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Top 10 UX Blogs That All Web Designers Should Read

There’s a lot to learn in the world of UX design. There’s so much terminology along with varying workflows that it can take years to master the craft.

It helps if you have some good reading material to keep you on the forefront of UX changes.

These blogs are by far the best places to start with frequent posts on UX design for websites, mobile apps, and general digital interfaces.

1. UX Booth

UX Booth

UX Booth has been online for years and they’re probably the most well-known UX blog on the web.

Each week they publish a few articles related to user experience and general design topics. It’s really a mixed bag of content but the quality is superb. Most of these topics are really groundbreaking so they talk about many ideas you won’t find on other blogs.

I highly recommend UX Booth as a must-read blog. It should be in your rotation if you do any type of design work.

2. Usability Geek

Usability Geek

Here’s another great blog on the topic of general user experience and usability.

On Usability Geek you’ll find plenty of articles covering trends and design techniques for the web. There’s also a solid focus on mobile apps too along with workflows for larger teams like agile.

Usability Geek feels more like a general UI/UX and interaction design blog. It covers a little bit of everything, and there’s something here for everyone regardless of your background.

A fantastic read for new and seasoned designers alike.

3. UX Movement

UX Movement

If you look over the homepage you’ll notice UX Movement doesn’t update very often.

But when they do every post is fantastic.

This website is the cornerstone of new ideas for UX on the web and mobile. I’m always surprised at how insightful and valuable these articles can be, especially ones that offer results from case studies.

UX Movement’s biggest downside is the slow trickle of content. You’ll be lucky to get 1-2 posts every month.

So you probably won’t bother visiting this site weekly, but it should be on your radar. And if you’re looking to delve into the belly of UX design then try browsing through their archives to see what you can find.

4. InVision Blog

InVision Blog

InVision has turned into a massive company with their online prototyping & workflow tools.

During that time they also launched the InVision Blog which has some pretty great design articles mixed with some general lifestyle posts. Granted these are all interesting pieces and they’ll be especially relevant to designers.

But the UX-specific posts don’t come every day so you may have to browse through to find something you like.

The reason I like this blog is mostly their volume and quality of content. It’s truly a great read for anyone in the design space.

5. VWO Blog

VWO Blog

Another company blog I really like is Visual Website Optimizer.

On their VWO Blog you can search through case studies and opinion pieces discussing the state of user experience and split testing. Many of their case studies get mentioned on other design blogs since the content is original and invaluable to the design process.

You’ll also find topics on conversion rate optimization and tips to improve your landing page designs for specific KPIs like email signups or selling new subscriptions.

VWO is a trusted brand, and their blog exudes the same level of trust you’d expect from their tools.

6. Smashing Magazine UX

Smashing Magazine blog

Speaking of trusted brands, Smashing Magazine is probably the definitive design blog on the web. It’s been around for well over a decade and they’re still publishing great stuff.

I specifically recommend the Smashing Magazine UX section which just publishes content on user experience design.

Many top-tier designers from all over the world write for Smashing Magazine, so there’s a ton of opportunity to learn cool stuff. You’ll find articles on pretty much everything, but there’s a specific slant towards UX for web design.

If you’ve never read Smashing Magazine before then now’s your chance to delve into a gem of the design publishing space.

7. UXmatters

UX Matters

I’ve seen a lot of variety on UXmatters and it seems like one part blog, one part community and one part Q&A topics.

The site feels a bit strange because it’s not designed exactly like a typical blog. They do have columns you can read on certain topics with plenty of opinion pieces and case studies.

There’s also a list of top articles where some of them are pulled from print publications.

You may find that some of their best articles date back 5+ years and they still hold up even today. That’s some great writing and proof that good UX is ultimately timeless.

8. UX Design Collective


The UX Design Collective is not a totally unique publication. It’s a mix of unique content along with curated stories published on other sources and re-published on their site.

But most of those articles are obscure and tough to find since they often get shared on Medium or another blogging platform.

That’s what makes UX Design Collection so valuable. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you’d want to read about in the big world of user experience.

I specifically recommend signing up for their newsletter to get their recommendations for top UI/UX articles. It’s the best way to find out about new blogs and new designers writing about these topics.

9. UXstudio Blog

uxstudio blog

The UXstudio team has their own blog focused solely on user experience work. This is a great read and full of interesting ideas for future tech, team building exercises, and handling client projects with a focus on UX.

You’ll also find plenty of case studies mixed in which are really fun to read through.

You can learn a lot from skimming case studies just to see how other design teams handle their work. Check out their blog and see if you like the content. It may not be for everyone but it covers a lot of ground.

10. Nielsen Norman Group

NN Group blog

The NN Group is perhaps the most well-respected usability research team in the industry.

They frequently publish articles detailing their findings in various case studies and usability studies. Many of these are high-level ideas, and they’re perfect for semi-experienced designers who want to push their skills even higher.

If you’re brand new to UX design then Nielsen Norman may be tough to read.

But the more you practice in the field, the more their articles will make sense and even get you excited to sit down and read.


Politics and Reality Radio with Joshua Holland: radical justice reforms, white guys with guns and the left and Russiagate

Politics and Reality Radio: Philly DA’s ‘Radical’ Justice Reforms | Why Are White Guys Stockpiling Guns? | Katha Pollitt: Left Needs to Take #Russiagate Seriously

with Joshua Holland

Elections have consequences. This week, we kick off with Maura Ewing, a writer-in-residence at the Fair Punishment Project, talking about her piece for Slate on Philadelphia's newly elected District Attorney Larry Krasner and the "wild" and "unprecedented" criminal justice reforms he's been rolling out in his first few months in office.

Then we're joined by Greater Good editor Jeremy Adam Smith, who wrote a piece for Scientific American this week about why white men are stockpiling guns.

Finally, Katha Pollitt returns to the show to talk about what #Russiagate skeptics get wrong and why the left needs to take the issue seriously.

The White Stripes: "I Think I Smell a Rat"
Prince Buster: "Shaking Up Orange Street"
Salt N Pepa: "None of Your Business"
Rolling Stones: "Not Fade Away"

As always, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes, Soundcloud or Podbean.


He made everyone sign NDAs

He made everyone sign NDAs

by digby

He wants to keep everyone from telling what they know. It's not working since they're leaking like a sieve. But then the real purpose is to keep any of them from making money by writing books, right? Trumpie wants to make sure he's the only one allowed to get that big payday:

Back in April 2016, when the notion of Donald Trump in the White House still seemed fanciful, The Post’s Robert Costa and Bob Woodward sat down with Trump, and Costa, at one point, raised the subject of the nondisclosure agreements for employees of which the candidate was so fond.

Costa: “One thing I always wondered, are you going to make employees of the federal government sign nondisclosure agreements?”

Trump: “I think they should. . . . And I don’t know, there could be some kind of a law that you can’t do this. But when people are chosen by a man to go into government at high levels and then they leave government and they write a book about a man and say a lot of things that were really guarded and personal, I don’t like that. I mean, I’ll be honest. And people would say, oh, that’s terrible, you’re taking away his right to free speech. Well, he’s going in.”

Reader, it happened. In the early months of the administration, at the behest of now-President Trump, who was furious over leaks from within the White House, senior White House staff members were asked to, and did, sign nondisclosure agreements vowing not to reveal confidential information and exposing them to damages for any violation. Some balked at first but, pressed by then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the White House Counsel’s Office, ultimately complied, concluding that the agreements would likely not be enforceable in any event.

[T]his confidentiality pledge would extend not only after an aide’s White House service but also beyond the Trump presidency. “It’s not meant to be constrained by the four years or eight years he’s president — or the four months or eight months somebody works there. It is meant to survive that.”

This is extraordinary. Every president inveighs against leakers and bemoans the kiss-and-tell books; no president, to my knowledge, has attempted to impose such a pledge. And while White House staffers have various confidentiality obligations — maintaining the secrecy of classified information or attorney-client privilege, for instance — the notion of imposing a side agreement, supposedly enforceable even after the president leaves office, is not only oppressive but constitutionally repugnant.
“This is crazy,” said attorney Debra Katz, who has represented numerous government whistleblowers and negotiated nondisclosure agreements. “The idea of having some kind of economic penalty is an outrageous effort to limit and chill speech. Once again, this president believes employees owe him a personal duty of loyalty, when their duty of loyalty is to the institution.”

I haven’t been able to lay hands on the final agreement, but I do have a copy of a draft, and it is a doozy. It would expose violators to penalties of $10 million, payable to the federal government, for each and any unauthorized revelation of “confidential” information, defined as “all nonpublic information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties in the service of the United States Government on White House staff,” including “communications . . . with members of the press” and “with employees of federal, state, and local governments.” The $10 million figure, I suspect, was watered down in the final version, because the people to whom I have spoken do not remember that jaw-dropping sum.

I don't know if Rex Tillerson signed one of these but he's rich enough that he could hand Trump the money and tell him to go fuck himself if he wanted to.

Michelle Goldberg made a good case this week-end that he should do just that:

Since the beginning of this nightmare administration, we’ve been assured — via well-placed anonymous sources — that a few sober, trustworthy people in the White House were checking Donald Trump’s worst instincts and most erratic whims. A collection of generals, New York finance types and institution-minded Republicans were said to be nobly sacrificing their reputations and serving a disgraceful president for the good of the country. Through strategic leaks they presented themselves as guardians of American democracy rather than collaborators in its undoing.

The success of this informal alliance is hard to gauge. Last August, after the president said there were “very fine people” among the white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville, Va., senior officials rationalized their continued role in the administration to Mike Allen of Axios. “If they weren’t there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall,” Allen wrote. Since then, we’ve had a government shutdown over immigration, albeit a brief one. A trade war appears imminent. Arrests of undocumented immigrants — particularly those without criminal records — have continued to surge.

Over the past 14 months we’ve also seen monstrous levels of corruption and chaos, a plummeting of America’s standing in the world and the obliteration of a host of democratic norms. Yet things could always be worse; the economy is doing well and Trump has not yet started any real wars.

Increasingly, however, the people who were supposed to be the adults in the room aren’t in the room anymore... Whatever their accomplishments, if from their privileged perches these people saw the president as a dangerous fool in need of babysitting, it’s now time for some of them to say so publicly.

This month, Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, published a scathing open letter to Powell, the former security adviser. During her time in the administration, he wrote, she assured appalled onlookers that the adults were playing a stabilizing role: “You reached out to tell those of us on the outside you were saving us from a lot. You don’t understand, friends of yours conveyed to all of us, how bad it is.” Lovett wrote that he was skeptical of this argument but unable to dismiss it. The real test, he thought, would come when she and Cohn and others like them were no longer in the White House: “If you couldn’t speak out because you had to stay, when you left, you had to speak out.”

Of course, unlike Omarosa Manigault Newman, who confessed horror at her former boss’s presidency on “Celebrity Big Brother,” they haven’t. Their defenders among anti-Trump Republicans say it’s because some of them still have a role to play in staving off potential disaster. One Republican in regular contact with people in the White House told me that Powell and Cohn “need to protect their capacity to reach in and help manage in the event of any national crisis.”

I don’t find this entirely convincing. If these people see the administration as unequipped to handle an emergency, they owe the country a firsthand account of our vulnerability. But there is, at least, a certain logic to the argument made in their defense. That logic, however, only holds for those who remain on decent terms with Trump. Which means that if there’s one person who has no excuse for not speaking out, it’s Tillerson, once one of the most powerful private citizens in America, now humbled and defiled by his time in Trump’s orbit.

There’s little doubt that Tillerson holds Trump in contempt and disagrees with large parts of his agenda. After Charlottesville, Tillerson refused to say that the president’s words represented American values. (“The president speaks for himself,” he told Fox News.) In office, he struggled to save the Iran nuclear deal and opposed Trump’s — and Jared Kushner’s — support for a blockade of Qatar by other Arab states. After his ignominious firing, he gave a live address in which he didn’t even mention the president’s name.

“Rex is never going to be back in a position where he can have any degree of influence or respect from this president,” my Republican source said. Because of that, the source continued, “Rex is under a moral mandate to do his best to burn it down.” That would mean telling the truth “about how concerned he is about the leadership in the Oval Office, and what underpins those concerns and what he’s seen.”

In this case, patriotism and self-interest point in the same direction. Before entering this administration, Tillerson was a vastly more respected businessman than Trump; as chief executive of Exxon Mobil, he presided over what The Times described as a “state within a state.” Now the first line of his obituary will be about a year of abject failure as the country’s lead diplomat, culminating in a humiliation fit for reality TV.

The only way he will ever change that is by joining those who would bring this despicable presidency down. If Tillerson came out and said that the president is unfit, and perhaps even that venal concerns for private gain have influenced his foreign policy, impeachment wouldn’t begin tomorrow, but Trump’s already narrow public support would shrink further. Republican members of Congress like Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, might be induced to rediscover their spines and perform proper oversight.

It's a thin thread on which to hang the future of the country but it may be all we've got.


Fatuous GOPer of the day

Fatuous GOPer of the day

by digby

It's a hard choice but this has to take the cake:

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said Sunday the House Intelligence Committee was not tasked with investigating collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, despite the committee issuing a report last week stating it found no evidence of collusion in the 2016 election.

“Our committee was not charged with answering the collusion idea,” Conaway said on NBC's “Meet The Press.”

"So we really weren’t focused on that direction."

Conaway led the committee’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election after the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, (R-Calif.) recused himself.

Last week, Conaway announced the end of the committee’s probe and laid out a number of conclusions reached by GOP members in their initial report. Among those conclusions was the assertion that there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The report drew strong criticism from committee Democrats, who said the committee came to no such conclusion.

Conaway on Sunday acknowledged the committee did not interview former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and other key figures, because he didn’t want to overlap with special counsel Robert Mueller's criminal investigation.

“We’re trying to stay away from the Mueller investigation and not confuse that or hurt it one way or the other,” he said.

When asked if he regrets that the committee attempted to draw a conclusion on whether the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign, Conaway denied that the committee drew a conclusion at all.

“What we said is we found no evidence of it,” he said. “That’s a different statement. We found no evidence of collusion.

You wouldn't let your 1st grader get away with something that patently dishonest and stupid.

This just gets more and more outrageous. How do these people live with themselves? They obviously have no moral center.

Conservative operative Amanda Carpenter has a new book coming out (worked for Cruz and DeMint, but is to her credit Never Trump at least) which was quoted in the New York Times:

Mr. Trump’s supporters do not see deception, they see a commitment to winning. “Donald Trump’s lies and fabrications don’t horrify America,” says the publisher’s summary of her book. “They enthrall us.”

I'm not sure what "us" she's referring to but I suppose if you are the sort of person who finds public executions entertaining you'd be "enthralled" by Donald Trump. But that isn't the majority. It's a lot of people, but it isn't most. Yet.

But if she's right it says everything about the (lack of) moral and ethical integrity of these people.


He’s baaaack

He's baaaack

by digby

And naturally he's campaigning against Maxine Waters:

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser, made his unlikely first public appearance since agreeing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller at an event Friday night for California congressional candidate Omar Navarro.

Flynn made remarks and announced his endorsement of Navarro for Congress with the candidate and Joy Miedecke, the president of the East Valley Republican Women Federated -- the organization that hosted Friday night's event in La Quinta, California.

"What I'm not here to do is complain about who has done me wrong, or how unfair I've been treated, or how unfair the entire process has been -- it is what it is, and my previous statements stand for themselves," Flynn told the small group of attendees. "I'm here to talk about the future -- your future, our future, the future of this country. If you feel passionate about something, and feeling sorry for yourself will keep you from achieving that destiny, then I can't be a part of that. That's partly why I'm here today, because I saw that passion in the eyes of Omar."

A source close to Flynn had confirmed to ABC News earlier Friday that Flynn would be in attendance.

"He's endorsing me," Navarro, a small business owner, told ABC News earlier in the day Friday.

Navarro, who’s challenging longtime Rep. Maxine Waters, said he and Flynn had been communicating online and via email. They met in person in February when Navarro was in Washington, D.C. to attend Conservative Political Action Conference.

"We talked to each other for two hours. We got along really well,” he said, adding that Flynn agreed to endorse him at that time.

This is the first public appearance by Flynn since he left the White House, was charged with lying to federal authorities and began cooperating with Mueller’s investigation. Despite agreeing to cooperate with Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 president election, Flynn was supportive of President Donald Trump on Friday.

I still cannot believe Republicans Republicans! are cheering and applauding a criminal and possible turncoat who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia.

This is proof that nothing is impossible. So if you think that Trump is an anomaly and that there's no way "it" can happen here, think again. Anything can happen.

By the way, Congresswoman Waters had some words:

Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters has gone on the offensive, firing back at the GOP candidate looking to unseat her following his endorsement from former Trump adviser Michael Flynn. 
Flynn’s endorsement of Omar Navarro at the 43rd District candidate’s event Friday was his first time speaking publicly since pleading guilty last year to lying to the FBI about conversations with a Russian diplomat. 
A tweet from Waters’ reelection campaign account Friday read, “Desperate, unstable, and convicted criminal Omar Navarro stoops low in soliciting help from another indicted criminal in a campaign against #MaxineWaters – what a campaign!”
Maxine isn't playing.

She will win of course. But it's sickening that the pocket of LA Trump supporters would come out for this nutcase. And he is certifiable.

Just like Trump, they seem to be feeling their oats. Here's footage from Trump Jr, who's been keeping a lower profile, of the ovation he received:


“A lack of candor”

"A lack of candor"

by digby

We already know that Jeff Sessions had severe memory lapses about his meetings with the Russian ambassador and he's broken his promise to recuse himself from anything to do with the Clinton foundation, which forms the basis of the McCabe firing for a "lack of candor."

Now it turns out he's had a "lack of candor" about something else ...

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.

Sessions testified before Congress in November 2017 that he “pushed back” against the proposal made by former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting. Then a senator from Alabama, Sessions chaired the meeting as head of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.

“Yes, I pushed back,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 14, when asked whether he shut down Papadopoulos’ proposed outreach to Russia. Sessions has since also been interviewed by Mueller.

Three people who attended the March campaign meeting told Reuters they gave their version of events to FBI agents or congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election. Although the accounts they provided to Reuters differed in certain respects, all threes, who declined to be identified, said Sessions had expressed no objections to Papadopoulos’ idea.

However, another meeting attendee, J.D. Gordon, who was the Trump campaign’s director of national security, told media outlets including Reuters in November that Sessions strongly opposed Papadopoulos’ proposal and said no one should speak of it again. In response to a request for comment, Gordon said on Saturday that he stood by his statement.

Sessions, through Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores, declined to comment beyond his prior testimony. The special counsel’s office also declined to comment. Spokeswomen for the Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did not immediately comment.


(It's ok if you are a Trumpie)


He’s testing the waters, bigly

He's testing the waters, bigly

by digby

The toddler had another tantrum this morning:

President Trump appeared on Sunday to abandon a strategy of deferring to the special counsel examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, lashing out at what he characterized as a partisan investigation and raising questions about whether he might seek to shut it down.
Mr. Trump has long suggested that allegations that he or his campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election were a “hoax” and part of a “witch hunt,” but until this weekend he had largely heeded the advice of lawyers who counseled him not to directly attack Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for fear of aggravating prosecutors.
Now as Mr. Mueller extends his inquiry with a subpoena to the Trump Organization evidently in search of business ties with Russia, the president appears to be losing his patience.  
While his lawyers had reassured him that the investigation would wrap up by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then early in the new year, it seems increasingly clear that Mr. Mueller is not about to conclude his inquiry any time soon.
“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning. “Another Dem recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”

The attack on Mr. Mueller, a longtime Republican who was appointed F.B.I.director under a Republican president, George W. Bush, followed a statement by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer published Saturday calling on the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation. Mr. Trump followed up that evening with a tweet arguing that “the Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime.”
Together, the comments raised the question once again about whether the president might be seeking to lay the groundwork to try to fire Mr. Mueller, a scenario that would almost surely set off a bipartisan storm of protest. Some Republicans expressed alarm on Sunday at the possibility that Mr. Trump would try to fire the special counsel.

“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule-of-law nation,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has been an ally of the president, said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “When it comes to Mr. Mueller, he is following the evidence where it takes him, and I think it’s very important he be allowed to do his job without interference, and there are many Republicans who share my view.” 

Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, said if the president was innocent, he should “act like it” and leave Mr. Mueller alone. Mr. Gowdy warned of dire repercussions if the president tried to fire the special counsel, which might require him to first fire his attorney general or deputy attorney general. 
“The president’s going to have a really difficult time nominating and having approved another attorney general,” Mr. Gowdy said on Fox News Sunday.” “I would just counsel the president — it’s going to be a very, very long, bad 2018, and it’s going to be distracting from other things that he wants to do and he was elected do. Let it play out its course. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.” 
The shift in tone comes just days after The New York Times reported that Mr. Mueller has subpoenaed records from the Trump Organization. Mr. Trump’s lawyers met with Mr. Mueller’s team last week and received more details about how the special counsel is approaching the investigation, including the scope of his interest in the Trump Organization specifically...Mr. Trump evidently has grown tired of the strategy of being respectful and deferential to the special counsel.
When Mr. Mueller assembled his team, he surrounded himself with subject-matter experts and trusted former colleagues. As the team filled out, Republican allies of Mr. Trump noted that some high-profile members had previously donated money to Democratic political candidates. In particular, Republicans have seized on donations by Andrew Weissmann, who served as F.B.I. general counsel under Mr. Mueller, as an example of bias. Mr. Weissmann is a career prosecutor but, while in private law practice, he donated thousands of dollars toward President Barack Obama’s election effort.
Can I just point out again that in the Clinton years it was considered a requirement that someone of the opposing party investigate?

Also, Mueller is a Republican as is Andrew McCabe. Not that any of that should matter. If we now only trust cops, prosecutors, lawyers and judges who belong to our preferred party our justice system is so far gone we might as well give up.

In his Sunday morning Twitter blasts, Mr. Trump also renewed his attacks on Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe, who like Mr. Mueller are also longtime Republicans. Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last May, at first attributing the decision to the F.B.I. director’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server but later telling an interviewer that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he made the decision.

Mr. Sessions, under intense public pressure from Mr. Trump, fired Mr. McCabe on Friday after the former deputy F.B.I. director was accused of not being candid with an inspector general about authorizing department officials to talk with a reporter about the Clinton inquiry in 2016.

“Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked ‘have you ever been an anonymous source...or known someone else to be an anonymous source...?’” Mr. Trump wrote. “He said strongly ‘never, no.’ He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.”

Mr. Trump went on to dismiss reports that Mr. McCabe kept detailed memos of his time as deputy F.B.I. director under Mr. Trump, just as Mr. Comey did. Mr. McCabe left those memos with the F.B.I., which means that Mr. Mueller’s team has access to them.

“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me,” Mr. Trump wrote. “I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”

Mr. Trump, who admitted last week that he made up a claim in a meeting with Canada’s prime minister and who is considered honest by only a third of the American people in polls, stayed this weekend at the White House, where he evidently has spent time watching Fox News and stewing about the investigation. After his Twitter blasts on Sunday morning, he headed to his golf club in Virginia.

In suggesting that Mr. Comey lied under oath to Congress, Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to a comment by Mr. McCabe that the former director had authorized the media interaction at the heart of the complaint against him. The president’s Republican allies picked up the point on Sunday and pressed their case for the appointment of a prosecutor to look at the origin of the Russia investigation.

“So we know that McCabe has lied” because the inspector general concluded he had not been fully candid, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, said on Fox News. “Now he’s saying about Comey — Comey may have lied as well. So I don’t think this is the end of it. But that’s why we need a second special counsel.”

Other Republicans, however, suggested that the Trump administration was going too far. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida criticized the decision to fire Mr. McCabe on a Friday night shortly before his retirement took effect, jeopardizing his pension.

“I don’t like the way it happened,” Mr. Rubio said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “He should’ve been allowed to finish through the weekend.” Speaking of the president, he added: “Obviously he doesn’t like McCabe and he’s made that pretty clear now for over a year. We need to be very careful about taking these very important entities and smearing everybody in them with a broad stroke.”

Have we ever seen marco Rubio and a bucket of lukewarm spit in a room at the same time?

Still, it's a tiny step in the right direction. Trump is obviously feeling his power and is testing the waters on firing Mueller. So it's helpful for Gowdy and Rubio to make a slightly critical comment. But with Trump losing his mind the way he is, I wouldn't surprised to see him just fire off a tweet at 4am firing Mueller and that will be that.

In case you aren't on twitter here are the latest:


Trump’s MAGA “just us” by @BloggersRUs

Trump's MAGA "just us"

by Tom Sullivan

Rush Limbaugh opened his programs during the years of William Jefferson Clinton's presidency with "America Held Hostage: Day (Number of days in Clinton's term)." It was Limbaugh's twisted homage to Ted Koppel's ABC coverage of the Iran hostage crisis over a decade earlier. At the beginning of Clinton's term in 1993, Limbaugh's "The Way Things Ought to Be" was on the New York Times' nonfiction best seller list. It remained there for months.

Clinton was some smarty-pants Oxford scholar with a lawyer wife who brought home more money and refused to stay home baking cookies and holding teas. Even decades after the tumultuous 1960s, for a sizable portion of the population (and Limbaugh's fans) that was not the way things ought to be. Men were supposed to "wear the pants." Women should have dinner ready when their husbands get home. Children were supposed to be seen and not heard. And the Negroes should have been glad whites gave them their own bathrooms and water fountains. The America Limbaugh's fans felt most comfortable in was being held hostage by interlopers from an America they refused to recognize.

Those sentiments largely went underground or ignored in the latter part of the twentieth century, but never really went away. Now the fans of the way things ought to be have an avatar for their world view occupying the White House. Black people got to see themselves reflected in Barack Obama. A certain kind sector of white people sees themselves personified in Donald Trump. Trumpers really ought to relate better now to gay people coming out of the closet. "Trump country" now knows what that feels like.

America as a universal ideal was never universally accepted even by its most vocal boosters. The tensions surrounding the discussion of privilege in this country uncover deep fissures around how things ought to be, who is in charge, and what government is for. MAGA is the way things ought to be reduced to an acronym.

We find ourselves with a chief executive who personifies that, one who believes his office entitles him to use government for his own ends. Donald Trump believes it should serve his interests, bend to his will, benefit his friends, and punish his enemies.

His recent firings express that belief as he draws closer and closer to firing Robert Mueller to finally terminate the Russia investigation. Reports last week that Mueller had subpoenaed Trump Organization records likely fueled the president's rage and paranoia that whatever truths he is desperate to conceal will become public. The firings will continue until the probe stops. Then pause for a time.

The editorial pages today are a flood of reactions to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on the eve of his retirement. John Dowd, Trump's personal attorney, gave up the game in a statement to Daily Beast:

“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd then wrote.
Reacting to a Trump tweet I won't republish here, New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin writes, "Every sentence is a lie. Every sentence violates norms established by Presidents of both parties. Every sentence displays the pettiness and the vindictiveness of a man unsuited to the job he holds."

But not only that. Trump puts on display his belief that the rule of law does not apply to him, only to those he wants targeted, writes Jonathan Chait at New York magazine:

All this effort has been expended either in support, or in studiously ignoring the existence, of Trump’s deep-rooted contempt for the rule of law. Whether or not McCabe filled out all the necessary memos when talking to a reporter, how fully the FBI disclosed its source material for its FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page, or any other legal claims upon which Trump’s defenders have rested their case, are beside the point. Trump believes law enforcement should operate for his benefit, punishing his enemies and protecting his friends. He admires strongmen. His contempt for democratic norms is characterological. The notion that his own government would investigate him is as unfathomable to Trump as his being called to the carpet by a Trump Organization secretary. Trump is going to go after Mueller at some point because there is no other way for Trump’s febrile mind to make sense of the world.
Chris Hayes expands on Trump's concept of law and order for the New York Times:
If all that matters when it comes to “law and order” is who is a friend and who is an enemy, and if friends are white and enemies are black or Latino or in the wrong party, then the rhetoric around crime and punishment stops being about justice and is merely about power and corruption.

And this is what “law and order” means: the preservation of a certain social order, not the rule of law. It shouldn’t have taken this long to see what has always been staring us in the face. After all, the last president to focus so intensely on law and order, Richard Nixon, the man who helped usher in mass incarceration, was also the most infamous criminal to occupy the Oval Office. The history of the United States is the story of a struggle between the desire to establish certain universal rights and the countervailing desire to preserve a particular social order.

We are now witnessing a president who wholly embraces the latter. America can have that kind of social order, or it can have justice for all. But it can’t have both.

Perhaps one reason Trump seems to feel such an affinity with Russian President Vladimir Putin is, besides being an authoritarian strongman, what appeal he has is built on being perceived as bringing "modest stability" out of chaos. The Independent reported:
Vladimir Putin’s team has long built electoral appeal on the idea of control and stability. It was a popular offer for a nation dizzied by the demands of post-Soviet upheaval – even though, often, it was more mirage than reality.
Trump promised during his "American carnage" inaugural speech to end the lawless chaos of his own imagining. The sector of Americans who feel their America is in upheaval embraced an unprepared and emotionally unfit leader who promised to bring back the way things ought to be, with them at the apex of the social (if not economic) ladder. It is a fundamentally anachronistic view of a future that resembles the past, and not a past that honors America's best self.

* * * * * * * *

Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.


Setsuko doesn’t live here anymore: “Oh Lucy!”  By Dennis Hartley

Saturday Night at the Movies

Setsuko doesn’t live here anymore: Oh Lucy! (***)

By Dennis Hartley

Writer-director Atsuko Hirayanagi’s dramedy Oh Lucy! (which earned her a “Best First Feature” nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards) is a bit like Lost in Translation; lonely hearts, urban isolation and linguistic confusion…all bathed in Tokyo’s neon lights.

Shinobu Terajima is Setsuko, a single, middle-aged office drone in Tokyo. She trudges through indistinguishable days with dour expression and existential malaise; barely noticing when somebody deliberately jumps in front of an oncoming train at her station.

Her young and vivacious niece Mika (Shirori Kutsuna) feels Aunt Setsuko needs to get out and mingle more, so one day she hands her a flyer with the address for an ESL class that she’s been attending, taught by an American named John (Josh Hartnett). Reluctantly, Setsuko acquiesces and gives it a go. John’s teaching methods are unconventional; in addition to doling out uncomfortably long hugs, he picks out a wig and Anglicized name for each student. Setsuko (he decides) is now a blonde named Lucy.

In spite of herself, Setsuko begins to enjoy the class; she may even be developing a little crush on John. However, much to her dismay, John unceremoniously quits his job; it seems he has fallen hard for a young Japanese woman, and has spirited her back to Los Angeles. Setsuko quickly discovers that the young woman is Mika. And so she and Mika’s concerned mother, her sister Ayako (Kaho Minami) hop on a plane to California.

What next ensues can be labeled equal parts road movie, “fish out of water” story, social satire, and family melodrama. Granted, it’s a stylistic mish-mash, vacillating between light comedy and dark character study, but director Hirayanagi manages to juggle it all with a deft hand. She also works in subtle observations on the evergreen “ugly American” meme. Fine performances abound, but the glue holding it all together is Terajima, who gives a wonderfully nuanced and layered performance as Setsuko/“Lucy”.

Previous posts with related themes:

Tokyo Pop
The Visitor

More reviews at Den of Cinema

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--Dennis Hartley


He’s getting stronger not weaker

He's getting stronger not weaker

by digby

It is certainly true that we don't know all the facts underlying the firing of Andrew McCabe. Maybe he was leaking damaging information to the press about Hillary Clinton and/or Donald Trump and then blatantly lied about it. From what we understand his crimes so far, they are much more vague than that but we'll have to wait and see.

However, all these pundits on TV who are insisting that there's nothing political about this are being ridiculous. Of course it's political. And we know this because the firing was rushed through in order to deny him his pension, which is highly unusual and obviously done for punitive reasons.

Lawfare spells this part of the story out:

There are, however, at least two features of the action against McCabe that warrant consternation, even if McCabe himself behaved badly enough to justify the sanction. The first is the timing, which is hard to understand. The only factor we can fathom that might justify it is the notion that if McCabe in fact had acted very badly, the window to punish him and thus make an important statement to the bureau workforce was closing.

But we are unaware of prior cases in which authorities rushed through the merits against a long-serving official in a naked and transparent effort to beat the clock of his retirement. Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department inspector general who is representing McCabe, described the process as follows:

The investigation described in the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report was cleaved off from the larger investigation of which it was a part, its completion expedited, and the disciplinary process completed in a little over a week. Mr. McCabe and his counsel were given limited access to a draft of the OIG report late last month, did not see the final report and the evidence on which it is based until a week ago, and were receiving relevant exculpatory evidence as recently as two days ago. We were given only four days to review a voluminous amount of relevant evidence, prepare a response, and make presentations to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. With so much at stake, this process has fallen far short of what Mr. McCabe deserved.
Even allowing for a certain degree of lawyerly hyperbole in this account, the process described here seems highly irregular. McCabe, in his statement Friday, suggested one possible reason for the acceleration:

The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens.

In an interview with the New York Times, McCabe said directly that his dismissal “is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.”

We will refrain from speculating on the reason for the rush to fire McCabe before his retirement. But it is peculiar. Why, one wonders, could the Justice Department not have handled his misconduct—if there was misconduct—the way it usually does: by detailing it in the inspector general’s report and noting that the subject, who has since retired, would otherwise be subject to disciplinary action?

The timing seems particularly irregular in light of a second peculiarity unique to McCabe’s case—one probably singular in the history of the American republic: Trump’s personal intervention in the matter and public demands for the man’s scalp. Trump has not been shy about McCabe. He has tormented him both in public and in private, and he publicly demanded his firing on multiple occasions:

Trump developed an unwholesome conspiracy theory about McCabe’s wife, whom he told McCabe was a “loser.” He demanded to know whom McCabe had voted for. According to James Comey’s testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, Trump attempted to use what he believed to be McCabe’s corruption as some kind of a bargaining chip against Comey, informing the director that he had not brought up “the McCabe thing” because Comey had told him that McCabe was honorable.

While we cannot evaluate McCabe’s protestations of innocence at this stage, we can evaluate the truth of much of the rest of his statement:

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President's tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. . .

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work.

Whether or not McCabe’s conduct has been above reproach, all of this is true. And to make matters worse, the firing occurred when Jeff Sessions’s own job is clearly on the line. Sessions, remember, was mulling McCabe’s firing even as Trump himself was mulling Sessions’s firing.

In other words, even if McCabe’s firing proves to be justified on the merits, the question is what could have possibly justified breaking it off from the larger probe and rushing it to completion and adjudication in time to beat the deadline of McCabe’s retirement—particularly in context of presidential demands for his removal and Trump’s broader assault on independent and apolitical law enforcement.

Trump gleefully celebrating the firing is just icing on the cake.

This is how we know it was political:

Why, one wonders, could the Justice Department not have handled his misconduct—if there was misconduct—the way it usually does: by detailing it in the inspector general’s report and noting that the subject, who has since retired, would otherwise be subject to disciplinary action?

They could have done that and if they wanted to make this whole thing look legitimate in the eyes of the public that's what they would have done. It would have done the job of undercutting the credibility of McCabe, if that was what they were after, without looking like vindictive pricks who are sending a message loud and clear to federal law enforcement that they'd better not cross the king because he will come for them.

Let's not kid ourselves. Trump wanted him punished publicly and that's what happened. He knows that all he has to do is humiliate his underlings, tweet out what he wants and nobody will stop him. Indeed, they will do exactly as he wants.

Now it's possible that Sessions and the OIG and maybe others all think they are letting the air out of the balloon a little bit here and feeding the King a little tidbit to keep him happy. But Trump's lawyer said this morning:

“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier."

He came back and said that he was speaking only for himself. Sure he was.

Trump is getting stronger every day. Don't let the chaos fool you.


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