ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.’s electoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer by Carrico to amend the bill to award electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. The vote was 11-4 against the bill, although it will not be official until the close of the committee meeting.
You can't do a news segment anymore that isn't about Donald Trump. Or as John Oliver said last night, “Trump dominates the news cycle like a fart dominates the interior of a Volkswagen Beetle.” he said at the start of his Sunday night show.
And so what if that means real, fact-based, important international news, like the death of Kim Jong-un’s half brother, gets buried under the fake news Trump lie of Sweden's "terrorist attack?"
“Here’s where we’re at right now: Trump can dominate the news merely by referencing something that didn’t happen in Sweden,” said Oliver.
The highlight of the week was, of course, “a presidential press conference [that] elicited the same reaction you get from people who have just seen someone shoot fireworks out of his arse.” Oliver showed the universal one-word media reaction to the presser: "Wow."
But the key argument of last night's show was that Trump is either Putin's idiot stooge or willing collaborator. So many times Trump has said in public, “it would be nice if we got along with Russia.”
“It would also be nice if you could walk right up to a bear and hug it, that would be really, really nice but unfortunately it’s not that f*cking easy.”
Most jaw dropping was an interview clip with a Russian journalist, who pointed out that Putin uses problems in America to convince his own citizens that democracy fails everywhere, and it's just not possible for the world to be a better place than it is.
So according to the NY Post, Chris Christie is planning on moving on up.
You see, allegedly he's written to his staffers to let them know that he's going to the White House. No reports on what his official position would be (although given Trump's megalomaniacal tendencies, it could be as his official beefeater), but if I was Kellyanne Conway, recently benched by several networks from giving appearances, I'd be nervous.
Trump's perception of media appearances doesn't resemble normal politcos. He LOVED Stephen Miller's Goebbels-like blitz of the Sunday shows. And Christie is notoriously aggressive with the media, which will probably thrill Donald right down to his disproportionately tiny digits.
In memoriam of the American Presidency, a New Orleans-style funeral march to mourn the death of democracy and so much that is essential. Through music and action we celebrate our power and humanity. We demand the return of the presidency and governance to humane values — civil rights, sensible gun laws, decency, public education, environmental and financial regulations, reproductive rights, tolerance, and truth itself.
They even sang not-safe-for-work songs, including this one:
[embed eid="22714" /]
Here are the lyrics:
Somewhere over the rainbow,
Love trumps hate.
Black lives matter to all
And Muslims can immigrate.
Somewhere over the rainbow,
We rejoice. Women get equal pay
And make their own goddamn choice!
Somewhere there is no Cheeto Czar,
And all the fascist f*cks
Are far behind me!
There's health care
when you have an ache,
And Christians have to
Bake gay cake—
With hot pink icing!
Oh, somewhere over the rainbow,
Steve, and Don are in prison
Preferably in Iran…
But facts are not alternative:
Let's bring the rainbow here
And fight to live!
Kellyanne Conway has been remarkably quiet this week. Eerily so. She had a bang up few weeks, so it wasn't a complete shock that she dropped out of the limelight for a bit. Here are some of the highlights of just the last few weeks:
She was completely dressed down by her alma mater, Trinity University, in an open letter from the President on the school's website.
Her final egregious mistake, the one that may have been the reason we haven't seen her face on tv in a week or so, was when she went on tv and hocked Ivanka's goods during an official White House interview.
Mock, Paper, Scissors: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that’s Trump’s target market.
Mainly Macro: NAIRU. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Plunderbund: Ohio Republicans are pushing Right-to-Work legislation to undermine both public and private sector unions.
EconBrowser: So you say you want a country where health care is distributed by the free market. You won’t want to live there.
Speaking of which, your quote of the day:
"Rationing happens today! The question is who will do it? The government? Or you, your doctor and your family?" (Paul Ryan, February 2010.)
Guest blogging Mike's Blog Round Up this week is Jon Perr from Perrspectives. Send your tips, recommendations, comments and angst to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.
You know things are bad when your administration's attacks on the press are so rotten, even Fox's Chris Wallace starts sounding like a journalist. If RNCPRBS was expecting a cushy interview from the usually friendly territory of Fox "news" this Sunday morning, he was in for an unpleasant surprise.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus got more than he bargained for when he tried telling the host of Fox News Sunday how to do his job in response to Wallace's questions about the Trump administration's attacks on the media and press freedom and his labeling of the media as an "enemy" of the American people.
WALLACE: President Trump is punching back against critics especially in the media who say after just 30 days in office his administration has gone off the tracks. He made his case this week in an extraordinary news conference, and then yesterday in Florida in a campaign-style rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are here today to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I hear your demands, I hear your voices, and I promise you that I will deliver. I promise that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Joining us now from Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach is White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Open Thread below....
When it comes to mid-American big and loud Neil Young & Crazy Horse worship in 1988, no one quite nailed it like this song did by Soul Asylum.
I saw them for the first time two years before this record came out. It was in Detroit and they were opening for Husker Du. I was a big Huskers fan at the time but the star of was Soul Asylum. I brought their current record at the time, Made To Be Broken, the next day.
I hadn't thought about this song in a long time but it has been stuck in my head all weekend. What are you listening to tonight?
Pro-tip: Whenever a Republican (especially one who can't hold a seat himself) offers advice to the other side of the aisle, do the opposite.
Like pretty much every other sentient being globally, when Rep. Jackie Speier witnessed that bizarre 77-minute press conference by Trump this week, she became concerned by...how can I put this delicately?...Trump's grasp on reality. She tweeted out a reminder that the Constitution now has in place protections for us if the President does not appear to be able to carry out his duties:
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) February 16, 2017
Now, I don't think that Rep. Speier was actually advocating removing Trump from office...yet. But I do think it's telling that the question of "when, not if" has snowballed within the last week and not only from the Democratic side of the aisle.
But Rick "Please Don't Google My Name" Santorum, who has not had a successful run for any office in ten years, thinks that it's ridiculous to even consider the possibility.
Brian Stelter's network has more than its share of problems (like giving lying Trumpsters a format to spread their bile on a weekly basis as part of their political panels, for one), but he's right about Trump's attack on the press.
The Reliable Sources host opened his show with this bit of commentary on Trump's ongoing war with any media outlets that are the least bit critical of his administration:
BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story at how the media really works, how the news gets made.
First, this comment.
The American press is stronger than any demagogue but President Trump's attacks do present real challenges. That's what today's program is about. For as long as I've been alive and for as long as you've been alive, no leader of the free world has publicly spoken this way about the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The press honestly is out of control. Those are critical leaks. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake. Fake media. The failing "New York Times".
Fake news. Very fake news. They should be ashamed of themselves.
REPORTER: Impartial, free and fair. Mr. President --
TRUMP: Yes, sure, just like CNN.
Watch how friendly he is. Go ahead.
Associates of President Donald Trump have crafted a plan to lift sanctions that were placed on Russia following President Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine.
According to The New York Times, Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, hand-delivered the "peace plan" to the White House, which was being pushed by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul D. Manafort. Trump business associate Felix H. Sater and Andrii V. Artemenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker, were said to have helped craft the deal.
“A lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a U.S. agent, a C.I.A. agent,” Artemenko told the Times. “But how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”
The plan reportedly includes compromising “names of companies, wire transfers” that would lead to the ousting of Ukraine President Petro O. Poroshenko.
It was not immediately clear if Trump was aware of the plan, but Cohen told the Times that he had not discussed it with the president.
Read the entire report at The New York Times.
On ABC's This Week Sunday, Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager and CNN's paid Trump mouthpiece, continued to push the false narrative that no one from the Trump campaign ever talked to Russia.
During the interview, Lewandowski seemed even more manic and frenetic than usual, which says a lot. Maybe he had way too many espressos before the appearance, who knows? It was incredibly stark in comparison to the guy sitting next to him, Robby Mook, former Clinton campaign manager. As the nearly ten minute interview went on, Mook had a permanent smile on his face and at times was visibly stifling laughter as the lies kept spewing forth from Lewandowski's mouth.
Here is a bit of their exchange:
KARL: Let's bring in two men who know what that never-ending campaign is like, Donald Trump's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook.
So before we get to our discussion, I want to start with a couple of very specific questions to you, Corey, on this issue of Russian contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. You were his campaign manager for a time. Did you ever have any contacts with any Russians?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Never.
KARL: All right. Well, I want to play for you the way Donald Trump answered that question when I asked him at the press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Republican Senator: "it’s just not the administration that’s got problems, Republicans in the House and Senate have problems" pic.twitter.com/HOeSUyboC0
— DNC Press (@dncpress) February 19, 2017
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday rebuffed President Donald Trump's recent attacks on the judicial branch of government and the media.
Appearing on Face the Nation, Graham argued that Trump was undermining American values by calling the media an "enemy of the people" and attacking judges for striking down a travel ban aimed at Muslim countries.
"The backbone of democracy is a free press and an independent judiciary," Graham told CBS host John Dickerson. "And they are worth fighting and dying for."
According to Graham, America was not in imminent danger of becoming a dictatorship as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) seemed to suggest in a recent interview on NBC's Meet the Press.
"Sen. McCain was right to say we need, as politicians, to understand the role of the press and jealously guard it," the South Carolina senator explained.
But Graham also said that the "coverage against President Trump has been almost to the point of being hysterical."
Let's get some things straight:
Richard Nixon took paranoia against the media to a whole new level.
"Never forget," he tells national security advisers Henry Kissinger, above, and Alexander Haig in a conversation on December 14 1972, "the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times."
Steve M. summed up the game the Trump administration is playing to discredit the so-called "dishonest media," a.k.a. trying to discredit any and all media outlets that don't want to act as a propaganda arm and cheerleader for this fast moving train wreck perfectly here:
This seems to be a pattern for the Trumpers:
1. Wait for a draft memo of a proposal to be leaked to the press.
2. Refuse to comment when asked about the draft.
3. Wait to dispute a story's accuracy until the story is published.
4. Accuse the press of never having sought comment to begin with.
Bertrand quotes a number of reporters who've noticed this pattern. She also quotes the press secretary to Congressman Keith Ellison, who's noticed it, too. The Trumpers are so determined to demonstrate bad faith on the part of the mainstream media that they're floating fake stories, refusing to comment on them, then saying they were never given a chance to deny them.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh on Sunday accused the so-called "deep state" of plotting to destroy Donald Trump's presidency.
During an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Limbaugh insisted that it "is preposterous to believe that the Russians had any effect on the outcome of voting in this country."
"It's absurd," he declared. "There is no evidence. Zilch. Zero. Nada."
According to the conservative talker, Trump's supporters "really, really believe that they were going to lose the country if Hillary Clinton won."
Limbaugh went on to praise The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald for suggesting that career government employees -- which he calls the "deep state" -- were out to destroy Trump.
"Glenn Greenwald, at The Intercept, who has got a relationship with [WikiLeakers founder] Julian Assange, I think he actually coined the term," Limbaugh said. "And I think it works. Who is driving this business that the Russians hacked the elections? It's the Democrat [SIC] Party, it's Hillary, it's Obama, it's all those people who just can't accept they lost."
The conservative radio host advised Trump to get to work repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law, reforming the tax code and securing the border. But he argued that it would not be easy because Trump does not have the benefit of being an African-American.
Fox News host Chris Wallace argued on Sunday that President Donald Trump "crossed a line" when he called the media "the enemy of the American People.”
Following Trump's Friday attack on the news media, Wallace reminded the hosts of Fox & Friends that the country's founders believed that a free press was a vital component to the functioning of a free and fair democracy.
"When he said the fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line," the Fox News host noted.
Wallace also agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who recently pointed out that shutting down a free press was "how dictators get started.”
"It's a check on power, and he was saying that in dictatorships, there's state-run media and there's no opportunity for a free independent press," Wallace explained. "So, I think he's exactly right there."
Fox News host Pete Hegseth defended Trump, opining that the president was "taking on the hidden bias" of the media.
I don't have much faith in any Republican taking their oversight duties seriously as long as a member of their own party is running the show, For all of his tough talk, Sen. John McCain and these other so-called "mavericks" in the Senate have voted pretty much in lockstep with Trump as Nate Sliver over at Five Thirty Eight noted this weekend:
How often GOP "mavericks" have voted with Trump so far:
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 18, 2017
McCain was asked about whether or not the Republican-led Congress can be trusted to investigate the Trump administration and their ties to Russian intelligence, and about Trump's attacks on the press and his tweet calling the media the "enemy of the American people" during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press.
Jesse Watters surely must have made his boss proud of him Friday night when, as guest host for The O’Reilly Factor, he just couldn’t understand why someone might think Donald Trump is “racially insensitive.” Because he’s had his photograph taken with black celebrities.