Daily Blog September 2019

President Pinhead

Americans are in a crisis never seen before. We are running out of adjectives to describe the shock, horror and embarrassment caused by having someone who behaves like a 2 y/o sitting in our White House on those rare occasions when he’s not enriching himself at one of his golf clubs on American tax dollars.

So, if you have some good adjectives to share, please send some our way.

118 thoughts on “Daily Blog September 2019

  1. No apologies: MPs’ fury as Boris Johnson goes on the attack

    PM rejects pleas to moderate his ‘inflammatory’ language after supreme court defeat

    An unrepentant Boris Johnson has sparked a furious backlash after he repeated his criticism of the supreme court judgment, and rejected MPs’ pleas to moderate his “inflammatory” language as “humbug”.

    Addressing a rowdy and adversarial House of Commons, just hours after flying back early from New York, Johnson went on the attack, accusing Jeremy Corbyn of trying to thwart Brexit and running scared of an election.

    Johnson infuriated opposition MPs by dismissing fears that his use of language such as “surrender” and “betrayal” was dangerous in a heightened political climate. To gasps, he claimed the best way to honour the memory of the murdered MP Jo Cox was to “get Brexit done”.

    And he continued to deploy the “people versus parliament” rhetoric that has become a signature of his premiership, claiming: “The people outside this house understand what is happening … The leader of the opposition and his party don’t trust the people.”

    And he added: “Instead of facing the voters the opposition turned tail and fled from an election. Instead of deciding to let the voters decide, they ran for the courts … it is absolutely no disrespect to the judiciary to say I think the court was wrong.”

    Johnson’s appearance led critics to accuse him of failing to show any humility over his supreme court defeat.

    Responding to the prime minister, Corbyn accused him of failing to take the supreme court defeat seriously, calling his statement, “10 minutes of bluster from a dangerous prime minister who thinks he is above the law but in truth is not fit for the office he holds”.

    Labour’s Jess Phillips said: “I know that the prime minister wants to appear as a strong man. But the strongest thing he could do that would look the best to this country at the moment would be to act with some humility and contrition.”

    Read more.

  2. U.K. Parliament Live Updates: Reopening the Brexit Debate

    For now, Labour Party leaders would rather watch Prime Minister Boris Johnson squirm than to press for new elections.

    Outside Parliament in London on Wednesday. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, lawmakers, who had not expected to reconvene until mid-October, were gearing up for renewed battles over Brexit.CreditDan Kitwood/Getty Images

    Lawmakers scramble for an unexpected return.

    Britain’s Parliament is gathering for a sudden, unexpected return on Wednesday, rejoining the chaotic battle over Brexit after a landmark court ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.

    The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on Tuesday left lawmakers, who had not expected to reconvene until mid-October, scrambling to return. Mr. Johnson cut short a trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, flying back to face a defiant Parliament, a looming Brexit deadline and a new threat of scandal over government funds directed to a woman he was close to.

    Mr. Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit as scheduled on Oct. 31, even if he has not struck a deal with the European Union on Britain’s withdrawal by then. Parliament has voted, over his strenuous objections, to prohibit leaving without an agreement, which economists say would be economically damaging.

    Determined to set the nation’s Brexit course, the prime minister had suspended Parliament for five weeks, until Oct. 14, sharply limiting the ability of dissenting lawmakers to get in his way.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  3. Fleabag creator seals exclusive Amazon Prime deal

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge is latest homegrown British talent to sign with international rivals

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the 71st Emmy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Photograph: Christopher Polk/Variety/Rex/Shutterstock

    On Monday, she secured a mantelpiece full of Emmys; on Tuesday, Phoebe Waller-Bridge got a brand new TV deal.

    The Fleabag creator will create and produce TV content exclusively for Amazon Prime Video, after signing a deal with Amazon Studios. The streaming service already screens Fleabag in more than 200 countries and territories including the US.

    “I’m insanely excited to be continuing my relationship with Amazon. Working with the team on Fleabag was the creative partnership dreams are made of. It really feels like home. I can’t wait to get going,” Waller-Bridge said as the announcement was made on Tuesday.

    While she emphasised the creative benefits, the news echoed growing warnings from senior UK television industry figures that homegrown British on-screen talent is increasingly being bought up by international rivals which “increasingly want to decide what we read, watch and listen to”.

    Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4, told the Royal Television Society conference on Thursday there was a “growing concentration of power in the hands just a few tech behemoths”.

    She added that such firms were motivated by their own commercial interests, which might lead them to promote their own content first, “whether it’s Amazon boosting its own products on marketplace, Google prioritising its own podcasts or Netflix serving us its own productions”.

    Read more.

  4. Greta Thunberg became a climate activist not in spite of her autism, but because of it

    The 16-year-old climate activist’s radical approach to autism.

    Activist Greta Thunberg speaks on September 20 at the Global Climate Strike event in New York City. John Lamparski/WireImage

    A visceral feeling of repulsion toward deceit and hypocrisy is also common among people on the spectrum. As Thunberg told the BBC, “I don’t fall for lies as easily as regular people, I can see through things.” She has a particular contempt for the professional propagandists and apologists who prop up the fossil fuel industry and discourage the development of renewable energy resources, dismissing UK claims about reductions in carbon emissions as the result of “very creative accounting.”

    ”You don’t listen to the science,” she went on, “because you are only interested in the answers that will allow you to carry on as if nothing has happened.”

    Trump’s tweet about Greta Thunberg was one of his ugliest yet

    Read more.

  5. The sudden Democratic shift in favor of impeaching Trump, explained

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just announced an official impeachment inquiry. Here’s how we got here.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks to a meeting with the House Democratic caucus to discuss launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump, on September 24, 2019. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    All of a sudden, President Donald Trump’s impeachment is looking likelier than ever.

    Grappling with the latest revelations that Trump tried to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s family, more and more House Democrats are concluding that Trump abused his powers of office — and that it’s time, at long last, for an unambiguous impeachment inquiry.

    Their number includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced Tuesday afternoon that “the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

    But the latest allegations about Trump and Ukraine — allegations that the president tried to strong-arm a foreign power into investigating his potential 2020 rival — seem to be a bridge too far for Democrats.

    Which means we are now headed toward a serious impeachment inquiry with Pelosi’s full backing after all. It will be up to House Democrats to decide precisely how they want to handle it. For instance, how much time do they spend investigating, before making a final decision? (There’s a general belief in the party that the impeachment issue should be resolved, one way or the other, by the end of the year, and Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler reportedly made comments to that effect in Democrats’ meeting Tuesday.)

    Should the party press forward, the final step in the House would be a full vote on whether to impeach Trump. If a majority votes yes, things move to the GOP-controlled Senate, where it would take a two-thirds vote to actually remove Trump from office. That remains a very tall order, given his continued popularity among Republicans.

    So unless some truly momentous bombshell emerges in the coming months, Trump is overwhelmingly likely to remain president. But impeachment would be historic nevertheless — it’s only ever happened to two presidents — and would be an enormous political story. And more broadly, more Democrats are now concluding it’s the only remedy for a president who they think just keeps abusing his power.

    Read more.

  6. Seven freshman Democrats: These allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect

    President Trump at a White House news conference Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) Note the orange glow

    Reps. Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia are all freshman Democrats.
    Our lives have been defined by national service. We are not career politicians. We are veterans of the military and of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security.

    We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country, and throughout our careers, we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States many times over. Now, we join as a unified group to uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters and face unprecedented allegations against President Trump.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  7. Trump’s takeover of GOP forces many House Republicans to head for the exits

    Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) walks down the House steps in February 2018. (Bill Clark/AP)

    Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell’s surprise retirement began with a President Trump tweet.
    Moments after Trump’s July 14 missive telling four U.S. congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries of origin, the congressman from Michigan phoned a fellow House GOP leader and asked him to get Trump to stop. “It’s the wrong thing for a leader to say,” he told the leader, whom he declined to name. “It’s politically damaging to the party, to the country.”
    Three days later, Mitchell was awaiting a prime-time CNN appearance when he saw footage of Trump rallygoers chanting “send her back,” aimed at one of the congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Stunned, Mitchell said he scribbled question marks on a notepad to silently ask an aide: “How do I even respond to this on TV?”
    But one of the final straws was the unwillingness of people in Trump’s orbit to listen. Mitchell implored Vice President Pence, his chief of staff, Marc Short, and “any human being that has any influence in the White House” to arrange a one-on-one conversation between him and the president so he could express his concerns.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  8. Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful, supreme court rules
    Judges rule unanimously that PM’s decision to prorogue parliament can be examined by judges

    The supreme court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks at the height of the Brexit crisis was unlawful.

    The judgment from 11 justices on the UK’s highest court follows an emergency three-day hearing last week that exposed fundamental legal differences over interpreting the country’s unwritten constitution.

    The decision was read out by Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court. Unusually, none of the parties were provided with advance copies of the judgment due to its extreme sensitivity. Only seven of the 11 justices who heard the case were present in court.

    Read more.

  9. WaPo Editorial

    In Ukraine, Trump’s allies are corrupt oligarchs and Russian stooges

    PRESIDENT TRUMP is right about Ukraine in one respect: For many years, the country’s politics have been dominated by a complex and ugly struggle over corruption. The short version is this: An underdog movement of civil society activists, journalists and liberal legislators, with the sporadic support of Western governments, has battled oligarchs — many with connections to Russia or to organized crime — and the compromised government officials who protect them. More often than not, the reformers have lost.

    What Mr. Trump does not explain is that he and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, have sided with the bad guys in this struggle: the Russians, the oligarchs and the compromised officials. The false stories they tell about Joe Biden and other U.S. Democrats result from this misguided alliance.

    Mr. Giuliani has a record of doing business with Ukrainians close to Russia and to former president Viktor Yanukovych, a stooge of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin who, after being ousted by a popular uprising in 2014, was accused of looting millions of dollars. To obtain his concocted allegations of wrongdoing, Mr. Giuliani relied on two former Ukrainian state prosecutors, both of whom were enemies of the reform movement and were accused by Western officials of blocking anti-corruption investigations.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  10. She seems very happy’: Trump appears to mock Greta Thunberg’s emotional speech

    ‘Teenage climate activists told world leaders ‘you are failing us’ and accused them of ‘betrayal’

    Greta Thunberg to world leaders: ‘How dare you – you have stolen my dreams and my childhood’ – video

    Donald Trump appears to have taken a swipe at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, tweeting a video of an emotional Thunberg with an apparently sarcastic comment that she seems to be “very happy” and looking forward to a bright future.

    “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” tweeted the US president late on Monday night.

    The president tweeted out a video with the comment showing visibly upset Thunberg as she delivered a blistering speech to world leaders at a United Nations summit, saying they had betrayed young people through their inertia over the climate crisis.

    In the stinging speech on Monday, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist told governments: “You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”

    “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said.

    Read more.

  11. Revealed: how the FBI targeted environmental activists in domestic terror investigations

    Protesters were characterized as a threat to national security in what one calls an attempt to criminalize their actions

    A protestor participates in a demonstration in Washington against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Helen Yost, a 62-year-old environmental educator, has been a committed activist for nearly a decade. She says she spends 60 to 80 hours a week as a community organizer for Wild Idaho Rising Tide; to save money, she lives in an RV. She’s been arrested twice for engaging in non-violent civil disobedience.

    Yost may not fit the profile of a domestic terrorist, but in 2014 the FBI classified her as a potential threat to national security. According to hundreds of pages of FBI files obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, and interviews with activists, Yost and more than a dozen other people campaigning against fossil fuel extraction in North America have been identified in domestic terrorism-related investigations.

    The investigations, which targeted individual activists and some environmental organizations, were opened in 2013-2014, at the height of opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the expansion of fossil fuel production in North America.

    Read more.

  12. Opinion

    Elizabeth Warren’s Working-Class Problem

    The biggest question about her surging campaign.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and 2020 presidential candidate, spoke at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa in August.CreditCreditChristopher (TX) Lee for The New York Times

    As Warren has risen to the top of the presidential primary field, her North Shore struggles underscore the biggest question about her campaign: If she were the nominee, could she win back working-class voters who swung to Donald Trump in 2016?

    There are real reasons for concern. In her 2012 and 2018 Senate races, Warren struggled in other blue-collar parts of Massachusetts, like the areas around Springfield and Worcester. And in most state polls asking voters to choose between Trump and potential Democratic nominees, Warren looks considerably weaker than Joe Biden.
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    She is tied with Trump in Wisconsin, while Biden led by nine percentage points, according to a recent Marquette University poll. In New Hampshire — which borders parts of the North Shore — Biden leads Trump by 10 points, while Warren trails by two, according to an Emerson College poll.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  13. Donald Trump vs. the United States of America

    Just the facts, in 40 sentences.

    Editorial by David Leonhardt NYT

    Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

    He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

    He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

    He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

    He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

    He hired a national security adviser whom he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

    He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

    He genuflects to murderous dictators.

    He has alienated America’s closest allies.

    He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

    He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

    He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  14. Meet the Lawyers Beating Back Trump’s Reckless Environmental Policies — and Winning

    On the front lines of the David-and-Goliath battle to thwart Trump’s planet-wrecking agenda

    “It’s time to go to work. Time to go to the mattresses,” Drew Caputo, a senior lawyer with Earthjustice, recalls thinking when Donald Trump got elected.
    Jessica Chou for Rolling Stone

    WASHINGTON — Drew Caputo was sitting on the couch at his home in the Bay Area watching the election returns on November 8th, 2016. As soon as it became apparent Trump was going to win, Caputo, a senior lawyer with the group Earthjustice, had two immediate thoughts: The first was that a Trump administration would be nothing short of a disaster for the environment, climate, and public health.
    The second thought, he says, was: “Time to go to work. Time to go to the mattresses.”
    Caputo and his colleagues quickly identified several critical issues that Trump might go after and formed internal teams to prepare for the worst. One potential disaster, he and his colleagues envisioned, was the undoing of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect parts of the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans from oil and gas exploration. Even before Trump was sworn in, lawyers at Earthjustice had started lining up potential plaintiffs and honing their arguments to block a fossil-fuel free-for-all in the fragile ocean waters. “We knew the Trump guys would be an environmental wrecking crew and we wanted to be in a position to respond immediately,” Caputo says.

    Read more.

  15. Poll: Elizabeth Warren now leads the Democratic primary field in Iowa

    Warren tops a recent poll, but many voters remain undecided.
    By Anya van Wagtendonkanyavw@protonmail.com Sep 22, 2019, 10:48am EDT

    Elizabeth Warren greets supporters at a September 2019 rally in New York. Joel Sheakoski/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren has taken the lead in a major new Iowa poll, registering slightly ahead of persistent frontrunner Joe Biden in a survey of the state’s Democratic voters. The results come after months of upward momentum by Warren, but it remains to be seen whether she will be able to maintain or build on these numbers: Many respondents indicated that their current picks aren’t set in stone, leaving room for reversals of fortune in the five months leading up to next year’s first caucus.

    The latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, released Saturday night, puts Warren’s support among registered Democrats in Iowa at 22 percent, just ahead of Biden’s 20 percent. (The poll has a margin of error of 4 percent).

    Warren is also the second choice, or a candidate under active consideration for more voters than Biden; a tally of those who have the senator as their first or second choice, or who are otherwise “actively” considering her is at 71 percent. Biden comes closest to Warren on this metric: 60 percent of voters are considering him in some way.

    “This is the first major shakeup,” longtime pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll, told the Des Moines Register. “It’s the first time we’ve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board.”

    Read more.

  16. Emmys 2019: Fleabag and Game of Thrones win big at Brit-dominated awards

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy was the surprise victor while the final season of HBO’s fantasy drama picked up the most Emmy awards

    Emmys 2019: Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge was a big winner at the 71st Emmy awards. Photograph: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

    It was a British invasion at the 71st Emmy awards, with Game of Thrones taking home the prize for best drama and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag sweeping most of the comedy awards in a night that saw numerous nods to stars from across the pond.

    The biggest question heading into the night was whether Emmy voters would reward perennial juggernaut Game of Thrones for its divisive final season. The show was nominated for 32 awards – the most for any single season of television ever – and had already won 10 Creative Arts Emmys last week. Game of Thrones took home the night’s final prize for outstanding drama series and a best supporting actor nod for American star Peter Dinklage – bringing its total to 12 awards and breaking its own 2015 record for the most awards given to a series – but was otherwise shut out of the telecast.

    Emmy winners 2019: the full list
    Read more

    Instead, Fleabag emerged as the night’s big winner, upstaging Veep, HBO’s other Emmys mainstay in its final season, and last year’s darling The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Fleabag, which originated as Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show at the Edinburgh festival fringe, took home the awards for outstanding writing, best comedy series and best directing. Waller-Bridge also claimed lead actress in a comedy series – a surprise win over Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who would have become the most decorated Emmys performer of all time had she won a ninth award for her role as Selina Meyer on Veep.

    Read more.

  17. Warren passes Biden, takes the lead in prized Iowa poll

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at the Polk County Steak Fry in Des Moines. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

    DES MOINES — Sen. Elizabeth Warren surged to first place in a respected poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers released on Saturday.
    The poll is the first from the Des Moines Register, together with CNN and Mediacom, to put the two-term Massachusetts Democrat in the lead, at 22 percent. Former vice president Joe Biden, who led the Register’s June poll, fell by 3 percentage points to a close 20 percent, putting the two in a statistical tie, far in front of the rest of the field. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slipped 5 percentage points to a distant third, at 11 percent.

    The September survey is the first by the Register in the 2020 cycle not to put Biden in the lead in the first-in-the-nation contest, which will take place in February. The closely watched results arrive as Warren builds momentum with immense crowds, including 20,000 in Manhattan earlier this week.

    Read more in a pdf of this article or go behind the paywall.

  18. Bernie Sanders wants to put credit reporting companies like Equifax out of business

    Sanders’s campaign is calling for a public credit registry, where you can get your credit score for free.

    The Equifax Consumer reporting agency company logo seen displayed. Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

    Hidden at the bottom of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’s plan to erase Americans’ medical debt is a proposal that would replace a roughly $10 billion private credit reporting industry — populated by companies like Equifax, Experian and Transunion — with a public, free credit registry.

    The plan calls for a creating a “secure public credit registry,” in place of the current for-profit credit reporting agencies, that would use “a public, transparent algorithm to determine creditworthiness that eliminates racial biases in credit scores.”

    Under this proposal, Americans would be able to receive credit scores for free, and medical debt would be excluded from credit scores. Sanders’s campaign also calls for ending the use of credit scores for rental housing, employment, and insurance. According to the campaign, the public credit registry would be housed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    The idea, which has been promoted by think tanks like Demos, is aimed at increasing regulation and reducing systematic racial discrimination within the current credit score system. Activists believe implementing such a regulation would protect consumers from predatory practices and privacy violations, while also making lending and access to capital more equitable.

    Sanders proposal would be a significant change in how Americans find out their creditworthiness in the United States — and how that credit score can be used.

    Sander’s plan to eliminate medical debt

    Read more.

  19. Israel: Wounded Netanyahu in desperate battle for political survival after poll blow

    Israel’s president to meet PM and opposition leader Benny Gantz in bid to resolve election stalemate

    * Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and President Reuven Rivlin. Photograph: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP/Getty Images*

    Israel’s president is set to begin two days of consultations with political parties after a deadlocked election last week plunged the country into uncertainty over who will lead the next government.

    Near-final results from Tuesday’s poll showed the opposition chief, Benny Gantz, marginally ahead of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with his Blue and White party taking 33 seats out of parliament’s 120. The ruling Likud party has 31.

    Critically, neither side appeared able to forge a majority government, even with support from allies in smaller parties.

    On Sunday afternoon President Reuven Rivlin will meet both leaders in an attempt to break the stalemate or face the possibility of a potential third round of elections in less than a year. Rivlin holds a largely ceremonial post but is also responsible for choosing the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a government. Usually, the decision is clear, and often goes to the leader of the largest party, but the muddied result has created an impasse.

    Despite being Israel’s longest-serving leader and having a reputation for political sorcery, Netanyahu is fighting a tough battle. On Thursday he acknowledged his plan had failed. “During the elections, I called for the establishment of a rightwing government,” Netanyahu said in a video message. “But unfortunately the election results show that this is not possible.”

    Read more.

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