Rex Tillerson Knows All The Languages And Has A Photographic Memory

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkey’s president and foreign minister today.

He was the only American present, according to this Bloomberg News reporter.

He has done this before. It’s diplomatic malpractice not to have one’s own interpreter. The other guy’s interpreter can tell you what you want to hear, and the other guy’s note-taker can write it up so it looks like you agreed with what they want to hear. It’s stupid beyond belief.

And interpreting (which is the correct term for working with speech in real time) is a full-time job. Nobody’s foreign minister should be interpreting. They are participating in the meeting.

Not having his own interpreter and note-taker tells the world that Tillerson can be rolled.

 

Open thread. What kind of stupidity have you encountered today?



Trump to “Address a Grieving Nation” at 11 AM ET

According to All-Access Haberman of The Times, there was pressure from advisers for Trump to make a public statement after yesterday’s school shooting in Parkland, FL:

Looks like the advisers prevailed in the interim. Here’s the announcement that the tiny-fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon will “address a grieving nation” shortly and has ordered the flags lowered to half-staff until Monday:

None of the lies Trump reads off a teleprompter today will blot out what he said at an NRA conference last April:

President Donald Trump promised guns rights advocates gathered in Atlanta on Friday that he’d come through for them as they did for him during the 2016 campaign.

“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end,” Trump told the members of the National Rifle Association, assuring them that they now “have a true friend and champion in the White House.”

“I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Trump said. “Never ever.”

The blood-gargling sociopaths of the NRA invested more in Trump than they’ve ever invested in any pol in history, and they may have funneled Russian cash to Trump too. As a brand licensing entity for decades, Trump regards the NRA as just another lucrative licensing deal.

Trump will probably read things about mental illness off the teleprompter, even though he rescinded an Obama-era measure that would have added people with mental illness who receive federal benefits to the background check database and is in the process of de-funding healthcare that might address the issue on the margins.

The blather about mental illness will be a distraction, as will the promise by Trump’s minion in Florida, AG Pam Bondi, that the state will pay for the funerals of yesterday’s victims. In the end, the brand licensing deal will hold because it has paid off handsomely for Trump, the Republicans and the NRA.

The only solution is to get rid of all parties to that agreement. Vote out the politicians who take NRA cash, and make affiliation with the NRA as toxic as an association with the Klan or the Nazis. Until that happens, nothing will be done.



REPUBS IN DISARRAY! Open Thread: “Lawmakers losing confidence in White House after Porter resignation”

Maybe it’s just that “don’t hit girls” is a really, really low bar to clear; even the dumbest most partisan Fox News watcher can understand why it’s a bad idea to get caught encouraging such behavior. Or maybe the professional Repubs are just fekkin’ desperate to sever themselves from this dumpster fire of an administration. Politico:

House Republicans raised questions Wednesday about the Trump administration’s security clearance process and an oversight panel launched an investigation, as the controversy surrounding former aide Rob Porter started to eat into their confidence in President Donald Trump’s White House.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said his House Oversight Committee on Tuesday night kicked off an investigation into Trump’s employment of Porter — the White House staff secretary who resigned last week — and what White House officials knew about domestic abuse accusations against him…

Asked about Gowdy’s investigation into the Porter scandal Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he had been informed of the probe and believes the White House has to improve its vetting system for employees.

“They have work to do to improve their vetting system,” Ryan told reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t know how exactly they’ll do that; I will leave that to them. But Chairman Gowdy is doing his proper job on oversight, and yes, he did give us a heads-up.”…

The Porter situation has heaped scrutiny particularly on the White House’s security clearance procedures. Many other White House aides have been operating on interim clearances because they have not gotten a permanent security signoff. The White House personnel security office said last fall it would stop issuing new interim clearances, but people who already had them were allowed to keep working.

Three Democrats plan to introduce legislation Wednesday to give Congress greater oversight of the White House’s security clearance process. Among other provisions, the legislation, co-sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), would limit the use of interim security clearances to a year and require the White House to submit a list of individuals with security clearances working in the Executive Office of the President to Congress every three months…

Gowdy denied a recent allegation from Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, that the committee had avoided investigating the White House’s security clearance issues. But he said there were limits to his committee’s ability to compel the White House and FBI to answer questions — “unless you’re Jack Bauer, you can’t make people answer questions” — and urged the media and the public to put pressure on the executive branch to be more forthcoming…



Unilever Threatens Boycott of Facebook and Google

I find this encouraging. I have curtailed my Facebook and Twitter interactions dramatically since the election, but I’m not naive, these services are not going away anytime soon. They are fun, keep you in touch with family and friends, can assist in a revolution, and let you interact with politicians, businesses and celebrities – but at the moment their dark side is pretty damn dark.

Unilever has threatened to boycott Facebook and Google if the tech giants fail to efficiently police extremist and illegal content.

“We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing,” Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at Unilever, said Monday.

In a speech delivered at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, California, Weed said tech companies were to blame for creating a “swamp” in which fake news and criminal content were being circulated.

Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, said the tech space needed to review transparency measures and improve consumer trust in an era of illegal content.

The whole thing is worth a read.

 

Roger McNamee seems to be a controversial subject lately, but I saw an interview with him and that lead me to read this article at the Washington Post. 

 

I  don’t know if any of this will make a difference, but the more light shined on extremist groups and bots on these platforms, the less likely they’ll be able to continue to ignore them.



Early Morning Open Thread: Yesterday’s Leftovers

Michael Cohen says that he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 hush money out of his own pocket, just because he’s a good guy.

Read more



Another Corrupt Pol

Bad Bibi:

Israeli police recommend two charges of bribery against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, local media reported Tuesday.

The recommended indictment is a result of a 14-month investigation into allegations that the prime minister committed “fraud, breach of trust, and bribes.”

Netanyahu stands accused of accepting over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and others. Netanyahu also allegedly asked for positive news coverage by an Israeli publication in exchange for hurting its rival, a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

“He tried to strike a deal that would have provided him with positive coverage in Israel’s second largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in exchange for hurting its free rival, Israel Hayom,” Haaretz reported.

“The publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes, will also be charged, as will Arnon Milchan, who allegedly provided Netanyahu with gifts,” the newspaper added. “Netanyahu will address the public in a live broadcast at 8:45 P.M.”

We’ll see if this amounts to anything, and it could be a guide to how to handle Trump should he ever be charged.








Battling Trump Chumps

Former Trump employee Omarosa Manigault-Newman went from the White House to the “Big Brother” reality TV show, which probably wasn’t a very jarring transition. I’ve never watched the stupid “Apprentice” shows, so I’d never heard of Manigault-Newman before the campaign. Her “Kneel before Zod” statement after the election convinced me that she’s a kook.

But in her current reality show gig, Manigault-Newman is trashing Trump and Pence, which doesn’t sit well with fellow “Apprentice” alum Piers Morgan. Via The Daily Mail:

‘Shut the f**k up, a**hole,’ snarled Omarosa Manigault-Newman at me. ‘How are your kids going to feel when they wake up and discover their dad’s a f**king f*gg*t?’

Yes, this is the same Omarosa Manigault-Newman who just spent a year inside Donald Trump’s White House.

I’ve met a lot of vile human beings in my life, from dictators and terrorists to sex abusers and wicked conmen.

But I’ve never met anyone quite so relentlessly loathsome as Omarosa; a vicious, duplicitous, lying, conniving, backstabbing piece of work.

Which beggars the question: what the hell was she doing inside the world’s most powerful building for 12 months?

No, it really doesn’t “beggar” the question, since the answer is so goddamned obvious: Trump is a scumbag, so of course he hires fellow scumbags to round out his scumbag administration. More dish from Morgan on Manigault-Newman:

Omarosa sidled up to me at the New York Mercantile Exchange and said, quite seriously: ‘Piers, do you want a showmance?’ ‘A what?’ I replied. ‘A showmance. You know, a romance on the show – we get it on together. Happens all the time on Apprentice. Everyone has sex together. Then we can make lots of money out of it.’ I stared at her grasping, ferociously ambitious little eyes, and laughed: ‘You must be joking, you deluded woman.’ She didn’t take it well. ‘What are you? Gay?’

From that moment, she turned on me like a viper.

I can honestly say I’ve never been spoken to in my life like the disgusting, foul-mouthed, homophobic way Omarosa spat at me throughout the weeks of filming.

Because I’d rejected her revolting sex plot, she decided the best line of attack was to repeatedly question my sexuality in the most crude and offensive manner imaginable.

Wow. She sure sounds like an asshole, but everyone in Trump’s orbit is, and that includes Morgan. I look forward to more amusing public feuds between Trump hangers-on in the very near future. It’s about the only upside from this endless nightmare. Open thread!