Not possible. Only a complete idiot would think that a President could use a war with Iran to get re-elected.

Kidding aside, Trump does not seem to want this war, but I don’t like the way things are going. Iran just shot down one of our naval drones, then followed that with some belligerent declarations.

President Trump made two points on Twitter:

1. The Times is guilty of virtual treason for betraying our secrets.

2. Their story is not true.

He doesn’t seem to grasp that those two points are contradictory. If the Times gave Russia (and us) nothing more than false information, it can’t be guilty of betraying any secrets.

Trump is obviously wrong about point one, for two reasons: (1) Trump has demonstrated many times that he has no clue what treason actually is; (2) NY Times responded that the paper had described the content of the article to administration officials before the story’s publication, and the officials had no concerns.

I think Trump is probably right about point two. (Yes, I just typed “I think Trump is probably right.” Even a blind pig can scent truffles if he gets somewhere near them. Moreover, if one presents two contradictory arguments, there’s a decent chance that one of them will be correct. ) I have a feeling that the pentagon may have gamed the NY Times into printing that story, and that there is no such cyber-plant.

  • If it was a true story, the military would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by revealing it and allowing Russia to seek it out and develop a counter-strategy. In the intel game they say “publicity burns capability.”
  • But if it was “disinformation” that the Pentagon wanted Russia to worry about, they knew the perfect way to get the Times to print it as a major story – by claiming that they had to keep it a secret from Trump. Hanging that idea in front of the Times is like hanging honey-soaked marshmallows near a cave in a bear preserve. This also explains exactly why Trump’s NSC said they had no problem with the story – they wanted Russia to read it.

Warfare capability, and especially warfare deterrence, can be physical or psychological. Countries may prevent an attack either by actually developing a new and terrifying capability, or by getting their rivals to think they have developed such a capability. I think this is the latter – a case of “Don’t screw with Ukraine or our elections, Vlad, or we’ll turn off your electricity and internet.” I think it’s probably a bluff.

Short answer – yes, by any accepted definition.

The term is not equivalent to “death camps” or “extermination camps.” Students of history know that American officials and media used the term “concentration camp” with regard to the Japanese internment camps in the USA: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (10/20/42, 11/21/44); President Harry S. Truman (4/59); General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Assistant Chief of Staff (3/28/42); Attorney General Francis Biddle (12/3/44); Life Magazine (4/6/42); San Francisco Chronicle, front page editorial (2/1/42).

The Japanese-American “concentration camps” (terminology debate) were very similar to the camps where refugees, illegal aliens and asylum seekers are held today.

One error in the article linked above. It claims there were no internment camps for German-Americans in WW2. That is incorrect. There were many during WW1, and some during WW2. There were about 11,000 German-Americans interned during WW2, but that was a small figure compared to the massive number of Japanese-Americans who were interned, which was at least 100,000, of which some 60% or more were American citizens.

One wonders if the massive difference between Asian and European internment can be attributed to geography. The USA seemed especially worried about protecting the coastlines, and Japanese Americans were concentrated on the west coast, but realistically, it was probably anti-Asian racism that caused the USA to intern so many more Japanese than Italians or Germans.

As for the other Axis allies, I may have missed some minor details in history, but to my knowledge, the USA never interned any Americans whose ethnic roots were Hungarian, Romanian, Finnish or Bulgarian, even though their root countries were allied with the Axis at various times.

Three of his pollsters are fired. Just call him Trump the Impaler

Trump has derided as “Fake News” the report than his internal polls showed him losing to Joe Biden in most battleground states. Trump said that those alleged leaked polls did not exist, and further claimed that his polls showed him winning everywhere.

When that was contradicted by a report showing the actual numbers from his polls, step two of the defense was for his spokespeople to say that the cited numbers were dated, were taken out of context, and represented a worst case scenario.

Finally, step three was to fire the pollsters for assembling the polls which did not exist, but if they had existed would only have shown a worst case scenario.

Vanderbilt is known for having built a fashion empire, and for being Anderson Cooper’s mother.

She was the the great-great-granddaughter of a legendary figure from the robber baron era, the railroad and steamship magnate Commodore Vanderbilt. “Commodore” was a nickname, one that was once commonly given to boat builders. In reality Vanderbilt has never in the navy. He was however, one of the richest men in American history. Most lists (summarized by Wikipedia) place him third behind Rockefeller and Carnegie.

That’s an interesting story, but this part of the story is especially eye-catching:

President Donald Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the US computer code being implanted inside the Russian grid. Pentagon and intelligence officials describe to the Times “broad hesitation” to tell Trump about the details of the operations against Russia. They tell the Times there was concern over how Trump would react, and the possibility that Trump might reverse the operations or discuss it with foreign officials. In 2017, Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the US in a White House meeting.”

These intel officials are worried about the President keeping a secret, but they told the failing NY Times! Can’t Trump (and for that matter Putin) now read about it? Isn’t this the kind of thing that is better kept a complete secret? (Unless it’s a bluff designed to keep the Russians madly digging through their code.)

It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech, and that’s just not fair.”

That is ignorant, as usual. The Hatch Act exists for the very purpose of noting a necessary limitation on free speech as it relates to certain executive branch officials and their ability to influence elections. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns. Although that might seem in conflict with the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality on more than one occasion, and has specifically rejected Trump’s “free speech” argument. The court ruled in 1973 that the Hatch Act had achieved “a delicate balance between fair and effective government and the First Amendment rights of individual employees.”

Those FBI people, Page and Strzok, who got in trouble for making anti-Trump comments during an election process, were also exercising their free speech, but free speech has to be given practical limitations in certain circumstances, and a political campaign seems to be one of those. Kellyanne can, however, quit her current job, go to work for Trump’s campaign, and then say anything she wants with impunity. The problem is not what she said, but her specific position.

Hickenlooper mania is on the march!

I’m already working on my Hickenlooper costume for Halloween.

The match-ups were determined by the luck of the draw:

Booker, Pocahontas, Beto and Klobuchar will go on Wednesday. Like any good sporting season, the ceremony will begin with the National Anthem and Klobuchar throwing out the first binder.

The second night will feature Hickenlooper …

… and some lesser, almost insignificant figures like Biden, Sanders, Harris and Mayor Pete. (Have you guessed that I can’t spell his last name? I know it begins with “Butt.”)

This night will also include a ringer, which could be a lot of fun. Do you recall the episode of Veep when Jonah only qualified for the second tier of candidates and therefore had to debate against Dumbledore? Well, Biden and Sanders will have to contend with their own Dumbledore – new age guru Marianne Williamson, who somehow made the cut into the final 20, even though the governor of Montana (a Democrat who won a red state) was eliminated. She will present a fascinating and possibly strange contrast to the mainstream pols.

Update: see below

“Top artificial-intelligence researchers across the country are racing to defuse an extraordinary political weapon: computer-generated fake videos that could undermine candidates and mislead voters during the 2020 presidential campaign. And they have a message: We’re not ready.”

The WaPo is concerned about how this affects politics, but the view from the celebrity nudity perspective is just as intimidating. It has gotten to the point where we simply can’t differentiate what has been created from what had been in the camera. Sure, sometimes the evidence is clear: there was never the slightest question that Lena Headey’s “shame” scene was faked because we know what Lena looks like naked, and that was certainly not it. At other times the evidence is simply not there: the debate over Tessa Thompson’s nude scene in Westworld rages on. To add to the confusion, the atmosphere of distrust is so thick that it has become common for people to insist that real scenes must have been faked, like Leslie Mann’s brief nudity in This is 40.

Update from the comments:

The first time I saw this one I kinda freaked. Thought it was some kind of European cut.

And here’s one of Bill Hader doing a really good impression – one where he changes his face to match the voice.

“President Trump has claimed for two days that he secured a secret immigration deal with Mexico — beyond the one announced Friday. But the White House has declined to disclose any details, and Mexico has denied it. Confronted with understandable skepticism that such a deal exists, Trump produced a folded piece of paper from his breast pocket Tuesday.”

Here’s what the mysterious piece of paper says, as verified and clarified by Mexico.

The essence is this:

The Friday agreement gave Mexico 45 days to prove that it could diminish migration without agreeing to a “safe third” deal. If the United States does not assess that progress has been made, the Trump administration probably will ask again for a “safe third” agreement. Mexico has not committed to that agreement, which would have to be approved by lawmakers and probably negotiated with other countries in the region.

“Safe third” means that a country can reject a person’s asylum application if they have already been granted protection by another country. (In other words, with Mexico’s agreement, the USA could deny asylum applications from Central Americans who have passed through Mexico, since Mexico has already guaranteed their safety from whatever they were fleeing.) This makes sense, but is outside the structure of current international agreements, so it would require extensive negotiations.

The Mexicans don’t want those tariffs, and are willing to take serious steps to curb the passage of immigrants from Central America to the USA

If this deal comes off, it is a win for the president, and for the country. Trump took a lot of flak for calling the southern border a national emergency, but recent developments have shown that he was correct. The number of illegal crossings has grown beyond America’s capacity to absorb the people and process their cases. The wall may have been the wrong solution to the problem, but Trump may now have found a different approach that works.

Most experts think that the actual tariffs would have been a terrible idea – but the THREAT of tariffs seems to be pretty effective.

Members of the military deployed near the U.S.-Mexico border have been assigned to spend a month painting a mile-long stretch of barriers to improve their “aesthetic appearance.”

Yeah, I got it. They’re going to pull a Road Runner. They’ll paint fake tunnels on the Mexican side of the wall. After all, that’s how you deal with coyotes!

“The Border Patrol announced it apprehended more than 132,000 migrants in May — more than 57,000 of them children and more than 11,000 of those traveling without a parent.”

The number of apprehensions is so high now that the administration has cut back on all non-essential services for the children in custody. That means they get no English lessons, no exercise and recreation programs, and no legal aid.

The bad news: The lake is a little closer than you hoped.

I have a friend who bought a similar place on Lake Ontario. In fact the pictured situation looks nearly identical to what he will face in his future. He’s now about 20-25 feet from the shore, but his lakefront lawn is diminishing every year from erosion, some years a little, some years a lot. Just like the place in the picture, his property is maybe 20-30 feet above the level of the lake.

We thought he was a fool for buying a doomed property, but here is his logic:

What he knows is that in 30 years his cottage almost certainly will not be there. He doesn’t know what will happen in 10 years or 20, and he’s already 71 years old and has no heirs, so he felt that the low price of the large cottage was worth it. A young family would not have bought the place, even at the rock-bottom asking price, knowing it will eventually be part of Lake Ontario, but he gambled that the cottage would hold out longer than he will.

But this picture reminded me that his place will look almost exactly like this someday!

North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.”

However, nota bene:

“Previously, some North Korean officials who were reported to have been executed or purged reappeared later with new titles.”

Was the reporting wrong, or were those officials resurrected? Dunno. Kim-Beric Don-Darrion was not available to the press.

He’s not refusing to testify, but simply insisting that any congressional testimony he would provide would not go beyond his report. “We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself, and the report is my testimony.”

Mueller sought to explain his thinking more fully. As an employee of the DOJ, he was bound by their guidelines. Therefore, he said a president “cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional.” And he noted, “Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.” The Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing.”

However …

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

It’s 2% for comparable work, and it is shrinking.

These people are really struggling to find outrage in those facts. Check out the wording of their summary:

“When men and women with the same employment characteristics do similar jobs, women earn $0.98 for every dollar earned by an equivalent man. In other words, a woman who is doing the same job as a man, with the exact same qualifications as a man, is still paid two percent less. Unfortunately, this controlled wage gap has only shrunk by a miniscule (sic) amount of $0.008 since 2015.”

Ah, math! How tricky thou art! That .008 is not that minuscule at all. That means the gap went from .028 to .020. Another way to word that could be “The gap has shrunk by nearly 30% in four years.” That’s quite a different spin, isn’t it?

The bottom line is that the gender PAY gap itself is 2% and shrinking, and that is almost insignificant. What is NOT minuscule is the gender EMPLOYMENT gap. While women make essentially the same pay as men when they work comparable jobs, the real problem is getting those comparable jobs in the first place. That’s the heart of the issue. Peddling the myth of the pay gap only distracts from recognizing the employment gap, which is anything but a myth. Women don’t make as much as men on the average, and the difference is significant, but it has almost nothing to do with equal pay for equal work. It is true because of complex issues related to women’s general lack of power in the corporate world and in society in general, and the corresponding lack of monetary respect for female-dominated professions.

Billy Buck could play.

He had his best years with the Cubs, for whom he won an NL batting championship and twice led the league in doubles. He also had two fine years for the Red Sox in 1985 and 1986, knocking in more than 100 runs each time, but we all know that the 1986 season was spoiled by one crucial ground ball that rolled through his legs, placing him in a club he could never escape: the famous goats. Since he did his purgatory on earth, he’s up there in heaven now, talkin’ baseball with fellow club members Bonehead Merkle, Mickey Owen, Fred Snodgrass and Roger Peckinpaugh.

Below – the catch Bill did not miss, from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”