Wednesday, July 31, 2019


The first of the Mueller ads

His testimony actually switched more Dems toward impeachment:

DNI nominee John Ratcliffe is under the microscope now. Can he survive the scrutiny?
Trump's pick for intelligence director misrepresented role in anti-terror case
Trump Intel Pick Ratcliffe Faces Allegations Of No Intel Experience
In naming Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be Director of National Intelligence, President Trump ignored a warning from Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the intelligence committee . . . “Burr told the White House last week that the move would inject more partisan politics into the work of the intelligence agencies.” 

This is a problem. Some folks in the intel community say it doesn't matter if there is a Trump flunky in charge of intelligence, because Trump only listens to what he wants to believe anyway. That's wrong: because the head of intelligence also gives information to Congress and to the American people. This was Dan Coats' transgression -- that he told the TRUTH in these settings, truths that Trump didn't want aired. THAT'S what we won't get from Ratcliffe, and that's why he shouldn't be confirmed

A former congressional staffer who worked feverishly to discredit the Russia investigation has recently been promoted on the National Security Council staff. . . .

Trump tries to defend Ratcliffe
President Donald Trump defended Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to reporters on Tuesday, calling him a “brilliant” man . . .
“I think that John Ratcliffe is going to do an incredible job if he gets approved, he’s gotta get approved, but I think he’ll do a great job, I hope he gets approved,” he told reporters Tuesday. “I think we need somebody like that, we need somebody strong that can really rein it in because, as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They’ve run amok.”

Now this:
The occupier of the Oval Office has suggested via tweet, of course, that pending the confirmation of his lackey and conspiracy theorist Rep. John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence, he'll choose an acting director for the organization. Furthermore, CNN reports that he "may go outside the normal protocol" in bypassing ODNI deputy director Sue Gordon as the acting chief during the confirmation process. National security reporter Natasha Bertrand says her sources tell her Gordon has been informed she "would not be considered to replace Coats, and that she would not be selected to serve as the acting, which came as a surprise to her & other intel professionals." That might be surprising because what the administration is calling "outside the normal protocol" is illegal. Robert Chesney writes at Lawfare that "The president does not have discretion in this matter, however, so long as there is a current principal deputy." 

Will Senate Repubs fold on Ratcliffe, and give Trump what he wants?

Trump has completely bungled the China trade negotiations -- though he blames China, of course
Prospects Dim for China Trade Deal

Trump's version:
"China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through. Our Economy has become MUCH larger than the Chinese Economy is last 3 years. My team is negotiating with them now, but they always change the deal in the end to their benefit. They should probably wait out our Election to see if we get one of the Democrat stiffs like Sleepy Joe. Then they could make a GREAT deal, like in past 30 years, and continue to ripoff the USA, even bigger and better than ever before. The problem with them waiting, however, is that if & when I win, the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now...or no deal at all. We have all the cards, our past leaders never got it!"

[NB: And we say, again: he is a LOUSY deal-maker. His approach is to fluctuate between insults and threats, and cloying flattery, as ways to get what he wants. He assumes that people NEED a deal with him, so they will eventually "come begging like a dog." In international affairs he doesn't understand that sometimes he has limited leverage, and that other countries are resolutely driven by self-interest. He thinks he holds all the cards, a delusion that consistently drives him to bad choices. He always sees himself -- needs to see himself -- in a position of dominance, even when he's not. That's a bad attitude for a negotiator.]

Trump's bribe to farmers to buy off their losses due to his stupid tariffs didn't go to most farmers 
54% of the aid payments went to just one-tenth of recipients  

More foreign policy acumen
Trump's 2016 'America First' energy speech was edited and preapproved by UAE and Saudi Arabia 

The Dems need to make foreign policy an issue in the election

The Fed is trying to protect the economy, not re-elect Trump. That's their job
The central bank is expected to cut rates this week in part to offset President Donald Trump’s trade war.

The odious Stephen Miller wants to crack down even harder on asylum seekers

The Trump admin separated 900 families AFTER a judge told them to stop doing it

Trump takes his lead from Fox World on race-baiting tweets
His aides are worried:
Racist in chief declares, 'I'm the least racist person there is anywhere in the world'

Wow. Just think of it
Half of voters say Trump is racist: poll
[NB: That probably includes people who think so, and think it's a good thing, I suppose.] 

I believe it:
“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy.”
          — President Trump, quoted by The Hill, on his ongoing attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and the City of Baltimore.

Trump: "Everybody’s called a racist now"

[NB: Well, no actually. We're talking about YOU.]

Oooooh, I love the Internet!
If Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is responsible for poverty and crime in his congressional district, as President Trump has claimed for the last few days, then the Washington Post notes there is some bad news for the president about his pick to be Director of National Intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX): On a number of metrics, Ratcliffe’s district is doing even worse.

Trump is perplexed that some reporters on Fox are trying to do real journalism
‘What the Hell Is Going On?’

In investigation news . . .

I don't see how a judge blocks NY state deciding what to do with their tax returns
A federal judge who punted on a dispute over President Trump’s New York tax returns on Monday will not get the easy way out he was looking for, the parties said on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols had asked that Trump, House Democrats and New York state officials negotiate an agreement that would address the concerns the judge raised about a new law in New York that would allow Congress to request the President’s state tax returns. The parties said in a joint status report on Tuesday that the could not reach such an agreement . . .

In other news . . . 

The Democratic debate: highlights
It’s Bernie and Warren Against the World
Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Unite Against Moderate Assault
Moderates warn that Sanders, Warren risk throwing 2020 to Trump
Sanders and Warren's ideas—and beatdowns of competitors—define another debate marred by moderators
How well Warren and Sanders responded to these charges likely depended on where you, the theoretical viewer, rested on the political spectrum. If you believe that Democrats need to be bolder and more aggressive in their visions for the country, you probably thought that Warren and Sanders got the best of them; if you think those visions are either impossible to achieve or too far left to defeat Donald Trump, you probably sided with the Biden proxies. . . .
The Detroit Debate Quickly Turned Into A Big Scrum Over Health Care
On health care, there are 3 types of Democrats running for president
Sanders Tells Delaney ‘You’re Wrong!’ That Medicare For All Is Political Suicide
Elizabeth Warren Buries Some Inconvenient Truths
Democratic Candidates Spar Over Decriminalizing Border-Crossing

5 things we learned from kind-of a meh debate
The Biggest Takeaways From First Night Of CNN’s Democratic Debate
Here’s How The Candidates Distinguished Themselves
Democrats tried to win over working-class voters. But they ignored their biggest worry.
The Democratic debate’s incoherent discussion about who could best beat Trump
Democrats Strike Out on Job No. 1: Beating Trump

Winners and losers

Mitch McConnell is not happy. That makes me happy
In more than three dozen interviews by The Associated Press with women in critical suburbs, nearly all expressed dismay — or worse — at Trump’s racially polarizing insults and what was often described as unpresidential treatment of people. Even some who gave Trump credit for the economy or backed his crackdown on immigration acknowledged they were troubled or uncomfortable lining up behind the president. . . .

Biden still maintains a substantial lead nationally

Fun: match the Dem candidate to their slogan

Despite what the Repubs say, people don't think the Democratic party is becoming more extreme

CNN finally recognizes that Trump rallies are free campaign ads, and they won't run them any more

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019


More attacks by Trump against black leaders
Trump Kicks Off Week With Angry Tweets At Sharpton And Cummings
Trump renews attacks on Cummings: 'He should investigate himself'
We know who this strategy helps with -- but is it hurting Trump with others?
Trump’s Race Baiting Will Cost Him In 2020

Trump's assault on Cummings signals a new pivot to full-on racism: It's ugly, but it won't work

Trump's new nominee for Director of National Intelligence is totally unqualified -- but he helped attack Mueller, so he's in
So why was he nominated? Because this president doesn’t much care about qualifications. . . . [read on]
The ‘Least Qualified Individual Ever’
“For what is supposed to be perhaps the most nonpartisan job in Washington — the director of national intelligence — President Trump has selected one of the fiercest political warriors in the capital,” the New York Times reports.

5 reasons why John Ratcliffe is a terrible choice for intelligence chief

Ratcliffe's confirmation hearings are going to be interesting
Within the first few minutes of Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing, Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) or Mark Warner (D-VA), the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top two members, should ask “Did Russia interfere in the 2016 presidential election?” Ratcliffe will likely say “yes” to this. . . . The senators must then ask a crucial follow-up question: “Did Russia interfere in the 2016 election to help elect Donald Trump?” The correct answer to this is “yes,” as the intelligence community already reached this conclusion back in January 2017. . . . How Ratcliffe responds is key. If he says “yes,” he’ll be siding with the professionals he intends to lead — but potentially running afoul of Trump. . . . If Ratcliffe answers “no,” though, it will show that he doesn’t accept settled intelligence, likely because he wants to look good in front of Trump. That would bode poorly for how he might act as the intelligence chief.
Trump’s New Intelligence Chief Led Calls To Investigate The Investigators
Trump Intel Pick John Ratcliffe Started Theory of FBI Anti-Trump ‘Secret Society’
Tepid Response to Trump’s Pick for Spy Chief
Dem senators slam Ratcliffe's nomination for intel chief 

[NB: This nomination is clearly about the politicization of intelligence -- but it also puts at the head of the Justice dept and the head of Intelligence characters who are prepared to investigate and punish those who dared to pursue the Trump-Russia scandal.]

Guess who might turn out to be the deciding vote on Radcliffe? 

[NB: Or she could vote for him and then say she is "very disappointed" when he does exactly what everyone warned he would do:]

Trump keeps lying that somebody else will pay for his Wall™

Trump still seems to think he can tell the Fed what to do

Trump signs the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill, which wouldn't have passed without the Dems . . . but doesn't include any Dems (not even the bill's author) at the signing ceremony

Trump commemorates 9/11 first responders by making it all about him
Trump Makes Tone-Deaf Joke
"And I was down there also. But I'm not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you."

[NB: That is also a lie.]


Here's what Trump actually did after 9/11: he bragged that his building was now the tallest in NY

Trump approves the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, and profits from it

Another telecom megamerger coming?

Trump's stupidity, laziness, and ignorance of foreign affairs is making the world a more dangerous place
Inside the Secret Campaign to Export U.S. Nuclear Tech to Saudi Arabia
Trump Wins Veto Fight With Senate to Allow Arms Sales to Saudis
Has China Just Made a Major Stealth Breakthrough?
China to Conduct Military Drills Off Taiwan
Trump shrugs at North Korean missile tests, evidence of growing threat

In investigation news. . .

Trump-appointed judge wants to find a "compromise" on access to Trump's NY state tax returns

In other news . . . 
Trump, who doesn't drink, says French wine is lousy, wants to slap tariffs on it. This, from the owner of a mediocre winery
"France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies," Trump wrote on Twitter. . . "I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!" . . . "I told them. I said, 'Don't do it, because if you do it, I'm going to tax your wine — tariff or tax, call it whatever you want.'"


Trump's obsession with attacking every remnant of Obama's legacy reaches absurd lengths
Trump Blames White House Air Conditioning on Obama 

How the Plastic Princess stabs her WH rivals in the back

The Republicans seem to think they can kill off coverage for pre-existing conditions, then blame the Dems for it
Senator John Cornyn thinks you are stupider than a slab of meat

The GOP just doesn't care about voting rights

Meet the consultant who is helping states slash their budgets

Missing the key word: "Only"
"32% say they will definitely vote for Trump in 2020"

National poll: 54% will 'definitely not' vote for Trump

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is tearing itself apart over diversity issues  

Kamala Harris initially signed on to the "end private health insurance" option, then backed off. Now she has a better alternative. This is why she is formidable: she has strong appeal with progressive groups, but is closer to the "moderates" on some issues

This Poll Shows Why Some Democrats Are Skittish About ‘Medicare For All’

Who says female candidates can't be likeable?

***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.***