42 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-16-18

  1. We are off to an interesting start. The Cult is going to have to twist itself into a pretzel to defend this statement, but I am confident they will do it.

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  2. Honest question for Michelle.

    Why?

    I get where you’re coming from. I was a cold war warrior too. I can still name most Russian armor by sight. But we never had an actual shooting war with Russia as we’ve had with many of our current allies, UK, Germany, and Iraq being the most obvious. If we managed to move on from hostilities with them, why not with Russia too? It’s no longer the communist enemy it was, and it never will be again, Putin’s fantasies aside of course.

    Everyone does what Russia did. The US included. Why is it bad when they do it to us, but not when we do it to them?

    Why does Russia still need to be thought of as an enemy by anyone but war mongering neo-cons who think of everyone else that way? When has enough time passed to move beyond the Cold War? Is 30 years not enough?

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  3. Astroturf victims?

    Or willing accomplices?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5955289/Newspapers-run-IDENTICAL-letters-slamming-Trumps-Supreme-Court-pick.html

    “Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump’s Supreme Court pick – and they’re all signed by different people

    At least 21 U.S. newspapers ran identical letters to the editor opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week

    Each letter was published with the name of a different ‘signer,’ claiming Kavanaugh threatens ‘everything that we hold dear as a nation’

    Technique is known as ‘astroturfing’; it’s unclear who’s behind it

    One editor says the woman who appeared to have emailed him the letter now denies ever sending it

    Three prominent liberal advocacy groups that oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination have all denied involvement in the campaign.

    The White House is shrugging off the technique, whose history includes similar campaigns from the Republican Party and the liberal MoveOn.org”

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the Supreme Court confirmation process with a hail of rhetorical arrows zinging by him, including a phony letter-writing campaign aimed at unsuspecting American newspaper editors

    At least 21 papers were duped last week, including big-market brands like the Dallas Morning News and The Washington Times. They ran identical letters over a four-day period, each signed by a different person.

    The effort is an example of public-relations ‘astroturfing,’ a technique meant to simulate genuine grassroots support for an idea or cause.”

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  4. But AJ, Russia basically *is* Putin. If he causes his country to act against the U.S., we consider it Russia doing the acting, don’t we? Parenthetically, Trump’s posture toward Russia is at least as aggressive as Obama’s, which I’ve been a little surprised to see a few media folks mention this morning as I sit in the hotel lobby watching TV. I don’t know why Trump keeps confusing the issue with his goofy takes like the one Ricky linked.

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  5. Also,

    It seems pretty obvious to me that the statement

    “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity ”

    refers to when his predecessor Obama was in charge. You know, when Hillary was talking “reset” buttons and Obama’d have more flexibility if the Russians would just wait until after he was re-elected.

    Any of that ring a bell?

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  6. Solar,

    I firmly believe 90% of what he tweets is just to get under the skin of his political adversaries. They lose their minds (like Ricky has) and he sits back and laughs. I think he quite possibly shares with Ricky a love of tormenting others. (his words)

    And it works. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. AJ, no doubt Hillary and Obama were terrible at foreign policy, but it’s because of Putin that the US Russia relationship isn’t good. Putin being a tyranny is what poisons the whole thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I concur. But Russia will not always be Putin’s. Putin, his ideology, and his old ways is the rival, not the people of Russia, who have largely moved beyond that.

    Is it wrong to attempt for better relations while being fully aware of who your rival is? Of course not, or we’d never talk out any differences with other countries. I’m not saying to blindly embrace them, but dialogue is necessary.

    A perfect example is Putin’s denials of involvement in the 2016 elections. He denied it today, but we know otherwise. Since he lied, does that mean we walk out and not take the opportunity to discuss Syria and a resolution there? Of course not. We’re not children who take their toys and go home. Adults move on.

    I’m saying take advantage of the opportunity where we can, and take the stuff you know to be false for what it’s worth, which is nothing. Dialogue, but verify before offering any concessions on any matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with AJ, particularly about Trump’s tweets. I think he uses them to throw his opponents off guard. Since I am not his opponent, I never take them too seriously.

    On the other hand, there is no doubt that Russia has tried to interfere in our elections and since that fact is public knowledge, there should be consequences at some point. Whether the President will bring that up now, I don’t know, but I’m not particularly concerned. I think the legal maneuver to bring forfeiture to bear on Russian assets may be a substantial part of that in the future. What should not be in doubt is our own responsibility to upgrade our security procedures and protocols. There will definitely be other attempts by other countries.

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  10. Nunes was right all along, as Mueller’s recent indictments show.

    Thank Nunes, who was repeatedly knocked and ridiculed in the press and by NTers.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/nunes-mueller-indictment-tracks-house-intel-report

    “In a tweet Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a member and former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, boiled down special counsel Robert Mueller’s new Russian election-meddling indictment to one basic lesson: “Key point in Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment: A dozen Russian military intelligence officials conducted the hacking of Democrats during the 2016 campaign.”

    Other commentators, most with less knowledge than Feinstein, offered similar assessments. Regardless of what President Trump might say, they noted, the indictment showed very clearly that the Russians — Russian military intelligence, specifically — did it.

    What few mentioned was that there had been a similar assessment — not speculation, or even a reported account in the press, but an official U.S. government assessment — that came to the same conclusion, based on some of the same evidence, just a few months ago. In many corners of the media and political conversation, though, that assessment was ridiculed and belittled when it was not ignored outright.

    The assessment was the House Intelligence Committee’s “Report On Russian Active Measures,” sent to the Intelligence Community on March 22 and released publicly in heavily-censored form on April 27. It laid out much of the information contained in Count One of the Mueller indictment, the heart of Mueller’s case that 12 Russian military intelligence agents hacked Democratic Party computer systems and the Clinton campaign and then disseminated the stolen information.

    “It’s pretty clear if you read the indictment, and you read our four findings and Chapter Two, even with redactions, you get most of the indictment,” House Intel chairman Rep. Devin Nunes told me in a phone conversation Sunday. “If you didn’t have the redactions, you’d get more than what’s in the indictment, except for the Russian names.”

    Nunes referred to four of the House report’s 44 findings, the ones summarizing Chapter Two, headlined “Russia Attacks the United States.” The first of the findings Nunes mentioned was, “Russia conducted cyberattacks on U.S. political institutions in 2015-2016,” and the second was, “Russian-state actors and third-party intermediaries were responsible for the dissemination of documents and communications stolen from U.S. political organizations.””

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  11. The future of the Democrat Party. 🙂

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  12. So Nunes agrees with Mueller. Good, perhaps then he will throw his support behind Mueller instead of impeding him. Mueller and Ronenstein are Repiblicans, Nunes should be able to trust them.

    Yes all great powers interfere in elections even each other. However, if you publicly catch a great power interfering and do nothing or worse yet side with the other great power instead of your own govt, you have reduced your country’s status. And if you as leader of a great power do not do anything in response but instead have coffee with the other side, you tread close to treason.

    Like Ricky I thought Trump implicated himself by mistake when he admitted the firing of Comey was bc of Russia but Im begining to have my doubts. Id rather believe its incompetence rather than delibrate obstruction since the latter is slightly conspiratorial and former appeals to my use og Ockham’s razor. However Trumps actions this week have only made the conspiratorial more real. And it puzzles me why logical intelligent people will still make excuses. If he’s not hiding something, hes obstructing and if its all a misperception bc of his tweets and actions than he’s incompentent. There’s no upside to his actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And finally there are some brilliant memes circulating around social media of Trump blocking the Queen and Trump sitting next to Putin. The Europeans are having way too much fun. I remember during the campaign Trump and his supporters claiming he will restore American greatness in the world instead he is the object of laughter. And to be serious not protecting your electoral system does little to increase greatness

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Brennan is a bit hyperbolic but he’s right Trump blew it. This was his chance to stand up and defend the US electoral system.

    Yes the US did it in Russia but Putin responed by kicking out the NGOs the US govt used as cover to influence Russian elections. Trump’s response was to deny his own agencies and agree with Putin…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree, he’s trying to throw people off and they rise to the bait. He doesn’t need to be rude, IMHO, particularly to the queen, but it’s gotten him a long way so he probably doesn’t think he needs to change, or at least smooth his presentation.

    His unfortunate wife. I can’t imagine living with that.

    The Soviets and the Russians have never been our friends. It’s been a cesspool of intrigue for millenium.

    The US does unnecessarily throw it’s weight around. No one should be surprised at foreign nationals trying to get at US secrets. Who could possibly be that naive?

    Of course, I’m just a housewife in northern California who has read Russian history for 40 years, but what do I know?

    Why doesn’t anyone mention the Republican Party also had attempted hackers but they had robust anti-spam and protection. Couldn’t you argue the Democratic Party didn’t have adequate online safety on their sites?

    Shouldn’t that be a major problem–how can such smart people be so stupid and careless?

    And what about that guy who oversaw all the IT for the Democratic Congresspeople? Shouldn’t he be pretty thoroughly investigated, particularly in the media?

    That story stinks to high heaven, no matter what political party you prefer.

    I’d much rather hear about that then you-know-who.

    BTW, I spent 21 years dealing with “need to know,” issues. There’s a whole lot of information I neither need to know, nor want to know–because knowing means I’m responsible for many things I simply cannot control.

    However, I trusted the people who did know–and that’s what’s different now.

    All sorts of reporters and others are clamoring for information, demanding it, about most of us out here don’t need to know.

    There’s danger there.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. HRW, The Europeans are not the only ones having way too much fun. I have therefore put myself on a diet and pledge to only torment the Trumpkins once a day. Today, I really didn’t have to do any tormenting at all. The defenses of the Tweet posted @ 8:01 will provide laughter and entertainment for the rest of the day.

    You did articulate the question that educated people all over the world are asking:

    1. Does Putin really have something hanging over Trump’s head?

    or

    2. Is Trump really just that stupid and incompetent?

    I would love to see the response of other world leaders to that question. Somehow I believe that the leaders who have actually met Trump would vote for #2.

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  17. Recently, I had written (maybe on the daily thread) about how, for various reasons, immigrants tend to adapt to life in America better than those in Europe. Today, I came across this article which explains why things got bad in Germany. . .

    “But even as officials worked to help the newcomers, restrictions designed to zealously protect native workers’ jobs made the effort nearly impossible. Aside from needing legal status, in Germany, refugees face regulatory hurdles—from additional training and certification requirements to demands that they already know the language—before they can qualify for jobs at any level.

    Germany’s bureaucratic monolith, not exactly known for its efficiency, and resistant to rapid change, was expected absorb the sudden influx. And refugees’ new lives hung in the balance. Without approved legal residency and permission to enter the job market, they could not hope to support themselves and contribute to society. Instead, hundreds of thousands of people would sit in camps, in limbo, living on taxpayer money, indefinitely. A report from the Institute for Employment Research found that just 10 percent of the working-age refugees who arrived in 2015 were employed by 2017.”

    https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/15/germany-just-agreed-to-essentially-close

    Liked by 1 person

  18. And in other news…..

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2018/07/another-month-of-strong-retail-sales-show-a-strengthened-growing-economy/#more-255073

    “Our economy continues to grow. Excellent jobs reports mean there’s a lot more expendable income.

    Stimulating the economy is best accomplished not through government intervention, but by putting money back into the market, which is exactly what we’re seeing.

    Consumer spending rose by 0.5% in June and the Commerce Department revised May’s spending report, upgrading spending increases from 0.8% to 1.3%.

    Overall, retail sales are up 6.6% from a year ago.”
    ————————–

    “From CNBC:

    Given the upward revision to May data, the unchanged reading in core retail sales last month likely does not change views that consumer spending accelerated in the second quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, braked sharply in the January-March period, growing at its slowest pace in nearly five years.

    In addition to the solid retail sales data, a sharp narrowing of the trade deficit in April and May has also bolstered expectations of a strong GDP reading in the second quarter. The government will publish its snapshot of second-quarter GDP later this month.

    Consumer spending is being driven by a tightening labor market, which is steadily pushing up wages. Consumption is also being supported by tax cuts and savings.

    All of this data has led economists to predict “that growth will jump to a 4 percent to 4.5 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter.” If that happens, that will “be the strongest in four years.”
    ——————————

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  19. Huh…..

    “a sharp narrowing of the trade deficit in April and May has also bolstered expectations of a strong GDP reading in the second quarter.”

    I wonder why that happened…. 🙂

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  20. A couple of questions:

    1. HRW, How does this new bizarre new development affect your analysis on the traitor vs. imbecile question?

    2. Do we have any Cultists willing to go the Full Monty and stick with Trump on this?

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  21. Half-Trumper Brit Hume was not impressed.

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  22. HRW,

    Douthat humorously argues that today’s performance was an argument in favor of idiocy.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have never seem so much commotion about nothing in all me 88 years.
    Ask any man, in the next shopping center you visit, about Russian interference in our elections and he will answer:
    What?

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  24. I suspect John McCain doesn’t like Trump.
    I can’t blame him, but I hope it doesn’t interfere with his duty to the nation. Like our Supreme Court nominee.

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  25. For once, a few prominent Trumpers are finally willing to criticize Dear Leader.

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  26. It is as if the entire Cult has gone into hiding. I can’t wait until they reemerge. The excuses/explanations are going to be epic.

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  27. I’m not hiding , I’m working. And I’m not embarrassed by the President. Trump’s statements are one thing. What is actually done is another. I’m quite used to him making ridiculous statements. However I still want to see our internal security strengthened, and I would like to see Russian assets seized. I think that will happen.
    Debra

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  28. Unlike you Ricky, most of us seem to have lives that involve more than politics and what Trump said or did on any given day. I’ve been busy planning a trip to Va. I can read all about what the chatterati class has to say later.

    Maybe by then the servers will have been located.

    You may now continue with your daily rantings.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Goldberg’s explanation is not exactly idiocy and not exactly treason. It is bad character, and we all knew that from the beginning.

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  30. Ricky, could we say its his stupidity and self delusions of grandeur that is leading him into betrayal?

    As you can imagine leftist commentators like Moore have lost their shirt (an unappealing image). I think McCain is right….he abased himself, the presidency and the country. Will this make the diffetence to Trump supporters…..to the intelligent ones who can see how this plays out in the great game and great power status, it should. Chas makes a good point though, the avearge Trump rally supporter won’t have a clue or will call it fake news. You can ask the average shopper to place the US on a world map and they won’t similarly they couldn’t find Helsinki nor know what happened. Or they watched Hannity……

    Btw AJ, one of economic figures you cited was the best “since four years ago”…you mean since Obama?

    Liked by 1 person

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