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Irrelevant Gasbag Gingrich Bloviates About Trump’s Tremendous Crowd at Boy Scout Jamboree

I was watching the Faux News channel at the gym today while using the elliptical machine. Newt Gingrich, perennial bloviator and irrelevant husband of the Ambassador to the Vatican, was on Neil Cavuto’s show talking about Trump’s thoroughly disgusting “speech” to the Boy Scouts of America at their annual Jamboree yesterday.

At one point he remarked approvingly about the size of the crowd, over 40,000 (mostly adolescent boys). In an attempt to conflate the Jamboree with a political rally, he made it sound like all in attendance had been there only to hear Trump speak.

Neil Cavuto, bless his little heart, demurred gently but firmly by saying he, too, had been in attendance with his own son and went on to quickly state twice it was “a captive audience,” meaning all these pre-pubertal and pre-voting age children had been there for a completely different reason than to listen to a campaign-style narcissistic rant from the crazy person who just happens to inhabit the White House presently.

It wasn’t a full-throated smackdown of Newtie, but I must say it warmed the cockles of my heart.

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Trump’s Advice to Boy Scouts: Go to the Hottest Parties While You Can.

Presidential words to live by, as told to the Boy Scouts at their Jamboree:

During the speech, Trump attacked Obama, slammed “fake media” and trashed Clinton for not campaigning enough in Michigan. He also told a rambling story about a home builder, William Levitt, who “went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older. And I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party,” according to news reports. 

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Ooh, Ooh! Voter Fraud, Voter Fraud!

Trump speaking to the Boy Scouts at their annual Jamboree:

“[Clinton] was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, well, wait a minute, the car industry is moving to Mexico. Why is she going to move — she’s there. Why are they allowing it to move? And by the way, do you see those car industry — do you see what’s happening, how they’re coming back to Michigan? They’re coming back to Ohio. They’re starting to peel back in.” [Applause.]

“And we go to Wisconsin — now, Wisconsin hadn’t been won in many, many years by a Republican. But we go to Wisconsin, and we had tremendous crowds. And I’d leave these massive crowds. I’d say, why are we going to lose this state? The polls — that’s also fake news. They’re fake polls. But the polls are saying — but we won Wisconsin.” [Applause.]

“So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, this is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again.”

[Audience chants “USA! USA! USA!”]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The traditional Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for boys ages 7 to 11 years, and Boy Scouting for boys ages 11 to 18.  So according to Trump, it was all these illegal underage voters who put him over the top.

Way to go, Scouts!

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Our Country in a Nutshell

From the Washington Post:

In a new book entitled “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters,” Tom Nichols describes Trump’s victory last November as “undeniably one of the most recent—and one of the loudest—trumpets sounding the impending death of expertise.”

The president defended his lack of specific policy knowledge during a rally on the eve of the Wisconsin primary in 2016. “They say, ‘Oh, Trump doesn’t have experts,’” Trump said. “You know, I’ve always wanted to say this: … The experts are terrible! They say, ‘Donald Trump needs a foreign policy adviser.’ … But supposing I didn’t have one, would it be worse than what we’re doing now?”

Nichols, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island, believes the “death of expertise and its associated attacks on knowledge fundamentally undermine the republican system of government.”

“The abysmal literacy, both political and general, of the American public is the foundation for all of these problems. It is the soil in which all of the other dysfunctions have taken root and prospered, with the 2016 election only its most recent expression,” Nichols writes. “Americans have increasingly unrealistic expectations of what their political and economic system can provide. This sense of entitlement is one reason they are continually angry at ‘experts’ and especially at ‘elitists,’ a word that in modern American usage can mean almost anyone with any education who refuses to coddle the public’s mistaken beliefs. When told that ending poverty or preventing terrorism is a lot harder than it looks, Americans roll their eyes. Unable to comprehend all of the complexity around them, they choose instead to comprehend almost none of it and then sullenly blame experts, politicians and bureaucrats for seizing control of their lives.”

Professionals in every industry report that laypeople increasingly challenge their know-how.“No area of American life is immune to the death of expertise,” writes Nichols, who worked for the late Republican senator John Heinz (Pa.) early in his career. “Doctors routinely tussle with patients over drugs. Lawyers will describe clients losing money, and sometimes their freedom, because of unheeded advice. Teachers will relate stories of parents insisting that their children’s exam answers are right even when they’re demonstrably wrong. Realtors tell of clients who bought homes against their experienced advice and ended up trapped in a money pit.”

The 252-page book is packed with illustrations. “What I find so striking today is not that people dismiss expertise, but that they do so with such frequency, on so many issues, and with such anger,” Nichols laments. “It may be that attacks on expertise are more obvious due to the ubiquity of the Internet, the undisciplined nature of conversation on social media, or the demands of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. But there is a self-righteousness and fury to this new rejection of expertise that suggest, at least to me, that this isn’t just mistrust or questioning or the pursuit of alternatives: it is narcissism, coupled to a disdain for expertise as some sort of exercise in self-actualization.”

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Oopsie!

In a 2015 Fox Business Network interview, Scaramucci called Trump a “hack” and a bully and said he didn’t like how the presidential candidate talked about women.

“He’s a hack politician. … I’ll tell you who he’s going to be president of — you can tell Donald I said this — the Queens County bullies association,” he said.

Now Scaramucci has shifted from criticizing Trump to telling reporters several times he loves the president. He also apologized for calling Trump a hack and said the president still reminds him of his previous comment

“I should have never said that about him,” he told reporters at his first press briefing Friday, adding later: “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.”

Trump weighed in Saturday morning, saying Scaramucci wanted to endorse him but didn’t know he was going to run. But as The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake pointed out, Trump had been a candidate for a month when Scaramucci called him a hack.

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Non Sequitur of the Week

New White House press secretary Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci on Trump’s qualifications for president.

Or something…

“I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire, I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them — he sinks three-foot putts,” Scaramucci said.
“I don’t see this as a guy who’s ever under siege. This is a very, very competitive person. Obviously there’s a lot of incoming that comes into the White House. But the President’s a winner and what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a lot of winning.”
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“If we don’t play my way, I’m taking the ball and going home.”
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Aw, Cut Them Some Slack. They Were New to This.

From CNN:

Following his release on Twitter of the email exchange between himself and Goldstone, Trump Jr. did an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a staunch supporter of the President. Trump Jr. said he would be willing to go under oath to speak about the meeting.
Sekulow [President Trump’s lawyer] pointed to Trump Jr.’s comments in the interview that he had now disclosed everything about the meeting.
“I think it speaks for itself,” Sekulow said.
Sekulow also maintained the meeting was legal and said people should not criticize the Trump campaign members for attending the meeting given the breakneck speed of the presidential campaign.
“I don’t think that’s fair to Donald Trump Jr., to Jared Kushner or to Manafort for that matter,” Sekulow said.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Poor Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. How can we expect them to know it’s illegal to conspire with a hostile foreign power in order to win an election? These guys were just babes in the woods caught up in the dizzying election campaign and it’s very unfair to hold them accountable.
Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. Until the next shoe drops.
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Hell Has Officially Frozen Over: I Agree with Charles Krauthammer.

From his column in the Washington Post:

“The Russia scandal has entered a new phase, and there’s no going back.

For six months, the White House claimed that this scandal was nothing more than innuendo about Trump campaign collusion with Russia in meddling in the 2016 election. Innuendo for which no concrete evidence had been produced.

Yes, there were several meetings with Russian officials, some only belatedly disclosed. But that is circumstantial evidence at best. Meetings tell you nothing unless you know what happened in them. We didn’t. Some of these were casual encounters in large groups, like the famous July 2016 Kislyak-Sessions exchange of pleasantries at the Republican National Convention. Big deal.

I was puzzled. Lots of coverup, but where was the crime? Not even a third-rate burglary. For six months, smoke without fire. Yes, President Trump himself was acting very defensively, as if he were hiding something. But no one ever produced the something.

My view was: Collusion? I just don’t see it. But I’m open to empirical evidence. Show me.

The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a “Russian government attorney” possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor. (Error: Britain has a Crown Prosecutor. Russia has a Prosecutor General.)

Donald Jr. emails back. “I love it.” Fatal words.

Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were forwarded the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.

“It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame,” Donald Jr. told Sean Hannity. A shame? On the contrary, a stroke of luck. Had the lawyer real stuff to deliver, Donald Jr. and the others would be in far deeper legal trouble. It turned out to be incompetent collusion, amateur collusion, comically failed collusion. That does not erase the fact that three top Trump campaign officials were ready to play.

It may turn out that they did later collaborate more fruitfully. We don’t know. But even if nothing else is found, the evidence is damning.

It’s rather pathetic to hear Trump apologists protesting that it’s no big deal because we Americans are always intervening in other people’s elections, and they in ours. You don’t have to go back to the ’40s and ’50s when the CIA intervened in France and Italy to keep the communists from coming to power. What about the Obama administration’s blatant interference to try to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in the latest Israeli election? One might even add the work of groups supported by the U.S. during Russian parliamentary elections — the very origin of Vladimir Putin’s deep animus toward Clinton, then secretary of state, whom he accuses of having orchestrated the opposition.

This defense is pathetic for two reasons. First, have the Trumpites not been telling us for six months that no collusion ever happened? And now they say: Sure it happened. So what? Everyone does it.

What’s left of your credibility when you make such a casual about-face?

Second, no, not everyone does it. It’s one thing to be open to opposition research dug up in Indiana. But not dirt from Russia, a hostile foreign power that has repeatedly invaded its neighbors (Georgia, Crimea, eastern Ukraine), that buzzes our planes and ships in international waters, that opposes our every move and objective around the globe. Just last week the Kremlin killed additional U.N. sanctions we were looking to impose on North Korea for its ICBM test.

There is no statute against helping a foreign hostile power meddle in an American election. What Donald Jr. — and Kushner and Manafort — did may not be criminal. But it is not merely stupid. It is also deeply wrong, a fundamental violation of any code of civic honor.

I leave it to the lawyers to adjudicate the legalities of unconsummated collusion. But you don’t need a lawyer to see that the Trump defense — collusion as a desperate Democratic fiction designed to explain away a lost election — is now officially dead.”

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More on Russian Fox Guarding U.S. Hen House

From Politico:

The prospect of partnering with Russia on a cybersecurity unit raised eyebrows in Washington.

“It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Nobody’s saying, Mr. President, the Russians changed the outcome,” Graham said to Chuck Todd. “You won fair and square. But they did try to attack our election system. They were successful in many ways and the more you do this, the more people are suspicious about you and Russia.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who unsuccessfully challenged Trump for the Republican nomination, also blasted the idea. Rubio likened working with the Kremlin to prevent election meddling to partnering with Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime on a “Chemical Weapons Unit.” Assad is notorious for using deadly chemical weapons on his people, including children.

“While reality & pragmatism requires that we engage Vladimir Putin, he will never be a trusted ally or a reliable constructive partner,” Rubio said in a tweet. He added in another: “We have no quarrel with Russia or the Russian people. Problem is with Putin & his oppression, war crimes & interference in our elections.”

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a similar fox-guarding-the-hen-house analogy on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is like a guy who robbed your house asking for a working group on burglary,” Carter said of Russia and cybersecurity.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also responded with a dig at Trump’s statements. “No art to this deal: What kind of “tough negotiator” goes into talks undermining his country’s own position, as you did attacking US intel?”

Speaking shortly thereafter on “State of the Union,” Schiff said that it was “dangerously naive” to rely on the Russians for help. “The Russians want to take down liberal democracy,” he told Dana Bash.

Schiff said that if the U.S. was going to partner with Putin on cybersecurity, “We might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.” 

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Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Servile Mewling

From Politico, by Jack Shafer:

“Even Russia-scandal skeptics had to cringe at the servile mewling of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who spoke to the press after the two-hour-plus mini-summit, which included the principals, Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, and two translators. Tillerson said Trump raised the subject of Russian campaign meddling but that Putin had denied it and at that Trump agreed to move on.

If the mark of a great diplomat is the ability to speak craziness with a straight face, Tillerson earned admittance to the Dips Hall of Fame. A “framework” for cybersecurity cooperation would be set up between the two countries, he promised. This would be like going into the fencing business with the guy who burgled your house. Sounding more like a therapist than the secretary of state, Tillerson said, “We’re unhappy. They’re unhappy,” and explained that salvaging this “really important relationship” meant blotting out the recent unpleasantness. (Take a shot of amnesia and call me in the morning.) Then Tillerson produced a laugh line that topped his previous ones. “The Russians have asked for proof and evidence” of the meddling, he said. Perhaps he should buy Putin a subscription to the Washington Post.

And remember, Tillerson was the smart one representing the United States in the room.”

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