The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

A few articles from the past week:

I noticed something in one of Raw Story’s articles on Stephen Miller, and had to look into it:

“Though he denies it, Miller is believed to have written a significant portion of the travel ban, with some help from Steve Bannon and congressional aides sworn to contractual secrecy.[emphasis mine]

The Daily Mail article linked to in the above excerpt had more:

“Senior House Judiciary Committee staffers helped produce President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban, even as top lawmakers and cabinet heads were left in the dark.
The aides were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as they labored in secret to help draft the ban, Politico reported.

Trump’s transition brought in the Hill aides during the transition, while it was still rushing to staff the administration.”

And the Politico story had even more:

“The work of the committee aides began during the transition period after the election and before Donald Trump was sworn in. The staffers signed nondisclosure agreements, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Trump’s transition operation forced its staff to sign these agreements, but it would be unusual to extend that requirement to congressional employees.”

Now, wait a minute – since when do the president-elect’s staffers and congressional aides sign non-disclosure-agreements?  Aren’t any of them subjected to any vetting process, any background check, in order to work for the president-elect, or for congresspersons and congressional committees?  These are all government public servants, not trump’s TV employees!

I honestly don’t know anything about the legalities of this.  Both the Daily Mail and Politico articles are from the end of January, but I don’t remember hearing about this then. Considering that the articles also state that the congressional aides’ ‘bosses’, such as both the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen, were not consulted, I’m a little surprised by that.  Am I just a suspicious cynical alarmist, or is this secretive ‘reacharound’ to bypass normal procedural channels just one more example of trump’s delusional version of presidential power, one that just slipped by amidst the hundreds of other trump delusions?

(sigh)  However…

Maybe there’s hope that there may be a REAL investigation into the trump-Russia cabal. From the Raw Story article:

[T]he Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered more than a dozen individuals and agencies to preserve records related to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional aide confirmed that the committee had sent formal requests that all materials related to Russian meddling be preserved.

The AP notes that the letters were a bi-partisan affair with both the panel’s chairmen, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signing on.

The Friday letters come on the heels of a closed door meeting with FBI Director James Comey who spent nearly three hours answering questions Friday afternoon in a secure room in the Senate basement used for classified briefings.”

Finally, some humor amidst the destruction of our world as we know it: if you didn’t catch John Oliver last night, here’s Raw Story’s thread covering it. Enjoy.

This is our Open Thread – say anything.

76 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, February 20th, 2017: ICYMI

  1. The International Laughingstock is sucking his tiny orange thumb and trying to come up with a way to belittle Sweden and make himself look good. You can’t cure your ugliness, Infantile Pee Pee Boy, and make yourself handsome in the same way as you can’t cure your own ignorance and make yourself first in your class. Your popularity is waning and your time drawing near, Silly Lying Malignant Narcissist.

  2. Since its Not My President Day, there’s a Not My Football match today: BBC 1, 3 PM EST, Sutton United vs Arsenal.

    Extra floodlights are being installed at the stadium of the non-league Sutton United team, the host for the game. If Sutton wins they move to the quarter-finals, which would only be the 2nd time a non-league team beats a Premier League team. A quote from the Mirror: If Sutton were to complete the unthinkable and knock out Arsenal, it would be considered the greatest FA Cup upset of all-time.


  3. From Bob Z ~ FB Friend

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it looks like Trump is actually making America great again. Just look at the progress made since the election:
    1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.
    2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.
    3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They’re holding signs and marching every week.
    4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone’s forgotten he’s kind of a jerk.
    5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.
    6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of anti-depressants.
    7. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.
    8. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.
    9. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust and cognitive dissonance.
    10. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.
    11. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of power and how checks and balances work.
    12. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.
    13. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead. (See #6)
    14. White people in record numbers also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act.
    15. Stephen Colbert’s “Late Night” finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today’s Jon Stewart.
    16. “Mike Pence” has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.
    17. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.
    18. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.
    19. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.
    20. Live streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.
    21. Massive cleanup of facebook friend lists.
    22. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)
    23. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.
    24. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.

  4. (Bowling Green, KY) In a cruel twist of fate, a former resident of Bowling Green, KY – who survived the horrific attack that tore that city apart earlier this month – has tragically died under similar circumstances in Sweden.

    Jason Vargus was playing Pokémon Go when he narrowly escaped death during the Bowling Green Massacre, during which scores of immigrant terrorists – who had arrived there due to the absence of appropriate travel bans – machine-gunned large segments of the population to death.

    After surviving Bowling Green by playing dead for ten hours amidst the corpses, the young man felt so blessed to have a new lease on life that he vowed to live it to the fullest by seeing the world.

    Unfortunately, that fateful desire took him to Sweden, where he would pay with his life in another terrible attack on February 17.

    His family ask that people leave them alone at this time to grieve for Jason, unless they have any concrete details about the attack which are proving very hard to come by.

  5. Today is an important anniversary for me.
    47 years ago today, I took off on a military flight from Cam Ranh Bay to Seattle, WA, My DEROS day. (Day of Estimated Return from Overseas)..Much whooping and hollering as we ascended to a height where small arms fire couldn’t touch us…Boo-Rah!

    • DEROS in 1970 — when did you first get to the Nam? In time for Tet?

      In any case, I’m betting that getting out of that hell hole was probably THE best day of your young life way back then! Maybe still is!

      • Arrived in country EXACTLY one year to the day from the Tet offensive of 68. Served one year to the day. DaNang and Phu Bai duty stations with the 12th Signal Group. Provided communications to the entire I Corps.

  6. On a more surreal note, just saw an article in which the Veep is proclaiming he and Trump support ‘free and independent press’ . This two days after the Prezidunce calls the press the ‘enemy of the American people’. What an effing farce.

    • There’s one enduring fact about Trump: every time he opens his mouth to speak, he lies (if he’s ever said a word of truth, it was purely an accident).

      Pence’s principle duty as veep is to cover Trump’s ass by pointing out, when necessary, that Trump had been fed false info by the media, by people who hate him, etc., and then fix it by smiling and mentioning there’s been no shift in reality, that Trump didn’t really say that stuff. Somebody else did. And since Pence is a genuine Christer, all will be well. Obviously. Christers always tell only the truth. It is written. Somewhere.

  7. Thanks Chris Hayes….You let a corrupt Republican lie to you about the ACA and had no reply. You’re either ignorant or you’re another sellout. Getting pointers from Gretta?

  8. I can only think that Eddie Munster, Chinless McBastard and Jason ‘fooking weasel’ Chuffit are plotting something like ‘So how much can we ram through and get the Cheeto Mussolini to sign before we have to take him down?’. How far away are these cnuts standing? Because when this outhouse of a presidency goes up, a lot of shite is going to fly everywhere.

    • Sigh… I just got done going ’round and ’round with a guy who says that the “California drought is over so global warming is a hoax”. This is especially maddening coming from a Minnesotan who is in the midst of the warmest winter ever. It has been above freezing all but one day this month, unprecedented for February, and, if we break 50 on Thursday, we will have had an entire week with high temps above 50 and at least one day where we reached 60!

      I have taken full advantage of it. I got out fishing, in a boat, on the Mississippi, last weekend and have flown my model airplanes just about every day this month. When I was out today I spotted several robins and, though I could be wrong, I swear that there are a few patches of grass turning green. The best part?

      A few of my fishing buddies have been deniers but this last, three week, stretch is really forcing them to consider the possibility that all those “damned scientists” just might be on to something.

  9. Hi, guys.

    Still here. Still struggling but, as I indicated in my reply to Wayne, I’ve been finding a lot of joy in life. I’ve also been keeping busy making and sharpening kitchen knives for my friends and neighbors.


    • He bases his net worth on his own assessment of the value of his properties, not an independent’s opinion. Under oath, he once claimed a 30% stake in a venture was really a 50% stake because his name brought more value to his share of the company. This is why he claims he worth billions. He isn’t.

  10. This Isn’t Just Trump. This Is Who The Republicans Are.

    This is who they [Republicans] are.

    “We Just Need A President To Sign This Stuff”

    This is not just Trump. What we are seeing happening to our government is the end result of a decades-long effort by the corporate-and-billionaire-funded “conservative movement” to capture the Republican party, and through them to capture the country — for profit. And here we are.

    What’s even worse is that Trump came up just a little short of 50% of the popular vote. Swing that small margin over to “that” side and redefine the United States as a rogue nation worth no more than the powder it takes to blow it to hell, guilty of each and all of Dante’s Seven Deadly Sins.

    Never thought I’d live to see it, but here we are.

      • Interesting tidbit: It was on November 8, 1923 that Adolf Hitler fired his pistol into the air in Bürgerbräukeller, a huge echoey Munich beer hall where political meetings were often held. The event became known as the Beer Hall Putsch, and signaled the front end of Hitler’s rise to full power of the state.

        Note the date: November 8, 1923; precisely 93 years before November 8, 2016, the date the American voters (in consort with the Electoral College) effectively handed full power of the State over to Donald Trump.

        And here we are, 93 years and three-plus months down the road, Trump has become our very own Hair Furor and the Fascist drumbeats, the Zieg Heils get louder every day.

        Oh, and lest we forget, one of Hitler’s grandest hates way back then was the press, specifically the Munich Post. Who says history doesn’t repeat?

        • Frankly, I am ASHAMED that a major US political party is reconstructing itself as little more than a vapid mirror image of Hitler’s Reich. I also find it disconcerting that so many tens of millions of American citizens are STUPID enough to fall for such travesty.

      • In the eyes of the Trumpistas, he can do no wrong. They wanted a strong authoritarian figure and that’s why they voted for him.
        It will take a year or so before they see the broken promises of his campaign hit their wallets, and then their freedom and then in four years time, their ability to vote him out of office, then his refusal to abide by the democratic process that tries to remove him from office. Only then will they understand the gravity of their choice.

  11. Finally the truth about Obama is out!

    Right-wing commentator Josh Bernstein continues to express his distaste for Barack Obama, again alleging that the former president is mobilizing and training thousands of protesters to undermine President Trump.

    Bernstein declared on his program today that Obama is “an arrogant, elitist, communist, Marxist, Muslim scumbag” and an “illegal alien” who spent his eight years in office plotting to destroy America.

    “He will go down in history as one of, if not the, worst presidents in American history,” Bernstein said. “He is the first president to be an illegal alien president. He is the first Muslim president, not African American president. He is the first admitted socialist Marxist communist to win the presidency and possibly the first closeted homosexual.”

    In short, Bernstein declared, Obama was nothing but “an absolute disgusting stain” and “a sordid black eye” upon this nation and its glorious history.

  12. Alan Colmes has died at the age of 66 after an undisclosed illness. On twitter I’ve seen a lot of conservatives say “I didn’t agree with him on much of anything, but he was always one of the nicest people.” or words to that effect. You can google for whichever stories you wish to read.

    • Alas. Rightwhiners are saying nice things about him because he was their willing tool. His function at FAUX”news”, along with all their so-called “libruls”, was to serve as an example of why “libruls” are always wrong about everything. His role was to be the leading scorer for the “Washington Generals”. He made a very good living by being talked over and shouted down while never, ever, winning a point. I have always believed he was a big part of the problem and I don’t see any reason to change my opinion just because he’s dead. Quisling is dead too and I don’t like him either.

  13. So Trump has decidered that his dick won’t be big enough, unless he has the most nukes, the biggliest nukes, and the best nukes.

  14. It can happen here:

    First they came for the illegal immigrants and I did not speak out because I’m not an illegal immigrant. Then they came for the Muslims and I did not speak out because I’m not a Muslim.
    Then they came for the journalists and I did not speak out because I’m not a journalist. Then they came for the activists and protesters and I did not speak out because I’m not an activist or protester. Then they came for the homeless and I did not speak out because I’m not homeless. Then they came for the union workers and I did not speak out because I’m not a union worker. Then they came for me but there was no one left to speak out.

    • It IS happening here.

      My only hope is that it’s Trump himself that comes for me. Alone. If that be the case, he’ll next be seen with a crew cut (and a black eye, prolly). I promise I’ll mail the hair to the Smithsonian.

  15. Trump is too much a spoiled brat chickenshit to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, because he knows he will be made fun of, which proves he can dish out but can’t take it!

    • I still remember watching Trump the night he was in the Correspondents’ Dinner audience and Obama wasted him. The event proved for all to see that Trump is nothing more than a chickenshit buttcake with really bad hair.

    • The only other president in modern day history to not attend was Ronald Reagan, and that because he was recovering from an assassination attempt…..

      Oh, if only…

  16. Now that I’ve heard Tom Perez speak, he needs to let Ellison go on the shows and be the DNC spokesman. Perez has a terrible speaking voice.

  17. I would love to see the White House Correspondents Dinner bring in Alec Baldwin to stand in for Trump….I think that would push him off the ledge into total melt down.

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