Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday Night at the Movies

Beguilingly mondo: The Misandrists (**½)

By Dennis Hartley

If you were to stuff Clint Eastwood’s The Beguiled, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Third Generation, and John Waters’ Cecil B. Demented in a blender, the result would be along the lines of Bruce La Bruce’s “best seen through your fingers” sociopolitical satire.

Truth be told, a quick insert or two of genital surgery footage and hard-core gay porno clips aside (“Not that there is anything wrong with that!” to paraphrase Seinfeld), I was able to get though most of The Misandrists without having to watch through my fingers (I feel it my duty as a film critic to caution sensitive and/or squeamish viewers up front).

La Bruce’s film opens playfully enough (in the year 1999), with two young women amorously frolicking in a field. It’s all fun and games until they stumble upon a grievously wounded anti-corporatist leftist who is fleeing from the law. He begs for help. The young man’s unexpected appearance not only disrupts the couple’s rapturous state of Sapphic bliss but ignites hotly contentious debate over whether they should help him out.

Compassion wins out, and the pair surreptitiously squirrel the young man away in the cellar of their rambling, somewhat gothic girl’s school. This isn’t just any girl’s school; it is the “stronghold” of The Female Liberation Army, lorded over by a Strangelovian headmistress addressed as Big Mother. Big Mother has big plans-namely, to snip the “man” from “mankind” and establish a dominant female world order. She demands her girls stay focused and in peak shape and does not suffer “laggards” gladly (is she strict!).

Big Mother’s Doomsday Machine? A camera, some lights, and some hot girl-on-girl action. If all goes as planned, she and her girls will produce, direct and distribute lesbian porno movies that are so autonomously beautiful and liberating that the world will come to its senses and realize how superfluous men are, after all. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and radical feminist terrorist cells. Obviously, the potential discovery of the young man convalescing in their midst is a ticking time bomb.

La Bruce’s mélange of retro radical chic, feminist revenge fantasy, broad political satire and in-your-face campiness has flashes of inspiration; however much of it seems ladled on purely for shock value, or as a patch-over for lazy screenwriting. Still, I would not necessarily discourage dedicated fans of outsider cinema, nor open-minded filmgoers seeking out a true alternative to standard summer blockbuster fare from giving it a peek.

Previous posts with related themes:

The Baader-Meinhof Complex
Monkey Warfare
The Little Hours
The Lure

More reviews at Den of Cinema
On Facebook
On Twitter

--Dennis Hartley

Trump's growing list of deliverables

by digby

Bloomberg reports:

President Donald Trump left the door open to recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, telling reporters that such a move would be up for discussion when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.

“We’re going to have to see,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One when asked if the U.S. would accept Russia’s claim on the territory it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on July 16, and Crimea will be one of many items on the agenda, he said.

“I’ll talk to him about everything,” Trump told reporters when asked if he would speak with Putin about Crimea. “We’re going to be talking about Ukraine, we’re going to be talking about Syria, we’ll be talking about elections, and we don’t want anybody tampering with elections.”

Trump has shown a willingness to embrace positions favored by Russia. During the Group of Seven nations summit in Quebec earlier this month, Trump mentioned that Russia has invested heavily in Crimea since the annexation.

“They’ve spent a lot of money on rebuilding it,” Trump said on June 9, declining to criticize Russia for annexing its neighbor.

He also called for Russia to be allowed back into the group, which was formerly the G-8. Russia was expelled from the body over Crimea.

Trump has not criticized Russia or Putin for the seizure, and instead has blamed former President Barack Obama.

“President Obama allowed that to happen which is very unfortunate,” Trump told reporters Friday. “It was during President Obama’s term in office.”

Lie, brag, blame, whine, rinse, repeat.

I'm going to guess this summit will work out for us as well as the last one:

I have no idea what he's going to do about this. Let's hope Vlad can give him some guidance on how to avoid nuclear war now that he's backed himself into this corner. He seems to be the only one Trump listens to.


Just a little bit disturbing

by digby

Retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is an unusual guy, an anti-war former military officer. But I think his concerns here are probably very well-taken.

Via Daily Kos:

In the video clip, Michael Moore was explaining that many Hillary Clinton supporters were concerned that if she won there would be some armed insurrection because Trump was talking about 2nd Amendment and a rigged the election. He posited that had Trump won the popular vote and Hillary, the electoral college, the civil war would be currently happening. Moore then said he believed there are more of us and that the military is likely to be on our side.
When, Maher asked the colonel if he thought "the military is still with us," he gave a fascinating answer. 
"I got that question from a sitting Senator when we were talking about the war in Yemen," Wilkerson said. "I was trying to talk him into declaring it unconstitutional and getting us out of the damn war. And he sent everybody out of the office. And we talked for a few minutes. And he sort of presented that to me. It was in terms of, maybe a massive loss in the midterms, which I don't think is going to happen now, but let's say it did, And then impeachment proceedings proceded with haste from both parties, and Trump would then call his legions into the streets with their guns, and what would the military do. And frankly, I couldn't answer him. I said I don't know." 
The statement took Michael Moore for a curve. 
"Coming from him," Moore said dejectedly. "We have to listen to that."
Polls show that the rank and file of the US Military approve of Trump while a majority of the officer corps do not. Where that would leave us, I don't know. But it's creepy that anyone's even talking about it.

Another diplomat throws in the towel

by digby

For some American diplomats shitting all over our European allies for no good reason is a bridge too far:

The U.S. ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville Jr., a career diplomat and member of the senior foreign service ranks, announced to friends Friday that he was resigning amid a string of controversial comments President Donald Trump made about U.S. allies in Europe.

Melville, who has served as a diplomat for 33 years and as ambassador to Estonia since 2015, was due to retire soon but said in a private Facebook post announcing his retirement that Trump’s behavior and comments accelerated his decision.

“A Foreign Service Officer’s DNA is programmed to support policy and we’re schooled right from the start, that if there ever comes a point where one can no longer do so, particularly if one is in a position of leadership, the honorable course is to resign. Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me,” he wrote in the post, which was obtained by Foreign Policy.

“For the President to say the EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go,” he wrote, citing Trump’s reported comments in recent weeks that have unnerved U.S. allies.

The post surprised several State Department officials who worked with Melville, describing him as a consummate professional who never let domestic politics impact his job.

The resignation comes ahead of a pivotal NATO summit, where the United States’ closest historic allies fear that Trump will lambast them and further isolate Washington from its allies after heated disputes over trade, defense spending issues, and the U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear deal. Allies fear that the optics of Trump trashing allies in Brussels, followed by a meeting in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will undercut an already anemic trans-Atlantic partnership.

[NATO is bracing for impact with Trump’s upcoming visit to Brussels — and Trump isn’t backing down from the fight over European defense spending.]

Melville said he believed in the U.S. support for the European Union and NATO to his “marrow.”

“I leave willingly and with deep gratitude for being able to serve my nation with integrity for many years, and with great confidence that America, which is and has always been, great, will someday return to being right,” he added. He said his last day on the job would be July 29, even though the Trump administration has yet to name a replacement. (Trump last month quietly withdrew the name of Edward Masso to be ambassador, though did not explain why.)

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Melville is one of many senior U.S. diplomats who have resigned — some quietly, some not — because of Trump’s policies. In December 2017, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, resigned and several months later wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post slamming the president and his foreign-policy stances. Elizabeth Shackelford, a rising star in the diplomatic corps in Africa, quit with a scathing resignation letter, also obtained by FP, deriding Trump and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for what she saw as their disdain of U.S. diplomacy.

[One diplomat’s stinging resignation letter offers a glimpse into declining morale at the State Department under Trump.]

“It means a lot when someone whose had it all in their career just says, ‘I can’t do this any longer,’” one senior State Department official said of Melville’s retirement. “I just wonder who’s next.”

I'm sure Trump will find another twitter troll like the new neo-fascist ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to fill the slot. This country's full of them.

Conservative Evangelicals are the most cynical, devious people in American politics

by digby

It's easy to see why they love Trump so much. He's a kindred spirit: a liar and a con man. They love liars and con men:

For evangelical Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr., this is their political holy grail.

Like many religious conservatives in a position to know, the Liberty University president with close ties to the White House suspects that the Supreme Court vacancy President Donald Trump fills in the coming months will ultimately lead to the reversal of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. But instead of celebrating publicly, some evangelical leaders are downplaying their fortune on an issue that has defined their movement for decades.

“What people don’t understand is that if you overturn Roe v. Wade, all that does is give the states the right to decide whether abortion is legal or illegal,” Falwell told The Associated Press in an interview. “My guess is that there’d probably be less than 20 states that would make abortion illegal if given that right.”

Falwell added: “In the ’70s, I don’t know how many states had abortion illegal before Roe v. Wade, but it won’t be near as many this time.”

The sentiment, echoed by evangelical leaders across the country this past week, underscores the delicate politics that surround a moment many religious conservatives have longed for. With the retirement of swing vote Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump and his Republican allies in the Senate plan to install a conservative justice who could re-define the law of the land on some of the nation’s most explosive policy debates — none bigger than abortion.

And while these are the very best of times for the religious right, social conservatives risk a powerful backlash from their opponents if they cheer too loudly. Women’s groups have already raised the alarm for their constituents, particularly suburban women, who are poised to play an outsized role in the fight for the House majority this November.

Two-thirds of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, according to a poll released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Among women of reproductive age, three out of four want the high court ruling left alone. The poll was conducted before Kennedy’s retirement was announced.

“The left is going to try very hard to say this is all about overturning Roe,” said Johnnie Moore, a Southern Baptist minister who was a co-chairman of the Trump campaign’s evangelical advisory board. The more significant shift on the high court, he said, would likely be the help given to conservatives in their fight for what they call religious freedom.

Tony Perkins, who leads the socially conservative Family Research Council, said abortion was simply “a factor” in evangelicals’ excitement over a more conservative Supreme Court. He suggested that public opinion was already shifting against abortion rights, although that’s not true of the Roe v. Wade ruling, which has become slightly more popular over time.

Perkins agreed with Moore that the broader push for religious freedom was a bigger conservative focus.

Many evangelicals, for example, have lashed out against Obama-era laws that required churches and other religious institutions to provide their employees with women’s reproductive services, including access to abortion and birth control. Others have rallied behind private business owners who faced legal repercussions after denying services to gay people.

Yet sweeping restrictions to abortion rights are certainly on the table, Moore noted.

“There is a high level of confidence within the community that overturning Roe is actually, finally possible,” Moore said. He added: “Evangelicals have never been more confident in the future of America than they are now. It’s just a fact.”

In Alabama, Tom Parker, a Republican associate justice on the state Supreme Court who is campaigning to become the state’s chief justice, explicitly raised the potential of sending cases to Washington that would lead to the overturning of key rulings, including Roe v. Wade.

“President Trump is just one appointment away from giving us a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Parker said in an interview on the radio program Wallbuilders Live. “And they are going to need cases that they can use to reverse those horrible decisions of the liberal majority in the past that have undermined the Constitution and really just abused our own personal rights.”

Despite Trump’s struggles with Christian values in his personal life at times, skeptical evangelical Christians lined up behind him in the 2016 election, and they remain one of his most loyal constituencies.

The president’s standing with white evangelical Christians hit an all-time high in April when 75 percent of evangelicals held a favorable view of Trump, according to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The unlikely marriage between the thrice-married president and Christian conservatives has always been focused on Trump’s ability to re-shape the nation’s judicial branch.

On the day she endorsed candidate Trump in March 2016, the late iconic anti-abortion activist Phyllis Schlafly first asked him privately whether he would appoint more judges like the conservative Antonin Scalia, recalled Schlafly’s successor Ed Martin, who was in the room at the time. Trump promised he would.

The president followed through with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch less than a month after his inauguration, delighting religious conservatives nationwide. And the Trump White House, while disorganized in other areas, made its relationship with the religious right a priority.

The first private White House meeting between evangelical leaders and senior Trump officials came in the days after the Gorsuch nomination, said Moore, who was in attendance. He said the White House has hosted roughly two dozen similar meetings since then in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House.

A senior administration official such as Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump or Kellyanne Conway — if not Trump himself — has always been present, Moore added. Each meeting featured a detailed briefing on the administration’s push to fill judicial openings.

“The courts have been at the very center of the relationship,” Moore said.

And now, as the focus shifts toward the president’s next Supreme Court nomination, evangelical leaders who once held their noses and voted for Trump have little doubt he will pick someone who shares their conservative views on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues.

Falwell insisted only that Trump make his next selection from the list of prospective nominees he released before his election. All are believed to oppose the Roe v. Wade ruling.

Any deviation from the list, Falwell said, would be “a betrayal.” He noted, however, that he’s in weekly contact with the White House and has supreme confidence that the president will deliver.

“This is a vindication for the 80 percent of evangelicals who supported Trump. Many of them voted on this issue alone,” Falwell said. “Today’s a day that we as evangelicals, and really all average Americans, can say we told you so.”

I love that these people are pretending to care about "religious freedom." The opposite is true. They want to force all of us to live under their religious doctrine, which apparently prominently endorses lying, hypocrisy, greed and bigotry.

Keep in mind that the big lie here is that they just want to reverse Roe and send it back to the states (as if that's some kind of compromise!) That's utter bullshit. They want to ban abortion in the United States of America, period.

Reversing Roe is just one step. After all, there are advantages to keeping the issue live. It's a primary organizing function for the right generally and the evangelical political machine specifically. But if they could get the whole thing done in one big decision they'd take it.

Trump's Supreme Court may just deliver the whole shebang.

Make America Part of the World Again

by digby

Right now, in America, half the country follows a provincial cretin who hates the rest of the world. Even Canada. The Ugly American stereotype is alive and well in the person of Donald Trump.

QOTD: A bad man

by digby

Jeff Sessions often speaks positively about the Immigration Act of 1924 which pretty much closed immigration all together. He's not the only one to admire it.

That would be Adolph Hitler, 1925


Tyranny of the minority

by Tom Sullivan

Ahead of the House vote to pass Obamacare in 2010, Dana Milbank reminds readers, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio blasted away at Democrats with his famous “hell no, you can’t” speech:

“This is the People’s House, and the moment a majority forgets this, it starts writing itself a ticket to minority status,” he said. “If we pass this bill, there will be no turning back. It will be the last straw for the American people. . . . And in a democracy, you can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it.
Milbank's point is Boehner's warning was as prescient for Democrats then as it is for the Republican majority now. They have the votes and the control to install a Trump Supreme Court pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, one that could help realize the conservative dream of rolling back the 20th century. Yet Obamacare passed under a president with solid popular and electoral vote majorities. The sitting president cannot stop ruminating over the fact he lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes to a woman.

Senate Republicans who also lost the 2016 popular vote soon will be voting to confirm that new Supreme Court justice, Milbank adds:
Compounding the outrage, each of the prospective nominees is all but certain, after joining the court, to support the eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has held the nation together in a tenuous compromise on abortion for 45 years and is supported by two-thirds of Americans. For good measure, the new justice may well join the other four conservative justices in revoking same-sex marriage, which also has the support of two-thirds of Americans. And this comes after the Republicans essentially stole a Supreme Court seat by refusing to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

You can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it.
Rebecca Traister has a broader, more durable majority in mind than transient political majorities inside the Beltway. Both she and Milbank reference Jonathan Chait's observations on how, John Boehner's bluster notwitshtanding, Republicans have grown “increasingly comfortable with, and reliant on, countermajoritarian power.” The structure of the Senate gives a minority of the population in rural, red states outsized influence in governance. That structure in turn reflects the outsized influence, Traister explains, not of Republicans but of white men in general:
White men are at the center, our normative citizen, despite being only around a third of the nation’s population. Their outsize power is measurable by the fact that they still — nearly 140 years after the passage of the 15th Amendment, not quite 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, and more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts — hold roughly two-thirds of elected offices in federal, state, and local legislatures. We have had 92 presidents and vice-presidents. One-hundred percent of them have been men, and more than 99 percent white men.
Racism in this country is structural, Ta-Nehisi Coates famously documented. But so is sexism, Traister argues. In the way white skin privileges a shrinking demographic in this putative democratic republic, since the country's inception the structure of society has privileged governance by a minority of white males. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, not only are white people in general threatened by unfavorably changing demographics, but white males feel themselves under siege. The unfairness of it all!

Yet even now, the reality of that privilege is so structural as to be invisible. Traister writes, "The hold that the minority has on every realm of power — economic, social, sexual — is so pervasive and assumed that we don’t even notice when the few oppress the many. It’s invisible, and any show of defiance against that power is what stands out as aberrant and dangerous."

Heckling administration officials in public, for example. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) calling for confrontation with enablers of the Trump administration's program of separating and interning families (many seeking legal asylum) on the southern border drew opprobrium not only from the right but from the left:
To publicly rebuke a black woman’s support for protest and not the powerful white patriarch’s thinly veiled call to violence against her is to play on the very same impulses that Trump himself plays on: racist and sexist anxiety about noncompliant women and nonwhites, and the drive to punish them. It’s one thing that Waters’s opponents on the right have casually referred to her as “unhinged” and that Fox News host Eric Bolling once told her to “step away from the crack pipe,” but that her own colleagues fall into casting her as too much, as too combative and fearsome, is a goddamn travesty.


These people had nice dinners in restaurants interrupted. They did not have their children pulled from their arms, perhaps forever; they were not refused refuge based on their country of origin or their religion or the color of their skin; they were not denied due process; nor were they denied a full range of health-care options, forced to carry a baby against their will, separated from their families via the criminal justice system, or shot in the back by police for the mere act of being young and black.

And yes, some of the upholders of minority power are themselves women — women working in service of a brutal white patriarch and the brutal white patriarchal party he leads. Similarly, a majority of white women voted for Trump, and always vote for his party, because they benefit from white supremacy even as they are subjugated by patriarchy. This same dynamic explains why higher percentages of men in every racial category voted for Trump and his party: They gain through the patriarchy even as they are oppressed by white supremacy. This is how minority rule persists.

Of course, the kind of fury that both the press and political Establishment in 2016 deemed so important, so American, was the fury of white men: angry at the diminishment of their status, angry at the ways in which the economy was not working for them as it once might have, but also angry at their fantasized sense of devaluation in a country that had elected one black president and was considering a woman for the job.
A country where their dominance is unquestioned is the country they've wanted back for half a century. One where blacks and women know their place. One where white movie producers can molest women unmolested. One where white Christian prayers before high school football games affirm whose God is God, and athlete-entertainers know better than to protest the killings of unarmed black males by police.

You can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it, Milbank repeats:
The backlash is coming. It is the deserved consequence of minority-rule government protecting the rich over everybody else, corporations over workers, whites over nonwhites and despots over democracies. It will explode , God willing, at the ballot box and not in the streets.
"The reason the anger of a majority gets suppressed is because it has the power to imperil the rule of the minority," Traister writes. The storm now rising will not be quelled by shushing. White male minority misrule will no longer persist unmolested.

The presidency of an insecure, ignorant bigot obsessed with dominating everyone around him — including infants and toddlers — and accustomed to immunity from rules to which the majority of us adhere is testament to where countermajoritarian misrule has led us. Today and going forward, women exercising their rightful power have a chance not only to correct the country's downward spiral into autocracy, but to save and perfect the republic.

I'm counting on it.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Night Soother

by digby

All babies are good. Every last one, without exception.

Here are a couple of elephant babies to make you smile after a really tough week:

Enjoy your Friday night cocktail. I'm sure going to enjoy mine.

Are Milo's threats protected speech?

by Spocko

Following the mass shooting at The Capital Gazette newspaper office yesterday where journalists were gunned down, Milo Yiannopoulos went on Facebook to blame journalists for whipping up hysteria about killing journalists. Two days prior Milo had texted this to New York Observer reporter Davis Richardson, "I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight."

   Yiannopoulos Encourages Vigilantes to Start ‘Gunning Journalists Down

The old, "I was joking!" bit doesn't really work when there are multiple other cases of Milo saying similar things. David Neiwert of the Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch blog wrote about Milo's history of threats.  Milo wants vigilantes to start killing journalists, and he's not being 'ironic'
But this wasn’t simply a toss-off remark. Yiannopoulos appears to be dead serious – that is, he sincerely believes that right-wing assassins should begin taking out targeted reporters. He’s been saying so on a number of forums, and it’s clear that he isn’t being simply “ironic” in the classic alt-right hall-of-mirrors fashion.
People often get caught up in the technical issue of threats as it relates to free speech. I understand this. Is it a "true threat" as defined by the court? Can we determine if this threat is going to incite people? What if someone acts on a general threat? What if the person wasn't given specific instructions about a specific person, just general comments about a category of people like journalists?

These are all good questions to have, because we know that not all cases are clear cut.  The SPLC has a piece from 2007 titled, When Are Threats Protected Speech?   They look at several cases, some in which the threats were ruled "true threats" while others where they were not.

It's important to know the distinction.
In the end, each case will turn on its own facts. But one thing is clear: Racist talk show hosts and Internet bloggers who make specific threats against individuals or call on others to do so and who intend to put their targets in fear of being attacked may indeed be held both criminally and civilly liable.
-When Are Threats Protected Speech?   SPLC Fall 2007
Based on personal experience some people know how to walk the line when it comes to threats. Others don't. Recently there was a call for "civility" during protests involving shaming and shunning.

I fully expect that the right will overreact to our protests with an out of proportion response to any protest action.

Here is their thinking:
“The libtards protested the actions of one of our people!! We need to threaten the lives of some of their people!”  (They will then think they are clever by saying something about knives and gunfights and Chicago.)
Based on past history, they will “double down” in response to our protests. Some will launch illegal and felonious responses. The good news is they are not mob bosses or the President of the United States who can get away with threats of violence. They are penny-ante operators, low-level thugs.
When they overreact here are steps to take:

1) Capture the threats. (A.B. R. ALWAYS BE RECORDING. Use that video camcorder, audio recorder and electronic message collector in your pocket! Pro tip: It's good to make sure it’s legally recorded so you can use it in court in a civil suit. See this guide for laws on recording in your state.)

2) Determine the source of the threats. (There are tools to help you do this you might not be aware of, check with your hacker friends.)

3) Confirm their intent. (This is important for later actions, see my link to Elonis v. United States.)

4) Use their overreaction against them 

If their responses cross the line into ‘true threats” and you captured their comments and death threats, make them available to the appropriate authorities.
  •  Sometimes law enforcement is the place to go, especially with local threats. (See Elonis v. United States about what is a true threat in a case about Facebook threats)

  • For out of state threats, go to a private attorney who handles civil lawsuits. The people threatening you might have to pay you damages. (For example, if you were threatened with death by police proxy, SWATTING, there are lawyers who will sue the people who arranged your house to be SWATTED.)

  • If you have determined their intent and they refuse to retract it and stop, their employer may need to know what they were doing during work hours using company resources.

  • Got a death threat or suggestions of violent rape from a self proclaimed Christian? Go to the head of the church that they worship at with your evidence.

  • Is there is an important woman in their lives? That woman can be copied on the threatening letter along with evidence of their threats. It should be noted that the person who shot up The Capital Gazette had a history of domestic violence.
Some of these responses are more difficult to carry out than others, and it really depends on the willingness of the person who has been threatened if they are willing to engage further with the people doing the threatening. 

Standing up to bullies and making sure that there are consequences for their threatening speech isn’t for everyone, but it is for some. The right wing conservatives have a choice in how they respond to our peaceful protests. You have a choice on how you respond to their actions, especially if their actions cross the line into threats of violence.


Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it

by digby

It's not just Trump. I have used that quote from Lincoln's Cooper Union speech many, many times. It pertains to a faction of Americans.

I wrote this after the election:

NOVEMBER 17, 2016

It's not surprising that the election of Donald Trump would cause an upheaval in civil society. The differences between the two visions of America that were presented in this campaign couldn't be more stark, and it's inevitable that they would play out beyond the political system.

Much of the unrest on the left has taken the form of protest marches and school walkouts, while the right is more inclined to drunken hooliganism, flying the Confederate flag and the like. This is America. We have free speech and a right to assemble, and regardless of how we feel about the "message" being sent by people on the other side, they have a right to say it.

But there also have been many reports of anonymous defacing of property with white power slogans and other racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic phrases. And there are now hundreds of stories of individual acts of bullying and even hate crimes coming from people who call themselves Trump supporters, aimed at fellow Americans they see as their enemies.

We could see this in the Trump rallies, of course. They bristled with resentment and barely repressed violence. And no one can possibly argue that the candidate didn't use those dark emotions to motivate his followers. In a "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl, Trump admitted that he did that consciously. When Stahl pointed out that people are scared, Trump had to be coaxed to say this:
Don’t be afraid. We are going to bring our country back. But certainly, don’t be afraid.
Has any president-elect ever been asked to reassure the American people that they needn't be afraid of him and his followers? It's astonishing. Trump's lack of understanding about why they are afraid is even more so. He seems to think people are soothed by his saying "don't be afraid" — followed by "we're going bring our country back," as if that were a threat.

And that's exactly what scares them. It's clear he wants to go back to a time when women, people of color, immigrants and those with minority religions were second-class citizens. They are terrified of what Trump has promised to do to deliver that lost world back to a swath of America that seems to hate them.

Trump outfoxed the system and won the whole thing without even getting a majority. He heads an undivided government and has the chance to leave a mark on the country for generations with at least one appointment to the Supreme Court. He has the power to enact his entire agenda with very little institutional resistance. And yet his followers are still filled with outrage and frustration, lashing out at the reeling and defeated left.

An incident in Brooklyn this past weekend illustrates the phenomenon. Two women in a restaurant were bemoaning the election of Donald Trump when a man and his wife sat down next to them and became incensed about what the two women were saying. The manager moved the couple to a different table and gave a meal without charge to calm the two down. But after leaving the restaurant the man stormed back in and punched one of the women in the face. He told the manager he wanted to kill her. (Fortunately, the woman was not seriously injured.)

This is just one random incident but it raises the question: Who gets that mad after winning? It's not as if the two women were rubbing the man's nose in defeat. Why would something so ordinary as complaining about the election cause a man to hit a stranger (a woman) in the face?

In fact, America has been divided along two moving tribal lines for a very long time, and this odd reaction has happened before when this political faction has come to power, although it doesn't normally get this violent or ugly. The political right often seems to take little joy in its victories, instead remaining focused on its defeated enemies. Compromise is unacceptable: Right-wingers seem to demand total capitulation and when their adversaries continue to resist, they are enraged.

The best description of this phenomenon comes from Abraham Lincoln in his famous address at New York's Cooper Union in 1860. Trying to explain how impossible it was to deal with the Southern slave states using normal democratic means, he asked, "What will it take to satisfy them?"
This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly — done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated — we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.
This is why the right-wingers are so angry. It's not enough for them to win. Those who opposed Trump must stop opposing him. We must agree that Muslims should be banned from entering the country, agree we should torture and kill suspected terrorists and their families, agree immigrants should be rounded up and deported, agree there should be guns in schools, agree women should be punished for having abortions and agree to all the rest of it. Until we stop resisting completely and declare that we are "avowedly with them," they will continue to believe that "all their troubles proceed from us."

That is not going to happen. Trump's forces may have won the election but they have not won the hearts and minds of the American people who didn't vote for him. And they won't. This administration will be met with fierce resistance from millions of people, from the moment Trump takes office until the day he leaves. There will be no appeasing him, and no easing of his followers' guilt for what many of them know in their hearts to be ugly and cruel impulses in consenting to this white nationalist program. It's all on them.

Lincoln had this to say to his fellow Unionists about how to proceed in a situation such as this:
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. 
Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
What else can we do?


So much winning

by digby

Trump says everyone has to just tighten their belts because he knows what he's doing. Of course he doesn't.

General Motors warned Friday that another wave of tariffs being considered by the Trump administration could force the company to scale back its business and cost American jobs.

In comments submitted to the Commerce Department, the automaker said that the tariffs, if approved, could drive individual vehicle prices up thousands of dollars, stifling demand. Such costs would need to be borne either by consumers or the company.

Last month, President Trump ordered an investigation into whether imported cars and automotive components could pose enough of a national security risk to warrant tariffs of as much as 25 percent. If he goes ahead, it would intensify a global trade war that has engulfed allies and adversaries. In recent months, the administration has imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, along with measures targeted at China.

Carmakers, in particular, have been caught in the middle of the trade fight. They rely heavily on metals to build their cars, including parts from overseas. The president’s threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement could also hurt the industry supply chain.

Several other automakers and manufacturing organizations, including the National Association of Manufacturers, BMW and Volvo, have also submitted comments on the tariffs under consideration for foreign automakers and part suppliers.

“Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller G.M., a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American company, and risk less — not more — U.S. jobs,” General Motors wrote in its comment.

The tariffs would result in “broad-brush trade barriers that increase our global costs, remove a key means of competing with manufacturers in lower-wage countries, and promote a trade environment in which we could be retaliated against in other markets,” the company said.

He does not care. It's all about him:

Now he's threatening them:

I don't know what it will take for Trump voters who stand to lose their jobs at the hands of this cretinous imbecile but I have the sick feeling they've find a way to blame Obama and Clinton for it and vote for him anyway.


Sessions has never hidden his plan to stop all immigration. He wrote it all down in 2015

by digby

Vox reports:

The Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is drafting a plan that would totally overhaul asylum policy in the United States.

Under the plan, people would be barred from getting asylum if they came into the US between ports of entry and were prosecuted for illegal entry. It would also add presumptions that would make it extremely difficult for Central Americans to qualify for asylum, and codify — in an even more restrictive form — an opinion written by Sessions in June that attempted to restrict asylum for victims of domestic and gang violence.

Vox has confirmed that the regulation is in the process of being evaluated, and has seen a copy of a draft of the regulation.

When the regulation is ready, it will be published in the Federal Register as a notice of proposed rulemaking, with 90 days for the public to comment before it’s enacted as a final regulation.

The version Vox saw may change before it’s finalized, or even before the proposal is published in the Federal Register. (The Department of Justice declined to comment.)

But as it exists now, the proposal is a sweeping and thorough revamp of asylum — tightening the screws throughout the asylum process.

One source familiar with the asylum process but not authorized to speak on the record described the proposed changes as “the most severe restrictions on asylum since at least 1965” — when the law that created the current legal immigration system was passed — and “possibly even further back.”

Sessions put out a plan in 2015. I wrote about it during the presidential campaign:

Jeff Sessions had a lot to say about this in his "IMMIGRATION HANDBOOK FOR THE NEW REPUBLICAN MAJORITY" dated January 2015. It's a fascinating document and well worth reading. It is the perfect example of right-wing populism at its most traditionally xenophobic.

He sets forth a fatuous argument that income inequality is not a result of the tax structure or the concentrated power of wealth but rather the result of immigrants stealing the jobs of natural born Americans:
The last four decades have witnessed the following: a period of record, uncontrolled immigration to the United States; a dramatic rise in the number of persons receiving welfare; and a steep erosion in middle class wages.

But the only “immigration reforms” discussed in Washington are those pushed by interest groups who want to remove what few immigration controls are left in order to expand the record labor supply even further.

The principal economic dilemma of our time is the very large number of people who either are not working at all, or not earning a wage great enough to be financially independent. The surplus of available labor is compounded by the loss of manufacturing jobs due to global competition and reduced demand for workers due to automation. What sense does it make to continue legally importing millions of low-wage workers to fill jobs while sustaining millions of current residents on welfare?

He put it into philosophical and historical perspective:

We need make no apology in rejecting an extreme policy of sustained mass immigration, which the public repudiates and which the best economic evidence tells us undermines wage growth and economic mobility. Here again, the dialect operates in reverse: the “hardliners” are those who refuse even the most modest immigration controls on the heels of four decades of large-scale immigration flows (both legal and illegal), and increased pressures on working families.

Conservativism is by its nature at odds with the extreme, the untested, the ahistorical.

The last large-scale flow of legal immigration (from approximately 1880–1920) was followed by a sustained slowdown that allowed wages to rise, assimilation to occur, and the middle class to emerge.

This is the reason he's stuck it out no matter how much Trump insults him. This is his legacy project. His life's work.

He said "I would never kill reporters" [maybe] but I hate them."

by digby

Trump, TODAY:
Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.

12-21-15 Grand Rapids, Michigan
No, No think of it, you know, it's Russia after all. Somebody said "are you at all offended that he said nice things about you?" I said, "No, No." And they said "Oh Trump should have been much nastier. That's terrible." And then they said, "You know he's killed reporters," and I don't like that. I'm totally against that.  
By the way I hate some of these people, but I would never kill them. I hate them. No I think these people, honestly. I'll be honest. I would never kill them. I would never do that. 
uuuh let's see... [contemplates whether he actually believes that]
Nah. I would never kill them. But I do hate them. Some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It's true, it's true. 
I would never kill them and anybody that does I think would be despicable. 
But you know, they say he killed reporters. I said, "really?" He says he didn't. Other people say he didn't. Who did he kill. Well, we don't know but we hear that. I said, "Tell me, who did he kill?"
Here it is:

Trump's desperate race to deliver for his BFF

by digby

My Salon column this morning
is about the big "summit" and Trump's increasingly manic desire to deliver something to Vladimir Putin:

Donald Trump finally got his summit with Vladimir Putin. He's been pushing for it for months, seeming nearly desperate in recent weeks to get private face time with the Russian president. The last time they had a private chat was at the G20 meeting in Germany nearly a year ago. Much has happened since then. The boys have a lot of catching up to do.

We don't know exactly what's happening with special counsel Robert Mueller's office because his staff doesn't leak. But you can't help but get the feeling that the president and his congressional henchmen know something because hey are behaving with more manic intensity than usual. On Thursday, House Republicans grilled FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as if they were suspected of being moles for al-Qaida. It was bad enough that Rosenstein, who has always come off as a very measured fellow, almost lost his temper with the Rep. Jim Jordan, a Freedom Caucus Republican from Ohio:

Accusing the deputy attorney general, who was under oath, of a cover-up as part of a convoluted conspiracy theory to conceal the president's collusion with the Russian government is one of the boldest examples of "working the refs" the GOP has ever conceived. Some Republicans are clearly trying to make the FBI and DOJ second-guess all their actions and look over their shoulders, at the very least. At worst they're laying the groundwork to give the president a phony basis on which to fire the investigators. Whatever their ultimate plans, they are frantically picking up the pace.

President Trump tweeted this before the hearing:

After all this time, Trump continues to say that the Russian government had nothing to do with the election interference, which even his lockstep defenders in Congress have accepted as fact. Indeed, it's almost as if that's become some kind of signal:

Considering the pressure Trump is under from the Mueller investigation, scheduling a summit with Putin and defending him publicly is a bizarre strategy unless he needs to communicate something. But he seems almost desperate to deliver something as well.

It was also odd that Trump stood on the White House lawn on his way to the G7 Summit in Canada and, with no prompting, declared that he wanted Russia back in the group. This wasn't on the agenda or near the top of anyone's list of important issues. Again, Trump is under investigation for possibly conspiring with the Russian government so it is extremely peculiar that he would bring this up unless he felt compelled to do it. He discussed it again at the meeting, and apparently that was more contentious than we knew at the time.

Axios has reported that Trump said of the upcoming NATO meeting, "It will be an interesting summit. NATO is as bad as NAFTA. It's much too costly for the U.S." (He said this right after his fatuous comment that Crimea belongs to Russia because everyone there speaks Russian.)

Trump has been complaining about NATO countries failing to pay up since he began his campaign for president, so that's nothing new. According to the New York Times, he is under the misapprehension that "there is some NATO treasury to which members owe dues, and that allies are behind on their payments." In fact, each country sets its own level of military spending and it has gone up approximately $87 billion in the last four years. (I think the Times may have Trump wrong on this. He thinks NATO members pay the U.S. for "protection" and he wants them to pay more.)

Whatever Trump's reasoning, in light of his affinity for the Russian president one can't help but wonder if this tiresome riff won't end up being his excuse for ending the alliance, much as he tore up the Paris climate treaty and the Iran deal. European allies are certainly worried about this possibility, and there can be no doubt that would please Vladimir Putin very much.

That's not the only "deliverable" Trump has been trying to collect in advance of the big meeting. CNN reports that Trump privately brought up the idea of pulling U.S. forces out of Syria with King Abdullah of Jordan because he "believes he can strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a so-called exclusion zone in southwest Syria that will allow the US to 'get out ASAP.'" This would no doubt please Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with the Russians, as well as the Iranian government.

As Josh Rogin of the Washington Post has reported, Trump has done his best to destabilize the European Union, which is also a goal useful to Putin. Evidently, when French President Emmanuel Macron visited the White House Trump suggested that France should leave the EU, telling Macron that he could get a better deal directly with the U.S. (That suggests such profound ignorance that it's hard to believe Macron's head didn't explode. Like the rest of us, he has to deal with the man.) At a rally just this week, Trump said, “The European Union, of course, was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,” which is nonsense.

As Rogin points out, Trump has been dismissive of American allies since he began running for president, but he's lately gotten much more aggressive about it. Even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others have tried to play down his contemptuous attitude, the rest of the world is no longer sanguine that it's all bluster. It appears to be the case that the president of the United States really is hellbent on rupturing long-standing American alliances in ways that will benefit Russia.

As far as we know, he has yet to ask anything from the Russians in return. Even if he did, he would probably make the same kind of deal he made with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un -- give up something valuable in return for some glad-handing and a televised pageant. It was reported this week that new satellite imagery indicates that North Korea is rapidly upgrading its nuclear research center. Oops.

Trump can't seem to resist a strongman. They dazzle him with their attention and their "respect." But even by those standards Putin seems to be a special case. Trump is now racing against the clock to deliver something tangible to the Russian president, even though the political risks are monumental to him and to the country. One has to wonder whether he's trying to beat Mueller's investigation --- or Putin's deadline.



A movement, not a moment

by Tom Sullivan

MoveOn Civic Action: Trump and his administration have been systematically criminalizing immigration and immigrants, from revoking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to ramping up intimidating ICE tactics.

From the Mercury News:

They gathered by the thousands for the historic Women’s Marches, demanded stricter gun control in the March for Our Lives, and took over airport terminals across the nation to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban last year.

And on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans — enraged by the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border — will take to the streets once again to protest a controversial Trump administration policy that has caused the detention of thousands of undocumented immigrants, and call on the government to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children taken from their parents.
It's inhumane, a violation of human rights, and done with a Trumpian level of “gleeful cruelty.” ICE is hauling toddlers into court for deportation hearings:
“We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. “It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids.”
All that's missing is a kangaroo wrangler. But the tactics mentioned above are not just Immigration and Customs Enforcement and no longer just directed at immigrants. If you missed it, Department of Homeland Security agents interrupted a CBS interview with a former ICE spokesperson and whistleblower Wednesday — at his doorstep three months after his resignation. It was a chilling moment Digby covered yesterday.

Before you head out to Lafayette Square or one of hundreds of nearest local equivalents tomorrow for the “Families Belong Together” rally, please read this email Josh Marshall received from a former federal corruption prosecutor:
I am deeply concerned that the Kennedy retirement will put the rule of law and our democratic institutions at graver risk than ever before. The President of the United States is the subject of a serious federal criminal investigation into (1) whether he conspired with a foreign adversary to help him win a narrow electoral college victory; and (2) whether he has obstructed that very investigation by, among things, firing the FBI director in charge of the investigation. The President will now be able to choose the person who, in a very real sense, may be the ultimate arbiter of whether or not he and others are ever held accountable.

Consider that the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide, for example, whether the President can pardon himself or others to protect himself, whether a sitting President can be indicted, whether a sitting President can be compelled to testify before a federal grand jury, whether the appointment of the Special Counsel somehow violated the Appointments Clause (as some conservatives absurdly assert), and whether a President can ever obstruct justice. Even beyond the Mueller investigation, the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide whether the President’s acceptance of significant foreign funds through his businesses violates the Emoluments Clause. We have no idea how Justice Kennedy would have ruled on these questions (he hasn’t exactly distinguished himself in the last two days). But we have no doubt how a Trump appointee will. Never before has the selection of a Supreme Court nominee been so thoroughly compromised by the President’s profound personal interest in appointing a judge the President can count on to protect the President. This is DEFCON 1 for the rule of law in this country.

Democrats in the Senate seem to have missed this point, or are too feeble to effectively prosecute the basic conflict of interest case. Instead, they have fallen back on the “McConnell rule” as a justification to delay a vote. Make no mistake, the treatment of Judge Garland and the theft of President Obama’s nomination power was an outrage and a terrible precedent. But Democrats should not endorse it. They should not let McConnell’s mendacity become the norm. It should stand on its own in history as the flagrant abuse of power that it was. In any event, Democrats have a much stronger case to make: no vote should be taken until after the Special Counsel has submitted a report to Congress, or closed the investigation of the President. A President under federal criminal investigation for stealing an election should not be able to nominate the person who may decide his fate. There will be a cloud over the legitimacy of this nomination unless and until the cloud of the Mueller investigation has been lifted.
This cannot be plainer. The legitimacy of the sitting president is in question, even to himself. His statements and actions since his election support that. Protecting Roe is vital, but that is not why replacing Kennedy now is out of order. Nor are Democrats' ham-fisted, "he did it first" charges against McConnell helpful. Federal judgeship appointments from the sitting president will long outlast his time in office whether he gets 8 years, a term interrupted, a prison sentence, or time served.

David Litt weighs in at Daily Beast:
Of course, it’s always possible that sometime this fall, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team will announce that results of their investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign has turned up nothing shady. Those Trump Tower meetings really were about adoption. The president’s fondness for Putin is due to bromance and not blackmail.

But it’s also quite possible that there is fire behind the smoke. Consider the following alternate scenario, one entirely plausible given what we currently know: Russian spies handed over stolen intelligence to the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign promised Russia something (an easing of sanctions, for example) in return. And Trump himself knew about it. Such findings would describe actions that fall somewhere between collusion and outright treason. It would trigger the most dire political crisis in modern American history.

If Justice Kennedy’s replacement has already been confirmed, that crisis would spread to the judiciary as well.
So consider the words of Rev. Barber. The “Families Belong Together” rallies tomorrow are part of a broader movement to defend democracy and the rule of law. Like it or not, you are part of history. Right now. As tired as you feel and as emotionally wrung out as your opponents want you to be, retreat is not an option. “Forward together, not one step back!”
* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Liar in chief scares US Steel

by digby

He keeps saying that they are telling him things they have failed to make public which would be illegal for a publicly traded company. And US Steel is afraid to contradict him. It's pathetic.

“The head of U.S. Steel called me the other day, and he said, ‘We’re opening up six major facilities and expanding facilities that have never been expanded.’ They haven’t been opened in many, many years.”
— President Trump, roundtable with American workers, Duluth, Minn., June 20, 2018

“U.S. Steel just announced they’re expanding or building six new facilities.”
— Trump, remarks at the White House, June 26

“I’ve been hearing that from steel companies, and in particular from U.S. Steel, where I was with the president, as I said. And he — they’re just talking about opening plants now, and so many things have changed.”
— Trump, roundtable on tax reform, Cleveland, May 5

Here’s a puzzler: Why is the president of the United States announcing the opening of new factories that a major U.S. company has not announced?

U.S. Steel is a publicly traded company, so it is supposed to disclose materially important information. The opening of six major facilities and the expansion of even more would be huge news.

Yet all U.S. Steel has announced is that it will restart two blast furnaces and steelmaking facilities at the company’s Granite City Works integrated plant in Illinois — one in March and the other in October. The reopening of the first blast furnace was announced in March, resulting in 500 jobs, and the second was announced in June, adding 300. The plant had been closed since 2015.

President Trump has a tendency to cite conversations that did not occur quite the way he describes them — if they took place at all. So we were a bit suspicious when he mentioned a phone conversation with Dave Burritt, chief executive of U.S. Steel.

Burritt did take part in a roundtable in March at the White House, and in May the president appeared to reference that meeting.

But then, on June 20, the conversation became a phone call. On June 26, Trump suggested the news was disclosed in a public announcement.

One would think this would be easy to clear up. But the White House did not respond to a query. Burritt also did not respond to an email from The Fact Checker asking him to confirm the conversation.

Meghan M. Cox, U.S. Steel’s spokeswoman, simply offered this response: “To answer your question, we post all of our major operational announcements to our website and report them on earnings calls. Our most recent one pertained to our Granite City ‘A’ blast furnace restart.”

Translation: The president is wrong. But apparently U.S. Steel is afraid to say that out loud.

Cox ignored our question about whether Burritt had had a phone conversation with Trump — and she ignored our follow-up query restating that question. So one can only assume the phone call did not happen.

Wall Street analysts who follow the company are also scratching their heads. They knew of no such expansion.

The good news is that the president is such a notorious liar, braggart, whiner, blamer and moron that he can't move markets with his words anymore.

The bad news is that the president is such a notorious liar, braggart, whiner, blamer and moron.


Just don't call them Stasi. That would be rude.

by digby

Ok, I'm trying very hard not to be hyperbolic about this. But this may be the creepiest thing I've seen the Trump administration do yet. Holy crap:

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office interrupted a CBS News interview with a former ICE spokesperson and whistleblower Wednesday.

James Schwab, who was a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement until March, was speaking to CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas when two DHS agents appeared at his door.

Schwab later said he was “very surprised” by the visit, and that he believed it was “absolutely” an attempt to intimidate him. The interview footage aired Thursday morning.

Schwab left the agency after, he said, he was asked to perpetuate a lie on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ behalf regarding Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland. The day before an ICE raid in Oakland earlier this year, Schaff spoke about it publicly, warning residents to take care.

Afterward, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan accused Schaff of preventing 800 arrests with her warning. Sessions repeated the that number, which Schwab said is not accurate, in a speech later.

When asked by reporters about Sessions’ claim, Schwab said he was instructed to refer them to a previous statement he’d made about Schaff, without correcting Sessions’ error. That’s when he quit, he said.

“They just said that they wanted to talk to me about the leak with the Oakland mayor,” Schwab told Yuccas after the agents left on Wednesday. He said he’d never communicated with Schaff.

That's quite a coincidence isn't it? I can certainly understand why his family was upset.

By the way, Trump himself has called for Mayor Schaff to be prosecuted.

Trump's Approval 

by tristero

I'm here to tell you that because of the horrorshow at the border — children forcibly separated Nazi-style from their parents and placed in cages — Trump's approval rating among fell dramatically last week. From 90% to 87%.  This, of course, is his approval rating among the only voters that matter, aka Republicans.

My takeaway from this is simple. Anyone who tells you "I'm a Republican and Republican values aren't Trump's values" is lying. Republicans = Trump and Trump = Republicans. Even that oh-so-principled Anti-Trumper Jeff Flake votes Trump 84% percent of the time.

Oh? You don't believe Republicans are the only voters that matter in 2018 America? Great! Help prove it by working hard in November to take back the House and Senate. We need a lot more like Ocasio-Cortez to win. 

No grift too small

by digby

Seriously, this is just so ... pathetic.

During his rally on Wednesday evening in Fargo, President Trump gave a lengthy promo for MyPillow, a Minnesota-based company that does extensive business with Fox News and is owned by a staunch Trump supporter.

“You ever see this guy with the pillows on Fox? MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, where is Mike? He is the greatest. I have never seen so many ads for so long and you know what, I think he gets them for like peanuts,” Trump said. “First of all, he does make a great product, great pillows. I actually use them, believe it or not. But he’s been, he’s been a supporter from day one, and I said, ‘you know, I want you to be my ad buyer’, because I guarantee he makes great deals. So I haven’t asked him yet — will you be my ad buyer, please Mike?”

I wonder if "Mike" understands that Trump just guaranteed that over half the country would rather lay their heads on a socorro cactus than ever buy one of his cheap, shitty pillows.


Somebody had too many Diet Cokes this morning

by digby

He is very crispy this week. The rallies are even more unhinged than usual. I'm guessing it has to do with what his lawyers are telling him. He's also watching way too much Fox News.

This morning:

The Russia tweet sounds like a signal. They're putting together the summit. The rest is bizarre, unhinged gibberish.

The man is not well.