Sunday, September 15, 2019


A whistleblower within the intelligence services filed a complaint that the Inspector General determined was "credible and urgent." Now the House Intelligence oversight committee wants to know what it was -- and the DNI has told them to f--k off
“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [inspector general] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never," Schiff said in a statement. "This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct." . . . "The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire on Friday. 

[NB: I have a feeling Schiff knows exactly what it's about, and it's huge.]


See the trick?
Three days before the Israeli elections, President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and agreed to work on a U.S.-Israel defense treaty after the election is over. By making this statement, Trump directly intervened in the Israeli elections and sided with Netanyahu. . .

[NB: Same as his promised middle class tax cut, IF he gets re-elected and given a GOP Congress again. If not, you lose, losers...]

Osama bin Laden's son killed!

But. . . . wait . . . this seems to have happened in . . . July, or even earlier. Why the big announcement NOW?
Oddly, the statement did not come out as a Trumpian tweet, but as an official press release from the office of the White House press secretary. It didn’t say how the younger Bin Laden was killed. It didn’t say when. It didn’t say where, apart from “the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.” . . .

Yes, it seems that Bolton quit and wasn't fired
Former national security adviser John Bolton resigned the day after a Monday discussion about Iran policy in which President Trump raised the possibility of relieving some sanctions . . . Bolton did not favor giving the Iranians relief and believed the maximum pressure campaign was working . . . .

The worst campaign slogan in history

August 15:
"The bottom line is . . . you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)'s down the tubes, everything's gonna be down the tubes," Trump said while speaking in Manchester, N.H. "So whether you love me or hate me, you gotta vote for me,” he added.

September 13:
“Whether you like me or not, it doesn’t matter,” Trump said . . . “You have to elect me. You have no choice.” “Our country will go to hell if any of these people get in,” he continued in reference to Democratic presidential candidates, further warning that if one of them gets elected they would “take your money and very much hurt your families.”

[Kassy Dillon] Here’s the thing: I’m voting for Trump but I wouldn’t be friends with Trump. I’m not voting for Yang but I’d definitely be his friend.
[Trump] I’m OK with that!
[NB: It used to be, which candidate would you want to have a beer with. Now it's, "You may hate me, but YOU HAVE NO CHOICE."]

This is a very, very revealing story. The Trump campaign has GIVEN UP on trying to change people's negative views on Trump, and is focusing instead on turning out folks who like Trump but don't usually vote
Less than 14 months before Election Day, the president’s team is banking his reelection hopes on identifying and bringing to the polls hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters such as Arentz — people in closely contested states who didn’t vote in 2016. The campaign is betting that it may be easier to make voters out of these electoral rarities than to win over millions of Trump skeptics in the center of the electorate. It’s a risky wager born of political necessity, and helps explain Trump’s provocative communications strategy, from his attacks on the media to his racially polarizing rhetoric. Trump, aides and allies say, knows he needs to fire up his supporters, and anger is a powerful motivator. . . .

[NB: Yes, THOSE are the people we want deciding the future of our country . . .]

Some pretty remarkable stats from 2016, and another ominous sign for Trump in 2020

USA Today endorses . . . Not Trump
“In the 34-year history of USA Today, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. . . . Until now. . . . This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.”

Maybe there is hope for us after all
Growing number of Americans see climate change as a crisis, poll finds 

[NB: And more bad news for Trump. . . ]

In investigation news . . .

Trump was holding back aid from Ukraine to pressure them to help his re-election. It didn't work, apparently
The scheme that Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump have been running in Ukraine deserves to be getting more attention, and lately it has been. Three House committees are now investigating the scam in which both Giuliani and Trump have been leaning on Ukrainian officials in an effort to get them to claim that Vice President Joe Biden is under investigation. Which he definitely is not. As part of this plot, Trump has even been holding up military aid to Ukraine to place pressure on the new pro-Western government. The New York Times reports that Trump has folded on this part of the scheme after the idea of withholding aid from a U.S. ally created outrage on both sides of the aisle. . .  

Will the next president have to make a decision on prosecuting Trump?

In other news . . . 

Brett Kavanaugh is accused of further sexual misconduct
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was publicly accused of another sexual misconduct allegation Saturday, which was allegedly reported to the FBI during his 2018 confirmation process but not investigated . . . [read on]
How the NYT presented it:
“Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun . . .”  

[NB: What is the MATTER with those people?] 

Trump posts a strange sequence of tweets on Saturday morning. No one understands them
[Trump] “A Very Stable Genius!” Thank you. . . .

“Isn’t this something he said about himself?” asked one person on Twitter. [read on]


Trump has a new enemy: Joy Reid of MSNBC


[NB: He asks, "Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid?" and then shows that he has given her a LOT of attention.]

Trump has been saying that his "internal polls" are way more favorable to him than those FAKE NEWS polls that all the rest of us pay attention to. Now we know why. This comes from a friend of mine:

A few weeks ago I got a survey in the mail from the Trump campaign asking how likely I was to vote to “re-elect”  the Giant Cheeto. My choices were “extremely likely,” “very likely,” “likely,” or “probably likely.”

No, I don't expect this to happen, and I think we get a little too paranoid. Trump is not all-powerful. But it says something about our times that such a thing is even seriously talked about
What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down?

They don't even pretend any more: it's all right out there
Trump Adviser Navarro Commands Fox Host, ‘You Gotta Help Us Out’  

"Dear Leader" department: Fox World's sycophancy continues to grow
At the end of his show on Friday, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs signed off by reminding his viewers to “Have a great weekend.” He added: “The president makes such a thing possible for us all.”  

Theocracy watch: I'm not religious at all, but I am curious why Christians don't speak out more forcefully against Trump and his theocratic enablers like Jerry Falwell Jr., who call themselves "Christian" while enacting wholly unChristian values and policies

A big intra-party fight is brewing about whether GOP fundraising is really about helping House candidates, or helping Trump 

The GOP keeps looking for new ways to gerrymander, because it's the only way they can stay in power 

Beto O'Rourke's proposal to buy back assault weapons isn't very realistic, and his "hell yes" video clip was a tactless way to put it. Now we see the predictable result: the NRA and Fox echo chamber use it to say "See? The Dems DO want to take away your guns!" And the Dems fret and fidget that he might have gone too far

The video:
Outnumbered Panel Freaks Out Over Beto's Buyback Plan
Democrats Worry O’Rourke is Emboldening the NRA With Gun Confiscation Proposal 

[NB: As so often happens, the Dems have a winning issue on supporting background checks and other popular gun control proposals -- which have Trump and the Republicans badly on the defensive -- then squander it by going for a whole-hog proposal that will never happen and gives the rhetorical edge right back to the GOP. Sound familiar?] 

I've made my position clear: a Medicare for All plan that forces people off their current plans whether they like them or not may be good policy but it's a political loser. It could lose the election for any Dem all by itself. You have to make it opt-in and you have to give people CHOICE (that magical American word). 

Bernie "I Wrote the Damn Bill" Sanders is all-in for it; I will start taking Elizabeth Warren seriously when she starts nuancing her position and when she is more forthcoming about what it will cost and how it will be paid for

[NB: Let's not make the Democratic slogan "You have no choice!"]

A very different angle on the Dem debate
I’m a Body Language Expert. Here’s What I Saw During the Debate.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019


We finally know the real reason Trump is against energy efficient light bulbs
"I always look orange"

[NB: Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. Should someone tell him he looks orange in ALL lighting, because of his phony spray-on tan? 

By the way, I have mentioned this before, but check out Trump's Twitter page. How old is that photo? Ten, fifteen years? It shows his vanity and need to reconstruct reality that THIS is how he wants people to view him now. If you had a friend still running a photo like that, you would think it kind of sad, wouldn't you?]  

Reality check 
“Trump is, as political scientists like myself and Matt Glassman have been saying for some time, a very weak president. Congressional Republicans basically ignore his policy ideas. He loses battles to the executive-branch bureaucracy all the time. He’s been reduced to hiring flunkies and family members so he can get his way within the White House, and even they don’t seem to listen to him half the time. . . .”

“What this means is that the political system is basically working. It’s imposing serious consequences on the president for doing a bad job. Refusing to respect the rules of the office is one of the ways that presidents can harm their reputations. And Trump’s unpopular Twitter persona and generally unpresidential behavior are partly why his approval rating is some 15 percentage points below where it would be based only on the economy and other fundamentals. Presidents normally care desperately about power, and Trump is squandering his.”

“The only problem is that he doesn’t realize it. We can’t know what he really thinks, but he seems to believe he’s wildly popular despite evidence to the contrary. . . . ” 

Meanwhile, the sycophancy of Fox World is getting creepy
Dear Leader Watch 

The Air Force tells Trump that stealing military money to build his stupid Wall™ is damaging national security 

“No. The military is going to be stronger and bigger and more modernized than ever before. The military is so important. That’s number one, two and three on my list. . . .”
           — Donald Trump, in a 2016 Newsday interview, when asked if he would redirect military funds to build infrastructure. 

The exploding deficit
Despite his promises, Trump pushes deficit past $1 trillion mark 

Here's how you know Trump's promised "middle class tax cut" is about driving votes, not a real commitment
Trump Promises ‘Very Inspirational’ Tax Cuts

[NB: Also, if you read the fine print, he is promising to PROPOSE them, not PASS them, before the election -- that's because he wants to extort the country: if you don't re-elect me, and give me a GOP Congress, you won't get the tax cut.]

I guess I CAN still be shocked
“Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in a loud voice: ‘Where’s my favorite dictator?’ Several people who were in the room at the time said they heard the question.” “The witnesses said they believed the president made the comment jokingly, but said his question was met by a stunned silence.”

Now Trump has another ACTING official in his Cabinet
President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.” . . .

Trump wants every agency, public and private, to be under his orders. Even the UN

Trump wants to start locking up the homeless -- because Fox World told him to 

Whoomp! There it is!
Tomi Lahren: We Need Guns to ‘Defend Ourselves’ From Immigrants 

No, Trump and this GOP will never approve serious gun control. Despite Trump's promises to do something, they might not even vote on it
Ted Cruz warns GOP that support for expanded background checks on guns could elect Elizabeth Warren  

The NRA's full-court pressure on Trump worked:  

I love it when a party that was in power and failed to fulfill its promises, now promises to really, really do them next time. . .  if you just vote them back into power

Fracking, the case for and against

Trump is posting this on his official presidential account. This is NOT OKAY
Proud to announce that @TrumpNewYork has just been named the #1 “Best Hotel in the World!" Congratulations to our remarkable team @TrumpHotels

Federal appeals court reinstates Trump emoluments case 

Don't think they don't know whose pockets this money flows into
Trump's D.C. hotel profits from yet another conservative group's gala, and Pence and Pompeo headline
Pompeo jokes about speaking at Trump hotel: 'The guy who owns it' is 'going to be successful'
Top Border Patrol official to hold retirement party at Donald Trump’s Virginia golf course

[NB: It is all unbelievably corrupt, and they're all part of it.]

Lies, lies, lies:
“Are you guys benefitting financially from the president holding office?” host Brian Kilmeade asked him. “It’s ridiculous,” Trump Jr. responded. “We voluntarily stopped doing any international deals.” . . . Trump Jr.’s claim about how the Trump Organization has “stopped doing any international deals” is dubious — recent reports indicate they’ve actually been working on an “aggressive global expansion.” But facing no pushback from hosts, Trump Jr. went on to downplay the significance of people spending money at the president’s hotels, echoing a talking point his father used in response to a similar question earlier this week. “They talk, ‘someone bought a cheeseburger at the Trump hotel!’ It’s asinine,” Trump Jr. said.

Trump and Barr are Jonesing to prosecute Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. One problem: they apparently can't get a grand jury to indict him. If true, that is remarkable -- and an indictment of their "case"
Getting a grand Jury to provide an indictment is famously easy. As in, “would indict a ham sandwich” easy. If the letter is accurate in saying that a grand jury returned “no true bill” when confronted with the evidence against McCabe, that’s not just an unusual result; that’s a crushing embarrassment for Barr’s Justice Department . . . [read on]


In other news . . .

Stop laughing!
Ivanka tells donors she got her moral compass from her dad  

[NB: I do not like the new haircut, by the way.]

Eric Trump should keep his mouth shut
Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, offered up some incisive commentary during Thursday’s Democratic debate. Not really. . . . [read on] 

Lara Trump (Eric's wife) adds to the idiocy
Lara Trump Explains Away Bad Polls: People Are ‘Afraid’ To Voice Support For Prez 

The GOP: enemies of democracy

Because of Moscow Mitch and Republican inaction, we still have a serious problem with social media disinformation, bots, and trolls

The GOP wants to make AOC the face of the Democratic Party
A shocking debate ad compared AOC’s policies to a brutal genocide

He just says s--t
[Trump] "The two big Congressional wins in North Carolina on Tuesday, Dan Bishop and Greg Murphy, have reverberated all over the World. They showed a lot of people how strong the Republican Party is, and how well it is doing. . . ."

[NB: Yes, ALL OVER THE WORLD! Winning two red seats that they were expected to win -- though in one case by a smaller margin than expected -- is definitely a sign of great strength. Stay in your deluded bubble man, please.]

Trump's primary challengers call him a "coward" 

Numbers suggest the Dem primary is becoming a two-person race after last night's debate  

Joe Biden's support isn't really affected by gaffes and well-intentioned but bumbling answers. This is part of why people like him. That reservoir of good will is part of what makes him a formidable challenger to Trump, because it draws such a contrast
“Biden certainly wasn’t great. But his candidacy is posited on the theory that he doesn’t have to be a great debater. At this stage, his advisers know that they are unlikely to win over many progressive activists or dominate the highly educated demographic that has gravitated to Warren. Their strategy is to shore up Biden’s support among the rest of the Democratic alliance, including moderates, minorities, and whites who didn’t complete college. To this end, they are relying on his reputation as a centrist, his ties to Obama, and the good will he has built up over the years. Despite an uneven performance on Thursday night, Biden didn’t upend this strategy.” 

“Arguably, his best moment came near the end, when all the candidates were asked about the most significant professional setbacks they had faced. Biden talked movingly about overcoming the death of his first wife and daughter in a car accident, and, more recently, of losing his eldest son, Beau, to cancer, by ‘finding purpose’ and staying engaged in public life. If he had left it there, it would have been a perfectly good response. But he went on to shift the discussion beyond himself. ‘There’s a lot of people been through a lot worse than I have, who get up every single morning, put their feet one foot in front of another, without the help I had,’ he said. ‘There are real heroes out there. Some real heroes.’ Earlier this week, my colleague Benjamin Wallace-Wells asked if Biden could remind Democrats what they liked about him. At least in this moment, he did.” 


The case against Biden:

[NB: It's interesting to watch the smart bloggers and pundits who clearly have candidate favorites offering "analyses" that just so happen to frame the issues in a way that . . . helps their preferred candidate. For the record, I do not have a single person in mind, and on different days different people pop to the top of my mental list. 

My main goal here is to try to advocate for making this choice with a hard head and an open mind. I don't believe in "falling in love" with candidates, and I haven't believed it since McGovern in 1972, when I was 18 -- and look what that got us.]

I want the candidates to talk more about foreign policy issues -- but I also want them to make sense when they do



Free trade:


[NB: It's so much easier to say, "I have a plan to buy everyone a pony!" The world is a tough, dangerous, and complex place -- and Trump is nowhere near up to the challenge, especially when he doesn't listen to anyone else. Are any of these folks ready?]

You've heard this here
In presidential primary debates, Republicans are typically asked what they’re going to do. Democrats are asked that too—plus questions about how they’re going to do it. . . . But the candidates might as well get used to it. As long as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is running the Senate, major Democratic proposals are going nowhere; his power as majority leader—and a filibuster rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation—makes the chances of success unlikely. As the 2020 primary cranked up to its next level of seriousness with the third debate last night, so did that big question for the Democrats on stage: How exactly are they going to do what they’ve proposed? . . . [read on] 

“Medicare for All” Is Not a Winning Platform

Beto O'Rourke says people shouldn't have assault weapons -- and then a maniac from the Texas legislature proves why
***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.***