Tuesday, November 13, 2018

THE LONELY GUY


Remember when the U.S. president was the leader of the free world? Trump's "nationalism" leaves him isolated, petulant, and constantly in tension with our allies. And somewhere, Putin is smiling. . .

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-slams-allies-threatens-nato-pullout-after-wwi-paris-trip-2018-11
Trump torches allies, threatens NATO pullout after tense WWI memorial trip to Paris

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/international-gathering-trump-finds-himself-isolated-and-alone
At international gathering, Trump finds himself isolated and alone

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/trump-paris-armistice-western-world-retreat.html
The president’s performance in Paris was a stunning abdication of global leadership.

Wow. Just . . . wow. After blowing off the World War I commemoration event because of rain, Trump cancels a Veteran's Day appearance at Arlington National Cemetery, even though he is back in the country and only a short distance away. Honor the troops, huh?

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/11/trump-decides-to-skip-arlington-ceremony-too/
And later this week he’ll be skipping both the ASEAN and APEC summits in Asia. So what is he doing? Stewing over his mammoth loss in the midterm elections? Trying to figure out a way to get partisan hack Matt Whitaker confirmed as attorney general? Trying to remember what’s actually in his income tax returns now that there’s a chance they might become public? Throwing temper tantrums over the possibility that Robert Mueller plans to indict Donald Trump Jr.? Watching CNN and shaking his fist a lot? Working up the nerve to fire Ryan Zinke? Thinking up new ways to insult the memory of Californians who died last week in the state’s worst wildfires in recent memory? Or maybe just nursing a cold?

More: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/11/12/signs-that-donald-trump-is-decompensating/

What do the troops think of Trump?

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/what-do-troops-think-about-trump.html  

Trump has been bragging constantly about his North Korea breakthrough and is clearing off shelf space for his hoped-for Nobel Peace Prize. Better put those plans on hold, dude . . . you got PLAYED

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/world-news/secret-north-korea-nuclear-development-sites-trump-denuclearization
Multiple Secret NK Missile Sites Discovered Despite Trump Talk Of Denuclearization

More: https://www.vox.com/world/2018/11/12/18087516/north-korea-missile-report-trump-csis-base-seoul 

Trump boots yet another senior official -- Kirstjen Nielsen, who hasn't been brutal ENOUGH to immigrants

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/trump-will-oust-nielsen-as-homeland-securiy-secretary/
“President Trump has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner,” the Washington Post reports. “Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in South Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible. The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.” 

Jared's buddy is apparently caught red-handed

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/tape-may-link-khashoggi-killing-to-crown-prince/
“Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to ‘tell your boss,’ believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that the operatives had carried out their mission,” the New York Times reports. “The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.” 

In Russia news. . .

One story, don't go overboard, but. . . 

https://observer.com/2018/11/mueller-holding-dozens-sealed-indictments-intel-source/
When Mueller informs the public of more indictments is an open question. That they are coming, however, is not. And there are lots of them. The Special Counsel has been at work for almost 18 months now. An Intelligence Community official who assisted the Special Counsel’s investigation told me this week that Team Mueller is holding “dozens of sealed indictments” of people associated with the president, his 2015-16 campaign, and his administration. “Nobody who’s close to the Russians is getting out of this,” said the IC official. . . . 

Not the only one

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/12/18089432/jerome-corsi-mueller-trump-russia
Jerome Corsi says Mueller will soon indict him for perjury 

The Dems are lining up their subpoenas, and they aren't all about Russia

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/democrats-prepare-their-subpoena-cannon/

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812134

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/house-democrats-trump-payments-stormy-daniels.html 

Trump blames Dem investigations that haven't happened yet for the stock market volatility that's been going on for weeks

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/12/stock-market-for-now-doesnt-see-big-risk-for-trump-in-mueller-probe.html
"The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!" [read on]

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/11/trump-ridiculously-blames-presidential
You can't make this up, folks. Only his most rabid supporters and those on Fox News would believe and promote any of this nonsense. Republicans harassed President Obama for eight years, from pillar to post and the stock market rose to 19,000 under his watch. Investors care not what the punditry are saying about any president. Trump's ignorance of foreign policy, starting unnecessary trade wars, implementing trade tariffs may have something to do with the recent slide no doubt. But nothing is ever Trump's fault. Ever. 

Let's not feel too bad for Jeff Sessions. He did one right thing (and got fired for it). But he was a terrible Attorney General

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/11/am-joy-panel-says-bye-felicia-jeff 

Matt Whitaker is "consulting" with DOJ ethics officials about whether he should recuse himself from the Mueller probe

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/12/whitaker-recusal-mueller-investigation-985257

[NB: Given what happened to Sessions, it's hard to believe that he will. But he might not have any choice. His conflicts of interest are pretty glaring.]

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/13/whitaker-appointment-heads-to-the-courts/
Whitaker Appointment Heads to the Courts

In other news . . .

Trump's approval drops to 38%. It keeps "ping-ponging between 36 and 42%" -- but never gets close to a majority. And he's running again in 2020?

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trumps-post-election-dip-is-no-surprise

Trump says, Stop counting votes in Florida!

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812215
"An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!"

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/gillum-to-trump-you-sound-nervous/
Gillum to Trump: ‘You Sound Nervous’

[NB: The votes Trump doesn't want to count include mail-in votes from overseas troops. Then there are the little details that (a) Trump has absolutely no jurisdiction over these matters and (b) stopping the vote count would be illegal. He DOES sound nervous though. Since election night two apparent GOP wins have turned Dem with additional vote counting. And there are two more to go. True democracy is such a nuisance!]

More: https://thinkprogress.org/florida-judge-rejects-rick-scotts-evidence-free-allegations-of-voter-fraud-1f00b0c5c3c8/
Florida judge says there's no evidence of fraud in Broward, denies Scott's request to impound equipment, tells everyone to tone down the rhetoric [read on]

In Georgia

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/georgia-election-officials-ordered-to-count-all-absentee-votes/
Georgia Officials Ordered to Count All Absentee Votes

Meanwhile, in Arizona: how to lose gracefully

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/12/18087770/florida-arizona-midterm-elections-results-senate-recount-voter-fraud

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/mcsally-concedes-senate-battle
[Martha McSally] Congrats to @kyrstensinema. I wish her success. I’m grateful to all those who supported me in this journey.

[NB: The rumors are, she gets the empty John McCain seat -- some consolation prize!]  

Notorious RBG, in da HOUSE!

https://www.vox.com/2018/11/12/18080366/ruth-bader-ginsburg-movie-health
She’s back at work despite three broken ribs and a range of other health setbacks. 

Remember how Trump ran on fixing the Veteran's Administration? It was a national disgrace! A betrayal of our vets! He nominated David Shulkin, who had to resign over scandal. Then he nominated Ronny Jackson, his personal physician, who was wildly unqualified and had to withdraw. Now he has a new guy in there, and guess what? The VA is still completely screwed up

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812306 

The GOP's priority while they still have a House majority: fully fund Trump's Wall™ -- even if it means a govt shutdown

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-risk-shutdown-border-wall 

Defeated Repub blames John McCain for GOP House losses

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/defeated-gop-lawmaker-blames-mccain-for-loss-of-house/

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812126

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/defeated-goper-blames-mccain-house-loss-veterans-day
[Meghan McCain] This is abhorrent. 

Want some cheese with that whine?

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/gop-candidate-distracted-trying-to-prove-he-wasnt-a-racist/
Seth Grossman (R) . . . “There’s no doubt in my mind that if I did not have unnecessary distractions thrown into my path I would have won yesterday’s election as a pro-Trump candidate because this is a pro-Trump district.” He added: “I was distracted trying to prove I’m not a racist.” 

[NB: Yeah, why would anyone who is PRO-TRUMP have to prove he's not a racist?] 

The midterms, by the numbers

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1811905

The Dems are outperforming the Repubs in fundraising

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/gop-desperate-to-match-democrats-fundraising/ 

Yes! More like this please

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/12/house-democrats-outline-first-bill/
“Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money,” NPR reports.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/13/18075494/house-democrats-federal-minimum-wage
House Democrats plan to push for $15 federal minimum wage

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812344
Democrats call for adding 'Protect Mueller' measure to government funding bill

Ah, those Democrats: Win, then start worrying

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/democratic-party-moves-left/573946/ 

2020 

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812328
The 2020 electorate will be even younger, better-educated, and more diverse than this year's

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812347
College degree holders increasingly vote Democratic . . . "The new cultural divide is education," Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster, told The Wall Street Journal. "Republicans are now the party of those with a high-school diploma or less," Mr. McInturff said, "with Democrats having a totally dominating advantage among those with a postgraduate degree."  

Fox World goes after Michelle Obama for criticizing Trump's racist "birther" mongering

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/11/hannity-attack-michelle-obama-criticizing

A look at those horrific wildfires in California

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/11/12/18087928/wildfire-in-california-2018-photos-chico-camp-woolsey

More: https://www.vox.com/2018/8/7/17661096/california-wildfires-2018-camp-woolsey-climate-change
California’s wildfires are hardly “natural” — humans made them worse at every step


***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, November 12, 2018

THE FUTURE AND THE PAST


France's Emmanuel Macron led the World War I commemoration event, and this is what he said

https://www.politico.eu/article/world-war-armistice-100-centenary-emmanuel-macron-leads-centennial-commemoration/
“This vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France as the bearer of universal values was displayed during these dark hours, as the very opposite of a selfish nation that only looks after its own interest,” Macron said. “Patriotism is the opposite of nationalism,” he added. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

More: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/nicholas-soames-churchills-grandson-slams-pathetic-trump-for-skipping-world-war-one-ceremony-due-to-rain.html
Churchill’s Grandson Slams “Pathetic” Trump for Skipping World War One Ceremony Due to Rain

Then Trump did it again

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/11/579707/France-Paris-World-War-l-armistice-world-leaders
World leaders mark end of World War I anniversary in Paris


[NB: One "world leader" did not join this show of unity. Guess who?]

I LOVE these photos: before and after

Before: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/11/trump-macron-bromance-fizzles-spectacularly/575572/


And then Putin shows up

After: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/photo-shows-trump-beaming-when-putin-joins-world-leaders-at-paris-event.html


[NB: At last! Someone who UNDERSTANDS me!]

Trump is in a bad place. His loss in the midterms looks worse and worse -- Dem numbers in the House keep climbing, GOP numbers in the Senate keep dropping. A Democratic House means his legislative agenda is all but dead. His post-election news conference was a disaster, featuring snarky, mean-spirited score-settling with losing Republicans, wild outbursts against the press, and an "olive branch" to work with the Dems that hardly lasted seconds before he said that if the House dares to investigate him, all bets are off.

The numbers out of the election were ominous for Trump's chances in 2020. The GOP continues to shrink. Women are abandoning the party in droves. Numerous high-profile GOPers said they were voting for the Dems. The Midwestern battleground states that narrowly gave him the electoral college in 2016 have all moved toward the Dems. Key governorships in those states flipped, meaning a less friendly environment if he campaigns there. A primary challenge to his renomination is all but certain.

A major WSJ story showed that Trump lied repeatedly about his involvement in payoffs to women who claim to have had affairs with him. Other investigations that aren't under Mueller, and can't be stopped, are moving forward aggressively.

He abruptly fired Jeff Sessions amid reports that charges against his son were imminent, and the guy he put in there to protect him is looking worse and worse by the day. After damaging reports about Whitaker's previous comments, Trump undermined Whitaker's credibility by lying that he didn't know him. 

Trump got to leave town for the kind of foreign policy "honor the troops" photo op that always makes a leader look good back home, but it has been one mess after another. The open scorn of other leaders for him is on international display.

And it only gets worse from here, folks . . . 

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/11/kellyanne-conway-admits-trump-does-know
Kellyanne Conway Admits Trump 'Does Know Matt Whitaker' But 'It's Not Like He's Putting A Friend In There'

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/baltics-vs-balkans-trump-reportedly-gets-the-two-confused-at-meeting-with-leaders-of-estonia-latvia-and-lithuania.html
Is Anyone Surprised Trump Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Baltic States and the Balkans?

You know it's bad when Alberto Gonzales calls you a political hack

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/alberto-gonzales-criticizes-whitaker-appointment-ive-got-some-issues-with-this
Alberto Gonzales Criticizes Whitaker Appointment

More trouble for Whitaker: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/dems-to-doj-ethics-official-show-us-if-youve-advised-whitaker-on-mueller-recusal
Top House and Senate Democrats — including the current minority leaders in both chambers as well as the ranking members on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the House Oversight Committee — pressed the Department of Justice’s top ethics official on Sunday regarding “whether you, or any other ethics officials at the Justice Department, have advised [newly appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew] Whitaker to recuse himself from supervision of the Special Counsel investigation, and the basis for that recommendation.”

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/11/nadler-will-call-whitaker-as-his-first-witness/
Nadler Will Call Whitaker as His First Witness

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/11/kellyanne-conway-whitaker-mueller-investigation-982950
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday defended President Donald Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying Whitaker's repeated criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe in the past was not something that should disqualify him. "We are so far past the period where those comments were made by Matt Whitaker as a private citizen, Chris," Conway told host Chris Wallace . . . Conway said that if Whitaker follows up on his previous statements to end or curtail the probe, it would be a "mistake."

In Russia news. . . 

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/why-nancy-pelosi-might-impeach-trump/575560/
“Recognize one point,” Pelosi told me in an interview in the conference room of her minority leader suite in the Capitol late Friday. “What Mueller might not think is indictable could be impeachable.”

Not all the coming investigations are Russia-related: it's what they call a "target-rich environment"

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1811040

In other news . . .

The Cesspool

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/11/trump-properties-received-3-2-million-from-campaigns/
Trump Properties Received $3.2 Million from Campaigns

Puerto Rico

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/11/trump-wants-no-more-relief-funds-for-puerto-rico/
Trump Wants No More Relief Funds for Puerto Rico

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1810001
Now that we control the House, Democrats must aid Puerto Rico

The kind of people they are 

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/11/mississippi-man-fired-wearing-disgustingly
Mississippi Man Fired For Wearing Disgustingly Offensive Shirt To The Polls 

WHAT??!!???!!!!

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/11/mississippi-senator-jokes-about-public-hanging/
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), who is currently campaigning in a runoff election for that seat against [Black] Democratic challenger Mike Espy, joked in a video published that if a cattle rancher she was campaigning with “invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row . . .”

Looks like Kyrsten Sinema (D) is going to win the Senate seat in Arizona

https://politicalwire.com/2018/11/11/sinemas-lead-keeps-growing/

Iowa had a chance to get rid of Steve King. Too bad they didn't do it

https://thinkprogress.org/steve-king-iowa-republican-white-supremacist-immigrants-dirt-mexico-gop-congressman-the-weekly-standard-54c8a8b8d57e/
Noted white supremacist Steve King lies about calling immigrants ‘dirt,’ but it was recorded 

Rick Scott isn't just complaining about counting all the votes in Florida, he is accusing his opponent of "fraud" -- with no evidence whatsoever

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/florida-recount-moves-forward-as-scott-baseless-accuses-nelson-of-fraud

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1812069
Florida Gov. Rick Scott sues to nullify votes, impound voting equipment

Keep digging, Kellyanne

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/conway-on-doctored-video-wh-released-thats-no-altered-thats-sped-up
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway asserted Sunday that a “sped-up” video is not the same as an “altered” video, while defending the White House’s use of an altered video of a hand motion made by CNN reporter Jim Acosta in order to justify suspending his press pass. “That’s not altered, that’s sped up,” Conway told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown.” . . .

[NB: Uh, no, they don't do that in sports. Of course they sometimes slow video down to show a first down or a touchdown. But the ALTERING in this case is speeding it up to make Acosta's arm gesture look harder and more intentional than it obviously was.]

Bonus item: SNL spoofs the intern who tried to take away Jim Acosta's microphone

https://slate.com/culture/2018/11/cecily-strong-colin-jost-white-house-intern-jim-acosta-microphone.html

***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.***