May 25, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:01 AM


Socialism Is More Popular Than Donald Trump: The president is campaigning against socialism. New polling suggests he is failing. (John Nichols, 5/25/19, The Nation)

The numbers are in. The president is down. Socialism is up.

"Trump Approval Edges Down to 42%," read the headline from a May 17 Gallup review of its latest polling on the president's appeal.

Three days later, Gallup reported that "43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country."

That's right--after months of attacking socialism, Trump came into mid-May with a 42 percent approval rating while socialism scored a 43.

Posted by orrinj at 7:15 AM


Episode 107: It All Goes Back To Cyrus the Great (JONAH GOLDBERG, May 24, 2019, NRO: The Remnant Podcast)

Is America going to war with Iran? What is John Bolton up to? What does Cyrus the Great have to do with it? AEI scholar Ken Pollack joins The Remnant to answer these and other questions.

Episode 106: Blame the Boomers (JONAH GOLDBERG, May 22, 2019, The Remnant Podcast)

Is everything the Boomers' fault? Are Millennials actually the victims? Is Gen X the best generation? Jonah brings Wall Street Journal editorial board member and author of 'Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials' Economic Future' Joe Sternberg onto The Remnant to answer these and other questions.

Especially fun when Mr. Sternberg realizes that there were no differences between presidents from the 80s to Donald. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:58 AM


Posted by orrinj at 6:40 AM


Iran calling: How Iranians use humor to cope with Trump (Reza H. Akbari May 24, 2019, Al-Monitor)

[M]edia reported that the White House had provided a phone number to the Swiss Embassy -- America's protective power in Iran -- in case Tehran wants to call to ease the tensions. This reportedly prompted hundreds of prank calls to Switzerland's diplomatic mission.

Popular Iranian animator Soroush Rezaee, who publishes under the brand SooriLand, made a short clip of Trump being awakened by the proverbial 3 a.m. phone call. In the clip, the phone rings in the middle of the night, and Trump sits up, exclaiming, "It's the Iranians! They finally called!" But when he picks up the phone, the voice at the other end, adding insult to injury, attempts to sell him a hair-loss treatment. Consecutive callers try to sell the president things, including a vacation package. After a few more calls, Trump laments that his leaked number is in the hands of Iranian telemarketers.

An Iranian Twitter user posted an imagined conversation between Trump and the first lady, in which Trump tells Melania, "Stop talking on the phone for so long, maybe [the Iranians] will call and get a busy signal!"

The Trump jokes are typical of Iranian political humor -- a form of resilience. Despite the tumultuous history of the Islamic Republic, there has always been room for jokes. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, arguably the most harrowing period for Iran in recent memory, the population coped with the grim realities of war with jest and humorous anecdotes. A well-known self-deprecating joke goes as follows: A field radio operator sends a message to headquarters, reporting that he has captured 5,000 Iraqi soldiers and that the Iranian military should come and get them. The base replies, "Why don't you bring them yourself?" The operator replies, "Well, they won't let me leave!"

But nothing beats the esoteric, family-specific war experiences, which are often impossible to share with outsiders. I never laugh harder than when my family shares their funny war memories, but when I repeat them to non-Iranian friends, I get a polite chuckle at best. Perhaps the English author David John Lodge was right when he defined a nation as "a group of people who laugh at the same stuff."

All comedy is conservative.

Posted by orrinj at 6:26 AM


Pro-Israel group defends German far-right party's anti-Muslim campaign poster (BEN SALES, 5/25/19, JTA

A conservative pro-Israel think tank has come to the defense of a far-right German party over a campaign ad depicting dark-skinned Muslim slavers bargaining over a naked white woman. [...]

On Friday, the Middle East Forum -- whose stated mission is to protect "Western values from Middle Eastern threats" -- shared an essay by Raymond Ibrahim defending the AfD's message and [...] he said later that he believes Muslim migration to Europe is an "alien aggression which one is bringing on themselves." Ibrahim suggested "curtailing migration" and accused Muslim migrants of committing a high degree of sexual assault, though he said he had not looked at data on the issue.

Posted by orrinj at 6:23 AM


Owners of biblical Noah's ark replica sue over rain damage to property (USA Today, 5/24/19)

The owner of the life-size replica of Noah's Ark in Northern Kentucky has sued its insurers for refusing to cover rain damage.

Posted by orrinj at 6:20 AM


Inside Trump's Air Force One: 'It's like being held captive' (Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak,  May 25, 2019, CNN)

President Donald Trump's visit to Tokyo this weekend kicks off a summer of global jet-setting that takes him to five separate countries -- and confines him to the presidential aircraft for more than 80 hours flying overseas.

Not always an eager traveler, Trump has complained in the past about the pace of his foreign travel or the accommodations arranged for him abroad. It's his aides, however, who sometimes dread boarding Air Force One for a lengthy flight overseas, knowing full well the boss will make little use of the bed wedged into the nose of the plane.

"It's like being held captive," one official said of traveling with the President on Air Force One.

Current and former officials have described White House trips as grueling endeavors accompanied by long hours, but several privately said the flights overseas are easily the worst. The duration can stretch nearly 20 hours. Sleeping space is limited. The televisions are streaming Fox News constantly. And if the headlines flashing across the bottom of the screen are unfavorable to their boss, aides know it's time to buckle up for a turbulent ride.

The President boarded Air Force One Friday for the 14-hour flight to Tokyo, and his staff were gearing up for a particularly hellish ride. An event the previous day was supposed to focus on relief for farmers who have been hurt by tariffs, but it quickly devolved into a venting session for Trump, who called the Democratic House speaker "crazy" and said Democrats were trying to inflict a "thousand stabs" on him.

Posted by orrinj at 6:14 AM


Trump urges scrutiny of Australia's role in 'Russia hoax' (SBS, 5/25/19)

US Special Counsel Bob Mueller's report on links between the Trump campaign and Russia, pointed to a 2016 meeting between then Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and Australian high commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer in a London bar as prompting the FBI to open its Trump-Russia probe.

The FBI probe led to Mr Mueller being appointed as special counsel.

Mr Papadopoulos has claimed Mr Downer spied on him during the bar meeting, a claim which Mr Downer has rejected.

Mr Downer did say Mr Papadopoulos told him at the bar Russia had damaging material on Trump's presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

The information was forwarded to Canberra and then passed on to US intelligence services and the FBI.

6 key findings from Papadopoulos' guilty plea in Russia probe (CRISTIANO LIMA 10/30/2017, Politico)

He lied about meeting a professor with "substantial" ties to the Kremlin

Papadopoulos met with a professor from abroad who had "substantial" connections to Russian government officials on or around March 14, 2016. While Papadopoulos told federal authorities the meeting came prior to him joining Trump's campaign, it in fact occurred in early March, documents show, after he joined the team. The meeting also came about because of the professor's interest in Papadopoulos' role with the Trump camp. They again discussed campaign-related matters on April 26, 2016, after Papadopoulos had been on the campaign team for more than a month.

Papadopoulos also lied to the FBI about the extent of his awareness of the professor's Moscow connections, calling him "a nothing" who was "just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something," when in reality he knew of his link to the Kremlin.

He discussed "dirt" on Hillary Clinton and her "thousands of emails"

Papadopoulos admitted to authorities that the professor had told him that he possessed "dirt" on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her "thousands of emails." The professor also discussed the emails during their meeting in April after Papadopoulos had joined the campaign.

He met with someone described as "a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin"

During his meeting with the Kremlin-linked professor, Papadopoulos was introduced to a female Russian national who was described to him as a "relative" of the Russian leader. The court filing says she possessed "connections to senior Russian government officials."

Papadopoulos tried to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin

Documents say Papadopoulos, "over a period of months," sought to use the connections of the professor and the woman described as Putin's relative to set up a summit between the campaign and the Russian government.

May 24, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Trump and Pelosi Trade Barbs, Both Questioning the Other's Fitness (Glenn Thrush and Michael Tackett, May 23, 2019, NY Times)

One by one, his aides acceded to his wishes and affirmed his characterization in a ritual rarely seen in democratic governments.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Trump orders intelligence community to cooperate with review on Russia probe origins (Reuters, 5/24/19) 

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr's review of the events that prompted an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

We've already seen the damage Mr. Barr causes himself and Donald when he tries selective editing. The text tends to say the opposite of what he claims.  Just release everything; it all vindicates law enforcement and indicts Donald.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Senate approves deal on disaster aid, leaves out border money Trump demanded (Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis May 23 , 2019, Washington Post)

The deal, which congressional leaders presented hours before the Senate vote, would send aid to victims of Western wildfires, Midwestern flooding and hurricanes that hit the Southeast and Puerto Rico, as well as to other disaster-affected areas across the country.

The package does not include the U.S.-Mexico border funding the Trump administration requested. That demand had proved contentious, and leaving it out sidestepped a fight over immigration that had further complicated the delicate ­disaster-aid negotiations.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


GOP challenger Bill Weld turns up heat on Trump: 'Seems he would prefer an Aryan nation' (WILL STEAKIN, May 23, 2019, ABC News)

"I celebrate that America has always been a melting pot," Weld said at the speaking event on Tuesday. "It seems he would prefer an Aryan nation."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, "Aryan Nations is a longstanding neo-Nazi group in the United States that dates back to the 1970s."

When asked to explain what specifically he meant by "Aryan nation," Weld told ABC News that he believes the president "would prefer a nation with no immigrants."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism (MOHAMED YOUNIS, 5/24/19, Gallup)

While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup's update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

Previous Gallup research shows that Americans' definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. [...]

When asked whether they think the U.S. economy leans more toward free market control or toward government control, 40% say it leans more toward government control while fewer say it leans toward free market control (34%). One in four describe it as an equal mix.

May 23, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 6:50 PM


Mueller's Illegitimate Hoax Investigation Somehow Just Led to Another Indictment Involving the Trump Campaign (BEN MATHIS-LILLEY, MAY 23, 2019, Slate)

Mueller moreover referred a number of related cases to other Department of Justice prosecutors. We don't know what all those cases are yet because information about them was redacted from his report to Attorney General William Barr. But one of them was likely revealed today as the U.S. attorney's office in New York's Southern District announced charges against Stephen Calk, the CEO of Federal Savings Bank. Calk is accused of facilitating loans in 2016 to Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, that Manafort might otherwise not have qualified for because he was on the verge of going broke--and Manafort, the feds say, paid Calk back by getting him a spot on the Trump campaign's economic advisory committee and, later, recommending that the Trump transition team consider him for the position of undersecretary of the Army. 

Posted by orrinj at 6:47 PM


Bid to stifle court akin to those of pre-Nazi Germany, 98 retired judges say: Ex-jurists from all levels sign open letter protesting reported efforts by PM to pass legislation allowing Knesset to override High Court veto, as he seeks to safeguard immunity (JACOB MAGID, 23 May 2019, Times of Israel)

Ninety-eight retired judges signed an open letter on Thursday that compared the current environment, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly seeking to drastically curb the powers of Israel's High Court of Justice, to the situation in pre-Nazi Germany.

Referencing the words of the late German-born Israeli chief justice Alfred Witkon, the ex-jurists said that "there have been throughout history countries with democratic regimes where movements were established that used the rights granted to them in order to carry out destructive activities to protect themselves."

The exact quote given by Witkon in a 1964 High Court ruling stated, "more than once in history have fascist and totalitarian movements risen to establishment in  proper democratic regimes, where they used all the rights of freedom of speech, press and association granted by the state in order to carry out destructive activities to protect themselves. Anyone who saw this during the days of the Weimar Republic [the German government from 1918-1933] will not forget this lesson."

Posted by orrinj at 6:25 PM


Records in Jussie Smollett case to be unsealed, judge rules (Elisha Fieldstadt and Samira Puskar, 5/23/19, NBC News)

"To be sure, it is easily conceivable that a defendant whose case was dismissed would wish to maintain his sense of privacy, even if, perhaps especially if, the media covered the case," Judge Steven G. Watkins wrote in the decision. "However, that isn't that case."

"While the court appreciates that the defendant was in the public eye before the events that precipitated this case, it was not necessary for him to address this so publicly and to such an extent. By doing so, the court cannot credit his privacy interest as good cause to keep the case records sealed," the decision said.

Posted by orrinj at 3:09 PM


Despite Trump's racial rhetoric, white prejudice has gone down, Penn study finds (Jeff Gammage, May 22, 2019,

Daniel Hopkins, a professor of political science, and Samantha Washington, a bachelor's degree candidate, set out to see if Trump's rhetoric led white Americans to express more prejudiced views of African Americans or Latinos.

"Prejudice takes a variety of forms in different places at different times," Hopkins said in an interview. "But a lot of white Americans are not listening to Trump's rhetoric uncritically. There are many, many millions of white Americans who view Trump's rhetoric as racist."

They reviewed "expressed prejudice," which can be measured when people respond to surveys or polling. Declines occurred in both major parties but were more pronounced among Democrats.

Hopkins was surprised by the results, but also knew that there's "a longstanding tradition in political science that when the president moves in one direction, the public moves in the other direction."

The scholars relied on nationally representative surveys of some 20,000 people between 2008 and 2018. They also considered earlier work that assessed white respondents' beliefs in stereotypes, by asking them to rate African Americans and Latinos on work ethic and trustworthiness.

Before 2016, the authors said, presidential candidates who sought to harness animus toward African Americans or other racial groups did so through implicit clues, targeted toward certain audiences. Trump broke from that, such as declaring there were "very fine people on both sides" of a violent "Unite the Right" confrontation between white supremacists and protesters in Charlottesville, Va. One woman was killed and dozens of people injured when a neo-Nazi rammed his car into the crowd.

He's death on brands.

Posted by orrinj at 1:44 PM


Posted by orrinj at 1:21 PM


THE U.S. IS DENYING CITIZENSHIP TO SERVICE MEMBERS AT AN UNPRECEDENTED RATE: Non-citizens in the military are now denied citizenship more frequently than their civilian counterparts. The Department of Defense appears to be behind the shift. (MASSOUD HAYOUN, 5/23/19, Pacific Standard)

United States immigration authorities are denying military service member applications for citizenship at a higher rate than their civilian counterparts, newly released data from the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows. Immigrant rights advocates are calling on elected officials to overcome partisan impasses to remedy what appears to be the penalization of immigrants serving in the U.S. armed forces--particularly at a time when the Department of Defense is failing to meet its voluntary recruitment goals.

The USCIS data shows that the agency denied 16.6 percent of military citizenship applications in the last three months of 2018, over 5 percent more than civilian applications. Prior to his administration, and in the first few quarters of the Donald Trump presidency, military citizenship application acceptances were higher than their civilian counterparts. Experts say that, amid Trump's attempts to bar immigrants of all stripes from legally remaining in the U.S., the data shows that non-citizen service member applications have faced an increased degree of scrutiny.

He does hold service in contempt, so it probably harms them.
Posted by orrinj at 12:19 PM


What Rod Rosenstein Knew When He Helped Trump Fire Comey  (Murray Waas, 5/23/19, NYRB)

In May 2017, then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed to assist President Trump in an effort to fire James Comey as FBI director despite Rosenstein's knowing beforehand that the president had devised a false cover story to conceal the fact that he was firing Comey for his oversight of the FBI's Russia investigation, according to previously confidential White House records and interviews with former and current government officials familiar with the matter.

In this previously unreported episode, President Trump gave Rosenstein a draft of a letter to then FBI Director Comey, in which the president justified his firing of Comey with a concocted story claiming that, at the beginning of his presidency, Trump had retained Comey on a probationary or trial period only, because of what he described as poor job performance by Comey. After reading this draft letter, Rosenstein agreed to write a memorandum for the president severely criticizing Comey's handling of the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. The White House used Rosenstein's memo as its initial public rationale for Comey's firing.

The Mueller Report mentioned this draft letter that Trump gave to Rosenstein, but quoted only portions of two sentences of its text. Trump stated in the letter that Comey had "asked [the president] at dinner shortly after inauguration to let [Comey] stay on in the Director's role, and [the president] said that [he] would consider it," but the president ultimately had "concluded that [he had] no alternative but to find new leadership for the Bureau--a leader that restores confidence and trust."

I was able to read the full draft of that letter, and two earlier drafts, as well as notes made by Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to President Trump, who helped the president write the various drafts. The Trump administration has refused to provide these records to Congress, citing claims of executive privilege.

In these documents, President Trump claimed that Comey sought a private dinner with the president in an effort to keep his job. In one early account, Trump quoted Comey vowing to earn the president's trust to retain his job, with the president concluding that Comey had underperformed in a number of ways, including failing to have the FBI more aggressively identify and prosecute leakers. Mueller's investigators were later able to discount most of these claims--a conclusion that Trump's own advisers seemed to have drawn themselves, since the claims were largely absent from the letter that Trump ultimately sent to Comey firing him.

Posted by orrinj at 4:15 AM


Trump Dumped Thousands of Immigrants in San Antonio. The City's Response Was a Lesson in Kindness. (Fernanda Echavarri, 5/23/19, Mother Jones)

Up until that point, there had been dozens of families showing up every day at the bus station in need of food and money to buy their next ticket, but never this many, Bridger said. Catholic Charities USA and Interfaith Welcome Coalition had been assisting migrants at an average of about 50 a day. This was different.

"We had surges of 150, then 250 and 300 people coming in one day," Bridger said, "and (the nonprofits) came to the city and said, 'We can't keep doing this--this is beyond our capacity. Will you please help us?'" 

That's when the city quickly turned the vacant storefront across from the Greyhound station into a pit stop for families to rest, eat, call family members, and plan out their next steps. One city official described it to me as a "compassionate layover." But the resource center wasn't equipped to keep families overnight, so Catholic Charities helped create an shelter at the nearby Travis Park Church.

When families have to spend the night in San Antonio, volunteers at the resource center walk with them to the church, where they can sleep. "Last night we actually had 75 people sleeping here," said Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities in San Antonio. "We know that there are more people coming than there was in the past, so we are preparing bigger coalitions to provide services for the families because we don't know how long this is going to happen."

The Gabarrete family slept in the church the night before I met them. By morning, families go back to the resource center for the day where the kids can draw and watch cartoons to stay occupied. Hector Gabarrete said he didn't expect such a warm welcome in a US city, and that he felt "taken care of and safe."

"I'm not here to judge people or political parties--I'm here to help people in need," Fernandez said. "I don't care if you're Catholic or not. I don't care if you're documented or undocumented. My mission in life is to feed anyone who walks through that door."

Fernandez said they've been spending about $14,000 each week for bus tickets for the hundreds of families that need help getting to their final destination.

As far as the city's contributions go, Bridger said it has provided in-kind donations to the NGOs, such as the storefront, but haven't directly provided financial assistance. She said they thought the emergency resource center would be open for about two weeks, but it's been two months now. They've planned to continue with this setup until the end of the fiscal year in September. But, Bridger added, "I don't think it's going to be sustainable in the long haul."

The city employees helping right now are either doing this as part of their already assigned duties, or as volunteers. "Some of them are working a full day for the city and then volunteering for an eight-hour shift at the volunteer center, so we have people that are really tired and that are working really hard to make it a success, but we can't do that indefinitely," she said.

It's an opportunity to differentiate America from Trumpism.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM

"VERY FINE" TRUMPBOTS (profanity alert):

Leaked Proud Boys Chats Show Members Plotting Violence At Rallies (Andy Campbell, 5/23/19, Huffington Post)

In the chats, covering a time period between February and March of this year, members claimed they needed a conclusive "win" this time around, which they defined as a bloody battle against "antifa" in Providence. If this brawl were bigger and more violent than previous iterations, they might regain some of the street cred and followers they'd lost.

"We'll grow this group of patriots and we'll never back down," wrote the event's organizer, Proud Boys member Alan Swinney, in the private chat messages. "If we win, it will make more patriots come to the next rally. We just need to go there and we'll beat them. We'll have enough to crush them at some point." 

A source with direct knowledge of the exchanges confirmed to HuffPost that the logs were authentic. Swinney also responded to several screenshots. When asked about discussions of violence in the chat logs, he told HuffPost, "They're warriors. ... Choir boys don't go up against people like that [anti-fascists]. It takes a person with a certain type of mindset."

The logs contained a revolving door of up to 30 Proud Boys and their allies, including militia members and other "patriots," as Swinney called them. Those named in this story either publicly identify as members of the Proud Boys or affiliated groups, or have been identified as such in national news stories or by the groups' leaders.

Looking forward to Providence, members in the private channel were pumped for the opportunity to cause mayhem. One Proud Boy named Anthony Mastrostefano said:

"All I want to do is smash commies too. Actually I'm lying, I'm way past just hitting them. When the time comes I will stop at nothing to fully eradicate them all!"

The Proud Boys have a yearslong history of violence, and they've built an entire brand off of the fights they've helped organize in American streets, from spars in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, to attacks in Providence and New York.

McInnes created a set of rules by which his gang members could gain clout in the organization, which include forgoing masturbation, getting a Proud Boy tattoo and fighting in the name of the gang.

Their leadership has always claimed that such violence is incidental, acts of self-defense necessitated by their anti-fascist opponents, who show up to each of their purported free-speech events in protest.

They've gone as far as to file lawsuits to maintain that facade ― on Monday, several of their members stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and announced that they were suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling them as a hate group. McInnes himself filed a defamation lawsuit against the civil rights organization in February.

"We're a drinking club that stands behind Donald Trump," said Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio at the D.C. event. "That's enough to earn hate of the left."

But private chat logs leaked to HuffPost fly directly in the face of that sentiment, showing Proud Boys premeditating violence they hope to commit. They spent months before the April rally meticulously planning strategies for injuring protesters.

Members discuss what weapons they might use against the "commies" they'll meet in the street, which police officers might be sympathetic to them, how they'll raise funding to fly out their long-distance compatriots, and how they'll "bait" protesters into throwing the first punch so that they can claim self-defense.

No one believes that onanism bit.

On the other hand, no one doubts the pool boy connection, Documents detail how Jerry Falwell Jr. went into South Beach venture with 'pool boy' (DOUGLAS HANKS, MAY 22, 2019, Miami Herald)

New court documents offer a peek into how evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr. wound up in the South Beach hotel business with a former Fontainebleau Hotel pool attendant [...]

Falwell's role as an early supporter of Donald Trump's presidential campaign helped drive media interest in the South Beach deal, along with the seemingly central role of a low-level hotel worker in the transaction. Earlier this month, interest revved up again when Reuters reported that former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen had helped Falwell Jr. deal with "personal" photographs held by someone else. Cohen intervened and the person destroyed them, according to Reuters, which based its reporting on a recorded conversation with Cohen by comedian Tom Arnold. The report said Cohen flew to Florida in 2016 to deal with the photographs.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Judge says Deutsche Bank, Capital One can give Trump financial records to House Democrats (Dan Mangan & Kevin Breuninger, 5/22/19, CNBC)

Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the Trump clan's arguments "are not sufficiently serious as it relates to Supreme Court precedent" dealing with the question of turning over documents to Congress.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Putin out-prepared Trump in key meeting, Rex Tillerson told House panel (John Hudson and Josh Dawsey May 22, 2019, Washington Post)

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared President Trump during a key meeting in Germany, putting the U.S. leader at a disadvantage during their first series of tête-à-têtes.

The U.S. side anticipated a shorter meeting for exchanging courtesies, but it ballooned into a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues, said committee aides, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Tillerson's seven-hour closed meeting with the committee.

"We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted," a committee aide said. "There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing." [...]

Committee aides said that Tillerson refrained from openly disparaging the president but that his inability to answer certain questions was revealing.

In one exchange, Tillerson said he and the president "shared a common goal: to secure and advance America's place in the world and to promote and protect American values."

"Those American values -- freedom, democracy, individual liberty and human dignity -- are the North Star that guided every action I took at the State Department," Tillerson said, according to a person in the room.

Upon questioning, Tillerson clarified that although he and the president shared the same goal, they did not share the same "value system."

When asked to describe Trump's values, Tillerson said, "I cannot," the person said.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Poll: 60 percent say Trump should not be reelected (JONATHAN EASLEY, 05/22/19, The Hill)

A Monmouth University survey released Wednesday found that only 37 percent of voters believe Trump should be reelected, while 60 percent said they think it's time to have someone new in the White House.

That's the highest percentage of voters saying they're eager for change since Monmouth first began asking the question in November.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Why Pelosi is so good at infuriating Trump (JOHN BRESNAHAN and BURGESS EVERETT, 05/22/2019, Politico)

Something about Nancy Pelosi just gets under Donald Trump's skin.

On Wednesday, for the third time in barely six months, a meeting between the president, the speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blew up in spectacular fashion.

And in each case, Trump handed Pelosi a huge gift, a priceless moment that helped unify the Democratic Caucus behind her at a crucial time.

"She's smarter than him, and she's tougher than him, and I think that bothers him," said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Pelosi ally. "It's hard to get inside that head of his and figure out what drives him, other than an oversized ego and an undersized sense of ethics."

Saves him trips to Vegas,

May 22, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 9:22 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:45 PM


2nd judge refuses to block House subpoenas for Trump bank records (Katelyn Polantz, May 22, 2019, CNN)

A second federal judge has now rebuffed President Donald Trump's sweeping attempt to block House lawmakers from accessing his financial records, handing him another defeat in a fight that has infuriated the President and opened deep rifts with Democrats.

Judge Edgardo Ramos in New York on Wednesday refused to block subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services panels for Trump's financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. It's the second such ruling against the President in three days.

Posted by orrinj at 6:23 PM


Poll: American Jews feel threatened, blame Trump (Yonat Shimron, 5/22/19, RNS) 

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Research, shows 71% disapprove of Trump's response to anti-Semitism. Nearly 60% believe he bears at least some responsibility for last year's shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and last month's shooting at a synagogue in Poway, near San Diego.

Posted by orrinj at 6:16 PM


The Premise of Joe Biden's Campaign Is That Every Left-Wing Criticism of the Democratic Party Since 2008 Has Been Wrong (BEN MATHIS-LILLEY, MAY 22, 2019, Slate)

Joe Biden has been officially running for president for about a month now, and on Saturday, he held a rally in Philadelphia at which he articulated his vision for the country and his campaign. The most revealing lines in his speech might have been these: "Folks, I know some of the really smart folks say Democrats don't want to hear about unity. They say Democrats are so angry, that the angrier a candidate can be, the better chance he or she has to win the Democratic nomination. Well, I don't believe it."

Biden's words were a shot at Democrats who think the party needs to more explicitly sell itself as a vehicle for aggressively confronting a range of people, institutions, and problems on behalf of marginalized and mistreated middle- and working-class Americans. His speech instead emphasized concepts like reconciliation and cooperation, portraying a country that would essentially be happily united in its ideals and goals across lines of both party and class were it not for the singular figure of Donald Trump.

Biden's campaign isn't just pitching itself as an alternative to the Democratic Party's left-leaning, aggression-demanding internal critics on a rhetorical level; the campaign also rejects those critics' beliefs about strategy and their reading of recent history. Biden's candidacy is, in one sense, a proposition that everything that's been said by an unhappy progressive Democrat over the course of the past decade or so should be ignored. 

And that the Right's criticism of the GOP is wrong.

May 2019
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