Sunday, June 30, 2019


Another incoherent, rambling Trump press conference
For those of you who didn’t get to see President Donald Trump’s news conference early Saturday, let’s recap what he said: Former Secretary of State John Kerry broke the law in talking to Iran about its nuclear program. Jimmy Carter was a terrible president. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he didn’t interfere in the 2016 elections, and, come on, how many times are you going to push the guy on that point?  Vast numbers of illegal immigrants may soon be deported from the United States. And, circling back to Putin, the Russian president kind of makes sense when he says that Western-style liberalism is dead . . .

A reporter asked the president about an interview Putin gave the Financial Times, in which the Russian leader case pluralistic, liberal societies as outmoded. Trump seemed to misunderstand the question, though, interpreting the word “liberal” in an American political context. Putin, he said, “sees what’s going on” in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities “run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.”

[NB: Yes, it appears that Trump does not understand what "Western-style liberalism" means. Does he think it means liberals on the West Coast? . . . But at a deeper level it's true. He is the unwitting instrument of Putin's attack on democracy. That was the real point of Russian interference in 2016.] 

As the news conference played out, Trump seemed in no hurry for it to end. His next stop was Seoul, but as he told reporters, Air Force One doesn’t take off without him. He had one concern: that the press might report he held the spotlight too long. “If you want, I’ll go on,” he said. . . . 

And he went on. . . .
After talking about how America is "the hot show, the hot show in town," Trump claims during G20 presser that "virtually every leader" he spoke with at the summit told him "congratulations, it's incredible what's happened to the American economy." My BS detector just went off. . . .

While complaining about a deal where the US is obligated to come to Japan's defense if the country is attacked, Trump denigrates previous presidents. "It's almost like we had people that they didn't either care or they were stupid." . . .

Trump casually claims he's personally responsible for persuading [Turkey President] Erdogan to not "wipe out" the Kurds. . . .

Trump thinks stealth planes are literally invisible. "It is stealth, you can't see it. It is real hard to beat something when you can't see it.". . . 

Trump has absolutely no clue what the controversy surrounding busing policy is. He resorts to describing busing as "certainly a primary method of getting people to schools." . . . Trump punts by suggesting, oddly, that his administration will soon come out with some sort of busing-related policy . . .

Trump says Palestinians "don't have to be" part of an Israeli/Palestinian peace plan. . . . 

Trump wants you to believe the Saudi regime is taking a murder they're responsible for (Khashoggi) very seriously: "More than 13 people are being prosecuted and I hear the number is going to be going up." . . . [read on]

Donald Trump has praised Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying he was doing a “spectacular job” as the pair met on the sidelines of the G20 summit. “You have done a spectacular job,” Trump told the powerful crown prince on Saturday, calling him “a friend of mine”. . . .

In his trade war with China, Trump blinks
Washington, to inhibit Chinese spying, is trying to persuade American allies to not install Huawei equipment in soon-to-be-built 5G telecommunications networks. Trump, however, undercut these efforts Saturday . . .
Somebody help me out here. The restrictions on Huawei were based on national security, right? Huawei networking products supposedly have secret backdoors that allow the Chinese government to spy on us, and it’s all so secret that nobody is willing to provide any actual evidence about this. But it’s there! . . . But if that’s the case, how can Huawei be a routine bargaining chip in a trade war?

Trump tries to persuade supporters that no deal on China is a win

Trump tries to persuade other G-20 leaders to abandon climate goals. Fortunately, he fails

A happy week for Trump and his BFFs

[NB: It's the crowd he feels most comfortable hanging with.]

Clarence Thomas, 71, is the oldest right-winger on the Supreme Court, but it doesn't look like he will step down any time soon

Thomas appears to be having a blast. . . .

5 takeaways from the Supreme Court’s just-ended term

Now THIS is chutzpah. Crooked congressman caught spending campaign funds for his illicit affairs says it's okay because the affairs "often served an overtly political purpose"

In other news . . . 

Trump defends Biden?
Trump has been harshly critical of Biden, who campaign aides see as the Democrats’ strongest candidate. Yet in the news conference, Trump talked about Biden with uncharacteristic sympathy. He said that Harris had gotten “too much credit” and that Biden “was hit harder than he should have been hit.” Biden’s eloquence is no match for “Winston Churchill,” Trump said, but in fairness to him Harris’s attack seemed pre-cooked. . . .

Trump hits back against former president Jimmy Carter


Where is Melania?
The White House has not provided any statement explaining why the First Lady is a no-show at the G-20 in Japan this week.

Interesting choice. Now that the Supreme Court has made clear that partisan gerrymandering is just fine with them, should the Dems start exploiting it as much as the Repubs do?

This is the kind of thing that used to get you fired. Now it's politics as usual
Trump Campaign Worker Behind Fake Biden Site


Kamala's rivals unite to defend her against racist birther attacks

Tough cookie:
Kamala Harris Can Be Ruthless When She Wants to Be
"Reparations" are another of those complex and politically loaded issues that the Dems have managed to make into an oversimplified litmus test

What Do 2020 Candidates Mean When They Say ‘Reparations’?

No, we DON'T need to "take Marianne Williamson seriously"

Williamson (probably) isn’t going to win. But she speaks for a broad swath of Americans.
The Bizarre Charm of Marianne Williamson 

Bonus item: You might think this is a joke, from The Onion perhaps. It's an actual "poll", on the Trump/Pence web site
1. Who would you rather see fix our Nation’s shattered immigration policies?
          • President Trump
          • A MS-13 Loving Democrat
2. Who do you trust more to protect America from foreign and domestic threats?
          • President Trump
          • A Corrupt Democrat . . . [read on]

***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.***

Saturday, June 29, 2019


Trump jokes with Putin about election meddling -- and Putin is in on the joke
Trump opened by telling everyone what an honor it was to meet with Putin, making no mention of the election interference. In fact, he didn’t bring up the issue at all. It was a reporter speaking from the audience who asked, “Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?” At that point, Trump smirked, rolled his eyes, and made his mocking request of Putin. The Russian autocrat, for his part, played along. He laughed during Trump’s finger-wagging statement, then returned his own broad smile as he answered, “Of course I won’t.”
Putin Denies Meddling, Says ‘Donald’ Just Took Advantage Of Political Mood In US

[NB: Who are you going to believe, me or this Mueller guy?]

It gets worse:
Trump tells the journalist-murdering Putin that they should 'get rid of' the press . . . “Get rid of them,” said Trump. “Fake news is a great term, isn't it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.” 
Vladimir Putin says liberalism has ‘become obsolete’, champions national populism sweeping Europe, and assails mindless multiculturalism and sexual diversity

Judge blocks Trump's Wall™ again  

Further reflections on the debates: maybe the Dems aren't so far left after all
“I saw a number of analysts flag the liberal positions that some candidates took as general-election vulnerabilities. Perhaps! But it’s not exactly a secret that candidates tend to play to their parties during the nomination fight and then moderate their positions when they face the larger electorate. So I’d guess that such concerns are overblown. And in a world where Republicans will call even very modest Democratic proposals ‘socialism,’ it’s not clear that supporting somewhat more liberal policies will change anyone’s perceptions.” “That said, I’ve always thought Sen. Bernie Sanders is an exception. It’s normal to back away from a campaign promise, claim to be misunderstood or generally modify specific policy positions for the general election. Sanders just isn’t in a position to do that, and I doubt he has any interest in it. Perhaps that’s to his credit, but it makes him a very vulnerable potential nominee nonetheless. Political-science research is uncertain as to whether ideological extremism harms presidential candidates, but the truth is, there hasn’t been a comparable major-party nominee in the last century.”

Comments from political scientists
I made my case against Medicare for All yesterday, and I am concerned that Kamala Harris has already put herself on record in favor of forcing people out of employer-provided plans that they like. But. . . . she may have some wriggle room

Kamala Harris is open to multiple paths to 'Medicare-for-all'

A-a-a-a-n-d . . . . there it is!
Kamala Harris reverses answer on abolishing private health insurance, saying she misheard question  

Kamala has a breakthrough moment, so of course we get social media posts saying she isn't really black. Noted expert Donald Junior weighs in  
Birtherism Is Back

A lot of suspect accounts are pushing the “Kamala Harris is not Black” narrative tonight. It’s everywhere and it has all the signs of being a coordinated/artificial operation. . . .

People are recalling the Trump/Hillary debate, where Trump thuggishly loomed behind Clinton to try to throw her off. The question today is, what would Kamala Harris do in that situation?
Reader after reader invoked that moment and said Harris clearly wouldn’t let that happen. . . . [H]er physical energy, body language and assertion of mastery and power were her biggest message of the evening. It was meant for last night but just as much, I think, Trump. She was telling voters clearly that she would put up with nothing from Trump.  

Castro Campaign Fundraising Soars After Debate Performance

More big fundraising hauls: 

Pete Buttigieg, wow (part one)
One of the most powerful moments of last night’s Democratic debate was when Pete Buttigieg was asked about the recent police shooting in South Bend. Rachel Maddow asked why he hadn’t increased the number of black police officers on the force. Said Buttigieg: “Because I couldn’t get it done. . . . It’s a mess. And we’re hurting.” [read on] 

Pete Buttigieg, wow (part two)
Buttigieg said that although Democrats “stand for people of any religion and no religion,” Democrats should “call out hypocrisy when we see it” when it comes to the violation of Christian principles. “And for a party that associates itself with Christianity to say that it is ok, to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents,” he said, “that God would condone putting children in cages has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.” . . .

Kamala Harris had a great debate, and Biden deserved to be called on his previous comments and positions. All fair game. But it makes you gulp to see how delighted it makes Fox World

The topic of race is absolutely central to Biden’s candidacy, but it’s also the source of a big and unresolved tension at its core.

Blood in the water?
Biden fundraiser ditches him and warns others may too


Bernie decries "ageism"

[NB: Really, dude? Really?] 

Great ratings for the Dem debates  

In investigation news . . . 

Witness tampering?
The day before Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, one of Donald Trump’s most flamboyantly partisan allies sent the former “fixer” an unusual message via Twitter. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wrote, “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.” As regular readers may recall, legal experts weighed in almost immediately, suggesting the online missive looked an awful lot like the Republican congressman was trying to influence Cohen’s testimony . . .


In other news . . .

"There is only Trump"
One day, Lowry found an envelope from the White House on his desk at National Review. Intrigued, he opened it up to find a clipped out newspaper column. “I’d written about what a dominating political and cultural presence Donald Trump is––so even if you’re a Republican who wants to distance yourself or run away from Trump there’s just no way you can do it,” he explained. “I thought I had a lot of incisive and some disparaging references to the president. That actually made no impression on him. What caught his eye was the headline that the New York Post editors put on the column: THERE IS ONLY TRUMP.” The president got a marker, circled the headline, drew an arrow to it and wrote, “Rich: So True. Donald J. Trump.”

Female athletes are tough and strong and confident, as any great athlete needs to be. Trump has no idea what he has taken on in dissing the US Women's Soccer team
Megan Rapinoe Is On to Him, and Trump Can’t Stand It
Soccer star Ali Krieger says Trump has a problem with women he can't 'control or grope'

Trump likes to brag that he talks from time to time with Jimmy Carter -- one of the few former presidents he bothers to interact with. Looks like that will be coming to an end
JIMMY CARTER: If fully investigated, it would show that Trump didn't actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put in office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.
JON MEACHAM: So do you believe President Trump is an illegitimate president?"
CARTER: “Based on what I just said which I can’t retract…I’d say yes.”

How does Trump insure that he is surrounded by supportive, adoring faces at his Fourth of July ego-fest?

The GOP-controlled Senate fails to rein in Trump's saber-rattling against Iran. If he starts a war, it's on them

New Acting Immigration and Citizenship chief Ken Cuccinelli looks at the photo of the drowned migrant daughter and father and says, It was their own fault

You wouldn't think that sensible election security, like having a paper ballot backup for recounts, would be a partisan issue. But it's become one

184 House Republicans just voted against securing elections

Bonus item: Comic relief
"Marianne Williamson for Secretary of Crystals": The bonkers break-out character of NBC's debates
Marianne Williamson’s Greatest Tweets

Kate McKinnon Nails A Marianne Williamson Impression

***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.***