by John Walters
I’ve always tried to balance my personal distaste for Trump with my support for much of the agenda. The good Trump/bad Trump thing.
After 2day, that dance is over. The bad Trump now clearly outweighs any policy benefits.
He is a danger to this country. I can’t straddle anymore.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 16, 2018
For the second time in 40 years, a Joe Walsh leaves the Eagles to embark on a solo career.
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to Helsinki is paved with maleficent ones. Why anyone is in the least bit surprised that Donald Trump publicly sided with Vladimir Putin over the FBI and the Dept. of Justice during their joint press conference yesterday, which followed a two-hour one-on-one-plus-interpreters-only confab in a room, believe it, called the Hall of Mirrors, is surprising to us.
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
Putin is not only whom Trump aspires to be as a ruler, but there’s a high probability, as the evidence slowly leaks out, that Putin has Trump by the short hairs either in terms of devastating intel or fiscal leverage, i.e., he funded Trump.
Trump committed treason yesterday. He did not adhere to the “Be Best” code.
Clip ‘n save: Each of those two translators are not immune from a future subpoena, if it comes to that. We imagine one of them will be difficult to extradite, but the other, not so much. Then again, if I were either of those two translators, I’d hire a few food tasters and pronto.
2. Once More, Sorkin Called It
Ironically, we were watching Season 6, Episode 14 of The West Wing (“The Wake-Up Call”) last night , during which White House Communications Director-cum-Deputy Chief of Staff Toby Ziegler is pulled into a meeting with a delegation from Belarus.
The elders, after throwing off decades of brutal dictatorship, have traveled to Washington to write a constitution for their newly democratized nation. They insist on mirroring the American model (three branches, a president, etc.), but Toby beseeches them to explore the parliamentary model.
“I was thinking we should push beyond American-style government,” the White House’s designated cynic says. “Only four presidential democracies have lasted 30 years. Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison [the framers of the U.S. Constitution], they got lucky.”
When the Belarus figures and an American constitutional scholar (played by Christopher Lloyd, whom I know as Reverend Jim but you may know as Doc from Back To The Future) argue that the British Prime Minister is “weak” and “subject to shifting coalitions,” Toby fires back, “She’s subject to the people’s representatives so she can be ousted if she summarily starts locking people up who don’t like the White Album!”
A Belarussian objects that the man they want to elect president is “a good man and he wouldn’t do this. He would create a stable environment for the country.”
“For the next 10 years, yes,” agrees Ziegler. “But this document isn’t about your current presidential hopeful, it’s about the 60 guys who come after him. You need systemic protection, safeguards, that can last beyond a generation. You gotta look beyond the moment, beyond the here and now.”
Interesting. That scene was penned in 2005. Imagine…
By the way, if you want to see one of the most crisply written and funny scenes in the entire series (now on Netflix), skip back two episodes in Season 6 to the “365 Days” ep, and find the scene in which Toby asks Annabeth (spunky spark plug Kristin Chenoweth) to teach the First Lady about stock car racking. I can’t find it on YouTube, but it’s a hoot.
3. Lock Her Up!
We probably all should have put our antennae up a few years back when the media described twenty something Maria Butina as a “Russian gun rights activist,” seeing as how” there’s nothing close to a second Amendment in Russia and, with a de facto dictatorship installed the past 18 years, there’s not about to be one.
Yesterday, in the second instance of impeccable timing by U.S. justice officials in the past four days, the Justice Department unsealed documents showing that it was charging Butina, 29, with espionage. She is the 26th Russian so charged this year.
The charges were filed under seal Saturday, Butina, who resides in the U.S., was arrested Sunday, and the charges were made public (and Butina appeared in court) on Monday, mere hours after the Trump-Putin reacharound. Impeccable timing.
One (of many) noteworthy things to take away from the affidavit detailing the charges against Butina, who allegedly twice tried to engineer private Trump-Putin meetings and also infiltrated the NRA as a conduit to financing politicians ($$$ goes from Russia to NRA to pols; see how easy that is?), theres’ this, as explicated by The Daily Beast:
“In that March 24 email, she proposed to this American contact of hers something she called “Project Diplomacy.” The GOP, she wrote, is “traditionally associated with negative and aggressive foreign policy, particularly with regards to Russia. However, now with the right to negotiate seems best to build konstruktivnyh relations.”
–“Now with the right to negotiate.” What exactly gave Butina that “right?” Could it be back channel money to the GOP? Or was it blackmail? Also, this email was written on March 24, 2015, nearly three months BEFORE Trump declared his candidacy. Were the Russians already working behind the scenes with Trump or had they already targeted the GOP in general?
4. Netflix Takes A Hit
MH’s fiduciary arm, Walker Capital, has enjoyed a bountiful 2018 so far with its heavy investments in Amazon (up more than 50%) and Netflix (up more than 100%) when trading ended yesterday. But then Netflix announced its second quarter earnings and fell one million new subscriptions short of its guidance (5.2 million versus 6.2 million) and the stock plunged nearly 13% (about $50 per share) after hours.
What does Walker Capital advise? DON’T SELL! And if you want, buy more. Look again: a company that did not exist as a streaming video service a dozen years ago just locked up 5 million NEW subscribers in the past three months. You wanna know how many subscribers most magazines have? Far less.
Yes, Amazon and the new AT&T/Time Warner merger, and Disney, will provide more competition in the coming years. But that’s only because Netflix demonstrated there was a viable market here where once nothing existed. It’s a blip.
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) are still up 1,000% in the past five years. That’s pretty, prit-tee, good (oops, wrong streaming service).
5. Cliff Diving
It’s been a bizarre year for female Oregon drivers and the Pacific Highway along the northern California coast. On Sunday a couple on a camping trip near Big Sur spotted a white SUV at the bottom of a 200-foot cliff, on the rocks at the foot of the Pacific Ocean.
As the couple searched more, they found 23 year-old Angela Hernandez, apparently the vehicle’s driver, who had been missing for more than a week. Hernandez told investigators she had swerved to avoid a rabbit (no details on whether she meant a bunny or a VW type).
Anyway, that’s odd. Surviving a 200-foot drop off the PCH with no life-threatening injuries, then lasting another full week along the bottom of a cliff along the Pacific and not succumbing to hypothermia, etc? Who was riding shotgun with her, Rob Konrad?
Anyway, Ms. Hernandez must be steamed that she received so much less coverage than the Thai boys soccer team.
The British trio that were Thompson Twins released this single in 1984 off their album Into The Gap. The symptoms are “burning, burning” and lead singer Tom Bailey, who incidentally has an underrated, powerful voice, wonders “if it’s love I’m feeling.” That’s one term for it, Tom.
MLB All-Star Game
8 p.m. Fox
In the days before cable and Blockbuster Video and then streaming, this event was the unchallenged television highlight of the summer. Nothing else came close. Then all those things, plus inter-league play, were spawned, and the midsummer classic lost its luster. It’s still fun for a few innings, then the starters are replaced, and a bunch of second-rate yokels who had to be there to represent the Rays and Padres decide who will host Game 7 of the World Series. Can’t say it makes much sense.