“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Diversion and Paybacks - The Democratic Coup Against President Trump

Former Bush AG On Comey’s 2007 Brush With Scandal: ‘Jim’s Loyalty Was More To Chuck Schumer’

This isn't the first time James Comey placed himself at the center of a partisan attempt to oust a top Republican. He did the same thing in 2007.

The revelation by fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey’s close friends that he has kept meticulous records detailing President Donald Trump’s alleged attempts to improperly influence an ongoing FBI investigation has sent Washington into a tailspin. Did Trump really threaten a sitting FBI director in a private meeting? Did the former FBI director accurately record what happened? Could this be the beginning of the end of Trump?
At the moment, untangling fact from fiction is difficult, given that the event Comey allegedly describes took place only between Comey and the president. With no ability at this time to independently verify either man’s account, we are instead left with a he-said/he-said explanation of events, which means the credibility of the two men involved becomes the prime determinant of one’s view of the situation.

The narrative from the Acela corridor media establishment is that Trump is a known liar and Comey is a honest public servant above reproach, so clearly Comey’s word must be believed, the total absence of any other corroborating evidence notwithstanding. An examination of Comey’s history as the consummate Beltway operator, however, raises questions about whether the towering former U.S. attorney, deputy attorney general, and FBI director is as open and forthright as his allies would have you believe.

In fact, the current episode is not the first time Comey and his associates plotted to oust a sitting Republican official through highly orchestrated political theater and carefully crafted narratives in which Comey is the courageous hero bravely fighting to preserve the rule of law. To understand how Comey came to be FBI director in the first place, and how he operates in the political arena, it is important to review the last scandal in which Comey had a front-row seat: the 2007 U.S. attorney firings and the fight over the 2004 reauthorization of Stellar Wind, a mass National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program designed to mitigate terrorist threats in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The pivotal scene in the Comey-crafted narrative, a drama that made Comey famous and likely paved the road to his 2013 appointment by President Barack Obama to run the FBI, occurred in a Beltway hospital room in early 2004. In Comey’s view, Comey was the last honest man in Washington, the only person standing between a White House that rejected any restraints on its power, and the rule of law protecting Americans from illegal mass surveillance.

A former White House counsel and attorney general with extensive first-hand experience dealing with Comey, however, paints a very different picture of what happened in that hospital room, and disputes numerous key details. In this account, Comey’s actions showcase a duplicitous, secretive schemer whose true loyalties were not to the officials to whom he reported, but to partisan Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). To fully understand and appreciate Jim Comey’s approach to politics, the writings and testimony of Alberto Gonzales, who served as both White House counsel and attorney general during the events in question and is intimately aware of Comey’s history of political maneuvering, is absolutely essential.

Gonzales’s descriptions of his interactions with Comey, included in his 2016 book “True Faith And Allegiance,” are detailed and extensive. While his tone is measured, the language he uses to describe Comey’s actions in 2004 and 2007 leaves little doubt about the former top Bush official’s views on Comey’s character. Gonzales’s opinion is clearly colored by the fact that Comey cravenly used him to jumpstart his own political career by going public with surprise (and questionable) testimony that Gonzales had attempted to take advantage of a deathly ill man in order to ram through authorization of an illegal surveillance program.

Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft had taken ill and was in the hospital at a pivotal time. The legal authorization of a surveillance program meant to find and root out terrorist threats was days from expiring. What happened in Ashcroft’s hospital room in March of 2004 later became political fodder for a hearing in which Senate Democrats used Comey to dredge up the 2004 hospital meeting to tar Gonzales’ credibility and suggest he was unfit to continue serving as attorney general. As the 2004 and 2007 sagas show, Comey is clearly no stranger to using the unarguably legal dismissal of government employees as the backdrop for casting himself as the story’s protaganist standing up to the forces of corruption.
“[I] told my security detail that I needed to get to George Washington Hospital immediately. They turned on the emergency equipment and drove very quickly to the hospital,” Comey testified. “I got out of the car and ran up — literally ran up the stairs with my security detail.”

“I was concerned that, given how ill I knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that,” Comey said.

Comey’s use of the phrase “overrule me” is especially noteworthy, given that the authority he referenced belongs not to the deputy attorney general, but to the attorney general himself. However, unbeknownst to anyone at the White House on that day, Comey had assumed for himself the authorities attendant to Ashcroft’s position. Rather than personally informing anyone at the White House, including the president, the vice president, the White House chief of staff, or the White House counsel, the Department of Justice sent a mere fax to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue noting the change in power. For some reason, the newly designated acting attorney general didn’t feel compelled to personally inform any of his superiors that he was now a cabinet official.
It’s at this point in the narrative that Comey’s testimony took a turn for the dramatic:
I sat down in an armchair by the head of the attorney general’s bed. The two other Justice Department people stood behind me. And Mrs. Ashcroft stood by the bed holding her husband’s arm. And we waited.

And it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card. They came over and stood by the bed. They greeted the attorney general very briefly. And then Mr. Gonzales began to discuss why they were there — to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was — which I will not do.

And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me. He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me — drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier — and in very strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow, seemed spent, and said to them, ‘But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general.’


And as he laid back down, he said, ‘But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general,’ and he pointed to me, and I was just to his left. The two men did not acknowledge me. They turned and walked from the room. And within just a few moments after that, Director Mueller arrived. I told him quickly what had happened. He had a brief — a memorable brief exchange with the attorney general and then we went outside in the hallway.
Gonzales was taken aback by Comey’s appearance and testimony. It turns out that was by design. Comey kept secret his pre-hearing planning with Schumer and his staff to maximize the fallout of the bomb he planned to drop on Gonzales and the Bush administration. In a significant breach of protocol, Comey also refused to share with the White House or the Department of Justice that he had planned to testify about his work at DOJ, a move which made it impossible for the White House to consider whether it needed to assert executive privilege over portions of Comey’s planned testimony.

As fate would have it, the Schumer staffer who spearheaded the entire spectacle was none other than Preet Bharara, a former employee of Comey’s in the U.S. attorney’s office in New York. Bharara, like Comey, was fired by President Donald Trump earlier this year. And Bharara, like Comey, owes his most recent position of authority in the U.S. government to Schumer and President Barack Obama.
“When I found out from our DOJ legislative liaison that Comey was testifying, I was surprised,” Gonzales wrote after noting that Comey hadn’t worked at DOJ for years when the U.S. attorneys were fired. “It was also odd that we had received no notice at DOJ regarding the appearance of one of the former members of our leadership team at a Senate hearing.”

“I called the White House counsel Fred Fielding, and Fred confirmed that he had no prior notice of Comey’s testimony either,” Gonzales continued. “I was disappointed that the man who had been given so much in his legal career — appointed by President Bush as a U.S. attorney and then as deputy attorney general — did not even notify the White House or me in advance of his testimony.”

“It felt to me that Jim’s loyalty was more to his friend Preet Bharara and to Chuck Schumer,” he wrote.

Gonzales also questioned whether Bharara’s role in ambushing the previous Republican presidential administration was the reason Obama later appointed Bharara to Comey’s old job as U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
Comey’s 2007 testimony went off just as he, Bharara, and Schumer planned. It was shocking and dramatic. Comey weaved a tale that involved him being notified at the last possible second that Bush’s chief of staff and counsel planned to ambush Ashcroft in his hospital bed and force him against his will to sign a legal document authorizing an ongoing mass surveillance program that Comey and his deputy, Jack Goldsmith, had very recently decided was illegal despite multiple DOJ and National Security Agency legal opinions to the contrary. According to Gonzales, despite having been on the job for months, Comey and Goldsmith didn’t disclose their concerns to the White House counsel about the legality of the surveillance initiative until March 6, just five days before the program’s authorization expired.

The narrative Comey provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee was riveting. But according to Gonzales, it didn’t actually happen.
The narrative Comey provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee was riveting. But according to Gonzales, it didn’t actually happen the way it was presented. And the conflicting details between Comey’s and Gonzales’ account, given Comey’s current attempts to use his credibility and recollection of events witnessed only by himself to take down a Republican official, raise significant questions about the trustworthiness of Comey’s current claims.
According to Gonzales, rather than sitting directly next to Ashcroft, Comey and his two deputies, Goldsmith and Pat Philbin, never made their presence known, and neither Gonzales nor Andy Card, Bush’s chief of staff, had any clue they were there during the 10-minute meeting. To the contrary, Gonzales noted in his book that he assumed the small handful of people in the hiding in the periphery of a darkened room were actually Ashcroft’s security detail doing their best to stay out of the way.

More important, in Gonzales’ telling, Ashcroft never even mentioned Comey, let alone pointed him out to Gonzales as being physically present in the room.
“I was told this morning that I’m no longer attorney general,” Gonzales wrote was Ashcroft’s response to a request to re-authorize the Stellar Wind program, a far cry from the forceful declaration Comey attributed to Ashcroft.
“Certainly, had the vice president, Andy, or I known about the matter, we would have informed the president, and he could have simply summoned the deputy attorney general,” Gonzales wrote. “But none of us knew until John Ashcroft announced the news to us in his hospital room.”

President George W. Bush himself, in his book “Decision Points,” expressed his feeling of shock when he found out that Comey had seized the attorney general’s authority in March of 2004.
It’s unclear why Comey did not feel compelled to inform the president of the United States, his superior, that he had assumed for himself the powers of the office of attorney general.
“I was stunned,” Bush wrote. “Nobody had told me that Comey, John Ashcroft’s deputy, had taken over Ashcroft’s responsibilities when he went in for surgery. If I had known that, I never would have sent Andy and Al to John’s hospital room.”

To date, it’s unclear why Comey did not feel compelled to inform the president of the United States, his superior, that he had assumed for himself the powers of the office of attorney general. Gonzales minced no words in his characterization of the hero narrative Comey wove before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007.

“The details later presented by Jim Comey, and facilitated by Senator Schumer’s staffer, Preet Bharara, describing flashing lights, sirens, and dashing up the hospital staircases may or may not be technically true, but they certainly do not depict what happened later in that hospital room,” Gonzales wrote. “Contrary to Hollywood-style myth, there simply was no confrontation.”

Gonzales even pointedly questioned the Comey narrative that Ashcroft’s health status had made it impossible for him to continue his duties.

“[Card and I] both agreed that Ashcroft had been competent and understood the intricacies of the disputed surveillance matter. He seemed to have been well briefed by [Comey], Goldsmith, and Philbin,” Gonzales wrote. “In an ironic twist, it is possible some or all of those briefings occurred while the attorney general was hospitalized and in a weakened condition, thus raising the question of whether his subordinates had taken advantage of him.”

This cynicism is not unwarranted, given that according to Comey’s own testimony, Ashcroft allegedly addressed Card and Gonzales in the hospital room with language that was “rich in both substance and fact…drawn from the hour-long meeting we’d had a week earlier.” If Ashcroft had such detailed command of facts he had only briefly discussed the previous week, then what exactly was the rationale for Comey continuing to assert the powers of Ashcroft’s position? Comey’s recollection of that conversation reveals an attempt to have it both ways: there was no choice but to designate Comey as acting attorney given Ashcroft’s medical state, and yet Ashcroft was competent enough to slap down Card and Gonzales in exquisite and detailed fashion. Which was it?

Gonzales’s belief, expressed in the book, that Comey and Bharara colluded in secret with Schumer in an attempt to take down a top Bush administration official is no unsupported conspiracy theory, as Bharara himself confirmed Gonzales’s suspicions about Comey’s scheme in a 2016 interview with The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin:
As Bharara recalled, ‘Jim told me the whole story on the phone, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, because I realized what a significant story this was, and I was sworn to secrecy and nobody knew about it. I told Chuck. He was, like, ‘Whoa!’ ” In the days leading up to the hearing, Bharara and Schumer told no one about the revelation that was coming. ‘I was afraid that if the story got out of what Jim was going to say the Bush Administration would figure out a way to prevent him from testifying,’ Bharara said. ‘We needed to preserve the element of surprise.’
That Bharara, a Senate staffer for Schumer, would plot with Comey to oust a top Republican official is no real surprise. After all, Bharara owes his federal prosecutor career to Comey, for whom Bharara worked when Comey was a U.S. attorney, and to Schumer, who recommended to Obama that Bharara be appointed as the top federal prosecutor in New York. Both men owed their fame and near-universal adoration by the Washington-New York media in the late 2000’s to the political theater they orchestrated at Gonzales’s expense.

This brings us back to 2017 and an emerging drama in which Comey and his former employees Bharara and Goldsmith are once again key actors. This clearly isn’t their first rodeo, nor the first time they have worked together to present a public narrative in which Comey plays the role of the last honest man who just wants to figure out if Col. Jessup ordered the Code Red.
This clearly isn’t their first rodeo, nor the first time they have worked together to present a public narrative in which Comey plays the role of the last honest man.
Is it possible that everything they and their friends are alleging about Comey and Trump is true? Absolutely. Everything they and their associates are anonymously providing to journalists eager to promote their narrative could be true, especially given Trump’s tendency to rhetorically shoot from the hip.

But given Comey’s history of secretly colluding with Democratic officials to craft a disputed narrative that makes everyone but himself look awful in order to oust a top Republican who didn’t sufficiently kowtow to Comey, there’s little reason to assume events transpired exactly the way Comey and his friends allege, especially given that both Comey and Bharara have rather obvious axes to grind on the matter. After all, Trump is the reason neither of them currently has a job. In light of Comey’s history of twisting private conversations and events, it’s probably a good idea to take anonymous leaks from him and his friends with a grain of salt.
“Over the years, various commentators and politicians have picked up on Comey’s remark to the president [about Bush’s staff knowing about Stellar Wind’s legal problems for weeks] and expanded it to say that President Bush’s staff knew of the specific surveillance problem for months before broaching it with the president,” Gonzales wrote in his book. “That is absolutely false, and the implication that the president was ill served by individuals attempting to keep information from him about a highly sensitive matter is also disingenuous.”

Sound familiar?

Now, Gonzales has publicly raised questions about the timing and rationale of Trump’s firing of Comey and stated the American people deserve a full account of what happened. And the former attorney general has thus far stayed out of the media fray regarding the latest alleged revelations about Comey and Trump.
So Comey could be telling the truth. Or he could be disingenuously characterizing private conversations with the president to get revenge against a higher-ranking official who got in Jim Comey’s way. It wouldn’t be the first time. Just ask Alberto Gonzales.


  1. .

    In a city of dicks, it's often hard to determine who is the bigger dick.


  2. .

    The Cost of War with North Korea

    The economic consequences of a war with North Korea include increased pricing especially for electronics, inflation and likely interest rate hikes, significant increase in US national debt, and reduced GDP worldwide and in the US.

    The article does not touch on non-economic factors that are likely, a new refugee crisis, increased tension or worse with Russia and China, and possible escalation to the use of nuclear weapons.


  3. However unpopular Donald Trump is, Congress is even less trustworthy. Libertarians especially ignore this slide in trust and the rush to partisan-driven calls to undermine elected officials absent actual evidence at our peril. Low-trust countries don't actually shrink the size, scope, and spending of government. Perversely, citizens call for "government regulation, fully recognizing that such regulation leads to corruption." It helps to understand that Donald Trump, for all of his obvious bullshitting, flip-flops, and lies, isn't the cause of anything but the effect. The 21st century in the United States began with an election that was effectively settled by a coin toss, which does little to create faith in institutions (especially as Republicans in Bush v. Gore appealed to the federal government, while Democrats called for state's rights). Then came the 9/11 attacks, an intelligence failure compounded by a massively mendacious disinformation campaign that resulted in a Middle East quagmire, ballooning deficits, and a mind-bending bailout of mega-corporations. President Obama's stimulus plan failed every measure it proposed as success and was capped by passage of a health-care law that ultimately spawned the "Lie of the Year" for 2013. Along the way, we also had a series of national intelligence heads baldly lie about what sorts of information was being collected (illegally, legally, does it matter?) on law-abiding Americans? We've learned that police act poorly in many circumstances, that local and state governments are awful as often as they are outstanding, and that corporations (Volkswagen!) will try to get away with lots of chicanery too.

    1. .

      IMO (apologies to Mome), the Special Counsel is not the best way to proceed with the Russian investigation. I believe a special independent and bi-partisan commission such as that on 9/11 would be the best way. Unfortunately, in the partisan environment described above you would never get such a commission approved.

      The idea of Special Counsel is basically unfair. It is completely one sided. The only info the grand jury hears is the prosecutor's side. There is no counter provided. We also don't know what Meuller's mandate is or how broad, where he can take his investigation.

      The Special Counsel Code leaves a lot open to the discretion of the Special Counsel.

      General Powers of the Special Counsel

      That said, again given the level of partisanship existing today, the Special Counsel is likely to be the best choice of the viable options for getting an independent investigation. By all accounts, Meuller is said to be a good choice for Special Counsel.


    2. One solution is to keep a Grand Jury out of it.

      Let him muck around a bit, gather his own stuff but not have the right to take it to a grand jury.

      Whole thing is idiotic.

      It's Comey that ought to be investigated.

    3. .

      There are two things Meuller will be looking at. First, the issue of Russian interference with US elections; and second, if there was any collusion by any US citizens with the Russians.

      According to FOX, Mueller's mandate sounds simple, 'to investigate Russian interference in the US elections and any related matters'. But it's not necessarily simple. That last phrase, 'and any related matters' gives him a lot of latitude. Mueller can decide to restrict his investigation with a narrow focus or we could be in for a long and bumpy ride.

      If he wants to go far afield on anything, Rosenstein can still reign him in.



  4. .

    Reasons Trump's Planned Speech on Religion in Saudi Arabia is a Mistake

    Both speeches were being drafted by Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller, who helped write Trump’s convention and inaugural addresses, with input from the large collection of advisers who are helping to plan the trip: son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

    Miller is a dubious choice for writing the first speech because of his views on Islam, but the speech itself seems ill-advised no matter who is writing it. A comparison with Obama’s Cairo speech is instructive. Obama delivered that speech very early in his presidency, just as Trump will be doing, and he managed to say just enough to raise expectations that would never be fulfilled. Everything Obama did from then on was judged against what people thought he had been promising in the speech, and invariably his policies fell short. If Trump wants to offer an “inspiring” message, his later policies are almost certain to prove disappointing. We have been told that the “speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization,” but that is hard to credit when the U.S. under Trump is taking sides in wars that pit Muslims against Muslims.

    Obama had a much more receptive audience, because he was not perceived to be hostile to Muslims as such, but Trump is perceived that way because he usually is. Trump will have a harder task than Obama did, because he first has to assuage fears about his hostility but still has to take hard-line positions to satisfy his supporters at home. That would be a difficult balancing act for any politician to pull off, and I doubt that Trump is capable of doing it. Since Trump isn’t exactly known for his grasp of nuance, he is likely to indulge in excessive flattery of his hosts or commit multiple diplomatic errors (or both).

    There is also something misguided in having American presidents come to predominantly Muslim countries to tell them about their own religion. This has been true when Bush and Obama wanted to hold forth on this subject, and it is still true. At best, anything our president says will come off as boilerplate or condescending, so that the speech is quickly forgotten and has no effect. At worst, he is going to insult the intended audience and provoke a backlash, and that will make things worse than they were before. The location for the speech is also unfortunate, since Riyadh is at the heart of one of the most obnoxious strains of Islam in the world, and giving this particular speech there could be interpreted as giving a boost to Wahhabism, which is the last thing that Trump or any other president should do while visiting Saudi Arabia.

    The problem with Trump’s Islam speech is related to the administration’s view of what Trump is trying to do with his first trip abroad. According to AFP, the White House sees the trip as a way to promote unity among different religions:

    US President Donald Trump will urge unity between the world’s major faiths on an ambitious first foreign trip that will take him to Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and Jerusalem, the White House said Tuesday.
    While that may sound like a nice sentiment, this isn’t something that politicians can help bring about with the best will in the world. Very few people are going to take Trump’s appeal seriously in any case, because hardly anyone thinks that he takes religious faith seriously in the first place. It would be one thing to have the president argue for religious tolerance, or at least to argue against sectarianism and violence, but for a politician to “urge unity” among religions that have real, deep differences of belief is both misguided and sure to be rejected by all sides. No president is suited to such a role, and Trump is almost uniquely unsuited to it.


  5. When you look at everything, it is impossible to come to any conclusion that does not have Trump leaving the White House. He simply is a smart guy that does dumb things. Real estate developers don't have to be nice, they have to be right more times than wrong. In real estate, you are only as good as your past project and then you have to start again.

    Trump has lost his support in Washington and is on the verge of losing it in the country. People believed in Trump that he could get things done. Washington proved he could not.

    Trump needs to do something that he is probably incapable of doing.

    1. Maybe, but it hard to tell what is real and what isn't, as there is a true all out assault on Trump from almost every angle. I am not saying he doesn't deserve it, at least some of it. If someone would just delete his twitter account, half his problems would go away. But I digress.

      For example, my comments a few days ago about Bezos and the WaPo are true. To add to it, see below from the WSJ:

      "Tuesday’s column expressed confidence in the public statements of President Trump’s National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, about a meeting he attended, as compared to analysis offered by anonymous former government officials who did not attend the meeting but were quoted by the Washington Post.

      In particular, this column questioned why former government officials require anonymity to offer such analysis and noted that such anonymity denies readers the opportunity to evaluate such sources and in this case even to know any details about their post-government employment. Since the Tuesday column was published readers have noted that while the Post did not require its sources who are former government officials to go on record, the Journal’s news coverage did quote former officials, who offered similarly critical appraisals of Mr. Trump’s handling of information.

      Journal reporters have done a service here not only in showing that some former officials are willing to go on record on this topic but also in helping readers evaluate the sources: Jeremy Bash and Eric Edelman. Mr. Bash was an Obama appointee and has been a frequent donor to Democratic political campaigns. He also served on former Vice President Al Gore’s legal team during the 2000 Florida recount.

      Mr. Edelman for his part has served in both Democratic and Republican Administrations. A New York Times report last year noted that he “has repeatedly criticized Mr. Trump’s fitness to be president. He said he could not imagine the Trump team calling him, and he said he would not serve if asked.”

      Coincidentally, Messrs. Bash and Edelman now serve together at a firm called Beacon Global Strategies.

      As for Gen. McMaster, he continues to serve the country, and this column continues to find him credible."

      So, I did a little further digging on these 2 knuckle heads, Mr. Bash and Mr. Edelman, and guess what, the little firm they are associated with, Beacon Global Strategies, is none other than one of Hillary Clinton's groups.

      So there, the 'former officials' named in WSJ reporting are Hillary cronies.

      There is no doubt a very organized effort to bury Trump at the expensive many many important thing, at least IMO. thanks for the name drop, Q.

  6. I'm resolved to never vote for another Democrat as long as I live.

    What a bunch of assholes.

    1. Does that include Wayne's wife ?


    2. Kimberly gets hers, the witch -

      Trump 'furious' at Guilfoyle's bid for Spicer's job, 'She's using us'
      by Paul Bedard | May 17, 2017, 3:03 PM

      Trump 'furious' at Guilfoyle's bid for Spicer's job, 'She's using us'

      Autoplay: On | Off

      President Trump is "furious" at reports that Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle is gunning for White House spokesman Sean's Spicer's job, telling aides that his press secretary is a vital part of his operation, according to insiders.

      Knowledgeable sources said that Trump was angered when she went to the press to announce that she was talking to Trump aides about the job.

      In what was viewed as a 'diss' by Team Trump, she told the San Jose Mercury News, "Sean Spicer is a very nice man and a patriot; he's dedicated himself to this public service." She added, "I wish him the best, and I know he puts a lot of effort into it."

      But she reached for his job. "I'm a patriot, and it would be an honor to serve the country," Guilfoyle said. "I think it'd be a fascinating job. It's a challenging job, and you need someone really determined and focused, a great communicator in there with deep knowledge to be able to handle that position."

      That did not go down well in the Oval Office.

      "Trump gets angry every time he sees those stories. He believes that she is using him to better her own situation," said one insider. "He's furious."

      She subsequently issued a statement saying she is staying with Fox. "As I stated in the interview, I really love what I do and my job co-hosting 'The Five' is tough to beat," she said....

      Heh, that brightens my mood a bit.

    3. Kat Timpf would make a better press secretary than that bitch.

  7. Adriana Cohen: The media has lost its marbles
    Adriana Cohen Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Credit: AP photo

    ‘TREATED WORSE’: President Trump gives the commencement address yesterday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

    Just five months in, 2017 is going down in history as the year that gave us the worst media bias America has ever witnessed.

    It’s worse than slanted, it’s flat-out rigged against our president and he knows it. Yesterday at the Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony, President Trump said, “Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

    The days of honest, ethical journalism guided by facts, not political motives, have been replaced by agenda-driven activism by political operatives masquerading as mainstream media journalists.

    Each and every week, they have manufactured a continual cycle of “fake news” crises about the Trump administration for the sole purpose of smearing the Republican leader so that Democrats can take back power in the midterms and 2020.

    Hopefully voters are savvy enough to see through the daily smear campaign against our president by The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, the AP and scores of other left-leaning media outlets whose reporters wake up every morning with one goal: take down Trump.

    Democratic leaders, CNN and other outlets have been pushing the false narrative that the Trump administration may have colluded with the Kremlin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. If there was any evidence to support that, rest assured it would have been leaked by now. There’s no there there. No evidence has been produced to suggest anyone committed a crime, let alone colluded with anyone.

    Just this week the media lost its marbles over the notion Trump may have shared intelligence with Russian officials in a recent White House visit. Never mind that there is no proof Trump divulged anything inappropriate, or that the media didn’t give a hoot when Obama did it last summer. Democrats get a pass.

    Four dead Americans in Benghazi? The media yawned. Targeting of conservatives by the IRS during the Obama administration? The media snored. Colluding with the Iranians in secret deals, with massive money transfers and releasing dangerous actors? That they considered a triumph of diplomacy. But if Trump orders two scoops of ice cream, he’s Dr. Evil and CNN devotes multiple segments to it.

    Each and every day the words “impeachment” and “Watergate” are floated by Democrats and anti-Trump media based on trumped-up, distorted information. Every week, they declare a new constitutional crisis.

    But Trump won the election despite that toxic media environment. Voters aren’t buying it anymore.

    Adriana Cohen is host of “The Adriana Cohen Show,” heard at noon on Boston Herald Radio. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16.

  8. All This Impeachment Talk Is Pure Trump Derangement Syndrome
    That man in the White House is vulgar, disrespectful, self-involved, maybe even dangerous. So?
    Nick Gillespie|May. 17, 2017 5:00 pm

    Well this didn't take long, did it?

    Donald Trump, the most-unlikely and least-liked president in the history of the United States, had barely celebrated his first 100 days when calls for his impeachment started flying faster than Anthony Weiner dick pics at a Girl Scout cookout....


  9. I want Comey's Memos on Weiner's Dick Pixes.

  10. Here's a guy that didn't give a flying fuck who was elected President, bless him -

    Why the North Pond Hermit Hid From People for 27 Years
    Apr 9, 2017 - What makes a person abandon the world and become a hermit? ... First, he lived for 27 years completely alone in the woods of Maine and ...

    'Stranger in the Woods' recounts 'North Pond Hermit's' 27 years in the ...

    Mar 2, 2017 - Christopher Knight, known as the 'North Pond Hermit' and photographed in 2013, pleaded ... Read more about Maine's 'North Pond Hermit'.
    Christopher Thomas Knight - Wikipedia
    Christopher Thomas Knight (born 7 December 1965), also known as the North Pond Hermit, is a former hermit who lived almost without human contact for 27 years in the woods in Maine.

    ‎Life and hermitage · ‎Capture and aftermath · ‎In pop culture · ‎See also
    The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit | GQ
    Aug 4, 2014 - Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest. ... For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and ...

    Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 ... › News › Maine
    Mar 15, 2017 - Christopher Knight: inside the Maine hermit's lair. Read more. The final category includes those who wish to be alone for reasons of artistic ...

    'The Stranger in the Woods' for 27 Years: Maine's 'North Pond Hermit ...
    Mar 16, 2017 - Michael Finkel's new book investigates the account of a man who says he escaped civilization. How did he do it? And why would he want to?

    Lessons of the North Pond Hermit - The Atlantic
    In the 27 years he lived in the Maine woods, Christopher Knight said a single word. Because he never spoke to himself and avoided humanity with the guile of a ...

    Who can really blame him for wanting to escape the Ashites ?

  11. The other possibility is that there was something before the big bang. If you imagine the big bang is the bubbling-off of this universe from some antecedent proto-universe or from chaotically inflating space-time, then there’s going to be the physics of that bubbling-off, and you would hope the physics of the bubbling-off might imply that the bubbles would be of a certain character.

    Aha !

    A Defense of the Reality of Time
    Time isn’t just another dimension, argues Tim Maudlin. To make his case, he’s had to reinvent geometry.

    1. Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real
      Which means science is broken.

      MAY 17, 2017 COVER STORY

      MAY 16, 2017 @ 10:00 AM 2,989
      The Odds Of Your Unlikely Existence Were Not Infinitely Small

      Starts With A Bang
      The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it

      Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
      Ethan SiegelEthan Siegel, Contributor

      NEWS SPACE 18 MAY 2017
      A super-supermassive black hole on the run
      Astronomers have spotted an enormous fast-moving black hole that is likely the product of the collision of two smaller but still enormous black holes, writes Andrew Masterson.

      Artist’s impression of the wandering black hole with optical and X-ray images of the real thing (inset).
      Astronomers are chasing a rogue black hole with a mass 160 million times greater than the Sun.

      The black hole, located 3.9 billion light years away, was first spotted by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. While most black holes are stationary, and sit at the centres of galaxies, this one is unusual because it is on the move.

    2. Google AI is on the verge of explaining the Universes and everything before that with Gazillions of Petaflops of Silicon Brainpower.

      ...and Google's algos based on all the knowledge they've gained by snooping on the Universe.

      Getting rid of Net Neutrality will just speed up the process.

    3. I'm taking my time and adopting a wait and see attitude.

  12. Meanwhile in Venezuela things are on schedule -

    Mayhem rages in west Venezuela; Capriles blocked from U.N. trip

    By Anggy Polanco and Andreina Aponte
    ReutersMay 18, 2017

    Opposition supporters clash with riot security forces while rallying against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
    By Anggy Polanco and Andreina Aponte

    SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela/CARACAS (Reuters) - Mobs looted shops and fought security forces overnight in Venezuela's restive western region, where three soldiers were being charged on Thursday with the shooting death of a man who was buying diapers for his baby, witnesses said.

    Six weeks of anti-government unrest have resulted in at least 44 deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries and arrests in the worst turmoil of President Nicolas Maduro's four-year rule of the South American OPEC-member country.

    Protesters are demanding elections to kick out the socialist government which they accuse of wrecking the economy and turning Venezuela into a dictatorship. Maduro, 54, the successor to late leader Hugo Chavez, says his foes are seeking a violent coup.

    One of Maduro's main opponents, local governor Henrique Capriles, said on Thursday his passport was confiscated when he was at the airport outside Caracas for a trip to denounce human rights violations at the United Nations in New York.

    "My passport is valid until 2020. What they want to do here is avoid us going to the United Nations," he said, before returning to the capital to join a protest march.

    The move comes a month after the two-time presidential candidate, who was seen by many as the opposition's best chance in the presidential election scheduled for 2018, was banned from holding political office for 15 years.
    Capriles, a sports-loving lawyer who has tried to shake the opposition's reputation of elitism by focusing on grassroots efforts with poor Venezuelans, narrowly lost the 2013 vote against Maduro and the two frequently lock horns.

    (For graphic on Venezuela's economic woes, click

    Across the country near the border with Colombia, clashes and lootings raged overnight, despite the government sending 2,000 troops to Tachira state.

    Security forces fired teargas at stone-throwing gangs, and crowds smashed their way into shops and offices in state capital San Cristobal and elsewhere.

    Manuel Castellanos, 46, was shot in the neck on Wednesday when caught in a melee walking home with diapers he had bought for his son, witnesses said.

    Diapers have become prized products in Venezuela due to widespread shortages of basic domestic items.
    The State Prosecutor's Office said three National Guard sergeants would be charged later on Thursday for their "presumed responsibility" in his killing.

    Earlier in the week, a 15-year-old was shot dead when out buying flour for his family's dinner.
    Most shops in San Cristobal, a traditional hotbed of anti-government militancy, were closed on Thursday, with long lines at the few establishments open.

    In Caracas, protesters sought to march to the Interior and Justice Ministry but were blocked on a major highway by security forces firing tear gas and using armored vehicles....

    If only the arrow of time could be reversed, and the mother of Chavez and Chavez too had died in child birth ?

  13. Fan sues Pachulia, Warriors:

    A Spurs fan has filed a lawsuit against Zaza Pachulia and the Warriors on behalf of Spurs season-ticket holders in the wake of Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury.

    Juan Vasquez filed the suit Tuesday, hours before Leonard sat out all of Game 2 after reinjuring his ankle when he stepped on Pachulia’s foot in the second half of Game 1.

    “All we are asking from the court is that this type of behavior, that can and does cause serious injury to our team and those that love it, not be allowed in San Antonio,” said Alfonso Kennard Jr., lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

    The suit claims Pachulia, acting “without excuse or justification, intentionally and maliciously invaded the landing zone of an opposing athlete, Kawhi Leonard.”

    Pachulia’s action, the complaint reads, “devastated the quality of the Spurs’ chances of being competitive and having additional games in their home arena, both in the Western Conference Finals and also potentially in the NBA Finals” and also negatively affected “the value of the tickets purchased by plaintiff subsequent to their purchase.”

    1. Guilty.

      Damages: $500 million dollars US

    2. without excuse or justification, intentionally and maliciously invaded the landing zone of an opposing athlete

      Yup, no doubt of it.


    3. Warriors coach points to video of the game 12 minutes in where Curry intentionally lands in such a way that he falls. order to avoid stepping on some guys foot and fucking up his ankle, again.

      Spurs player originally injured ankle coming down on another Spurs player sitting on the bench.

      Trump had Putin pay off the NBA, so the whole things a sham anyways.

  14. OOOHHH ooooo shiiitt

    Mount St. Helens 'recharging'...

    New quake swarms....DRUDGE

    1. Them lithium ion explosions are the shits when they get overcharged.

  15. Cal Poly SLO launches campaign to help students pronounce names of new dorms

    Residence halls will be named for some Chumash tribal sites, including "elewexe, nipumūʔ, tiłhini, tsʰɨtqawɨ, tšɨłkukunɨtš, tsɨpxatu and tsɨtkawayu," according to the university newspaper, Mustang News.

    "We view the Cal Poly housing project as a partnership between the yakʔitʸutʸu tribe and Cal Poly," said Leah Mata, a tribal member who worked with Cal Poly on the project. "Our goal is to provide a narrative using our own voice and world view to share how we view our places that matter."

    My view lands about halfway between the two.

    Mustang News

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Whoa !

    Take a look at Chelsea Manning's new look on Drudge -

    Chelsea Manning new look....DRUDGE

    Ju Ju Chang reporting....

    1. Too much of the Twiggy look, the boy could use some falsies.

    2. Better than the previous Caitlyn/Whore look.

    3. Ju Ju's got the hots for Chelsea.

  18. Pete Hoekstra: 'AG Sessions Made A Cataclysmic Mistake Picking Rosenstein & Recusing Himself'

    1. No shit, Sherlock.

      I bet Trump wishes Jefferson Beauregard was dead.

    2. One should never recuse oneself and deal oneself out of the game. I got that from Quirk.

  19. Joy In Midnight Truckee

    Around Here Buzz

    Eric Church

    1. Billy Vera

      What did you think.

  20. Train, beautiful bright Truckee.

    1. Amtrak, parked with it's nose just far enough to stop traffic.


    2. Bar's flag was flying nicely.

      Now hanging still.