August 8, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:35 PM

Posted by orrinj at 7:23 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:18 PM

INSIDE THE BUBBLE (profanity alert):

Trump gets a folder full of positive news about himself twice a day (Alex Thompson, Aug 8, 2017, Vice)

Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.

These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don't contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.

Posted by orrinj at 6:45 PM


Glen Campbell, Country Music Legend, Is Dead At 81 (BLAKE FARMER, 8/08/17, All Things Considered)

Long before he was a household name, Campbell was a studio musician in Los Angeles, part of the famous "Wrecking Crew," a loose cluster of studio players who backed stars on many hits of the day.

Campbell was a self-taught guitarist whose training consisted mostly of informal lessons in the lap of his Uncle Boo back in Arkansas. Campbell couldn't read music, but Rumble says he could play anything.

"Glen just fit right in, he was so doggone good," Rumble recalls.

The exact scope of Campbell's output in the '50s and '60s is unknown, because producers cloaked who actually played on a session. But he provided guitar parts for records by Jan and Dean, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys. Campbell even became a Beach Boy for about six months, replacing front-man Brian Wilson on tour. Years later, Campbell mentioned it in his own concerts.

"It was fun, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my musical career playing bass and singing the high part," he joked.

His solo career got off to a slow start. But after a few minor hits, he found a groove. He began a long-term collaboration with songwriter Jimmy Webb, who says he grew up daydreaming about working with Glen Campbell. The two would become musical partners. And Webb says Campbell doesn't get enough credit for his contributions beyond performing.

"Nobody compared with him when it came to picking a song and then arranging it," Webb said. "He left his stamp on whatever material he did."

Together, Webb and Campbell produced such Top 40 hits as "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman."

Campbell's chart success led to opportunities in film and TV, including a stint on network television, where he hosted Glen Campbell's Good Time Hour. Guests ranged from actor John Wayne to The Monkees to his own family. But at the height of his fame, Campbell hit personal lows -- divorces and a drug and alcohol problem. His struggle with cocaine surprised those who knew him best, considering his Christian upbringing and outspoken faith.

Eventually, though, he got his life back in order and continued performing. Then, in 2011, he announced he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And instead of receding into the shadows, he planned a tour. For more than a year, he played shows around the country, backed by a band that included some of his children.

Posted by orrinj at 6:41 PM


US-led raids in Syria said to kill 29 civilians in 24 hours (AFP, August 8, 2017)

US-led coalition raids on Raqqa in northern Syria have killed 29 civilians over the past 24 hours as American-backed forces battle the Islamic State group, a monitor said Tuesday.

A better leader would leave it to the Russians and Alawites to kill civilians. Of course, for Donald, the only good Muslim is a dead one anyway.

Posted by orrinj at 4:02 PM


Arrests, Crackdown Put Spotlight On Islamic State Threat In Iran (Golnaz Esfandiari, 8/08/17, Radio Liberty)

In July, a Judiciary official in Mashhad said a total of 27 IS members were arrested in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi.

On June 9, two days after the attacks in the Iranian capital that left 17 dead, the Intelligence Ministry said its forces had arrested 41 IS members.

Even before the Tehran attacks, Iranian authorities had said on separate occasions that they had arrested dozens of "terrorists," some with links to IS, and thwarted several planned attacks.

The Islamic republic is seen as an enemy by IS, which considers Shi'a to be heretics.

Iran has been heavily involved in the fight against IS in Syria, where Tehran has sent hundreds of military advisers and is believed to have sent fighters or Iran-backed soldiers to assist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Assad has been fighting both Western-backed forces -- who seek his ouster and are also engaged in fighting IS -- as well as Islamic State itself for more than six years in a brutal civil war.

Iran has also been active in anti-IS efforts in Iraq, where the IRGC has reportedly advised Iraqi forces and helped mobilize Shi'ite militias.

There is only Near War now.

Posted by orrinj at 3:56 PM


Democrats Are in Deep Trouble (Peter Roff, Aug. 7, 2017, US News)

If the Democrats and Republicans were engaged in a real war - what they're all doing now is just political combat of the messiest kind - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's defection to the GOP after just a few months in office might be a signal it's time to sue for peace. [...]

Say what you want, governors don't change parties every day. The last to do it was Lincoln Chaffee, the governor of Rhode Island, who had been elected as an independent but joined the Democrats midway through his single term in office as a prelude to an all-too-brief flirtation with his new party's 2016 presidential nomination. Before that is was Buddy Roemer who, as governor of Louisiana, joined the GOP back when George Herbert Walker Bush was president.

Justice's decision to join in the GOP while chief executive of a state the Democrats as recently as 10 years ago owned from top to bottom is a huge, Las Vegas strip-style neon sign telling the Democrats they're in more trouble than they know.

With Justice, the number of Republican governors is up to 34, the highest in history. The number of states where the GOP has control of the governorship and the state legislature is up to 26, including Nebraska where the legislature, while unicameral and officially non-partisan, is dominated by registered Republicans. By comparison there are just six states - California, Oregon, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii and Connecticut - where the Democrats are in charge (and the clock is running on a few of those).

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 PM


Former Ted Cruz spokesman suggests Trump should be on '24-hour suicide watch' because of his poll numbers (Becca Stanek, 8/08/18, The week)
Amid President Trump's free-falling approval ratings, Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) former presidential campaign spokesman Rick Tyler recommended that Trump be put on "suicide watch." "[I]f I were a political consultant looking at a candidate who had these kind of numbers, I'd have him on 24-hour suicide watch. These numbers are not good," Tyler said during a Tuesday appearance on Morning Joe.

Posted by orrinj at 12:42 PM


Trump Retweets Story That Haley Says Contains Classified Info, Won't Discuss (Jack Heretik, August 8, 2017, Free Beacon)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning retweeted a news report on North Korea that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley refused to comment on because she said it contains "classified" information.

Posted by orrinj at 7:58 AM


Source: Trump Is Upset With New Book About Bannon's Role On Campaign (Alex Pfeiffer, 8/07/17, Daily Caller)

A source who spoke with the president recently told TheDC that Trump complained about the new book as well as the cover of a November copy of Forbes that claimed Jared Kushner was the campaign's mastermind. "I hate it when people take credit for an election I won," Trump said, according to the source.

Posted by orrinj at 5:53 AM


As Mueller closes in, Trump prepares his base for the worst (Greg Sargent August 7, 2017, Washington Post)

Because Trump is undermining our democratic norms and processes in so many ways, it is often easy to focus on each of them in isolation, rather than as part of the same larger story. But, taken together, they point to a possible climax in which Trump, cornered by revelations unearthed by Robert S. Mueller III's probe and by ongoing media scrutiny, seeks to rally his supporters behind the idea that this outcome represents not the imposition of accountability by functioning civic institutions, but rather an effort to steal the election from him -- and from them.

Posted by orrinj at 5:49 AM


59% of Americans think Trump's presidency has been a failure (Dave Lawler, 8/07/17, Axios)

Most Americans (59%) believe Donald Trump's presidency thus far has been a failure, while 36% say it has been a success according to a new CNN poll to mark his 200th day in office.  [...]

Strong approval among Republicans has dropped from 73% in February to 59% now.

Posted by orrinj at 5:36 AM


Israel slammed over Al-Jazeera 'repressive clampdown' (Deutsche-Welle, 8/08/17)

On Sunday, Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara announced the government's intention to shutter the Qatari-owned broadcaster's operations in Israel.

Kara said he requested that the Government Press Office, responsible for press accreditation in Israel, revoke Al-Jazeera's operating license and withdraw credentials from journalists working for the channel. However, the move was met with condemnation..

Posted by orrinj at 5:14 AM


Consumption and Income Inequality in the U.S. Since the 1960s (Bruce D. Meyer, James X. Sullivan, 8/17, NBER Working Paper No. 23655)

We examine income inequality between 1963 and 2014 using the Current Population Survey and consumption inequality between 1960 and 2014 using the Consumer Expenditure Survey. We construct improved measures of consumption, focusing on its well-measured components that are reported at a high and stable rate relative to national accounts. While overall income inequality (as measured by the 90/10 ratio) rose over the past five decades, the rise in overall consumption inequality was small.