By Robert A. Vella

INF treaty

We’ll our assessment was correct.  One day after President Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), ostensibly in reaction to Russian violations of the agreement, Vladimir Putin declared he will pull Russia out as well.  This fiasco was orchestrated to make it look like Trump was standing up to Putin when in fact he was doing exactly what the Russian strongman wanted.  Now, Putin is free to wield these weapons as leverage in his expansionist plans for Europe by undermining the obstacle posed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);  and, Trump gets a new nuclear toy while his neoconservative warmongers in the defense bureaucracy get more tools for their toolbox.  Do you feel safer, dear readers?

Trump’s emergency

By boxing himself into a political corner by shutting down the federal government over his border wall demand, President Trump has left himself no other practical alternative than to declare a national emergency and redirect funding already appropriated for other military projects to begin building his white elephant on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Unfortunately for him and his rabid base, doing so would likely get challenged in court very quickly.  To make matters worse, Republicans in Congress are warning the president not to take such a drastic step.  From:  McConnell privately cautions Trump about emergency declaration on border wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned President Trump privately this week about the consequences of declaring a national emergency to build his border wall, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the exchange.

McConnell (R-Ky.) told Trump that Congress might end up passing a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration, the people said — which would force the president to contemplate issuing his first veto ever, in the face of opposition from his own party.

McConnell delivered the message during a face-to-face meeting with the president Tuesday at the White House, according to the Republicans, who requested anonymity to describe the encounter. The two men met alone and conversed with no aides present. Their meeting was not publicly announced.

His legal fund

From:  Adelsons give $500,000 to pro-Trump legal fund that helps aides caught up in Russia probe

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, contributed $500,000 to the outside legal fund that’s helping foot the bill for current and former Trump administration and campaign aides embroiled in the Russia investigation, according to a recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust was set up last year to raise money from donors to pay legal expenses for multiple individuals.


The Adelsons have been among the most prolific individual donors to Republican candidates for years. This past midterm election cycle, the two were among the GOP’s largest benefactors, donating a whopping $112 million to Republican super PACs through September.

His mini-me

From:  Brazil’s Bolsonaro faces political test as new Congress sits

Plans by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to shake up Latin America’s biggest economy with pro-business reforms and anti-crime measures are about to run into their first real test, with his country’s new Congress beginning work Friday.

Bolsonaro, a far-right 63-year-old former paratrooper and veteran legislator, took office at the beginning of the year on promises to do away with decades of center-leftist policies.


Much of Bolsonaro’s credibility rests on the shoulders of his economy minister, Paulo Guedes, a US-trained free-marketeer, and his justice minister, Sergio Moro, a former star anti-corruption judge.

What Bolsonaro lacks, however, is a ruling-party majority in Congress to push through legislation.

The president’s ultraconservative Social Liberal Party (PSL) holds around 10 percent of the 513 seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies. That means he is relying on ad-hoc alliances with likeminded lawmakers.

Virginia’s blackface governor

The Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, admitted yesterday that he was in a 1984 college yearbook photo showing individuals in blackface and KKK hoods.  The intensely racist image immediately triggered calls for his resignation.  Today, however, he flipped stating that he wasn’t in the photo and that he won’t resign from office.  In my opinion, he’s toast.

U.S. Supreme Court

From:  Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law from taking effect Monday

Justice Samuel Alito late Friday temporarily blocked a Louisiana abortion law from going into effect as scheduled on Monday.

Alito said in a brief order that the justices needed more time to review the filings in the case. As such he put the law on hold until February 7. He noted that the order “does not reflect any view regarding the merits” of the case.

Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act has been blocked since its enactment in 2014, it requires a doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed.

DNA testing data

From:  Major DNA testing company sharing genetic data with the FBI

The decision by a prominent consumer DNA-testing company to share data with federal law enforcement means investigators have access to genetic information linked to hundreds of millions of people.

FamilyTreeDNA, an early pioneer of the rapidly growing market for consumer genetic testing, confirmed late Thursday that it has granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to its vast trove of nearly 2 million genetic profiles. The arrangement was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

6 thoughts on “Saturday Potpourri: INF treaty, Trump’s emergency, His legal fund, His mini-me, and other news stories

  1. it requires a doctor to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed.

    The absolute fuckers. A while ago I saw that some state was closing clinics because their corridors (yes, corridors) were not as wide as those required in ER facilities.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I may be off-base, but here’s my thoughts …

    tRumpsky pulls out of the INF — and then along comes Putin who does the same. Now we’re looking at two super-powers with more freedom to use nuclear weapons.

    Add to this the fact that tRumpsky wants to pull money from the military budget for his wall.

    Am I missing something?

    Liked by 2 people

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