Saturday, March 25, 2017

A break in this blog

For about one week I will be otherwise occupied and there will be few, if any, posts to this blog.  I might queue up a few sets of posters, but don't expect much.

I hope to return to posting sometime next weekend.

Happy trails.

Federal Landlord Rules Trump's DC Hotel Doesn’t Violate Lease Terms

Allegra Kirkland · Thursday, March 23, 2017, 3:44 pm

The federal government agency that owns the building housing President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel has determined that it does not violate the terms of its lease.

The General Services Administration’s ruling comes as a huge blow for watchdog groups and Democrats who've charged that Trump’s presidency put his company in breach of the lease, which states that an elected official may not be involved with or benefit from the agreement.

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Are you effing kidding? Some Democrats considering a deal to confirm Gorsuch (laura Clawson) · Thursday, March 23, 2017, 10:41 am

Senate Democrats are once again doing the resistance thing wrong, wrong, wrong. A group of them—thankfully not including the party’s leadership—are considering giving up the fight against confirming an inhumane far-right ideologue to the United States Supreme Court while the popular vote loser who nominated him is under investigation by the FBI.

The deal Democrats would be most likely to pursue, the sources said, would be to allow confirmation of Gorsuch in exchange for a commitment from Republicans not to kill the filibuster for a subsequent vacancy during President Donald Trump’s term. The next high court opening could alter the balance of the court, and some Democrats privately argue that fight will be far more consequential than the current one.

If Democrats move ahead with the plan — it’s still in the early discussion phase — it would require buy-in from some Republicans, but not necessarily Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or his top deputies. At least three rank-and-file GOP members would have to pledge not to vote to unilaterally change the Senate rules through a majority-only vote later in Trump’s term — the so-called nuclear option.

So Democrats are supposed to take the word of three Republican senators on this. And next time there will be some other reason they should give in and postpone the fight until the time after that, or possibly some date even further in the future. The group considering this terrible idea predictably includes West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, but also includes Delaware’s Chris Coons. Delaware should be able to do a lot better than a senator who joins in weakness like this.

As a reminder, not only was Gorsuch nominated by someone who lost the popular vote and is under FBI investigation. He’s bought and paid for by a conservative billionaire. He’s pro-torture. He’s pro-voter suppression. He thinks sneaky women take illegitimate advantage of maternity leave. He thinks workers have a duty to endanger their own health if the boss tells them to. His decision sharply limiting the educational opportunities open to kids with disabilities was just overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. And this is what some Senate Democrats want to cut a deal on.


9 bonkers things Donald Trump said in his new exclusive interview with Time

Matthew Yglesias · Thursday, March 23, 2017, 10:31 am

“I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

In an exclusive interview with Time’s Michael Scherer, published Thursday, President Donald Trump basically gives three types of explanations for why it’s okay for him to say things that aren’t true.

Trump thinks it’s okay to repeat a false claim as long as he is accurately stating the fact that someone else made the false claim. He thinks it’s okay to say something false as long as it later turns out that something vaguely similar is true. And he appears to think it’s okay to just straight-up lie and then keep lying for no reason.

Here are three quotes on category one misstatements, where Trump says he was accurately saying other people said something false, so there’s no reason for him to apologize for spreading misinformation:
  • “I’m just quoting the newspaper [about Ted Cruz’s father being involved in the JFK assassination], just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap.”
  • “Well, I’m not, well, I think, I’m not saying, I’m quoting, Michael, I’m quoting highly respected people and sources from major television networks.”
  • “Well if you look at the reporter, he wrote the story [about Muslims celebrating 9/11 on rooftops in New Jersey] in the Washington Post.”
Here are two quotes on category two misstatements where Trump says it’s okay to say something false, because something different would later happen that was kind of similar to the thing he falsely said earlier:
  • “Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.”
  • “Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chair] Devin Nunes just had a news conference.”
And here are four quotes on category three misstatements, where Trump simply insists that false claims he’s made in the past are, in fact, true.

  • “Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner], you know, what I tweeted about that whole deal, and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary’s email on his thing.”
  • “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that, and I said that the allies must pay.”
  • “I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, ok.”
  • At the end, Trump closes with one last excuse, the ultimate Trump rationale for anything he does — he won the election: “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know.”


FBI: We have evidence Trump team and Russia communicated mid-campaign, maybe to coordinate Clinton info dump

Xeni Jardin · Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

This seems like a big escalation in the Trump/Russia investigation story. Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.

Read more

Israel Police Arrest Israeli Jewish Man As Suspect In Threats On US Jewish Centers

Associated Press · Thursday, March 23, 2017, 9:44 am

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say they have arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers in the U.S.

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The effort to filibuster Gorsuch just got a big boost

Ian Millhiser
Justice Editor, ThinkProgress. Author of Injustices: SCOTUS’ History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted

The highest ranking Democrat in the United States Senate is on Team Spine.

“I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on the Senate floor Thursday morning. More significantly, Schumer also indicated that he will join a filibuster of Gorsuch’s nomination.
“His nomination will have a cloture vote,” said Schumer. Gorsuch “will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation. My vote will be no, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

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