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326 posts
  • The Swamp

The Associated Press has unleashed a bombshell investigation into Trump fund-raiser Elliott Broidy. If you haven’t read the piece yet, feel free to jump over and take a gander. I’ll wait.

Back? Good.

The piece is a monster, with loads of sordid details about a key Trump ally’s nefarious foreign dealings. There are, of course, Russia ties. I’ll leave it to more seasoned watchers of Robert S. Mueller III to explain the intricacies and larger implications of the piece and how it all plays into the special counsel’s investigation.

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  • Guns and Ammo
  • We're All Doomed
Tanya Diaz, Brock Sanchez and Lucy Gonzales place flowers, a sign and balloons on a tree outside Santa Fe High School.
Tanya Diaz, Brock Sanchez and Lucy Gonzales place flowers, a sign and balloons on a tree outside Santa Fe High School. (Stuart Villanueva / Associated Press)

The mass killing at Santa Fe High School in Texas grabbed the nation by the throat for a few hours last week, but in truth few people are paying much attention anymore, which is yet more evidence of how routinized these violent acts have become.

But even more routinized are the other daily incidents of gun violence that plague the nation in a steady rhythm. On Monday, for instance, guns were fired in at least 54 incidents across the U.S., with 12 people killed and 29 wounded, according to statistics compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.

That’s just one day.

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  • Trump
  • We're All Doomed
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about Iran on Monday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about Iran on Monday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. (Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

POMPEO TO IRAN: DROP DEAD!

That wouldn’t be a completely accurate headline for a report about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech Monday about U.S. policy toward Iran,  but it’s not much of an exaggeration.

In an address at the Heritage Foundation, Pompeo followed up on President Trump’s repudiation of the international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program — an agreement Iran has complied with — by demanding that the Islamic Republic agree to a new deal that would prevent it from enriching any uranium for any purpose.

  • Trump
China has agreed in trade talks to buy more U.S. farm products, such as sorghum, shown here at a farm in Waukomis, Okla., in 2012.
China has agreed in trade talks to buy more U.S. farm products, such as sorghum, shown here at a farm in Waukomis, Okla., in 2012. (Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

The first fruits of the Trump administration’s get-tough-on-China policies were harvested this weekend, and the results were promising for U.S. farmers and energy companies. For everyone else, not so much. 

The president has fixated on reducing China’s $335-billion annual trade surplus with the U.S. That’s a function of many factors, only some of which are problematic. Nevertheless, China — recognizing whom they’re dealing with — has agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. agricultural products and natural gas, Reuters reported, albeit without committing to a specific dollar amount.

The administration promptly suspended its plan to levy tariffs on $150 billion worth of Chinese products — or it didn’t, depending on whether you believe Treasury Secretary Steven T. “Yes We Did” Mnuchin or U.S. Trade Representative Robert “No We Didn’t” Lighthizer. 

  • Trump
  • The Witch Hunt
Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein addresses a conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in New York on May 9.
Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein addresses a conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in New York on May 9. (JUSTIN LANE/EPA/Shutterstock)

On Monday it will be learned whether the Justice Department has found a way to defuse President Trump’s outrageous demand for an investigation into his latest conspiracy theory about the Russia investigation.

On Sunday the president made good on his threats to get involved in the department’s investigations when he tweeted:

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  • Trump
  • Election 2018
John Cox
John Cox (Rich Pedroncelli)

We have learned so many fun and interesting facts about President Donald Trump over the past year and half.

Most are things that I feel I can safely say no one really wanted to know, such as the extent of his Diet Coke dependence, the size of the button on his desk that could end life on Earth and the fact that our “very stable genius” president doesn’t actually read things.

On Friday, we learned something new. Trump does not feel loyalty to the Republican candidates who supported his own run for the presidency.

  • Trump
  • Rule of Law
  • The Swamp
Trump reportedly leaned on the postmaster general to double shipping rates for Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos (right).
Trump reportedly leaned on the postmaster general to double shipping rates for Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos (right). (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

How Nixonian of him.

The Washington Post, in a nice twist of irony, reports that President Trump has been strong-arming the postmaster general to double the rate it charges Amazon — along with a handful of other companies —  for all those deliveries. The reason? Amazon is the fiefdom of mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos, who has drawn the ire of our thin-skinned president by owning the Washington Post, which has been covering Trump with admirable depth and breadth.

So the president of the United States is apparently trying to use his office to punish someone he perceives as a political enemy.

  • Trump
  • The Witch Hunt
President Donald Trump walks into the East Room of the White House Friday for a Prison Reform Summit.
President Donald Trump walks into the East Room of the White House Friday for a Prison Reform Summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In today’s installment of President Trump’s unceasing attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, the president is floating a new theory — that the FBI sneaked a mole into his 2016 campaign.Friday morning, Trump tweeted:

Even with the uncharacteristic qualification — “if true” — this is a sensational allegation. But it’s also part of a pattern.

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  • Rule of Law
Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, center, takes a cellphone video of reporters taking his video as he leaves his home in Manhattan on Thursday.
Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg, center, takes a cellphone video of reporters taking his video as he leaves his home in Manhattan on Thursday. (Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News/TNS)

At the risk of sounding like I’m defending the indefensible, there’s something unnerving about the backlash against Aaron Schlossberg.

Here’s the incident that catapulted Schlossberg into the public eye:

There’s something clearly wrong with this guy. And now, thanks to YouTube and my fellow carrion birds in the media, the story of the guy who threatened to call immigration agents on food-service workers who spoke Spanish is all over the internet.

Law enforcement officers respond to a high school near Houston after a shooting on campus Friday in Santa Fe, Texas.
Law enforcement officers respond to a high school near Houston after a shooting on campus Friday in Santa Fe, Texas. (KTRK-TV ABC13 via Associated Press)

The school day was just getting started in Santa Fe, Texas, when the gunshots began. Little is known at this point about what happened next. At least eight are dead, maybe as many as 10, with others wounded and being treated at hospitals, including students and adults. One suspect, a student, is reportedly in custody, another detained. There was early talk of a shotgun and, later, suspected explosive devices found at the school and a home, but as we all know from experience these details are fluid and will change. That’s the disconnect between the desire to know, and the pace of an investigation.

“We all know from experience” — that’s the crucial phrase.

So we watch the live coverage on TV, scan the web for updates, cling to dramatic details and fight the nausea. We share shock on social media, post those little sad faces with a tear in the eye, and if a child is near give a hug of reassurance. But there really is nothing to be reassured about.