Trump’s narcissistic (and imbecilic) power grabs are now destroying the US intelligence services that help defend the nation from foreign adversaries.
Donald picked an unqualified ex-Fox News contributor as his acting Director of National Intelligence. Richard Grinnel has no intelligence experience except making a fool of himself while representing America in Germany as its Ambassador.
And get this: he plans to REMAIN Ambassador to Germany while acting as DNI chief. Some trick.
Grenell will remain as ambassador to Germany while serving as intelligence chief. Seems like Grenell’s job as intelligence chief is to play dumb. https://t.co/dVd9xzOanD
— Sarah Heller ✍️ (@Sheller49) February 21, 2020
Former CIA director John Brennan told MSNBC's Morning Joe crew that Trump has decapitated the intelligent agencies by removing stalwarts for sycophants.
Brennan served under six different presidents and didn't always agree with their choices. But Brennan says he has never seen a President like Trump completely attempt to destroy the integrity of the services.
Donald Trump and his cheerleaders are happy to talk about the “booming” economy, falsely and relentlessly labeling it the “best ever.” While the economy is still growing, now in its 128th month of expansion, the idea that it’s better than ever is malarkey. In Barack Obama’s final three years as president, for instance, the economy created 1.5 million more new jobs than have been created in Trump’s three years in office. And inflation-adjusted growth in gross domestic product in the best four quarters under Obama exceeded it in the best four quarters under Trump. It cannot be pointed out too often that Obama inherited an economic downturn worse than any since the 1930s and policies he promoted gave impetus to a recovery that has continued under the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania.
By the time Obama turned over the White House keys to Trump in 2017, most of the acute economic problems visited upon us by the Great Recession had been overcome—though many Americans hadn’t fully recovered from its impacts, and some never will. The chronic problems long predating the crash, however, remain with us. In a lengthy analysis brimful of charts, Elise Gould at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute has scrutinized one of the biggest of those chronic problems: wages.
Tucker Carlson lost it on his show Thursday in defense of Roger Stone. Via Media Matters:TUCKER CARLSON: Enough. This farce must end. Apparently there are people around the president telling him not to pardon Roger Stone or to wait until after the election. No. The president must pardon Stone immediately. Trump's voters know that at some point they could be where Roger Stone is right now. This is a horrifying precedent for everyone and it cannot be allowed to stand.
Where Roger Stone is right now? Found guilty of seven felonies and comfortable in his Miami home while the judge decides if the abuse of power on his behalf by the Attorney General of the United States warrants him receiving a new trial?
Trump supporters will NEVER be where Roger Stone is now, basking in the glow of being the most famous ratf*cker in all of history. Get over yourself, Tucker.
I had lunch with a friend yesterday and I promised him that I’d dig up the violent crime figures for New York City. Here they are:
This chart alone should provide you with pretty good clues to the answers to these questions:
- Did David Dinkins have a pretty good record on crime?
- Was Rudy Giuliani’s adoption of broken windows policing responsible for NYC’s crime decline in the 90s?
- Did Mike Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policing reduce crime in the 2000s?
- Did Bill De Blasio preside over an upsurge in crime in the aughts?
Here are the answers:
- Yes: violent crime declined 20 percent on his watch. But nobody knew it at the time because no figures later than 1991 were available during the 1993 mayoral race.
- No. Violent crime was already declining strongly when he took over, and continued declining after he left. There’s no reason to think that Giuliani had any special impact.
- No. Violent crime declined only modestly during his three terms in office.
- No. Stop-and-frisk ended and nothing happened. Violent crime stayed low.
Conversely, the lead-crime hypothesis predicts very precisely that violent crime should peak right around 1991 and then decline through 2010 as more and more birth cohorts are raised in a lead-free environment.¹ By 2010 an entire generation has reached its most crime-prone years after being raised in a lead-free environment and there are few improvements to be expected going forward. And that’s exactly what happened.
¹Mostly lead free, anyway.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hair needs to be on fire today. Impeached president Donald Trump is getting help from Russia for the 2020 election, and Trump and his congressional Republican minions are moving to protect that interference instead of protecting the election.
This is how Pelosi has responded thus far: a tweet saying, "American voters should decide American elections — not Vladimir Putin," followed by, "We await the election security briefing for Members on March 10." How in the hell can voters decide the election when we don't know what we're up against from Russia? And we absolutely cannot afford to wait until March 10 to find out. This is NOT. NORMAL. And it can't wait three weeks.
Oh, my aching sides! Oh, the irony! Mick Mulvaney (seen above just one year ago) is complaining that we're not getting enough of those "highly skilled" immigrants Trump wanted -- after working so hard to make this an unattractive, unstable country! God, I love Republicans! Via the Washington Post:
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told a crowd at a private gathering in England on Wednesday night that the Trump administration “needs more immigrants” for the U.S. economy to continue growing, according to an audio recording of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post.
“We are desperate — desperate — for more people,” Mulvaney said. “We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we’ve had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants.”
The Trump administration wants those immigrants to come in a “legal fashion,” Mulvaney said, according to the recording.
Note for the day:
The first Playing to Win went up yesterday. For now, I’m thinking maybe we’ll try a M-W-F schedule for these posts. But perhaps a weekend post would be better for some of you? If you are interested in these posts, feel free to share your thoughts on frequency and times. I found it inspiring yesterday to see what everyone is doing. But this is for you guys, so please speak up about what you want and what works for you.
A couple of our jackals requested a daily political “action” thread, so how about if we try it for a bit and see how that goes? If you guys think it’s useful, we can keep it up, and if it ends up being more “seemed like a good idea at the time,” then we can let it go.
The goal is a poll-free, spin-free, prognostication-free, media-free, what’s-wrong-with-the-other-candidate-free-zone – a political thread where the focus is on ACTION: What can be done to help our candidates, and what are we doing to help them, every day?
The hope is that this will help provide inspiration, and encourage action, as an alternative to anger, frustration and despair.
Everyone is free to chime in about what they are doing for their their preferred candidate. What actions are we taking at Balloon Juice, individually or collectively, to help candidates we believe in?
What might you like to do, if you weren’t stuck on not quite knowing how to go from thinking about doing something to actually doing something?
· Making calls?
· Writing postcards?
· Registering people to vote?
· Are you an election judge?
· A poll watcher?
· Can you put together a bullet list of what you like about YOUR preferred candidate?
· Are you available to go to a battleground state to work on a campaign, but can’t afford transportation?
· Do you have frequent flyer miles that could buy that person a ticket to a battleground state?
· If you live in a battleground state, could you host a volunteer who could stay at your house?
· Do you have a great informational article about YOUR preferred candidate? Share it!
· If you have campaign connections, can you connect interested jackals with that campaign?
· Are you an organizer of a postcard-writing campaign who could help other BJ peeps get started?
What else are you doing?
Tell us what actions you’ve taken today, whether it’s calling or donating or canvassing or writing postcards or talking to someone about your candidate, or anything else that’s on that list. Or even something that isn’t!
Forget the other candidates. Tell us what you LIKE about your candidate.
Share your worries or concerns about canvassing or other activities. What’s holding you back?
If Playing to Win appeals to you, what else would you want to see in this space?
President Donald Trump's rally in Colorado Springs Thursday night threw into sharp relief the stakes of the 2020 presidential election, observers said after watching the president joke about remaining in office for 26 years, complain that the Oscar for best picture went to a South Korean film, goad his audience into booing teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, gin up xenophobia against undocumented immigrants, and more.
"We're staring into the abyss," tweeted Vox's Aaron Rupar, who highlighted many of the bizarre moments from the rally and expressed hope that the clips will give the public "a sense of the stakes of the 2020 election."
"I don't want to alarm anyone," wrote the New Yorker's Susan Glasser as she watched the event, "but the president is now reading off 'poll' after 'poll' at his campaign rally to prove he won the debates in 2016. He is also complaining about Brad Pitt and that a South Korean movie won the Oscars and that he didn't win TIME 'Man of the Year.'"
Step One: The intelligence official in charge of election security delivers the required briefing at a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee and informs the members of that committee that a) Russia has already engaged in interfering with the 2020 election, b) it is trying to sow dissension among Democrats, and c) the ultimate goal is to support Trump.
Step Two: Republicans on that committee rush to Donald Trump, not to warn him about Russian interference but to complain that Democrats know about the interference. Trump responds by hauling in the acting director of national intelligence, raking him over the coals, and replacing him with a man whose entire skill set consists of making hate-tweets and promoting Russia.
Step Three: Chaos. Only … not enough chaos.
Impeached president Donald Trump has replaced the former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire with another acting truly atrocious selection who will also only be in the job as an acting DNI. That's because he is so bad and so unqualified for the job that he couldn't be confirmed even by Mitch McConnell's Republicans. That and Trump just likes to have unqualified temps who are loyal only to him running things.
A Washington Post analysis highlights the churn in Trump's administration, and the fact that there hasn't been a permanent DNI in more than six months. According to the Post, "Trump has kept acting officials in charge of top agencies and departments so much that they've accounted for 1 out of every 9 days in those positions." That means that in the 22 cabinet-level jobs there have been so many acting officials that they've served a combined 2,736 days, which amounts to seven years. That means that in three years' time, Trump "has had acting officials serve more than three times as much as did [President] Obama" did in eight years.
The perfect response to the ignorant Orange Shitgibbon occupying the Oval Office. Trump offered "Gone With the Wind" as his choice for what constitutes a great film, a movie that featured the idyllic antebellum South and the Civil War. “Can we get, like, Gone with the Wind back, please?” Dog whistle.
Source: The Hill
The movie studio behind the South Korean film “Parasite” hit back on Thursday after President Trump criticized the foreign-language film for winning best picture at the 2020 Academy Awards.
"Understandable, he can't read," Neon tweeted from its official account with a link to Trump's comments.
“Parasite” made history earlier this month when it became the first non-English film to win the top prize at the Oscars in the award show’s 92-year history.
The class warfare satire, directed by Bong Joon-ho, dominated the night with a total of four wins, including in the directing, international feature and original screenplay categories.
Trump, however, knocked the dark comedy during a campaign rally in Colorado.
Earlier I wrote about why Elizabeth Warren was our best-bet debater against Donald Trump, and why it mattered. Now I’m going to show the one clip that proves it once and for all.
Remember, Mike Bloomberg was the perfect stand-in for Donald Trump: a morally corrupt billionaire oligarch. In the clip below, we get to see how several Democrats on the stage reacted to his Trumpian refusal to release his tax returns:
Shelby Pearson, the election security czar, did her job, and reported to lawmakers on the House Intelligence committee last week that the Russians were continuing to meddle in our politics to reelect Donald Trump, Morning Joe reported.
Devin Nunes, who was in the briefing, tattled to the Toddler-In-Chief, who went into a rage at the news and berated the then-Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire.
He wanted to know why this briefing took place at all, why he had to hear about this from Nunes, and why was he hearing this information about the Russians with Adam Schiff, Trump's nemesis? He also told him the intelligence community was "getting played." (You know, by the Deep State Conspiracy to Make Trump Pee His Pants.)
"And he's -- Trump was worried that this could be used against him. So McGuire is out now. So the specter of intelligence officials speaking truth to power, which is their job, and they are being punished for it," Scarborough said.
But wait, there's more!
Hans Nichols told Scarborough Trump is thinking about Doug freaking Collins for that position. (You remember Doug. Yells a lot, former Baptist preacher, has a law degree from a third-rate storefront college?)
"It's not final. He said there are other names he's considering," he said.
Michael Bloomberg continues to flaunt his billionaire status, this time by taking over your social media feed. His presidential campaign team is hiring over 500 “deputy digital organizers” to text their friends and post about him on their personal social media accounts. These organizers are being paid to share not only issues pertinent to his campaign but memes that make him look “cool.” Bloomberg’s team is willing to pay these hundreds of people more than $2,000 a month, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The social media marketing strategy is currently recruiting California residents to build support ahead of the state’s March 3 primary, but may later expand nationwide. Past presidential campaigns have encouraged supporters to post on social media but Bloomberg is taking it to the next level by paying people, experts said.
A staffer told the Journal Bloomberg’s social media strategy hopes to influence potential voters through people they know instead of through strangers, a strategy also adopted by the Trump campaign. While campaigners will traditionally call potential voters in their community, the digital organizers Bloomberg is employing will instead text friends and family and create daily posts on social media encouraging support for his presidency.
The Kaiser Family Foundation team of analysts have a new Health Affairs article on ACA polling. The Hill has a good graph:
— Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) February 21, 2020
A few things happened in March 2017. That was when the ACA was under threat of repeal, a lot of people who disapproved of the ACA because it did not do enough in their opinions became supporters as the options were the ACA or Repeal and maybe Replace instead of the ACA vs. Perfect Plan that could never get 218 votes and then in 2018-2019-2020, it has been decentralized from our political discussion. It is chugging along without being an existential political struggle and it is becoming background status quo that is either helpful to people or barely noticable to the vast majority of people.
Now the ACA is in conference again at the Supreme Court this morning. The Justices are discussing whether or not they want to take Texas v. Azar, the trolling case that argues that since Congress eliminated the individual mandate, they meant to eliminate the entire law. The ACA might resurface again in the next few months as a major partisan issue if the Justices agree to expedite the case even as they have options for a nine month punt or a two or three year punt.
Trump didn’t like an actual-factual professional at acting DNI, because he told the truth:
A senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers last week that Russia wants to see President Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments.
After learning of that analysis, which was provided to House lawmakers in a classified hearing, Trump grew angry at his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office, seeing Maguire and his staff as disloyal for speaking to Congress about Russia’s perceived preference. The intelligence official’s analysis and Trump’s furious response ruined Maguire’s chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief, according to people familiar with the matter who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.
So instead we get another clown, Richard Grennell, Ambassador to Germany and FoxNews asslicker for Trump. This guy is so qualified that he’s going to be acting DNI and keep his current job. I’m not surprised by that because incompetent managers like Trump like having one or two “go to” guys for everything, because figuring out who’s in charge of what is too difficult for them.
Japanese survivors of internment camps and people currently being targeted for deportation have been organizing together for months, working in partnership to fight the detention and deportation of immigrants. This weekend, their efforts will culminate in Day of Remembrance, Day of Action, a Feb. 23 protest against the detainment of immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC).
NWDC is located in an industrial area of Tacoma, Washington where construction is otherwise barred because it sits within a toxic sludge field and Superfund site—polluted areas with hazardous waste and extreme contamination. The facility can hold up to 1,500 immigrants on any given day, and is notorious for its medical neglect, unsanitary food, and wage theft. This is likely why Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attempted to rebrand, now calling the facility the Northwest ICE Processing Center. But the inhumane conditions persist, and immigrants, advocates, and locals still call the detention center NWDC.
Russia is interfering in the 2020 election, and Republicans are moving to protect … the interference
The story has come out in pieces over the last two days, but those pieces are slotting into place with sickening clarity: Last week, a member of the intelligence community testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to support Donald Trump. Republican representatives rushed to the White House in concern, not about the interference, but about the fact that Democrats knew about it. And Trump then responded by purging the intelligence community of anyone who was trying to combat the interference.
The result is that not only is Russia known to be interfering in support of Trump, but Republicans are openly acting to support that interference. And the intelligence community is being flipped from an instrument meant to protect the nation into one that exists entirely to support Trump.
We know Trump never reads, or even receives his daily security briefings. We know he cannot handle anything even tangentially related to the fact that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections, and is likely planning to interfere again. We know Trump regularly derides and dismisses our seventeen highly esteemed security agencies set up specifically to protect our democracy and its citizens from harm.
The latest proof came on Thursday, when Trump fired director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire. Trump fired him because Maguire briefed House Intelligence Committee members on the information he had about Russia's plans to interfere in our 2020 elections — that they are, in fact, carrying out those plans right now. Clint Watts and Natasha Bertrand joined Joy Reid Thursday evening to discuss the blaring alarm sirens all of these moves are sounding. Reid asked if there was reporting that showed Trump actively wanted Russia's help, and in answering the question, Bertrand dropped an additional piece of jaw-dropping info:
The Russians are back! The Russians are back! And Trump would prefer we not talk about it:
Breaking via NYT: Intel officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said. That angered Trump, who complained Dems would use it against him. https://t.co/OxTKMY3WPs
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 20, 2020
Check out how Fox News is framing reports that the president was angry that intelligence officials briefed Congress that Russia is helping to get him elected again:
Report: Trump Upset Over Kremlin Trying to Re-Elect Him pic.twitter.com/uxR4pWRSsT
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 20, 2020