Travel Day and Open Thread

It's a travel day for me, I'll be back Thursday.
Sorry for all the open threads, but it's all I have time for. I sure hope things settle down when I get back.

Again, open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Porter was in serious talks with the WH (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 11:18:52 AM EST
    about a promotion before he resigned.

    Because in the Trump WH, you're supposed to fail up the ladder, right?  Especially if you can't even get a security clearance.

    Starting to wonder what other secrets Porter knows.

    Honestly, how do these people have any time for real work when they are spending so much time putting out personnel fires?

    I might need to watch the odious Sarah Sanders today, because I can't wait to hear how she explains the promotion talks, Wray blowing gigantic holes in their "we were waiting for the FBI to complete their investigation for the security clearance" BS, and whatever else happens between now and the briefing.

    I'm getting the feeling, too, that Wray is not long for his job.  His responses to the committee on the Porter security clearance were clearly disloyal to the president.  Trump won't stand for that.

    Re the timeline that Wray trashed (none / 0) (#4)
    by Towanda on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 11:30:55 AM EST
    to show that this White House just kies, lies, lies, I wish that there had been a followup question to ask if the FBI investigation of Jared Kushner for a security clearance also is no longer "ongoing" but also, as we now know from Wray about the Porter investigation, actually concluded many months ago.

    Nope, he won't last long (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 12:32:52 PM EST
    I have mixed feelings about the 3rd at DOJ getting the heck outta this mess before she is told to fire Mueller.

    If the clarifying House memo breaks, I expect all hell to break.


    Deputy Chief of Staff was (none / 0) (#6)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 12:52:57 PM EST
    apparently the position they wanted to elevate Porter to.  

    And this was when they knew - they knew - why he wasn't getting his clearance.  Take that in, if you can.

    My gob is smacked, and I need a word that's stronger than fk.

    I guess it's like, what's a little spousal abuse among colleagues?

    Is it possible this Porter thing is the snowball that's going to cause the avalanche?


    Not a good day for their side (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 12:58:07 PM EST
    Police just recommended indictments against Netanyahu

    Here (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    That was days ago (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 01:02:23 PM EST
    We just saw Dan Coats say that the process (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 04:57:18 PM EST
    For obtaining security clearances is broken. Did anybody watch that? I was in Hagerstown town all day (Josh's Bocce team took 3rd in state....hooray!). But spouse wasn't able to hear a peep either. We would like to hear from someone who saw it.

    He said it (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:00:53 PM EST
    And lots more

    That entire 3 hour hearing was just unbelievable

    I suggest watching it from beginning to end.

    That was not IMO the most news worthy factlet

    Each exchange is more psycho than the one be for it.


    It was seriously strange (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:08:30 PM EST
    The whole thing from beginning to end was an affront to the Trump administration.  Nearly everything they said called out a Trump lie.

    That taken with the rest of this strange news day leaves me with the feeling that tiny spot on the horizon might be a tipping point.


    Roy Blunt was just on and (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:22:45 PM EST
    I think he was reiterating what Coats is trying to sell. My husband is so upset I don't really know what's going to right him tonight. I haven't seen him this upset in ages. Roy Blunt just told numerous lies about obtaining security clearances. If Dan Coats was attempting to project these same talking points onto the existing process, he is being deliberately misleading.

    We tried other methods of clearing people quickly, but we had private contractors who were supposed to be conducting background investigations for the federal government who were rubber stamping everything, no investigations being actually being done.

    Edward Snowden ended all that. People trying to get security clearances after that had real investigations done them again.


    Oh! (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Zorba on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:57:22 PM EST
    I was in Hagerstown part of the day to get my car serviced.  I wish I had known, I would have dropped in!
    Congratulations to Josh and his teammates!

    This pre-springtime isn't Maryland's most (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 07:05:29 PM EST
    Flattering side, but still the beauty of the countryside is obvious. Enjoyed the drive.

    Wait a bit (none / 0) (#56)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 09:21:45 AM EST
    until the grass and trees turn green and everything starts blooming.
    Right now, about the only things that are starting to poke up out of the ground are snowdrops and, a bit later, crocuses.  
    Autumn is pretty awesome out this way, as well, when the leaves turn beautiful colors.

    And it was administratively closed (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 04:59:07 PM EST
    In January. That is when the file isn't even in the closed pile. That's when the file goes to the basement.

    It was said on Nicolle Wallace's show (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:12:52 PM EST
    this afternoon that it isn't the usual practice of the FBI to issue interim reports, but Wray clearly said that it issued one in March.  What this likely means is that by March, they had already found something troubling enough that they felt they needed to bring it to someone's immediate attention.

    Meanwhile, as these fking scandals suck all the oxygen out of the room, the budget is out and it is a horror show.  Massive cuts being proposed in all kinds of safety-net programs - which is not to say they will become law, but it's yet another look into the black hearts of people who are willing to cut into the lives of the old, the poor and the sick, to scrap anything to do with the arts or science or the environment, to cut the State Department, get rid of thousands of park rangers, in order that rich people don't have to press the pause button on getting richer.  

    I'm horrified that they are over-the-moon about their idea to cut SNAP funds and save money by giving the poor boxes of shelf-stable food.  I'm picturing them making fancy recipe cards - a la Blue Apron - with instructions for making pork and beans, PB & J and ramen noodles.

    It is to scream.


    They are still (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Zorba on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:53:10 PM EST
    determined to cut, not only SNAP, not only Medicaid, but to cut and, also, to privatize Medicare and Social Security.
    Paul Ryan and the rest of the privatization, Ayn Rand acolytes, have been salivating to do this for years.  (Never mind that Paul Ryan himself benefited from Social Security survivor benefits when his dad died when Paul was a kid- hey, he got his, the heck with everyone else.)
    Never mind that people have been paying into Medicare and Social Security for their entire working lives, obviously, they're some kind of "welfare."
    Sigh.  How did these Republicans lose their souls to the extent that they don't care one bit about people in need, children, the sick, the elderly, or anyone who is not a multi-millionaire?

    They didn't lose their souls, they sold them. (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:58:15 PM EST
    Only thing that makes sense.

    Dan Coats (none / 0) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:59:06 PM EST
    Opening statement was all about how the deficit was the single biggest national security threat.

    That of course did not matter before they passed the tax cuts.

    If there is any half way good news I would say the chance of doing anything legislatively the rest of this year is less than zero.


    From (none / 0) (#47)
    by FlJoe on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 05:30:23 AM EST
    now until eternity any repug who dares to mention the deficit should be tased, repeatedly, at maximum voltage. Any pundit who does not laugh in their face should be laughed off the set.

    The Three Pillars... (none / 0) (#41)
    by desertswine on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 09:14:09 PM EST
    The three policy pillars of this new era are familiar to us all:  privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and lower corporate taxation, paid for with cuts to public spending.

       from Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. the Climate

    I've been trying to read this book but I don't think that I can get past the first chapter.  It's very depressing to see played out in real life what she discusses in her book.  


    What a terrible day (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:24:25 PM EST
    It was an equally terrible day (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:28:24 PM EST
    For Trump Inc.  At least there is that.

    You know why the terrible wasn't equal? (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:57:14 PM EST
    Because unless the Trump family and those close to them go to prison, at some point when all this is over - and we can only hope it's sooner rather than later - the people making these horrible decisions will be walking back into their well-paid, comfortable lives - and millions of people who will be hurt by Trump's policies won't be.  Our air and water will be dirtier, science will suffer, the arts and education will be diminished.

    It could take decades for a meaningful recovery from the Trump policies - and that's not even considering that we could be involved in more armed conflict - so no, I don't see these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days as being anything approaching equal.


    Fair point (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 07:14:10 PM EST
    Has anyone checked the Trump merch site to see if they are selling MAGA wife beater t-shirts?

    I just read a news report on what Coats said (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 05:55:38 AM EST
    About security clearance system broken. This system served the Obama White House just fine because nobody there was seeking to break the rules. There isn't a rule at this time though about security clearances that a sitting President must obey. You can't fix rules that one person is not bound to follow.

    And Porter's interim clearance had long expired. Everyone who ever has to regularly renew their security clearance knows this. Anyone who regularly deals with security clearances also knows that Porter's clearance wasn't still being investigated. The file was in the basement. It was over.

    And the one person who had dealt with this area of our government for years and years and years was retired General John Kelly. How many soldiers working under him at Gitmo didn't have security clearances? Whenever staff changed over at Gitmo everyone incoming had to be re-cleared.

    There isn't anything anyone could fix that would have prevented the Porter situation because the White House wasn't going to follow a rule or procedure to begin with.


    So, I think we've established that this (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 07:25:05 AM EST
    administration views rules and procedures as tools to be used against one's political enemies, and when necessary to aid in the removal of disloyal and uncooperative appointees, or when Sarah Sanders has nothing else to fall back on to explain the 57 different explanations for what's happening in and around the WH.

    I just find it mind-boggling that the same people who wanted to lock Hillary Clinton up, and were screaming about what they perceived as her reckless and irresponsible handling of information, are unconcerned and shrugging their shoulders about an administration that is full of security holes and whose indifference to the rules and procedures has created multiple access points for highly classified information to land in the wrong hands.

    The question is - what can be done about it?  Even if you could impeach Trump - which seems less and less likely unless Mueller issues a report that is too damning to ignore - I don't see that solving these problems.  Not that I don't think Trump's philosophy isn't that he should be able to do whatever he wants, but I suspect it is more the people under Trump - John Kelly and Don McGahn, primarily - who are the problem.  Does firing them solve it?  Would Trump bring in people who would tie his hands by observing all the rules and procedures?  I can't see that happening.

    Yesterday, as one after the other after the other of those heads of intelligence agencies and law enforcement defied the president on a number of issues, the word "coup" sidled into my consciousness.  I shooed it out, but it's lurking.  Is it possible that others are struggling as we are with the question of how you solve the problem that is Trump when the conventional options seem dangerously too far away?

    Help me out here, Tracy - please tell me I need to take a breath and that I'm worrying over something that just isn't possible.  Please.


    I think with 80% of military times survey (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 08:32:31 AM EST
    Saying NO! military parade for Trump and the army times I heard on Bill Maher was 90% No!, I don't think we are in danger of a coup the military would participate in. We always have a couple of folks who are nuts though. There could be a small suicidal Confederacy crop up.

    This does seem like an intelligence community war though.


    I would say (none / 0) (#50)
    by FlJoe on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 07:26:55 AM EST
    it's broken because we have a Russian mole as head of our government.

    What (none / 0) (#51)
    by FlJoe on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 07:32:01 AM EST
    bad day? Being exposed for the umpteeth time as a pack of bigoted lying scumbags is just business as usual.

    Democrats are being told (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 03:03:26 PM EST
    by some pundits (e.g., Tweety) that they can't win in 2018 or 2020 by being just "anti-Trump."  Rather, they must have a message--be for something.  

    To me, being against Trump more than enough qualifies as being for something... for...honest, competent, and lawful government. No flat-out racism eclipsing even club house talk,  white supremacy, misogyny, nepotism, reactiveness, and patriarchy. Would qualified people running the government be too much to ask? It is all so bad, that the line makes for a good bumper sticker.

     Where there are no very fine Nazis and no very fine wife beaters. Where security clearances and espionage are taken seriously, and citizens can be assured that its highest government officers are not assets of a foreign, hostile power.

    However, if this is not enough, how about being for everything that the Trump budget is against or wants to end/dismantle.. be for strengthening social safety nets, .be against.. government cheese baskets instead of food stamps, be for movement toward Medicare for All, rather than slashing and hobbling Medicare, and improving transportation.  Be against cutting spending while increasing the deficit.  

    Be for a real infrastructure program and against the budget's scam that makes Trump University diplomas look good.  For a plausible program , not the sketchy $200 billion over 10 years that relies on a mystery multiplier from crony businessman and strapped local and state governments...strapped all the more because of limits on federal deductions for local and state taxes, thanks to the Republican tax cuts/deficit explosion.

    Yes, the budget may, hopefully, be DOA.  But, the Trump budget is a vision and set of principles for the nation.  Funding priorities and funding levels tell the desired policies.  And, present the Democrats with a policy message to accompany the Trump cartoon show.  

    To some degree (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 08:35:04 AM EST
    I agree that Democrats can't be just "anti-Cadet Bone Spurs." You'd think that would be enough. But I think people are turned off by nothing but the negative. I know I am. I despise Cadet Bone Spurs with every fiber of my being. But I couldn't run campaign on that hatred. I despise the white nationalists for it.

    In the 2016 campaign, I never once heard anything about "we got bin Laden" or "lower gas prices." These are things that resonate with people. Now, I don't believe for a minute that the POTUS has much to do with gas prices, but hell, Gingrich promised $2.50 a gallon gas in his campaign. But considering the falsehoods and misinformation put out by right, these are things that are true. Gas prices dropped severely during Obama's presidency. Bin Laden was killed by US forces, during Obama's presidency. Every Democrat should have put that in every ad or commercial in some manner. Those things resonate with Joe Shmoe.

    I think, to some degree, many Democrats ran away from Obama. There are aspects of his presidency that disappointed me. He was a moderate, I wanted a liberal. But Democrats should have embraced his successes and touted them at every turn. I think they failed at that.


    Yes (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 03:11:47 PM EST
    And I don't think Tweety is much of a progressive thought leader.

    But he does try.

    I saw some of his turn on MJ.

    What a tool.


    Well (none / 0) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 03:40:43 PM EST
    "Stop The Madness" works for me, and it fits on a bumper sticker.

    IMO it's the most important issue anyway.


    What is your source? (none / 0) (#36)
    by linea on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 08:28:00 PM EST
    I watched his show on YouTube per your complaint. He ripped on the WH over the Porter fiasco and interviewed Congresmember Joe Kennedy.

    MSNBC | Hardball with Chris Matthews February 13, 2018

    I haven't seen many of his shows, but my mpression of Chris Mathews is that he is a Democrat with mostly moderate-centrist positions. Not sure how that makes him a -tool- when many people on this blog are moderate-centrists.


    You can't "get" what Matthews is (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 08:57:06 PM EST
    all about by watching a couple of shows.  I had to stop watching him in the 2008 campaign because he couldn't keep the misogyny under control.  I also hate the way he talks over people - it's like he has guests on just to show off his own self-perceived brilliance.

    I usually skip Matthews - there's not usually much of note that happens on his show.


    Totally agree (none / 0) (#37)
    by Coral on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 08:47:52 PM EST
    Send that list to Chuck Schumer and whoever is writing the Democratic strategy for 2018/2020.

    Using the Trump budget as a starting point for positive Democratic agenda is brilliant idea.


    Distractions aside, today is also the day (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 04:56:01 PM EST
    after Tr*mp broke his campaign promise not to cut Medicare benefits.

    I hope against hope (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 08:01:02 PM EST
    that someday his "base" will see that the Tr*mpists are no friends of theirs, perhaps when the cuts to "white-folks' welfare" come through ... Social Security Disability, food stamps, and Medicaid.  

    As long as his base is getting its info (none / 0) (#39)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 08:59:12 PM EST
    from Fox News, it will stick with him.  Fox will convince them that somehow it's all the Democrats' fault.

    Paywall (none / 0) (#40)
    by linea on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 09:05:37 PM EST
    I couldn't read the link you provided because of a paywall.

    To thank the Washington Post (none / 0) (#42)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 10:06:51 PM EST
    for their outstanding coverage of the campaign, I paid for a year's on-line subscription in October 2016. I have had unlimited free access ever since. (Shhh, don't tell anyone.) Anyway, there are innumerable free-access stories out there describing the White House budget proposal.

    Angus King (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 10:44:09 AM EST
    Is making news in this Intel hearing.

    I'm on a delay so it was minutes ago but you will see his remarks playing in a loop soon.

    This hearing is something (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 11:21:05 AM EST

    Some of the exchanges can only be described as surreal.

    Amazing stuff being admitted to here.


    Hannity can't be run over (none / 0) (#10)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 02:38:31 PM EST
    by a slow-moving combine harvester too soon.

    He's re-tweeting stories now about Obama's portrait containing depictions of "hidden sperm" (ah, the conservative catholic imagination) and that the artist believes in "killing whitey."

    HES RIGHT! (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 02:44:32 PM EST
    I see them now!  No doubt about it.  


    And they are comin for ya Hannity.

    And they are black sperm.


    Geez Louise (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 03:21:23 PM EST
    Make sure (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 03:27:49 PM EST
    You check out the close-up.

    Hannity is nuts. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:00:49 PM EST
    There is a vas deferens between sperm and a forehead vein.  It is anti-semenism at its worst.

    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 05:03:23 PM EST
    I'm seein it

    Maybe it all about semenatics


    Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. (none / 0) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 03:23:48 AM EST
    If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

    I keep expecting to see (none / 0) (#43)
    by Towanda on Tue Feb 13, 2018 at 10:53:21 PM EST
    Sean Spicer emerging from that wall of ivy behind Obama. . . .

    With that distraction, seeing Spicey in my mind every time I see that painting -- dozens of times on Twitter now -- the last thing that I would see would be anything remotely sexual.


    Hannity's twisted dog whistle (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 08:49:09 AM EST
    is a variation on the fantasy of rampant, out-of-control black men out there lurking in the shadows..

    He got nervous when people traced his meme back to some n-word weilding knuckle-walkers on 4Chan.


    That is one of my dogs (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 04:19:26 AM EST
    However mine does not have that fur do. I clip mine short.

    We have two cats. (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 04:14:29 PM EST
    One we inherited from Younger Daughter, who adopted him as a stray at the UH-Hilo dorms a couple years ago but for obvious reasons couldn't keep him in her room. The other one was abandoned at my office building parking lot in downtown Hilo a few months ago, and after feeding him for a few days I decided to adopt him, subject to The Spouse's prior concurrence. I was worried whether he'd get along with our first cat, but they've been like two peas in a pod and enjoy each other's company. And they're very social around people.

    NYT is reporting that McGahn (none / 0) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 14, 2018 at 07:49:30 AM EST
    suggested to Porter in November that he resign as staff secretary.

    White House Counsel Don McGahn suggested to Rob Porter in November that he resign from his position as staff secretary after Porter's ex-girlfriend contacted McGahn about Porter's behavior, the New York Times reported Tuesday night, citing people familiar with the discussion.

    McGahn did not follow up on his suggestion to the since-ousted staff secretary, according to the New York Times.


    According to previous reporting, McGahn learned in September that Porter's security clearance had been delayed due to accusations of domestic violence, though it's not clear how McGahn learned that and how much detail he had at that time. Porter's ex-girlfriend then called McGahn in November. According to a previous Washington Post report, she told McGahn about the abuse allegations from Porter's ex-wives. According to the Tuesday New York Times report, she told McGahn that Porter had cheated on her and that he had anger problems.

    These people...

    Weather (none / 0) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 07:53:29 AM EST
    Or not.

    The forecast is saying that between now and next Saturday the chance of precipitation here is never lower than 80%.

    They say in some areas, and I am right in the bullseye , there could be 10 inches.

    Glad I live on a hill.


    My (none / 0) (#60)
    by FlJoe on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 10:02:54 AM EST
    neck of the woods is on track for the warmest(and probably the driest) February ever.

    Hopefully, not like out here. (none / 0) (#64)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 12:53:55 PM EST
    The town of Kahaluu on Windward Oahu received a record 16 inches of rain yesterday, which completely shut down the main highway circling the island. We were lucky over here in east Hawaii island, having received only three inches. Oahu, Molokai and Maui were all royally walloped by this weekend's statewide monsoon and experienced significant flooding.

    Yes Donald, (none / 0) (#65)
    by fishcamp on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 01:35:47 PM EST
    my friend living in lower Kula, up on Haleakala facing towards Kahalui (sp), said he had 60 mph winds for about ten minutes forcing rain through his caulking on the big windows.  He's been up on the hill for over thirty years and has never seen anything like that.  It blew down many trees and his porch stuff is all over his land.  Usually they barely get enough rain to keep things green.

    Speaking of weather (none / 0) (#66)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 02:08:54 PM EST
    I accidentally ran across this site looking up a term I heard on the science channel -Lichtenberg Figures - that were the result of a person being struck by lightening.

    I have decided I have to have one.



    It's thunderstorming here today, ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 07:25:05 PM EST
    ... and while there's not a lot of wind, we're getting one helluva lot of rain this afternoon. It's one of those days in which you have no desire to leave the house if you don't have to go anywhere. I was going to do some yardwork this weekend, but the weather put a kibosh on that. It's supposed to clear up by Tuesday, hopefully long enough for me to at least mow the lawn.

    I'm sitting here in our home office / workroom finishing up a report that's due at USDA Rural Development on Friday. The Spouse is in the kitchen baking peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies for a school fundraiser this week. Younger Daughter is in Honolulu this long weekend visiting her sister, brother-in-law and her two nephews, and doing some shopping. (She returns to Hilo tonight.) And the cats are sleeping side by side in the basket next to my desk by the window, oblivious to the maelstrom just outside.



    Ruben Gallego (none / 0) (#59)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 09:50:12 AM EST
    is awsum

    Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) tore into President Trump after the president suggested the FBI could have stopped a deadly shooting at a Florida high school if it spent less time working on the Russia investigation.

    "You are such a psychopath that you have to make even the death of 17 children about you," he tweeted.

    "America will regret the day you were ever born."

    "America will regret the day you (none / 0) (#62)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 12:33:53 PM EST
    were ever born."

    I already do.


    Interesting (none / 0) (#61)
    by FlJoe on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 11:22:03 AM EST
    Meanwhile, Over In Turkey . . .
    Secretary of State Tillerson is currently meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is the lone US representative and Turkey's foreign minister is translating.

    Diplomatic malfeasance at best You don't have meetings like this without your own translator. You just don't. The typical process is that both sides have interpreters. Official A speaks, the interpreter for Official B tells Official B what was said, and the interpreter for Official A says some version of "Yes, that's correct" to verify the interpretation. Then it all works in reverse when Official B replies. With difficult issues under discussion, the last thing either side wants is confusion about what each side is saying.

    Excluding your own interpreter is so far outside of normal protocols it is unreal, and begs the ever-green question about most everything since 1/20/2017: idiot or crook?

    I'm going with crooked idiot over idiotic crook, but either could describe this entire administraton.

    WTF!!?? (none / 0) (#68)
    by caseyOR on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 03:11:38 PM EST
    Surely Tillerson was not this careless when he was running Exxon. What on earth would lead anyone to believe meeting with a foreign official, alone without your own interpreter, was a good idea?

    These damn people, this damn administration, have turned "The Peter Principle" into a book about a dystopian democracy teetering on its last legs.


    I (none / 0) (#69)
    by FlJoe on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 04:44:52 PM EST
    can not accept the level of stupidity needed to act this way. It smells like treason to me, I can see no other motive far this.

    The ground starts to crack under Bibi's feet. (none / 0) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 12:43:37 PM EST
    The rumbling started with last week's recommendation by Israeli police to their country's Attorney General that Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu be criminally prosecuted for corruption and bribery in the burgeoning Bezeq Group influence peddling scandal. The news was met with derision by Netanyahu, who claimed that the allegations are politically motivated and further predicted that nothing would come of it.

    But now, With today's announcement by Israeli authorities that seven members of the prime minister's political inner circle had been arrested yesterday on charges of public corruption in the Bezeq scandal, it's pretty apparent that the combative Netanyahu is apparently in far greater legal jeopardy than he might have previously thought.

    With these latest developments, what was formerly a simmering ethics problem has now burst into the open. Given the close relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv, these events are now worth watching more closely, to see how they unfold.


    HERE AND NOW (none / 0) (#67)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 02:34:05 PM EST
    Anyone one following this but me?

    It's really good.

    HOMELAND (none / 0) (#70)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 04:57:27 PM EST

    I have always liked this series.   And I guess I will keep up if for no other reason than to see how far off the rails it can go or what mind blowing plot twist is planned.

    But in a world where Hillary is Hitler and the only one telling the truth is Alex Jones .....

    .....don't know how to finish that.


    Indiewire (none / 0) (#71)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 05:05:10 PM EST

    Just over a year ago, "Homeland" elected a female president, and today it's still the most relevant modern-day spy series on television. Season 7 sees an administration as brutally divided as its country, a revolution on the rise, and government officials willing to take drastic efforts to preserve whatever version of America they believe in. The first episode (all that was provided in advance for critics) sees the president called "a fascist," described as "thuggish," and leading a vengeful witch hunt inside her own agencies.

    Creating a compelling narrative from real-world parallels has always been a specialty of the Showtime drama, but this year feels particularly aggressive. Everyone is on edge. Politics have invaded every sphere of society, including the home life, and what really resonates after the first hour is a personal question: "Homeland" asks if Claire Danes' hero of the past six seasons has been driven irreversibly mad -- that even when she's at her most objectively sane self, she's still become part of the problem -- or if she's the only person who can save the world.


    "Homeland" is uniquely positioned to tackle these questions, given the studious pre-season producers' sessions (with ex-CIA operatives and other intelligence officers) and Carrie's persistently human core, still intact after all these years. Where she ends up at the end of Season 7 feels more pressing than ever: Her future isn't the only one at risk.

    Grade: A-



    There are aspects this season thate good (none / 0) (#73)
    by Towanda on Mon Feb 19, 2018 at 10:15:11 PM EST
     but ever since Claire Danes gained more producer power, the show can be so annoying.  I guess that the directors can't tell her to find somethg short of frenetic -- or cut her narciisstic mirror-gazing and other wastes of time taken from good plots.