Tuesday, February 20, 2018

HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY

Actually, 43 out of 44 since Grover Cleveland counts twice -- but still pretty funny!

https://www.thedailybeast.com/another-presidents-day-without-a-president
MISSING. IN. ACTION. Another President’s Day Without A President . . . [read on]

More: https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/02/donald-trump-is-americas-worst-2nd-worst-or-5th-worst-president/
Donald Trump Is America’s Worst, 2nd Worst, or 5th Worst President

As devastating as the Russia indictments are, it's important to remember that this is just a fraction of the Russian effort to help Trump win. The VP of Facebook says it wasn't them -- but what about Twitter? What about the hacked Wikileaks documents? The indicted Russians were secret agents infiltrated into the US -- but what about the cutouts openly representing the Kremlin, like Kislyak and the folks at the Trump Tower meeting? There might have been some "unwitting" involvement by people who didn't realize they were dealing with Russians, but what about Page, Flynn, Papadopoulos, and several others -- including Donald Jr and Jared -- who were far from "unwitting"? This is just getting started, folks

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/mueller-know-wikileaks/

More: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-kuttner-mueller-russia_us_5a8a3dfde4b004fc31939016
Robert Mueller Has Trump Cornered

Did you notice that Rod Rosenstein hit on each of Trump's favorite talking points in his overview of the Russia indictments? Did you think that was a coincidence? No, neither did I

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/02/19/why-did-rod-rosenstein-repeat-trumps-talking-points-on-russian-indictments/

[NB: Trying to keep your job, Rod? Or were you directed to do so?]

Now that Trump has decided that Russia DID meddle in the election after all, it didn't take him long to realize IT WAS ALL OBAMA'S FAULT

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/19/1742878/-Trump-needs-to-ask-Mitch-McConnell-why-President-Obama-didn-t-do-something-about-Russia-meddling

[NB: Oh, and by the way a little FU to Barack in honor of President's Day. Of course, for anyone who remembers, Obama DID try to do something without making it seem that he was taking sides . . . which Trump would have been the first to howl that he was trying to do. Remember that during this same period Trump was denying that Russia did anything -- which made it harder for Obama to take action without supporting Trump's complaints that the election was "rigged" against him.] 

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/trump-russia-meddling-obama-417106 

Reviewing Trump's weekend Russia lies

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/19/17027906/trump-russia-social-media-indictment-lies
Here are the three biggest whoppers from a very long list.

More: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/white-house-caught-fibbing-about-russian-operatives-indictments

In Fox World: "Trump Vindicated!"

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/19/17027456/fox-news-mueller-indictment-trump

Focus on Kushner

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/muellers-interest-kushner-grows/
“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition,” CNN reports. [read on]

More: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/mueller-investigation-expands-to-jared-kushners-contact-with-foreign-investors.html

Now that firing Rosenstein and Mueller seems to be off the table, we're back to the other obstruction strategy: pardons

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/trump-russia-pardons-mueller-flynn-417094

Trump's foreign policy team have to do their jobs despite the shortcomings of their boss

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/the-burden-of-trumps-national-security-staff/553691/

The kind of people they are

https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1742879
The Trump White House has been faced with one scandal after another from the minute he took office. Last week was a particularly bad one. The adult film star he allegedly had an affair with said her $130,000 hush money agreement was null and void and she was ready to talk. A former Playboy model stepped forward to detail her 9-month-long affair with a recently married Donald Trump in 2006. The White House backed and then backed away from Rob Porter, Trump’s staff secretary who reportedly physically abused both his former wives and inexplicably got hired by the Trump White House, despite an FBI background check finding credible evidence he was abusive and open to blackmail. And then, of course, came the tragedy in Florida, where a former student used an assault weapon to commit mass murder at his former high school. . . . “For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”


Trump wants to hold a "listening session" with survivors from Parkland

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/18/trump-to-hold-listening-session-with-students-teachers-from-florida-shooting/

So listen to this: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/17/survivor-emma-gonzalez-demands-stricter-gun-laws-at-florida-rally/

And this: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/16/mother-of-florida-shooting-victim-accosts-president-trump-on-live-tv/

[NB: It is beautiful to see young people energized and passionate about this issue. This could turn into a movement with long-term consequences.]
  
More: https://www.thedailybeast.com/in-parkland-its-already-clear-the-kids-are-changing-things
In Parkland, It’s Already Clear the Kids Are Changing Things

The slime-dwellers of the right start a smear campaign against these kids

https://thinkprogress.org/the-new-smear-campaign-against-students-who-survived-the-parkland-massacre-b71c1e1d722c/


Trump says he might support a minimalist bill to reform background checks -- which is also favored by the NRA. It's something, but nowhere near what is needed


https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/white-house-trump-supports-gun-background-check

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-background-checks-guns-b7f8d92a1bcb  

More: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/19/why-the-nra-always-wins-217028
Why the NRA Always Wins  

Trump skipped golf on Saturday because his handlers told him it was bad optics so soon after the Parkland shooting. He managed to hold off for two whole days

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/374577-new-york-daily-news-rips-trump-for-golfing-amid-funerals-for-florida-shooting 

In other news . . . 

I thought that the deal was that Trump's boys were going to take over the business to insulate it from any government role. (No, they were never serious about doing that.) So now we know

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-jr-give-foreign-policy-speech-india
Trump Jr. Blurs Line Between Business And Politics In India Trip

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/trump-jr-give-foreign-policy-speech/

And this: https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/trumps-gigantic-conflict-of-interest.html
Trump's gigantic conflict of interest nobody cares about

The Pentagon may have to seek private donations to pay for Trump's Big Military Parade

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/cnn-pentagon-weighing-soliciting-donations-military-parade

[NB: I can see it now -- corporate product placement. Lockheed! Raytheon! Northrop Grumman!] 

More trouble for EPA head Scott Pruitt

https://thinkprogress.org/pruitt-israel-budget-travel-d7b69e4a88f4/

It's an awkward problem for a progressive blog, but there's no question any more that part of the Russian effort to block Clinton and help Trump worked through Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. The Nation magazine has been . .  squishy on the Russia issue, sometimes suggesting that the intelligence agencies that have uncovered Russian interference can't be trusted. I don't want to see the Left taking Russia's side on this issue!

https://www.thenation.com/article/what-weve-learned-in-year-one-of-russiagate/

https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-or-intelgate/

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/02/watch-jill-stein-unravels-when-pushed
WATCH: Jill Stein Unravels When Pushed On Russia Indictments

https://www.thedailybeast.com/soviet-era-spy-claims-labour-leader-jeremy-corbyn-was-paid-communist-informer
Soviet-Era Spy Claims Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn Was Paid Communist Informer

Court orders a non-gerrymandered redistricting map for Pennsylvania. We should do this for all 50 states

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/02/pennsylvania-gets-a-new-map/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/19/pennsylvania-supreme-court-draws-a-much-more-competitive-district-map-to-overturn-republican-gerrymander/

We should never have gone all-digital with voting. You need a paper trail for recounts. Nowadays it seems all the more important

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/state-officials-returning-paper-ballots/
State Officials Are Returning to Paper Ballots 

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/02/house-republicans-just-voted-eliminate
House Republicans Just Voted To Eliminate The Agency That Makes Sure Voting Machines Can’t Be Hacked 

Trump got a little bump in the polls after the tax cut -- but of course it didn't last, now that he is reverting back to norm

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/trumps-approval-falling/

Mainlining the hard stuff

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/19/fox-news-plans-streaming-service-superfans/
“On Tuesday, Fox News is set to announce Fox Nation, a stand-alone subscription service available without a cable package. The streaming service, expected to start by the end of the year, would focus primarily on right-leaning commentary, with original shows and cameos by popular personalities like Sean Hannity.” Said Fox executive John Finley: “Fox Nation is designed to appeal to the Fox superfan. These are the folks who watch Fox News every night for hours at a time, the dedicated audience that really wants more of what we have to offer.”


***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.***

Monday, February 19, 2018

SMELLS LIKE PANIC


Trump posts THIRTEEN tweets in a 24 hour period, all dealing with the Russia indictments, and flailing wildly at every real and imagined enemy possible . . . except the Russians who attacked us

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-attacks-congressional-dems-fbi-mcmaster-clinton-obama-schiff-and-more
Trump Attacks Congressional Dems, FBI, McMaster, Clinton, Obama, Schiff, Others

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/18/trump-blames-democrats-russia-meddling-election/
Trump Blames Democrats for Russia Meddling In Election

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-falsely-claims-he-never-said-russia-did-not-meddle-6ae59aee68f5/
Trump falsely claims he never said Russia did not meddle 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/18/17025350/trump-doubts-putin-russia-meddling-multiple-times
Trump says he’s never doubted Russian meddling. Here are the multiple times he has.

More: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/trump-solipsism/553664
Trump, at Mar-a-Lago and far from the strictures and structures of the White House, unleashed his most aggressive and scattered tweetstorm in some time. In theory, the things he said were designed to push the story away from himself and downplay any connection. In practice, he forced himself into the middle of the story, inextricably linking himself to it.  Over a series of tweets, Trump attacked the FBI; politicized the Parkland shooting for his own vindication; suggested collusion was no big deal; blamed Obama for the collusion; and said the real collusion involved Hillary Clinton. He undermined his national-security adviser; lied about denying that Russia meddled in the election; and finished with an appeal to numbers, citing an infamously unreliable pollster. . . .

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/18/17024862/trump-russia-school-shooting-fbi-investigation
The Justice Department’s Friday indictments appear to have gotten under Trump’s skin

https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-is-who-the-american-people-elected-white-house-grapples-with-un-presidential-trump-after-school-shooting
Even for a president known for his jolting tweetstorms, often sent over weekends from his Florida estate, the missives this weekend were noteworthy. Aides chalked up at least some of what triggered President Trump the past couple days to the avalanche of criticism he has received in the news and social media, post-Parkland-massacre and post- Robert Mueller indictments. Also, according to two sources who spoke to the president this weekend, he has spent some of his Presidents’ Day break confiding in longtime friends and allies about how unfair and “nasty” media coverage has been of him lately. Other West Wing officials simply said that this is who the president is—self-centered and vindictive in the face of atrocity and national tragedy . . . [read on]

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/why-do-we-assume-his-insane-behavior-is.html
It is not normal for a 71 year old man to behave this way, certainly not normal for a president. But there is no reason to assume that his abnormal behavior is simply a function of his narcissism. It might just as easily be a function of his guilt. . . [read on] 

Here it is, the question everyone should be focused on: is Trump even now trying to cozy up to Russia to insure they can help in the 2018 campaign?

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-big-question.html
Trump’s own tweets reveal that among the things he most fears is the prospect of Representative Adam Schiff gaining the gavel of the House Intelligence Committee from the clownish present chairman, Devin Nunes. How far would Trump go . . .

Couldn't have said it better myself

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/18/new-presidential-low/
“Imagine how history would have judged Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, if he had taken to the radio airwaves to declare that Tokyo was “laughing their asses off.” Or if George W. Bush had stood in the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn and launched a name-calling tirade against the Democrats.” “There was no loss of life or destruction of a city in the Russian actions described in a sweeping indictment secured by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. But it was an act of war nonetheless, a sneak attack using 21st-century methods.” “These are the moments that test a country — and a president. They call for bringing people together in a sense of national purpose against a common adversary. Once again, Trump has failed that test.”

[NB: By the way, I've been meaning to discuss the frequent Trump excuse that various indictments have not shown that Russian interference affected the outcome of the election. They aren't intended to show that, and they aren't equipped to. Unless you interview specific voters who say their vote was changed because of a specific tweet they read from some Russian bot, you are never going to PROVE that. But in an election that would have been switched by 78,000 votes in three states, it is impossible to imagine that the relentless pounding Clinton received in social media, the lies, the hacked emails, the Russian plants that were then amplified (and legitimated) by being retweeted by Trump's people, Fox News, and the GOP establishment, didn't make a difference. Nor does it make sense that Russia would have invested the tremendous financial, organizational, and technical resources they did if they didn't know it was making a difference. Of course it changed the outcome. Of course it did.]

Now serious mainstream commentators are talking about the possibility that Trump really is being blackmailed by the Russians

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/18/whatever-trump-hiding-hurting-us-now/ 

I have always thought that Paul Manafort was the key to a lot of Russia questions. Despite heavy pressure from Mueller, he is refusing to cooperate. Now his associate Rick Gates is about to flip, which will tighten the noose on Manafort. THEN what will he do?

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/18/17025730/rick-gates-guilty-plea-mueller

[NB: Gates also worked for the Trump campaign, and the Trump admin, long after Manafort was gone. So he has lots of stories to tell -- and as with other plea deals, Mueller's team already has a pretty good idea of what he will give them.] 

How Trump killed an immigration compromise

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/18/inside-trumps-effort-kill-immigration-compromise/
“The Trump administration’s extraordinary 11th-hour strategy to sabotage the bill showed how, after weeks of intense bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill, it was the White House that emerged as a key obstacle preventing a deal to help the dreamers.” “The episode reflected President Trump’s inability — or lack of desire — to cut a deal with his adversaries even when doing so could have yielded a signature domestic policy achievement and delivered the U.S.-Mexico border wall he repeatedly promised during the campaign.” “Along the way, Trump demonstrated the sort of unpredictable behavior that has come to define his topsy-turvy tenure, frequently sending mixed signals that kept leaders in both parties guessing.”

BFD. Out of respect for the dead and wounded from the Parkland shooting, Trump will skip his usual weekend golf. Such a sacrifice!

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1742534

Sad! Looks like when Trump isn't able to golf he has WAY too much time on his hands

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/965442990134251520
"Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!"

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/unable-to-golf-trump-unwinds-by-attacking-oprah.html
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t seem Trump actually watched the 60 Minutes segment . . . [read on]

Bonus item: How the rest of the world sees our insane addiction to guns (thanks to RR for the link)

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/9/16448302/guns-nra-sunday-lubach

Don't miss it! https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=89d_1411198955
Jim Jefferies on gun control

***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.***

Sunday, February 18, 2018

WHO'S THE PUPPET?

We don't know if it's true that Putin's got something on Trump. But we do know that he is acting EXACTLY as if it were

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/17/flashback-of-the-day-32/
CLINTON: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear… 

TRUMP: You’re the puppet! 

CLINTON: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit…

TRUMP: No, you’re the puppet.

Trump is still trying to spin the Mueller indictment as a vindication. The worse the news is for him, the more wildly he lashes out

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/17/russia-election-democrats-media-white-house-spokesman-416849 

More from Fox World: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-spokesperson-defends-russia-blames-media-5be164ead087/

Facebook is lying; https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/facebook-still-lying-about-its-role-in-the-2016-election

A new low

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/trump-blames-florida-school-shooting-on-russia-investigation.html
[Trump] "Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"

More: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/02/18/trump-tries-to-derail-gun-control-and-the-russia-probe-in-one-repulsive-move/

The indictment

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/muellers-message-to-america/553658/
[I]t seems that two things are clear. First, while the “official” purpose of this indictment is to criminally prosecute violations of American law, the indictment also has a second purpose—to inform the American public and their representatives. Let’s be blunt—none of the Russians who were indicted will ever,ever, see the inside of an American courtroom. Russia won’t extradite them and we won’t, realistically, expect them to do so. The individuals may not have as much freedom to travel (say, to the French Riviera) for fear of arrest, but otherwise the effect on them will be negligible.  Given that reality, this indictment (which prosecutors sometimes call a “speaking indictment”) is so detailed precisely because the evidence will never be presented in a court. It is designed to give as full an accounting of the known facts as the prosecutors reasonably can. Beyond prosecution, the clear goal here is to speak to the American public—and if this message isn’t sufficient, then no message can possibly sway the body politic. . .  [read on]

More: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/02/17/reminder-we-dont-know-what-mueller-knows/
Reminder: We Don’t Know What Mueller Knows 

https://www.axios.com/what-does-mueller-know-russia-probe-303c9bd9-6b2a-46d8-b24e-4f7cd2c6c343.html
We know nothing; Mueller knows all

The Trump problem

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/yes-houston-we-have-big-problem.html
In 13 months in office, Mr. Trump has made little if any public effort to rally the nation to confront Moscow for its intrusion or to defend democratic institutions against continued disruption.  . . . “It is astonishing to me that a president of the United States would take this so lightly or see it purely through the prism of domestic partisanship,” said Daniel Fried, a career diplomat under presidents of both parties who is now at the Atlantic Council. He said it invariably raised questions about whether Mr. Trump had something to hide. “I have no evidence that he’s deliberately pulling his punches because he has to, but I can’t dismiss it. . .
 
The Jared problem

https://thinkprogress.org/serious-questions-are-mounting-about-jared-kushners-security-clearance-b9195674fba8/
Serious questions are swirling around Jared Kushner’s security clearance — which is still pending more than a year after he entered the White House, even as Kushner reportedly requests more intelligence information than almost any other White House official. According to new reports by the Washington Post, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly announced on February 16 that starting next week some people with interim security clearances will not be able to access top-secret information. This could include Trump’s son-in-law, whose clearance has been the subject of controversy for some time. . . . 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/report-kushner-requests-more-intel-than-any-non-nsc-staff.html
At this point, it’s reasonable to wonder if the president’s son-in-law will ever merit permanent security clearance . . . 

Just remember: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/06/how-to-understand-kushners-back-channel-215232
Last month, the Washington Post and New York Times reported that during the presidential transition Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to discuss establishing a direct line of secure communication from the White House to the Kremlin—possibly run out of Russian diplomatic facilities. . . .

The woman problem

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/17/the-many-women-of-donald-trump-may-be-his-undoing/

Remember Faye Resnick, icky pal of Nicole Brown Simpson? https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/02/faye-resnick-book-nicole-simpson-people-v-oj-simpson-episode-4
“Donald Trump was there, doing his ‘look-at-me, I’m-bigger-than-life’ thing. We were all laughing because he’d dragged along this incredibly big-busted bimbo who apparently thought runway modeling was akin to bumping and grinding in a strip show. Her antics were hysterical, but Donald was salivating.”

***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, February 17, 2018

THE "HOAX" HOAX

Well, it looks like the Mueller "hoax" isn't such a hoax after all. He indicts 13 Russians and Russian organizations for interfering in the 2016 election. Here's what the indictment tells us: Russian efforts were broad and coordinated. They were almost entirely directed toward hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. And they were facilitated by three "unwitting" members of the Trump team

https://thinkprogress.org/indictment-doj-trump-clinton-7105e89df9be/
Bombshell

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/16/mueller-indictment-russia-takeaways-353667

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/mueller-roadmap/553604/

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/16/17020948/russia-indictments-special-counsel-trump-unwitting

The full text: https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download

Anybody But Hillary

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/16/17021248/russian-election-interference-sanders-stein-trump
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein all appear to have been helped by Russian election interference 

More: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/16/bernie-sanders-russia-2016-election-interference-415691

http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-jr-jill-stein-putin-russia-senate-639422

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/mueller-indictment-documents-russian-effort-to-suppress-nonwhite-vote.html
Mueller Indictment Documents Russian Effort to Suppress Turnout of Nonwhite Voters

Here's an example: a twitter feed from "Tennessee GOP" that is neither from the GOP nor from Tennessee

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/19/16504510/ten-gop-twitter-russia

A look back: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-campaign-staffers-pushed-russian-propaganda-days-before-the-election
Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days Before the Election

Trump, of course, claims this indictment as total vindication for him. At the very least it is damning against his lies that Russia was "just an excuse used by the Democrats when they lost the election," that he believes his BFF Putin that Russia didn't do anything, and that whatever the Russians did do didn't affect the outcome. Those are shown to be utterly false. And the fact that his first reaction is to talk about the effect of the story on himself, and not about the MAJOR CRIME that was perpetrated against this country, is appalling even for him

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/16/1742056/-Trump-hilariously-warns-against-wild-and-false-allegations-after-Russia-indictments
[Trump] "Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!" [read on] 

[NB: Let's just describe this from a little distance. Trump won't condemn outrageous Russian interference in our elections. In fact, he welcomed and encouraged it. He won't impose congressionally mandated sanctions against Russia for their interference. He has consistently denied that the Russians did anything wrong, and even in the face of this latest news won't admit that he was mistaken. Now, tell me: what would explain this pattern of behavior?]  

What does it all mean now? 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/its-going-to-be-much-harder-for-trump-to-fire-rod-rosenstein-now.html
It’s Going to Be Much, Much Harder for Trump to Fire Rod Rosenstein Now

More: https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/qotd-white-house.html
[Trump] President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates — that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected. President Trump says, “it is more important than ever before to come together as Americans. We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful. It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions. We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”

[NB: What complete and utter B.S.]

Trump says the Russian strategy all started in 2014. So, what was he doing in 2014?

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/trump-was-making-political-speeches-in.html

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1742074


I am sick of this 

https://politicalwire.com/2018/02/16/quote-of-the-day-1854/
“I don’t think that the campaign colluded in some meaningful way. I don’t think that they were organized enough, or competent enough as a campaign to do that.” 

[NB: We hear this excuse over and over again. It's BS. First of all, the fact that they were incompetent and disorganized doesn't mean they didn't TRY to collude. Maybe they were just bad at it. That's no defense. Second, the legal problem isn't collusion, it's CONSPIRACY, and there is plenty of evidence of that already in the public sphere, and that's without knowing what Flynn and Bannon have told Mueller. But in fact, we have seen exactly what you would expect from a hamhanded attempt at collusion: nuts like Carter Page, ambitious climbers like George Papadopoulos, and morons like Donald Jr getting played by Russian experts at recruitment and infiltration -- their incompetence isn't a defense: it's the vulnerability the Russians exploited.] 

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/of-course-the-president-obstructed-justice
Of Course the President Obstructed Justice

We've touched on this before, but Trump's list of failures far exceeds his accomplishments. Any Republican president would have appointed a conservative SC justice; any would have gotten a tax cut bill through a Republican-controlled Congress. And that's pretty much it. Then look at the failures . . .

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/02/16/we-are-in-the-midst-of-an-utterly-failed-presidency/

He hasn't passed any real legislation after more than a year in office: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/16/1741952/-Trump-s-first-attempt-at-legislation-fails-miserably-while-Senate-slips-further-into-dysfunction 
Trump's first attempt at legislation fails miserably, while Senate slips further into dysfunction

Trump's Big Lie about DACA

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/immigration-politics-lead-trump-repeat-cynical-lie
Trump is also the one who’s now rejected or walked away from six different bipartisan efforts to protect Dreamers from the president’s own policy. . .  [read on]

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/16/1741918/-Trump-really-wants-you-to-forget-who-created-the-DACA-crisis-it-was-him
Trump really wants you to forget who created the DACA crisis (it was him)

Trump goes briefly to Parkland, Florida, manages to avoid visiting any of the victims or their families

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/16/trump-florida-school-shooting-hospital-visit-416258
President Donald Trump visited a Florida hospital Friday to thank medical professionals who helped the wounded in a horrific high school shooting . . .Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived by motorcade at Broward Health North Hospital to pay their respects to doctors, nurses and others who responded to the shooting in nearby Parkland. They planned to meet with law enforcement officials at the Broward County Sheriff's office later Friday. The president tweeted earlier that he would meet with people "whose lives have been totally shattered." . . .

There is a paradox in the Trump effort to shift the focus from easy access to automatic weapons to mental health. Because even if you think the blame is all on the side of the sick kid in Florida, the question remains: HOW was able to legally buy a weapon?

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/16/1741947/-White-House-Guy-with-legally-purchased-gun-shouldn-t-have-had-it
But what Donald Trump has done so far in office is make it easier for people to get guns, including people with mental illness. That’s despite his fondness for saying that mental illness, and not guns, is the problem in mass shootings. By the way, while Trump signed that legislation making it easier for mentally ill people to get guns, the White House has refused to release pictures of the signing. It’s almost like they want us to forget about it. . . .

Trump's weekends in Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers at least $3.6 million per. But that's not the scandal -- it's money that Trump is transferring from the public till into his own pockets

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/apr/18/center-american-progress-action-fund/how-much-do-donald-trumps-trips-mar-lago-cost/

[NB: This weekend is #13. That's almost $50 million so far.]

The ongoing revolving door between the White House and Trump family businesses

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senior-kushner-aide-leaves-white-house
Senior Kushner Aide Leaving WH For Family’s Real Estate Company

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/exclusive-kushner-quietly-made-more-fixes-to-his-financial-disclosures-may-have-more-to-come
Kushner Quietly Made More Fixes To His Financial Disclosures, May Have More To Come

Uh, yep

https://www.salon.com/2018/02/16/trumps-lawyer-may-have-committed-a-colossal-screw-up-by-speaking-about-stormy-daniels/
Trump’s lawyer may have committed “a colossal screw up” by speaking about Stormy Daniels 

A serious dimension of Trump's alleged affairs: can he be blackmailed?

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/theres-a-good-chance-president-trump-is-being-blackmailed.html

More: https://www.salon.com/2018/02/16/playboy-playmates-alleged-9-month-affair-with-trump-raises-serious-security-concerns/ 

NB: Take the pee-pee story out of it, is the idea that the Russians provided Trump with prostitutes in Moscow all that implausible, given what we have learned?] 

Remember when Trump's goofy doctor said, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Guess what? It is nowhere near true

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/16/17016226/every-presidents-health-ranked
Obama ranks 2nd; Trump ranks 26th

The disturbing future of "fake news" (thanks to DR for the links)

https://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/the-terrifying-future-of-fake-news
He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried About An Information Apocalypse. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/problem-fake-news-comes-trying-prove-you-re-not-it-ncna832221
The problem with 'fake news' comes from trying to prove you're not it

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/the-fake-news-epidemic-is-worse-than-we-imagined
The Fake-News Epidemic Is Worse Than We Imagined

https://www.msnbc.com/mtp-daily/watch/is-fake-news-about-to-get-more-difficult-to-identify-868894275539
Is Fake News About to Get More Difficult to Identify?

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/fake-voices-will-become-worryingly-accurate
The biggest loss caused by AI will be the complete destruction of trust in anything you see or hear


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