a VERY serious national security problem.

Note, I worked in that SCIF for HPSCI and handled cybersecurity issues while there.

Aside from disrupting the testimony of a DoD official shedding light on the President’s attempts to extort a sham investigation into the child of his most feared political rival by withholding military aid that Congress gave to resist a Russian invasion…Storming the SCIF without respecting the security protocols that require people to leave their electronic devices *outside* the space, is actually compromising our national security.

First, the SCIF itself is a secure facility designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping so members of Congress can receive highly classified information about how the nation collects information on its adversaries, and on *very* sensitive intelligence operations.

Foreign adversaries are constantly trying to figure out what goes on inside those rooms to figure out what the US knows about them, to out US high-level sources in their governments, to know what the US government knows and use it against us.

The facilities are carefully designed and controlled to ensure that electronic signals, surveillance methods, or other listening devices do not compromise the information discussed in these rooms. I will not, for obvious reasons, go into details.

Bringing electronic devices into a SCIF, and this SCIF in particular is *very* problematic, especially when done by members of Congress.

Because Members of Congress (and their electronic devices) are high-value targets for compromise by foreign intelligence services.

Members of Congress have access to a wide range of sensitive information, including, in the case of these members, conversations with the President of the United States. They travel internationally, receive emails from the public, and meet with foreign dignitaries.

As politicians, they’re also highly sensitive to revelations of derogatory information, which means that foreign adversaries are very interested in collecting same.

They also tend to be lax in their security protocols. This means they may not know they have been compromised. For example, their phones can be turned into listening devices without their knowledge.

This is why outside HPSCI there is a security guard and a series of cabinets for people to leave (and lock) their electronic devices while they are inside the room.

Failure to follow this protocol can violate the security of the entire SCIF.
After an incident like this happens, countermeasures have to be taken to ensure the SCIF is not compromised. It is a time-consuming, technical process, which again, I will not discuss.
But in “storming the SCIF” without observing the security protocols, Rep. Gaetz et al, endangered our national security & demonstrated they care more about a political stunt than protecting intelligence information.

I cannot emphasize enough how serious this is.

To ensure that the information was secure, the members should give over their electronic devices for scanning to ensure no malware was on them, and that they have not compromised the SCIF.

If they don’t want to give them up, they should have checked them before entering.
So, to recap:

To disrupt testimony from a DOD official on how the President endangered national security for both the US and Ukraine by withholding military aid, the President’s allies further endangered national security by storming the SCIF with their electronic devices.

Good to know.

Disconcerting.

H/t What a Maroon and Screechy Monkey



A split

Oct 23rd, 2019 3:29 pm | By

In more hopeful news – The Telegraph reports Stonewall have split over the trans-mania issue.

Europe’s biggest LGBT rights organisation has split after being accused of promoting a ‘trans agenda’ at the expense of gay and lesbian rights.

Stonewall is known for campaigning for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Britain. The charity’s mission statement says that it aims ‘to create inclusive and accepting cultures’.

However, following a meeting on Tuesday night – and amid an ongoing row about trans inclusion – the charity has divided and forged a splinter group.

Announcing themselves as the LGB Alliance, the group, formed of ‘influential lesbians, gay men and bisexuals’ met in central London last night and forged the new organisation in a bid to ‘counteract the confusion between sex and gender which is now widespread in the public sector and elsewhere’.

Simon Fanshawe, who co-founded Stonewall in 1989, was among those speaking at the event last night in central London.

In a press release announcing the new group, which will be formally launched in January, the LGB Alliance said that its participants included former employees and supporters of the lobby group Stonewall, as well as doctors, psychiatrists, academics and lawyers with expertise in child safeguarding.

It added that all members had agreed a foundation statement which prioritised biological sex over gender theories which they regard as ‘pseudo-scientific and dangerous’.

Yesssss.

Bev Jackson, a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front, said: ‘LGB people like us have been writing to Stonewall for over a year – trying to set up a dialogue with them. It’s about the fact that they have chosen to prioritise trans people and have almost abandoned their original mission: protecting people who are same-sex attracted.

‘Sadly, we do still need protection. Young lesbians in particular are suffering; experiencing huge social pressure to transition to male if they do not conform to traditional gender stereotypes.’

They organized a petition asking for a dialogue, signed by nearly 1o thousand people, but Stonewall looked fixedly in the other direction.

The members of the new Alliance agreed, as part of a 20-point position statement, that:homosexuality is same-sex (not same-gender) attraction; lesbians are biological women who are attracted to other biological women; sex is not ‘assigned’ at birth but observed and it is not transphobic for lesbians to have their own spaces and institutions which exclude male-bodied people.

Just as it’s not transphobic for women to have their own spaces and institutions which exclude male-bodied people.

Paul Twocock, Chief Executive, Stonewall said: ‘There is no truth to reports of Stonewall ‘splitting’, so please ignore the alarmist headlines. These stories don’t refer to any current Stonewall staff or trustees. There is no equality for lesbian, gay and bi people without equality for trans people. We’re all united in our mission to achieving acceptance without exception for all LGBT people.’

Sad about the name, but leaving that aside (stop sniggering you there in the back) – why is there no equality for lesbian, gay and bi people without equality for trans people? Equality meaning what, exactly? If it means “acceptance” then what does that mean?

We know what it means with respect to LGB people: that love and attraction to people of one’s own sex is not oooky or sinister and not a reason to persecute or shun people. But in the case of trans people it’s no longer enough to say not oooky or sinister and not a reason to persecute or shun, now the imperative is to say everyone is required to believe trans people’s claims to be the other sex, in all cases, no matter what, no matter how obviously opportunistic and cynical. That’s a different kind of thing. It’s more intrusive, more demanding, more inquisitorial, much more apt to get up in your face and start demanding what you really believe. It’s different. It’s different, and worse.

And that’s not “equality.” Equality doesn’t mean accepting all of people’s claims about themselves. If it did, people could for instance just claim to be not misogynist or racist, and that would be the end of it. Would that lead to equality for women and people of color? Like hell it would.



PS it’s not our thumbs, it’s their thumbs

Oct 23rd, 2019 2:55 pm | By

Whoopsie, it seems the brave rebels who stormed their own Congress have realized they’re getting themselves in trouble. Caroline Orr @RVAWonk:

They’re all realizing that live-tweeting from inside SCIF is a huge security breach and now they’re trying to tweet their way out of it.

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It’s staff tweeting! We’re not tweeting!

Oh look, another one:

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I’m not quite sure it becomes not a security breach if they send it to staff who then send it to the world. I kind of think it’s the whole sending it thing that’s the breach. Could be wrong.



Lower

Oct 23rd, 2019 12:19 pm | By
Lower

Meanwhile Trump is busy winning hearts and minds by calling critics in the Republican party “human scum.”

The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!

Naturally I learned this because “human scum” is trending on Twitter. Of course it is.

Also – he pinned the tweet!

Capture

He’s frantically RTing Ever Trumpers staging their coup.

Like Rep. Jody Hice (Georgia):

Stepping out of Schiff’s dungeon for a quick update. Members and the thousands of constituents they represent have a right to know what’s going on in this “impeachment inquiry.” Schiff’s efforts to hide this process from the American people will not stand. #StopTheSchiffShow

But her emails.



Peeved?

Oct 23rd, 2019 11:57 am | By

God, these people.

Representative Mark Walker (North Carolina):

UPDATE: We are in the SCIF and every GOP Member is quietly listening. Meanwhile, Adam Schiff, clearly peeved that he will no longer be able to hide his impeachment sham, is threatening Ethics punishment for all of us. His fake intimidation can’t hide his lies–Open the process!

His profile:

US Congressman. @housegop Vice Chair. Ranking Member on Subcommittee for Intelligence and Counterterrorism. Former Pastor

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Florida) advertising his upcoming show this morning:

COMING UP: Rep. Matt Gaetz will lead a delegation of Republican members of Congress to the House Intelligence Committee deposition, where they will demand increased transparency and inclusion in the impeachment process from House Democrats. WATCH LIVE: https://facebook.com/CongressmanMattGaetz

And his show in progress:

I’m gathered here with dozens of my congressional colleagues underground in the basement of the Capitol. If behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election, we want to know what’s going on. #StopTheSchiffShow

“Stop the Schiff Show” is cute because you know you’re meant to think Shit Show haha so funny just like Trump calling him Adam Shit haha that’s where we are now.

Again, this is Republicans, the lawnorder party, breaking every rule in the book to try to protect the criminal treacherous lying president from lawful investigation by colleagues in Congress. That’s what this is.



The boys gather

Oct 23rd, 2019 11:19 am | By

Soraya Chemaly has the best comment on the whole thing.

Keeper for the American Patriarchy Photo Collection

Matt Gaetz says he’s about to lead this phalanx of House Republicans into the SCIF to check out what’s going on with the whole impeachment thing

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They ordered pizza

Oct 23rd, 2019 11:12 am | By

Republicans: Law and order! National security! America First!

Also Republicans: Storm the classified hearing, cell phones in hand!

House Republicans took their impeachment grievances to a more confrontational level on Wednesday, barging in to a secure facility during a closed-door witness deposition and refusing to leave until Democrats held open hearings.

The gambit—cooked up by the pro-Trump brawler Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and endorsed by House GOP leadership—derailed the closed-door deposition of Laura Cooper, a Pentagon official with jurisdiction over Ukraine policy, before it even started. And it left Democrats indignant that their colleagues had violated long standing rules about interviewing witnesses in classified settings.

Long standing rules long standing shmules, this is a fight. You don’t bring rules to a fight.

Cell phones, for example, are not allowed in Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (also known as SCIFs). But the Republican members who barged into those facilities had taken their phones with them inside the room. Lawmakers and aides said that, as of noon on Wednesday, the SCIF was being swept for electronic surveillance devices because the Republicans brought in their phones, delaying the start of Cooper’s deposition. Democrats were also contemplating whether to bring in the U.S. Capitol Police in order to drag out the protesting members.

Welp, if you elect hoodlums to Congress, this is what you end up with. Never mind Mister Deeds Smith Goes to Washington, it’s Matt the Knife and Devin the Killer Go to Washington.

In a scheme that drew parallels to the infamous Brooks Brother riots that upended the 2000 Florida recount, Gaetz led about 25 House Republican lawmakers into the secure basement SCIF, where bipartisan members of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry—and only members of those three committees—are allowed to go during the impeachment investigation.

According to Democratic lawmakers in the room, the Republicans blew past police officers to enter the room and began shouting once they got there, loudly denouncing the process and impeachment in general.

Which is to say they staged a coup. No biggy, just another Wednesday.

Close to two hours after they first went in, a core group of Republicans remained there, according to a tweet from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). The number two House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), was with them. Three hours into the standoff, the Republican crew remained—and they had ordered pizza from We The Pizza, a Capital Hill joint.

What do they want? Poor people are already poor; do they want to make them even poorer? Enslaved maybe? Do they want even more people of color in prison? To take away all health insurance from people who aren’t millionaires? Women forcibly impregnated throughout their childbearing years? Women literally chained to the stove? Fox News on every channel? Nuclear war? Global warming to happen even faster? What? 

House Republicans have held—and even supported—the use of closed door hearings for past congressional investigations, including the select committee that they spearheaded to investigate the 2011 consulate attack in Benghazi. That larger inconsistency and the timing on Wednesday’s gambit struck some Democrats as telling about the direction that the impeachment proceeding is heading.

“When you don’t have the law or the facts you attack and disrupt the process,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). “And you may wonder why is it happening now? Because Bill Taylor gave a devastating opening statement yesterday. They’re freaked out. They’re trying to stop this investigation.”

So what they want is to protect the most flagrant criminal who has ever befouled the presidency and the country.

What a glorious cause.



Taylor kept proof in the form of a paper trail

Oct 23rd, 2019 10:41 am | By

Heather Cox Richardson underlines some things, starting with Bill Taylor’s public statement to the impeachment inquiry:

He confirmed that while the official American policy was to encourage democracy in Ukraine to help it fight off Russia, the Trump administration had a shadow foreign policy team, headed by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani, and including special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Trump did not want “to provide any assistance at all” to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. The president personally withheld money that Congress had appropriated for that struggle until Ukraine leaders promised to state publicly that they were opening an investigation into the company for which Joe Biden’s son Hunter worked.

This information devastates Trump’s position that there was “no quid pro quo,” (although, again, asking was itself a crime)… and Taylor kept proof in the form of a paper trail. This. Is. Huge. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tried to push back by calling leaks from Taylor’s testimony “triple hearsay” and said “this is a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution,” but Taylor’s statement was explosive even without hearing what he said behind closed doors.

Note, though, what Taylor said Trump wanted in exchange for the release of military aid. He didn’t demand actual dirt on Hunter Biden (again, there is no evidence that Biden did anything illegal), but rather he wanted a public declaration that Ukraine was investigating the company for which Biden worked. The information that Ukraine was investigating the company, dumped into the media, would swamp Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy.

This is important. Trump understood that the idea that Ukraine was investigating corruption was the story, not that actual corruption existed. This is precisely what happened in 2016 with the story of Clinton’s emails, which continually dominated the 2016 election coverage, and which we now know was a complete non-story. Trump wanted to skew the public narrative before the 2020 election, and he pressured a foreign government to help him do that.

His primitive little ferret brain is good at some things, and this is one of them – knowing what kind of rotting meat draws media coverage.

And on the same day, Mitch McConnell again killed a Senate effort to guard our elections.

The other big news today was that the Senate once again refused to pass measures to secure the 2020 elections. One bill they rejected was co-sponsored by Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and required on-line platforms to make “all reasonable efforts” to ensure foreign entities do not buy political advertising. It also would make buyers of the ads public. The other bill they rejected provided $1 billion to secure the 2020 election and require paper ballots for backup in case electronic voting machines produced unexpected results.

We must have rigged elections! It’s imperative! It’s the American way!

H/t What a Maroon



Behold, the quid pro quo

Oct 22nd, 2019 4:27 pm | By

Word is that Taylor’s statement and testimony are very damaging to Dirty Donnie. The Guardian has some summaries:

In the 15-page statement, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine and longtime civil servant describes how he became “increasingly concerned” that the US-Ukraine relationship was being “fundamentally undermined” by withholding military aid for “domestic political reasons.”

Taylor added that he stood by his Sept. 9 text message to Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, in which he said it would be “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

He also said he was worried about taking the job as acting ambassador to Ukraine because Giuliani was gumming up the works.

The longtime diplomat said: “I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani, who made several high-profile statements about Ukraine and U.S. policy toward the country.

“So during my meeting with Secretary [Mike] Pompeo on May 28, I made clear to him and the others present that if U.S. policy toward Ukraine changed, he would not want me posted there and I could not stay.”

After accepting the role, Taylor said he realized that Giuliani – along with Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland and Rick Perry – controlled “an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making with respect to Ukraine.”

Taylor said: “Although this irregular channel was well-connected in Washington, it operated mostly outside of official State Department channels.”

Which is a polite way of saying they had no business doing what they were doing.

He also said

he was told by an official at the National Security Council that Trump had insisted the Ukrainian president himself publicly announce a probe into Joe Biden and his son.

The acting US ambassador to Ukraine said: “President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself.”

However, Taylor said that Trump had told Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, he was not seeking a “quid pro quo,” even as military aid to Ukraine hung in the balance.

At the risk of stating the obvious: if Trump demanded that the Ukrainian president make public announcements of investigations into Democrats before he would authorize the release of military aid, then his actions were the very definition of a quid pro quo.

Well. Trump is like a toddler: he thinks he can just say “No I didn’t” and it will all go away. He’s a liar and he’s stupid and he consults only his own wants.

Taylor also said:

“Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations – in fact, Ambassador Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

“He said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”

Meaning…Trump wanted to force Zelensky to make this public statement so that he would be trapped and have to do the dirty things Trump wanted him to do. It doesn’t get much more gangster than that.



Meet Gender Snowperson

Oct 22nd, 2019 3:40 pm | By

A tweet from Teacher2Teacher, an account where teachers apparently share ideas and advice and the like:

⛄️ Using this “gender snowperson,” Ss learn about identity and language! (📸 via educator
@LexingtonDEI) #EdEquity #ChampForKids #SchoolCulture

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From the graphic style it appears to be aimed at very young children. Is it really teaching?

Do very young children really need to be taught about “gender expression”? I’m not sure I think anyone does, but the older the children the more able they are to question what they’re told by teachers. Do they need to be taught about “gender identity”? Are they taught what “identity” is first, and then how that can be made to fit with “gender”? I don’t think it can, myself, but very young children tend to believe what adults in authority tell them.

Should very young children be taught that they can be girl, boy, both, or neither?

Should very young children be taught any of this crap?

I don’t think so.

I guess the star represents the genitals? Or is it meant to be a yellow star? And is that a skirt or a random rectangle? Is it supposed to balance the sideways baseball cap? “Look, you can be both – cap and skirt! Heart and yellow star! It’s all so exciting!”



YOU become responsible

Oct 22nd, 2019 11:52 am | By

McKinnon shared this extraordinary tweet last night:

Missgendering is a HUGE trigger for suicidal ideation. Every time u MISGENDER a trans person YOU become responsible for their suicide attempts. If u have ever misgendered someone and as a result they committed, then YOU are to blame for said person losing their life. #transrights

Seriously? Is that true even if the “misgendered” person is not present when you “misgender” zem? And how does anyone know the person who “committed” did it because YOU “misgendered” zem?

If both of those claims are true then talking to or about people at all becomes a terrible hazard. Maybe we’d better all just stop doing it?

Don’t forget, McKinnon is an academic, whose field is philosophy. McKinnon teaches philosophy to students, and also retweets (to endorse, one must assume) the nonsensical dreck above.

Image result for uncle sam needs you



Trump says it’s a lynching

Oct 22nd, 2019 11:04 am | By

Trump claims he’s being lynched – yes, lynched.

So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!

But it’s not a lynching. It’s not a witch hunt, and it’s not a lynching. Trump is not a woman, and he is not a black man. He is not being burned alive, and he is not being hanged.

Even Republicans don’t like the “lynching” claim…except for Lindsey Graham.

President Donald Trump’s shocking comparison of the ongoing impeachment inquiry against him to a “lynching” provoked widespread condemnation from congressional members of both parties on Monday—with the notable exception of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who told reporters on Capitol Hill that the investigation into Trump is “a lynching in every sense.”

In every sense? So, including the literal one? Because…come on now Senator.

“I think it’s pretty well accurate—this is a shame, this is a joke,” Graham told a gaggle of reporters on Monday morning. “This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of a major misconduct who cannot confront the accusers, call witnesses on their behalf, and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”

Trump’s Monday morning tweet—in which he encouraged Republicans to “remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching”—is the latest escalation in the president’s increasingly hyperbolic reactions to the impeachment inquiry, which he has called a “coup,” a “scam” and, of course, a “witch hunt.”

Later on Monday, Graham doubled down on the comparison, calling the impeachment inquiry “literally a political lynching,” and accusing reporters of holding Republicans to a higher standard than Democrats.

There’s no such thing as “literally a political lynching.” That’s like saying “literally a figurative lynching,” which would be silly.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley defended Trump’s use of the word.

“The president has used many words, all types of language, to talk about the way the media has treated him,” Gidley told reporters outside the White House, adding that Trump “wasn’t trying to compare himself to the horrific history in this country at all.”

Oh really? Then what did he mean by the word? Why use that word if not to compare the impeachment inquiry to being hanged from a tree by a white racist mob?

Graham, a longtime defender of some of the president’s most appalling excesses, represents South Carolina,  a state with a violent history of racial injustice. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal non-profit, an estimated 184 black people were the victims of lynchings in the state between 1877 and 1950. The number of those killed by white mobs in the Jim Crow South without the ability to confront accusers, call witnesses, and be tried by a jury of their peers tops an estimated 4,000 people.

We treat rich white guys much better in this country.



Yaniv lost

Oct 22nd, 2019 10:24 am | By

In better news:

BREAKING: Jessica Yaniv has just been ordered to pay legal costs to the business owners Yaniv harassed at the Human Rights Tribunal. The estheticians do not have to handle Yaniv’s male genitalia now or ever again. Finally. Some good news.

This is HUGE: via @JCCFCanada

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I wish he had to give money to all of them, and a larger sum of it (to pay for their wasted time, just for one thing), but still.



She rises from the sea

Oct 22nd, 2019 10:01 am | By

Dirty Donnie retweeted one Jessica Ditto linking to a National Review piece a couple of hours ago:

“Empowering half the world’s population to flourish in the market economy is the best way to boost growth.”

What the hell is that creepy photo and what possessed them to use it? Why is Princess Ivanka rising from a sea of lesser women, bathed in golden light? Why does she tower over them with a serene madonna smile? Why do they all look roughly similar to her? Why are they all young or youngish? Why are they all white or near-white? Why are they all coiffed and heavily made up? Where are the farmers, workers, cops, teachers? Where are the immigrants, African-Americans, peasants, intellectuals? Why are we being nudged into thinking the Ivanka-type woman is the only woman? Why is it all so Stepford Wives? And why why why are we being treated to this deification of rich thieving crook Ivanka Trump??



We didn’t make it up

Oct 21st, 2019 4:09 pm | By

Here he is saying it (go to 2:20). He says a lot of other stupid shit too.

 



Loot

Oct 21st, 2019 11:42 am | By

McKinnon gloating:

There are no words, just the photo of the cheater’s two stolen medals and his “rainbow” jersey.



While Ivanka nods like a wind-up doll

Oct 21st, 2019 11:26 am | By

A tiny yet significant item – Trump gives the finger to the woman astronaut who had the audacity to correct (in a tactful way) his assertion that she and her colleague were the first women ever to work outside the space station.



Repeating it over and over doesn’t make it true

Oct 21st, 2019 10:51 am | By

The Guardian says Trump told lie after lie after lie in that Cabinet meeting.

Trump bounced from one falsehood to another while speaking to reporters during his cabinet meeting at the White House.

Here are just a few fact-checks from reporters about the president’s 70-minute meeting:

Toluse Olurunnipa:

Trump’s remarks in the Cabinet room are a stream of exaggerations, boasts and falsehoods….

For example, in his remarks about Doral: “Miami International, one of the biggest airports in the world. Some people say it’s the biggest.”

(MIA is not even in the top 20)

That stupid “some people say” thing, as if simple facts like comparative airport size can be decided by “some people saying.”

Yamiche Alcindor:

President Trump on Syria: “We’re having very good news coming out. The ceasefire’s holding.“

Note: U.S. officials have told NBC & CNN that the ceasefire is not holding in Syria.

Peter Baker:

Repeating it over and over doesn’t make it true. Contrary to what Trump says, the whistleblower complaint was factually quite accurate, according to the White House’s own rough transcript.

Lie after lie after lie after lie.



Guest post: Experience with gold furniture and fixtures

Oct 21st, 2019 10:33 am | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on Is Taco Bell available?

I know normally the game is “what if Obama had done this,” but I think in this instance it’s more fun to play “what if Hillary had done something even vaguely approaching this?”

Like, let’s say the G-7 summit host contract was awarded to some resort after a thorough bid process pursuant to applicable government procurement regulations. Then some enterprising right wing news site “uncovers” that President Hillary Clinton’s former college roommate’s cousin’s dentist sits on the board of that resort. Scandal! The right wing erupts in fury and outrage! Fox News runs wall to wall coverage. Every conservative legal analyst soberly opines that this is EXACTLY the sort of situation that the Emoluments Clause was intended to prevent, and because Republicans care so much about the Constitution, they really have no choice but to impeach her. The Washington Post tries to be “balanced” by noting the “controversy,” but the New York Times dives right in, quoting anonymous FBI sources who are reportedly “troubled” by the allegations.

If you think I’m exaggerating, consider this: conservatives are currently trying to invent a scandal out of the fact that the lawyer who represents one of the Ukraine whistleblowers used to (pre-2000) work for the same public interest organization as the man who went on to be Hillary’s campaign manager. Two DC figures crossed paths once? They are “linked,” and obviously conspiring!

At this point, Trump could announce that he’s taking the U.S. government’s gold reserves and using it to make new toilets at every Trump Hotel, and GOP senators would nod and say “yes, that makes perfect sense and is utterly appropriate. Trump Properties have excellent experience with gold furniture and fixtures.”



Holden Caulfield in the Cabinet Room

Oct 21st, 2019 10:17 am | By

Trump is currently busy pissing on the Constitution in public.

Even after reversing his decision to hold the June G7 summit at his Florida resort, Trump is still insisting that the property would have been the best place for the multi-nation event.

Reuters White House reporter tweets:

.@realDonaldTrump says during White House cabinet meeting that the G7 at his Doral resort would have been the greatest G7 ever, Democrats went crazy about that plan even though he would have done it for free. (Trump announced Saturday he would no longer hold the G7 at Doral.)

The Guardian continues:

The president is blaming Democrats for forcing his hand on the issue, but a number of reports have surfaced that Trump only changed his mind after hearing frustration from congressional Republicans about having to defend the decision.

But wait! That’s not the pissing on the Constitution part! That came a few minutes later:

Taking questions from reporters about his canceled plans to hold the June G7 summit at his Florida resort, Trump appeared dismissive of a constitutional clause forbidding federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign states.

The president said, according to the pool report: “You people with this phony Emoluments Clause.”

That’s it! That’s the pissing part. Trump calling a clause of the Constitution he swore a solemn public ceremonial oath to protect and defend, “phony.”