ON THE RECORD. . .
“Many in legacy media love mass shootings… Crying white mothers are ratings gold.” — NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, speaking at CPAC .
“I did not know that Russian bots were promoting my campaign… I would say that the real question to be asked is: What was the Clinton campaign doing about Russian interference — they had more information about this than we had.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in an interview with Vermont Public Radio.
“I’m under so much stress. I’m angry and exhausted. Angry, exhausted and extremely proud.” -- Rebecca Boldrick, the mother pf Douglas High shooting survivor David Hogg, says her family is receiving anonymous threats online after her son became an overnight advocate for gun control.
“It’s interesting thato many of these people that commit mass murders end up being Democrats.” --Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) reacted to calls for gun control following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! -- Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump, displaying more sympathy for gun lobbyists than he has for the survivors and the victims of mass murder in Parkland, Florida.
“Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life. He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.” — Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs during the Parkland assault, about her phone call with Donald Trump.
“Not surprised the NRA reeled President Trump back in. Just amazed at how fast it happened.” -- Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)
“The Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer, Bart, Maggie and Marge.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), comparing the gun control debate to “The Simpsons.”
“The teacher would have shot the hell out of” the gunman “before he knew what happened.” -- Donald Trump called for the arming of teachers.
“The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.” -- EPA chief Scott Pruitt told the Christian Broadcasting Network that his religious convictions led him to conclude that America should use coal freely.
“We’ll have to see. If the sanctions don’t work, we’ll have to go Phase Two. Phase Two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world.” -- Trump’s alarming response, when asked what he would his if his proposed North Korean sanctions fail.
"We believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America’s schools. Period." - Wayne LaPierre, then Executive Vice President of the NRA, in 1999
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this—we call BS. They say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.” -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez
“Right now there is a concerted effort to delegitimize the press, to stigmatize it and to undermine its oversight role. And if you discredit the press … and sow the seeds of disbelief on what they report, then what is to stop a despotic government?” -- Veteran television journalist Charles Gibson
In a recent national poll, about forty-one per cent of Americans support impeachment, significantly more than the twenty-six per cent who backed such proceedings against Richard Nixon at the start of the Watergate hearings, which eventually led to Nixon’s downfall. -- Susan B. Glasser in the New Yorker
"WITCH HUNT" — Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
“Javanka and Kelly are locked in a death match. Two enter. Only one survives.” -- A White House official
“He’s lost the locker room. The morale in the White House, on a scale of 1-10, is minus 15. You cannot run the White House through fear and intimidation.” — Anthony Scaramucci, calling for the ouster of White House chief of staff John Kelly.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Andy Borowitz: Trump Orders Parade to Celebrate His Hypothetical Act of Heroism in Florida School
Shortly after he declared that he would have run into a Florida high school unarmed to thwart a mass shooting, Donald J. Trump announced that he was planning a parade in Washington, D.C., to celebrate his hypothetical act of heroism.
“Anyone can act with bravery in the moment,” Trump told reporters in the White House. “But it takes a very special kind of hero to tell people about the incredibly brave thing he would have done weeks after the thing happened.”
He added that it was one of his greatest regrets that bone spurs prevented him from serving in the Vietnam War, “because the really courageous things I would have done during that war would have been off the charts.”
“As soon as the Tet Offensive happened, I would have run unarmed right into that mess,” he said. “We probably would have won the war right after I did that.”
Trump said that the parade he was ordering would honor not only him but all of America’s “last responders.”
According to a new poll, Trump’s assertion that he would have run into the Florida high school unarmed was believed by his daughter Ivanka. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
2. Where Gun Control Advocates Could Win In 2018
The shifting geography of the electoral battlefield is providing gun-control advocates their best opportunity in years to tilt the balance on the issue in Congress.
Since the early 1990s, the National Rifle Association has sustained an impregnable congressional blockade against new gun-control measures. But the weakest link in that chain has always been the Republican-held suburban seats in the House of Representatives, where many voters support reasonable limits on gun access. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/gun-control-suburban-districts/553904/
3. The DAILY GRILL
The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL! Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Wrong again, Mr. President. It confirms the FBI acted appropriately and that Russian agents approached two of your advisors, and informed your campaign that Russia was prepared to help you by disseminating stolen Clinton emails. -- Adam Schiff @RepAdamSchiff
“Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!” — Donald Trump, on Twitter on May 21, 2016.
it would be best to arm teachers because it would be too expensive for large schools to hire “100 to 150 security guards.”-- Trump during a meeting with state and local officials at the White House
“We were somewhat lost as a group. We had just elected the first African-American president, and that was a big deal. That was a hill we got over and something we were all proud of. And we weren’t sure what to do. So, a little bit of cynicism, what did we do? This is a terrible thing: we elected Mike Steele as RNC chair because he’s a black guy. That was the wrong thing to do.” -- Ian Walters, communications director of CPAC
“I’m surprised that people still in the party feel this way and look at the contributions that anyone would make to the party through the prism of race. It’s unfortunate, it’s stupid, it’s immature.” -- Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
Video: How conspiracy theories and attacks on the Parkland shooting survivors spread across the internet and right-wing media. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/02/22/video-how-conspiracy-theories-and-attacks-parkland-shooting-survivors-spread-across-internet-and/219450
Hannity says the Mueller indictment vindicates his Uranium One nonsense. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/02/22/hannity-says-mueller-indictment-vindicates-his-uranium-one-nonsense/219473
Stoneman Douglas survivors call out Trump for blaming school shootings on video games. Students also explain how NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch are misrepresenting their movement. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/02/22/stoneman-douglas-survivors-call-out-trump-blaming-school-shootings-video-games/219470
Alex Jones: "Fake women that weren't even real that said Trump raped them" were "made up" by the media. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/02/22/alex-jones-fake-women-werent-even-real-said-trump-raped-them-were-made-media/219471
Fox's Chris Wallace calls arming teachers and putting more guns in schools a commonsense solution to school shootings. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/02/22/foxs-chris-wallace-calls-arming-teachers-and-putting-more-guns-schools-commonsense-solution-school/219469
How conspiracy theories about Stoneman Douglas students spread on YouTube and Facebook. As survivors of a mass shooting speak out, social media platforms are inundated with lies. It even spread over into radio. https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2018/02/22/how-conspiracy-theories-about-stoneman-douglas-students-spread-youtube-and-facebook/219457
5. From the Late Shows
Giving guns to teachers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: https://youtu.be/1p6PWJop2sc
Again? Again. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: https://youtu.be/t88X1pYQu-I
The Trumpian Plot of "Black Panther" - The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper: https://youtu.be/rx_liRcE9zc
Late Night with Seth Meyers: Trump, Parkland and the #NeverAgain Movement: A Closer Look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=m6qubM54PtE
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Trump Claims He Would Have 'Run' Into The School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=I8Umj580ls0
America's Teens Experiment with Gun Control - The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper: https://youtu.be/jAmtPLp0kcs
6. Late Night Jokes for Dems
Another escapee from President Trump penitentiary is making the rounds, Reince Priebus. You might remember Reince Priebus as the man nobody remembers, the former White House Chief of Staff. -- Jimmy Kimmel
Reince is quoted in a forthcoming about White House chiefs of staff. He said for all the stories about how chaotic everything is, take everything you've heard and multiply it by 50. My god, how many porn stars did this president sleep with? If you multiply by it by 50, that means we are 5,000% screwed. -- Jimmy Kimmel
Priebus said he was slightly embarrassed about his short tenure at the White House. Slightly? What would have to happen for him to be really embarrassed? -- Jimmy Kimmel
VP Pence is shedding light on what he did and did not do when he was seated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's sister during the opening ceremony. Pence explained he didn't avoid her, he ignored her. Like he does all women. -- Jimmy Kimmel
We have a picture of the VP and his wife with Kim Yo Jong between them. You could cut the sexual tension with an intermediate-range ballistic missile here. -- Jimmy Kimmel
7. Democrats Could Pick Up 18 Governorships This Year
According to qualitative assessments by nonpartisan handicappers — Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Inside Elections, — only eight GOP-held governorships are completely safe in 2018. That leaves 18 Republican-held governorships in some degree of danger. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-18-governorships-democrats-could-pick-up-this-year/
8. Guns don't kill people, video games and movies kill people. So ignore that AR-15 behind the curtain.
Republicans are going back to an old claim to shift blame for mass shootings away from guns: it’s the video games! The internet! The culture! Definitely not the AR-15s. Donald Trump is now embracing this line, telling his press pool that:
"We have to look at the internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they're seeing and how they're seeing it. And also video games. I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts. And you go one further step and that's the movies. ... maybe they have to put a rating system for that." Guns don't kill people, video games and movies kill people. So ignore that AR-15 behind the curtain. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/22/1743877/-Guns-don-t-kill-people-video-games-and-movies-kill-people-So-ignore-that-AR-15-behind-the-curtain
9. The issue of gun violence in America isn’t just school shootings
A teacher with a gun wouldn’t have saved:
Vegas: a concert
Orlando: a nightclub
Sutherland Springs: a church
Aurora: a movie theater
Gabby Giffords: a parking lot
Trayvon Martin: a neighborhood
Mike Brown: a cop -- Michael Skolnik@MichaelSkolnik
10. Trump Slams McCain Again
Trump mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — without using his name — for his no vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Said Trump: “Remember, one person walked into a room when he was supposed to go this way (Trump enthusiastically gives a thumbs up) and he said he was going this way, and he walked in and he went this way (Trump throws his thumb down) and everyone said what happened? What was that all about? … I don’t want to be controversial so I won’t use his name. What a mess!” https://www.axios.com/trump-blasts-mccain-at-cpac-dc72b699-d1ec-44c8-a496-7c252d8164e1.html
Just two weeks ago, Meghan McCain told Politico that Trump had called her to say he would “back off” her cancer-stricken father. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/07/meghan-mccain-women-rule-podcast-393632
11. Mysterious Professor with Dirt on Clinton Disappeared
Amid the opportunists, weirdos, trolls, and pawns who make up the cast of the Russian plot to interfere in American politics, Joseph Mifsud stands out.
The Maltese professor, who allegedly delivered word of Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails to Donald Trump's campaign, is an authentically mysterious figure, his true role and ties to Russian intelligence unclear.
And while others like former Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page — and their friends and girlfriends — told their stories, Mifsud went to ground. His biography disappeared from one university where he taught and he quit his job at another university. His email and cell phones went dead. And politicians, colleagues, and journalists can't find him.
Neither can Anna, his 31-year-old Ukrainian fiancé, who says he is the father of her newborn child. And her story, snatched from the pages of a John le Carré novel, offers a glimpse at the human collateral damage of an intelligence operation in which the mysterious Mifsud was allegedly a central figure. https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-mysterious-professor-at-the-center-of-the-russia-trump
12. 'This is not normal': Glitches mar new tax law
The glitches in the new tax law are starting to pile up.
Republicans would like to address the problems as soon as next month, as part of legislation needed to fund the government. But to do that, they’ll need assistance from Democrats, and it’s unclear they are in any mood to help. They were shut out of the process of writing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and may be looking for payback after Republicans steadfastly refused to allow them to fix hitches in the Affordable Care Act.
Some Democrats say they will want to widely reopen the law, as part of any effort to clean up the legislative miscues. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/24/tax-law-glitches-gop-423434
13. RNC started paying Trump campaign's rent at Trump Tower after it stopped covering Trump's legal bills for Russia probe
Soon after the RNC came under pressure for paying legal bills for President Trump and his eldest son in the special counsel’s Russia probe, it started covering expenses for the president’s re-election campaign, CNBC reports.
The RNC is using campaign funds to pay Trump’s company more than $37,000 a month in rent, and to pay thousands of dollars in monthly salary to Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, John Pence, party officials confirmed this week. The rent pays for office space in the Trump Tower in New York for the staff of Trump’s re-election campaign. John Pence is the Trump campaign’s deputy executive director. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/23/rnc-paid-trump-campaign-trump-tower-rent-after-paying-legal-bills.html
14. As women turn on Trump, new budget axes birth control
The Trump administration announced Friday that it plans to cut funding for the Title X family planning program and prioritize funding for abstinence-only and religious-based programs.
The announcement, which was already long overdue, is just the latest move by the Trump administration to restrict access to birth control and roll back the clock on women’s health.
By eliminating the Obama administration’s emphasis on all forms of contraception, the move also marks another attempt by Trump — who remains obsessed with President Obama — to undo the progress made by his predecessor in any and all ways possible. https://shareblue.com/women-turn-on-trump-new-title-x-budget-axes-birth-control/
15. Archie Bunker's Editorial on Gun Control
16. CNN Poll: Trump approval slides, matches lowest point of presidency
A new CNN/SSRS poll finds President Trump’s approval at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet.
“The slide follows a January bump in approval for the President, a finding that appeared connected to a bullish stock market and strong reviews for the economy. His new rating matches a December poll, which marked his lowest approval rating in CNN polling since taking office in January 2017.” https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/25/politics/cnn-poll-trump-approval-matches-low/index.html
17. Trump urges national unity, investigation of 'the other side' amid Russia probe
Saying there were "no phone calls, no meetings, no collusion," President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed for an investigation of "the other side" amid the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, while claiming "we need intelligence that brings our country together."
"A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but on the other side. And somebody should look into it, because what they did is really fraudulent and somebody should be looking into that and by somebody, I'm talking about you know who," Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a reference widely interpreted to mean Attorney General Jeff Sessions. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/24/trump-memo-fbi-democrats-jeff-sessions-423451
18. Collusion or not, Russia probe is worst political scandal in decades
Whether or not Mueller ever finds a smoking gun that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, this is already the biggest political scandal in decades. And we are just more than a year into Trump’s presidency and nine months into Mueller’s probe.”
And this does NOT include other moving parts of the Russia inquiry, including that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Donald Trump Jr.’s direct messages with WikiLeaks, Trump constantly invoking the WikiLeaks revelations during the final month of the 2016 race, and Jared Kushner’s inability to obtain a permanent security clearance. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/collusion-or-not-russia-probe-worst-political-scandal-decades-n851156?cid=eml_pol_20180226
19. Kamala Harris positions herself for White House run
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is increasingly positioning herself for a what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary for the White House in 2020.
“The former California attorney general, who is just at the beginning of her second year in the Senate, is taking positions that could endear herself with the Democratic base while allowing her to stand out from a group of Democrats who might seek the progressive mantle. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/375364-kamala-harris-positions-herself-for-white-house-run
20. The Left Is Energized. Now It Needs to Vote
The entire progressive movement — from the top of the Democratic Party to the new neighborhood groups — should be thinking about how to lift turnout. They should be pushing for laws that make it easier to vote, as is happening in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and elsewhere. They should be spending time and money to register voters. They should be asking progressive entrepreneurs how the iPhone, Alexa, social media, podcasts and yet-to-be-built apps can inspire (and nag) people to vote. They should be ruthlessly evaluating what works and what does not.
They can also be talking with family and friends about the singular power of voting. When I spoke with Skocpol last week, she told me that some of the new progressive activists are doing exactly this, encouraging their children and grandchildren to register.
The mechanics of voter turnout aren’t exciting. But the results can be: Fewer gun deaths. Less climate damage. Less inequality. Higher living standards. And a government that better reflects the views of all its citizens. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/opinion/democrats-voter-turnout.html
21. Millions Won’t Have Health Insurance Next Year
Come 2019, 6.4 million fewer Americans are expected to have health insurance as a result of the GOP's decision to get rid of the individual health care mandate and other policy changes made by President Trump, according to a new report released by the Urban Institute. Another 2.5 million people, who would otherwise have been insured, are expected to opt for short-term policies instead. https://www.axios.com/fewer-americans-to-have-healtchare-b096d7c4-888c-45e5-923c-7fe695ab0f3b.html
22. CNN poll: Democratic advantages grow ahead of 2018 midterms
Democrats once again hold a wide advantage in a generic congressional matchup, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, backed by a base of supporters who are more enthusiastic than Republican partisans and more motivated by core issues.
The poll finds 54% of registered voters say they back a Democrat in their congressional district, 38% say they back a Republican. That's a shift in favor of the Democrats since January, bringing their advantage in a hypothetical generic matchup to about the same level as early 2006, a year in which the party won control of both the House and the Senate.
23. 'Wacky' weather makes Arctic warmer than parts of Europe
OSLO (Reuters) - A freak warming around the North Pole is sending a blast of Arctic cold over Europe in a sign of “wacky” weather that may happen more often with man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday.
On the northern tip of Greenland, the Cape Morris Jesup meteorological site has had a record-smashing 61 hours of temperatures above freezing so far in 2018, linked to a rare retreat of sea ice in the Arctic winter darkness.
“It’s never been this extreme,” said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). Warmth was coming into the Arctic both up from the Atlantic and through the Bering Strait, driving cold air south. https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-europe-weather/wacky-weather-makes-arctic-warmer-than-parts-of-europe-idUKKCN1GA2AD
24. Ben Carson’s HUD Spends $31,000 on Dining Set for His Office
Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017 — just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor.
The purchase of the custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch came a month after a top agency staff member filed a whistle-blower complaint charging Mr. Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, with pressuring department officials to find money for the expensive redecoration of his offices, even if it meant circumventing the law. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/us/ben-carson-hud-furniture.html
1. Eugene Robinson: Don’t let the absurd ploy to arm teachers distract you
The deliberately outrageous idea of arming classroom teachers is nothing more than a distraction, a ploy by the gun lobby to buy time for passions to cool.”
The National Rifle Association and its vassals in the Republican Party would like you to exhaust your outrage on a possibility that is, from the start, impossible. … ‘Up to States’ means abdicating the federal government’s responsibility and urging state legislatures to waste time and effort debating whether to mandate that instruments of death be introduced to classrooms. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-let-the-absurd-ploy-to-arm-teachers-distract-you/2018/02/26/4003d4fc-1b36-11e8-ae5a-16e60e4605f3_story.html
2. Paul Krugman: The Force of Decency Awakens
A funny thing is happening on the American scene: a powerful upwelling of decency. Suddenly, it seems as if the worst lack all conviction, while the best are filled with a passionate intensity. We don’t yet know whether this will translate into political change. But we may be in the midst of a transformative moment.
You can see the abrupt turn toward decency in the rise of the #MeToo movement; in a matter of months ground that had seemed immovable shifted, and powerful sexual predators started facing career-ending consequences.
You can see it in the reactions to the Parkland school massacre. For now, at least, the usual reaction to mass killings — a day or two of headlines, then a sort of collective shrug by the political class and a return to its normal obeisance to the gun lobby — isn’t playing out. Instead, the story is staying at the top of the news, and associating with the N.R.A. is starting to look like the political and business poison it should have been all along.
And I’d argue that you can see it at the ballot box, where hard-right politicians in usually reliable Republican districts keep being defeated thanks to surging activism by ordinary citizens.
This isn’t what anyone, certainly not the political commentariat, expected. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/26/opinion/the-force-of-decency-awakens.html
3. Michelle Goldberg: Either a Conspirator or a Sucker
Robert Mueller, the special counsel, first indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, the former chairman and deputy chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, last October on charges including money laundering and conspiracy against the United States. At the time, the White House and its apologists argued that these alleged crimes pre-dated the campaign, and were thus unrelated to any putative election-related conspiracies with Russia. Tweeted Trump, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign.”
This wasn’t true then — multiple charges referred to crimes that were said to continue at least through 2016. But Mueller’s new indictments, released last week, render Trump’s defense even more ridiculous. They provide detailed evidence that Manafort and Gates’s alleged financial crimes continued while they were running Trump’s campaign. And despite the White House’s insistence otherwise, the felonies that Manafort is accused of, and the two that Gates pleaded guilty to on Friday, bear directly on the question of Russian collusion.
Perhaps Trump didn’t realize that his campaign was being run by alleged Russian money launderers, that at least two of his foreign policy advisers had entanglements with Russian intelligence, and that his campaign had a heads up about Russian plans to dump stolen Clinton emails online. None of last week’s new information proves that Trump is too disloyal to his own country to be president. But the only alternative is that he’s too clueless. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/26/opinion/trump-russia-election-conspiracy.html
4. Paul Waldman: The president's Trumpinator fantasy
Whenever there's a mass shooting, at least some supporters of gun rights can be counted on to say that we shouldn't be talking about guns, because the real problem is movies and video games (as though the United States is the only country in the world where violent movies and video games are available). But there actually is a way in which movies contribute to our violent culture and increase the death toll from guns. It's about the fantasies we — particularly men — construct about our own capabilities and potency.
Consider what President Trump said on Monday, talking — as he has a lot in the past few days — about the sheriff's deputy who, despite being armed, stood outside the high school in Parkland listening to the sound of students and teachers being shot. Calling it "frankly disgusting," Trump said, "You don't know until you test it, but I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon."
Yes, the 71-year-old obese man who avoided serving in Vietnam because of phantom bone spurs in his feet ("I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels," he has said), would have gone all Trumpinator on the shooter. Right. http://theweek.com/articles/757587/presidents-trumpinator-fantasy
5. Robert Kuttner: Robert Mueller Has Trump Cornered
Special counsel Robert Mueller is methodically, brilliantly filling in pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When complete, the puzzle will depict a president who is ripe ― overripe ― for impeachment.
Mueller’s indictment on Friday of Russia’s cyberwarfare against the 2016 election was a tactical and investigative masterstroke. President Donald Trump is now cornered. Mueller’s report makes a total liar out of Trump for his repeated claims that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when Putin says Russia had nothing to do with it, that the hacking could have been “some guy in New Jersey.”
The indictments do not quite connect the Russian operation to Putin personally, but that’s beside the point. No serious person believes that an operation as sensitive as deliberate disruption of the U.S. election could go forward without Putin’s full knowledge and support in a state as authoritarian as his.
Trump, having repeatedly denied Russian involvement, has now shifted gears and is insisting that the proper test of wrongdoing is “collusion.” But this is a straw man.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly and publicly urged the Russians to come forward with dirt on Hillary Clinton. His top advisers met with Russian operatives to see what they had. That part of Mueller’s investigation is still open.
What we already know is plenty damning. A conspiracy of interest does not have to include an explicit tit-for-tat deal. It can be based on signaling. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-kuttner-mueller-russia_us_5a8a3dfde4b004fc31939016
6. Opinion: The Flimsy Excuses That Congressional Republicans Whisper to Themselves
It is easy to conjure up the excuses that congressional Republicans murmur to themselves as they stay silent in the face of Trump’s outrages.
“I am in Congress — and not working in the White House. I’m not responsible for everything that Trump says.”
“Trump’s just bored and blowing off steam. The best thing to do is to ignore it.”
“With the Democrats piling on, I’m not going to criticize a Republican president.”
“What’s the upside to getting involved for me?”
“I’m in a tough re-election fight. The last thing I need is to split the GOP base.”
“What if Trump starts attacking me on Twitter?”
“Now just isn’t the time. I’ll save my ammunition for later.”
This collective timidity has contributed to a presidency that refuses to take any steps to protect the sanctity of American elections in 2018 and beyond.
When the histories of these dismal Trump years are written, congressional Republicans will be called upon to justify their conduct. Somehow their inevitable line, “It was easier to go along,” will not rank up their with Ronald Reagan’s invocation of “a shining city on a hill.” http://www.rollcall.com/news/opinion/congressional-republicans-excuses-trump
7. Jeva Lange: America's incredible teenagers
A week after Parkland, the world seemed ready to settle back into that familiar wait for the next one.
Everyone, that is, except America's incredible teenagers.
With the grace and composition and fury of people many times their 15 or 16 or 17 years of age, the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are no longer willing to simply wait for the next mass shooting. Conscious of the limits of their personal power — many have months or years to go before reaching voting age — they are using their voices to shake the nation out of its post-shooting stupor. A sharp student journalist, 17-year-old David Hogg, stared down a CNN camera and begged, "Please … we are children. You guys are the adults." Speaking at the Florida Capitol on Wednesday, 16-year-old Alfonso Calderon became emotional as he told the crowd of protesters: "Although we are just kids, we understand. … I don't think we should ever be silenced because we are just children."
Their anger is frightening in its magnitude and unfamiliarity. While the children who survived Newtown were too young to put into words their experiences, with Parkland the country is suddenly confronted by the livid demands of teenagers who were recently in real danger of losing their lives. It is very hard to argue with them. http://theweek.com/articles/756702/americas-incredible-teenagers
8. Jonathan Chait: Donald Trump Is the Most Pure Conservative President Ever
Trump’s racism, paranoia, and authoritarianism are all deeply rooted in the American conservative tradition. William F. Buckley supported segregation and white supremacy, and after his shouts of “Stop!” failed to halt the civil-rights train, he again supported white supremacy and segregation in South Africa until that, too, was a lost cause. Buckley had fulsome praise for right-wing dictators like Francisco Franco. These beliefs may not have defined the entirety of his worldview, but they formed an important foundation for it.
Trump habitually repeats theories he sees in conservative media. Donald Trump had a firmer grip on reality as a younger man who primarily followed the mainstream news, before the invention of Fox News. His descent into paranoia is linked with his growing absorption into the right-wing media echo chamber. Trump has not infected conservatism. Conservatism has infected Trump.
This is not an abstract question or a debater’s point. The insistence by conservative dissidents on treating Trump as an alien disease upon their movement prevents them from diagnosing, and therefore treating, the source of the infection. To restore the Republican Party to health, defined as being committed to some baseline relationship with reality and a commitment to democratic governing norms, requires freeing it from conservatism’s grip. It requires a break from decades of American right-wing tradition. And if that sounds like a deeper schism than anti-Trump conservatives are willing to contemplate at the moment, they need to come to grips with the reality that before their party gets better, it is going to get much worse. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/donald-trump-is-the-most-pure-conservative-president-ever.html
9. William Falk: Sacrificed for the right of revolution
A civilian knockoff of a weapon designed for battlefields, AR-15–style rifles are the perfect tools for mass killings — easy even for a novice Rambo to fire accurately, with little recoil, and customizable with handgrips, sights, and magazines of 30 to 100 rounds. For 10 years, the federal government banned assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines, but that law expired in 2004. Now the NRA and its allies fiercely oppose any renewal of the ban. Why?
You'll hear various disingenuous arguments, but in The Federalist this week, John Davidson provides the answer that is the bedrock of all gun-control opposition. The Second Amendment, Davidson says, was not meant to merely protect hunting and self-defense. No: "The right to bear arms stems from the right of revolution." Weapons designed for war must remain legal, Davidson says, so that Americans can "overthrow their government if it becomes tyrannical." It's a terrible shame, he concedes, that AR-15s have been used to shoot up schools, concerts, workplaces, and churches — but the Second Amendment "is worth dying for." Seen from this perspective, the bullet-riddled dead of Parkland, Newtown, Las Vegas, et al. are necessary sacrifices; their slaughter enables liberty-loving Americans to maintain the option of armed rebellion. This core belief, which drives the intractable opposition to any form of gun control, is not often publicly discussed; until it's addressed and confronted, the carnage will continue. http://theweek.com/articles/756968/sacrificed-right-revolution
10. Damon Linker: The Parkland shooting may just ruin the GOP
There were already plenty of signs of a rising Democratic wave before the Parkland massacre. But now? After all the deaths, and the endlessly repeated perfunctory expressions of impotence on the part of our politicians, and the risible suggestion of our credulous commander in chief that the answer to deadly weaponry in our schools is even more deadly weaponry in our schools — after all of that, will the wave not rise higher? Will Democrats and left-leaning independents, and maybe even some Republican parents, not show up at the polls in November to register their disgust at the refusal of our elected officials to do anything at all in response to the carnage piling up all around us?
I could be wrong. But this time feels different. This time Republicans better watch out. A majoritarian storm is brewing, it's moving their way, and there could be little left standing by the time the outraged winds stop blowing. http://theweek.com/articles/756973/parkland-shooting-may-just-ruin-gop
11. Maureen Dowd: This Snake Can’t Shed His Skin
On her way to work one morning, down the path along the lake, a tenderhearted woman saw a rich, coldhearted, frozen snake.
His tangerine skin was all caked with makeup and his bald spot was frosted with the dew.
“Poor thing,” she cried, “I’ll take you in, and I’ll take care of you.”
“Take me in, oh tender woman. Take me in, for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh tender woman,” sighed the vicious snake.
She wrapped him up all cozy, tucking in his absurdly long tie of silk, and laid him by her fireside with two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate shake of milk.
She hurried home that night from holding up a torch on Liberty Island, and soon as she arrived, she found that the freaky snake, transfixed by his own image on TV, had been revived.
“Take me in, oh tender woman. Take me in, for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh tender woman,” pleaded the cunning snake.
She clutched him to her bosom, which he really seemed to like. “You think you’re pretty,” she cried. “But if I hadn’t brought you in, by now surely you would have died.”
She stroked his puffy Velveeta scales again, and kissed and held him tight. But instead of saying thank you, that grabby snake wrapped around her you-know-what and gave her a vicious bite.
“Take me in, oh tender woman. Take me in for Heaven’s sake. Take me in, oh tender woman,” sighed the sneaky snake as he changed to “Fox & Friends” for news that was fake. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/24/opinion/sunday/donald-trump-snake-dowd.html
12. LA Times Editorial: Well-Heeled Investors Reap the Republican Tax Cut Bonanza
After President Trump signed the Republican tax cut into law, companies put out cheery announcements that they were giving workers bonuses because of their expected windfalls from the tax reductions. The president and Republican lawmakers quickly held up these news releases as vindication for their argument that cutting the top federal corporate tax rate to 21 percent, from 35 percent, would boost workers’ incomes even as it added $1.5 trillion to the debt that future generations would have to pay off.
Now corporate announcements and analyst reports confirm what honest observers always said — this claim is pure fantasy. As executives tell investors what they intend to do with their tax savings and their spending plans are tabulated into neat charts and graphs, the reports jibe with what most experts said would happen: Companies are rewarding their stockholders.
Businesses are buying back shares, which creates demand for the stocks, boosts share prices and benefits investors. Some of the cash is going to increase dividends. And a chunk will go to acquiring other businesses, creating larger corporations that face less competition.
In addition to benefiting investors, these maneuvers will end up boosting the pay of top executives because their compensation packages are often tied to the price of their companies’ stock. Finally, a small sliver of the money will find its way into paychecks of rank-and-file employees, but it won’t be a big boost and will probably come in the form of a temporary bonus, rather than a lasting raise. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/opinion/investors-republican-tax-cut.html
13. Matt Latimer: Trump Is Winning. Are you sick and tired of it yet?
Despite Russiagate, despite shitholegate and despite whatever gate he blunders through next. Despite approval ratings that would make Nixon weep. Despite his mind-numbing political misjudgments—defending accused pedophiles, for example—and the endless, unnecessary daily drama. Trump is winning. It is actually happening, people. And if there are those who want to stop it—and there are, of course, millions—they need to know what they are up against. It’s a lot more than they overconfidently think.
The other day his personal lawyer made the preposterous claim that he personally paid $130,000 to an ex-porn star threatening to expose her relationship with Trump—with money from his own pocket—apparently just because Trump is a notoriously swell guy. How many lawyers do you know who’d so generously shell out over one hundred grand for a friend simply out of the goodness of their heart?
Did anyone believe that ridiculous story? Who knows—because it’s off the front pages and we moved on to yet another shocking scandal like last weekend’s tweetstorm, when the president of the United States seemed to blame the Russia investigation for the death of schoolchildren in Florida.Remember the pardon of the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a birther who was accused of using his office to target political opponents and conduct racial profiling and was found guilty of a felony for disobeying a court order? Remember the phone call with the war widow when Trump seemed to forget the dead soldier’s name? Nobody does. We are too exhausted. We don’t have time. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/25/trump-reelection-2020-approval-ratings-217037
14. Charles Homans: Do Trump’s ‘Approval’ Numbers Tell Us About Him, or About Us?
‘Partisanship has always factored heavily into presidential approval, but in recent decades it has come to eclipse all other variables in Gallup’s data. The last president to hold more than 40 percent approval from opposition-party voters in the early days of his presidency was George H.W. Bush. In his first three months in office, Trump received the lowest-ever approval rating among opposition-party voters (9 percent) and the third-highest-ever among his own partisans (87 percent). In a Huffington Post poll in April, 40 percent of respondents — 63 percent of those who disapproved of Trump and 24 percent of those who approved of him — said there was almost nothing Trump could do to change their minds about him.
This question becomes less and less hypothetical every time Trump barrels through another taboo that previously bound the modern American presidency: firing an F.B.I. director who was investigating him, hesitating to censure white supremacists, casually accusing his critics of treason. Trump sees an approval rating maddeningly stuck around 40 percent, while most of the country — 57 percent of it, if you credit Gallup — wonders: Really, still 40 percent? These numbers used to seem to say something, however vague, about a presidency and where it was headed. Now they tell us something about us, and it is maybe more than we would like to know. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/magazine/do-trumps-approval-numbers-tell-us-about-him-or-about-us.html