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Jim Fawcette
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.
Like tennis, wine, and bad sci-fi.


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Trump’s latest big interview is both funny and terrifying

+Vox " Trump says the Federal Reserve is “important psychotically” and it’s part of one of his better answers."

And: "By contrast, it’s often hard to make any sense at all of Trump’s words. Asked whether he plans to tie an infrastructure plan to his tax plan, Trump says, “I was thinking about tying it, but there’s too many honestly.” Too many what? He then continues: “You lose a few votes, you gain a few votes. I don’t want to take any chances ’cause I feel we have the votes right now the way it is.” There is, of course, no tax bill at the moment, so there’s no way Trump has the votes for it."

Much of it is actually comical, if you've got the patience. Here's the section where +Maria Bartiromo tries to slowly, spoon feed him a set-up fo the lie that the tax cuts won't really go almost entirely to the rich, but Trump can't remember his own cover story, wandering into a name-dropping story about the owner of the New England Patriots:

BARTIROMO: If the top earners pay 80 percent of the taxes, why are you so afraid to cut taxes on the top earners?

TRUMP: I think this, look, you know, I am very happy with the way I’ve done part of this in my civilian life, all right.

BARTIROMO: Of course. This is not about —

TRUMP: Other people — well, it’s about me representing rich people.


TRUMP: Representing — being representative of rich people. Very interesting to me Bob Kraft was down. He was very nice. He owns the Patriots. He gave me a Super Bowl ring a month ago. And he —

BARTIROMO: Well, Putin took his —

TRUMP: Which was very nice. That’s right. But he left this beautiful ring, and I immediately give it to the White House and they put it some place, and that’s the way it is.

BARTIROMO: That’s great.

TRUMP: He said to me — he’s a good man. He said to me you have to do us all a favor, give the tax decrease to the middle class, we don’t need it. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. Give it to the middle class. And, I’ve had many people, very wealthy people, tell me the very same thing. I’ve had very few say I want more, I want more.

Then Trump meanders off message and admits that what he’s really backing is a huge tax cut for rich business owners:

TRUMP: So that’s a big factor, but we have so many things that are going to be so great; bringing the corporate tax down maybe is the most important. And we have a lot of most important, but bringing it down from 35 down to 20 percent, that’s a massive — that’s the biggest that we’ve ever done.

BARTIROMO: It’s a big deal in the corporate rate for sure.

TRUMP: That’s a big deal for companies; that’s a big deal for investment. I think one of the other ones is expensing, you know when you write something off in one year as opposed to, you know, over many years, I think that’s going to be tremendous. via +Vox
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Veteran's Widow Upset with Trump and Lack of Information about Husband Death

Military refuses to let her see her husband's body and won't tell her how he died.

“Why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn’t let me,” she said. “They won’t show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband’s body from head to toe. They won’t show me anything. I don’t know what’s in that box. It could be empty for all I know.”

As for the Trump call: “Very upset and hurt; it made me cry even worse,” Myeshia Johnson told GMA. Trump said the Senator that described the conversation lied, but his Chief of Staff Sen. Kelly appeared to confirm Johnson's story, then ridiculed the Senator for making it public.

“If my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country, why can’t you remember his name?” she said.

WaPo: "Johnson said several people — including her aunt and uncle, an Army official, and Wilson — heard the conversation because Trump was placed on speaker phone.

“Why would we fabricate something like that?” she said.
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"Cub Scout Is Exiled After Pressing Legislator on Guns and Race*

“I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” Ames said in a question that took more than two minutes. He continued, “Why on earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?”
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Does Chief Justice Roberts fear gobbledygook? Or is that just baloney?

"“Wait,” the conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin wrote in The Washington Post. “Especially for a ‘conservative’ justice, where does it say in the Constitution that the court should ‘ignore constitutional violations if it makes the court less respected by people who don’t read opinions’? This is an entirely illegitimate concern.”
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EPA yanks scientists’ conference presentations, including on climate change

"“The silencing of government scientists is a scary step toward silencing anyone who disagrees,” she said in an email. “The choice by our government leaders to ignore the abundant and overwhelming data regarding climate change does not stop it from being true or prevent the negative consequences that are already occurring and those that are on the horizon.”
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Trump Keeps Getting Mad When He Learns What His Policies Do

+New York Magazine "No occupant of the Oval Office has ever shared the average person’s disinterest in policy, parliamentary procedure, and the rudiments of American civics to the extent that Trump does. He is America’s first “low-information voter” president. ...

Trump keeps outsourcing the real work to Congressional Republicans, while having no idea what they policies actually are, then becomes outraged at the blowback and failures.

“I thought that when I won I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a health-care bill on my desk — to be honest,” Trump said in September. “It hasn’t worked out that way.”

Ahhh ... Doh! via @intelligencer
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Connecting the Dots: Shady Data Firm and Russian Bots

Somebody had to feed the Sock Puppets. Here's one trail of connections, but awaiting concrete evidence we've got "tons of smoke and no fire".

+Vox "Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College, told the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr that Trump’s campaign “was using 40-50,000 variants of ads every day that were continuously measuring responses and then adapting and evolving based on that response." All spread by bots.

This was so central to the Trump campaign, that his travel and speeches were based on their results -- if anti-immigration messages were spiking in Minnesota, he was there quickly feeding that venom.

Dots: Gen Flynn failed to report his work with Cambridge Analytica. Peter Smith was in touch with Russian groups, offering them incentives to "find" HRC emails. Smith "reported" to Flynn.

Cambridge Analytica, a company created by Robert Mercer, a billionaire patron of right-wing outlets like Breitbart News, has only worked for right-wing politicians and causes, from Ted Cruz and Ben Carson to Brexit.

CA's model links Facebook "likes" to psychographic OCEAN scores (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) to assess what messages will resonate with a given, highly-targeted audience.

Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained via +Vox
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Another general speaks: "“As a 39-year army veteran, I believe I understand something about the flag, the anthem, patriotism, and that I believe I understand why we struggle,” he writes. “It is not to permit the president to divide us by wrapping himself in the national banner I never imagined myself saying this earlier Friday, but if now made to select in this particular dispute, put me down with Kaepernick.”

via +Bruce Demaree
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Gen. Petraeus: "We're All Fair Game"

On ABC News: "“I think we’re all fair game,” Petraeus, the former CIA director, said on ABC’s This Week. “We, in uniform, protect the rights of those to criticize us, frankly … we are fiercely protective of the rights of our Americans to express themselves, even if that includes criticizing us.” Sanders was referring to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired four-star general himself, who defended the president from criticism over his phone call with a Gold Star widow by slamming Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) using incorrect information. Sanders defended Kelly by suggesting that four-star generals are not to be questioned.
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Trump E.P.A. official responds to criticism of loosening standards for possibly-dangerous chemicals.
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