Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Trump greets us all on MLK Day with yet another repetition of his absurd lie that the Dems don't really want a DACA deal and "want to take money away from our military." Clearly he thinks the Dems want DACA so desperately that they will give him everything else he wants on immigration, including money for The Wall (which will never be built)

[Trump] Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal. They talk about DACA, but they don’t want to help. We are ready, willing and able to make a deal but they don’t want to. They don’t want security at the border, they don’t want to stop drugs, they want to take money away from our military which we cannot do. My standard is very simple, AMERICA FIRST & MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-says-daca-probably-dead-scrambles-avoid-blame
Trump is attempting a scam in which he creates a problem, rejects solutions to that problem, and then blames everyone else when the problem goes unresolved. 

Donald Trump blames Democrats for his DACA failures

Trump calls for everyone to celebrate MLK Day “with acts of civic work and community service”

The president, however, is not taking his own advice — according to the White House pool, the president will be spending MLK Day at his Florida golf course. This mark his 94th day at a Trump golf course since becoming president, and the 121st day at a Trump-branded property. Trump has spent one-third of the days since entering office at a Trump-associated property, despite spending years criticizing former president Barack Obama for playing golf while in office and his vow to rarely leave the White House if elected. . . .

More: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/15/politics/mlk-jr-day-donald-trump-schedule/index.html
US presidents have typically observed the holiday publicly, making remarks or attending events honoring the day. . . . The last three presidents have often taken part in service projects to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In 2001, President Bill Clinton joined AmeriCorps members to help repair and paint a senior center in Washington. In 2007, President George W. Bush joined volunteers at a local high school who were sending postcards to victims of Hurricane Katrina. For the last Martin Luther King Jr. Day of his presidency, President Barack Obama helped students at a local elementary school build planters and plant vegetables for an "MLK Garden" at the school. The projects were just some that the three presidents took part in to mark the holiday during their times in office.
Trump has helped foster a mentality in Washington in which some Repubs actively DO NOT WANT to work with Dems. Bipartisanship has become a bad word. We're seeing this now with DACA



Lapdog Republicans attack the source on Trump's shithole/shithouse comment, Senator Dick Durbin: (a) He shouldn't have revealed what Trump said in the meeting; and (b) Trump didn't say it. Got that?
I don't see how Trump formed the reputation of being a great negotiator. He is TERRIBLE at bringing people together. He has no capacity for finding common ground. He has no disposition for compromise. He is the worst combination of stubbornness and a transient focus of attention. And he has the thinnest skin imaginable

Why Trump Killed the Immigration Deal: Because Democrats Made Him Look Bad

“Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa ‘shithole countries,’ denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.” 

A definitive record of Trump's racism


More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/15/1732919/-Donald-Trump-Racist-Republicans-Enablers
Donald Trump: Racist. Republicans: Enablers 

Seth Meyers’ Advice to Trump: Just Stop Saying You’re the ‘Least Racist’ Person 

Trump claims to have the most open and transparent administration in history (stop laughing!) then says firing FBI Director James Comey COULDN'T have been obstruction


One thing we have seen over the past months is an increased willingness for Republicans to carry Trump's water, whatever they might personally think of him. They've made the devil's bargain that supporting him is a means to their agenda, and that opposing him costs them too much with the rabid hard core of his supporters. Does this mean he could fire Mueller and get away with it?


[NB: I'm not sure this is true.]  

Lessons from Watergate. I remember the House impeachment vote. Even after the public hearings, the damning testimony from John Dean and others, THE TAPE RECORDINGS, and clear evidence of Nixon's misconduct, most Repubs on the House Judiciary committee refused to vote for impeachment. Never underestimate the power of partisanship


The vote: http://watergate.info/impeachment/analysis-judiciary-committee-impeachment-votes 

[NB: And they didn't have Fox News screaming in their ears about a "witch hunt," etc.]

Another spy in the Trump orbit?

Kevin Drum thoroughly debunks the latest Fox-inspired conspiracy theory about how the FBI conspired to HELP HILLARY. This is so far from the truth that it makes my head hurt

Eric Trump's charity held fundraising events at Daddy's properties, claiming that the facilities were donated free of charge. Guess what?


Has a two-state solution in the Middle East been made impossible?


What happens if the GOP truly becomes the party of Trump?


Trump is already looking forward to the 2020 race


Grading Trump: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/16/donald-trump-report-card-340624

Trump's pay-off to "Stormy Daniels" isn't just a tale of alleged marital infidelity with a porn star -- there are serious issues about the payments and where the money came from

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/01/trump-was-allegedly-porn-star-while-fat

Fox World is no longer just an alternate reality -- it has become a psychotic fever dream

Joe Arpaio Suggests Hawaii False Missile Alert Was Part Of A Conspiracy Involving Obama’s Birth Certificate

More: https://www.salon.com/2018/01/15/fox-news-proves-that-its-creating-an-alternate-reality/

Trump's "fake news awards" are coming up. We have to pause yet again to recognize how outrageous it is that a president is acting this way toward the press, and acting like a TV producer creating (and MCing) his own "show." Now it turns out that the whole thing may violate ethics rules  . . . but of course he will do it anyway, and get away with it

Bonus item: Our national Child-in-Chief


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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Monday, January 15, 2018


More and more talk about a Democratic wave election in the fall. The postwar average loss is 25 seats for the party in power, which would cost the GOP the House. Expect Trump and his proxies to howl that a Dem win means the end of his agenda and overturning "the will of the people" who elected him; expect the Dems to say it's all about "accountability," without mentioning investigations or impeachment

Lewandowski Warns of Trouble If Democrats Win House 

“When the wave comes, it’s always underestimated in the polls. That is the reason that Republicans are ducking for cover.”  
           — A conservative political strategist, quoted by the Washington Post.

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/01/14/top-house-republicans-see-likely-democratic-takeover/

The next GOP panic: Governors' races 

Very handy

The most vulnerable House members of 2018 

Music for MLK day


Trump is doing everything possible to blame the Dems for the failure of DACA (“DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it”). That's idiotic. I think Trump doesn't want an immigration deal, and never did, and it's all about shifting blame






Republican Jeff Flake, who is actually part of the negotiations, knows better

Democrats negotiating 'in good faith' on Dreamers deal, Flake says 

Rand Paul says that calling Trump a racist hurts the Dreamer negotiations. I think it's just the opposite. Trump's leverage is reduced by his own RACIST comments, and the perception that he has created that he is anti-immigrant, period. I think there is very little doubt who will be blamed if there isn't a final deal. There was a deal: Trump rejected it


Here's why TRUMP needs a DACA deal: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-resumes-daca-renewals-42a332d416b4/
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced Saturday that it would accept renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, following San Francisco’s federal court ruling last week that blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end the program. USCIS said in a statement on its website, “Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.”

"A nation of holers"

Bret Stephens: “I’m not alone. America is a nation of holers. It is an improbable yet wildly successful experiment in the transformation — by means of hope, opportunity and ambition — of holers into doers, makers, thinkers and givers. Are you of Irish descent? Italian? Polish? Scottish? Chinese? Chances are, your ancestors did not get on a boat because life in the old country was placid and prosperous and grandpa owned a bank. With few exceptions, Americans are the dregs of the wine, the chaff of the wheat. If you don’t know this by now, it makes you the wax in the ear.”

[NB: And of course many of these groups were reviled at the time as unworthy of admission into the country  -- often on racial grounds. Here's the point: Trump has taken to repeating "America First" (yes, we've heard that before), along with his mantra "Make America Great Again." But he has no understanding of what "America" is, or what has made it great.] 

Trump again denies the comments, and adds "I'm not a racist. I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you."


Trump is a liar, we all know that. But now he is forcing other Repubs into enabling his lies. Georgia senator David Perdue, who was in the meeting, vigorously denies that Trump said "shithole" -- even though others from both parties who were in the meeting said he did. (This was just a day after Perdue issued a statement saying he didn't recall what Trump said . . . which was a different kind of lie.) 

Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, says that his sources tell him that Trump actually used the word "shithouse" not "shithole," which might make the denial literally accurate -- but at another level of course totally misleading and in bad faith



HE SAID IT: https://politicalwire.com/2018/01/14/trump-bragged-friends-shithole-remark/
Trump Bragged to Friends About ‘Shithole’ Remark 

In a separate matter, Trump fights with the WSJ over another quote that he claims was misrepresented -- and THERE IS a recording. To my ear, the recording supports the WSJ version, but it shows that even a recording doesn't stop the Trump gang's efforts to redefine reality


The importance of context: https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/depends-on-meaning-of-permanent.html
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.” WSJ reporters asked if that meant he talks directly to Kim, which would be a major departure from US policy over the past decade. Trump replied: “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”

I knew this was coming: Hawaii is a blue state, so according to Fox World the fake missile warning was the fault of the Dems


What the Hawaii event shows is that loose talk and tweets from the President threatening nuclear attacks on North Korea create a climate in which the prospect of a sudden attack becomes all too believable for people



Just shows (again) that Trump isn't "draining the swamp," but just replacing HIS swamp for THEIR swamp

Education Department chooses firm with ties to Secretary DeVos in debt-collection deal


Why Republicans Won’t Pass a Budget  

Can Congress pull back from rabid partisanship over the Trump-Russia investigation?


Jeff Flake, retiring senator from Arizona, compares Trump's assault on the free press with Stalin


More: https://thinkprogress.org/flake-trump-repulsive-stalin-capitulates-4bd3a015d184/

Who are the real consumers of "fake news"? I think you know the answer


Against "populism"


‘Shithole’ Projected onto Trump Hotel 

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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Sunday, January 14, 2018


So, a mistaken text warning goes out to the citizens of Hawaii saying "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill." 

It takes more than a half hour to officially tell folks it was a false alarm. 

Here's what I want to know. Trump was on the golf course. Was he told immediately about the warning? If so, what was his first action? It seems that he either wasn't told immediately, or was told and continued to play golf. All the WH will say is that “The president has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise,” which could mean that he was only told about it after the fact. Of course, with hindsight it was all a big mistake -- but in those first few minutes the U.S. could have been under attack. Why wasn't Trump told immediately, or if he was told why didn't he break off his game and go back to deal with it? I don't see any good answer here



Of course, there's this: https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/president-donald-trump-golf-hawaii-false-missile-alarm/2018/01/13/id/837021/
Ex-Obama Official: 'Thank God' Trump Was Playing Golf During False Alarm

Trump still hasn't addressed the crisis, but he did have time to repeat his attacks on Michael Wolff and the mainstream media


Porn star linked with Trump was ready to go public . . . before she got paid off


And Slate had the story BEFORE THE ELECTION: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/01/why-did-slate-protect-trumps-hush-money-secret/

Another accuser with an NDA: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-accuser-jessica-drake-has-an-nda-preventing-her-from-talking-about-donald-trump 

Yes, yes, it's fun to hear about Trump and pillow-chested porn stars -- but the Russia story is still the big deal, and it's not going away


Ahem. Trump is a racist

Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2018

More: https://www.politico.com/video/2018/01/13/trumps-12-most-incendary-comments-on-race-064722

Every single African country demands an apology from Trump. That's 55 countries


The Iran deal isn't just up to the United States, and Trump can't unilaterally change it


More Walmart layoffs to offset their puny "bonuses"


The White House doctor (not Trump's wacky personal physician) says he is in "excellent health." Details forthcoming


The big political question with Trump is, will we see an erosion in his base? So far they seem to be willing to excuse or ignore ANYTHING. But now that might be changing

Amazingly, when you consider his character, the most unassailable part of Trump's support might be right-wing evangelicals. It has to be said that one reason for their persistence is that they are highly susceptible to "alternative facts"

A few members of President Trump’s evangelical advisory council — including its spokesman — on Friday defended the president after he made comments about immigrants from places including Africa and Central America.  In a statement to The Washington Post, [advisory council] spokesman Johnnie Moore questioned whether Trump had actually made the comments and accused Congress of holding up immigration reform. . . . Robert Jeffress, a controversial far-right mega-church leader in Texas who enjoys close White House ties, went quite a bit further, endorsing Trump’s racially inflammatory sentiment. “I support his views 100 percent, even though as a pastor I can’t use that language,” Jeffress told the Post. This isn’t altogether surprising. After Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women on the “Access Hollywood” tape, his most prominent evangelical advisers stood by him. After Trump defended racist activists in Charlottesville last summer, only one member of the White House’s evangelical advisory council resigned, no longer willing to be associated with this president. 

Why drug testing welfare recipients is a waste of time and money


Bonus item: A problem for the international press -- how do you translate "shithole"?
***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Did Trump call black and brown countries "shitholes"? 

[Trump] "The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used." 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) confirmed Friday that President Donald Trump did refer to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers discussing immigration reform Thursday. . . “He used these vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from shitholes,”Durbin told reporters Friday morning. “The exact word used by the President. Not just once, but repeatedly.”  “He said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Durbin continued.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told the Charleston Post and Courier that he talked to fellow Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about hearing President Trump’s “shithole countries” comment and Graham confirmed to him the president said it.

Meanwhile: https://www.vox.com/2018/1/12/16885312/trump-shithole-countries-denial
Two Republican senators who attended yesterday’s meeting in which President Trump reportedly disparaged immigrants from “shithole countries” seem to have come down with a case of amnesia. In a joint statement this afternoon, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) wrote that they “do not recall the President saying those comments specifically” . . .

Even strong Trump supporters are condemning him: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/01/judge-napolitano-trump-shithole-new-low
Napolitano: Trump's 'Shithole' Comments Are 'A New Low'

On Twitter, aside from the stray right-wing conspiracy theorists, the response has been universal disgust — including from staunch Trump supporters like Piers Morgan. "I know @realDonaldTrump doesn’t like apologising but sometimes it’s not just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential. This is one of those times, Mr President. Your comment about immigrants from ‘shithole countries’ was outrageous, disgraceful & racist." 

Here's the thing: after the "shithole" story first came out, the White House wasn't denying he said it -- they were canvassing supporters and PLEASED by the response

Then, soon after Shah's comment, came this from an anonymous White House official to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, "The President's 'shithole' remark is being received much differently inside of the White House than it is outside of it. Though this might enrage Washington, staffers predict the comment will resonate with his base, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem did not alienate it." According to Collins, Trump spent Thursday evening making calls to friends and associated to gauge how they believed the "shithole countries" story was playing. One White House official told Collins that Trump's calls amounted to a "victory lap."

Any immigration deal is going to need Democratic support -- and Trump doesn't seem to understand that he's going to have to give up something to get it. His "shithole" comment just made things a lot harder

Trump rebuffs Dreamers deal reached by senators

More: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/01/trump-rejects-bipartisan-dreamers-deal.html

Trump is wrong about what the bipartisan agreement proposes 

Trump’s ‘shithole’ remarks roil immigration talks

Once again, when his aides are desperately trying to construct an image of normalcy and competence, Trump makes it impossible


Trump, who understands something about branding, hates the use of the more favorable term "Dreamers" to describe DACA kids -- so he tries to bully people into not using it. Or, maybe, he doesn't realize that they're the same thing

TRUMP: [F[irst of all, there’s a big difference between DACA and Dreamers, OK? Dreamers are different. And I want American kids to be Dreamers also, by the way. I want American kids to be Dreamers also. But there’s a big difference between DACA and Dreamers. And a lot of times when I was with certain Democrats they kept using the word dreamer. I said, “Please, use the word DACA.” You know it’s a totally different word 

In his latest tweet flurry, Trump suggests that the Dems are threatening a government shutdown to get what they want on DACA (which is not true). And he says that if that happens it will shut down the military (which is not true)


No more euphemisms: journalists and pundits are now openly calling Trump "racist"

“This is CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.”

Just Say It: Trump Is a Racist

Donald Trump Is a Racist

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele said on MSNBC that President Trump’s “shithole countries” comment is “incontrovertible evidence” that Trump is racist. 

A Racist in the Oval Office

More: https://thinkprogress.org/journalists-finally-call-trump-racist-1aeeb47b43e8/

But not everyone, I guess

New GOP Senate candidate defends Trump’s racism: ‘Let’s not judge the president on what he says’

Or this: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/01/fox-news-host-trumps-shithole-comment
Rachel Campos-Duffy (who's married to Rep. Sean Duffy) claimed that for the good of the country, Democrats shouldn't have exposed Trump's racism. . . . She said, "I don't agree with this term . . . That said, I still have a problem with people in a private meeting going out and saying what the president said." Rachel continued, "It makes our country look bad. I think the Democrats, in this case, should've used some discretion and even if he did say that, maybe for the sake of the country - not repeat it." 

During an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on Friday afternoon, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) dismissed racist remarks by President Trump as “a distraction” and criticized a Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, for informing the public about them in the first place. . . .

[NB: The oldest trick in the book -- try to shift the discussion from the controversy about what he said to try to create a controversy about how we found out about it.]

And, just for the record . . .

Republican pollster Frank Luntz quoted a report and said that 43 percent of immigrants from African countries have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 33 percent of the U.S.  population overall. 43% of immigrants from “shithole” African countries have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 33% of the overall American population. “Nigerian-Americans, for instance, have a median household income well above the American average.” 

With no sense of shame, Trump hosts an event to honor Martin Luther King -- and has to withstand questions of "Are you a racist?" as he bolts from the room


More: https://www.salon.com/2018/01/12/awkward-trump-praises-martin-luther-king-jr-after-his-racist-comments/
None of the African-Americans who Trump gathered to support him for the holiday were willing to answer questions about the president's comments afterward. . . .

Such a nice story

A career intelligence analyst who is an expert in hostage policy stood before President Donald Trump in the Oval Office last fall to brief him on the impending release of a family long held in Pakistan under uncertain circumstances.

It was her first time meeting the president, and when she was done briefing, he had a question for her.

”Where are you from?” the president asked, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange.

New York, she replied.

Trump was unsatisfied and asked again, the officials said. Referring to the president’s hometown, she offered that she, too, was from Manhattan. But that’s not what the president was after.

He wanted to know where “your people” are from, according to the officials, who spoke off the record due to the nature of the internal discussions.

After the analyst revealed that her parents are Korean, Trump turned to an adviser in the room and seemed to suggest her ethnicity should determine her career path, asking why the “pretty Korean lady” isn’t negotiating with North Korea on his administration’s behalf, the officials said. [read on] 

Trump cancels trip to U.K. and lies about why


More: https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-shoddy-excuse-for-calling-off-his-visit-to-the-u-k-020eafacbfb3/
The real reason Trump is cancelling his trip to the U.K.

After repeatedly saying he would never do it, Trump extends the Iran nuclear deal again



Democrats are pushing back against the GOP pushback on Trump-Russia. It's about time


More on those secretive Trump condo deals -- they could involve money laundering


Are we stuck with a disastrous presidency until 2020?


[NB: He might be right, but I continue to believe that one way or another Trump will not finish out his term. The key is to gain at least one half of Congress in 2018.]

Well, I sure can't figure it out

9 takeaways from Trump’s baffling Wall Street Journal interview

It gets worse: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/11/1732007/-Donald-Trump-s-interview-with-the-Wall-Street-Journal-is-absolutely-thoroughly-unbelievably-NUTS

Another racial gerrymander case goes to the Supreme Court


More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/12/16885702/trump-stormy-daniels-payment


There’s one thing that stood out for me, though, about the denials: while the relevant players rejected the idea of a relationship or non-consensual behavior, neither the White House nor Cohen denied or acknowledged the $130,000 payment to the former adult-film star. . . .

[NB: Needless to say, her denials now mean nothing if she was paid off. She told people at the time that it happened.]

More: https://www.thedailybeast.com/porn-star-donald-trump-and-stormy-daniels-invited-me-to-their-hotel-room

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***