ON THE RECORD. . .
“The charges against Congressman Collins show the rampant culture of corruption and self-enrichment among Republicans in Washington today. The American people deserve better than the GOP’s corruption, cronyism and incompetence.” -- Nancy Pelosi, repeating the almost identical talking points that she used 12 years ago to link GOP candidates to Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley.
“So therein lies what’s like your classic Catch-22 situation where we’re at a — it puts us in such a tough spot. If Sessions won’t un-recuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger. That’s why… we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.” — Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), quoted by the Washington Post from secret recordings at a Republican fundraiser.
Trump ceded the moral authority of the Oval Office to drive a wedge into the nation’s festering racial wounds. He failed to use the tragedy to unite and heal our country. I haven’t been on this earth as long as Trump, but this much I (and Lemon) know: If your response to being legitimately called a racist is to hurl it back at your accuser, you most definitely are -- Jonathan Capehart
“Well, he’s had the nuclear codes for a year and a half, and we’ve been all right. It’s been a year and a half, and no nuclear war yet. Success! -- Marco Rubio on why he has come to see his former rival in a new light.
The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love..... -- Trump even though, over and over again, players have stated clearly why they’re kneeling and why they’re doing it during the national anthem.
…..Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay! — Trump, who neither pays nor has any control over players’ salaries.
“We must be a party that fights fire with fire. When they go low, I say hit back harder.” — Michael Avenatti at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Iowa.
“This whole notion of chain migration actually is a beautiful bedrock of immigration law and policy called family reunification,” Wildes said. “Imagine this, people will work harder and love more and do more for America knowing that their loved ones, their immediate relatives, their parents, their children [can come to the country].” -- Attorney Michael Wildes , the immigration lawyer for the First Lady’s family defending the so-called “chain migration” that President Donald Trump vehemently opposes on CNN Friday.
The United States had descended into “moral decay ... we have watched in one generation where homosexuality was once criminalized to now we see the criminalization of Christianity.” -- North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Harris (R) in a 2015 speech (video)
“It’s like a fire. Fires are a part of the ecosystem, part of the natural progress. And when the forest burns, it’s purified. There can be new growth. For there to be new growth of a conservative movement, of a right center party, the one that I joined in 1988, it needs to burn to the ground.” — Former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, talking about the Republican party..
“The Republican Party has never been for protectionism. The Republican Party doesn’t support a notion that families shouldn’t be held together. The Republican Party never supported the notion that we should ring up debt and put our kids so much in debt by doing things that are not responsible. The Republican Party has never believed that we should walk away from our allies who have helped us keep the peace since World War II. These positions, they don’t even resemble the Republican Party.” -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) saying that he no longer recognizes the Republican Party.
“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country. If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.” -- Stephen Glosser, uncle of White House aide Stephen Miller
President Trump has spent the past year and a half emphatically declaring that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia, adamantly and angrily insisting that any suggestion to the contrary is nothing but a “hoax.” Trump is now trying out a new line, which looks a little something like this: There was “no collusion” … “to the best of my knowledge.” -- Greg Sargent
“The Republican Party, seems to me, to no longer deserve my support or frankly the support of anybody who thinks that the legislative branch should act as a check and balance against executive authoritarianism.” -- Paul Rosenzweig, a lifelong Republican and former aide during the Kenneth Starr investigation into President Clinton.
“He is such a f**k up. He screwed up again, but this time, he’s screwing us all, big-time!” -- Trump, after learning his oldest sun had released emails about a controversial Trump Tower meeting attended by a Kremlin-connected lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to Omarosa Manigault Newman’s forthcoming book.
GIULIANI: It’s in the eye of the beholder.
CUOMO: No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder.
GIULIANI: Nowadays they are.
Rudy Giuliani interviewed by Chris Cuomo on CNN.
"We so numb to Trump’s rhetorical outrages that we can’t still be a little bit horrified by them? Omarosa titled her kiss-and-tell “Unhinged.” Trump seems intent on proving her right." -- Susan B. Glasser https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/dog-days-trump-and-his-toxic-twitter-insults-of-omarosa
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Satire from the Borowitz Report: Trump Says White House Is No Place for Lying Lowlife from Reality Show
Blasting his former colleague Omarosa Manigault, Donald J. Trump said on Monday that “the White House is no place for a lying lowlife from a reality show.”
“People were impressed by Omarosa because they saw her on a TV show,” Trump told reporters from his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Well, I’ve got news for you: being on a reality show does not qualify you to work in the government.”
Explaining why he considered her a “lowlife,” Trump said, “She’s rude, abrasive, and offensive. Having someone like that in the White House is an embarrassment to our country.”
But worst of all, Trump said, was Omarosa’s lying, which he called “constant.”
“She can’t go a day without lying, and what’s more, she’s narcissistic and paranoid,” he said. “A psycho like that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Room.”
Pronouncing himself pleased that Omarosa was no longer in his Administration, Trump concluded his scorching remarks by saying, “The sooner we can rid the White House of reality-show con artists, the better off the country will be. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
2. Trump’s Economic Mirage
Trump “is pulling numbers out of thin air when it comes to the economy, jobs and the deficit.
He refers to a current record-breaking gross domestic product for the U.S. where none exists and predicts a blockbuster 5 percent annual growth rate in the current quarter that hardly any economist sees. Hailing his trade policies in spite of fears of damage from the escalating trade disputes he’s provoked, Trump also falsely declares that his tariffs on foreign goods will help erase $21 trillion in national debt. The numbers don’t even come close. http://theweek.com/articles/788840/america-sale
3. New coalition plans seven-figure campaign aimed at Puerto Rican voters
Critics of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico last year are launching a seven-figure campaign to mobilize displaced Puerto Rican voters ahead of the midterm elections – and planning big demonstrations in New York and Florida to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-coalition-plans-7-figure-campaign-aimed-at-puerto-rican-voters/
4. The Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort: Greed, Deception and Ego
Manafort’s trial underscores questions about how someone in such deep financial trouble rose to the top of the Trump campaign, spreading a stain that has touched the president’s innermost circle. The formidable parade of more than 20 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits has further eroded the notion, advanced by President Trump, that the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, Robert S. Mueller III, is on a "witch hunt." https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/12/us/politics/manafort-trump-trial.html
5. GOP lawmaker: Russian meddling fanned the flames in Charlottesville
Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) said Saturday that he was told during a briefing with the FBI director that Russian meddling played in a role in “fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville” one year ago, when a white nationalist rally turned violent.
Said Garrett: “I sat in a closed session briefing probably two months ago about Charlottesville with the director of the FBI, amongst others, and asked if Russian inter-meddling had to do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville. I was told yes, it did.” https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/11/politics/charlottesville-russia-meddling-republican-lawmaker/index.html
6. Trump Is Losing the Argument Over the Mueller Probe
Only 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the Russia investigation, vs. 55 percent who disapprove.
58 percent say this is a serious matter that should be investigated, vs. only 37 percent who think it’s mainly an effort to discredit Trump.
56 percent say Trump has interfered with the investigation, vs. only 38 percent who say he has not.
Only 37 percent say the things Trump has said publicly about the investigation are true, vs. 56 percent who say they are false.
70 percent say Trump should testify to Mueller, vs. only 25 percent who say he should not.
57 percent say Trump knew about contacts between his campaign operatives and Russians, vs. only 36 percent who say he did not.
7. Roger Stone Shares ‘Space Force’ Image with Swastikas
Roger Stone shared an image on Instagram of himself, President Trump and several other Trump allies wearing spacesuits with swastikas on them.
Said Stone: “I love this — proud to be in this crew — but the only lies being told are by liberal scumbags.”
Stone's post has since been deleted.
8. House: Three More GOP Seats Join the Toss Up Column
For Republicans, the 2018 House playing field is a lot like a game of Whack-a-Mole: everywhere they turn, new problems keep popping up in surprising places. In January, we rated 20 GOP-held seats as Toss Ups or worse, including three leaning towards Democrats. With today’s changes, we now rate 37 GOP-held seats as Toss Ups or worse, including ten leaning towards Democrats. https://www.cookpolitical.com/analysis/house/house-overview/house-three-more-gop-seats-join-toss-column
9. New poll suggests attacks on Nancy Pelosi won't matter in midterms
A new CNN poll finds that just 34% of registered voters say that Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi will be “an extremely or very important” factor in their vote this fall.
That ranks dead last of the 10 factors asked in the survey. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/15/politics/pelosi-doesnt-matter-in-midterms/index.html
10. The DAILY GRILL
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” -- Trump about Omarosa Manigault Newman, his former reality television protege.
“It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation.” -- Former CIA Director, John Brennan criticizing Trump for calling Omarosa Manigault Newman, his former top aide, a “dog.” Trump, making Brennan's point by cancelling his security clearance.
When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans. President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.” -- White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending Trump against racism charges.
That’s not true. During Obama’s eight years in office, black employment rose by 3 million jobs, compared to 700,000 jobs in the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency. -- Adam K. Raymond in the Daily Intelligencer
“The America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people,” -- Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham’s Wednesday night monologue about immigrants destroying America.
“One of the most important (truthful) monologues in the history of MSM,” -- David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in response of Ingraham’s rant.
“In the numbers that were just released -- the reporters didn't cover this one; to me it was maybe more important than the 4.1, because we're going to be doing a lot better than 4.1 as things go -- for the first time maybe ever, the trade deficit just fell -- think of that -- by, for the quarter, $52 billion. Nobody reports it.” — Trump, remarks during a campaign rally, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Aug. 2
We generally are reluctant to give Four Pinocchios for a factoid based on government data. But the president is presenting this in such a misleading manner that we have little choice. In every instance, the president says the trade deficit fell by $52 billion from the first to the second quarter, calling it one of the “biggest wins” in the GDP report. He may be convinced of it, but that’s simply not true. -- Glenn Kessler, the Wash Post fact checker
11. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
Right-wing media pastor and GOP-backed congressional nominee favorably remembered when “homosexuality was once criminalized” https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/08/10/right-wing-media-pastor-and-gop-backed-congressional-nominee-favorably-remembered-when-homosexuality/220952
Laura Ingraham's anti-immigrant rant is ripped from white supremacists. VIDEO
Fox guest on NFL kneeling, MS-13, and #AbolishICE: "This isn't the America I grew up in. "Co-host Ainsley Earhardt:" What is happening? What is happening to our country?" https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/10/fox-guest-nfl-kneeling-ms-13-and-abolishice-isnt-america-i-grew/220959
Fox & Friends is still angry about NFL preseason anthem protests: "How many NFL packages are going to be cancelled now?." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/10/fox-friends-still-angry-about-nfl-preseason-anthem-protests-how-many-nfl-packages-are-going-be/220958
Report: White House is waiving ethics rules so former Fox co-President Bill Shine can talk to the network. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/08/13/report-white-house-waiving-ethics-rules-so-former-fox-co-president-bill-shine-can-talk-network/220979
Fox News reporter: Unite the Right white nationalists "peacefully exercised" free speech while counter-protesters were "chaotic." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/13/fox-news-reporter-unite-right-white-nationalists-peacefully-exercised-free-speech-while-counter/220977
Fox guest: Donald Trump is "like King Lear, a man more sinned against than sinning." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/13/fox-guest-donald-trump-king-lear-man-more-sinned-against-sinning/220975
Fox & Friends guest dismisses reality of police brutality, criticizes NFL players' protests. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/13/fox-friends-guest-dismisses-reality-police-brutality-criticizes-nfl-players-protests/220976
On Periscope, Alex tells supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against antifa, the mainstream media, and “Chicom operatives.” Jones: It's time to act before the media carries out a “false flag.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/14/pericope-alex-jones-tells-supporters-get-their-battle-rifles-ready-against-antifa-mainstream-media/220995
Fox's David Bossie: Allegation that Trump used the N-word is an "outrageous accusation," "unfair to this president." Bossie: "It's unfortunate that Omarosa has just really committed, in my opinion, treason against the man who really created her." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/08/15/foxs-david-bossie-allegation-trump-used-n-word-outrageous-accusation-unfair-president/221000
12. White House paranoia deepens after tapes
The Omarosa tapes have only deepened a pre-existing sense of paranoia among Trump staffers… fueling an underlying suspicion that everyone inside the West Wing is out for themselves. The White House has no way of knowing how many tapes Manigault Newman might have, the official said, even as they explore legal avenues for preventing their release and punishing her for making them. The official declined to specify what specific legal steps were being considered. https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/13/politics/omarosa-white-house-paranoia/index.html
13. From the Late Shows
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Mike Pence Tries To Make Space Force Sound Less Dumb https://youtu.be/7ipwho-kxkI
Late Night with Seth Meyers: Trump's Week of Corruption Scandals: A Closer Look: https://youtu.be/BkaYjdV6wCg
14. Late Night Jokes for Dems
After former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault released a recording of a conversation with President Trump, Trump tweeted, “Wacky Omarosa who got fired three times on ‘The Apprentice’ now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will.” Well, actually, she did make it. You hired her for a job in the White House after she got fired three times on “The Apprentice.” That’s like getting cut three times from the Mets and thinking, “I’m going to try out for the Yankees.” -- Seth Meyers
Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault yesterday played a recording of a conversation with chief of staff John Kelly in the Room, which is the most secure area of the West Wing. Well, [shows door with sign “Melania’s Room: Keep Out!!!”] the second most secure. -- Seth Meyers
Omarosa also claims in her book that she once saw President Trump eat a piece of paper. But in his defense, [shows paper with “chicken” written on it] he was tricked. [imitates Trump, chewing] “There’s something wrong with this chicken.” -- Seth Meyers
The New York Times has reported $24 million in profit for the second quarter this year. "You're supposed to report profit?" asked Paul Manafort. -- Seth Meyers
Tonight was an all-new episode of “Bachelor in Paradise.” You know I love that. But if you want to see some reality stars go at it on TV, just check out Omarosa and President Trump. -- Jimmy Fallon
The big story is, of course, Omarosa. She’s been promoting her new book, “Unhinged.” It’s about her time in the White House. She claims President Trump has mentally declined. Trump was furious. He said, “This book is an outrage. And — wait, what were we talking about?” -- Jimmy Fallon
On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Omarosa played a recording of Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly, firing her in the White House Situation Room. Experts said, “Nobody’s ever made a recording in that room.” Then one guy said, [Russian accent] “That you know about.” -- Jimmy Fallon
In her new book, Omarosa claims that she once walked in on Trump in the Oval Office eating a piece of paper. Eating paper. On the bright side, that’s actually the healthiest thing he’s ever eaten. -- Jimmy Fallon
She says that Trump ate a piece of paper in the Oval Office. But I think Trump was just confused. Because it was a note from an angry staffer that said, “Eat me.” -- Jimmy Fallon
But before all this got out, Trump’s campaign tried to keep Omarosa quiet by offering her $180,000 in hush money. When Stormy Daniels heard that, she was like, “Oh, my God. What did she have to do for the extra $50,000?” -- Jimmy Fallon
The president’s been keeping busy. On Friday night, he had dinner with the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. And this is nice — Trump even picked up the check. But then he ate it. -- Jimmy Fallon
It just came out that when she worked in the White House, Omarosa secretly recorded Trump on her phone. I don’t know what’s crazier — the fact that people keep recording the president, or that Omarosa worked in the White House. -- Jimmy Fallon
And there was another huge revelation from Omarosa this weekend: She said the Trump administration was “deceiving this nation” by hiding how mentally declined President Trump actually is. Oh, come on. We see his tweets. He’s not fooling anyone. -- James Corden
15. U.S. Voters Dislike Trump Almost 2-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds
Only 31 percent of American voters like Donald Trump as a person, while 59 percent dislike him, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll.
Republicans like Trump by a 66% to 24% margin, the only listed party, gender, education, age or racial group which likes him.
Meanwhile, Trump currently has a 41% to 54% job approval rating, including 48% who disapprove strongly and 30% who approve strongly.
Trump does not treat people of color with the same amount of respect he affords white people, American voters say 54 - 39 percent.
American voters say 54 - 37 percent that "Trump has emboldened people who hold racist beliefs to express those beliefs publicly." https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2561
16. Trump’s ‘Perjury Trap’: Confessing to Obstruction of Justice or Lying About It
A perjury trap is a real thing. The term describes when prosecutors lure a witness into giving false testimony, usually for reasons other than covering up a crime, knowing they can prove the claim was false, and then nail them for perjury.
Asking Trump about his attempt to manipulate his FBI director is not a perjury trap. The question is not extraneous to a crime, it is a crime. He was very consciously attempting to stop an investigation into his administration. The mere fact that his lawyers are discussing it well in advance indicates that the subject matter is not a perjury trap, because the “trap” aspect involves the witness not knowing beforehand that the question is designed to produce a lie.
Trump’s lawyers have presumably concluded that they have no defense of his obstruction of justice. Faced with a choice between admitting to obstruction of justice, or denying it and risking perjury, Trump’s choice is to avoid the question altogether. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/trumps-perjury-trap-confess-to-obstruction-or-lie.html
17. The Archeology of Trumpism
Josh Marshall has an interesting look back at a series of videos Donald Trump made from 2011 to 2014 which were “a sort of dry run” for the Trump we now know today.
Trump is a cretin and a racist and a buffoon. But we fool ourselves if we don’t recognize that he is a sort of savant, a con man but an instinctive political animal who has a deep hold on a big chunk of the country. Language, tone and voice are at the heart of that. Understanding how this happened is well worth our time. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-archeology-of-trumpism\
18. In leaked audio, Devin Nunes makes strong case for Democratic Congress
Last night, Rachel Maddow reported on leaked audio of Rep. Devin Nunes, who is perhaps President Trump’s staunchest bodyguard against accountability on Capitol Hill, in which he candidly revealed that Republicans hope to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein after the elections. Nunes is already leading such an impeachment drive — which hasn’t generated much GOP support — but Nunes added that he expected many Republicans to back Rosenstein’s impeachment down the line.
In case the meaning of this isn’t clear enough, Nunes also candidly stated that maintaining the GOP majority in Congress is imperative — to protect Trump from the Russia investigation.
In so doing, the California Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee inadvertently made a very powerful case for a Democratic takeover of Congress. Nunes’s comments also point to a way that Democrats can make the midterms about Trump corruption, while also making the Russia story — and the handling of it by Trump and Congressional Republicans — an important strand in that argument. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/09/in-leaked-audio-devin-nunes-makes-strong-case-for-democratic-congress/
19. The Shadow Rulers of the VA
Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”
O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.
More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.
Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.” https://www.propublica.org/article/ike-perlmutter-bruce-moskowitz-marc-sherman-shadow-rulers-of-the-va
20. ‘Hitler was right’: The Republican winner of the Missouri House primary leaves trail of bigotry
On his Monday morning radio show, Steve West promotes fanatical conspiracies about “Jewish cabals” that are “harvesting baby parts” through Planned Parenthood, that torture and molest children and that run the Republican Party.
On Tuesday he won the Republican primary for a Clay County seat in the Missouri House by nearly 25 points.
“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on a show on KCXL radio on Jan. 23, 2017.
West won the 15th District nomination in a four-candidate race. Besides his radio show, he also has a YouTube channel and a website. Donning a wig and fake beard and calling himself Jack Justice, he has unleashed an array of bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism. https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article216387050.html
21. Trump's Space Force Starts the Important Work: Picking Logos
During his speech at the Pentagon on Thursday, Pence said the Trump administration is hoping to instate a Space Force by 2020. Whether the United States is really "going to have the Space Force" has yet to be determined, because only Congress has the authority to establish a new branch of the military. But that hasn't stopped Trump's campaign from attempting to monetize the idea.
"As a way to celebrate President Trump's huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear," the PAC wrote in the email to its supporters. "But first we have to make a final decision on the design we will use to commemorate President Trump's new Space Force — and he wants YOU to have a say."
Only Trump's campaign donors can officially vote for a logo via the email sent directly from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee. https://www.space.com/41442-space-force-logos.html
1. Bess Levin: Trump Pours One Out For The Financial Crisis By Burning Watchdog To The Ground
Reuters reports that on Wednesday, the administration informed 40 employees in the Office of Financial Research that they will lose their jobs as part of a “broader reorganization” of the unit that was created by Dodd-Frank in 2010. While the O.F.R. has been under attack by Republicans for years, it wasn’t until Donald “We’re gonna slash regulations like nobody’s business” Trump entered the White House that the dream of kneecapping an agency that analyzes market trends to flag financial risks became a reality. Of course, Wednesday’s move—along with the broader one to cut the O.F.R.’s budget by 25 percent—isn’t being billed as demolition so much as a “reshaping.“ In a statement, the Treasury said it is “working to make O.F.R. a more efficient organization with a stronger workforce and culture to better execute on the mission.”
That statement might be more believable—still not completely believable, but more—if the administration hadn’t nominated Dino Falaschetti to run the bureau. Falaschetti, it should be noted, appears to be educated in the Mick Mulvaney school of thought, which says rather than going to the trouble of legislating these financial-crisis-era agencies out of existence, one should simply burn them to the ground from the inside. As Esquire notes, Falaschetti worked for the Koch-funded think tank the Mercatus Center, and currently serves as the chief economist for Representative Jeb Hensarling, who wants to see the Office of Financial Research buried in a shallow grave, right next to the corpse of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Anyway, happy Fi-Cri anniversary! What does everyone think the next crash should be called? https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/08/trump-financial-crisis-anniversary
2. Shikha Dalmia: Trump's latest immigration injustice is a malicious travesty
The administration's intention here is clear: Cut legal, family-based, and low-skilled immigration and allow only the tippy top in.
The perversity of this cannot be overstated.
An immigrant would be barred from upgrading his status if he married, say, an American woman on Social Security disability till he crossed the 250 percent earning threshold. Or consider, a real-life example of a Haitian green-card holder who works 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant but has a severely disabled American daughter who receives public assistance. His citizenship petition may not have a prayer. In effect, Miller's plan would penalize immigrants not because they are needy but because they have Americans in their lives who are.
What's particularly unfair about this is that it's not like legal immigrants get any reprieve from taxes. With very, very few exceptions, they pay all the taxes that Americans do and then some (if you count all the fees that they and their employers have to constantly cough up to get and keep their visas). Denying them a shot at citizenship would mean creating a permanently disenfranchised class that can be taxed but will be barred from basic assistance (in addition to all the federal means-tested benefits), and won't be allowed to vote, eviscerating America's bedrock commitment to no taxation without representation.
There might be a rationale for doing something this draconian if there were any reason to believe that immigrants consume more welfare than the native born. But in fact, the opposite is true.
A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that an average immigrant arriving today would contribute $150,000 more in taxes than he or she would consume in benefits over their lifetime. But even poorer immigrants tend to consume welfare at lower rates and lower amounts than the native born. Furthermore, even when immigrants receive welfare, they don't quit working: 14 percent more keep their jobs as compared to the native born. And none of this takes into account the fact that immigrants constitute a windfall for America's public coffers given that they tend to come during their peak productive years after another society has borne the cost of raising and educating them. If anything, every working immigrant is a gift to American taxpayers. And when one takes into account the taxes pocketed thanks to the economic growth generated by immigrants, their fiscal impact becomes overwhelmingly positive.
Allowing the administration to use a fake argument to deny people breaking their backs in farms, meat-packing plants, and construction to make Make America Great everyday would serve neither this country — nor immigrants — well. http://theweek.com/articles/789027/trumps-latest-immigration-injustice-malicious-travesty
3. Ryan Cooper: America for sale
Let's review some news from the first half of the week.
Monday: The trial of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort revealed jaw-dropping crimes, and continues to do so. His key lieutenant in his former lobbying business, Rick Gates, testified that they committed multiple instances of bank and tax fraud together.
Also on Monday, The Associated Press reported that as part of a quasi-genocidal, U.S.-supported war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is providing quiet assistance to al Qaeda, including funding, arming, and straight-up recruiting jihadis into their coalition. What's more, America was in on it: "Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes."
Tuesday: Former business partners of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (who has been overtly profiting from his office) filed suit alleging he stole $123 million from the business he used to run. Later, ProPublica published an astounding report detailing how the Department of Veterans Affairs is being run by a cabal of Mar-a-Lago members, bizarrely including Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, none of whom are public officials of any kind or even veterans.
Wednesday: Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was arrested by the FBI for insider trading — which was allegedly so blatant reporters overheard him boasting about it in the Capitol itself. Meanwhile it turns out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is turning his regulatory powers seemingly only on local news outlets that ask him tough questions.
This is modern American politics, folks: rotten to its very marrow. Corruption is eating the United States alive. As the Numidian King Jugurtha supposedly said of the Roman Republic: "Yonder lies a city put up for sale, and its days are numbered if it finds a buyer. http://theweek.com/articles/788840/america-sale
4. Jonathan Chait: The Whole Republican Party Seems to Be Going to Jail Now
The entire Trump era has been a festering pit of barely disguised ongoing corruption. But the whole sordid era has not had a 24-hour period quite like the orgy of criminality which we have just experienced.
The Trump administration has, even in its embryonic stage, already brought self-enrichment to a new level. Several possible explanations present themselves. Trump appears to select for greed and dishonesty in his cronies. (Collins does not work in the administration, but was Trump’s first endorser in Congress.) The sorts of people Trump admires are rich and brash and disdainful of professional norms, and seem unlikely to rat on him. The sorts of people who are apt to work for Trump seem to be those who lack much in the way of scruples.
The administration is understaffed and disorganized to the point of virtual anarchy, opening up promising avenues for insiders to escape accountability. Trump’s public ethos, despite his professions during the campaign that he could “drain the swamp” and impose a series of stringent ethics reforms, runs toward relativism — he famously tolerates anybody who supports him, regardless of criminal history or other disqualifications, defining their goodness entirely in terms of personal loyalty. And above all there is the simple fact that Trump himself is a wildly unethical businessman who has stiffed his counterparties and contractors, and worked closely with mobsters, his entire career. A president who is continuing to profit personally from his office is hardly in any position to demand his subordinates refrain from following suit.
It has been frequently noted that the president is molding the party in his nationalist, populist, authoritarian image. He is likewise molding its governing class after his own personal business ethos. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/republican-party-corruption-manafort-gates-chris-collins-wilbur-ross.html
5. E.J. Dionne Jr. : The path to autocracy is all too familiar
Benjamin Carter Hett’s “The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic” should join your summer reading list. Hett’s brisk and lucid study offers compelling new perspectives inspired by current threats to free societies around the world.
“In each era, we see the past differently, according to how we see ourselves and our own experiences,” Hett writes. “One era will notice things about the past that another will not. This is one reason why history is, and has to be, constantly rewritten.”
It is both eerie and enlightening how much of Hett’s account rings true in our time. Consider this declaration from Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist: “Certainly we want to build a wall, a protective wall.” There is this dolorous observation from the socialist Ernst Toller: “The people are tired of reason, tired of thought and reflection. They ask, what has reason done for us in the last few years, what good have insights and knowledge done us.”
As Hett notes, “The key to understanding why many Germans supported [Hitler] lies in the Nazis’ rejection of a rational, factual world. . . . Hitler could give voice to this flight from reality as could no other German politician of his time.”
The larger story he tells resonates, too. Hett argues the Nazi movement was “a response to an overwhelming triumph of global liberal capitalism at the end of the Great War” and that the logic of a chaotic moment “pushed opponents of austerity to become opponents of liberal democracy as well.” The Nazi movement was rooted in anti-Semitism, bigotry and exclusion. But it also exploited economic discontent bred by orthodox economic policies that deepened the pain of the Depression.
Conservatives everywhere should ponder the choices made by the German establishment, including big business, the military, culturally traditional Protestants and big landowners. They all helped bring Hitler to power because they hated the left — including the moderate Social Democrats, the backbone of the Weimar Republic — more than they loved republican government and political freedom. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-path-to-autocracy-is-all-too-familiar/2018/08/08/6f3602f8-9b25-11e8-b60b-1c897f17e185_story.html
6. NY Times Editorial Board: Trump's hard-hearted immigration policies are a stain on the nation
It’s been six weeks since a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to fix the crisis it created when it separated more than 2,500 children from their parents under a heartless policy designed to deter desperate families from entering the U.S. illegally. But the job of reunification still isn’t done, in part because the government failed to devise a system to track the separated families. Some 400 parents reportedly have already been deported without their children, and the government apparently has no idea how to reach them. It’s a colossal snafu that is as appalling as it is inexplicable. Among the many inhumane immigration enforcement policies adopted in the first two years of the Trump reign, history may well regard this bit of idiocy as the worst.
Or perhaps not; the competition hasn’t closed yet. In fact, the Pentagon is working on plans, at Trump’s direction, to house 20,000 detained immigrants — including children this time — in secured areas of military bases while they await deportation proceedings. Yes, the Obama administration did something similar when it tried to deal with the inflow of unaccompanied minors from Central America. It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now; kids don’t belong in prisons on military bases. Under a court order, the government cannot hold minors for more than 20 days before releasing them to the custody of their parents, other relatives or vetted guardians.
When it comes to immigration, there has been such a flood of bad policies and ham-handed enforcement acts since Trump took office that it can be hard to keep it all straight. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigration-enforce-trump-congress-20180810-story.html
7. Don J. Melnick, Mary C. Pearl and Mark A. Cochrane: The Earth Ablaze
The world seems to be on fire again, just as it was last year when destructive and deadly wildfires of enormous size raged in California, Chile, Argentina, British Columbia, Portugal and other countries around the world.
A dangerous, large-scale feedback loop that promotes wildfires has emerged. Forests, woodlands and grasslands hold much of Earth’s terrestrial carbon. When they burn, more carbon dioxide is released, increasing concentrations in the atmosphere and causing land and sea surface temperatures to rise. This warming increases the likelihood of even more widespread and intense fires and exacerbates the severe weather and sea level rise we are now beginning to experience.
What has been particularly worrisome in recent years is that the world’s largest forests, the taiga of Russia and its boreal forest cousins that ring the Arctic and store much of the world’s carbon, experienced wildfires at a rate and scale not seen in at least 10,000 years, according to paleoecological records.
The explosive rise in wildfires has occurred for two major, interrelated reasons: climate change and human behavior. As land surface temperatures rise, there has been a general warming across all seasons, with intense periods of heat during the warmest parts of the year, longer intervals without rain and marked reductions in relative humidity. Heat waves and droughts cause vegetation to dry into combustible fuels, enabling small fires to become widespread infernos.
Climate change has made wildfires collectively one of the most destructive extreme natural events we face, and this trend is likely to worsen in the coming years. Unless we take careful and thoughtful actions, providing education and incentives for adapting to wildfires as well as enforcing stricter rules to prevent them, we risk much more than we realize. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/opinion/wildfires-california-climate-change.html
8. Thomas L. Friedman: Keep Up the Blanket Coverage of Trump. It Hurts Him.
America’s unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, inflation for the moment is moderate, the stock market keeps setting records, and the president is coming off a crisis-defusing summit with North Korea. And yet, the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Trump having a personal approval rating of only 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving of his performance. And in a special election in Ohio held on Tuesday, the G.O.P. House candidate — whom Trump and the entire Republican establishment went to bat for — is barely ahead of his Democratic rival in a district that has not sent a Democrat to Congress in more than three decades.
That does not speak well for Trump or his midterm prospects, but it does for the American people and for thinking Republicans. It turns out there is still a cohort of Republicans who have not sold their souls to Trump the way virtually every one of their elected representatives in Washington has done.
It turns out that there are thinking Republicans for whom character, decency and truth-telling still matter in a president. It turns out that there are thinking Republicans who have watched Trump’s twitter rants, his disturbed performance at Helsinki and the unrestrained bile that he emits at his rallies — and the blind, ecstatic response of his core base — and found them unnerving and unworthy of their support. That is what the polls and polling stations last night are telling us.
Imagine how well President Trump would be doing if he weren’t Donald Trump — if he weren’t such a lying jerk.
I know that the G.O.P. Congress and Fox News are too compromised to ever tell Trump, “Enough.’’ But there are decent Republican moderates who, while they may never pull the lever for a Democrat, just might get too disgusted to vote. It’s the best hope. So let’s keep them fully informed about our president. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/opinion/keep-up-the-blanket-coverage-of-trump-it-hurts-him.html
9. Adam Serwer: The White Nationalists Are Winning
Despite the controversy over the Charlottesville rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it. And as an ideological vanguard, the alt-right fulfilled its own purpose in pulling the Republican Party in its direction.
A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tells his audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”
American history is replete with tragedies that are epic in scale, but few are comparable to what has happened to the party of Lincoln, who struck perhaps the most decisive victory against the principle that America is a white man’s country with the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is no reason that this new generation of immigrants cannot become loyal Republican voters, much as a previous generation of despised foreign newcomers did. The obstacle is the conservative movement’s growing embrace of a definition of American citizenship that is inherently racial. Where prior conservative champions like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might have seen a new generation of Republicans, today many conservatives see only an invasion. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/the-battle-that-erupted-in-charlottesville-is-far-from-over/567167/
10. Eric Levitz: The Trump Tax Cuts Keep Getting Worse for the Deficit — and Better for the Rich
In making their case for the president’s sweeping tax-cut package last year, Republicans made two major (and majorly ludicrous) promises: The law would neither increase the federal deficit, nor deliver the bulk of its benefits to the very wealthy.
“Not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured the public last September. That claim was echoed by the Republican Party’s preeminent “moderate,” Susan Collins, who informed Meet the Press that the tax cuts would “stimulate the economy, create more jobs,” and thus, “generate more revenue.” Meanwhile, President Trump insisted that “tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected,” and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn vowed, “The wealthy are not getting a tax cut under our plan.”
Nearly a year later, Donald Trump’s experiment with supply-side economics confirmed the results of prior trials: Turns out, giving large tax cuts to the wealthy makes the rich richer, the government poorer, and ordinary Americans more or less unaffected (unless/until the lost revenue is recouped in cuts to social spending or public investment).
The congressional budget projects that the federal deficit will climb by 39 percent this year, as revenues from corporate taxation fall by 27 percent. In total, Uncle Sam will shell out $912 billion more this year than he collects in taxes. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/trumps-tax-cuts-keep-getting-more-expensive-and-regressive.html
11. Catherine Rampell: Reasons Trump’s new immigration rule should make your blood boil
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Trump administration is readying a new rule that would make it harder for legal immigrants to receive either green cards or citizenship if they — or anyone in their households — has ever benefited from a long list of safety-net programs. These include the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps or even health insurance purchased on the Obamacare exchanges.
First is that, again, this policy would apply to immigrants who are in the country legally . It’s not about punishing people for “sneaking across the border,” that apparently unforgivable transgression that Trump officials have previously used to justify state-sanctioned child abuse. And, in any case, undocumented immigrants are already excluded from nearly all federal anti-poverty programs.
Most important is that under the proposal, it’s not only immigrants who must forgo safety-net benefits if they don’t wish to be penalized by the immigration system. It is everyone in a given immigrant’s household.
That includes — based on an earlier leaked draft of the proposal published by The Post — an immigrant’s own children, even if those children are U.S. citizens who independently qualify for safety-net benefits.
That’s right. Legal-immigrant moms and dads may soon face a choice between (A) guaranteeing their U.S.-born children medical care, preschool classes and infant formula today, or (B) threatening their own ability to qualify for green cards or citizenship tomorrow. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/three-reasons-trumps-new-immigration-rule-should-make-your-blood-boil/2018/08/09/1f59a7fe-9b4c-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html
12. Eugene Scott: Trump’s response to Omarosa continues a pattern some find concerning
In President Trump’s ongoing attacks on former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, he appears to be employing a level of intensity that confirms what many black women have always thought about Trump.
It was one of nearly 10 tweets over several days attacking Trump’s fellow reality-show star and someone who was formerly the highest-ranking black staffer in Trump’s presidency.
And those who have been more critical of the president saw something familiar in his words and tone that some think Trump tends to reserve for one of the demographics that voted against him at the highest percentage: black women.
For those keeping track, the number of black women on Trump’s attack list continues to grow. They include such people as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), White House correspondent April Ryan, media maven Oprah Winfrey, former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, former national security adviser Susan E. Rice and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile.
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) found herself attacked by the president last year when she told media outlets that Trump told Myeisha Johnson, whose husband Sgt. La David Johnson was killed when dozens of armed militants ambushed U.S. and Nigerien troops, that her husband “must have known what he signed up for.” The president responded by calling the lawmaker “wacky” and dishonest. Wilson and Johnson are both black women. To Wilson, Trump’s language toward Manigault Newman was the latest example of the president’s lack of respect for black women. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/14/trumps-response-omarosa-continues-pattern-some-find-concerning/
13. Tina Nguyen: Trump’s G.O.P. Has Become The Party Of Corruption
In today’s Republican Party, whose leader is seemingly impervious to the decades-long avalanche of criminal inquiries against him that concern everything from his private-sector work to his tax returns to the entire Russia investigation, criminal allegations aren’t nearly the death knell they once were. G.O.P. congressman Greg Gianforte was handed a deferred 180-day sentence after assaulting a reporter, but saw no backlash, even after Montana’s Democratic Party filed complaints with two ethics watchdogs. The plague, of course, emanates from the Trump orbit itself; former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is currently being tried for various charges related to his financial dealings, and Rick Gates, his onetime deputy who also played a role in the Trump campaign, has flipped to assist the prosecution, famously answering the questions, “Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort?” and “Did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort?” with a straightforward, “yes.”
Then there’s Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., and George Papadopoulos, who’s done the same (both are currently assisting in the Mueller investigation), not to mention Rob Porter, who worked in the White House while under accusations of domestic assault (allegations he has denied). And then there are the some half-dozen Trump appointees accused of ethics violations verging on the criminal—the latest, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, is under suspicion of stealing $120 million from his associates, allegations he, too, has denied. The laundry list stretches on, with a monotony that means those on it are difficult to distinguish from the crowd—a repetition that has protected them. “It’s very possible for Collins . . . to win this seat and re-election,” George Arzt, a longtime New York Democratic strategist, told the Times, citing the district’s heavy conservative bent. “Even under indictment.” https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/08/republicans-corruption-midterm-elections
14. Washington Post Editorial Board: Don’t fall for Trump’s latest whataboutism
TRUMP tweets it repeatedly: Yes, there was collusion with Russia — except the real colluders were Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. The president was back at it again Thursday, quoting a conservative cable host’s assertion that “Hillary Clinton & the Democrats colluded with the Russians to fix the 2016 election.” This inflammatory argument may play well with the president’s supporters and others inclined to believe the worst about Ms. Clinton. But the claim that Ms. Clinton’s 2016 opposition- research activities were on the same moral or legal plane with the Trump team’s direct interactions with Russians represents a preposterous effort to confuse and distract.
Mr. Trump’s whataboutism obscures the fundamental difference between engaging in opposition research that includes contacting foreign sources and lapping up information peddled by a foreign government. Mr. Steele, a well-regarded ex-spy, was acting as a compensated researcher with a specialty in Russia, not as a Kremlin cutout. He worked his network to deliver information to his client. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-fall-for-trumps-latest-whataboutism/2018/08/11/51488518-9b3e-11e8-843b-36e177f3081c_story.html
15. Abigail Tracy: “There Won’t Even Be A Paper Trail”: Has Stephen Miller Become A Shadow Master At The State Department?
Whereas Bannon made controversy his calling card, Miller has operated in a more shadowy—and effective—manner, gradually applying leverage and using shrewd personnel decisions to implement his draconian vision on immigration policy throughout the West Wing and government agencies. Some measures, like his role in the travel ban or the Trump administration’s callous family-separation policy, have been obvious. “It was really a shock to a bureau whose mission is to help refugees,” Anne Richard, a former assistant secretary of state for Population, Refugees and Migration, said of the travel ban. “I knew the Trump administration from the campaign was hostile to refugees. I did not anticipate that they would move so quickly, even before there was a Secretary of State.” As one senior Senate staffer explained, in the early months of the Trump administration “it was very dramatic and people knew what was happening and you could just see it visibly.”
It is now Miller’s government. The president and his senior adviser for policy are fully aligned in their vision of an America Dream in which immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are largely excluded. It is no surprise that the two men would seek to recalibrate the bureaucratic systems at their control to grind resettlements to a halt. Perhaps Miller’s greatest achievement, however, is how he has managed to project his influence largely from the shadows, deploying ideological apostles to do his dirty work. “He wants to be able to put it out there, speak for the president, not have his fingerprints on it, not risk his own political future, not get out ahead of the boss but be able to use his anonymity to put forward these extreme views and cast them as the president’s,” said the former official who worked on refugee affairs. “He has just been a master operator on that front. His name hasn’t been on anything. He is working behind the scenes, he has planted all of his people in all of these positions, he is on the phone with them all of the time, and he is creating a side operation that will circumvent the normal, transparent policy process.” Miller will succeed, the former official continued, “and there won’t really even be a paper trail.” https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/08/stephen-miller-refugees-state-department
16. Joe Scarborough: This is not a hoax, and things are not okay
President Trump and his Republican Party are showing a disturbing ambivalence toward Russia’s attacks on U.S. democracy. What exactly are we to make of their disturbing behavior? Even after Trump’s intelligence chiefs handed Republicans incontrovertible evidence of Russian malevolence, Trump dismissed the warnings as a hoax, the GOP House Intelligence Committee chairman secretly plotted against those leading the Russia investigation and Senate Republicans voted in lock step against a Democratic bill providing a stronger defense against future Russian attacks.
One thing is certain: Republicans can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to Putin. Our country’s national security community has sounded the alarm. Congress has been warned that our democracy is under attack by the Russians. How GOP leaders respond to this threat will determine not only the legacy of their political party but also the resilience of a political system they have carelessly ceded to a buffoon. Unless Republican leaders begin putting country ahead of party, history’s judgment against them all will be harsh. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-awol-as-the-us-is-attacked/2018/08/12/d3279984-9cce-11e8-843b-36e177f3081c_story.html