Wednesday Open Thread

Happy HUMP day, Everyone.

Wiki: Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris on October 7, 1955, to Chinese parents and had a musical upbringing. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer and his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma, was a violinist and professor of music at Nanjing National Central University (predecessor of the present-day Nanjing University).[6] The family moved to New York when Ma was seven years old.[7][8]

At a young age, Ma began studying violin and piano and later viola, finally settling on the cello in 1960 at age four. According to Ma, his first choice was the double bass due to its large size, but he compromised and took up cello instead. The child prodigy began performing before audiences at age five and performed for Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when he was seven.[9][10]

At age eight, he appeared on American television with his sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, in a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In 1964, Isaac Stern introduced them on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and they performed the Sonata of Sammartini. He attended Trinity School in New York but transferred to the Professional Children’s School, from which he graduated at age 15.[11] He appeared as a soloist with the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra in a performance of the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations.

Ma studied at The Juilliard School at age 19 with Leonard Rose and attended Columbia University but dropped out. He later enrolled at Harvard College. Prior to entering Harvard, Ma played in the Marlboro Festival Orchestra under the direction of cellist and conductor Pablo Casals. Ma would ultimately spend four summers at the Marlboro Music Festival after meeting and falling in love with Mount Holyoke College sophomore and festival administrator Jill Hornor his first summer there in 1972.[12]

However, even before that time, Ma had steadily gained fame and had performed with many of the world’s major orchestras. He has also played chamber music, often with the pianist Emanuel Ax, with whom he has a close friendship back from their days together at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Ma received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1976.[13] In 1991, he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard.[14]


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86 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. eliihass says:

    A sampling of responses to MSNBC’s Peter Alexander’s post with excerpt of the buffoon’s 3rd wife’s ‘statement’ re: Kathy Griffin and her ‘mental health’:

    Joe Pezzula @JoePezzula:
    Wonder about the mental health of someone who for five years pursues a baseless theory about the President’s birthplace?

    Slothy McSloth Sloth @smcslothsloth:
    Her husband boasted about sexually assaulting women and she dismissed it as “boys talk”- she doesn’t get to clutch her pearls now.

    Dan Loney @DanLoney36:
    Did Michelle Obama say this first, too?

    WhatWeHad @IrisRimon:
    Her husband traumatized Malia and Sasha for years. Fuck her.

    The New Patriots @NewPatriotsMd:
    I bet Michelle Obama was upset when Ted Nugent said her husband should be killed as well.

    MichaelS @MSchmitty86:
    “First Lady Melania Trump says” lol. The topless illiterate mail order bride from Slovenia is barely able to formulate a sentence.

    Bernard HP Gilroy @gilroy0:
    I’m not sure Melania Trump really wants people drawing conclusions about someone’s mental health from their social media posts..

    Echo_L @Echo_L:
    But being a porno Queen will have no effect on him whatsoever 🙄

    Juliezzz Friends @JuliezzzFriends:
    Trump tormented the Obamas for years and endangered their lives by saying Obama was an illegal President. Melania went along with it.

    Alicia Beck @AliciaBeck20:
    @PhilipRucker I didn’t like photo; but Kathy Griffin apologized. Has Melania or thug trump apologized 2 Obamas or anyone else?

    A Once Great Nation @USARedOrchestra:
    How about as someone who posed naked – does your son find that disturbing?
    8:48 AM · May 31, 2017

    🌅 jacqui 🗽 @heyjdey:
    Melania wondering about someone’s mental health- LOL
    8:34 AM · May 31, 2017

    cathy vogt @pgdayton:
    With the things her husband has said, and done, she sure has a lot of nerve.

    John @vajohn:
    Does she know who her husband is? Physician heal thyself.

    M T @MT26004394:
    Doesn’t her husband pee on hookers?

    Merri Vaccarello @sheinoli:
    Gold digger says wha?

    Nicole C. @gamer02:
    What about the mental health of that thing she’s married to?

    JenniferNYC @1JenNYC:
    I worry about the mental health of a woman married to a racist, corrupt, sexual predator.

    Sjoholm @Sjoholm181:
    the hypocrisy coming from the WH and Trump family is breathtaking.

    • Liza says:

      To be with him she would have to have some very serious issues of her own. Perhaps more than just the gold digger thing. No one loves money that much.

  2. eliihass says:

    Oh my God…thank you ..

    Dab Aggin @DabAggin

    Sasha Obama was 7 when protestors began hanging her father in effigy. Maybe she’ll send 11-year-old Barron Trump a note of understanding.


    And of course, there are any number of Russian-bots and faux-liberals in the responses…Can we please finally just start ignoring some of these so-called ‘liberal/progressives’ who never ever gave a darn or had a kind word for the Obamas – even as they sometimes even actively joined in whether anonymously or otherwise, in the anti-Obama family attacks and dehumanization…but are now suddenly falling all over themselves demanding ‘civility’, ‘decency’, and ’empathy’ for the buffoon and his family…and seriously running interference on their behalf..

    NOPE, NOPE, and NOPE..

    No can do ..


    • eliihass says:

      Or the endless dehumanizing photo-shopped images of their mother, the first black FLOTUS, as an ape, or as a man…

      Or wild YouTube videos and social media postings by grown men and women talking about these minor daughters as not being the biological children of their parents, but ‘rentals’ borrowed to form a ‘fake’ family to ‘fool’ the American people…cruelly asserting that their mother never conceived or birth them..

      Please, don’t even get me started…it makes my blood boil over..

    • eliihass says:

      They are never ever going to stop riffling through the Obamas lives, wallets and bank statements…Never..

      Far too many people threatened —and even more ..including some wealthy and even some faux-friends and faux-allies, out to outrightly deny and destroy them..

      Even that evil, slimy, petty, small, greasy, lip-smacking, a-hole David Garrow that recently released that hit-piece of a viciously score-settling, malicious sham he termed a ‘biography’, has as he’s made his rounds on his chest-beating, self-promotion, taint and destroy at all costs circuit, angrily and spitefully and jealously referenced the $400,000 speaking fees, ‘exotic’ vacations, and their ‘celebrity’ friends…again and again…

      This vile gossip, narcissist and self-proclaimed ‘historian’ on a vendetta to destroy…And who by his own account only met his main subject face to face for a cumulative total of just 8 hours – @3 hour increments last summer…to give him a ‘chance’ to read and rebut according to him, (though he never included any of the subject’s corrections in the end) the first 10 chapters of his malicious, slanderous, gossip account of the subject’s life as told mostly through the spiteful view of yet another ex-girlfriend from 31 years ago whose ego was bruised because she was not mentioned in the subject’s autobiographical account of the early years of his life…and was completely omitted by David Maraniss’ account that relied heavily instead on yet another ex-girlfriend who also portrayed herself as the central and powerful force in the now long married man’s life …

      There’s a special place in hell for many of these folks…but their karma will happen right before our eyes first..

  3. rikyrah says:

    El Flaco‏Verified account @bomani_jones

    not even lebron can rich himself out of someone scrawling a racial slur on his house. remember that, all you “it’s really class” clowns.

    • eliihass says:

      Imma need Miss Hill to try not to fall to the level of the buffoon..

      There are much more effective ways of even shading the buffoon..

      But more importantly, there are much more important things to focus on, address, attend to…and even more important, more result-oriented statements to be made…

      Incomplete jargon on a twitter feed, are the least of our problems…And responding to it, besides being fleetingly good for ones ego in terms of retweets and likes, accomplishes little else and is a complete waste of time, and precious ‘Stateswoman’ political capital..

      If one is not careful, one quickly becomes ‘common’ and ho-hum in a world filled with very fickle folks who cheer one minute and quickly bore the next…

      These fickle folk prefer their heroes and idols be as perfectedly contrived in their cat and mouse games, and now you see me, now you don’t highly-choreographed appearances and statements…And as removed and as rare to see and heard from as they alternately demand that they be out front and vocal…

      So one has to engage in a genuine, smart and fruitful way…cleverly master and negotiate the tricky and delicate and all-important dance of chiming in without losing whatever’s left of ones dignity, integrity and credibility..

      The buffoon and his numerous tweeting blunders – especially the silly, tragic errors, are not a good use of ones arsenal of years of wonk capital..

  4. rikyrah says:

    Sean Spicer Storms Out of Briefing Again
    May 31, 2017

    CNN: “For two days in a row, since returning from President Trump’s trip abroad, the White House press secretary has held uncharacteristically short press briefings in which he claimed not to know the answer to questions, outsourced questions to other officials or dismissed the premise of questions entirely.”

    “Both briefings included less than 20 minutes for questions — far less than most prior briefings — and ended with Spicer abruptly exiting the room to the consternation of reporters.”

  5. eliihass says:

    And just like clockwork..

    “…The Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russia two diplomatic compounds, near New York City and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, that its officials were ejected from in late December as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    President Barack Obama said Dec. 29 that the compounds were being “used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes” and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate them. Separately, Obama expelled from the United States what he said were 35 Russian “intelligence operatives.”

    [The luxurious, 45-acre compound in Maryland being shut down for alleged Russian espionage]

    Early last month, the Trump administration told the Russians that it would consider turning the properties back over to them if Moscow would lift its freeze, imposed in 2014 in retaliation for U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine, on construction of a new U.S. consulate on a certain parcel of land in St. Petersburg.

    Two days later, the U.S. position changed. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington that the United States had dropped any linkage between the compounds and the consulate, according to several people with knowledge of the exchanges…”

  6. Ametia says:

    Excuse me. did Baron Trump become distraught after hearing and reading about his father’s PUSSY-GRABBING WAYS?

    Yes, that ‘s what I thought.

    • eliihass says:

      Or after witnessing the many violent scenes his father gleefully incites, cheers on and endlessly raves about on the campaign trail and even up til now…

      Or when his father openly boasts of shooting someone dead on 5th Avenue without losing any of his following…and without any repercussions…

      Or when his father repeatedly and viciously slandered and incited hate against the parents and grandparents of other minor children..

      Or his step-brothers proudly holding up the bloody carcass of the animals they shoot for spot…

      Or seeing the many unsavory pictures of his sleazy mama pointing guns or handcuffed to a briefcase full of cash..

      If the kid hasn’t been traumatized after all of these realities happening within his own family…to mention just a few …

      Surely, obscure ‘comedienne’ Kathy Griffin’s ‘joke’ can’t possibly do worse harm…nor should it elicit extraordinary attention or contrived and dramatic 3rd party constructed statement releases by some of the very worst perpetrators of crass and hate…his parents and half siblings…

  7. eliihass says:

    Poor Pope Francis is surely thinking, Lord, this prank of Yours has gone too far this time..

    • eliihass says:

      “…President** Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him,” Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement. “He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor . . . and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible…”



      “Trump is so deeply insecure that not even becoming president of the United States quenched his need to make others feel small to build himself up,” Tim Miller, a former spokesman for an anti-Trump super PAC, said.

      “Choosing to work for him necessitates a willingness to be demeaned in order to assuage his desire to feel like a big, important person.”

      • Ametia says:

        what’s that bitch smoking?

        • eliihass says:

          It only gets more bizarre by the minute Ametia …

          And between her and Corey Lewandowski – well-trained over the years at how to keep their jobs working for a narcissist of
          the worst kind, by catering to and appeasing a vacant megalomaniac suffering every crazy delusion, is now a grade school art perfected …no matter how crazy and ridiculous they too come also end up coming across as..

  8. Ametia says:

    Congressional investigators are examining whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an additional private meeting with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, according to Republican and Democratic Hill sources and intelligence officials briefed on the investigation. Sessions has previously failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials.

  9. rikyrah says:

    A Flaw in Too Much of Our Political Analysis: The Default Is White
    by Nancy LeTourneau May 31, 2017 3:44 PM

    I’ve spent most of my life in middle America, with early years in Texas and my adult life in Minnesota (mixed in there were short stints in Oregon, Florida, Colorado and California). So perhaps I’m not the best person to take on Michael Tomasky’s criticism of what he calls the “coastal elite.” But there is a glaring error in his argument that happens a lot when white pundits pontificate on these issues. And I think it’s important to note.

    In talking about middle America vs coastal elites, here is how Tomasky suggests that they are divided in their conclusions about the 2016 presidential election.

    Each side is supported by a set of assumptions that brings it a measure of emotional reassurance. Those inclined to blame racism [coastal elites] take a dark view of middle America; they’re often accused, by those on the other side of the partisan divide, of being too sheltered, too politically correct, too obsessed with identity politics. Those who argue it was mostly economics [Middle America] are implicitly saying that, the horrors of a Trump presidency notwithstanding, the electoral situation isn’t really all that bad, that those people aren’t really all that bad; they’re typically accused by the other side of being soft on racism, or even racist themselves.

    Later in the article Tomasky describes middle Americans (liberal, moderate and conservative) as people who go to church, aren’t consumed by politics, aren’t into free trade coffee, perhaps served in the military, might own guns and are patriotic. As an aside, I’ll simply note that, even though I’d qualify as a liberal middle American, none of those things apply to me except the one about being patriotic. You can take that for what it’s worth. Perhaps I’m exceptional—but then so are an awful lot of my friends.

    Taking all of that into account, I think it’s safe to say that when Tomasky refers to both middle Americans and the coastal elites, he is talking about white people. For example, I know plenty of people of color in middle America who blame Trump’s victory in the electoral college on racism. As a matter of fact, the strongest voices in that argument come from people of color—no matter where they live.

    Tomasky’s reference to liberals who are coastal elites also ignores the fact that an awful lot of people who tend to vote Democratic in those areas are people of color. Exit polls from California show that while Clinton won that state by a whopping 30 percent among white people the margin was only 5 percent. Conversely, Clinton won with African Americans in California by 79 percent, Hispanics by 47 percent and Asians by 53 percent. I doubt that the people who brought Clinton those overwhelming margins consider themselves “elite.” I also suspect that you’d have a hard time drawing the kinds of distinctions related to church, politics and patriotism that Tomasky referred to when it comes to Hispanics in Texas versus California.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Poorly Educated WHITE….always remember that.

    cause the other poorly educated didn’t fall for the banana in the tail pipe.

    The Democrats Lost the ‘Poorly Educated’ and They Need Them Back
    by Martin Longman May 31, 2017 12:45 PM

    In any election as close as the one we had last November, countless variables could have decided the outcome. People will tend to seize on the ones that serve their ideological goals. It’s a somewhat different question, however, to figure out why the polls (particularly the state polls) were off by so much. At The Upshot, Nate Cohn takes a whack at trying to answer that question. There is evidence that a lot of late-deciders went for Trump which is a thing the pollsters can’t be faulted for failing to predict. This could be explained by the so-called Comey Effect, named after former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to link Anthony Weiner’s sexting with minors to Clinton’s private email server in the last week of the election. It could also be explained by the Shy Voter Theory that postulates that people were a little ashamed to admit they were going to vote for Trump and weren’t truly undecided. Maybe it was a little of both.

    But there’s a more potent explanation available about why the polls were wrong, which is that they may have been incorrect all along due to a failure to anticipate the importance of educational attainment in candidate preference. Poorly educated people are less likely to respond to surveys which results in them being underrepresented in most polls. But, until the 2016 election, this didn’t tend to skew the results because the correlation between education and how people vote wasn’t all that strong.

    The tendency for better-educated voters to respond to surveys in greater numbers has been true for a long time. What’s new is the importance of education to presidential vote choice. Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump by 25 points among college-educated voters in pre-election national polls, up from Mr. Obama’s four-point edge in 2012.

    This made it a lot more important to weight by education. In the past, it barely mattered whether a political poll was weighted by education — which is probably part of why so many didn’t do so.

  11. eliihass says:

    And this is how they cultivate and destroy and warp black kids …And worse, chip away and reverse any gains made in establishing a sense of self, pride, dignity and confidence in their blackness and that of other black people..

  12. rikyrah says:

    Lewandowski To Republicans: Get On Trump Train or Lose Next Election
    Posted By Ian Schwartz
    On Date May 31, 2017

    Corey Lewandowski warns Congressional Republicans to support President Trump or risk losing their seat in the next election. Lewandowski tells Republicans if you don’t get on the Trump train and support the president’s agenda, “you have failed the American people.”

    From his appearance on Wednesday’s FOX & Friends:

    COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: President Trump was elected to change the country. And you can get on board that train or you can lose your next election, because – I can promise you this – the Democrats have a different agenda…

    It’s my recommendation to those Republicans in Congress to get on board, get the final conclusion done on the repeal and replace of ObamaCare, get the massive tax cut – the largest tax cut in the history of our country – get that done, get the infrastructure done, get the wall built. If you do those things, you will get reelected. If you don’t do those things, it’s because you have failed the American people.

    • eliihass says:

      Little Lewandowski is trying way too hard..

      His little pay to play scheme failed to catch on or take off…and he’s desperate..

      He’s not so much desperate for relevance as he is for cash..

      He’s every bit a self-serving crooked simpleton as is his master the buffoon..

      He knows to tap and sing loudly in praise of the buffoon as he auditions on FOX to his one target audience – the buffoon..

  13. rikyrah says:

    To our allies’ alarm, Trump’s foreign-policy vision takes shape
    05/31/17 01:01 PM—UPDATED 05/31/17 01:11 PM
    By Steve Benen

    A month ago, then-White House Communications Director Mike Dubke met with colleagues about messaging on Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. Dubke, who resigned a few weeks later, said at the time that foreign policy posed a challenge for the White House team because, as he put it, “There is no Trump doctrine.”

    The president’s team reportedly recoiled at the comment, insisting that “America First” is the Trump doctrine – as if a shallow bumper-sticker slogan and a foreign-policy doctrine are the same thing.


    This morning, for example, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which they made a provocative case:

    The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a “global community” but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.

    In this vision, U.S. allies aren’t partners, so much they’re competitors in the “arena.” It’s a model in which the American president stops leading the free world and starts defeating it.

    It’s this kind of thinking that leads Trump to undermine NATO, pick a pointless and counterproductive fight with Germany, “crack up the American alliance with Western Europe,” and move towards abandoning America’s participation in an international agreement on climate change.

    It may not qualify as a doctrine, per se, but Trump’s goals are increasingly clear: identify the inter-generational pillars of stability in the Western world and tear them down.

    What’s less clear is why Republicans, who used to see credibility on foreign policy as a birthright, are indifferent to the developments. Business Insider’s Josh Barro noted yesterday, “What Trump has done in Europe was supposed to be Republicans’ greatest foreign-policy fear. Trump is demonstrating that America’s most important treaty commitments are unreliable, at least as long as he is president.”

  14. Did Trump or the media once think about the feelings of the Obama girls when he was pushing the birther nonsense about their dad, saying PBO wasn’t American?

    • eliihass says:

      Or the unending hate of both parents over the past 8 years…and the specifically targeted and vicious dehumanization of their mother that the buffoon and his cohorts, including his buddy at the Enquirer, incites, perpetrates and validates… that still continues unabated to this day…

      But who are we kidding…

      When did black kids or black women ever matter in the scheme of things…and when was the physical or emotional health of black kids or black women ever taken into consideration…

  15. rikyrah says:

    “Only 8% of Americans think GOP health care bill should pass”

    Call your Senators and demand they #ProtectOurCare.

    — Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) May 31, 2017

  16. Kathy Griffin has never been funny to me, I don’t care for her humor, not funny to me at all, but this man is clearly using his son. No child should be traumatized with images of death including American, Yemeni, Syrian & Iraqi kids seeing their loved ones slaughtered.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Uh huh

    From Benen:

    * On a related note, there’s apparently an effort underway to convince Democratic voters in Georgia’s 6th district that if they voted in the first round of the special election, they don’t need to vote in the runoff. That’s false: votes are not “carried over.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    How to Combat Right-Wing Spin on the Trump/Russia Probe
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 31, 2017 11:43 AM

    As I mentioned yesterday, the story someone (probably from the Kushner camp) fed to Fox News about how the attempt to set up a back channel line of communication was simply a one-off might make some sense if you take it out of the context that the Trump transition team had been working on setting up a back channel from immediately after the election right up until January. But once you know the whole story, it becomes obvious that the Fox leak is a lie.

    This is a problem that a lot of the American public is facing as items about the investigation are leaked in the slow dribble of one piece of the puzzle at a time. It order to get the significance of each bombshell, you have to put it in context of everything else we’ve learned. It’s also the case that those who want to discredit the leaks can often do so by by taking them one bit at a time and making a case without any reference to key contextual information.

    An example of that would be the way that both the Trump administration and right wing news outlets are making the claim that setting up back channel access to foreign governments is normal, while omitting the fact that it is not normal to do so prior to inauguration or with the goal of bypassing the U.S. national security bureaucracy.

    Today, Ross Douthat makes a case for a more innocent interpretation of the Trump/Russia connection by conveniently leaving out an awful lot of key information. Here is the basic case he makes:

    …the fact remains that Trump told us, over and over again, that he liked the idea of improving relations with Russia — an idea, as it happens, that this man of few consistent ideas has held consistently since the armaggedon-haunted 1980s. He was forthright, not deceptive. He did not act like a man with a dark secret, a man for whom Russia was a dangerous subject to be avoided at all costs, a man with an interest in turning the public’s attention away from anything related to the Kremlin. He was happy to talk about Putin, happy to wear his Russophilic intentions on his sleeve.


    In his attempt to provide a more innocent explanation for the Trump/Russia connection, Douthat also ignores the fact that all of this was happening at the same time that Russia was actively trying to intervene in the 2016 election to damage Hillary Clinton and support Trump. That is the enormous context that is often left out of attempts to explain away individual bits of this story as they are leaked.

    One other item that slipped by me but could be important as this story progresses is the way in which both Comey and Rosenstein have characterized the investigation. Here is what Comey said when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee back in March:

  19. rikyrah says:

    Trump is angry about Germany’s trade surplus. Germans say they’re simply better at making things

    — AP Business News (@APBusiness) May 31, 2017

  20. rikyrah says:

    Worth noting early voting for #GA06 started yesterday.

    — Hoot the NSA Owl (@TrillMillN7) May 31, 2017

  21. rikyrah says:

    Muslim groups raise nearly $500,000 for families of ‘Portland heroes’
    It only took 5 hours to shatter their initial $60,000 goal.

    Respond to hate with love.
    That’s the slogan of Muslim organizations that have raised nearly half a million dollars for the families of three Portland, Oregon men violently attacked when they tried to protect Muslim women being berated by a white supremacist.
    The horrific encounter occurred last Friday, when two Muslim girls wearing hijab were allegedly accosted by Jeremy Joseph Christian while riding on a commuter train. The man, a known white supremacist, reportedly began screaming anti-Islamic slurs, catching the attention of three men who rose from their seats to defend the young women.
    Then things took an even more harrowing turn: Christian allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed all three men, killing two and leaving a third hospitalized.

    The tragedy has rocked Portland, where locals held vigils to mourn the victims of the attack — recent college graduate Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Army veteran Ricky John Best, 53, who were killed, and 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, who was wounded.
    American Muslims, however, felt there was more they could do. That’s why two Muslim groups —CelebrateMercy and the Muslim Education Trust — created a LaunchGood online fundraising campaign on Saturday that cited the Prophet Muhammad as inspiration to response to hate with compassion

  22. rikyrah says:

    US sidelined as Europe rebuffs Trump
    Ivo Daalder, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, talks with Joy-Ann Reid about Donald Trump’s poor performance dealing with European allies on his recent trip abroad meeting with NATO and G7 leaders.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Civil rights protections wither under Trump, Sessions
    Vanita Gupta, former head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, talks with Joy-Ann Reid about the Trump administration’s dismantling of important civil rights protections that are the responsibility of the Justice Department.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Why Donald Trump is calling for the end of all filibusters
    05/30/17 12:40 PM—UPDATED 05/30/17 12:58 PM
    By Steve Benen

    As things stand, the Senate has already eliminated filibusters on the budget, all judicial nominees, and all executive-branch nominees. Donald Trump, however, argued today that this isn’t quite good enough: he wants filibusters to be eliminated altogether, on everything.

    “The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!”

    It’s an important topic, so let’s unpack this a bit.

    1. We already know that Senate Republicans will not do this, at least not anytime soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), among other GOP leaders, has said in no uncertain terms that the legislative filibuster isn’t going away, the president’s pleas notwithstanding.

    2. Trump, who’s never demonstrated an even rudimentary understanding of the legislative process, may not appreciate these details, but both health care and tax cuts are being pursued through the reconciliation process – which means they already can’t be filibustered. If filibusters were eliminated entirely, it might be a little easier to pass these priorities, but Democratic opposition is not the source of the White House’s problem.

    3. The president is apparently convinced that Democrats would scrap all filibusters, but it’s worth remembering that Dems had the Senate majority for eight years – January 2007 to December 2014 – and did not do what Trump claims.

    So why is Trump pushing such an obviously deceptive message? Probably because he’s laying the groundwork for failure.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Putin, Republicans read from the same script in Russia scandal
    05/31/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    The story may sound familiar: the president dismissed the importance of the Russia scandal yesterday, insisting it was nonsense made up by Democrats to justify their defeat.

    Except in this case, it wasn’t our president making the argument. The Associated Press reported:

    Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says the allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election are “fiction” invented by the Democrats in order to explain their loss.

    In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Putin reaffirmed his strong denial of Russian involvement in the hacking of Democratic emails…. He said the claims of Russian meddling are driven by the “desire of those who lost the U.S. elections to improve their standing by accusing Russia of interfering.”

    Putin added that the “people who lost the vote hate to acknowledge that they indeed lost because the person who won was closer to the people and had a better understanding of what people wanted.”

    For the record, the “people who lost the vote” in the American presidential election were the people on the Republican ticket, which received nearly 3 million fewer votes.

    Nevertheless, just hours earlier, Donald Trump was making the same argument via Twitter, insisting that the scandal is “a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    There’s no excuse for Trump’s ongoing confusion about NATO
    05/31/17 10:32 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Donald Trump conceded last month that when he criticized the NATO alliance during the campaign, he did so despite “not knowing much about NATO.” It was an unflattering admission that the Republican is comfortable popping off on important subjects he doesn’t understand – because for Trump, knowledge is not a prerequisite to forming an opinion.

    And while that was certainly a problem in 2016, it’s a bigger problem in 2017 that Trump still has plenty to say about NATO that doesn’t really make sense. On Twitter, for example, the president boasted the other day that “money is beginning to pour in” from NATO’s member nations.


    A Washington Post report today added:

    The president is still regurgitating inaccurate campaign rhetoric. He appears to now understand that NATO members are supposed to meet a 2 percent guideline, but he still consistently frames this as money that is owed to the United States or American taxpayers. But even if all NATO members suddenly met the guideline, no additional money would end up in the U.S. Treasury. So the president is being deeply misleading.

    During the campaign, we originally gave Trump’s NATO comments Three Pinnochios, as more of the burden for defense of Europe falls on American shoulders. But enough time has passed, with so little change in the president’s rhetoric, that we are increasing the rating to Four Pinocchios.

    It’s the persistence of Trump’s ignorance on NATO that rankles most.

    Last year, when he was wrong about the alliance, Trump was a first-time candidate, in over his head, struggling with issues he was considering for the first time. His confusion was problematic, but predictable. Now, however, he’s the sitting president – who has no excuse.

  27. rikyrah says:

    An unexpected problem: Trump handing out his cellphone number
    05/31/17 10:57 AM
    By Steve Benen


    And he still doesn’t. The Associated Press reported last night that Trump “has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the U.S. commander in chief’s communications.”

    At face value, it may seem as if the president is simply being collegial with foreign officials. It might even seem like a positive: Trump may alienate many world leaders, but here’s evidence of him trying to be friendly, giving allies such as Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron direct access.

    But as the Associated Press report explained, the American president apparently doesn’t appreciate the details.

    The notion of world leaders calling each other up via cellphone may seem unremarkable in the modern, mobile world. But in the diplomatic arena, where leader-to-leader calls are highly orchestrated affairs, it is another notable breach of protocol for a president who has expressed distrust of official channels. The formalities and discipline of diplomacy have been a rough fit for Trump — who, before taking office, was long easily accessible by cellphone and viewed himself as freewheeling, impulsive dealmaker.

    Presidents generally place calls on one of several secure phone lines, including those in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office or the presidential limousine. Even if Trump uses his government-issued cellphone, his calls are vulnerable to eavesdropping, particularly from foreign governments, national security experts say.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Top White House position now seen as ‘career suicide’
    05/31/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    White House Communications Director Mike Dubke announced yesterday that he’s stepping down from his post after just three months on the job. There’s been some discussion about whether the longtime Republican media strategist jumped ship or was pushed, but either way, there’s now a vacancy in a key office on Donald Trump’s presidential team.

    The question is whether anyone will want it.

    I noted yesterday that Trump World may find it challenging to replace Dubke, and after reading this BuzzFeed piece, it looks like I may have understated matters. BuzzFeed spoke with 20 Republican communicators and operatives, “many of whom have worked on Capitol Hill and in presidential campaigns,” and none of whom seemed eager to apply.

    “Hell no!” said one Republican — one of the most common type of responses BuzzFeed News got from operatives. “That would be career suicide.” […]

    “That’s like asking someone who just witnessed a horrific bungee jumping accident whether they would like to go next,” one Republican source responded in a text message. “It would be only a few months on the job before tapping out the ‘I want to spend more time with family’ email,” another said.

    One operative whose spouse works in the Trump administration dissolved into laughter upon being asked if they would want the role.

    “Sorry, I’m sorry,” the source said between stifled laughter. “Oh, you’re being serious? Oh my god, I’m crying of laughter, why would anyone in their right mind want to be his communications director?”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Yet Another Republican Burns His Credibility to Defend Trump and Kushner. Why?
    by David Atkins
    May 28, 2017 4:51 PM

    t is no longer surprising when Trump and his inner circle are revealed to to have done something corrupt, self-dealing or even borderline treasonous. Their characters are well spoken for by now. Of more interest as a character study are those who throw their credibility onto the fire to defend this Administration, often knowing that they will be burned for it in short order.

    The latest Republican to immolate his respectability is Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who is actively spinning away Jared Kushner’s attempt to use secret Russian back channels to Moscow away from the eyes of American intelligence. Kelly knows that Kushner’s attempt to use actual Russian intelligence equipment to talk to Moscow is wrong. He knows that there is no credible innocent explanation for it. He knows what whatever the reason is that Kushner wanted the secret communications channel will almost certainly be revealed in all its seedy turpitude eventually.

    So why do it? Why not stay silent? Why not simply resign?


    Why do they all do it? Few of these people supported Trump against his more conventional challengers in the Republican presidential primary. The judgment of history will not be kind to them. They could make more money in the private sector. Their loyalty to Trump will not be reciprocated by a President who is more than willing to trample subordinates who do his dirty work.

    • eliihass says:


      Anyone who aligned themselves with, or took a position with this pretend Putin-installed farce, had no character, credibility, integrity or honor to begin with..

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Senate Intelligence Committee is Showing Courage
    by Martin Longman
    May 30, 2017 1:16 PM

    When it comes to the idea that Republicans will aggressively investigate the Trump administration, I’m a pretty hard sell. I don’t have any experience that leads me to believe that the GOP can effectively police itself or put the interests of the country over narrow partisan interests. But, I also have open eyes and I notice when things defy my low expectations. For example, it’s significant when things like this happen:

    One of President Donald Trump’s closest confidants, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, has now become a focus of the expanding Congressional investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 campaign.

    Cohen confirmed to ABC News that House and Senate investigators have asked him “to provide information and testimony” about any contacts he had with people connected to the Russian government, but he said he has turned down the invitation.

    “I declined the invitation to participate as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,” Cohen told ABC News in an email Tuesday.

    After Cohen rejected the Congressional requests for cooperation, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to grant the chairman, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, and ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, blanket authority to issue subpoenas as they deem necessary.

    I think of Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina as a very conservative leader from a state where the Republican Party is setting the land speed record for unconstitutionally naked partisanship. There are other members of the Intelligence Committee, like John Cornyn of Texas, Jim Risch of Idaho, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who I wouldn’t trust to watch my kids let alone conduct a thorough and aggressive investigation of a sitting Republican president. But that makes it all the more significant that they just voted unanimously to issue subpoenas for Donald Trump’s “consigliere” and “pitbull.”

    One way of looking at this is that the best way to contain an investigation is to not ask certain questions. This would include questions that you don’t already know the answers to. You know this is happening when the minority party is constantly complaining that witnesses aren’t being called and subpoenas aren’t being issued. The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation under the leadership of Devin Nunes had all the hallmarks of a faux investigation. The Senate investigation looks more legit. The unanimity of the Republicans in this case is convincing evidence that they are legitimately concerned. But the more important factor is that they’re taking steps that will lead to places they can’t anticipate. This is a suicidal strategy for a defense team in court, and it’s a sign that they’re not approaching this as defense attorneys for the president.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Sen. Chuck Grassley is Covering for Jared Kushner
    by Martin Longman
    May 29, 2017 12:35 PM

    If you’re like me, your eyes glaze over a little bit when people start talking about the intricacies of our immigration policies and the various kinds of visas we offer to foreign nationals. I certainly feel that way about the EB-5 visa, although I felt compelled to look into it since it has embroiled Jared Kushner and his family in controversy, and now Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is calling for an investigation.

    The EB-5 visa was created in 1990 and put into its current form in 1993. The simplest way of understanding it is that it creates an avenue for foreigners to get permanent residence in the country (and possibly citizenship) if they’re willing to invest a million bucks in a business that will eventually employ at least ten people. There’s a provision for investing in economically needy areas that only a requires that you invest half a million. The changes made in 1993 introduced some problems and changed the nature of the program.


    If you’re pitching a foreign millionaire on investing in your “regional center,” you’ll need to convince them that you can deliver on your end of the deal. And since your end isn’t some assurance that they’ll get a good financial return on their investment but that they’ll get the citizenship they desire, you’ll want to gain influence and control over the citizenship approval process.

    This is where the Kushner family comes into it.

    It’s not unusual for commercial real estate builders to utilize the EB-5 visa. Most major hotel chains have used the program to raise capital, in part because it is cheaper than borrowing from a bank. The Kushner family has a history with the EB-5, using it for example to finance a project in Journal Square in New Jersey. Just last March, Kushner Properties announced that they were abandoning a plan to use EB-5 financing to team up with a Chinese insurance company named Anbang and convert the Manhattan skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue into luxury residential units. Still, when President Trump signed his first major piece of legislation on May 5th, it included an extension of the Immigrant Investor Visa Program through September 30, 2017. Whatever else you might say about it, the program has benefitted the president since he has used it to finance some of his Trump-branded building projects.

    Chuck Grassley has had problems with the EB-5 for a while now, describing it as a program that “has been rife with fraud and national security weaknesses.” In February, he teamed with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce a bill that would terminate the EB-5.

    What he wants to investigate at the moment is what he considers fraudulent representations made by a Chinese firm named Qiaowai that was marketing a Kushner Industries project in Jersey City to Chinese investors. That Grassley is concerned about this is understandable, but it appears to be missing the larger point. And that’s a point that is not lost on the president:

    • eliihass says:

      Chuck Grassley has been covering for everyone involved in the Russia-choreographed shenanigans…and pooh-pooh-ing just about everything that potentially implicates them..

      He’s no patriot..

      There’s got to be more to this than just cowardly towing the party line or the now always flung around ‘being too scared of the base’…

      The guy’s on his last lap…and he’s either confused about what patriotism means, is too greedy to care…or supposes that he and they can get away with this act of brazen complicity to treason..

  32. rikyrah says:

    Quick Takes: Kushner Camp Leaks Fake News to Fox
    A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 30, 2017 6:48 PM

    Here’s the story Fox News is running with today:

    A December meeting between Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and one of the senior advisers in the Trump administration, and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at Trump Tower focused on Syria, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News Monday.

    During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News…

    The idea of a permanent back channel was never discussed, according to the source. Instead, only a one-off for a call about Syria was raised in the conversation.

    * A lot of the press is zeroing in on the fact that Trump re-tweeted a link to that story, which comes from a one of those law-breaking leakers he’s always complaining about. Sean Spicer was even asked about that during the press conference today. But the Fox story obviously comes from someone in the Kushner camp and is a lie. We know that because the December meeting wasn’t the only time someone from Trump’s team discussed a back channel connection with the Russians. In addition to Kushner, Michael Flynn started talking to Kislyak about it immediately after the election and Erik Prince was dispatched to a clandestine meeting with Russians to talk about it again in January.

  33. rikyrah says:

    FBI’s Interest In Kushner Isn’t Limited to Back Channel Access
    by Nancy LeTourneau
    May 31, 2017 8:00 AM

    Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy News suggest that the FBI’s interest in Jared Kushner goes beyond his involvement in trying to set up back channel access between the Trump administration and Russia. They note two other avenues of the investigation.

    First of all, just as Ryan Lizza suggested, there is Kushner’s possible involvement in obstruction of justice.

    This month, Kushner was a force behind Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who had refused Trump’s entreaties to pledge loyalty to the president as he led the investigation and publicly confirmed that Trump associates were under scrutiny. It remains to be seen whether Kushner’s role could draw him into a debate about whether the firing and Trump’s related actions amounted to obstruction of justice.

    But perhaps even more explosive is Kushner’s role in the Trump campaign.

    During the campaign, Kushner helped oversee digital operations that unleashed social media barrages targeted at the local level in an attempt to shift the opinions of voters in key states, former Trump aides say. Russia similarly directed anti-Clinton or pro-Trump social media blitzes.

    This is the line of inquiry that Sen. Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is zeroing in on.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Trump Just Handed the Reins of Global Leadership to Russia and China
    by Nancy LeTourneau May 30, 2017 8:00 AM

    Much has rightfully been made of Angela Merkel’s comments following NATO and G7 meetings attended by Donald Trump.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”…

    Merkel, Europe’s de facto leader, told a packed beer hall rally in Munich that the days when her continent could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

    But as Josh Marshall points out, equally alarming is the fact that the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron, compared President Trump to Putin and Erdogan.

    Our European allies seemed to be hoping for the best after Trump’s election. But something happened in Belgium and Italy that dashed those hopes. Here are the things we know about:

    After telling Arab leaders that he wasn’t there to lecture them, Trump berated our NATO allies with his false claim that they owed massive amounts of money to the alliance and U.S. taxpayers.
    At a meeting on trade, Trump suggested that Germany was bad because of the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S.
    Trump was the only G7 leader to not affirm the Paris Agreement, which led to a failure to agree on a statement about climate change.

    On more personal terms, Trump also shoved aside the Montenegrin prime minister to put himself in front of a photo op, and complained to the Belgian prime minister about European regulations that had slowed down the construction of one of his golf courses. It is very possible that there were additional confrontations (both personal and policy-oriented) that occurred at meetings behind closed doors.

    The comments from Merkel and Macron signal that these events might have triggered a realignment of this country’s decades-old relationship with our European allies. It is hard to escape the idea that Trump’s efforts were meant to, at minimum, destabilize our relationships with NATO and the G7 countries—a strategy that just so happens to align perfectly with what Putin has been attempting to do for years now.

  35. rikyrah says:

    GOP taps anti-Clinton strategy to damage Elizabeth Warren early
    McClatchy Washington Bureau

    The Massachusetts Democrat is preparing to run for re-election to the Senate in 2018 and hasn’t said yet whether she’ll challenge President Donald Trump for the White House. But in-state and national Republican officials have decided to target the liberal icon anyway, saying they will try to inflict enough damage during the Senate race to harm any future presidential effort — and perhaps dissuade her from running altogether.

    Already, one national Republican group has begun a comprehensive effort to track Warren’s every public appearance and add to a dossier of unflattering research on her. Other GOP officials predict that even in deep-blue Massachusetts, the senator’s opponents could raise gobs of money from conservatives nationwide and even benefit from the attention of Trump.

    The goal is more about weakening Warren than defeating her: Republicans doubt that any of their party’s likely candidates could topple her next year. But even with the next presidential election more than three years away, they say exposing her weaknesses now — or making sure her race is closer than expected — could do lasting damage.

    “We learned from our experience with Secretary (Hillary) Clinton that when you start earlier, the narratives have more time to sink in and resonate with the electorate,” said Colin Reed, executive director at the Republican outside group America Rising.

    Reed’s group launched an effort in April to catalog and promote Warren’s mistakes, announcing that it would try to defeat the senator during next year’s race while also trying to “continue developing the long-term research and communications angles to damage her 2020 prospects.”

    Republicans say that’s only the beginning.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Underground has been cancelled.😒😥😥
    All the crap shows out there and one that is excellent from acting, writing and production values gets the axe.😠😠😠

  37. rikyrah says:

    I am psyched.
    Wonder Woman got a 96 on Rotten Tomatoes 😄.
    Peanut asked me yesterday if WE were going to see it this weekend 😁😁

  38. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😐😐😐

  39. yahtzeebutterfly says:

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