Friday, December 15, 2017

STARS FELL ON ALABAMA


Behind the Doug Jones victory in the reddest of red states

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/14/surprising-doug-jones-winning-alabama/
“When Alabama voters were asked which party they would prefer to control the Senate, 50% chose Republicans while 45% chose Democrats. That is a stunning result — perhaps even more stunning than Jones’s victory. Moreover, only 43% had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 47% had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.”

Musical bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ibV3tCDvd8

Roy Moore fights on

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/12/14/roy-moore-refuses-to-concede-as-some-supporters-push-stories-of-voter-fraud/
Roy Moore refuses to concede as some supporters push stories of ‘voter fraud’

More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/14/16777786/white-house-roy-moore-alabama-concede
Even the White House suggests Roy Moore should concede

[NB: Black votes made the difference. So you know what that means. . . ]  

The #MeToo movement has been given energy, it seems, by women's outrage that Trump was elected in the first place -- and, in the process, preventing the first woman from winning

https://crooksandliars.com/2017/12/donald-trump-thinks-hes-immune  

The over-the-top outrage over two (already dismissed) FBI agents for sending anti-Trump messages back and forth is obviously all part of the orchestrated effort to discredit anything the Mueller investigation comes up with -- and shows yet again that the Trumpians are absolutely terrified about what will be coming out

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/dont-look-away-from-the-disgrace 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/fbi-agents-sending-anti-trump-texts-is-not-a-scandal.html

More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/12/14/lets-be-clear-on-what-republicans-are-really-saying-about-the-mueller-probe/

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/fbi-agent-scandal-revealed-to-be-even-more-stupid.html
FBI Agent ‘Scandal’ Revealed To Be Even More Stupid Than Previously Known

Trump is too personally threatened to listen to any intelligence briefings on Russian election interference. He can't separate a threat to the nation from a threat to his fragile ego and worry that his election won't be perceived as legitimate

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/12/trumps-vladimir-putin-national-security-nightmare
Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House. The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president—and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality—have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government. . . . “The president obviously feels . . . that the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladi­mir Putin is pretty insulting,” a senior administration official told the Post. One senior G.O.P. strategist, who has discussed the matter with Trump associates, explained, “If you say ‘Russian interference,’ to him it’s all about him . . . He judges everything as about him.” 

More: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/bringing-up-russian-hacking-triggers-trump.html
The Washington Post’s deeply reported account of Donald Trump’s pathological inability to acknowledge Russian intervention in the 2016 election is filled with devastating detail. Trump becomes agitated and irrational, and his national security advisers tiptoe delicately around the subject, which Trump invariably “would see as an affront.” His briefings are “often structured to avoid upsetting him.” . . . 

Putin views the 2016 election hack as a "success" 

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/12/wapo-putin-personally-directed-election-interference/
Putin Personally Directed Election Interference

https://www.salon.com/2017/12/14/trump-has-been-ignoring-russia-threats-and-cozying-up-to-authoritarians-report/
U.S. officials said that a stream of intelligence from sources inside the Russian government indicates that Putin and his lieutenants regard the 2016 “active measures” campaign — as the Russians describe such covert propaganda operations — as a resounding, if incomplete, success. . . . But overall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House. The bottom line for Putin, said one U.S. official briefed on the stream of post-election intelligence, is that the operation was “more than worth the effort.” 

Pucker up!

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/taking-candy-from-a-bab
President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia today. President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference. . . . 

Why does Trump admire authoritarian leaders more than democratic ones?

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/12/14/16776728/trump-admires-putin  

The Senate Intelligence Committee wants to lead off its Trump-Russia reports with the areas where there is broadest bipartisan support -- like the need for serious protection from election hacking -- and leave the more contentious issues until later

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senate-intelligence-committee-may-put-off-most-anticipated-russia-probe-findings

The eighteen crucial days of Michael Flynn's tenure -- what Mueller is looking at

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/flynn-trump-timeline/548348

Oh, how the Trump gang would love to have a major international conflict to distract attention from their domestic troubles

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/nikki-haley-says-iran-is-violating-u-n-rules.html
Nikki Haley Says Iran Is Violating U.N. Rules and She Has the Missile Parts to Prove It

Unfortunately: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/world/middleeast/nikki-haley-iran-weapons-yemen.html
U.S. Accuses Iran of U.N. Violation, but Evidence Falls Short

Poor, sad Rex Tillerson

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/15/tillerson-goes-off-script/
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “seemed focused this week on rebooting his image as a beleaguered Cabinet member on the outs with his boss and his own employees — holding a rare town hall with employees, promising foreign trips into 2018 and saying he is ‘learning’ to enjoy his job,” the Washington Post reports. “But then he went off script by offering another invitation for diplomatic talks with nuclear-armed North Korea, putting him at odds once again with President Trump and senior White House officials, who are increasingly exasperated with the secretary of state and say he cannot remain in his job for the long term.”

Sometimes the system works 

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-rare-rejection-two-outrageous-trump-judicial-nominees
The rare rejection of two outrageous Trump judicial nominees

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/15/trump-nominee-didnt-fare-well-questioning/
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-WI) posted video of Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asking one of President Trump’s U.S. District Judge nominees basic questions of law and he couldn’t answer a single one.

Sometimes it doesn't: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senate-confirms-trump-anti-choice-judicial-pick

Another potential "no" on the tax bill in the Senate

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/marco-rubio-im-a-no-on-tax-bill-unless-child-tax-credit-expanded

More true than he intended: https://crooksandliars.com/2017/12/mick-mulvaney-if-you-get-your-news-fox
Mick Mulvaney: 'If You Get Your News On [Fox] You'll Love GOP Tax Plan 

Two missing GOP votes?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senate-republicans-tax-overhaul-vote-mccain-cochran

The tax bill math still doesn't balance out, and the Republicans have limited options (and time) for how to get there

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/14/gop-tax-bill-still-expensive/ 

What's in the bill: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/whats-in-the-new-tax-bill/

Governing, GOP style

https://firenewsfeed.com/travel/877698
House to vote on spending bill that Senate won’t pass, rekindling shutdown showdown

Trump may or may not get the tax bill through, but that might be just about it for his major campaign promises. Remember that trillion dollar infrastructure plan?

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/trumps-infrastructure-plan-is-almost-done-already-dead.html

And about that stupid wall: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1724355
Trump's latest attempt to fund his stupid wall could actually make the border less secure

You just knew that once Kellyanne Conway was named the opioid czar, we would finally see some real action from the Trump admin on the "national emergency" they declared -- right?

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/14/16776354/white-house-opioid-epidemic-2017


Trump's photo ops are apparently being planned by a twelve year old

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/14/trump-cut-red-tape-business-regulations-296834

Watch: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/941406242785955841

[NB: See? He's CUTTING. . .  RED TAPE . . . get it? With golden scissors.]

More: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-1960-level-regulations-d8767faaa1b9
If policymakers had stopped in 1960, pollution would have kept the nation’s rivers and streams unsafe for fishing or swimming. It was a time when Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught on fire due to decades of pollution from industrial waste. Acid rain was destroying New England forests. Homes had been built on toxic sites. Cities were smothered in smog. As a result of one environmental crises after another, the federal government implemented several important environmental regulations in the post-1960 era, including:
  • Clean Air Act 
  • Clean Water Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Safe Drinking Water Act 
  • Superfund  
Also in 1960, the United States did not have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). . . Other rules and regulations — under attack today by Republicans in Washington — that were implemented after 1960 include:
  • Endangered Species Act
  • National Forest Management Act
  • Wilderness Act
  • National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act 
  • Federal Land Policy and Management Act
The FCC ends net neutrality: but the fight isn't over yet

https://www.vox.com/2017/12/14/16774148/net-neutrality-repeal-explained
Net neutrality is now officially on life support. Here’s what happens next.

More: https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-i-will-sue-stop-illegal-rollback-net-neutrality
[New York] A.G. Schneiderman: I Will Sue To Stop Illegal Rollback Of Net Neutrality

A Republican facing accusations of sexual harassment says he will serve out his term but not run for re-election

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/14/farenthold-drops-re-election-bid/
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX)

A Kentucky state legislator is accused of sexual assault, and commits suicide. But then the story gets really strange

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-showman

https://www.salon.com/2017/12/13/a-kentucky-pastor-turned-politician-has-the-weirdest-backstory-imaginable/

On the fifth anniversary of Sandy Hook, Colonel Sanders gets asked what the Trump admin is doing to prevent another tragedy. After rattling through border security, extreme vetting, and a bunch of irrelevancies, her answer is, basically, "nothing"

https://thinkprogress.org/sarah-sanders-sandy-hook-anniversary-guns-c4d3053667d8/

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/sarah-sanders-sandy-hook-las-vegas

A look back: Obama, Dec 14, 2012: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/12/14/quick-takes-a-day-for-remembering
5 years ago today was my worst day at the White House. I saw my normally stoic boss break down. . . . [watch]

Theocracy watch

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/14/in-small-win-for-democrats-the-final-tax-bill-wont-include-a-provision-to-allow-churches-to-endorse-political-candidates/
In small win for Democrats, the final tax bill will not include a provision allowing churches to endorse political candidates


Omarosa says those stories about her chaotic, expletive-filled departure from the White House are totally, 100% not true

https://www.salon.com/2017/12/14/omarosa-denies-100-percent-false-reports-of-her-dramatic-exit-from-the-white-house/

https://crooksandliars.com/2017/12/view-omarosa-leaving-she-s-just-been-so

https://www.politico.com/video/2017/12/14/white-house-faces-questions-on-omarosas-exit-064598 

Why is she still being paid? http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/white-house-ask-hr-why-omarosa-is-still-on-payroll

Popcorn time: she has her own story to tell

https://politicalwire.com/2017/12/14/omarosa-says-saw-uncomfortable-things/
Outgoing White House aide Omarosa Manigault told ABC News that she observed things in the White House during her tenure that made her uncomfortable and that upset her. Said Manigault: “I’m not going to expand on it because I still have to go back and work with these individuals, but when I have a chance to tell my story, Michael, quite a story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”

[NB: Do I hear a book deal being pitched?]


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