Sunday, May 26, 2019


He's not listening. Trump defies Congress again to sell arms to Saudi Arabia
Trump tries to make another major appointment without Senate confirmation
President Donald Trump, continuing his purge of the Department of Homeland Security, has pushed out the head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency responsible for legal immigration into the US, including asylum — and reportedly plans to replace him with former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli . . . a vociferous immigration hawk, but not an immigration expert . . .

Judge blocks Trump's scheme for diverting funds to build his Wall™ -- because of things Trump himself said

"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?"

[NB: Yes, we should rest easy that despite provocative missile launches, and the advice of his own experts, Trump knows Kim will keep his promises TO HIM. And we shouldn't be concerned that another foreign adversary is putting their thumb on the scales to help Trump in the next election. It certainly doesn't concern him!] 

Vipin Narang, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is an expert on nuclear proliferation and North Korea, said that Trump’s message was “disturbing” for one key reason. “There is a lot that is really disturbing here, but the most important bit is ‘Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me’,” Narang wrote. “Kim never promised to unilaterally disarm, and the problem is Trump continues to believe he did. THAT is why this is so dangerous. [read on]
Former DNI James Clapper says out loud what has been obvious from the start: Russia didn't just intervene to TRY to help Trump -- Trump would not have been elected without that interference
In other investigation news . . .

Impeachment talk heats up

Here's how Barr's reckless and unnecessary "investigation" into the origins of the Russia investigation could disclose Russian sources

[NB: I definitely do not want Trump with this information, which his BFF Vladimir will weasel out of him in a second.]

FBI warns that it's seeing an upsurge in white supremacist domestic terrorism

Theocracy watch: owners of the replica Noah's ark in Kentucky sue over . . .  rain damage

[NB: Uh, guys. . . . guys?]

Bonus item: Volcanoes!

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Saturday, May 25, 2019


Trump is promoting fake Pelosi videos himself. Imagine if someone was circulating a fake video about him

Because Pelosi is kicking his ass
Trump Has Met His Challenge In Pelosi
Pelosi Sparked This Fight With Trump As Part Of Her Impeachment Strategy

Giuliani posts the video, refuses to apologize, calls it a "caricature"

In investigation news . . . 

Trump giving Barr the power to declassify whatever he wants (if it helps build the case defending Trump) is an unprecedented and dangerous move

And the intelligence agencies aren't happy about it
The standard line is that Trump was "joking" when he spoke into the camera and asked Russia to find Hillary's missing emails. Watch the video and see if it looks like he is joking. But now even his own advisors admit that it's a lie
In other news . . . 

Trump keeps accusing Congress of doing nothing. But what they are doing, they're doing without him

Losing yet another fight, Trump backs down on disaster-relief funding 

Trump expands his attacks on transgender folks

We still have judges
Judge partially blocks Trump border wall plan

The Alabama abortion ban is in the courts now

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest 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 ( 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.***

Friday, May 24, 2019


How did that Rose Garden tantrum work for Trump?
The day after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives following last fall’s midterm elections, President Trump took to both Twitter and a podium at the White House to warn Democrats not to investigate his administration or else he would use the power of the presidency to stop any new federal legislation. “If that happens,” Trump said of Democratic investigations leading to subpoenas for members of his administration, “then we’re going to do the same thing, and government comes to a halt. And I would blame them.”  On Wednesday, Trump made good on his threat. Triggered by growing calls for his impeachment, the president stormed out of a planned White House meeting with congressional Democratic leaders on a bipartisan plan to improve the nation’s crumbling infrastructure . . . The president is trying to use his proposed (and entirely hypothetical) $2 billion infrastructure deal as a bargaining chip to get Democrats to stop their oversight of his presidency. In effect, he is trying to blackmail the nation, allowing communities that need roads replaced, bridges fixed, broadband access and lead-free pipes to suffer until congressional investigations into his administration are halted. It is the clearest form of extortion Trump has exhibited since taking office. But beyond the galling selfishness of these antics, they hurt his own party more than his political opponents. . . . [read on]

[NB: I also think the optics of standing in front of a big sign saying NO and NO does not reflect a forward-leaning, confident leader. Nor does walking out of a scheduled meeting with Congressional leaders who have come to work with you.]

Trump had decided, with buy-in from his staff, to essentially ambush Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others, according to accounts of the events from White House and congressional officials. The Democrats had been invited for a sit-down on what both parties say is the pressing need for a funding plan for roads, bridges and so forth. Rather than cancel the meeting, the White House let Pelosi and the others walk into the trap. Shortly before 11 a.m., press secretary Sarah Sanders suddenly alerted the staff to prepare the Rose Garden for a news conference at 11:20 a.m. Trump stage-managed events from there. Democrats waited at a conference table in the Cabinet Room for about 15 minutes, said a person directly familiar with the session . . . Trump’s name-card was on the table between those for Pelosi and Schumer. “He walks in, goes to the head of the table, not even his assigned seat, doesn’t sit, doesn’t shake anyone’s hand. Stands there and begins a lecture,” one aide said. . . . Trump, narrating the scene later, said he had walked into the meeting and told his guests, “You know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with” and then we’ll talk.

I love the way Pelosi gets under his skin. She says Trump threw a "temper tantrum." So today he parades a bunch of aides -- really, he did this -- to testify that they were there and he was totally calm
Accused of having a temper tantrum at a White House the day before, President Donald Trump did what anyone trying to prove their serenity would do: He put together a press conference during which he asked five aides to attest to his calmness...

But the greatest praise for the commander in chief came from Trump himself, who told the assembled members of the media during one non-sequitur: “I'm an extremely stable genius. OK?”  

That document Trump was holding came from ABC news. The first page recounted the scope and costs of the Mueller probe. But he didn't show the second page. . . .

There was a moment, right after AG Barr's shameful spin of the Mueller report into "no big deal," when there was real glee in the Trump circle. They dodged a major land mine and thought they could put the whole Russia probe in their rear view mirror. It has become quite clear that Congressional investigations, state-level prosecutions, and unfinished threads of the Mueller probe are far from finished -- and impeachment talk just won't go away. The orange-haired monster isn't taking it well

Former Sect'y of State Rex Tillerson went to Capitol Hill and told the truth. So you know what happens next
[Trump] Rex Tillerson, a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) . . .

Trump isn’t helping himself with his latest shot at Tillerson [read on]
Somebody needs to ask Trump why he hired Tillerson if he’s dumb as a rock. And while we’re at it, has anyone collected all the Trump tweets insulting former members of his staff that he originally hired? Somebody should!

Somebody did!
‘Never A Big Fan!’: A Bewildering List Of Hires Trump Praised, Then Attacked

Trump says the Dems don't have any "achomlishments." Let's look at the record, shall we?

Yes, it happened: a DC reporter asked Nancy Pelosi, why can't you be nicer to Trump? 

Trump can't drop his hate for Pelosi, interrupts event to tag her 'Crazy Nancy' and call her stupid

[NB: I don't notice anyone asking him to be nicer.]
Trump shovels more money -- YOUR money -- into agribusiness to buy off their anger over the harm his tariffs are doing
Trump to Approve $16 Billion More in Farmer Trade-War Aid
Trump Announces New Plan to Retain the Farm Vote

Why Trump’s new farmer bailout could hurt agriculture

In investigation news . . . 

The President of the United States accuses the former Director of the FBI, an Acting Director, and two other DOJ officials of "treason"

Looks like the case to force release of Dirty Don's documents will get fast tracked to appeal

Why is AG William Barr hanging out at the Trump International Hotel?
Trump was also at the hotel for an event hosted by America First Action, the Super PAC supporting his reelection. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported that the plan was for Trump to address “high-dollar donors” who have contributed to his reelection effort. . . . [The hotel] has become something of a de facto clubhouse for businesspeople and government officials looking to curry favor with the president. . . . According to a financial disclosure form released earlier this month, Trump International generated nearly $40.8 million in revenue for the president in 2018. . .

Another new indictment
“Shortly after Donald Trump’s 2016 election, Paul Manafort wrote to Jared Kushner to ask the incoming administration to consider giving a ‘major appointment’’ to Manafort’s banker,” Bloomberg reports. Replied Kushner: “On it!” “That email exchange, which was admitted as evidence during Manafort’s tax-fraud trial last year, gained new significance Thursday with the unsealing of a federal indictment in New York. The new filing accused the banker, Stephen Calk, of extending loans to Manafort as part of an effort to bribe his way into a plum administration job.”


Trump ramps up the counter-investigation
Trump orders intel community to cooperate with Barr probe into 2016 campaign surveillance

In other news . . . 

"The most transparent administration in history," according to Trump, just got a little less transparent. Again
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sent out a memo earlier this month restricting the information officials at the Pentagon can give congressional members, straining the relationship between the two bodies. According to the Washington Post, there has been bipartisan anger in reaction to the memo, as both Democrats and Republicans insist that a lack of information prevents them from doing their jobs. . . .

Senate Dem. warns Trump could push through Saudi bomb deal without congressional approval

The Trump gang punishes govt researchers who dare to follow the data to valid scientific conclusions 

The Cesspool, part 1
“President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News” 

The Cesspool, part 2
CEO of small Florida bank loaned Trump millions in 2018, then got Federal Reserve post

Kellyanne's days of whine and roses
Kellyanne Conway accuses Pelosi of treating her like a 'maid'

[NB: Conway has only one modality: attack and demean, then sound aggrieved when anyone dares to question her.]

PELOSI: I responded as Speaker of the House to the president of the United States. Other conversations people will have among themselves is up to them. 

Here's a little tip: don't believe ANY photos or videos you receive via social media. Period
Video Of Pelosi Manipulated To Make Her Sound Drunk Spreads Through Social Media

[NB: With deepfake and other technologies, there won't be any easy way to detect a doctored video or photo. Given people's obvious propensities to believe what they want to believe, they will be susceptible to these things when they attack hated targets. And we know activists on social media will exploit that willingness. The only test -- and it's an imperfect one -- is to judge the source. And some yo-yo retweeting something in your social media feed doesn't count as a credible source. The retweet and repost phenomenon makes it virtually impossible to find the original source of these things. Ergo, you have to question EVERYTHING. 

The problem is, that's not how many people will look at it. Does this make my hated target look bad? Yes? Then I will choose to believe it!]

Of course the right -- including Trumpians and Fox News -- have a field day promoting the fake video. (This is a preview of the 2020 campaign and our politics to come)
Colonel Sanders is no longer the press secretary, really  -- she's just another talking head in Fox World

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest 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 ( 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.***

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Trump and infrastructure is Lucy and the football: he likes to keep talking about it, but won't ever do anything about it. Conversely, the Dems should always appear willing to work with him, but shouldn't expend any actual political capital to give him the appearance of reaching across the aisle -- when he doesn't really want to reach a deal at all
Within days of the bipartisan talks, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney voiced opposition to his own boss’ gambit. Congressional Republicans balked, too. Within a week of saying he wanted to aim high, Trump turned to Twitter to suggest he was prepared to cut the price of the initiative in half. The president appeared on Fox News a few days ago, and when the discussion turned to infrastructure, he said, “I also think we’re being played by the Democrats a little bit. I think what they want me to do is say, ‘Well, we’ll raise taxes, or we’ll do this or this or this’ – and then they’ll have a news conference, ‘See, Trump wants to raise taxes.’ So it’s a little bit of a game.” It wasn’t altogether clear what that meant, though Trump seemed to be suggesting that Democrats were playing “a game” by wanting the infrastructure plan to be paid for. Last night, on the eve of the next round of talks with Democratic leaders, the president found a new way to derail the infrastructure initiative. . .

In investigation news . . . 

Nancy Pelosi met with Democrats who want to start impeachment NOW. She left the meeting with sharpened rhetoric, but no sign that she has changed her mind about the wisdom of starting an impeachment process immediately
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke to reporters after huddling with her members on impeachment and oversight on Wednesday, saying that “we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.” “We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts,” she said. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States.”
“The fact is in, in plain sight, this president is obstructing justice and is engaged in a cover-up," she said, adding, "And that could be an impeachable offense.”

Trump storms out of a meeting with the Dems (after only three minutes), holds a Rose Garden rant -- with a stage prop already set up, so they must have planned it -- and Dirty Don proves once again that he is obsessed with the investigation. He keeps trying to declare it over (it's not over). But he's the one who can't stop talking about it
President Donald Trump got angry at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for saying earlier on Wednesday that he is engaged in a “cover-up” — so he walked out on their infrastructure meeting in retribution.  Instead, he set up a podium festooned with statistics about the Mueller report in the Rose Garden to yell at the press corps about it. “Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in and look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up, I don’t do cover-ups,” he said. “You people know probably better than anybody.” He later said that Democrats needs to choose between “investigation” or “investment,” implying that he won’t work with Democrats until investigations into him and his administration are over.
Ignoring his cover-ups, Trump says, ‘I don’t do cover-ups’ [read on]
Trump appears to be calling reporters to the Rose Garden to do an in-person version of his tweets from the past week

“I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I'd be really good at that. That is what I do,” Trump said.

[NB: Yes, Trump wants to do infrastructure SO MUCH that he has made it a top priority since Day One. You've seen that, right?]
“He came up with this pre-planned excuse,” Schumer added. “It’s clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part...When we got in the room [at the White House], the curtain was closed...There was a place for him at the front where he could stand and attempt to tell us why he wouldn’t do infrastructure.”

[NB: No, Trump does not want an infrastructure deal. He wants to LOOK LIKE he wants one. And he wants to try to find a way to blame the Dems for not having one. So now his latest attack line against investigations is, They're keeping us from getting the people's work done! If it wasn't for those damn investigations, we would have a $2 trillion infrastructure investment!]
Let’s face it: Infrastructure wasn’t happening anyway

"I don't do cover-ups"
Oh really?

By the way, the sign on the lectern is wrong

Nancy is winning
“Sadly, the only job the president seems to be concerned with is his own. He threatened to stop working with Democrats on all legislation unless we end oversight of his administration and he had a temper tantrum for us all to see.”
              — Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Why Pelosi is so good at infuriating Trump . . . “She’s smarter than him, and she’s tougher than him, and I think that bothers him,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Pelosi ally. . . . Meanwhile, the Trump-Pelosi confrontations are getting to be recurring spectacles, and even Republicans know it hurts the president's image. "It's a disaster," said a senior Republican who asked not to be named. "It plays right into her hands." [read on]

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway reportedly took a dig at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday after President Donald Trump’s infrastructure meeting with Democratic leadership fell apart. . . “I knew he was looking for a way out,” Pelosi said in response to Trump’s walkout, according to the Times. “We were expecting this.” Conway then asked Pelosi if she had “a direct response” to Trump’s complaints. The House Speaker told Conway that she was going to respond to the President, not his staff, the Times reported. “Really great,” Conway shot back. “That’s really pro-woman of you.”

The IRS's own review concluded that they have to give up Trump's tax returns. Treasury Sect'y Steve Mnuchin says he doesn't care


Mnuchin Kills Harriet Tubman $20 Bill

Meanwhile, the NY state legislature approves turning over his state tax returns 

And Trump loses ANOTHER court battle to keep his records from Congress
U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled against Donald Trump and his children on Wednesday and said that Deutsche Bank and Capitol One can turn over their financial documents to Congress in response to subpoenas. . . .
Jeffrey Toobin Calls Judge’s Ruling ‘Another Very Important Win’

“A key congressional committee has already gained access to President Trump’s dealings with two major financial institutions, two sources familiar with the House probe tell NBC News, as a court ruling Wednesday promised to open the door for even more records to be handed over.” “Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. The disclosures by these two banks haven’t been previously reported.”

Former Sect'y of State Rex Tillerson quietly appeared in Congress to testify about Trump 

Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin . . .
Tillerson Said Putin ‘Out-Prepared’ Trump

Oh, no! Hopey got subpoenaed  
Trump’s anger had been building well before he stepped into the Cabinet Room for a follow-up meeting with Democrats about an infrastructure deal that both parties already suspected was on life support. Long upset by the wave of Democratic investigations into his administration, Trump was incensed by reports Tuesday that some of his closest former aides, including ex-communications director Hope Hicks, for whom the president has long had a soft spot, were being subpoenaed to testify . . . 

The House Intel Committee reaches a partial agreement to get Mueller materials. Now they want Mueller


AG William Barr says he isn't defending Trump, he's defending the presidency. The problem is, the president IS Trump

Bill Barr’s Bullshit Claim that Trump Obstructed the Investigation Out of Frustration and Anger
Barr Is an Accomplice

Trump keeps lying that Michael Cohen's negotiations with Russia on his behalf were nothing. Here's how big a deal it was
[Trump] "I had few conversations with Mr. Cohen on this subject. As I recall, they were brief, and they were not memorable. I was not enthused about the proposal, and I do not recall any discussion of travel to Russia in connection with it. I do not remember discussing it with anyone else at the Trump Organization, although it is possible. I do not recall being aware at the time of any communications between Mr. Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government official regarding the Letter of Intent." [read on]
“Michael Cohen exchanged more than 230 phone calls and 950 text messages over eight months with the chief executive of a U.S. money-management firm with ties to a Russian oligarch,” Bloomberg reports. “The communications between Cohen and Andrew Intrater, the chief executive officer of Columbus Nova LCC, began on the day of Donald Trump’s election, according to a U.S. search-and-seizure warrant filed in Washington on Aug. 7, 2017, and unsealed on Wednesday.”


Now there's a MITCH McCONNELL/Russia scandal

In other news . . . 

The conventional wisdom is that an incumbent president with a strong economy should be unbeatable. Here's why that's not true this time


Trump says his popularity would be at 65% if not for the "witch hunt"

Trump admits that "new Wall™" means "renovation and replacement of existing Wall™"

Trump likes to declare "emergencies." Why isn't this an emergency?
A Sixth Migrant Child Has Now Died in U.S. Government Custody

An honest man in Congress
Sen. John Kennedy called on the Senate Wednesday to do more than confirm nominations and lambasted Congress for its lack of legislative accomplishments. . . . “We have done nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada,” Kennedy said. . . .

Another foreign adversary weighing in on a U.S. election -- to help Trump
Fox World keeps recycling Russian disinformation

[NB: I think this is a tough call, and I respect people like Elizabeth Warren who want nothing to do with Fox World. But the late-night blabbers on Fox are not the whole network and there are serious reporters who work there. If you are running a campaign looking for crossover voters, there are Fox viewers who are gettable. And maybe a few will start to think that not all Democrats are demons. Is that a bad thing?

Plus, it's driving Trump crazy -- so there's that.]

***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest 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 ( 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.***