One Believes in Science
Robert Redfield Jr., the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave a deeply personal agencywide address Thursday in which he repeatedly underscored the importance of science and data and said the CDC’s most critical public health mission is to protect Americans “from that which we don’t expect.”
The 66-year-old Redfield, a longtime AIDS researcher appointed to the job a week ago, was overcome by emotion twice during his brief remarks and a question-and-answer session. The University of Maryland medical professor had sought the top job at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade.
About 30 seconds into his address, he choked up and then regained his composure. He spoke of the honor of leading the best “science-based, data-driven agency in the world. I’ve dreamed of doing this for a long time.”
One is a Jerk, But Not Enough of a Jerk to “Be on Trump’s Wavelength”
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has lost some of his clout following recent missteps and wasn’t at President Donald Trump’s side for crucial decisions on staffing and policy moves, according to several senior aides. …
Aides say Kelly mishandled Porter’s departure, first by revising a statement that praised the aide after news reports surfaced that he’d been accused of domestic violence, and then by giving reporters an inaccurate timeline of the events leading up to Porter’s dismissal.
Lately, Kelly is less aware of what’s on Trump’s mind and what he’s planning to do next, according to several aides, with one describing the men as sometimes on different wavelengths.
Two New Republic writers suck their thumbs for many paragraphs asking, Is “Porn Star” the Best Way to Describe Stormy Daniels?
Read them if such is your wont. But the correct answer is: no, “porn star” is not the most apt term. The aptest term is “entrepreneurial sex worker.” Like a person who begins her career driving trucks, and ends up owning and managing a small fleet of trucks.
Defamatory Imputation of Chastity
And now for your daily bonus.
Defamation, as you may know, is oral or written speech that damages another person’s reputation. The claim may be true or false: if it damages the reputation, it’s defamatory. (That said, truth is always a defense.)
During the nineteenth century the law evolved a category of the most serious forms of defamation, termed “defamation per se.” There were four of them:
- saying that someone is a criminal
- saying that someone exhibits qualities or behavior inconsistent with whatever line of business they are in
- saying that someone has a loathsome disease, or, last but not least,
- imputation of unchastity to a woman.
In an interesting legal twist, Miss Daniels has sued Trump’s lawyer for defamation, based on his assertion that she did not have sex with Trump.
I suppose that the imputation of chastity to a sex worker falls into the category of claiming that she exhibits behavior or qualities inconsistent with her chosen profession.
Trump remains unpopular with the majority of Americans, 58 percent. But 42 percent say they now approve of the job he’s doing as president, up seven points from a month ago.
It was splitsville with John Dowd on Thursday. DiGenova, he of Faux News bloviation, was going to take over.
Sunday, no more diGenova. Out of the Fox News frying pan, into the fire, was a bridge too far.
Maybe Ted Olson, Republican lawyer extraordinaire, of the disginguished firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, would sign on. Gibson Dunn’s web site boats of 127 years of excellence. Their management committee didn’t want to mess it up now.
No nope, said Ted Olson, fastidiously holding his nose.
Who’s next? A logical choice was Dan Webb, known in some circles as the best business litigator in the whole of these Newnited States. Dan hangs his shingle at a powerhouse called Winston & Strawn (where, BTW, some of Aardvark’s former partners have taken refuge).
When asked about the possibility of representing Trump, Winston’s management committee responded by inquiring whether the pope shits in the woods.
Tonight we learn that Mr. Webb has, with the deepest of regret, graciously declined the great privilege and high honor of representing the President.
It’s still gonna be Dershowitz. Doesn’t report to a management committee. In love with the sound of his own voice. Thinks he can win any argument. Any argument. Claims to be a liberal, but loves pissing them off. Really, really enjoys representing famous criminals.
To prepare for the water cooler conversations today, I highly recommend Josh Marshall, who has five points. I’ll tease with a couple of them.
The big takeaway from her account of their relationship was that she quickly asserted a dominant position in her interactions with Trump and maintained that throughout. …
Finally, the big news. Who threatened Daniels? She made it very clear she could identify the person if she saw him again. If you know Cohen’s business associates and particularly his past in the Taxi medallion business – strongarming major magnates in that world – you don’t need to have any question about who sent that goon. This is how Cohen operates because it’s how Trump operates.
As I said, the other three points are good, too.
As you struggle to rid your mind of the image of Donald Trump spanked in his tighty whities, permit me to raise once again the puzzling question posed by this headline: Kaine: Trump is ‘lying’ or ‘delusional’ on DACA.
OK, so which is it, lying or delusional behavior?
For a long time I went with delusional. I now know that was too simple.
Like the Cretan in the paradox, Trump always lies.
But he doesn’t lie cleverly. Instead, he always tries to gaslight you by telling a lie that’s exactly 180 degrees from the truth. In consequence, the public has come to learn that if they want to know the truth, all they have to do is figure out what is the precise opposite of what Don the Con just said.
Prime example last week: the tweet that all the big law firms and high powered lawyers yearn to be his defense counsel. When the truth is that none of them want to work for him.
And, by the way, let me pause to tell you why they won’t work for him. There are many good and sufficient reasons, but here’s the main one. The big law firms depend on hiring a stream of highly intelligent and ambitious law graduates. And highly intelligent law graduates, finishing their legal education in 2018, are not going to work for the law that works for Donald Trump. And the management committee bloody well knows it. Trust me on this one.
We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
It’s reasonably clear now that Don the Con always lies, and a lot of the time he knows he’s lying. His mental disability lies in his failure to gauge the effect of his lying. He believes he is a superhero with the magical power to gaslight the public. But his act has just about run its course.
Congressman Costello has figured out that the game is over, the jig is up. Fox News will figure it out some time in the next little while.
And that, of course, will be the moment when Trump starts a war.
Republican Rep. Ryan Costello won’t seek reelection this fall, a blow to Republicans seeking to hold his redrawn, suburban Philadelphia district.
In an interview on Sunday with the Daily Local News of West Chester (Pa.), Costello blamed the “political environment” for abandoning his reelection bid, including the conduct of President Donald Trump.
“Whether it’s Stormy Daniels, or passing an omnibus spending bill that the president threatens to veto after promising to sign [it], it’s very difficult to move forward in a constructive way today,” Costello told the paper.
Costello also had blame for “the left” for contributing “a lot of hate” and fostering a toxic political environment.
I must examine my conscience. Is Aardvark one of those fostering a toxic political environment? How can I look at myself in the mirror?
Aardvark’s posse have been exchanging email all weekend about the awfulness of some of the recent Facebook postings of our classmates from our Red State High School days back in the 1960s.
The conversation is enriched and given perspective by a long piece by Michael Gerson, himself an evangelical. You need to read it for yourself, and I won’t try to provide a fair summary. But a lot of the problem has to do with some bad choices evangelicals made at crucial points in history—like demanding that their adherent reject belief in evolution. Or making a huge deal out of Supreme Court decisions on prayer in the schools. Or—unlike the Catholics—never developing a coherent theory about what religions requires by way of social action. Or the fact that many of their leaders have sold their souls to Donald Trump.
After reading Gerson, I have a better sense of what happened—including what has probably happened to some of the increasingly crazy folks among my former high school classmates.
I still lack a compelling answer to why it happened.
What’s Don the Con going to do? I think he’s going to place himself in the hands of retired Harvard Law professor and current Faux News commentator, Alan Dershowitz. And I think Dershowitz will take the job.
Back when Hector was a pup, I learned what little I know about criminal law from Dershowitz, so I have followed his career with some interest.
Thinks he’s ten times as smart as everyone else. Loves to mouth off. Loves the spotlight. Loves to defend seemingly lost causes. Defended Claus vol Bulow and got a movie out of it. Defended Mike Tyson. One on the cast of thousands on the O.J. Simpson legal team.
Sure, he’ll take on the job of defending Trump.
But what’s gonna happen when Trump refuses to follow his advice—as he’s done with all his other lawyers—and Dershowitz reads him the riot act?
With nothing to hide, she’s going the full hangout route.
Meanwhile, I read an article yesterday or the day before saying that Trump is considering a Twitter attack on Stormy.
Not being as good in bed as the other party girls with whom he fornicated?
60 Minutes is on at 7 PM World Time tonight. Make sure your machine is set.
He Likes to be on Magazine Covers
Per a recently passed bill, in November of this year, Alabama voters will decide whether the Ten Commandments may be displayed in schools and other government buildings.
In other news from Alabama, Attorney says Roy Moore supporters offered him $10,000 to drop client who accused the Senate candidate of sexual impropriety. To get his $10,000, the lawyer for Ms. Corfman, a teenage victim of Judge Moore, would have had to say he concluded that she was lying. The offer is said to be recorded in text messages and recorded conversations.
For the handy reference of any Alabamans who happen to be readers of this blog, here are the Ten Commandments. Passages of special relevance are highlighted.
Thou shalt have no other gods before ME.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.