Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Vernal Equinox


Apart from #Resisting, what’s on the agenda as we start another week (and season)?

A new Washington Post feature, from Media Columnist Margaret Sullivan — “Tracking the special treatment media get when they play nice with the White House“:

True, it is not the proper job of journalists to provide favorable coverage but rather to hold powerful figures accountable.

But that doesn’t get you far these days, at least in terms of access.

So we’ll be taking note of what does.

Consider Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent trip to North Asia — his first such foray. Tillerson broke with long-standing tradition by not including State Department reporters on this foreign trip. The norm is to have a solid group of reporters who provide “pool reports” to others not on the trip, so that American citizens might have a sense of what their government is doing abroad.

Tillerson had only one press representative with him: Erin McPike of the Independent Journal Review, a conservative website founded by Alex Skatell, a former Republican operative.

McPike has little experience covering foreign affairs and has been with IJR only a few weeks, but she had written a piece about why Tillerson might be avoiding the press and how well he and the president were working together behind the scenes to get things done…

The decision was a way to give access to a “broader representation of U.S. media,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters last week, adding, “This is just an attempt to reach beyond the usual suspects, and I’m not trying to say that in a demeaning way at all.”

Tillerson’s own words showed how little respect he has for journalists’ role in keeping citizens informed. He made it all about himself, telling McPike: “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.”…

If they’re not courtiers, what good are they? And I personally don’t need courtiers, so…

118 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone😐😐😐

  2. 2

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

    Tillerson’s own words showed how little respect he has for journalists’ role in keeping citizens informed. He made it all about himself, telling McPike: “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.”…

    But Leni Reifenstahl took great pictures.

  3. 3
    SFAW says:

    Not that it would ever happen, but …
    Every goddam news organization that got (or gets) shut out by this Maladministration should lead every day with things like “SecState May Have Betrayed US Interests and Its Citizens” (or something functionally equivalent), then issue a standard disclaimer at the start of the article itself.

    Make them deny it, too.

    [Yeah, I realize that hand can be overplayed.]

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The decision was a way to give access to a “broader representation of U.S. media,”

    by narrowing it down to one.single.fucking.transcriber.

  5. 5
    debbie says:


    I’m tired of being insulted by idiots who think they’re more clever than I am. I can see what you’re doing, asswipes.

  6. 6
    debbie says:

    Speaking of asswipes, if Trump continues to refuse to apologize for slandering Obama, he needs to be brought to Congress to testify under oath about this. If Clinton can be impeached over a blow job, then Trump should be made to see that such consequences apply to him too.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Repeating – The Horrors, First Day of Spring.

    Plus a bonus – time lapse of the seasons (equinox is when the day/night divider is completely vertical).

  8. 8
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Up early for my orthopedist appointment. Hope they can get me under the knife soon.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: At the very least they should say, “The Sec of State was in __________ yesterday. Conservative mouthpiece _____________ reported that he ____________ but we have no way of independently verifying that at this point in time. Check back next week when our hacking campaign is complete.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @debbie: And I need to win the lottery.

    But you have the right attitude.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Hope they can get me under the knife soon.

    Words that will never escape these lips.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    ThresherK says:


    Bad day for you, Conservative News Service: A younger, cheaper hooker is working your side of the street.

  16. 16
    debbie says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Good luck!

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    Tell that truth

  18. 18
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well yes. Because all these media are lying LibrilSoshulist b#st#rds.

    NB even Fox News was excluded.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: It doesn’t load on my phone for some reason.

    ETA:. Never mind. I got it.

  20. 20
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: #14.

    Is that picture for real?!
    Morning, everyone.

  21. 21
    SFAW says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Good luck.

  22. 22

    Trump sounds worried about today’s testimony:

     @realDonaldTrump 24m
    24 minutes ago
    The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

    Donald J. Trump‏
     @realDonaldTrump 38m
    38 minutes ago

    The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

    Donald J. Trump‏
    Verified account
     @realDonaldTrump 52m
    52 minutes ago

    James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!

    I love that he had to mention his EC victory again.

  23. 23
    SFAW says:


    I assume it’s a replica of Tricksie Dicksie Nicksie’s Oval Office, since that’s where BillinGlendaleMA was recently

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: At this point it’s the knife or I change my nym to “Lefty.”

  25. 25

    @pamelabrown53: Yes, it’s real. SFAW is on to me, it’s a replica of Nixon’s Oval Office in the Nixon Library.

  26. 26
    debbie says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    He should be pissing his pants. Along with President Steverino.

  27. 27
    Ramalama says:

    I’m still in favor of the Samantha Bee approach to resistance. Get out and into the face of your congress critter, great. Make noise, yes. But you also gotta get out and actually vote. LA had 3 something million people out protesting with the pink hats and clever signs, but then 12% only voted in the mayoral vote for LA. C’mon people!

  28. 28
    SFAW says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia.

    That’s true: President Obama did not collude with Russia during the campaign, you lying, grifting, evil fuck.

    YOU on the other hand, probably did — whether on purpose, or because you’re too fucking stupid to know that you and/or your organization did.

  29. 29
    SFAW says:


    SFAW is on to me,

    You gotta get up pretty early in the AM to put one over on me.

    Oh, wait, you DID get up pretty early. Shit.

    [Never mind that I’m usually pretty gullible, anyway.]

  30. 30
    SFAW says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    And if it’s FAKE NEWS, why would ANYONE care about finding a “leaker”?

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: He certainly isn’t going to mention the current polls.

  32. 32

    @Ramalama: Though I agree with you that more people need to vote(more vote by mail should help); if fairness, there were only 3/4 of a million and not all were from the City of Los Angeles. There are about 10-15 million folk in the basin, but only 4 million in the city itself.

  33. 33

    @SFAW: While I did have a snuggle session with my girls and slept for a bit, I’m not up early, I’m more up late.

  34. 34
    SFAW says:


    I’m not up early, I’m more up late.

    You gotta work with me here.

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sorry to hear that. It would be a hard choice for me. Watch out for the anesthetist. S/He just might try to kill you.

  36. 36
    amk says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: up is down, lie is truth. Amazing how the rethugs have been getting away with it all for years.

  37. 37
    Kay says:

    I love how we’re not even allowed to ask about Russian government interference in the election without Donald Trump and his toadies making it all about Donald Trump. Like he’s the only person impacted by this.

    The public is permitted to ask these questions. It isn’t personal. They had 12 different investigations of Benghazi and 16 months of investigations into Hillary Clinton’s server. They just finished an investigation into whether Obama wiretapped Trump, which was complete bullshit generated by Fox News.

    I want to know why the Russian government interfered in a Presidential and Congressional elections. I want to know what they want from the people they helped elect. The public deserves to know this. There is another round of federal elections in a year. We need to know now.

  38. 38
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @SFAW: @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Now that you mention it…there’s a lot of 70’s old gold garishness to it. While “old gold garish” is synonymous with the Trump, the Oval Office lacked gilding and gewgaws.

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    The $100 million dollar campaign to support GOP candidates in 2018 from an expected Trump backlash.

  40. 40
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    IIRC there was some concern that hat JFK socialized with a few reporters, editors, publishers, etc. It was felt that this type of relationship could affect the nauture of the information we the people received about our government.

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    Keep on telling the truth Kay.

  42. 42
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning!
    @Gin & Tonic: they recommend surgery? Hope they get you in soon too!

  43. 43
    Spanky says:

    @debbie: 100%. This is what pisses me off the most. These assholes think they’re being clever.

  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: “Mr President? We found the leaker.”
    “You did?”
    “Yes. Give us your phone.”

  45. 45

    @pamelabrown53: Pat Nixon did the decorating, she wanted a blue and gold color theme since they’re the colors of California.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    @SFAW: Not to mention that making a huge fuss over leakers has a dismal precedent. Remember Nixon’s ‘plumbers’?

  47. 47
    Kay says:

    Not that it matters because we have such low standards now, but the executive branch isn’t supposed to comment on an investigation by the executive branch into people IN the executive branch.

    Trump gets a complete pass on this. He blatantly interferes in investigations. Announces conclusions, accuses people of crimes, exonerates other people. It’s outrageous and it will do lasting harm. An ordinary mayor wouldn’t get away with this but the President of the United States does it all the time. He’s exonerating himself and the people he hired with these tweets. He’s interfering.

    It was treated as amusing and eccentric when he accused Obama of a crime but what happens when he does that to an ordinary person? A person who doesn’t have the standing of a former President? He should not be doing this. It’s an absolutely horrible precedent he’s setting.

  48. 48
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Is the vote by mail movement one of the reasons the GOP wants to curtail the postal service?

  49. 49
    Kay says:


    I don’t believe it’s about “nationalism” or some far Right fantasy ideology. That’s how they tricked the rubes into voting for them but that’s not what they want. That gives them too much credit. Manafort would sell his goddamned grandmother if you paid him enough. I think it’s about someone making money.

  50. 50
    Baud says:

    @Kay: If we elect a Dem in 2020, the he or she will be asked to answer for and compensate for all of Trump’s wrongdoings. Which will be deemed insufficient, thus requiring the public to elect more Republicans.

  51. 51
    satby says:

    If Lizzy L shows up, I just want to say how happy I am that Theo is improving! I saw she mentioned it in one of the overnight threads.

    My wounded warrior Hershey is getting around better, but still clearly very sore. The house seems much less stressful now, but I still miss poor Rosa. That’s going to take time. And Amazon has helpfully reminded me it’s the second anniversary of the death of Maggie, the beloved companion of the late lamented Biggie.

  52. 52
    amk says:

    comey and rogers – gopee hacks ‘testifying’ before a ‘committee’ of gop hacks. will they anoint the twitler as the king today?

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    @Kay: IOKIYR, unfortunate but true.
    Devin Nunes should not head a committee, since he served on the transition team. I’m not sure what is normal anymore.

    @Gin & Tonic: You’ll do fine. Keep us updated.

  54. 54
    Sab says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: In one our recent mayoral elections 10% of the mailed in ballots were thrown out because the USPS processing center in Cleveland couldn’t be bothered to postmark them.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: It’s always about the money Kay.

  56. 56
    Kay says:


    The Russian government wants something from the Republicans in the executive and legislative branches. Even this “disorder” theory doesn’t get to what they want. They want “disorder” for something.

    All the factions in a “movement” don’t want the same things. They aren’t in it for the same reasons. German industrialists went along with Hitler because 1. they wanted to get rid of labor unions, 2. they were afraid of Communism, and 3. they knew his massive military and industrial build-up would be profitable. “Nationalism” was the belief but it wasn’t their motive. Money was.

  57. 57

    @Ladyraxterinok: Probably more that the USPS is socialism, private bidness(even though they don’t want to) do this. Interfering with vote by mail is just a cherry on top.

  58. 58

    @Kay: Didn’t Mark Felt(aka Deep Throat) say “Follow the Money”?

  59. 59
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    White is black, rain is dry, lambs lay down with lions, and cats and dogs sleep together:

    Even with the federal workforce already at a record low, Trump’s budget is calling for the largest elimination of federal jobs since the end of World War II. The suburbs around Washington D.C. would bear the brunt of these mass layoffs should they come to pass.

    Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who represents a Northern Virginia district with a massive federal worker population, accused the president of attempting to “balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees.” “The administration’s proposed cuts to funding for [the National Institute of Health], Chesapeake Bay cleanup, and our federal workforce, are just a few of the items inconsistent with our priorities,” she wrote.

    Even before Trump’s budget saw the light of day, Republicans were sounding the alarm about the proposal to gut nearly a third of the State Department’s budget, targeting foreign aid and diplomatic work in particular.

  60. 60
    Kay says:


    Were slavery advocates in the US racists? Yes. Did they want to steal labor and therefore rake in all the money? Yes.

    One doesn’t exclude the other. The belief doesn’t exclude the self-interest.

  61. 61
    MattF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Who needs experts when you’ve got the Great Helmsman at the wheel?

  62. 62
    Kay says:


    The nice part (to me) of follow the money with the Trumpsters is it’s actionable. We can say they’re white supremacist nationalists all day long and never hold them accountable. Please. There is a money interest here! Donald Trump doesn’t have any “principles”. Southern planters were happy to talk about “states rights” and their “honor” because then no one was talking about how their business model depended on owning people. Justice Roberts talks about how the VRA hurts the feelings of southern states because then he doesn’t have to talk about how it benefits the GOP to make voting more difficult. There is a self-interest here somewhere.

  63. 63
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: If they could have made more money without slavery, they would have dropped it in a New York second. They finally settled for Jim Crow.

  64. 64
    Kay says:


    Right. They kept it going for 100 more years! Slavery ended and they set up a prison labor system. They could not make money without enslaving labor.

  65. 65
    Kay says:

    What if the business interest of white nationalism is not keeping people out of certain countries but instead keeping people in certain countries? The difference between serfdom and slavery is serfs were not bound to the owner, they were bound to the property, the ground.

  66. 66
    Eric S. says:

    @Gin & Tonic: good luck! I’m 3 weeks past rotator cuff surgery. My second surgery. I never thought I’d want to be operated on but i want to put the dishes away again without pain.

  67. 67
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: The racism was little more than a useful tool to keep the rubes behind a policy that benefited them not at all: Poor whites caught on to this truth midway thru the Civil War when the “20 Negro Law” was passed that said a son did not have to serve in the CSA if his family owned 20 slaves, 2 sons if the family owned 40 slaves, etc. “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” became a common lament and they lost what little taste for war they had left.

    With the invention of Jim Crow racism was once again a tool to divide the poor as poor whites would say, “At least I’m not a ni**er.”

    And the tool continues to work today as can be seen in WWC’s continued insistence that Trump and the GOP aren’t going to repeal the programs that benefit them but only the ones for those people.

  68. 68
    SFAW says:


    Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who represents a Northern Virginia district with a massive federal worker population, accused the president of attempting to “balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees.” “The administration’s proposed cuts to funding for [the National Institute of Health], Chesapeake Bay cleanup, and our federal workforce, are just a few of the items inconsistent with our priorities,” she wrote.

    Yeah, whatever, Babs. Where the fuck were you when Congress tried to do just that during the Obama Administration?

  69. 69
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SFAW: Voting for it of course, but now it’s her govt that will do the things she wants that they want to cut.

  70. 70
    Kay says:


    I blame Trump himself (or his voters) for most of his policies but the failure of exposing Trump on health care is a failure of media. They’re terrible at reporting on health care. I think it bores them and they’d rather talk about immigration or foreign policy. I complained once about the Toledo Blade’s reporting on public education because it is moronic and uninformed and I was told it’s not a prestigious “beat” so it goes to the person they can’t stick anywhere else.

  71. 71
    MattF says:

    @Kay: And just by noting that Trump had to be lying when he said that Trumpcare would cover everyone and be cheaper and better than O-care. Also Trump’s complete surrender to the Congressional Republicans on healthcare is a story that hasn’t gotten the coverage it deserves.

  72. 72
    O. Felix Culpa says:


    Not that it matters because we have such low standards now,

    I think the word you’re looking for is “no,” as in we have NO standards now. Sigh.

  73. 73
    rikyrah says:

    Posting this again, hoping that a FrontPager sees it:

    Unspeakable Realities Block Universal Health Coverage In America
    Chris Ladd ,

    Election 2016 has prompted a wave of head-scratching on the left. Counties Trump won by staggering margins will be among the hardest hit by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Millions of white voters who supported Donald Trump stand to lose their access to health coverage because of their vote.

    Individual profiles of Trump voters feed this baffling narrative. A Washington Post story described the experience of Clyde Graham, a long-unemployed coal worker who depends on the ACA for access to health care. He voted for Trump knowing it might cost him his health insurance out of his hope of capturing the great white unicorn – a new job in the mines. His stance is not unusual.

    Why are economically struggling blue collar voters rejecting a party that offers to expand public safety net programs? The reality is that the bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy.

    When it seems like people are voting against their interests, I have probably failed to understand their interests. We cannot begin to understand Election 2016 until we acknowledge the power and reach of socialism for white people.

    Americans with good jobs live in a socialist welfare state more generous, cushioned and expensive to the public than any in Europe. Like a European system, we pool our resources to share the burden of catastrophic expenses, but unlike European models, our approach doesn’t cover everyone.


    By funding government programs with tax credits and deductions rather than spending, we have created an enormous social safety net that grows ever more generous as household incomes rise. It is important to note, though, that you need not be wealthy to participate. All you need to gain access to socialism for white people is a good corporate or government job. That fact helps explain how this welfare system took shape sixty years ago, why it was originally (and still overwhelmingly) white, and why white Rust Belt voters showed far more enthusiasm for Donald Trump than for Bernie Sanders. White voters are not interested in democratic socialism. They want to restore their access to a more generous and dignified program of white socialism.


    I have said this over and over.

    They long for the delusional days of Mad Men, where they pretend that they were big fish in a pond. Truth told, they were the only fish, because the other 90% of the fish were locked in sardine cans. Now, the cans are open, and they have to compete with everyone else.

  74. 74
    zhena gogolia says:

    Has anyone yet pointed out that the Seven Deadly Sins are a good description of Trump?

  75. 75
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: I thought the press’ failings on health care reporting was due mostly to their preference for horse race reporting. The 2 are not mutually exclusive. It’s a lot easier for a not so good reporter to just equinify a story and editors are more comfortable with their racing forms than they are with the detailed nuances of horse and jockey reports.

  76. 76
    danielx says:


    Good morning to you….

    It’s Official: Cole has been domesticated.

  77. 77
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @danielx: Rosie broke him in for ABC.

  78. 78
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Eric S.: This appointment was a waste of fucking time. The orthopedist said “that’s a bad fracture.” I fucking know that. But he’s a back specialist, so referred me to someone else, for tomorrow. I said screw that, worked the phones and got in to see a hand/arm specialist at a better group, this afternoon. Should have done that in the first place.

  79. 79
    tobie says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I like Connie Sach’s name for the money trail in Le Carre’s Honorable Schoolboy. She calls it the “gold seam.” Le Carre is finishing up a new Russian spy novel, due out in September. Gosh, we need it.

  80. 80
    low-tech cyclist says:

    A new Washington Post feature, from Media Columnist Margaret Sullivan — “Tracking the special treatment media get when they play nice with the White House“:

    Okay, NOW I’m glad I subscribed to the Washington Post after the election. This is the sort of subject that usually only gets raised in blogs and in small publications like Mother Jones and the Washington Monthly.

    In the past, the White House reporters for the Washington Post have too much invested in (a) playing nice with the Administration, particularly a Republican Administration, and (b) playing nice with their colleagues from other publications who are also playing nice with the people in power.

    So maybe Marty Baron has really shaken up the culture over there. And if so, good for him!

  81. 81
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Just wait until you see how much better the AHCA will be for you.

  82. 82
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I do like the framed “Earthrise” photo. Didn’t realise Nixon had chosen that to adorn his Oval Office. He was lucky enough to be President while most of the cool moon stuff was going on, and I’m glad to know he had that picture where he could see it every day.

  83. 83
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Greatest health plan in the world, right?

  84. 84

    @Kay: Destruction of US reputation and prestige post WWII. Putin wants revenge for the utter destruction of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. They went from a feared superpower to a laughing stock. Putin wants the same for his antagonists.

  85. 85
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You’ll be able to go see the right doctor the first time every time… Starting with your gynecologist.

  86. 86
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay: I blame Trump himself (or his voters) for most of his policies but the failure of exposing Trump on health care is a failure of media. They’re terrible at reporting on health care. I think it bores them and they’d rather talk about immigration or foreign policy.

    I disagree.

    This is a case where they can’t go ‘ both sides do it’.

    On the one side, you have people who want to give them access to healthcare, and all that that’s meant.

    on the other hand, you have people wanting to take away their healthcare so that rich people can get a tax cut.
    the stories – human interest stories – write themselves.
    tell the truth about Obamacare, and it’s obvious that the GOP are sociopaths.

  87. 87
    tobie says:

    @schrodingers_cat: And he’s well on his way to getting what he wants. The alliance with Europeans in NATO is fraying. Asian allies are wondering what the hell Tillerson means when he parrots Chinese rhetoric about “mutual respect for core interests,” which upends decades-old, US policy. We’re encouraging an arms race in Asia; we’ve withdrawn from TPP; we now endorse protectionism, etc etc etc. I’m sure even Putin is flabbergasted at how quickly the US is destroying itself for the sake of the coffers of Exxon, the Koch Industries, Wall Street hedge funds manager. Who knew the country would sell itself for so little.

  88. 88
    bystander says:

    Adam Schiff is doing a remarkable standup job right now.

  89. 89
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Who knew the country would sell itself for so little.

    Me. I’ve been saying for years, “You can’t have your country back, the Koch brothers aren’t selling.”

  90. 90
    bystander says:

    Schiff just misspoke and called Twitler “Tramp”. Thanks, Schiff!

  91. 91
    japa21 says:

    @danielx: Yeah, but he is not going down without a struggle.

  92. 92
    bystander says:

    I haven’t done this in years but when Schiff gets done, I’m having a cigarette.

  93. 93
    japa21 says:

    @bystander: Hell of a lot of coincidences.

  94. 94
    amk says:

    Why is Schiff talking non-stop? Who will remember what he is saying after all this long talk? Shouldn’t he be asking questions after each charge?

  95. 95
    JPL says:

    @bystander: I hope that the entire statement is released.

    The repubs will protect Trump and Flynn, ignoring the Russian hack.

  96. 96
    japa21 says:

    I would love the evening news or any network to have a special tonight and show the entirety of Schiff’s remarks.

  97. 97
    japa21 says:

    @amk: It’s an opening statement, laying out what he is looking for. Questions will be asked. This is SOP.

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    Trump and his team don’t want to talk about his golf game
    03/20/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Donald Trump played golf again over the weekend at his course in Florida, marking the 11th time he’s hit the links since taking office eight weeks ago. Under normal circumstances, no one would care about this, since just about every modern president has done the same thing.

    But with Trump, the circumstances are a little different. A month ago, for example, White House officials gave misleading information about the president’s time on the course, and yesterday, as the New York Times noted, Team Trump seemed reluctant to say much of anything on the subject.

    President Trump spent seven hours this weekend at Trump International Golf Club here, where a crisp breeze and cloudless skies beckoned golf lovers to the manicured 27-hole course.

    Did he play any golf? “Very little,” Mr. Trump told reporters traveling with him on Sunday on Air Force One back to Washington…. The White House refused to provide any details…. Questions about whether the commander in chief also indulged in his favorite game went unanswered by White House officials traveling with the president.

    We know, however, that Trump did play. One of the president’s friends posted a picture online leaving little doubt, and Trump’s “very little” comment made clear that the golf outing, which his aides were reluctant to acknowledge, actually happened.

  99. 99
    tobie says:

    As an opening statement, Schiff’s words were very good. It’s quotable/excerptable for the evening news; it strikes one as very level-headed; it lays out a stunning array of coincidences; it indicates that the only information that can be discussed at a public hearing is what’s in the public domain, implying that there’s other information to which we are not privy. I loved the final summary: this is not about capitalism vs communism but autocracy vs democracy.

    My one beef is that he didn’t mention the known hacking of voters rolls and the involvement in congressional races.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    GOP senator acknowledges Americans’ ‘right’ to health care
    03/20/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In Democratic and progressive circles, Americans’ right to health security is a given, on par with citizens’ rights to public education and access to clean water. But in Republican circles, the resistance to such an idea is strong. Once the public believes Americans are entitled to affordable health care, simply as a basic proponent of citizenship, GOP plans in this area become untenable.

    It was therefore surprising to see Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) of Louisiana offer these comments to the New York Times.

    “The folks who Hillary Clinton called the ‘deplorables’ are actually those who want better coverage, who we’d be hurting if we don’t change this bill,” Mr. Cassidy said, noting that Mr. Trump promised “he’d give them better care.”

    The senator, a physician who once worked in his state’s charity hospital network, bluntly said that the philosophical debate was over and that his party ought to be pragmatic about how best to create a more cost-efficient and comprehensive health care system.

    “There’s a widespread recognition that the federal government, Congress, has created the right for every American to have health care,” he said, warning that to throw people off their insurance or make coverage unaffordable would only shift costs back to taxpayers by burdening emergency rooms. “If you want to be fiscally responsible, then coverage is better than no coverage.”


    It’s an important development for a few reasons. First, it’s a reminder as to why congressional Republicans fought tooth and nail to kill the Affordable Care Act in the first place: once Americans have an important social-insurance benefit, and families come to rely on it, scrapping the benefit becomes politically unrealistic.

    If “the right for every American to have health care” now exists, Democrats and Republicans can argue about the details of how best to recognize that right, not whether the right deserves to be recognized in the first place.

    Second, acknowledgements like these reinforce the impression of Barack Obama transformed the nature of the conversation. Indeed, much of the current health care debate is playing out on the terms the former president defined several years ago. The idea that a conservative Republican senator from a red state would acknowledge “the right for every American to have health care” would’ve been very hard to believe before the Obama era.

  101. 101
    rikyrah says:

    Tillerson: ‘I’m not a big media press access person’
    03/20/17 09:20 AM—UPDATED 03/20/17 09:27 AM
    By Steve Benen

    About a month ago, Politico reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was concerned about public perceptions surrounding his work. The more people – inside the United States and around the world – believed the former ExxonMobil CEO was out of the loop when it came to the White House’s major foreign policy decisions, the harder it would be for him to do his job.

    To that end, the report said Tillerson “asked his aides to find ways to improve his media profile.”

    A month later, either Tillerson’s priorities have changed or someone has changed his priorities for him. Slate explained:

    It was already clear Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doesn’t really see the press as a priority. He has avoided public events and broke with tradition by refusing to allow journalists to join him on his first major mission to Asia. Now he has made his dislike of the media official, telling conservative outlet Independent Journal Review, the only one allowed to accompany Tillerson on his trip, that he sees journalists as mere pawns to transcribe the administration’s message.

    “I’m not a big media press access person,” he said. “I personally don’t need it.”

    Of course, in his capacity as the nation’s chief diplomat, Tillerson’s needs aren’t nearly as important as our needs. He now helps speak for 319 million Americans, not the stock holders of an oil giant.

    Traditionally, secretaries of state have seen interaction with journalists as an integral part of the job. Tillerson – who, like Trump, had literally zero experience in public service before joining the administration’s cabinet – doesn’t seem to care.

  102. 102
    Elizabelle says:

    Good morning, buds. May this be a happier Spring for us than we are expecting.

    Glad to know about the Wednesday protest by Rev. Barber. Might be able to be up there. TBC.

  103. 103
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rikyrah: What Trump does on the links may well have the same relationship to golf as “grabbing them by the pussy” has to flirting,

  104. 104
    rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump is running out of foreign leaders to alienate
    03/20/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    It’s a scene so familiar, it’s almost a cliché: a foreign leader visits the White House, and there’s an Oval Office photo op in front of the room’s fireplace. The American president is on the right, the foreign leader is on the left, and the two share a hearty handshake to demonstrate a friendly, cooperative relationship.

    In the Trump era, the scene has been rewritten. Last month, the U.S. president welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House, and Trump repeatedly pulled the Japanese leader’s arm as some kind of bizarre power move, culminating in a hilarious post-shake look from Shinzo. Last week, as The New Republic noted, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn to sit across from Donald Trump, leading to “one of the most cringe-inducing staged events in political history.”

    Studiously avoiding talking to or even looking at each other, both world leaders strongly suggested they couldn’t wait to stop being in each other’s company…. When Merkel asked if Trump wanted to shake hands, he ignored her.

    It could be that she was speaking too softly, although he also paid no heed to the photographers echoing her requests. Whether out of inadvertence or deliberate rudeness, with perhaps a tinge of sexism in the mix, Trump finished his encounter with Merkel on a note of disdain.

    The same afternoon, the U.S. president made a bizarre joke about the NSA having monitored Merkel’s communications, needlessly raising a point of contention between the two countries in order for Trump to further his new favorite anti-Obama conspiracy.

    Soon after, Merkel participated in a White House meeting, where she was inexplicably seated next to the president’s adult daughter, Ivanka Trump. “On a day filled with awkward moments,” Politico noted, “probably none was more cringe-worthy to German eyes than the picture of the president’s glamorous daughter … perched next to no-nonsense Merkel as she praised her father’s commitment to job creation.”

  105. 105
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I also thought he was excellent. It was pretty stunning to hear all those facts — coincidences? — laid out, one after another, clearly and dispassionately.

  106. 106
    rikyrah says:

    Trump scandals overshadow Navy’s biggest corruption case
    Rachel Maddow details an epic Navy scandal involving prostitutes, $2,000 bottles of wine, fancy cigars, and lavish meals, which, were it not for the steady drip of Trump scandals, would be front page news.

  107. 107
    rikyrah says:

    Insider’s view of Russia’s election hacking
    Glen Caplin, senior national spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign, gives Rachel Maddow the play-by-play of how the DNC’s computers were hacked, and staffers’ e-mails made public

  108. 108
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rikyrah: What Trump does on the links may well have the same relationship to golf as “grabbing them by the pu$$y” has to flirting,

  109. 109
    tobie says:

    So Nunes’ questions are entirely about the illegality of leaks. Quelle surprise.

  110. 110
    rikyrah says:

    The danger in letting Russia’s hacking slide
    Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton campaign manager, talks with Rachel Maddow about the unprecedented nature of the Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign and what it portends for the legislative process if not addressed.

  111. 111
    rikyrah says:

    It really is this simple
    Liberal Librarian
    March 17, 2017

    The release of false prophet Donald Trump’s budget yesterday has everyone up in arms.

    I could wail about its cruelty. It eliminates funding for Meals on Wheels (which is the one which strikes the conscience the most), after-school programs, scientific research, the arts, and on and on, while massively increasing spending on “security”.

    I could write a stirring piece asking “Where will you stand when you’re held to account?” Will you be with those of Light or those of Darkness?

    I could call for the masses to rise up and take to the streets and make the earth shake.

    But none of those address the core of our problem: How did we get here?

    Let me digress for a bit to speak about international affairs.

    On Wednesday, voters in the Netherlands took to the polls to elect a new parliament. All of Europe—and, indeed, the world—had eyes cast on Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and environs. Fascist rabble rouser Geert Wilders had been riding high in polling for months, and his party had, until just recently, been projected to win the most seats in the legislature. (Not a majority—that’s nearly impossible—but it would have been the largest party in parliament with the right of first refusal to form a government.) Polling leading up to Wednesday had taken a bit of wind out of Wilders’ sails; however, as 2016 showed, polling ain’t what it used to be. Many were looking on in nervous apprehension.

    Then something “miraculous” happened: the Dutch turned out in droves to vote. Turnout was at 80%, the highest in three decades.

  112. 112
    zhena gogolia says:

    I’m in despair again. They’re dismantling the government, alienating our allies, shitting on everything that “makes America great,” and all Democrats can do is bleat from the corner. WE HAVE NO POWER.

  113. 113
    JPL says:

    @tobie: Same with Rooney. They are so concerned about leaks now, and I’m shocked.

    Yeah, Gowdy is up to defend Flynn’s actions.

  114. 114

    @tobie: On the plus side, no other country can’t step into the breach just yet.
    @zhena gogolia: Despair is natural, take a break and comeback and fight. This is a fight worth fighting.

  115. 115
    zhena gogolia says:


    But I don’t really know what “fighting” looks like. I’ve sent tons of contributions, but all that seems to get me is more e-mail (and robocalls from Obama) asking me for more money.

  116. 116

    @zhena gogolia: Get involved locally. Work on an issue that you care about.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I’m in despair again. They’re dismantling the government, alienating our allies, shitting on everything that “makes America great,” and all Democrats can do is bleat from the corner. WE HAVE NO POWER.

    These are exciting times to live in. Right now, the Democrats have little power. But that can change. It has to change. People are fighting back, making a difference.

    ETA: working on a local issue you care about is good practical advice.

  118. 118
    J R in WV says:


    In one our recent mayoral elections 10% of the mailed in ballots were thrown out because the USPS processing center in Cleveland couldn’t be bothered to postmark them.

    And I wonder if there’s any way to tell which precincts those ballots came from? Were they from places with a history of voting a certain way more often than another? Were they Republican voters, or Democratic voters?

    Did anyone even ask those questions?? never mind, I know the answer to that one!

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