1. blf says

    Can’t say I’d ever heard of this conspiracy lunaticry before, Why the far right believes a US civil war will start on Saturday:

    Since late September, ‘alt-right’ members have advanced the idea that anti-fascist groups will begin a violent insurrection on 4 November. But no antifa groups are planning to protest — so what gives?

    If you are inside the “alt-right” information bubble, you might be preparing yourself for a civil war to commence this Saturday [4-Nov-2017].


    Some websites are telling their readers that antifa groups are planning to kill every single Trump voter, Conservative and gun owner this weekend. Hundreds of Facebook posts show how seriously consumers of such media are taking the news, and comments like One more threat against white people and I swear to God I’m going to take a goddamn car and run over every fucking one of them are not unrepresentative of the response.

    [… two origins discussed …]

    Last, but by no means least, the rumor was picked up and amplified by Alex Jones […]


    In recent days, the story took an absurd turn, and had its closest brush with more mainstream conservative media, when Gateway Pundit […] published a story by its White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, claiming that an antifa leader had promised to behead white parents on 4 November.

    The tweet the story was based on, however, was a joke from an account that had no apparent ties to any antifa groups.


    The piece included a detailed account of antifa ideology, which included the claim that the activists are larpers (‘live action role-play’) attempting to find someone/thing to sexually interact with.

    When asked what sources he drew on in reporting on their ideology, Wintrich said: I did go to school at Bard College. I received my education around people who I’m sure are on terrorist watchlists as socialist or communist extremists.


    Please excuse me whilst I go find some more pillows to strap to my forehead…

    Of course, I hope there are no nutcases shooting-up pizza parlors or whatever, but am none-too-confident some of the people who believe this nonsense won’t do something like that.

  2. says

    Update to previous thread:

    “Sessions under renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill”:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again under scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding his candor about Russia and the Trump campaign amid revelations that he rejected a suggestion to convene a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump last year….

    So a little while ago Ken Dilanian tweeted that sources told him Sessions now remembers this. Then Dilanian deleted the tweet and tweeted a correction, saying that Sessions doesn’t necessarily remember it but he definitely did it. It’s absurd.

  3. says

    Sarah Kendzior – “Russia’s Social Media Propaganda Was Hiding in Plain Sight”:

    A common misconception about Donald Trump’s rise to presidential power — as well as the role Russia-backed social media allegedly played in getting him there — is that no one saw it coming. In reality, scholars, activists, and regular social media users had warned that platforms seemed to becoming weaponized for political purposes in a way that felt new and dangerous. The hearings on Russian disinformation over the past two days are a bitter coda to a symphony of discontent to which tech gurus responded slowly.

    Now that the harm has led to a congressional inquiry involving alleged foreign actors, the old problems of online abuse and impersonation are finally being taken more seriously. But it should have never gotten this far, and an honest and transparent account of what happened is the only way to make sure it stops. Scholars and users have long supplied helpful warnings: Now it is Silicon Valley’s turn.

  4. Mark Smith says

    I keep thinking of all the effort politicians used to put into making their lies plausible, when it turns out it never really mattered. I miss those days.

  5. jrkrideau says

    Can anyone explain why candidate Trump meeting with the head of state of a major world power, that is President Putin, is a mortal sin? Putin carries the political equivalent of the black plague or the Ebola virus?

    The Orange One met with President Peña Nieto in Mexico. It was Peña Nieto not Trump who got the flack.

  6. says

    Can anyone explain why candidate Trump meeting with the head of state of a major world power, that is President Putin, is a mortal sin? Putin carries the political equivalent of the black plague or the Ebola virus?

    You’re missing the point – several points, in fact, including the adversarial relationship, Putin’s hybrid warfare, the strong possibility of a corrupt relationship, and the lying and concealing about Russia on the part of Trump and his campaign. None of that applies in the EPN case.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @7 SC (Salty Current)
    Further shocking news, Russian Ambassader Kislyat sighted in Georgetown Starbucks. We are unable to confirm his coffee order.

    For heaven’s sake showing up at universities and mouthing platitudes is in an ambassador’s job description.

  8. says

    And it’s not about Trump meeting openly (because there was virtually no chance of concealing a meeting) with Putin. The relatively more intelligent people on his campaign recognized that was politically impossible. It’s about the evidence of contacts, conspiracy to support Putin’s active measures, and arrangements involving blackmail or the exchange of information/favors in Putin’s interests. The attempts to set up a personal meeting or communications backchannel, whether or not they came to fruition, are just part of this larger picture.

  9. says

    Trump wants to mine uranium near the Grand Canyon:

    A report published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture included a recommendation to lift a 20-year ban on mining for uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed.

    The report was one of several requested by Trump’s “energy independence” executive order, which directed all agencies to identify regulations that potentially “burden” fossil fuel development. […]

    The current 1-million-acre ban on new uranium mining was put into place by the Obama administration in 2012 after an environmental impact statement found that expanded mining could cause severe impacts on water quality for downstream users. The Grand Canyon watershed provides drinking water for at least 25 million people. […]

    “The holidays have come early and often for the oil, gas and mining industry since Donald Trump took office,” said Vera Smith, the forest planning policy director at The Wilderness Society. “People flock to public lands like national forests to watch wildlife, raft clean rivers, hunt and fish, or camp beneath the stars. Today’s report ignores the $887 billion that outdoor activities contribute to this nation’s economy so the Trump Administration can check off the wish list of its fossil fuel allies.”

    Uranium mining in the four corners region has also left a toxic legacy on many Native American communities. Navajo miners developed high rates of lung cancer from unsafe mining practices, and there is still radioactive waste lingering throughout their tribal lands. […]

    The economic implications of lifting the ban don’t work in the favor of the Trump administration either. Existing uranium mines in the area are currently idled, not because of regulations, but because of rock-bottom global uranium prices.

    Even if the market rebounds, a mining expansion would have nearly no economic benefit for taxpayers. Under the General Mining Act of 1872, the federal government can’t collect royalties on minerals like uranium, so there would be no significant revenue raised from the move. Industry would be the sole beneficiaries, while publicly owned forests surrounding a national park are damaged and polluted.. […]


    Bolding above is mine.

  10. jrkrideau says

    # 11 SC (Salty Current)
    You’re missing the point
    Not really, I was being sarcastic as much as anything. The American insistence in treating Russia in 2017 as if it was the USSR in 1963 just continues to amaze me.

    Ignoring the crooked deals, etc since the scandals were IIRC in the future (though we could be dealing with guilty consciences here) the paranoia amazes me.

    The “adversarial relationship” would seem a good reason for a presidential candidate advocating better relations with Russia to go to Russia to demonstrate statesmanship as a contrast to Clinton’s cold war warrior persona.

  11. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 3.

    Senator Al Franken has responded to the latest news about Attorney General Jeff Sessions having skipped around the truth when he testified before Congress:

    Once again, developments in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election have brought to light evidence that you failed to tell the truth about your interactions with Russian operatives during the campaign, as well as your awareness of Russian contacts by other members of the Trump campaign team.

    […] another example in an alarming pattern […]

    We must get to the bottom of what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again. I am deeply troubled that this newest revelation strongly suggests that the Senate—and the American public—cannot trust your word.

  12. says

    Former FBI Director James Comey has written a book, a memoir if I understand the description rightly: “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.”

    The book is scheduled for release on May 1, 2018.

    The title is probably a dig at Trump, who once told Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

  13. jrkrideau says

    # 10 SC (Salty Current)
    Lamar Smith is retiring?
    But, but, where is the fossil fuel industry, err I mean the Republican Party, going to find such a qualified candidate to replace him as chair of U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee?

    And in that price range?

  14. says

    [jkrideau, I remember trying to have an honest discussion with you last year about the Russian active measures. It became clear to me then, IIRC, that there was little evidence or reason with which you would engage, which I found annoying and intellectually dishonest. So I’m not going to go back and forth with you responding to your little sarcastic jabs beyond this comment.]

    @7 SC (Salty Current)
    Further shocking news, Russian Ambassader Kislyat sighted in Georgetown Starbucks. We are unable to confirm his coffee order.

    For heaven’s sake showing up at universities and mouthing platitudes is in an ambassador’s job description.

    Of course it could simply be, and probably is, a coincidence that Kislyak visited this fairly obscure university, and I don’t know his itinerary when he was there. But the larger story is the involvement of part of the university in Georgia elections, the scandalously weak security of the voting system which was exposed earlier this year, and the fact that someone at the university recently destroyed evidence related to the voting system in July when they faced a lawsuit (“The erased hard drives are central to the lawsuit because they could have revealed whether Georgia’s most recent elections were compromised by hackers”). I’ve reported on the story previously, and the newest development – in the thread to which I link above – is that the state AG is no longer going to represent state election officials in the lawsuit. Georgia’s election officials have a lot of questions to answer. This should be receiving much more attention.

  15. blf says

    Apropos to comments in the previous thread in this series, the UK Parliament sexual assault situation is gaining steam. To-date, only(?) Michael Fallon has suffered any consequences, which strikes many people as odd, if not weird, and a suspicion something else is going on (more skeletons?). As one example, two other nasty party self-admitted sexual creeps have not suffered any(?) consequences (PM can ill afford this scandal but even less can she afford to botch it):

    Ditching Fallon is a start. But backbench MPs are asking why Stephen Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary who has admitted engaging in “sexual chatter” with a young job applicant, has not had the whip withdrawn while the claims are investigated. There are also questions about why Mark Garnier has not been suspended from his ministerial post for admitting that he called a former aide [redacted†] and asked her to buy sex toys.

    A hint may be in Fallon’s replacement, an extremely nasty person Gavin Williamson profile: an ambitious ‘chop-your-head-off type of man’ (my added emboldening):

    Many Tory backbenchers are unimpressed with promotion of someone who has cultivated image as modern-day Machiavelli

    [… M]any Tory backbenchers are unimpressed with the promotion of someone they see as slippery and a government toady who has deliberately cultivated an image as a modern-day Machiavelli.

    From the first excerpted article:

    By promoting Williamson, who did the deal with the Democratic Unionist party [N.Ireland’s DUP] in the days that followed June’s general election, and has since become one of her most trusted confidants, [UK PM Theresa] May underlined the impression that she was relying on an ever-narrower circle of backers.

    Dead-kook-walking May has a reputation for surrounding herself with yes-bots, and it would seem she’s just added another to the collection. (I’m unsure how much of a yes-bot Fallon was; or for that matter, Crabb & Garnier (sounds like a low-rent “firm”).) The Grauniad’s political cartoonist Steve Bell focuses on this angle, Gavin Williamson becoming new defence secretary (cartoon).

    Meanwhile, Speaker forces Tories to publish sexual harassment policies:

    John Bercow has written to the party leaders to demand to see their policies for handling sexual harassment allegations, in a move that will force the Conservatives to make their process public.

    The Speaker sent a letter to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders on Thursday asking them to formally publish their policies so that they can be displayed on parliament’s website.

    I must admit I hadn’t realised at least some of the parties were being secretive about how they claim to handle allegations — although that seems very typical in the UK.

    […] Bercow made clear that he expected the parties themselves to have robust processes for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints internally after a meeting of the House of Commons commission.

      † Not entirely certain, but the phrase Garnier admitted to using might run afoul of poopyhead’s filter.

  16. says

    The American insistence in treating Russia in 2017 as if it was the USSR in 1963 just continues to amaze me.

    Good grief, this was the same line you were using more than a year ago, and you’re still sticking to it in the face of the growing heaps of evidence. Wow.

  17. says

    From Josh Marshall, a sort of summary of today’s news:

    […] Mercer resigning from his hedge fund and selling his stake in Breitbart, albeit to his daughter. Is this just deciding it no fun becoming a public villain? Or is there more.

    Sam Clovis has withdrawn his nomination at the AG Department. And people are starting to realize that the Papadopolous plea agreement puts renewed pressure, shall we say, on Jeff Sessions truthfulness about Russia in his confirmation hearings at the beginning of the year.

    Then there’s tax reform. The House has finally released its tax reform bill. It includes a raft of provisions which should under normal circumstances amount to political suicide for any blue state politician. Punishment for blue states is hardly unexpected. But there are quite a few Republican Reps in California, New York, New Jersey and other states. And the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) isn’t even on board with the bill yet. They are the quintessential GOP tax-cutting lobby. Hard to imagine they don’t eventually support some iteration of the bill. But that and other signs makes me think that even doing something as easy as getting Republicans to vote for a massive tax cut may prove difficult.

    And then there’s Gitmo. A marine general who serves as a defense attorney for detainees at Gitmo has himself been sentenced to 21 days confinement by an Air Force Colonel serving as a judge. The punishment is tied to a dispute over surveillance of detainees.

    Also, there was a terrorist attack in New York City two days ago. Just flagging that since it was only two days ago.

    Donna Brazile says the DNC was so far in debt in 2015 and 2016 that it signed an agreement with the Clinton campaign which gave the campaign functional control over the DNC as early as 2015.

    I will note that Brazile’s article is a bit overboard. The Bernie Sanders campaign signed a similar agreement, they just didn’t follow up as vigorously on the agreement as the Clinton campaign. Brazile is sounding a bit one-sided and obsessed. “The cancer was that [Clinton] had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee.”

    That’s right, Democrats need to devolve into Trumpish name-calling and Hillary-hating so that Trump can win again in 2020. That’ll be good. (/sarcasm)

  18. robro says

    jrkrideau — You’re right in some ways about “Russia.” Russia is a smoke screen. The problem isn’t Russia per se, it’s Putin and the so-called “Russian oligarchs” who are just wealthy men stealing from the government like our oligarchs and those in other parts of the world.

    However, we do have laws about unauthorized citizens, which Trump was at the time even as a presidential candidate, negotiating with the leaders of foreign governments. Similarly, we have laws requiring citizens to register as foreign agents, which Manafort has been indicted for violating. We also have laws about foreign governments influencing American elections.

    And the real kicker, in my opinion, is the laws we and other countries have about reporting the movement of money across borders, particularly to avoid taxes. Thus the indictment of “money laundering” against Manafort and Gates. As they say, “follow the money.” It’s almost certainly money that is the real driver behind the “anti-globalist” banter of Trump and the other global capitalists supporting him as they hope to stop governments from coordinating regulation of that capital movement. The discovery of the Panama Papers has shed some light on the scope of these shenanigans and cost at least one journalist her life.

  19. says

    More criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, some of it coming from his fellow Republicans:

    “Jeff Sessions concealed his meetings with the Russians and he had an obligation to be more forthcoming about meetings that involved Papadopoulos,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who sits on the Senate judiciary committee.

    Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, said that despite Sessions’ testimony before the panel earlier this year, “it turns out he was at this meeting with George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos proposed meeting with Putin and Trump. He didn’t disclose that to the committee.”

    Heinrich added it calls into question “whether he is being honest and forthright with the committee and what does that mean for the highest law enforcement officer in the country?”

    Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 in Republican leadership who serves on the intelligence and judiciary panels, said he was unaware of Sessions’ attendance at that meeting until now. He added: “I certainly think it’s a legitimate area of inquiry” for lawmakers to pursue.

    This is another example in an alarming pattern in which you, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, apparently failed to tell the truth, under oath, about the Trump team’s contacts with agents of Russia,” Senator Franken wrote to Sessions Thursday […]


  20. robro says

    And speaking of global capitalists with dodgy motivations, Robert Mercer has announced that he’s stepping down from his executive and board positions at Renaissance Technologies. He is also selling his interests in Breitbart to his daughters. As he said in a letter to employees, this is in part because he’s attracted too much attention. Selling his stake in Breitbart to his daughters is probably about the same as Trump turning his business interests over to his sons.

  21. says

    In the fine print, the new Republican tax bill repeals an earlier law that bars churches from endorsing political candidates.

    The House Republican tax bill released Thursday would allow churches to endorse political candidates, rolling back a 1950s-era law that bars such activities.

    The proposed change is listed at the end of the 429-page legislation.

    It states that churches should not lose their tax-exempt status based on statements about political candidates made during the course of religious services. […]

    The Hill link

    This rollback of the previous law does NOT have the backing of all religious leaders:

    A group of over 4,000 religious leaders from around the country are rallying around a rule that prevents houses of worship from participating in explicitly political activities.

    Specifically, they are calling on Congress not to upend the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations, including houses of worship, from endorsing candidates or explicitly engaging in electoral politics. President Trump has taken steps to weaken the amendment’s rules.

    “Changing the law to repeal or weaken the ‘Johnson Amendment’ — the section of the tax code that prevents tax-exempt nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates — would harm houses of worship, which are not identified or divided by partisan lines,” the letter said.

  22. says

    Some commentary about Donna Brazile’s report concerning agreements between the DNC and Hillary Clinton:

    […] There’s been a lot of confusion about the significance of Brazile’s allegations since her story was published. Brazile did not allege […] that the DNC “robbed” Sanders of the nomination. She also did not claim to have been shocked by the existence of a fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC, since that agreement has been public for at least two years.

    Instead, Brazile’s account is explosive for what it tells us — for the first time — about the nature of the fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC. What she charges is that the DNC, when starved for financial resources, agreed to trade a seemingly large part of its autonomy for Clinton’s help raising money […]

    Now, this deal does not guarantee that Sanders would have won the nomination without the obstruction of the DNC, as his supporters have long alleged. But it does at least suggest that Clinton’s team had veto power over some of the DNC’s decisions during the primary. […]

    The key to understanding Brazile’s conclusion and the current controversy is to understand the unusual fundraising apparatus at its center: the joint fundraising committee.

    JFCs exist as a clever loophole to skirt existing campaign finance laws. Under current law, the most an individual donor can give to a presidential campaign committee is $2,700 per election. An individual donor can also give up to $33,400 to the DNC, and up to $10,000 to each state party committee.

    But by existing as a group, the “joint committee” can get a big fat check that would be far too large for it to legally receive if its members were fundraising alone, according to Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics. So a single donor could give around $353,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, on the principle that money would go to the presidential committee, the DNC, and 32 state parties.

    […] Before his grassroots fundraising juggernaut took off, for instance, Sanders also had an agreement for a joint fundraising committee with the DNC. Donald Trump has a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee. […]

    […] Reporting by Politico showed that 99 percent of the money raised by the committee ended up going to the DNC or to Clinton’s campaign directly. […]

    When news that Clinton’s joint fundraising money was mostly going back to her campaign emerged in 2016, Sanders alleged in a public debate that Clinton and the DNC had agreed to a “money laundering scheme.” And when Brazile’s story came out on Thursday, Sanders supporters were livid, with the senator’s former digital fundraising director tweeting that Bernie’s campaign was “right the entire time”: […]

    Vox link. Much more information is available at the link.

  23. KG says


    Damien Green, effectively May’s chief henchperson, also appears to be on a shoogly peg, as we say in Scotland. But Labour have just suspended one of their MPs, Kelvin Hopkins, and this apparently relates to a sexual harassment incident two years ago, which it rather looks as if they did not take sufficiently seriously at the time. Political damage to the Tories may be limited by the fact that the other major parties have skeletons in their own closets.

  24. says

    @blf #2 – has been planning a big, nationwide protest on Nov. 4 for a while now; I’ve been getting e-mails about it going back to at least August. They’ve been playing it up with the rather melodramatic tagline “It Begins,” but I certainly haven’t seen anything to indicate that anyone’s planning anything other than the standard peaceful, march-in-the-streets-with-big-signs-chanting-slogans type protest. Unfortunately, there’s nothing going on close to me – is anyone else planning to participate?

  25. blf says

    Sarah A@30, Yes the “Refuse Fascism” protest(s?) on Nov 4th, with the tagline “It begins”, were mentioned as one of the three causes† in the article I excerpted @2. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of them, and from that article (this is now from memory) they were described as comparatively small, apparently do not self-describe as “antifa”, and it wasn’t clear how many protests they were trying to organise.

      † I have no recollection at all of the other reason, but it even more absurd. Which ones — if any — Alex Jones (the third and perhaps most responsible reason) picked up on I have no idea. Mr Jones probably doesn’t either, as he’s now in his usual make-shite-up-and-bellow mode.

  26. jrkrideau says

    #19 SC (Salty Current)
    But the larger story is the involvement of part of the university in Georgia elections, the scandalously weak security of the voting system which was exposed earlier this year, and the fact that someone at the university recently destroyed evidence related to the voting system in July when they faced a lawsuit </i

    Oh, sorry. I have been reading about weaknesses in various state voting systems for years though probably not this bad and I would agree totally that it is extremely serious. I have seen technical people expressing great concern that the code in the voting machines is secret and proprietary and concerns that someone with a screwdriver and a USB stick can physically hack a machine in 30 seconds or so.

    I was objecting to what I see as a "reds under the bed" hysteria in those tweets in the link you provided. I may have misread them but I was getting the clear impression that the presence of the Russian ambassador and the voting problems were being associated and to be honest it read like road pucks.

    My apologies if I mistakenly attributed that to you also.

  27. blf says

    shoogly peg

    Heh. I used Generalissimo Google to confirm the deduced meaning, and was rather startled when it found a restaurant in Edinburgh (apparently a fairly good one) with that name which, from the picture, was in the location of a long-departed brilliant restaurant. However, I was mistaken, it’s “just around the corner”, so to speak. (Not quite literally, but close enough only a pedant would object.)

  28. says

    Manafort is connected to organized crime (mobsters) in Russia.

    Buried deep in Robert Mueller’s indictment of Paul Manafort is a new link between Donald Trump’s former campaign and Russian organized crime.

    […] In particular, it details how he used a company called Lucicle Consultants Limited to wire millions of dollars into the United States.

    The Cyprus-based Lucicle Consultants Limited, in turn, reportedly received millions of dollars from a businessman and Ukrainian parliamentarian named Ivan Fursin, who is closely linked to one of Russia’s most notorious criminals: Semion Mogilevich.

    Mogilevich is frequently described as “the most dangerous mobster in the world.” Currently believed to be safe in Moscow, he is, according to the FBI, responsible for weapons trafficking, contract killings, and international prostitution. In 2009, he made the bureau’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

    “Ivan Fursin was a senior figure in the Mogilevich criminal organization,” Taras Kuzio, a non-resident fellow at Johns Hopkins-SAIS’ Center for Transatlantic Relations and a specialist on the region told The Daily Beast.
    Martin Sheil, a retired criminal investigator for the IRS, said the indictment, with its connections to Fursin, helps illuminate the murky world Manafort operated in before taking the reins of Trump’s presidential bid.

    “This indictment strongly indicates the existence of a previously unknown relationship between an alleged Russian organized crime leader and Mr. Manafort,” Sheil told The Daily Beast.

    Daily Beast link

  29. KG says

    The American insistence in treating Russia in 2017 as if it was the USSR in 1963 just continues to amaze me. – jrkrideau@15

    I agree: there’s no comparison. After all, the USSR never got its candidate elected as POTUS.

  30. blf says

    US police chief wanted to mow down black people:

    Trigger warning: Extremely vicious racist ahead! In addition, numerous slurs redacted to pass poopyhead’s filter.




    A police chief in the US state of New Jersey compared African Americans to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL [ISIS, daesh, …]) armed group and expressed his desire to mow ’em down in a firing squad, according to a federal lawsuit.

    Sixty-year-old Frank Nucera Jr, who was the police chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department (BTPD) until earlier this year, has been charged with a federal hate crime and other civil rights offences.


    The lawsuit, seen by Al Jazeera, alleges that Nucera slammed the head of an African American suspect […] “into a doorjamb, causing bodily injury”.

    The lawsuit also describes a worrisome pattern of racist remarks, including referring to African Americans as [n-word & other slurs].

    Nucera retired from the force in January under “mysterious” circumstances, The Trentonian, a local newspaper, reported at the time.

    Likening African Americans to ISIL […], Nucera reportedly expressed his desire to subject them to a firing squad while speaking to a subordinate officer.

    I wish that [n-word] would come back from Trenton and give me a reason to put my hands on him, I’m tired of ’em, he said of an African American believed to have slashed the tires of a police vehicle in November 2015, according to the lawsuit.

    These [n-word] are like ISIS; they have no value. They should line them all up and mow ’em down. I’d like to be on the firing squad; I could do it. I used to think about if I could shoot someone or not, I could do it, I’m tired of it.


    The lawsuit further accuses the former police chief of using police dogs to intimidate African Americans.

    In one instance, the lawsuit says, Nucera instructed officers to bring dogs to basketball games where the police department provided security to “intimidate African American patrons”.

    On April 30, 2016, Nucera allegedly ordered an officer to walk a canine through an apartment complex to let these f*cking [redacted slur] see him.



    Charming fellow. Not. Very much not.

  31. says

    jkrideau @ #33,

    Yes, my focus is on the documented story about the insecure voting system. Not just on its insecurity, though, but on how cagey and shady the people involved seem to have been throughout, even going so far as to destroy important evidence in a lawsuit. It raises serious questions about the integrity of Georgia’s voting infrastructure.

    On the one hand, there’s of course no reason (or at least there wasn’t then) to be suspicious in general of meetings with the Russian ambassador. As McFaul has pointed out, it’s normal and expected for them to meet with people and organizations. As I said, I don’t know with whom Kislyak met when he was there, or if this was part of a larger college tour. And his Russia-boosting campaign was a legitimate reason for being on a campus. Also, incompetence is a reasonable default explanation for the officials’ actions, including the destruction of evidence (an attempt to cover up their incompetence and to retain control of the voting system). (We also know, for the record, that there was substantial Republican cheating across the US, including in Georgia, in 2016 in the form of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.)

    On the other hand, it’s not the most prominent university. Kennesaw State does seem at first glance like an odd choice for Kislyak to be meeting with officials in April 2016 to launch and lay the groundwork for “The Year of Russia” (whatever that entailed). We know that the Kremlin made serious attempts to hack voting systems – this was happening during Kislyak’s visit – and KSU is in fact the home of the Center for Elections Systems, which was no doubt known to the Russian regime. It could well have been a coincidence. It could have been an attempt to ingratiate himself and gain trust, so that the officials, when they were apprised of the Russian interference, would be less alarmed – “That seems unlikely. That nice Ambassador Kislyak was here a few months ago and was so jovial.” It could have been calculated to make the Kennesaw officials appear compromised when the interference was revealed – “What?! Kislyak was at Kennesaw this spring while they were trying to hack state voting systems?!” I can think of a number of possibilities.

    In any case, while it’s worthwhile and necessary to question when suspicions might be getting ahead of or beyond the evidence and to avoid attributing domestic problems to foreign actors, I don’t think the endless reiteration of “paranoia,” “hysteria,” “Reds under the bed” is helpful at all. We know that the Kremlin has mounted a multi-pronged attack, and the evidence for this only continues to grow. This has plainly involved efforts in civil society, including hacking, compromising, blackmailing, bribing, propagandizing, and enlisting individuals and organizations. It’s what Putin does. And they’re not “Reds.” They’re capitalist kleptocratic bigots supported by the reactionary religious right and white supremacists at home and abroad.

  32. says

    “Donald Trump laments he’s ‘not supposed’ to influence DOJ, FBI”:

    President Donald Trump said Thursday he wishes he could get involved with the Justice Department and direct it toward Hillary Clinton.

    “The saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said. “I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”

    “I’m very unhappy with it that the Justice Department isn’t going,” Trump said.”I am not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I am very frustrated by it.”…

    So now naturally he’s pressuring the DoJ/FBI on Twitter (this is the first in a series – he can’t thread his tweets for some reason). Silence from the Republican enablers.

  33. says

    Ryan Goodman:

    …We have now surely lost touch with any reasonable sense of what “collusion” means. If we, as a country, knew a year ago what’s now understood to be an avalanche of well-reported facts, published emails and legal documentation, the behavior of the president’s family and associates would have crossed any reasonable line of what might be meant by an attempt to collude with the Kremlin.

    Mr. Trump might have won anyway without Vladimir Putin’s help. That’s not the issue. The issue is that the behavior of Mr. Trump and his associates amounts to a deep offense against the public’s sacred trust. We need to reckon not only with that fact, but also with how as a nation, we’ve almost lost the sense to recognize it.

  34. blf says

    More farcebork shenanigans, this time in support of pedophiles and other sexual assault, Facebook allowed child abuse posts to stay online for more than a year, Indian court hears:

    Facebook refused for more than a year to remove a page featuring images of children taken in public under which users posted graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, according to submissions made to India’s supreme court.

    A Facebook post advertising rape videos was also permitted to stay online despite being reported several times, the court heard, while police in the western state of Kerala allege another page was being used to run a child-sex ring.

    The three cases were raised during an Indian supreme court inquiry into how technology giants including Facebook and Google handle abusive content from India on their platforms.


    Affidavits submitted by Facebook indicated the company does not automatically report the existence of child-abuse material to Indian police — but to American authorities instead — despite a legal requirement to do so under local child-protection laws.


    [… I]n the course of hearings, the court heard that Facebook had declined to take down a page whose name was written in Roman script but translated in the southern Indian language, Telugu, to “little vagina”.

    The page featured pictures of of women and girls taken in public, apparently without consent, under which users left graphic comments describing sexual acts they wanted to commit.

    According to screenshots tendered in court, a user who reported the page was told it did not violate Facebook’s community standards.

    Only when the court asked Facebook to remove some of the posts, more than a year after the page was reported, were they finally taken down, according to Aparna Bhat, a lawyer arguing the case for the Indian anti-trafficking NGO Prajwala.


    Yet another page, which the court heard was reported but not initially judged to violate community standards, was being used to run a child-sex ring in Kerala state, police allege. More than 40 children were rescued and at least 39 people arrested after the page was reported to Indian authorities.


    Bhat […] questioned why Facebook and other companies complied with US requirements to report child-abuse material, but not those of India.

    “If there is reporting of these instances of child pornography to authorities in one country, why can’t they do the same in India?” she said.


  35. says

    The Republican tax bill is horrible in pretty much every way.* It’s a repeat of the ACA repeal – benefits the very rich and corporations (and in this case Trump personally), highly unpopular, incoherent, cooked up behind closed doors, balloons the deficit, promoted via outright lies and fraudulent promises, rushed through without even the pretense of real democratic process or bipartisanship. And in this case with the Koch propaganda machine working to foist it on the populace.

    * Here’s just one.

  36. blf says

    More horrible hair furor sycophants, Billionaire shuts down US and Chinese news sites after staff join union:

    The billionaire backer of a string of local news websites that spanned New York to Shanghai has sparked outrage by shutting them down just a week after reporters in one newsroom voted to unionise.

    In a surprise announcement Joe Ricketts, [… a] Donald Trump backer, closed DNAinfo and Gothamist, sites that chronicled daily life in New York City with local stories. The move leaves 115 journalists out of work […]


    [… M]any observers pointed to a decision in the Gothamist newsroom last week to join a union as impetus behind the timing of the closure. Ricketts refused to officially recognise the move, requiring the government to step in.

    The decision by the editorial team to unionize is simply another competitive obstacle making it harder for the business to be financially successful, a DNAinfo spokeswoman said.

    The Writers Guild of America East, the union staff voted to join, said […]: “It is no secret that threats were made to these workers during the organizing drive.”

    Ricketts penned a blogpost in September titled “Why I’m Against Unions At Businesses I Create” where he said: Unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed.

    I suspect that if this jerk was to try that line in, say, Germany, he’d be laughed out of the country.

    That corrosive dynamic makes no sense in my mind where an entrepreneur is staking his capital on a business that is providing jobs and promoting innovation.

  37. says

    “American Alt-Right Leaves Facebook for Russian Site VKontakte.”

    I remember reading in The Red Web about meetings in which people would try to point out to Putin and his henchmen that companies like VKontakte and Yandex were some of the few worldwide that successfully competed with FB and Google (they both have more users in Russia) and that attempts to surveil and control them would be counterproductive, to no avail. I love how the US Nazis think they have fewer restrictions on VK, when they’re really being watched and readied for further exploitation by the Kremlin.

  38. jrkrideau says

    #47 SC (Salty Current)
    That link takes me to some tweets about adoption. Is it supposed to?

    If not, that may be why I was so sarcastic about the Russian Ambassador visiting Kennesaw U. In that link, all I was seeing was a bunch of tweets about the visit tied into “something” about voting irregularities and little or nothing about the actual voting scandal.

  39. says

    Josh Marshall: “Serious question: Has the 2015 Joint funding agreement Donna Brazile referenced been made public? Actual text?”

    This is my question as well. This thread contends that she’s mischaracterizing it. It’s Brazile’s responsibility to make it public if it supports her case.

  40. jrkrideau says

    # 40 KG
    I agree: there’s no comparison. After all, the USSR never got its candidate elected as POTUS.

    Damn it, I’m still laughing. Thankfully, I had put my coffee cup down.

    Still the USA got its candidate elected as President of Russia so turnabout is fair play.

  41. says

    That link takes me to some tweets about adoption. Is it supposed to?

    Yes. Did you read the tweets? A few down: “…The GOPs new tax plan eliminates existing adoption assistance programs. I can say with absolute confidence that eliminating that credit WILL prevent people from adopting. No question….” It is, as I said, one of the ways in which the Republican tax plan is horrible.

    If not,…

    You really need to read more closely and comprehensively.

  42. says

    I thought it might be useful to reproduce the last tweets in that thread: “…So adoption tax credit goes away and families simply can’t adopt any more. Period. Do you think people will stop having babies, though? Obviously not, and the tiny child tax credit bump in the plan won’t change the reasons most parents place their kids for adoption. So realistically we’re just creating more foster kids, which is definitely a bigger drain on govt. resources than the adoption credit. And in the meantime good families go without children and kids go without permanent homes. There’s zero up side to this. And for what? So the wealthy can pass on their fortunes to their kids tax free? It’s disgusting. I should really wrap this up now, but please realize that when these senators talk up how they’re trying to help ‘middle class families’…They’re really giving the finger to an awful lot of them, through this and other cruel cuts. /fin”

  43. jrkrideau says

    @ 50 blf
    “Unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed.”

    My rule-of-thumb, at least here in Canada, is that employees in well run companies do not bother to unionize. If there is a drive to unionize it indicates a corrosive, oppressive and exploitive management.

    That said, I think that union–management relations tend to be more confrontational in the USA and Canada than in Germany. Joe Ricketts is a good example of why.

  44. jrkrideau says

    55 SC
    You really need to read more closely and comprehensively.
    Or the person providing the link might suggest something like
    A few tweets down: “…The GOPs new tax plan eliminates existing adoption assistance programs.?

    As for reading more closely I usually do on topics of real interest to me. I am not likely to waste time on incidentals. Internal US policy development is interesting and often horrible to watch but, in general, I really don’t care. It’s not my country.

    US international policy is important to my country and the rest of the world. That is why the Trump fiasco is salient.

  45. says

    …so turnabout is fair play.

    Setting aside your factual assertions, I find this really gross, and I’ve been outraged to see this attitude displayed by people ostensibly on the left. I’ve written online for years about the long history of foreign interference in democratic processes – mostly on the part of the US and its allies – and its terrible consequences: people tortured; environmental, LGBT, indigenous, union activists murdered; militarization; government impunity; journalists and intellectuals silenced and killed; corporations empowered and allowed to pillage; social programs demolished; social movements set back years; democratic institutions destroyed; people living in terror;…

    I care about it, regardless of the internal politics of the interfering state, because of what it means for democracy and for people’s lives. To laugh off Putin’s despicable regime helping to put in place (through a program of criminal hacking, covert propaganda, and other un- and anti-democratic methods) a batshit corrupt authoritarian and his gang of rabid rightwing ideologues doing immense damage to my country as “turnabout” or “fair play” is unbelievably stupid and thoughtless and an insult to my values.

  46. says

    Or the person providing the link might suggest something like
    A few tweets down: “…The GOPs new tax plan eliminates existing adoption assistance programs.?

    That’s not how it works.

    As for reading more closely I usually do on topics of real interest to me. I am not likely to waste time on incidentals. Internal US policy development is interesting and often horrible to watch but, in general, I really don’t care. It’s not my country.

    Then don’t fucking read it (or misread and still comment on it)! It was clear from my comment that it was about an aspect of the Republican tax plan. You’re a muddled thinker, a poor reader, and incredibly tiresome. This will be my last response to you. Jesus.

  47. jrkrideau says

    56 SC (Salty Current)
    Thanks that seems to sum up the budgetary issue very nicely.

    Oh, you have a comment in an earlier post ” And they’re not “Reds.” They’re capitalist kleptocratic bigots….” It think it was in response to my “Reds under the bed” comment.

    I agree totally but I really don’t think a lot of Americans, Hilary Clinton being an example, have grasped that yet. Too many automatic reactions seem to equate Russia with the USSR.

  48. says

    Carter Page said that he told Jeff Sessions about his trip to Russia. During his confirmation testimony, Jeff Sessions told Congress that he was not aware of any contacts between Trump campaign staff or advisors and Russians. Looks like more trouble for Session.

    Link to video segment about this news which broke last night.

  49. blf says

    Trump wants to keep our draconian surveillance laws. Don’t let him do it:

    […] Congress is having the most important debate on privacy rights in years.

    While it’s an uphill battle, if enough pressure is put on representatives in the coming months, there is a real chance some of the most controversial NSA surveillance powers exposed by Edward Snowden could be substantially restricted.

    Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) — the controversial spying provision that allows the NSA to spy on hundreds of thousands of foreign individuals and warrantless access to Americans’ emails — expires at the end of the year. The Trump administration and intelligence agencies are lobbying for the law to be permanently reauthorized, but a bipartisan coalition of congressmen are pushing for important reforms.


    How many Americans are affected by the law? We literally have no idea — because the government refuses to disclose it. But we do know it’s likely unconstitutional. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been challenging the constitutionality of the law for years, but so far the government has thrown up so many procedural and catch-22 secrecy hurdles, there’s never been a definitive ruling on the law.

    Right now, there are so many competing bills in the Section 702 reauthorization fight that it’s hard to keep track. First, there’s the Senate intelligence committee’s proposal to reauthorize the law in full and forever — which they marked up and passed out of committee in complete secrecy last week. Not only does it codify the existing rules as they are now, but it would even allow the government to expand some of its capabilities.

    Then there’s the “USA Liberty Act”, which pretends to reform the law, but leaves so many loopholes it’s just barely a step up from what exists now.

    And finally, there is the gold standard: the “USA Rights Act”, written by Democrat Ron Wyden, Republican Rand Paul — and co-sponsored by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — which provides several robust reforms while keeping the least controversial parts of the program intact.


    [… T]he Trump administration is demanding that Congress reapprove an expansive spying law but won’t be upfront about how many Americans it even affects.

    The USA Rights Act would force the government to release this information. It would also force the government to get a warrant before conducting what are known as “backdoor” searches, where the FBI goes into the NSA’s vast Section 702 databases and mines the data for all sorts of other crimes that aren’t related to national security. In addition, it provides several other commonsense oversight and transparency provisions while not hampering national security.

    This is the bill everyone should support. The EFF has an easy-to-use tool that allows you to contact your member of Congress to make your voice heard. […]

    Here’s why it’s important that you do it now: the last time Congress had to reauthorize Section 702, they waited until the very last possible moment — just a few days before the law was to expire — and used the holiday season, when most people were with their families on vacation and phone calls to the Capitol would be at a minimum, as cover. Many members of Congress then lamented the lack of time to work on reforms. They had known about the deadline for years, and there had been sensible, modest reforms on the table for months — but they still voted against them.

    You can expect surveillance defenders in Congress to do the same this year. If the Trump administration gets its way, the NSA will have expanded surveillance powers extended indefinitely, so the time to act is now.

  50. says

    Representative Marsha Blackburn (from Tennessee), brought a self-confessed neo-confederate secessionist to the House of Representatives to deliver the opening prayer.

    First, there really shouldn’t be an opening prayer, but if we must have one why do we have to hear from Reverend David O. Jones? Jones’ view of slavery is that it provided “basically cradle to grave security” for many blacks. Jones also wrote homeschooling high school course materials that included “Myths of American Slavery” and “The South Was Right.”

    Jones headed the Tennessee chapter of the League of the South for about twenty years (he left in 2015). The League promotes secession, and the group has been categorized as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Among the League of the South’s most recent activities we see the Charlottesville protests in August, and subsequent “White Lives Matter” rallies.

    Representative Blackburn claimed innocence: she said she did not know about Jones’s views:

    “Marsha is appalled by saddened by the actions and words of these hate-filled organizations. Marsha has not seen Rev. Jones in over a decade and was not aware he was affiliated with this organization,” Blackburn spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said.

    That does not sound credible.

  51. says

    Follow-up to comment 66.

    From Josh Marshall:

    I wasn’t terribly surprised when we reported a few weeks ago that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is tied to the ‘League of the South’, the pro-Southern secession/slavery apologism group that wants to lead the South in a second rebellion against the federal government in order to found a ‘white Christian republic.’ But I confess I was a bit surprised that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is currently the leading Republican candidate to succeed Sen. Bob Corker, does too. In 2004, Blackburn invited the Rev. David O. Jones, a neo-Confederate, secessionist and slavery apologist, to give the opening prayer in the House. And it happened!

  52. says

    Trump’s famous memory has failed him … again.

    […] Trump on Friday morning said that he does not “remember much” about a meeting during the 2016 campaign attended by George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kremlin-linked individuals during the 2016 race.

    “I don’t remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time — don’t remember much about it,” Trump told reporters Friday morning outside the White House when asked about the Papadopolous meeting.

    Trump does not clearly recall the meeting despite having “one of the greatest memories of all time,” as he boasted just last week.

    Asked again about the Russia probe, Trump told reporters that there was “no collusion” and that the media should focus more on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. […]


  53. says

    Marshall: “Donna Brazile Needs to Back Up Her Self-Serving Claims.”

    As I said above, it’s her responsibility, as the person who made the allegation, to provide the evidence in support of it. I honestly have no idea whether or not the 2015 JFA is as she described, and it certainly could be. But if so, she and her publishers really needed to provide an image of, or at the very least quotes from, the document in her book where she made the allegation. That said, I’d like to see it now.

    And seriously…*sigh*.

  54. says

    MSNBC’s Ari Member interviewed Sam Nunberg last night. Here are a few excerpts:

    […] “I think he [Trump] needs to fire Cobb,” Nunberg [said]. Ty Cobb is the White House lawyer coordinating Trump’s response to Mueller’s probe.

    Nunberg continued: “I think Cobb has told him — Cobb has said this publicly — that the Mueller investigation will exonerate Trump by the end of the year. It will not, Ari. It will not.”

    Speaking to Gabriel Sherman for a piece in Vanity Fair Wednesday, Nunberg referenced the President’s polling numbers: “Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked.” Nunberg also pinned the White House’s response to the Russia investigation on Jared Kushner, whose finances Nunberg said he suspected Mueller was also investigating.

    “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg told Vanity Fair.

    Nunberg told Melber that, even if cooperating with Mueller would prove Trump’s innocence — the strategy Ty Cobb advocates — doing so would hurt the President.

    “You do not release executive privilege,” Nunberg said. “You just do not give up executive privilege.” […]

    “Alan Dershowitz has said it may not be a crime, even to have colluded with Russia.” […]

    Video available here.

    Nunberg was too toxic even for team Trump. They fired him as a campaign advisor after Business Insider reported in July 2015 that Nunberg had posted numerous racist rants and memes on social media. Nunberg later apologized.

    Nunberg is seated to George Papadopolus’ right in the photo of the meeting that Trump can’t remember.

  55. says

    Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors star basketball player, was mentioned in the GOP’s tax bill.

    […] “It was weird, that’s about it,” Curry said following Golden State’s 112-92 win over San Antonio Thursday night. “There’s a lot of people wondering why I was called out, whatever the case may be, but mama, I made it.”

    Accompanying the 429-page bill unveiled Thursday were talking points for Republicans that included the following paragraph:

    “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes specific safeguards to prevent tax avoidance and help ensure taxpayers of all income levels play by the rules under this new fairer, simpler tax system,” the tax proposal stated. “Our legislation will ensure this much-needed tax relief goes to the local job creators it’s designed to help by distinguishing between the individual wage income of NBA All-Star Stephen Curry and the pass-through business income of Steve’s Bike Shop.”

    Curry learned about his place in the plan Thursday and had a question. “I wonder if Steve’s Bike Shop is hiring,” Curry tweeted. […]

    […] In September, President Donald Trump criticized the Warriors for saying they may not visit the White House. Championship teams have traditionally visited the president, but the Warriors were wavering because of their disapproval of Trump. […]

    “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” Trump tweeted. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”


  56. says

    I honestly have no idea whether or not the 2015 JFA is as she described, and it certainly could be.

    If it isn’t, I don’t know why Clinton’s people wouldn’t have produced it yet. But I have no idea.

  57. says

    Oh, FFS! Really, Republicans? Really?

    More than a month after Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers to lapse, sending states scrambling to find emergency funding, the House of Representatives voted Friday on a bill to reauthorize the programs. Almost every Democrat voted no because the bill pays for CHIP by cutting more than $10 billion from Obamacare’s public health and prevention fund, and by raising Medicare fees for higher-income senior citizens.

    The bill also cuts the grace period for people who miss a payment on their health insurance premiums from 90 days to 30, a change expected to cause about 700,000 people to lose their insurance. […]

    Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), jabbing her finger for emphasis, so furious she tripped over her words, said she would be proud to vote “Hell no” on the bill.

    “This is robbing Peter to pay Paul,” she said. “We’re going to take from lead paint screenings and testing water and vaccinations? Take it from the money you’re giving to the richest of the rich in tax cuts. Don’t cut the prevention fund.” […]

    The plan to raise Medicare fees for higher-income senior citizens can be defended, or at least an argument can be made for that, but stripping $10 billion from public health and prevention fund is counterproductive and just stupid. Cutting the grace period to 30 days for paying health insurance premiums is cruel and short-sighted.

  58. says

    SC @72, Yes, we do have a big information hole.

    Clinton may be staying out of the fight just to stay out of the fight. Hard to say.

    Meanwhile, lots of people are really angry.

  59. blf says

    The welcome change to not-tolerating sexual assault has come to Congress, Female members of Congress describe sexual harassment by male lawmakers:

    Four current and former lawmakers recall incidents ranging from repeated unwanted come-ons, to lewd remarks and even groping on the House floor
    As reports flow almost daily of harassment or worse by men in entertainment, business and the media, one current and three former female lawmakers tell the Associated Press that they, too, have been harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments — by fellow members of Congress.

    The incidents occurred years or even decades ago, usually when the women were young newcomers to Congress. They range from isolated comments at one hearing, to repeated unwanted come-ons, to lewd remarks and even groping on the House floor. […]


    [Former California senator Barbara] Boxer and the other female lawmakers spoke on the record to tell their stories in the wake of revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged serial attacks on women, as well as disclosures from current and former Capitol Hill staffers about harassment by lawmakers and aides. Those accounts, published in the Washington Post and elsewhere, revealed that Congress has few training or reporting requirements in place to deal with sexual harassment.

    Largely untold before now is that some female lawmakers themselves say they have been harassed by male colleagues. […]


    “When I was a very new member of Congress in my early 30s, there was a more senior member who outright propositioned me, who was married, and despite trying to laugh it off and brush it aside it, would repeat. And I would avoid that member,” said Linda Sanchez, a Democratic representative from California. She added that she would warn other new female members about the lawmaker in question, but she declined to identify him, while saying he remains in Congress.


    [Mary] Bono […] said it seemed like [her harasser] did not know how to talk to a woman as an equal. “Instead of being ‘how’s the weather, how’s your career, how’s your bill,’ it was ’I thought about you while I was in the shower.’ So it was a matter of saying to him: ‘That’s not cool, that’s just not cool.’”

    Bono declined to identify the lawmaker, saying the behavior stopped after she finally challenged him. He still serves in Congress, she said.


    Former representative Ellen Tauscher of California flatly argued that harassment cannot take place between members of Congress. Female members and male members are equals, they don’t sexually harass each other, Tauscher said.

    In fact, the law specifies that harassment can occur between equals, said Jennifer Drobac, a professor at the Indiana University Robert H McKinney School of Law, who teaches a course in sexual harassment law.

    “Formally, two members of Congress may have the same status. That doesn’t change the fact that sexual harassment can occur between peers,” Drobac said, noting that numerous other factors can come into play, including the difference in age and length of service between the members, and the mere fact that men have more power in society than women.

    For her part, Bono strongly disputed any suggestion that she or any other female lawmaker could not be harassed by their peers.


  60. says

    Clinton may be staying out of the fight just to stay out of the fight. Hard to say.

    Meanwhile, lots of people are really angry.

    It’s so weird. Adrienne Elrod was just on MSNBC. She clearly seems to be saying that Clinton and Sanders signed the same JFAs (and other agreements) with the party; had to be pushed almost to be clear that Brazile’s claims about the primaries weren’t true. I can’t figure out what’s going on. Are they still unclear about what Brazile’s claims are? Are they focusing on the wrong thing? Are they, as you say, trying to stay out of the fight? Or is there something they’re trying to hide? Why wouldn’t they just provide copies of the 2015 JFAs?

  61. says

    And so it begins, or better yet, and so it continues:

    Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Friday introduced a resolution calling on special counsel Robert Mueller to step aside from the Russia probe, claiming that Mueller is “hopelessly compromised” […]

    In his statement on the resolution, Gaetz appears to be referring to an October report in The Hill that the FBI was investigating a bribery scheme at a Russian nuclear energy firm and its arm in the U.S. A spokesperson for an unnamed informant who allegedly spoke to the FBI about this scheme told The Hill that the informant had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI, barring him from talking to Congress. […]

    “These deeply troubling events took place when Mr. Mueller was the director of the FBI. As such, his impartiality is hopelessly compromised. He must step down immediately,” Gaetz said in a statement.

    The resolution itself also mentions donations to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees received by former President Bill Clinton while the Obama administration was considering a deal to allow the Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire a stake in Uranium One, a Canadian company with uranium extraction operations in the U.S. […]

    In the resolution, Gaetz argues that Muller is compromised because he “has a personal or political relationship” with an “organization substantially involved in the conduct that is subject of the investigation” and argued that Mueller’s participation in the Russia probe “would create an appearance of conflict of interest likely to affect public perception of the integrity of the investigation.”

    Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) have joined Gaetz as co-sponsors of the resolution, according to Gaetz’s statement.

    The Uranium One pseudo scandal has been debunked on the Political Madness All the Time thread many times.

  62. Hj Hornbeck says

    I’m not sure they need to, WikiLeaks leaked a draft copy. It doesn’t say what she claims it does. Someone who claims to have full access to it says it does not say what Brazile says it does.

    We have reason to doubt Brazile. The ball’s now in her court to cough up the 2015 JFA and show how it backs her claims, or show where other people are wrong in their interpretation of the 2015 JFA.

  63. says

    U.S. government goons [Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents], paid by taxpayers, and encouraged by team Trump, are blocking follow-up medical care for a 10-year-old girl.

    When Rosa was discharged, Border Patrol officers violated doctor’s orders to return the child to her family and instead took her to a child housing facility in San Antonio operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. According to the Hernandez family attorney Leticia Gonzalez, Rosa’s discharge papers read: “Rosa Hernandez is a post-operative patient with cerebral palsy and developmental delay. In the best interest of the patient, it is recommended that the patient be discharged to a family member that is familiar with her medical and psychological needs.” Gonzalez said the discharge papers also directed Rosa Maria to “follow up with her primary care doctor within three days [of surgery] and then return to Dr. Haroon Patel [the child’s surgeon] in Laredo on November 2, 2017.”

    Family members play an irreplaceable role in assessing pain for children with cerebral palsy. Rosa Maria has spent 10 days cut off from that support. #FreeRosa

    Dr. Vandermeer, Pediatric Palliative Physician at UT Health San Antonio

    […] This girl does not make a convincing criminal or threat to national security. Could federal officials’ fixation on her reflect any more poorly on them, or on the Trump administration for fostering the soulless enforcement posture that has led to this? Could it reflect any more poorly on us as an alleged nation of immigrants?

    The ugly truth is that there are people who applaud the enforcement effort against Rosamaria, and who don’t think the resources could have been better spent elsewhere. A look at the Facebook comments on our stories about Rosamaria confirms it. Some people want her and her family sent to Mexico posthaste and a bill for all of her expenses sent with them. […]

    We wish we could conduct an experiment in which the people who say they’d like to send Rosamaria and her big medical bills back to Mexico could have the opportunity to tell her that in person. Not her mother. Just her. Because this is about her, an innocent 10-year-old. […]

    Immigration authorities say they were just doing their job. But placing a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who has lived in this country all but the first three months of her life in detention, separating her from her family, and starting removal proceedings on her is a dirty job. No one, really, has to do it. […]

  64. says

    If nothing else, Donna Brazille is playing into Trump’s hands:

    Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems..

    …New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary. What about the deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus…

    ….People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!

    The real story on Collusion is in Donna B’s new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!

    Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.

  65. says

    AP – “Inside story: How Russians hacked the Democrats’ emails.”

    Includes this tidbit:

    All three leak-branded sites have distanced themselves from Moscow. DCLeaks claimed to be run by American hacktivists. WikiLeaks said Russia wasn’t its source. Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian.

    But there were signs of dishonesty from the start. The first document Guccifer 2.0 published on June 15 came not from the DNC as advertised but from Podesta’s inbox, according to a former DNC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

    The official said the word “CONFIDENTIAL” was not in the original document.

    Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed it to catch reporters’ attention.

  66. says

    Follow-up to comment 81.

    Elizabeth Warren replied:

    I understand your desperation to change the subject, @realDonaldTrump. Your campaign mgr was just indicted for conspiracy against the US.

    You might think your tweets are cute, @realDonaldTrump, but they won’t stop Mueller’s investigation or keep your people out of jail.

    [Democratic Party apparatus] shouldn’t play favorites. But that’s a whole lot different from illegally conspiring with Russia. The FBI knows the difference. Slurs, lies & trash talk won’t stop the FBI from doing its job. This isn’t a dictatorship. It’s our democracy. And it’s stronger than you.

  67. says

    Follow-up to comment 22.

    Brig. Gen John Baker has been released.

    A Pentagon official ordered the release Friday of a Marine Corps general who was sentenced to 21 days confinement to quarters in connection with a dispute over defense attorneys at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals. […]

    “I have spoken with him and he has been told he is free to go,” Baker’s lawyer Barry Pollack [said].

    The move came about an hour before a federal judge in Washington was set to convene a hearing on a habeas corpus petition seeking Baker’s immediate release. […]

    Justice Department lawyers had argued that Lamberth should not intrude in the military justice system and in efforts by the Guantanamo judge, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, to control events in his courtroom. […]

    The underlying fight is over alleged snooping on defense lawyers representing Guantanamo prisoners charged in the military commissions.

    Spath held Baker in contempt after he refused to rescind an order he issued excusing three civilian defense attorneys over concerns about intrusions on privileged attorney-client communications. […]


    Does not sound like Trump should be sending selected criminals to Gitmo.

  68. says

    Bernie Sanders responded to Trump’s tweets (see comment 81) about Donna Brazille’s accusations:

    We won’t be distracted from your efforts to give billionaires tax cuts, take health care from millions and deny climate change. Do your job.

  69. says

    Senator Chris Murphy responded to Trump’s tweet that included a reference to “Pocahontas”:

    The state of the American Presidency defined. A racial slur and a threat to jail a political opponent all in 140 characters.

  70. says

    I’ve spent months covering Republican tax policy. This bill is way worse than I expected.


    […] Most exciting was the possibility that the legislation could actually help poor families with kids (not a typical GOP tax bill priority). First Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT), and then Ivanka Trump, pushed to double the child tax credit to $2,000 per person. That on its own isn’t too exciting; the tax plan already eliminates personal exemptions, so you have to increase the child tax credit significantly just to compensate for that.

    But what was exciting was Rubio and Lee’s proposal to lower the refundability threshold to $0. That sounds like a technical change, but it means that a single mom earning $8,000 a year while working part time and raising her two children would get $1,224, rather than the $750 she’d get under current law. That’s a big raise, one that could make poor families’ lives significantly better.

    That proposal didn’t make it in. Instead, the main change to the child tax credit for poor families is a provision barring US citizen kids with unauthorized immigrant parents from claiming it. […]

    […] interest deductibility is only partially limited, and not limited at all for partnerships and other “pass-through” companies (including some banks) or for real estate companies. That effectively exempts many of the biggest users of the deduction, and negates much of the point of limiting it.

    And so it goes, down the line. The mortgage interest deduction is a terrible driver of inequality that screws over renters to help wealthy people with houses. So the tax framework limits it — but only for quite rich people with houses worth $500,000 or more. The state and local tax deduction is a pretty suboptimal way of subsidizing state budgets — but the tax framework gets rid of most of it, and uses the money not to pay for another way to share revenue with states, but to eliminate the estate tax.

    […] It could have been a tax reform bill that encouraged companies to invest and innovate, and that helped working families escape poverty. It could have been a tax reform bill that disrupted the irresponsible, socially costly business model of Wall Street.

    It’s none of those things. Instead, it’s a pretty blatant cash grab for corporations and wealthy individuals, without much positive to show for that.</blockquote

  71. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of Donna Brazille’s accusations:

    […] So uh … good story? Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, saved the DNC’s ass and then wanted to micromanage it, Bernie Sanders (who was only a Democrat for the purposes of his campaign, which was still the right thing to do instead of running as a third party spoiler) was offered a fundraising agreement and didn’t use it and … something something underpants gnomes BERNIE WAS ROBBED! […]

  72. says

    Zerlina Maxwell is on MSNBC saying she hasn’t seen either JFA, but she’s concerned that Brazile might be confusing them. The Sanders rep seems to be saying that Sanders wasn’t interested in using the JFA he signed because he thought it was part of a corrupt system, which is very likely true but not at all the same thing as Brazile contends.

  73. says

    What the heck? Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is off the rails in another area:

    [Today] the Department of Justice filed an astonishing appeal with the Supreme Court, urging the justices to intervene in the Jane Doe case […]. Doe, an undocumented 17-year-old in a federally funded Texas shelter, was denied abortion access by the Trump administration, which argues that it can force undocumented minors to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. On Oct. 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Doe must be allowed to terminate her pregnancy, which she did the next day.

    Now the DOJ is urging the Supreme Court to vacate that decision—and punish the ACLU attorneys who represented Doe.

    […] the DOJ has three goals here. First, it wants the Supreme Court to punish the D.C. Circuit for issuing a decision that it believes to be egregiously wrong by wiping the entire ruling off the books. Second, the DOJ wants to eradicate a decision that sets a legal precedent it despises. Doe’s lawsuit was initially brought as part of a class action, and the ACLU will continue to litigate its broader claim against the Trump administration’s absolute bar on abortion access for undocumented minors. As long as the D.C. Circuit’s decision remains on the books, those lawsuits are almost guaranteed to succeed. The Justice Department wants it gone so that it can litigate this issue anew.

    Third, and most importantly, Friday’s appeal is a flagrant effort to crucify the individual attorneys who represented Doe, and to terrify likeminded lawyers into acquiescence. The DOJ thus asks the Supreme Court to force Doe’s lawyers to “show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken” against the ACLU—either by the court itself or by state bars—for “material misrepresentations and omissions” designed to thwart an appeal.

    In other words, the DOJ is using the full weight of a government agency to threaten professional ruin upon the lawyers who defended Jane Doe’s constitutional right to abortion access. […]

    If anyone deserves to be punished here, it is surely Lloyd, who flouted the law for purely ideological purposes. But instead of investigating its own employee for potential misconduct, the government is going after Doe’s ACLU attorneys for defending her constitutional rights. […]


    Bolding is mine. The attack on abortion rights is alarming and important, but it seems to me like it is a new tactic to go directly after lawyers who defend the reproductive rights of their clients.

    Much more at the link.

  74. blf says

    The UK Parliament sexual assault situation now includes a claim of at least on rape last year by a serving MP, Labour activist says she was raped at party event and told not to report it:

    [… A] Labour activist spoke of being raped at a party event after [another] woman had described being assaulted on a hotel bed by an MP last year.

    The two women both criticised the lack of proper processes for reporting their allegations […].

    The second woman, who said she was sexually assaulted by an MP on a hotel bed last year, criticised as “inadequate” proposals announced by the government on Monday aimed at enhancing existing reporting systems in parliament.

    The Westminster staffer, who works for another MP and asked to remain anonymous, said there needed to be a “credible independent body” to investigate complaints about politicians’ behaviour that was not connected to the parties.

    “Some of the people who knew what happened to me are now being tasked with fixing this broken system and those are the very people who in my opinion at best turned a blind eye and at worst actively covered it up,” she said.

    The other woman, the Labour activist Bex Bailey, said she was raped at a party event in 2011 by a more senior party member but later discouraged by an official from reporting it in case it damaged her career.


    As mentioned in @20, the parties have been ordered to publish their policies and procedures for dealing with complaints. They are currently scrambling to have credible ones (Conservatives draw up code of conduct amid Westminster harassment claims), but as per both articles, to-date have only come up with, in essence, “tell someone in the old boys network”. Reminds me of the raping children cult’s approach.

  75. says

    What I Learned From Three Weeks Watching Fox News Non-Stop


    […] I have come away from the experience with a persistent headache, an irrational fondness for The Five, and a keen sense of the many ways in which we all are screwed. […]. The results illuminate the wisdom of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.”

    The network isn’t all garbage, of course. Shepard Smith is a quality anchor. Neil Cavuto and Bret Baier are basically fine. […] They prove that Fox could be a reasonable platform for conservative news and commentary if it wanted to be. Instead, the network has chosen to travel a much more stupid path. The network flatters its viewers’ sense of moral superiority while validating all of their latent resentments, cultivating in them a constant state of righteous rage that can be easily exploited […]

    Fox News is oddly stagnant. The same guests and contributors recur […] The same topics are discussed ad nauseam, […] The same catchphrases are uttered, the same straw men erected and dismembered. It’s as if the network’s agenda is set each morning by picking topics from a hat that includes exactly three slips of paper, all of which say “CROOKED HILLARY.” It’s exhausting. […]

    The network persuades through repetition. Some people think that Fox News poisons the minds of viewers, like a drug slipped into an unwitting victim’s food. It’s more accurate to say that the network wears them down. Even the dumbest conspiracy theories can start to sound plausible when you hear them again and again and again—especially if you are not listening very carefully to begin with. […]

  76. says

    From John Cassidy, writing for The New Yorker:

    […] The Republicans—having committed to huge tax cuts for corporations, unincorporated businesses, and very large estates, while also pledging to help out middle-class households—were in a bind. According to some reports, they were trying to fit five trillion dollars’ worth of tax cuts into the $1.5 trillion allotment they had pencilled into their budget for 2018.

    […] the basic thrust of the bill is straightforward: the Donald Trumps of the world get caviar; the ordinary person gets peanuts; […]

    In announcing their bill, both Ryan and Brady claimed that a typical middle-class family, with two kids and about fifty thousand dollars in earnings, stood to save close to twelve hundred dollars in taxes. (To be precise: $1,182.) “This plan is for middle-class families who are living paycheck to paycheck,” Ryan said. The owner of a small business that makes sixty-two thousand dollars a year would save more than three thousand dollars, Ryan added.

    Figures like these demand close scrutiny. In reducing marginal tax rates, doubling the standard deduction, and expanding tax credits for children and other dependents, the bill would benefit many middle-class households. But abolishing personal exemptions could hurt middle-class families who have a lot of children. As could eliminating the deductions for state and local taxes, health-care expenditures, and student-loan interest.

    The treatment of state and local taxes, and the new limits the bill would place on mortgage-interest deductions, appear to be targeted at households in blue states, such as New York and California, which have high taxes and expensive real estate. No surprise there: it’s partisan politics. Other aspects of the bill would affect households everywhere. Unlike the tax cuts for corporations and other businesses, the tax cuts for families are temporary: after five years, they expire.

    […] The measure shifts the burden of taxation in the U.S. from corporations, which are largely run and owned by rich people, to households. […]

    To understand how all this could work in practice, it might be helpful to consider the case of a single very rich taxpayer (or non-taxpayer): Donald Trump himself. […]

    According to Trump’s 2005 tax return, parts of which were leaked earlier this year, he paid $38.4 million in federal taxes on income of $152.7 million, which means that his effective tax rate was about twenty-five per cent. But $31.3 million of his payment went to cover his A.M.T. liability. If there hadn’t been an A.M.T., he would have paid just $7.1 million, or about five per cent of his taxable income. To look at it another way, if this tax bill had already been in effect, Trump would have seen his tax bill reduced by more than eighty per cent.

    Because Trump owns hundreds of unincorporated businesses, he also stands to be a big beneficiary of the new flat rate on pass-through income. […]

    Finally, there is the abolition of the estate tax. To be sure, Trump may have already taken precautions to avoid the estate tax, by, for example, setting up specialized family trusts. But if he lived another ten years and then left his heirs, say, two billion dollars of unsheltered assets, then, under the current system, they would face a federal tax bill of eight hundred million dollars. Under the Republican bill, that liability would disappear. […]

  77. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    I have always had a great deal of respect for Donna Brazile. […] I was stunned when I first read Brazile’s piece in Politico. But now having read it over a few times, I have a hard time not concluding that she’s done a serious disservice to the historical record and to all Democrats. […]

    Brazile claims that the Clinton campaign and the DNC entered into a joint fundraising agreement in 2015 which gave her campaign control of the DNC long before she was the nominee […]

    Whether this is actually true is not really clear to me. The existence of this joint fundraising agreement was public at the time. As NBC’s Mark Murray notes here, Sanders also had such an agreement with the DNC. The key difference is that he didn’t end up raising money through it while Clinton did. There are lots of reasons why this may have been the case, all reasonable, all tied to different campaign strategies, different fundraising bases, etc.

    (<a href="I have always had a great deal of respect for Donna Brazile. And I have tried to keep to a long time principle of not revising my view of a person simply because they do something I disagree with. I was stunned when I first read Brazile’s piece in Politico. But now having read it over a few times, I have a hard time not concluding that she’s done a serious disservice to the historical record and to all Democrats. Why this is the case, I truly don’t know. And there may be more facts to emerge that I’m not yet aware of. But here’s why I think this.

    Brazile claims that the Clinton campaign and the DNC entered into a joint fundraising agreement in 2015 which gave her campaign control of the DNC long before she was the nominee – ability to sign off on messaging, hiring etc. If that’s true, that is definitely not kosher. The party is supposed to be formally neutral while a presidential primary is going on.

    Whether this is actually true is not really clear to me. The existence of this joint fundraising agreement was public at the time. As NBC’s Mark Murray notes here, Sanders also had such an agreement with the DNC. The key difference is that he didn’t end up raising money through it while Clinton did. There are lots of reasons why this may have been the case, all reasonable, all tied to different campaign strategies, different fundraising bases, etc.

    (David Graham has a general look at Brazile’s story and questions it raises. I strongly recommend it.) […]

    What did the DNC do to rig the primaries? We hear a lot about scheduling primary debates on Saturdays. But c’mon. If primary debate scheduling – which was eventually tossed aside in any case – was enough to defeat Sanders that’s a pretty sad commentary. Clinton was the establishment candidate. It’s no secret that Wasserman-Schultz favored Clinton over Sanders. The party’s establishment and apparatus were more supportive of her. We know that. That’s what it means to be the ‘establishment candidate’. But did she or the DNC do things that made it impossible for Sanders to win or even made it any harder for him to win? I see no evidence of that. […]

    It is in the nature of insurgent candidacies to claim the ‘establishment’ is against them. They’re often right. That’s what an insurgent candidacy is. Cheating and claims of cheating are poisonous. It is to no Democrat’s true advantage to make such claims. But the reason not to make them is that they’re not true. At least there’s no evidence of it that has been provided. […]

    False accusations are always bad but they are particularly bad when their immediate effects are so potentially damaging. That’s the case here. […]

    There’s zero advantage to re-litigating the toxic 2016 primaries. Poisoning the well by purporting to validate that Sanders was cheated does the exact opposite. It’s toxic and much worse than toxic it’s not at all clear it’s even true.

    If Brazile wants to make these accusations she needs to provide the documents she’s referring to and something concrete about actions the DNC took to rig the primaries against Sanders. The fact that Wasserman-Schultz was a bad chair, the fact that the DNC was poorly run, that not enough money went to state parties – all true. But none of that is what made Brazile’s claims a bombshell. All of that was known. If she can’t back these claims up she owes every Democrat a huge apology. And I have to say that applies to Elizabeth Warren too who jumped on the bandwagon.

    Much more at the link.

  78. says

    SC @96, a lot of responsible people should copy that report and post it elsewhere to protect it, since it debunks team Trump’s lies about climate change. Trump’s own White House Office of Science and Technology Policy produced the report (600 pages, scientists from 13 federal agencies working together). Team Trump is still likely to find a way to take the report down, to bury it.

    Excerpt from Joe Romm’s summary:

    […] The National Climate Assessment (NCA) projects a devastated America — widespread Dust-Bowlification, 18°F Arctic warming, sea levels rising a foot a decade — on our current path of unrestricted carbon pollution. The report makes clear just how grave a threat are Trump’s plans to abandon the Paris climate deal, undo Obama-era climate rules, and boost carbon pollution.

    Indeed, the report explicitly states that if governments don’t meet their Paris targets, and then go beyond them, catastrophic impacts would be inevitable.

    The report “indicates that a path of inaction will truly lead to disastrous climate change impacts,” as climatologist Michael Mann said in an email to ThinkProgress, confirming a point he made when the New York Times published the leaked final draft in August. “Sadly, the Trump presidency has steered the U.S. toward this path.”

    “Based on extensive evidence… it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” explains the NCA, the most comprehensive and detailed report ever done on climate change and its specific impact on America (emphasis in original). […]

  79. blf says

    Mano Singham, here at FtB, notes that The power situation in Puerto Rico is worse than reports suggest (Dr Singham’s emphasis):

    [… T]he 30% figure does not refer to the percentage of the population who are now getting power. Instead what it means is that the power grid has been able to restore only 30% of the power it needs to produce. This power is unequally distributed. It is being sent only to institutions that truly need it (such as hospitals and other emergency services) and to those that do not really need it but are powerful (like the governor’s mansion) but that the wording of power restoration was quietly changed to hide this fact.


    So pretty much nearly all of the population is still without power, nearly two months after the hurricane hit. It is a disgrace.

  80. says

    “Source who is being examined by special counsel: ‘It’s every man for himself'”:

    Less than a week after two top former Trump campaign officials were indicted and another adviser to the campaign had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the pressure on others under scrutiny appears to be growing. One source whose actions during the 2016 election are being examined by the special counsel’s office and who is reluctant to talk publicly tells CBS News, “It’s every man for himself.”

    That remark suggests that some of the former campaign officials and associates in legal jeopardy may be rushing to offer their cooperation in an effort to get a better deal from prosecutors….

    …Now, days after former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted, the source acknowledged to CBS News something he’d been reluctant to admit in the past: “I do believe the Russians interfered or tried to interfere,” he said. But he pointed to others associated with the campaign, “I don’t know what they were doing” and “whatever those people did, that’s on them.”

  81. blf says

    I’m not too happy about the whiff of white women in deepest African jungle odour to this story, but yet it is worth noting, US woman charged over tweet allegedly insulting Robert Mugabe:

    Lawyer for Martha O’Donovan, detained in Zimbabwe, says client is accused of posting ‘we are being led by selfish and sick man’

    Zimbabwean police have charged an American citizen with a new offence of plotting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government […].

    Martha O’Donovan had earlier been charged over a tweet that appeared to insult Robert Mugabe […].

    O’Donovan was detained on Friday morning, a US embassy spokesman told the Associated Press. Her lawyer, Obey Shava, said she faced two charges — undermining the authority of or insulting the president and plotting to overthrow the government — of tweets that police claimed were “emanating from her IT [sic†] address”

    The exact words of the insult are unclear. Shava said his client had been accused of tweeting “We are being led by a selfish and sick man” from the Twitter handle @matigary.

    The tweet had a photo illustration of the 93-year-old Mugabe with a catheter, according to the police charge sheet.

    However, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an activist group, said the offending tweet referred to a “goblin whose wife and stepson bought a Rolls-Royce”.


    The tweet did not refer to Mugabe by name, ZLHR said, but Russell Goreraza, who is Mugabe’s stepson with his wife, Grace, is thought to be the only individual to have recently imported two Rolls-Royce vehicles into the country.


    Robert Mugabe is one of the most odious kleptocrats on the planet (easily outdoing hair furor in his brazenness of his thefts), and Grace Mugabe is being positioned to take over the family’s country when he finally dies. She is at least as bad.

      † There is no such thing as an “IT address”. Someone probably means “IP address”, but that frequently does not identify an individual as it can be reassigned (automatically) — and presumes only one person is using the device with the IP-address.

  82. says

    Not content with the unfair and sociopathic content of their tax bill, Republicans in the House are considering rewriting one section of the bill in order to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate.

    […] “The president feels very strongly about including this at some step before the final process,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said […]. “No decisions have been made.”

    Despite a public push last week by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to include repeal of the mandate in the tax package, tax bill writers didn’t include that in the measure released Thursday.

    But a faction of lawmakers including conservative stalwarts Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) have continued to push for folding repeal into the bill. […]

    “Wouldn’t it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

    Brady said that Trump has since pressed him on the issue once in person and twice over the phone. “It’s a trend,” he joked.

    Brady added that he’s asked for an updated analysis on the impact of repealing the individual mandate. A December 2016 CBO report projected that 15 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 if the mandate is repealed.

    But with fewer people enrolled, the federal government would spend roughly $400 billion less over that period in subsidies designed to help individuals afford Obamacare plans. Those savings could represent an attractive addition to a tax bill currently expected to add to the federal deficit. […]


  83. says

    Even from the conservative side, the Republican tax plan is not looking great:

    The conservative Tax Foundation estimates that GOP tax reform plans would raise the deficit by $1.98 trillion over a decade — significantly more than House estimates […]

    Budget rules approved last week allow the Republican proposal to grow the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the reform bill unveiled Thursday would stay below that limit.

    The Tax Foundation estimates hundreds of millions more in lost tax revenue, but said Friday that the bill’s effects on the economy would result in a net loss of $989 billion. […]

    Key Senators such as Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have said they would not vote for a plan that raised the deficit at all, and scoffed at claims from Trump administration officials such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that economic growth would completely wipe out the tax-related deficit.

    The foundation also found that, before [mythical, pie-in-the-sky] growth effects are taken into account, the top 1 percent of earners would get 3.5 times the proportion of tax benefits as everyone else. […]


    I added the “mythical, pie-in-the-sky” description.

    If conservative foundations think the deficit will be raised by $1.98 trillion, it’s a safe bet that the actual number will be much larger.

  84. says

    From Joy Reid:

    The question is: what does the DNC actually do, and can it, even if it wanted to, rig 50+ primaries for any given candidate?

    Read Joy Reid’s entire presentation on Twitter. It includes:

    […] Even if one objects to the JFA as Donna did it didn’t hurt Sanders financially. By April he’d raised as much as HRC.” (Image and contribution totals shown.)

    “And by the way, if you made the superdelegates proportional, or disappeared them, Clinton still would have won.”

    “[…] snarky emails didn’t cost Bernie Sanders the nomination. DNC fundraising deals with Clinton (for money to spend in the GENERAL election)didn’t either. Sanders didn’t win the nomination because Hillary Clinton got more votes than he did. She won the calendar.

    And she got more votes particularly in states with large black voting populations, which is how Democrats win primaries.

    The DNC, from what I gather, including from Donna’s book excerpt, could barely function, let alone rig 50+ primaries.

    Because again, how would an organization compel/force more people to vote for one candidate over the other?

    Perhaps if they had run a disinformation campaign against Sanders? Which is odd because there was one: that Russia ran against Clinton.

  85. says

    NBC got the memo referred to by Brazile. Her bombshell looks like a lot of nothing:

    …In exchange for Hillary for America’s (HFA) helping the cash-strapped DNC raise money, the committee agreed “that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.”

    Specifically, the DNC agreed to hire a communications director from “one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.” And while the DNC maintained “the authority to make the final decision” on senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments, it said it would choose “between candidates acceptable to HFA.”

    However, the memo also made clear it pertained only to the general election, not the primary season, and it left open the possibility it would sign similar agreements with other candidates.

    “Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary,” the memo states.

    “Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates,” it continues….

  86. KG says


    Damn it, I’m still laughing. Thankfully, I had put my coffee cup down.
    Still the USA got its candidate elected as President of Russia so turnabout is fair play.

    I’m glad my #40 gave you a laugh, but the point was also a serious one: Putin’s Russia has proved itself far more dangerous to what democracy we have in “the West” than the USSR ever was. And I absolutely agree with SC@60 that American anti-democratic interference in Russia or anywhere else does not in any way justify Russian anti-democratic interference in America or European countries.


    My rule-of-thumb, at least here in Canada, is that employees in well run companies do not bother to unionize. If there is a drive to unionize it indicates a corrosive, oppressive and exploitive management.

    That’s just… weird. Unionisation should be absolutely routine in all workplaces. Apart from the3 fact that the interests of employers and employess are never identical, unions have many other functions.

  87. says

    I’m disturbed that Brazile seemed to have based her suspicions on the emails released by WL. They appear to have been altered, but even if they weren’t, I witnessed and commented on the massive spin given them by Assange and many on the Sanders Reddit in real time. They took quotes out of context, and even more seriously did everything they could to present emails from after Clinton had clearly clinched the Democratic nomination as having been from a contested moment in the primaries. Given what’s known now, Brazile’s (and Hachette’s) willful reliance on these hacked documents as presented by Assange is really troubling and strange.

  88. says

    For example, Brazile recently retweeted “Rick Hasen Retweeted Emily Bazelon: Clinton campaign repeatedly warned that some of the docs could be altered/forgeries. Didn’t stop reporting for a second.”

  89. says

    And now we’re hearing that when Brazile saw the video of Hillary fainting (Pneumonia, after an event at the World Trade Center memorial site), she considered using her powers as interim chair of the DNC to remove Hillary Clinton from the DNC ticket and replace her with Joe Biden.

    What the ever-loving fuck? Brazile did not have that power. And why would she even consider a brief, near-fainting spell to be a reason to remove a candidate? And why did she write about that in her book? And why is Brazile going so far off the rails?

  90. says

    Yes, Carter Page did meet with Russian government officials in 2016.

    […] The New York Times first reported the news Friday, citing testimony Page gave to the committee during a lengthy closed-door meeting Thursday. Page confirmed the story to the Times, and also to CNN.

    “I had a very brief hello to a couple of people. That was it,” he told the Times. One of those people, Page said, was a “senior person,” but he did not specify further. Page later told CNN that he had met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich during the trip, the network reported.

    The former Trump adviser is famously talkative, and has given numerous television and print interviews, frequently characterizing his July 2016 trip to Russia as one in which met with Russian academics and businesspeople.

    Page told the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin in September 2016 that he had briefly exchanged pleasantries with Dvorkavich, one of a handful of deputy prime ministers in Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet, during the graduation ceremony of the New Economic School in Moscow. […]

    After the trip, […] “Page sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing insights he had after conversations with government officials, legislators, and business executives during his time in Moscow.”

    On Monday, Page told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he had been on email chains with George Papadopoulos, another former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser […]

    Page told Hayes, asked if any of the email chains with Papadopoulos discussed Russia: “It may have come up from time to time, again there was nothing major.”

    Then, on Friday, Page confirmed to CNN’s Jake Tapper that he was “one of many people” on the email chain in which Papadopoulos suggested, […] “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump.” […]


  91. says

    Trump’s former bodyguard will be questioned by Congressional investigators next week.

    […] Keith Schiller, once Trump’s body man in the White House and the longtime director of security for the Trump Organization, traveled with Trump to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant. […]

    Among the dossier’s many claims is that Russian officials obtained compromising information on Trump during his 2013 trip, including that he allegedly hired prostitutes and brought them to his Moscow hotel room.

    According to the Post, Schiller’s role in personally delivering former FBI Director James Comey’s termination letter is of interest to the committee, as well. […]

    Before Schiller left the White House in September, he was closely involved in Trump’s campaign and administrative operations.

    Schiller escorted, physically, Univision journalist Jorge Ramos from a press conference after Ramos insisted he had a right to ask Trump about his immigration enforcement agenda. […]


  92. says

    Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, continue to criticize Trump whenever it is appropriate:

    […] Corker was responding to Trump’s statement that “I don’t know” whether Jeff Sessions would be fired if the attorney general didn’t focus federal law enforcement’s energies on investigating Democrats.

    “Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference,” Corker said in a statement. “President Trump’s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.” [….]


  93. says

    Yep, Trump is still using taxpayer dollars to promote his brand.

    Oh his way to Asia for a five-country diplomatic tour, […] President Donald Trump stopped in Honolulu, Hawaii to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, which is dedicated to the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    But on his way back to the airport, Trump made another stop — this time at the Trump Hotel in Waikiki.

    According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump wanted to greet the employees and thank them for their hard work in making the Trump Hotel a “tremendously successful project.” This stop, which happened amidst a taxpayer-funded trip, was both unexpected and unannounced, according to reporters travelling with the president. […]

    The Trump Hotel in Waikiki says on its website that it is “not owned, developed, or sold by Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, or any of their affiliates.” But Trump’s taxpayer-funded detour to the property proves that the only connection Trump finds important is the branding — and that despite any vocalized separation between Trump and the Trump Organization, he still views himself as the organization’s owner and its ultimate brand ambassador.

    After thanking his hotel employees, Trump boarded a plane to Asia, where he will presumably spend the next 12 days trying to ward off a looming nuclear war with North Korea.

  94. Hj Hornbeck says

    Well then.

    We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.

    Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time. We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.

    “We,” in this case, is about eighty people who worked on Clinton’s campaign. The document is a short read, but hopefully it snuffs out this faux controversy.

  95. says

    “Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes, Including Billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal”:

    Saudi Arabia announced the arrest on Saturday night of the prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers.

    The announcement of the arrests was made over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved. Prince Alwaleed’s arrest is sure to send shock waves both through the kingdom and the world’s major financial centers.

    He controls the investment firm Kingdom Holding and is one of the world’s richest men, owning or having owned major stakes in News Corp, Citigroup, Twitter and many other well-known companies. The prince also controls satellite television networks watched across the Arab world.

    The sweeping campaign of arrests appears to be the latest move to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son and top adviser of King Salman.

    At least three senior White House officials, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, were reportedly in Saudi Arabia last month for meetings that were undisclosed at the time….

  96. says

    Ken Dilanian is saying on MSNBC that he’s learned that Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and Flynn Jr. (specifically, it seems, related to actions on behalf of the Turkish regime).

  97. says

    Here’s the story behind #135 – “Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Bring Charges in Flynn Investigation”:

    Federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser and his son as part of the probe into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

    Michael T. Flynn, who was fired after just 24 days on the job, was one of the first Trump associates to come under scrutiny in the federal probe now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

    Mueller is applying renewed pressure on Flynn following his indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

    The investigators are speaking to multiple witnesses in coming days to gain more information surrounding Flynn’s lobbying work, including whether he laundered money or lied to federal agents about his overseas contacts, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

    Mueller’s team is also examining whether Flynn attempted to orchestrate the removal of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars, two officials said.

    Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, accompanied him during the campaign and briefly worked on the presidential transition, could be indicted separately or at the same time as his father, according to three sources familiar with the investigation….

  98. says

    Quoted in #129 – “After thanking his hotel employees, Trump boarded a plane to Asia,…”

    Going swimmingly so far. He’s responded to comments about Xi’s experiencing political success with “Excuse me, so am I”; said, in Japan, of the Japanese and other countries: “Every once in a while, they underestimated us, and it was not pleasant for them, was it?”; expressed his surprise that Japan, as a country of samurai warriors, didn’t shoot down NK missiles; and took sole responsibility for a rising stock market: “the reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money.”

  99. says

    More re #133 – Richard Engel just tweeted: “New documents leak out later today revealing US financial interests in hard to find offshore companies @ICIJorg. breaking news soon. @msnbc”

    His show airs on MSNBC at 6 PM ET tonight.

  100. says

    From the DonnaBrazileBookExcerpt hashtag (which unfortunately now appears to have been taken over by trolls):

    “When I got frustrated with Mook, I reminded him that as DNC chair, I had the power to send anyone to Guantanamo.”

    “I called Rudy Giuliani in tears. He was right Hillary wasn’t there after 9/11.”

    “When I heard that Hillary had children in the basement of a pizza place with no basement I knew I needed Biden.”

    “While Hillary was getting amphetamine injections, I peeked in her closet. I found Vince Foster’s corpse. I cried.”

    “Tearfully I wandered over to the decimated brunch table. It was true Hillary had eaten all the shrimp.”

    “Hillary got out of the car. When I noticed what she’d left behind I was heart-broken: A small tube of uranium ore.”

    “When Hillary went to the bathroom for an hour during the debates, I looked through her purse. There was no hot sauce. I mean, there was Tabasco, but everyone knows Tabasco isn’t real hot sauce. I thought about calling Joe.”

  101. says

    Ari Melber introducing Engel, saying that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has business ties to a Putin-connected company. Engel just joined him to talk about this portion of what he’s calling “The Paradise Papers.” Says Apple, Nike, and Uber are holders of the offshore accounts, as is the Queen of England. Now talking about the Ross revelations.

  102. says

    Excerpt from SC’s link in comment 149:

    […] The Appleby files show how Ross, Trump’s commerce secretary, has used a chain of Cayman Islands entities to maintain a financial stake in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company whose top clients include the Kremlin-linked energy firm Sibur. Among Sibur’s key owners are Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s son-in-law, and Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire the U.S. government sanctioned in 2014 because of his links to Putin. Sibur is a major customer of Navigator, paying the company more than $23 million in 2016. […]

    So, Wilbur Ross is, effectively, in business with sanctioned Russians.

  103. says

    Hj @132:

    “We,” in this case, is about eighty people who worked on Clinton’s campaign. The document is a short read, but hopefully it snuffs out this faux controversy.

    I don’t think anything is going to snuff out the controversy. Republicans (especially Trump) are loving it too much. Expect 24/7 repetition from Fox News et al. And also, Brazile is now making the rounds of TV shows and creating great TV with her exaggerated claims. She says, “Hell no!” to suggestions that she tone it down. Interviews of her are dramatic and interesting.

    This Brazile eruption is a fucking disaster for the Democratic Party.

    And yes, Brazile is adding fuel to fake news stoked by Trump and by the Russians.

  104. says

    “Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate”:

    Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business associate of Jared Kushner, leaked documents reveal.

    The investments were made through a Russian technology magnate, Yuri Milner, who also holds a stake in a company co-owned by Kushner,* Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser.

    The discovery is likely to stir concerns over Russian influence in US politics and the role played by social media in last year’s presidential election. It may also raise new questions for the social media companies and for Kushner….

    * The company is Cadre, which Kushner co-owns with his brother and initially left off his disclosure forms.

  105. KG says

    as is the Queen of England – SC@147

    It’s a pedantic point, but despite my republicanism, it always jars a little when this incorrect title is used. OK, England is part of one of the countries of which Elizabeth Windsor is queen, but the title is no more correct than “the Queen of Wales”, or “the Queen of Nether Wallop” (a village in Hampshire) would be. Her official style in the UK (I admit I had to look this up) is “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”, but “Queen of the UK” or “the British Queen” would identify her uniquely, concisely and accurately.

  106. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 139.

    Excerpt from Trump’s actual mini-speeches made aboard Air Force One:

    The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.

    From the Japan Times:

    The U.S. president said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors did not shoot down the missiles, the sources said.

  107. KG says


    I’ve missed tonight’s Panorama special, but I’ll be watching it on catch-up, and watching tomorrow’s, so I’ll post a summary here.

  108. says

    It’s a pedantic point, but despite my republicanism, it always jars a little when this incorrect title is used….

    OK. I could say I intend to get it right in the future, but I find your whole nomenclature very confusing and difficult to retain.

  109. KG says

    Pierce R. Butler@138,

    Well so far, there’s not much to say about the accusations against Neil DeGrasse Tyson. It’s been made, and certainly shouldn’t be dismissed because of his celebrity. What more do you have to say about it?

  110. says

    From Josh Marshall regarding “Donna Brazile’s growing pile of nonsense”:

    […] Reviewing the document, I think it’s a fair read the the Clinton campaign wanted control over things during the general election. That’s fair and normal. But they also wanted control over the building of the what they expected to inherit for the general election once Clinton became the nominee. That’s not unreasonable in itself. But that also meant having a veto power over things that were happening during the primaries, particularly hiring of key staff. […]

    The upshot is that this is significantly different from what Donna Brazile claimed in the book excerpt published in Politico. But it also includes levels of control pre-general election that would have come as a surprise to many. […] there’s nothing here that remotely qualifies as “rigging” the election. That is inflammatory talk and frankly a smear. […]

    This agreement isn’t nothing. No candidate should have this kind of say during the primaries even if it’s about things for the general election. But it’s very different from what Brazile describes and it doesn’t remotely mean anything was “rigged”. That’s just a smear intended for political effect.

    As I was writing this post, news broke that Brazile also claims in her book that after Clinton’s fainting episode she seriously considered replacing Clinton on the ticket with Joe Biden and Cory Booker because her campaign was “anemic” and had taken on the “odor of failure”. She chose Biden-Booker because she decided they had the best chance to shore up support from working class voters. But Brazile says she “thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”

    […] this is a ridiculous claim. The chair of the DNC has no power to unilaterally replace a candidate on the ticket. The candidate must resign from the ticket or die – I believe there may be a reference to ‘incapacitation’, candidate on life support after a stroke, etc. But none of those three things happened. If one of those things does happen the decision falls to the entire DNC – a few hundred members from across the country – to meet and decide on a replacement. This is a power Brazile quite clearly did not have. So the whole storyline makes no sense and did not happen.

    More probable is that when Clinton fainted she started brainstorming who should replace her if she turned out to be seriously ill and resigned from the ticket or died. That makes total sense. […] But she seems to have taken this plausible interlude and recast it as a moment of decision in which she could see Clinton was flagging among working class voters in the midwest, […]

    This is all pure fantasy. She’s married a non-existent power with a highly improbable prescience to create a kind of retrospective, fantasy football version of the nomination in which the momentous and weighty decisions all fell to her. […]

    Of course this should not lead us to think there aren’t problems with the DNC that Democrats should work to change. […] “Historically the DNC has been too reliant on Presidential candidates for funding and direction. This has resulted in downballot neglect and atrophy of state parties. […]”

    […]. It is a genuine shame that someone like Donna Brazile, who has worked so hard and so consistently in Democratic politics for decades, has now chosen to make it all about herself.

  111. says

    OK. I could say I intend to get it right in the future, but I find your whole nomenclature very confusing and difficult to retain.

    Sorry – I didn’t mean for this to sound so dismissive. I hate making mistakes, and it’s a longstanding source of frustration for me that this is one area in which I’m never quite sure if I have it right, and explanations tend to leave me more confused (I would have thought “Queen of the UK” was incorrect, but I’m not even sure why).

  112. says

    Putting Russian cyberwarfare into perspective … it was/is bigger and more organized:

    Working through the cybersecurity firm, Secureworks, the Associated Press has obtained a leaked “digital hit list” of Russian Cyberwarfare and hacking targets in both the U.S. and abroad. The list virtually cements the connection between Russian hacking efforts and the Kremlin, and confirms that Russia has developed a sophisticated method of cyberwarfare that is being deployed– and will continue to be deployed– not only to subvert elections in the U.S. and Europe, but against any internal figures opposed to the Putin regime.

    The list provides the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between the hackers and the Russian government, exposing an operation that went back years and tried to break into the inboxes of 4,700 Gmail users […] The targets were spread among 116 countries.

    This effort was indisputably conducted to attack those who opposed Russian geopolitical and economic interests, as well as the parochial interests of those within the Putin oligarchy. Ukraine, which was fighting a war against Russian-backed separatists, was also pointedly targeted, […] There is little if any doubt that the effort was directed entirely by the Russian intelligence services.

    Jonah Shepp, writing for New York Magazine, explains just how serious and alarming this newly perfected method of warfare is, and its implications for the future of the United States:

    […] the story here is that the Russian government has developed a sophisticated digital propaganda and misinformation strategy based on using hacked data from public figures and institutions in countries of interest to influence public opinion and elections in those countries.

    Just about a year ago, they found out just how well this strategy could work, and nobody in the security sphere doubts they will use it again in 2018, 2020, and beyond. Unless we find a way to prevent or counteract this kind of foreign interference, it will quickly become a constant factor in our elections—and Russia won’t be the only country doing it, either.

    […] Americans are being duped and influenced by Russian-financed cyber trolls right now, as we speak, in Virginia, and unless our government wakes up and takes steps to combat this menace, 2018 is going to be a bewildering, frustrating bloodbath.


  113. says

    From Trump on May 28, 2016:

    Does President Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he’s in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost.

    Yeah, Trump seems to think that making insulting remarks while visiting other countries is a good idea.

  114. says

    White supremacists are sharing bomb-making tips online:

    Right-wing extremists communicating in confidential online chats in recent months have shared scores of documents detailing the manufacture and use of bombs, grenades, mines and other incendiary devices.

    The documents, which range from instructions on detonating dynamite to U.S. military manuals for constructing improvised explosives and booby traps, were passed around during online conversations among members of Anticom, a secretive and militant group that has emerged during the past year. […]

    Anticom, or Anti-Communist Action, views itself as a guerilla army fighting against what it has called the radical elements of the country’s political left. On its social media channels, Anticom openly embraces fascist ideology and imagery, and the group’s members have engaged in hate-filled talk involving Jews, Muslims, immigrants and African Americans.

    In recent weeks Anticom has stepped out of the shadows as its members have provided security to so-called alt-right champion Richard Spencer at a speaking event in Florida. Anticom also helped to organize a “White Lives Matter” protest in Shelbyville, Tennessee, last weekend. […]


  115. says

    One of Donna Brazile’s walk-backs, sort of:

    “I found no evidence, none whatsoever” that the primaries were rigged, Brazile said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

    “The only thing I found, which I said, I’ve found the cancer but I’m not killing the patient,’ was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation,” Brazile added.

    What Brazile said/wrote previously:

    “I had promised Bernie [Sanders] when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process. … I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie,” Brazile wrote.

    After learning of the financial agreement between Clinton and the DNC, Brazile wrote, “I had found my proof and it broke my heart.”

    Yeah, that’s muddy water there.

  116. says

    Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez responded:

    […] “The charge that Hillary Clinton was somewhere incapacitated is quite frankly ludicrous,” Perez said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

    “I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for. But all I know is under the rules and bylaws of the Democratic National Committee, she couldn’t have done this,” Perez said. “Hillary Clinton was anything but incapacitated. She was tireless. She was a work horse.”

  117. says

    “Computer says no: why making AIs fair, accountable and transparent is crucial”:

    …How to make AIs fair, accountable and transparent is now one of the most crucial areas of AI research. Most AIs are made by private companies who do not let outsiders see how they work. Moreover, many AIs employ such complex neural networks that even their designers cannot explain how they arrive at answers. The decisions are delivered from a “black box” and must essentially be taken on trust. That may not matter if the AI is recommending the next series of Game of Thrones. But the stakes are higher if the AI is driving a car, diagnosing illness, or holding sway over a person’s job or prison sentence….

  118. says

    Steve Bannon endorsed Ed Gillespie in VA. It’s all about white male Christian supremacy at this point. Sure, Gillespie voters, you’ll have minimal healthcare (enjoy more yearly trips to clinics where you and your kids wait in line for hours for the most rudimentary services), shitty schools, shrinking public services, and diminishing civil rights, but what does any of that matter when you’ll have the comfort of Robert E. Lee monuments and an opportunistic state government that will persecute immigrants?

  119. says

    “Twitter Sidestepped Russian Account Warnings, Former Worker Says”:

    In early 2015, a Twitter employee discovered a vast amount of Twitter accounts with IP addresses in Russia and Ukraine. The worker, Leslie Miley, said most of them were inactive or fake but were not deleted at the time. Miley, who was the company’s engineering manager of product safety and security at the time, said efforts to root out spam and manipulation on the platform were slowed down by the company’s growth team, which focused on increasing users and revenue.

    “Anything we would do that would slow down signups, delete accounts, or remove accounts had to go through the growth team,” Miley said. “They were more concerned with growth numbers than fake and compromised accounts.”

    “When I brought the information to my boss, the response was ‘stay in your lane. That’s not your role’,” Miley said.

    Miley said he advised the growth team to delete most of the accounts they had surfaced from Russia and Ukraine, since the analysis suggested that most were inactive or fake. The growth team didn’t take any action on the Russian and Ukrainian accounts after he presented the data to them, according to Miley.

    Many pro-Trump bots that were active during the 2016 U.S. elections were long-dormant accounts, according to researchers….

  120. says

    Law enforcement has reported that a private citizen exchanged gunfire with the Sutherland Springs shooter after he left the church. So we’re likely to see even less pressure for gun control, as the usual suspects will point to this and claim it proves they’re right. Especially if the shooter, reported to be a former USAF member named Devin Kelley, died of a wound received during that exchange.

  121. says

    “The Saudi crown prince just made a very risky power play”:

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he’s cracking down on corruption. But the sweeping arrests of cabinet ministers and senior princes Saturday night looked to many astonished Arab observers like a bold but risky consolidation of power.

    MBS, as the headstrong 32-year-old ruler is known, struck at some of the kingdom’s most prominent business and political names in a new bid to gain political control and drive change in the oil kingdom. By the count of the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya news channel, the arrests included 11 princes, four ministers and several dozen others.

    While accompanied by the rhetoric of reform, this weekend’s purge resembles the approach of authoritarian regimes such as China. President Xi Jinping has used a similar anti-corruption theme to replace a generation of party and military leaders and to alter the collective leadership style adopted by recent Chinese rulers.

    MBS is emboldened by strong support from President Trump and his inner circle, who see him as a kindred disrupter of the status quo — at once a wealthy tycoon and a populist insurgent. It was probably no accident that last month, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, made a personal visit to Riyadh. The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy….

  122. says

    Daily Beast:

    Kelley was discharged from the Air Force in 2014, according to Defense Department records. Kelley was court martialed in November 2012 and a judge sentenced him with a bad-conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, and two reductions in rank to basic airman, according to an appeals court decision in 2013 that affirmed the decision against Kelley.

  123. militantagnostic says

    Tim Gugeon @184

    Law enforcement has reported that a private citizen exchanged gunfire with the Sutherland Springs shooter after he left the church.

    It sounds like he had also dropped his gun by then, so this saved exactly zero lives.

  124. militantagnostic says

    Does anyone know where Donald Trump Jr was on September 24? That was the day that Bear 148, a collared female Grizzly that had been removed from Canmore, Alberta to North Eastern BC was shot by a non resident trophy hunter. Bear 148 had not displayed any aggression towards people, but seemed to be curious and had many close encounters with people. When it was removed, a fish and wildlife spokesman said that although BC allowed hunting of Grizzlies*, trophy hunters do not shoot collared bears.

    DJT Jr was seen leaving Whitehorse, Yukon Territory the evening of September 22 after trophy hunting moose.

    *This is the last year that trophy hunting of Grizzly bears will be allowed in BC.

  125. KG says


    It turns out Kelley was court-martialled for domestic abuse: assaulting his wife and their child. What a surprise.
    Far-right liars have reportedly circulated a faked photo of him with an Antifa banner, and a faked Facebook page showing Antifa links. An even bigger surprise.
    Donald Trump says “it’s not a gun situation”. A very, very yuuuuge surprise.

    Kelley is reported both to have taught a Bible class after his discharge, and to have “liked” pages linked to atheism (but both these pieces of information are from an RT report).

  126. says

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the Flynn/Turkey story. The broad outlines were already known before yesterday’s news, but the scale of the possible crime – and this is even setting aside the intercepted contacts with Russian officials and assorted shady dealings of Flynn’s company – is dramatic. It would be a National Security Advisor working as a secret foreign agent to change US policy: advancing a plot to kidnap and smuggle a man out of the US and ship him to another country, maybe interfering with planned military efforts to aid Kurdish fighters in Syria, and who knows what else. That would be some high-level espionage, sabotage, subversion,…something.

  127. says

    “Trump Jr. Hinted at Review of Anti-Russia Law, Moscow Lawyer Says”:

    A Russian lawyer who met with President Donald Trump’s oldest son last year says he indicated that a law targeting Russia could be re-examined if his father won the election and asked her for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    “Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,’’ Trump Jr. said of the 2012 law, she recalled. “I understand our side may have messed up, but it’ll take a long time to get to the bottom of it,” he added, according to her.

    Veselnitskaya also said Trump Jr. requested financial documents showing that money that allegedly evaded U.S. taxes had gone to Clinton’s campaign. She didn’t have any and described the 20-minute meeting as a failure….

    Of course, Veselnitskaya has zero credibility…

  128. says

    Two interesting Grauniad articles on Trumpist and Russian influence in the UK, , particularly the Leave campaign and the Conservative Party.

    Wow! Carole Cadwalladr has been doing incredible work. I’m so glad this is finally getting more traction.

    “What the Observer and Guardian’s investigation into foreign influence in the EU referendum is starting to reveal is that the tentacles of US influence and money, and Russian influence and money, reach much deeper and further into the British political establishment than we have yet understood.”

  129. says

    “Russian Twitter Support for Trump Began Right After He Started Campaign”:

    Kremlin-backed support for Donald Trump’s candidacy over social media began much earlier than previously known, a new analysis of Twitter data shows.

    Russian Twitter accounts posing as Americans began lavishing praise on Mr. Trump and attacking his rivals within weeks after he announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, according to the analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

    In the three months after Mr. Trump announced his presidential candidacy on June 16, 2015, tweets from Russian accounts reviewed by the Journal offered far more praise for the real-estate businessman than criticism—by nearly a 10-to-1 margin. At the same time, the accounts generally were hostile to Mrs. Clinton and the early GOP front-runner, Jeb Bush, by equal or greater margins….

  130. says


    It turns out Kelley was court-martialled for domestic abuse: assaulting his wife and their child.

    And MSNBC is now reporting that his ex in-laws attending the church he attacked (but weren’t there yesterday, by chance); if that’s true, this looks like another case of extended domestic violence.

  131. says

    @189 and 200:

    From what I can piece together from numerous reports, the guy exited the Church still armed. The neighbor came out with his own gun and they exchanged fire. At some point the shooter dropped his weapon, got in his car and sped off. The neighbor then ran to a nearby truck driven by a different man. He got in that vehicle and they sped off in pursuit. He claims they reached speeds of 90+mph. The shooter lost control of his vehicle and wound up in a ditch. He shot himself, and 7 minutes later the police arrived.

    So “Good guy with a gun” put more lives in danger, both with crossfire and a high speed chase. Meanwhile, I’ve read / seen nothing in the reporting to indicate that he stopped anything. I hope for his sake that they don’t find that his weapon hit anyone other than the shooter.

  132. says

    […] attorney, Jay Sekulow, [said] he is primed to lodge formal objections with either Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if the Russia investigation took a wide or unexpected detour into issues like an old Trump real-estate deal.

    “We’d view that as outside the scope of legitimate inquiry,” Sekulow said. “We’d raise it.”

    That comment from the lawyer is similar to comments Trump made earlier in a New York Times interview. In other words, both the lawyer and Trump are saying to Mueller’s investigative team, “Don’t look under that rock over there because there’s nothing there.”

    We’re hearing a different kind of pushback from Manafort’s lawyer:

    […] Kevin Downing, Manafort’s lead attorney, submitted a document Friday indicating that he anticipates filing pre-trial motions that question “the legal basis for and sufficiency of the charges, the suppression of evidence improperly obtained by search warrant, subpoena or otherwise.” Downing also said he may try to prevent Mueller’s prosecutors from presenting some of their evidence during the criminal trial. […]

  133. says

    Here is an excerpt from some of the new reporting about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross:

    Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in the Trump administration, shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position.

    Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, […]. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle.

    Some of the details of Ross’s continuing financial holdings — much of which were not disclosed during his confirmation process — are revealed in a trove of more than 7 million internal documents of Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm, […] These were then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — a global network that won the Pulitzer Prize this year for its work on the Panama Papers — and its international media partners. NBC News was given access to some of the leaked documents, which the ICIJ calls the “Paradise Papers.” […]

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said members of Congress who were part of Ross’ confirmation hearings were under the impression that Ross had divested all of his interests in Navigator. Furthermore, he said, they were unaware of Navigator’s close ties to Russia.

    “I am astonished and appalled because I feel misled,” said Blumenthal. “Our committee was misled, the American people were misled by the concealment of those companies.” Blumenthal said he will call for the inspector general of the Commerce Department to launch an investigation. […]

    NBC News link

    Video excerpts are available at the link.

  134. says

    Follow-up to comment 204.

    My impression is that all of the confirmation hearings for Trump’s cabinet members were conducted too hastily, and that the committees did not have the resources they needed to discover the nefarious dealings of the kinds of people Trump chose to nominate.

  135. says

    Trump made insulting and stupid comments in Japan:

    I don’t know if [Japan’s economy is] as good as ours. I think not. OK? We’re going to try to keep it that way. And you’ll be second.

    Umm, Hair Furor, China is second.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] Trump’s dig at the Japanese economy created a needlessly awkward moment, but it was also factually wrong.

    This followed a similar problem last night, when Trump shared some related thoughts on Japanese manufacturing during a briefing with business executives.

    “If you’re a Japanese firm, we love it – try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over,” the American president said. “Is that possible to ask? That’s not rude. Is that rude? I don’t think so.”

    The trouble is, Japanese auto manufacturers are already doing this. In 2013, 70% of the Japanese cars sold in the United States were built in North America. By the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, that total was up to 75%.

    In fairness to Trump, he seemed at least somewhat aware of this. The Washington Post noted the full context of the president’s comments, in which Trump referenced investments Japanese car companies have made in the United States.

    If the American president realizes that these companies are already building cars in North America, why would he encourage them to “try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over”? Maybe he expects the number to be even closer to 100%?

  136. says

    A bit more info, or lack of info, about Rand Paul’s broken/fractured ribs:

    […] Three days after the incident, we don’t know, for example, why in the world Rand Paul’s neighbor felt the need to tackle him from behind while the senator mowed his lawn. We also don’t know why the initial reports about the severity of the senator’s injuries were so wrong.

    A Washington Post report added:

    […] The nature of the dispute between Paul and Boucher remained a mystery Sunday to locals who know both men as medical professionals based in this southwestern Kentucky town.”

    […] Boucher is an anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, a cloth vest partly filled with rice and secured with Velcro straps that is designed to help with back pain. He has worked at several local medical facilities through the years, according to public health records.

    David Ciochetty, a doctor with Interventional Pain Specialists in Bowling Green, said in an interview Sunday that Boucher worked there as a “general pain medicine physician” for about a year and a half beginning in January 2010 before leaving.



    If you disagree with someone, don’t tackle them and break their ribs. There are other, less violent options.

  137. says

    From SC’s link in comment 207:

    […] It would be hard to design a tax plan more friendly to billionaire real estate magnates like the Trumps and Kushners of the world.

    Where to begin? How about the “Trump Loophole” – the special low tax rate for wealthy “passthrough” owners. (Sec. 1004 of the bill.) Passthrough businesses are entities like partnerships, LLCs, and S-corps that don’t pay corporate tax. The Trump Organization is comprised of 500+ passthrough entities. The Kushner Companies are also structured as LLCs.

    Currently, millionaires and billionaires pay a 39.6% rate on passthrough business profits. Sec. 1004 of the bill cuts that rate to 25%. We’ve estimated that Trump could get a $23M annual tax cut, & Jared Kushner $6-17M, from this new loophole. All told, it’s a $450 BILLION tax cut, overwhelmingly for millionaires. (Could be more if the loophole is gamed more than JCT expects)

    Next, we go to Section 1602 of the House Republican bill, which repeals the tax on multimillion-dollar estates. If Trump signs an estate tax repeal into law, the tax windfall for his heirs could be more than $1 BILLION.

    Of course it’s not that surprising that a GOP tax bill would repeal estate tax. (which applies only to the wealthiest 1 in 500 estates) What IS a surprise is that while the bill repeals the estate tax, it ALSO keeps in place the giant loophole known as “stepup in basis.” That loophole allows ppl to accumulate huge amounts of wealth & never pay income taxes on it during their lifetime. Now their heirs will inherit tax-free as well. Even when G.W. Bush repealed the estate tax (temporarily), he reformed “stepup” to ensure huge fortunes wouldn’t go untaxed forever. This Trump-GOP bill is much more extreme, in that respect. All gain, no pain, for wealthy heirs.

    Moving on, we come to the parts of the bill that actually do a little bit of “tax reform,” not just tax cuts. For example, section 3303 repeals “like-kind exchanges,” which allow people and companies to swap assets w/out paying capital gains tax. But wait! One industry is carved out of this reform, so that they can continue using like-kind exchanges. Hmmmm. […] In combination with “stepup,” like-kind exchanges can let real estate developers avoid cap gains tax on their properties indefinitely. That’s a sweet deal for the Real-Estate-Developer-in-Chief. […]

    But what do we have here? Another special exception for real estate businesses! They’re carved out of the new limits. Remember, Donald Trump called himself the “King of Debt.” Trump Org. interest deductions are untouched.

    Finally, we come to section 2001, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. 26/The AMT is a backstop to the regular income tax, ensuring that high-income people pay at least some tax. […]

    So, to sum it all up, I don’t know how this bill could be friendlier to Donald Trump, while raising taxes on many middle-class families.

    The ultimate outrage is that the Republican members of the Ways & Means Committee, which will be voting on this bill this week, have repeatedly blocked efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns. The Committee has unilateral power to obtain Trump’s tax returns – but the majority Repubs have voted down the Dems’ attempts to do so. They’re now rushing fwd on the bill w/out a single hearing to scrutinize special deals for ppl like Trump or impact on regular fams. If you’re as outraged by this bill and the process as I am, please call yr member of Congress and demand #NotOnePenny for Donald Trump. 35/ […]

  138. says

    Donald Trump Junior revealed that he is an ill-informed stupid guy … again:

    Psycho w illegal gun kills many taken down my law abiding citizen w gun. Which one of these would be out of the equation w more gun control?

    Here’s the problem, Junior: the fact that Devin Kelly did not have a concealed-carry-of-a-handgun license does not mean that the rifle he used when he shot churchgoers in Texas was illegal. Texas does not require a license to carry a rifle. In addition, concealed-carry permits for handguns in Texas fall into the category of “shall issue” in Texas. In other words, if you request such a license, it shall be issued.

    Kelley purchased his weapon from a San Antonio gun dealer, apparently legally (though his court martial for abuse when he was in the military may or may not have made him ineligible to buy a gun … probably not … at this point, it looks like he bought the gun legally). Don Junior was wrong.

    It’s also likely that the shooter killed himself and that he was not taken down by a “law abiding citizen w gun.” The “my” instead of “by” in Junior’s tweet is a typo.

  139. says

    Wilbur Ross is accusing a lot of people, including us, of being “evil””

    The fact that [Sibur] happens to be called a Russian company does not mean there’s any evil in it. Where there is evil, is the misstatement that I did not disclose those holdings in my original form.

  140. says

    GOP tax bill would tax tuition wavers for grad students. This would be a disaster for US STEM PhD education.

    That’s the beginning of a Twitter thread from Claus Wilke, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Here are a few more excerpts:

    Currently, STEM PhDs make about $30K per year and get tuition wavers. They can do their PhD without taking on debt, but barely so.

    If they had to pay taxes on a calculated $50-$60K income (incl. tuition), the actual income would not cover living expenses anymore.

    At that point, a PhD would not be a viable choice anymore, except for the independently wealthy.

    Maybe private schools could somehow work around this by charging different tuition for grad students and undergrads.

    But state schools would likely not be able to do that, due to various laws and regulations.

    So, no more STEM PhDs at state schools in the US.

    Theoretical physicist Matthew Buckley weighed in:

    I’ll take this opportunity to explain a bit about how funding works for STEM graduate students, and why this [this Republican idea] is a truly terrible idea.

    Before we get started, I want to emphasize that I come from one of the “best” fields in terms of funding and support. I’m very lucky.

    So the numbers I’ll use are numbers I know from personal experience. And these are the upper end of the scale.

    The thing to know is this: graduate students in science as a general rule, do NOT pay for their graduate education.

    This is in sharp contrast to what you might call “professional” graduate schools: medicine and law.

    This is largely driven by economics. I will not make enough money in my life to pay back the sticker price of my education. I estimate that my grad education had a sticker price of between $250K-$500K, depending on how you count. […]

    What happens is that grad students are accepted on either fellowships or teaching/research positions.

    As a theorist, I got teaching positions. Over my 5 years, I was the primary instructor for several hundred pre-med undergrads in physics. […]

    So what grad schools do is, as part of their fellowship/research/teaching package, they cover your tuition (and give you insurance, usually) […]

    That will push grad school out of reach for most of the population. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Most non-wealthy people wouldn’t.

    Here’s the key thing: grad school education is a driver of the economy. STEM PhDs are useful to industry and technology companies.

    But scientific ability knows no boundaries. Smart people come from all nationalities, all races, all genders, all religions, all backgrounds.

    Since most people aren’t rich, most scientists don’t come from money. Restrict grad school to the rich & you hurt our scientific advancement. […]

    Saddling students with debt is a terrible policy for our nation. […]

  141. says

    From Wonkette:

    We don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s possible Jared Kushner may have forgotten about yet another Russian connection. […] He is always meeting with Russian ambassadors and sanctioned Russian state-owned banks and forgetting to mention these things when he’s specifically asked about them. […] when Jared testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in July, he said in a statement that he “[has] not relied on Russian funds to finance [his] business activities in the private sector.” He probably just forgot about these Russian funds:


    So, these Paradise Papers are fun. Along with sexxxy gossip about how Queen Elizabeth sticks all her money in the Caymans and some of Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law’s money somehow ended up with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s shipping group, we learn about Yuri Milner, a regular jes’ folks Russian-American investor who helped the Kremlin funnel billions of moneys into investments in Facebook and Twitter. Also, Milner invested some of his family’s own money ($850,000) in Cadre, a start-up owned by Josh and Jared Kushner that Jared forgot to mention when he was doing his financial disclosures. […]

    So maybe the Kremlin went to Jared through this guy Milner, maybe it didn’t. Who can say? (Robert Mueller. He is the one who can say.) […]

    Milner says he’s only met J-Kush once and that his investment in Cadre was just business and nothing more. […]

    Still, the revelations bear significance because, as one expert put it, “Kremlin-connected institutions make investments with strategic interests in mind.” […]

    Wonkette ended the article by saying that they hope Rachel Maddow will explain all of this to them.

  142. says

    Did Trump tell Native American tribal leaders to ignore federal laws? Yes.

    In late June, President Trump hosted a group of Native American tribal leaders at the White House and urged them to “just do it” and extract whatever they want from the land they control.

    The exchange turned out to be an unusually vivid window into the almost kingly power that Trump sees himself as holding, and which he has begun describing with increasing bluntness. The scene was recounted by a source in the room and confirmed by another. The White House didn’t dispute the story. […]

    “Chief, chief, what are they going to do? Once you get it out of the ground are they going to make you put it back in there? I mean, once it’s out of the ground it can’t go back in there. You’ve just got to do it. I’m telling you, chief, you’ve just got to do it.” […]

    “Guys, I feel like you’re not hearing me right now,” he added. “We’ve just got to do it. I feel like we’ve got no choice; other countries are just doing it. China is not asking questions about all of this stuff. They’re just doing it. And guys, we’ve just got to do it.” […]


  143. says

    BREAKING: Ta Nea (Greece) says Putin ally Panos Kammenos met Papadopoulos in DC the day before Trump dined with Papadopoulos and hired him.”

    According to the thread, this is a respected Greek outlet. I haven’t seen any confirmation from other sources yet.

  144. says

    “Texas Gunman Had Assaulted Wife and Stepson Before Church Shooting”:

    Before a 26-year-old gunman entered a rural Texas church with a ballistic vest and a military-style rifle, killing at least 26 people on Sunday, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull.

    In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin P. Kelley, 26, was charged with “assault on his spouse and assault on their child,” according to the Air Force.

    “He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” said Don Christensen, a retired colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the Air Force. “He pled to intentionally doing it.”

    The case marked a long downward slide that included divorce and being charged with animal cruelty.

    “The only thing that sticks out about him was his dog,” she said.

    He had a pit bull puppy that he kept tied up in the sun all day outside of his RV, she said. She also recalled an incident in which the police were called because the man had struck the dog in the head.

    The police arrived and there was a standoff for approximately an hour, she said, in which her neighbor refused to come out of his trailer.

    Records show Mr. Kelley was charged with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, in August 2014. The case was dismissed. He moved out a few weeks later, she said.

    Friends on Facebook said that in recent years, Mr. Kelley had become vocally anti-Christian, to the point where many stopped communicating with him. His Facebook page, which has been deleted, listed that he liked a number of atheist groups.

    “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” one of his Facebook friends, Nina Rosa Nava, posted on the site, saying she unfriended him because of it….

  145. says

    Joy Reid on tomorrow’s elections:

    “…If no candidate on the ballot inspires you, vote for the one you think you and people who agree with you will have more INFLUENCE over.”

    “Vote for the candidate who seems even a little better, because your vote gives you leverage. Vote for the one you can move your way….”

  146. says

    I’ve read some more about Abramson – maybe take some of the claims with a grain of salt. He does seem a bit breathless and borderline Menschy. But he’s now saying/claiming US media are on the story, so I guess we’ll see if any of it pans out.

  147. steve247 says

    Just a quick thought on what we need to do for the upcoming elections. I don’t blindly support the Democrats, but they are the best (current) alternative.

    Someone get this to the DNC stat!

    I’ve been thinking about the upcoming elections and the desperate need for branding (what the hell is ‘A better deal: Better skills, better jobs, better wages’, I mean, come on, that just sucks). I thought about the best and worst aspects of previous political slogans/brands and the answer became so simple.

    The 2 previously successful slogans were HOPE, and MAGA

    What do these have in common?
    – They are positive (They are wanting to generally improve things and are not intrinsically negative. People are mostly sick of voting against something / someone. I will admit that MAGA made some people think that things were going to get better).
    – They are inclusive of the electorate at least (MAGA talks about the USA as a whole, and yes I am ignoring who said it and the way it is being used currently). And
    – They are simple.

    Then I looked at the unsuccessful Hillary slogan: ‘I’m with her’. Longer, less inclusive (If I have to join her, that is divisive from non-supporters. And shouldn’t she be supporting me? why do I have to support her? See what I mean?), and not intrinsically positive.

    The political spectrum in the USA is the most divided it has ever been (I think, I’m only 36 years old).With the Republicans carving us up into different sub-groups and getting us to fight each other while they run away with the country.

    We need something simple, positive, and overall inclusive. It must be a symbol for healing the rifts that are getting wider everyday. We need something that gets us to think of ALL the people in the country and not just our own selfish desires. We need something that brings us back together and working for the gommon good.

    I therefore propose:



  148. says

    This is a real thing someone wrote – “When The Saints Of First Baptist Church Were Murdered, God Was Answering Their Prayers”:

    …For those with little understanding of and less regard for the Christian faith, there may be no greater image of prayer’s futility than Christians being gunned down mid-supplication. But for those familiar with the Bible’s promises concerning prayer and violence, nothing could be further from the truth. When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered yesterday, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.

    “Deliver us from evil.” Millions of Christians throughout the world pray these words every Sunday morning….

    When we pray these words, we are certainly praying that God would deliver us from evil temporally—that is, in this earthly life. Through these words, we are asking God to send his holy angels to guard us from those who would seek to destroy us with knives and bombs and bullets. It may seem, on the surface, that God was refusing to give such protection to his Texan children. But we are also praying that God would deliver us from evil eternally. Through these same words, we are asking God to deliver us out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory, where no violence, persecution, cruelty, or hatred will ever afflict us again.

    We also pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God’s will be done. Sometimes, his will is done by allowing temporal evil to be the means through which he delivers us from eternal evil….

    Because of Christ’s saving death and resurrection, death no longer has any power over those who belong to him through faith. So the enemies of the gospel can pour out their murderous rage upon Christians, but all they can truly accomplish is placing us into the arms of our savior….

  149. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    “Let’s roll up our sleeves and rebuild. You on board?”

    I was going to say “You in?” But I imaging Trump hears that all the time.

  150. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    re 225:

    So god killed them?

    And does that mean the killer was just carrying out god’s will, and so will be rewarded in heaven?

  151. says

    “ObamaCare signups surge in early days to set new record”:

    A record number of people signed up for ObamaCare in the first few days of open enrollment this year compared to the same period in previous years, several sources close to the process told The Hill.

    The surge in sign-ups, which was confirmed by an administration official, comes despite fears from Democrats that enrollment would fall off due to the Trump administration’s cutbacks in outreach and advertising….

  152. says

    And does that mean the killer was just carrying out god’s will, and so will be rewarded in heaven?

    I think the argument is that he was an evil tool used by god, like with hardening Pharaoh’s heart. But it’s not even imagined as part of a historical plan. In practice, it’s nihilistic.

  153. says

    Donald Trump, champion of authoritarian and corrupt globalism:

    “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing…. ….Some of those they are harshly treating have been “milking” their country for years!”

    This is evil we’re witnessing.

  154. says

    SC – Would it be possible for you and I to have a discussion outside of this thread somewhere? I am very interested in hearing your perspective on the TX shootings, DJT’s comment about mental health, and how this all ties into toxic masculinity and abuse. I don’t want to derail this thread with that, although it’s all political in some ways as well. I am asking because you have said some very interesting things in the past about mental health that have given me a lot to think about, and I am hoping for more of that.

    Is there another thread you can suggest? I’m not following any other thread or blog on FTB at the moment.

  155. snuffcurry says

    Follow-up to SC @193 linking to Jia Tolentino’s tweet about Houston’s second Baptist church flying a Russian flag: a spokesperson for the church says that the flags represent countries missionaries from the church traveled to during its inception. Tolentino, quoted in the same article, believes the placement and height of the flags representing Israel and Russia have been recently altered.

    Regarding the “trivial” dispute between Rand Paul and his neighbor that led to Paul’s assault while mowing his lawn, multiple outlets, including NYT, are reporting that a third neighbor says there is a long-standing disagreement about how Paul abides, rather, does not abide by their gated community’s landscaping standards. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Paul favors sustainable “slow gardening,” mulches his front garden with leaf litter, and grows pumpkins (he appears to like them a lot) where turf is expected to be. Olivia Nuzzi at New York reports that the developer of the planned community knows both men and believes that any source of contention between them is about interpreting “property rights*.” However, a person identified as Paul’s friend is unaware of either dispute (though, were it true, it sounds like a single dispute described in different ways) and reports that Paul doesn’t know why he was attacked and hadn’t, prior to the assault, spoken to his attacker in years (which, I suppose, does not eliminate the possibility that they interacted by other means or through a third party or by way of resentful neighborhood gossip).

    As for why Paul is not making much of a fuss here, NYT says Republican colleagues characterize Paul as “embarrassed by the incident” and “not interested in drawing attention to it.” So, it’s either really frivolous and the details of it will make him look bad or weak or something (hence initially downplaying the injuries) or keeping mum is a legal strategy

    Finally, the accusation against Neil deGrasse Tyson had been raised before here on Pharyngula, but there doesn’t appear to be any new information or revelations since then.

    *quite literally, then, a dispute over politics

  156. says

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like Paul favors sustainable “slow gardening,” mulches his front garden with leaf litter, and grows pumpkins (he appears to like them a lot) where turf is expected to be.

    I was thinking the embarrassing aspect of the story that he wants to keep quiet might be his composting and other sound ecological practices. Can’t have that getting out.

  157. KG says

    Here’s a summary of the first of the two Panorama programmes on the “Paradise Papers”, broadcast on 5th November.

    The first programme, which lasted 30 minutes, started with a run-down on what the papers were (internal documents from Appleby, a company HQed in Bermuda), and how Panorama gained access to them (as a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), of which The Guardian is the other UK member. It then focused on four cases:
    1) The Queen. This is about her private wealth, not stuff that belongs to the Crown (she is very rich, but not in the Gates/Zuckerberg stratum). She has about £10 million invested in overseas funds. The programme says: “There is no suggestion she is avoiding tax”, but didn’t make clear why else she holds funds in Bermuda and the Caymans, known tax havens. Investments are made on her behalf by The Duchy of Lancaster (a weird government/private hybrid body, very secretive), so she may not have known about specific investments (or she may – there’s no way to tell). The programme also covered a couple of UK investments which turned out to be dodgy.
    2) Lord Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a former Treasurer and Deputy Chariman [sic] of the Conservative Party, very rich and politically influential. The programme focused on the fact that he’s been lying about his domicile (there was a kerfuffle about this in 2010, when questions were raised about whether someone resident in Belize should be so influetial in UK politics, he claimed to have moved back, but apparently hasn’t), and avoiding tax. No claim he’d done anything illegal.
    3) Wilbur Ross’s connections with Russian oligarchs and Putin’s son-in-law.
    4) Alisher Usmanov, an Uzbek-Russian oligarch resident in the UK. The story was about ownership of two prominent football clubs in the English Premier League, Arsenal and Everton, and suggested Usmanov was breaking Premier League rules on ownership. details here, from The Guardian, if you’re interested (I’m not).

  158. KG says

    I was thinking the embarrassing aspect of the story that he wants to keep quiet might be his composting and other sound ecological practices. Can’t have that getting out. – SC@242


  159. KG says

    Chariman -> Chairman @243 (just in case anyone thought “Chariman” was an obscure British honorific!)

  160. KG says

    Here’s a summary of the second of the two Panorama programmes on the “Paradise Papers”, broadcast on 6th November. This summary is less of a run-through of the programme than that of the first programme, more an attempt to highlight major themes. I should say I didn’t take notes during either programme, but immediately after watching.

    (A follow-up note on the first programme: while Ashcroft wasn’t alleged to have done anything criminal, it was suggested he could be liable for £ tens-of-millions in extra tax for breaking the rules about beneficial trusts – the beneficiary (Ashcroft in this case) is not supposed to interfere in their running, but the Paradise Papers indicate that he was in effect controlling its investment decisions).(

    The focus of the second programme was the UK’s role as the centre of a “tax-dodging empire”, involving various crown dependencies (Bermuda, Isle of Man, Jersey, Caymans…) and small ex-colonies such as Mauritius. It ws stressed how tax avoidance by the rich and big corporations impacts on tax and public services for everyone else, around the world.

    Different tax havens specialise in different scams. The specific stories were used to illustrate this theme:
    1) Appleby itself is based in Bermuda.
    2) A number of rich – but not politically or corporately powerful – individuals were named as having set up dummy companies in Mauritius, to which they supposedly gifted their wealth, and were then employed as “advisors” to the company, advising it to buy them houses, cars, yachts, jewellery etc. The man behind this scam is one James O’Toole. The stars of a popular BBC sitcom, Mrs Brown’s Boys (I’ve never watched it – looks like crap to me) were I think the only public figures named.
    3) The Isle of Man allows people to save large amounts of VAT when buying private planes. A full VAT refund should not be given unless the plane is exclusively for business use, but IoM is giving them despite knowing and recording that they will also be used “for fun”, in the words of the programme. The prominent person named in this connection was Lewis Hamilton, the racing driver (and a bit of a shit, according to many reports).
    4) The Isle of Man was also named as allowing businesses to escape paying any tax by setting up shell companies which lend money back to the real business at interest, allowing them to reduce their taxable profits. A German hotel chain (the name of chich escapes me) was given as an example.
    5) When Apple’s tax-avoidance scam in the Irish Republic was brought to an end by a law being passed there (IIRC, under pressure from the EU), it shopped around for an alternative tax haven, checking the possibility of a change of government forcing it to move on again, and chose Jersey – another Crown Dependency, notoriously run by an oligarchy. Apple currentl pays tax of under 4% on its non-US profits.

    Incidentally, a lot (too much) of both programmes consisted of the reporter, Richard Bilton, chasing after people name in the papers, who refused to talk to him. Amusing for a minute, but the time could have been better used.

  161. KG says

    Meanwhile, May’s government is facing several simultaneous embarrassments. The most prominent is the loss of the Defence Secretary (May’s appointment of her crony Gavin Williamson to replace him has not been well-received), and possibly impending loss of the Deputy Prime Minister, as a result of harrassment/porn-on-work-computers stories. But at the same time, Boris Johnson has once again proved his complete unfitness for office by a stupid remark which could cost a British/Iranian journalist additional years in an Iranian prison, and the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, has been reprimanded by May for holding secret meetings with senior Israelis, including Netenyahu, with a view to channeling development aid to the IDF!. Patel was caught lying about the meetings – she falsely claimed the Foreign Office and Johnson knew about them – and in my view, is unlikely to survive in office. And then of course, there’s the Paradise Papers – Ashcroft is probably only the first senior Tory/big donor to be exposed.

    I’d say the chances are still that May will survive through the Brexit process, but not by much. The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, widely believed to be a Tory supporter, reports predictions of her political demise among Tory MPs. (One idiot said Labour would be 15 points up in the polls if Ed Miliband was still leader, apparently overlooking the fact that Miliband was soundly beaten by the Tories in 2015, and got 30% of the popular vote while Corbyn in 2017 got 40% and deprived the Tories of an overall majority.)

  162. snuffcurry says

    SC @ 242

    I was thinking the embarrassing aspect of the story that he wants to keep quiet might be his composting and other sound ecological practices. Can’t have that getting out.

    I’m not entirely sure how universal the precise dogwhistles are, but in California, adjacent southwestern states, and parts of the Pacific northwest, there is a racialized subtext in how one talks about residential gardening and water conservation, which in turn manifests in classist double standards (for example, raising chickens and caring for tidy, most ornamental community and school gardens in white and suburban neighborhoods receive popular support and funding whereas only a decade before the comparatively common habit of cultivating edibles and “growing” your own eggs in the front yards and porches of black and Latino neighborhoods was criticized as blight and a health concern, respectively). Campaigns to control or eliminate invasive species often use the language of xenophobia and conflate beneficial introduced species to species, “foreign” or otherwise, regarded as weedy. Famous proponents for re-introducing “natives” to the exclusion of all other species (often foolhardy in micro-climates that are no longer hospitable to them, and in situations, like green belts, fire zones, and artificial swales and hillocks requiring erosion control, where natives are not functional or practical and do not independently sustain wildlife) typically align, here, anyway*, with libertarian, prepper, survivalist, and other right-wing values. That Paul scoffs at his million-dollar HOA regulations and plays at Living Off the Land in a non-rural setting while riding his fancy mower is pretty on-message.

    *I’ve hedged here but, really, I don’t suspect this is unique to California or even the US; cf the trans-continental New Perennial movement, its political implications, and its detractors

  163. says

    Thanks so much for the summaries, KG!

    Here’s another story drawing on the Paradise Papers: “Offshore cash helped fund Steve Bannon’s attacks on Hillary Clinton.”

    Lots of information. It points out that the practices described aren’t illegal, but they certainly should be.

    “Renaissance frequently makes extraordinary returns, which it chalks up to closely guarded trading formulas created at its Long Island offices by mathematicians and scientists.” Wouldn’t it be something if it turned out to be a Ponzi scheme or some other fraud?

  164. Hj Hornbeck says

    Dave Wasserman is calling this one, too.

    Breaking: Danica Roem, a Democrat, has defeated 26-year Del. Bob Marshall, a Republican, in House District 13, becoming the first transgender person elected to Virginia’s state legislature.

  165. Hj Hornbeck says

    Harry Enten:

    You probably remember that we’d been saying that margins matter more than binary wins and losses in special elections earlier this year. That is, the fact that Democrats were doing better than the baseline as determined by past presidential results was more predictive than wins and losses of future results. You’re seeing that in the results tonight. Democrats are breaking through in many different races across different states.

    The New York Times predicts Northam winning by 8 points. The Associated Press has already called the election for him.

  166. Hj Hornbeck says

    Claire Malone:

    Just taking a quick look at the exit polls that are coming out of Virginia and some interesting things here. Northam is outperforming Clinton among a couple of different demographics. He’s winning women by 59 percent; Clinton won them by 56 percent. He’s winning 40 percent of white voters, compared with Clinton’s 35 percent. But he’s not outpacing her among black voters: He has 86 percent compared with her 88 percent. His margins with voters 18- to 29-year-olds are pretty large, though: Northam’s winning 66 percent, compared with Clinton’s 54 percent.

  167. Hj Hornbeck says

    Nate Cohn: This is what a wave looks like

    CNN’s also called Virginia. It’s extremely early, but Maine’s vote on Medicaid expansion is currently at “yes.” NYT’s live tracker now has Northam at 8.5 points. As per Nate Silver:

    Another way to look at tonight is that it’s a case of the “fundamentals” proving more useful than either the polls or the conventional wisdom about the race. If you looked at the seemingly favorable national environment for Democrats and Virginia’s modest blue lean, you’d have expected Northam to win by something like 9 points. And it looks like that’s about what he’ll win by.

    Democrats are still on a favorable course for the mid-term elections.

  168. Hj Hornbeck says

    David Wasserman:

    I didn’t think I’d be saying this at 8:30 p.m., but Virginia has been swept up in such a Democratic tidal wave that Democrats may have a legitimate chance to win the 17 seats they need to pick up the House of Delegates.

    By my quick, rough count, Democrats have already picked up 11 seats (districts 2, 10, 13, 31, 32, 42, 50, 51, 67, 72, 72) and they still have a chance in 13 more. They’ve already pulled off a few upsets, unseating GOP incumbents in the outer suburbs of Northern Virginia like Dels. Jackson Miller, Rich Anderson and Randy Minchew. But they’ve also picked up two seats in suburban Richmond and have a chance at a third. They’re also knocking on the door in several Hampton Roads districts. This is just a massive night for Democrats.

  169. says

    Trump just tweeted: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”

  170. Hj Hornbeck says

    snerk, the Right-Wing media is already spinning hard on this one. Breitbart’s current headline is “Establishment Republican Gillespie Rejected,” but two days earlier Bannon was singing a different tune.

    Bannon, in his own address, broadly agreed with Stewart’s understanding of the path of the Virginia governor’s race. When he mentioned Gillespie’s name, cheers of “Corey! Corey!” erupted from the crowed. “For the Senate in ’18,” was Bannon’s reply.

    “That’s a horse race now,” Bannon said. “Gillespie, what was he? Eight, ten points down two weeks ago, two and a half weeks ago?” […]

    “If Gillespie … a Bush guy … wins, and I do believe that Gillespie’s going to pull this thing out,” Bannon continued, “it will be because of the underlying message of Corey Stewart and what he believes in, and the Trump voters in Virginia who are gonna turn out!”

    Trump’s already chastized Gillespie for not being Trump-ian enough. Yeah-huh.

  171. says

    “CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — at Trump’s Request”:

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.

    In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.

    Ned Price puts this in the context of Pompeo’s general Trumpiness.

  172. Hj Hornbeck says

    David Wasserman:

    Again, I never thought I’d be saying this, but by my back-of-the-envelope count, Democrats are currently in the lead to pick up Virginia’s House of Delegates. They started the night with 34 of 100 seats and have already picked up 12 GOP-held seats. There are eight more GOP-held seats that are still too close to call, and Democrats are currently in the lead in six of them. If those leads hold, the speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2018 will be a Democrat. Given the GOP’s aggressive gerrymander of Virginia’s delegate districts in 2011, this is what you’d call a tidal wave.

    In other news, Maine’s ballot initiative on Medicaid expansion remains likely to pass, and the Democrats are four seats away from controlling the Virginia legislature. de Blasio is likely going to be New York’s mayor again. New Jersey is, unsurprisingly, also coming up roses for Democrats.

  173. says

    Where we’re at:
    —Dems win #NJGov, full control of NJ government
    —Dems win VA Gov, huge gains in VA Assembly (shock shot at majority)
    —Dems win mayorship in Charlotte, St. Petersburg, Manchester, NYC
    —Dems pick-up leg seats in NH & GA (x2)
    —Civil-rights attorney will be Philly DA”

    “And huge items left: Maine’s Medicaid referendum, full control of WA government, PA Supreme Court seat, county executives in NY…”

    And more already in the comments.

  174. says

    Two more House Republicans announced their retirement today, one in a very flippable district: “With the announcements from LoBiondo and Poe, the list of Republicans who have announced plans to retire rather than seek re-election is now near two dozen, compared to fewer than half-a-dozen Democrats. Although only a handful of the GOP seats opening up are highly competitive for the Democrats, the many retirements nonetheless are adding up to an increasingly rosy scenario for Democrats, who must pick up two dozen seats to win back the House.”

  175. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC #266. Lawrence O’Donnell had a phone interview with Danica Roem near the end of his show. Listening to her reminded me of Tip O’Neill’s famous quote, “all politics is local”. She ran a local campaign. I’d like her a lot better than my present state rep, who is actually pretty good.
    I’ll see if the interview is posted in the morning, and provide a link if that is the case.
    SC#271, Clenched tentacle salute to the people of Maine.

  176. Hj Hornbeck says

    David Wasserman’s last message of the night:

    We’re about to wrap this live blog, but here’s the current count for the Virginia House of Delegates. There are 100 seats, and Democrats currently hold 48, Republicans 47.

    Here are the five outstanding races that will determine control — and may be in recount territory:

    * House District 27 (Chesterfield County): Del. Roxann Robinson (R) is up by 129 votes.
    * House District 28 (Fredericksburg): Bob Thomas (R) is up by 86 votes.
    * House District 40 (Fairfax): Donte Tanner (D) is up by 68 votes.
    * House District 68 (Richmond): Dawn Adams (D) up by 316 votes.
    * House District 94 (Newport News): Del. David Yancey (R) up by 12 votes.

    If every one of these races breaks to the current leader, Virginia would have a 50-50 House of Delegates come January.

  177. says

    “Trump to nominate notorious anti-feminist to be ‘Ambassador for Women’”:

    President Trump is expected to nominate Penny Nance, an anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and anti-feminist activist, to be the “Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues,” a position created under President Obama.

    Since 2010, Nance has led the Concerned Women for America (CWA), a Christian social policy organization that has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. She doesn’t believe that efforts to restrict health coverage for women are part of a “war on women,” but she used that term to describe the Violence Against Women Act. And she claims that legal abortion is worse than the Holocaust….

    In related news,

    “Women Expose The Secret Sexual Predators Inside Texas Politics.”

    WaPo: “Virginia’s General Assembly has a well-earned reputation as an old boy’s club, but the composition of the body changed bigly last night: All 14 of the seats that Democrats flipped are held by GOP men. Ten of their replacements will be women.” (I believe they’ve now flipped 16.)

  178. says

    During his trip to South Korea, Trump promoted one of his golf courses.

    The world was watching as President Trump stepped to the microphone in the heart of South Korea’s National Assembly to deliver a high-stakes speech to rally fellow leaders against North Korea. What better time for the president to talk about … his New Jersey golf course?

    Not long after he began his remarks, broadcast live on television feeds from Tokyo to Seoul to Washington, Trump took a moment to praise South Korea on the nation’s remarkable economic rise after the Korean War six decades ago. In doing so, he talked about the people’s prowess in engineering, technology, medicine, music and education.

    Then he got to golf.

    The quoted text is from coverage by the Washington Post.

    Trump spent quite a bit of time talking about golf during his big speech to the South Korean National Assembly. It was not just a passing mention.

    Also, USA Today tallied the number of people that were members of Trump’s golf clubs/resorts and that Trump installed as senior members of his administration: five people. Conclusion: pay money to one of Trump’s companies in the form of membership fees and you too may serve in the administration.
    USA Today link

    When President Trump this week tapped Florida insurance executive Robin Bernstein to serve as the nation’s next ambassador to the Dominican Republic, he wasn’t just giving a business associate and longtime supporter a plum Caribbean assignment.

    Bernstein also is a founding member of his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.

    A USA TODAY review finds that Trump has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration, ranging from Bernstein and Callista Gingrich, the nation’s new ambassador to the Vatican, to Adolfo Marzol, a member of the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Washington, who serves as a senior adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Presidents often name campaign donors and close allies to administration posts, particularly prized diplomatic postings in cosmopolitan European capitals, such as Paris and London, and the tourist playgrounds of the West Indies.

    But never in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies. […]

  179. says

    From Helena, Montana, more coverage of Wilmot Collins having won the mayoral race:

    […] Collins, 54, will be the city’s first new mayor in 16 years after running a long campaign based in progressive principles.

    “The people of Helena have spoken, and I am honored to be able to serve them,” Collins said as the night drew to a close. “I intend to work with commissioners, work for the people of Helena and find what is best for this city.”

    […] Collins received a call from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester congratulating Collins on his victory. Victory cigars were passed around the room at the end of the night as the large crowd of Collins, Heather O’Loughlin and Andres Haladay supporters [waited] for the results. […]

    O’Loughlin and Hallway are progressives who were elected to the Helena City Commission.

  180. says

    From Vox’s reporting:

    As part of a larger wave of Democratic wins on Election Day 2017, Democrats picked up two seats in special elections held for Georgia’s House of Delegates.

    Deborah Gonzales won House District 117 with 53 percent of the vote and Jonathan Wallace won House District 119 with 56 percent of the vote. Both seats are in the Athens area and both were vacant, hence the special elections. But not only were the two seats previously held by Republican incumbents, they were uncontested in the 2016 elections.

    Yes, Democrats did not even field candidates for those two House of Delegate seats in 2016. Those seats were seen as solidly Republican. And now we have two Democratic Party candidates who won.

    Dems are flipping seats that used to be Republican, and they are competing in races that used to be considered too Republican to bother with. Republicans may not have the state-level legislative advantages they have enjoyed in the past when 2018 elections are concluded. I hope this trend strengthens.

    “The DLCC noted in a press release that Democrats had the most pickups in Virginia’s House of Delegates since 1899.”

  181. says

    Paul Ryan, House Speaker, sounds like he is ready to go down with the Republican ship:

    […] We’re with Trump. We already made that choice. That’s a choice we made at the beginning of the year. That’s a choice we made during the campaign. We ran on a joint agenda with Donald Trump.

  182. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 287.

    And as was noted by a commenter: “Hugo has been in the House for 15 years and normally wins by 20 points or more.”

    Another long-term Republican in Virginia has been defeated. It was an incredibly tight race. I don’t know if the recount is done, or if the tally has been challenged, but it looks like Hugo was defeated by just 69 votes.

  183. says

    Take that, Betsy Devos. From Colorado:

    […] “It is time to return our attention locally — to the students, teachers and community of all Douglas County public schools — while restoring our attention locally,” said Anthony Graziano. “I look forward to working with my fellow board members in a collaborative and transparent manner…”

    Graziano was a member of the CommUnity Matters slate that included Chris Schor, Kevin Leung and Krista Holtzmann. They see vouchers as an attack on public schools and claim that siphoning off tax dollars from schools hurts more children while benefiting only a few.

    Graziano said the voucher program has been a “distraction to the district.” […]

    The CommUnity Matters candidates won with nearly 60 percent of the vote in head-to-head match-ups with Elevate [pro voucher, more religious] candidates. […]

    Yes, anti-voucher candidates took control of the Douglas County school board in Colorado.

  184. says

    From SC’s link in comment 290:

    […] The CBO analysis found that the bill would cut revenues by $1.4 trillion, which falls within the level Republicans allowed themselves in their budget resolution. Still, the additional cost of debt servicing would mean that the overall debt would increase by $1.7 trillion.

    The GOP allowed themselves up to $1.5 trillion of deficit increases over a decade in their budget. Despite the additional costs of servicing debt, the CBO score shows the tax plan staying within the bounds, which means Republicans will still be able to pass the bill through budget reconciliation, a procedure that only requires a simple majority to pass in the Senate.

    CBO also found that the nation’s debt-to-GDP ration, or debt burden, would rise to 97.1 percent of gross domestic product by 2027, 5.9 points higher than the current projection of 91.2 percent.

    The deficit effects have been a major issue for Senate Republicans, in particular.

    Trump administration officials have argued, variously, that GDP growth would eliminate some to all of the deficits produced by the tax plan. […]

  185. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 268.

    We know the Democratic Party is doing well when Fox News hosts have to ignore election news.

    During the switchover from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News poopaganda-fest to the Sean Hannity […] hour, Hannity was able to dedicate six entire seconds to a vague mention of the historic Democratic tidal wave victories in Virginia last night. […] Tucker Carlson said that Fox would be updating the elections throughout the night (not really) and Hannity gave his “profound” analysis.

    Hannity: Those results in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, by the way, not states Donald Trump won.

    And then Hannity spent the next hour talking with luminary racists, anti-Semites, and chicken hawk war mongers Sebastian Gorka and John Bolton to discuss and watch Donald Trump speaking in South Korea.[…]

    The fact of the matter is that while many have pointed out that it’s incredibly irresponsible and distressing that the segment of the population watching Hannity is completely left in the dark about what’s happening in our country, this is Fox News. If you get even half of your “news” from that channel, you are probably losing important cognitive facilities every day. […]


    Video clip available at the link.

  186. says

    Some asshat in Northfield, New Jersey once mocked the women’s march on his Facebook page:

    Will the woman’s (sic) protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?

    There must be a large sandwich making class going on in D.C. today.

    Yesterday, said asshat, John Carman, was voted out and a black woman, Ashley Bennett, took his place.

  187. says

    “Academic at heart of Clinton ‘dirt’ claim vanishes, leaving trail of questions”:

    Joseph Mifsud, the academic suspected of being a link between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, was once a regular on the foreign policy circuit, attending conferences the world over.

    Now, after being identified as a key figure in the US special counsel investigation into Russian influence over the 2016 US presidential election, Mifsud has gone to ground.

    Last Thursday he disappeared from the private university in Rome where he teaches. Repeated attempts to reach him since have been unsuccessful, though he appears to have read some messages from CNN.

    But more details are emerging of the background and contacts of the man who emerged last week as “Foreign Contact 1” in court filings relating to charges brought against former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.

    The associate, who spoke to CNN at length, also said that Mifsud told him that he had been interviewed by the FBI while on a visit to the US earlier this year. That chimes with Mifsud’s own account — in an interview last week with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he refers to a discussion with the FBI.

    Mifsud was in Washington in February — he spoke at an event organized by Global Ties, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit partner organization of the US State Department….

  188. says

    Ed Gillespie predicted his own loss when he wrote this eleven years ago:

    Anti-immigration rhetoric is a political siren’s song, and Republicans must resist its lure by lashing ourselves to our party’s twin masts of freedom and growth, or our majority will crash on its shoals.


    [In the recent race for governor of Virginia] Gillespie followed the Trump model most closely on illegal immigration. Echoing an anti-gang push by the Trump administration, he accused Northam of aiming to shelter members of MS-13, because he had once cast a vote against a Republican bill to ban sanctuary cities. It was a weird argument to have—Virginia doesn’t have sanctuary cities to begin with and no one was really proposing to create any. But the ads weren’t about policy, they were about people. Some of the gang members depicted in the anti-MS-13 ads weren’t even part of MS-13. One of the photos wasn’t even taken in the United States—it was from a prison in El Salvador.

    This version of Gillespie would have been unrecognizable to the author of Winning Right: Campaign Politics and Conservative Policies. But in 2017, Republicans don’t have much of a choice, in part because the adults in the room like Gillespie didn’t pull the plug when they had a chance. Now they can spurn their president and lose a primary, or they can stick with him and face a Democratic electorate that hasn’t been this motivated—in an off-year anyway—in years. […]

  189. says

    Cautionary tales to heed when it comes to recent wins by Democrats:

    […] A year later, the local unemployment rate has ticked down, and activity in a few coal mines has ticked up. Beyond that, though, not much has changed—at least not for the better. Johnstown [Pennsylvania] and the surrounding region are struggling in the same ways and for the same reasons. The drug problem is just as bad. “There’s nothing good in the area,” Schilling [Pam Schilling, a Trump voter] said the other day in her living room. “I don’t have anything good to say about anything in this area. It’s sad.” Even so, her backing for Trump is utterly undiminished: “I’m a supporter of him, 100 percent.”

    What I heard from Schilling is overwhelmingly what I heard in my follow-up conversations with people here that I talked to last year as well. Over the course of three rainy, dreary days last week, I revisited and shook hands with the president’s base […] the segment of voters who share his view that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” that “has nothing to do with him,” and who applaud his judicial nominees and his determination to gut the federal regulatory apparatus. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how readily these same people had abandoned the contract he had made with them. Their satisfaction with Trump now seems untethered to the things they once said mattered to them the most.

    “I don’t know that he has done a lot to help,” Frear [retired nurse Maggie Frear] told me. Last year, she said she wouldn’t vote for him again if he didn’t do what he said he was going to do. Last week, she matter-of-factly stated that she would. “Support Trump? Sure,” she said. “I like him.” […]

    I asked Schilling what would happen if the next three years go the way the last one has.

    “I’m not going to blame him,” Schilling said. “Absolutely not.”

    Is there anything that could change her mind about Trump?

    “Nope,” she said. […]

    […] the basis of people’s support had morphed. Johnstown voters do not intend to hold the president accountable for the nonnegotiable pledges he made to them. It’s not that the people who made Trump president have generously moved the goalposts for him. It’s that they have eliminated the goalposts altogether.

    This reality ought to get the attention of anyone who thinks they will win in 2018 or 2020 by running against Trump’s record. His supporters here, it turns out, are energized by his bombast and his animus more than any actual accomplishments. […]

    “I think he’s doing a great job, and I just wish the hell they’d leave him alone and let him do it,” Schilling said. “He shouldn’t have to take any shit from anybody.” […]


    Much more at the link. This is a very thorough and compelling article by Michael Kruse. At the end of the article, Kruse writes that some Trump voters called NFL players “[N-word, plural] for life.”

  190. says

    “Boom – Watch This Closely”:

    I’ve previously noted the chatter that AT&T may have or may need to give President Trump assurances that CNN will be reined in before his Justice Department okays its $84.5 billion acquisition of Time Warner. The Financial Times has just reported (sub req) that the DOJ is now telling AT&T that it needs to sell CNN if it wants the acquisition approved.

    As I’ve noted in other contexts, I believe that as a general matter antitrust enforcement should be much more expansive and aggressive than it’s been in recent decades. But that’s a separate point. The key here is selective enforcement to advance political ends. We don’t know that that is what’s happening here. But given the players involved we have good reason to be highly suspicious.

  191. says

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright can, at times, be right on target:

    […] Albright fired back at President Trump on Wednesday for promoting his golf course during a speech to South Korean lawmakers.

    Trump was listing accomplishments by South Korean figures during the speech when he brought up golfer Park Sung-hyun’s victory at the U.S. Women’s Open, which was held at Trump’s golf course in New Jersey earlier this year.

    MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Albright for her reaction to Trump’s speech.

    “What a waste,” Albright said.

    “Maybe he should have stuck with the business he was in before.” […]

    The Hill link

  192. says

    Alright, I’ve reached my breaking point. Brazile was on Chris Hayes last night (while Glenn Greenwald was on Fox touting her story), Morning Joe this morning, and Andrea Mitchell this afternoon. I think she’s going on Fox tonight. Her presentation of history has been irrational and self-serving and she’s showing a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Now she’s posing for pictures with Clarke? Enough.

  193. says

    Trump continues to turn into administration into a family business:

    Eric Trump’s brother-in-law has been promoted to lead a policy shop at the Department of Energy.

    Kyle Yunasaka, the brother of Eric Trump’s wife Lara Trump, has been named chief of staff at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, […]

    The office was once tasked with helping carry out former President Obama’s climate change agenda.

    Yunasaka was hired in February as part of the so-called “beachhead” team of DOE political appointees working to run the agency following the president’s inauguration.

    An East Carolina University alumnus who earned his B.S. in physics and management and master’s in business administration, Yunasaka has drawn criticism for his lack of background in energy work. He participated in 2013 in an Inside Edition competition to find the “hottest bachelors” in Washington, D.C. […]


    Well, that’s okay then. Kyle Yunasaka has TV/hotness credits so he’s perfect for a job in the Trump reality show.

  194. says

    Trump is gutting the State Department. We knew that, but new data paints an even bleaker picture:

    Imagine a company where, in the past year, 60 percent of its top management quit and applicants to work there dropped by half. You’d assume that corporation would be on the verge of going bankrupt or in the throes of some catastrophe […]

    This is the reality of the US State Department under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to new data from the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), […] American diplomacy, the backbone of US global influence, is in a state of near collapse.

    The new AFSA data focuses on the top-ranking career officials […] This includes minister counselors (the equivalent of two-star generals), career ministers (the three-star equivalent), and career ambassadors (the four-star equivalent).

    The number of people in each of those posts has declined dramatically since President Trump took office in January. The number of minister counselors in the State Department has gone down by 15 percent, career ministers by 42 percent, and career ambassadors by a whopping 60 percent.

    “Like the military, the Foreign Service recruits officers at entry level and grows them into seasoned leaders over decades,” explains Barbara Stephenson, the head of AFSA, in a letter Tuesday announcing the new findings. “The talent being shown the door now is not only our top talent, but also talent that cannot be replicated overnight.”

    It’s not even clear that this can be fixed over a number of years, because the State Department isn’t hiring at the entry level either. […]

    Vox link

  195. says


    […] Reddit finally decided to crack down and ban some of its most notoriously violent forums, including subreddits devoted to National Socialism […] and bestiality. […] for some reason, the Incels subreddit was still up and running. This was very strange given that said subreddit spent an awful lot of time worshiping Elliot Rodger, talking about how it was very unfair that rape is illegal and the government won’t provide them with women to have sex with, and generally fantasizing about violence against women who reject them.

    But last night, all of that changed. FINALLY. The subreddit was banned, along with all associated subreddits and the replacement subreddits they immediately tried to set up […]


  196. says

    Jeff Flake is slowly becoming bolder in his decisions to not adhere to the NRA/Trumpian gospel regarding gun rights:

    Writing a bill w/@Martin Heinrich to prevent anyone convicted of domestic violence — be it in criminal or military court — from buying a gun.

    Donald Trump Junior’s response:

    Incredibly proactive considering that law has been on the books since the mid 90s.

    Jeff Flake responded to Junior:

    If being proactive means closing the #DomesticViolenceLoophole exploited by the #SutherlandSprings Texas shooter, You’re right.

    From Wonkette:

    […] Now, it’s true that the Pentagon does have a regulation directing the services to report such convictions to the NICS database, but it’s not actually encoded as law, and it’s clearly not being followed […]

    […] military courts don’t use the categories of “felony” or “misdemeanor” in the first place, and many times, the NICS is notified only of convictions punished with a dishonorable discharge, not the less severe bad conduct discharge given to shooter Devin Kelley. So no, Flake and Heinrich aren’t just reinventing the wheel with “another useless gun law” — they’re taking action to make sure the existing law works the way it’s supposed to. […]

  197. says

    NEW: The Justice Dept claims that AT&T privately offered to sell CNN. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson DENIES that: ‘Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so’.”

  198. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 263.

    Russian bots and Lavrov (Russia’s foreign minister) are pushing the same conspiracy theory.

    From Lavrov:

    FM Lavrov: all established facts point not to a “Russian trace” in 2016 US election, but rather to @TheDemocrats inside job

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] The guy Trump made Pompeo meet with, Bill Binney, has frequently appeared on Fox News. But Russian bots and the Russian Foreign Minister [are] actively pushing precisely the same theory of what happened last year.

    These actions aren’t inconsequential or merely retrospective. Russian efforts to tamper in US elections and sow division in American society continue apace. Repeatedly insisting to the people charged with preventing further intrusions that the first intrusion never happened can only be viewed as active complicity in future attacks.

    Sound alarmist? Sure. But think about it. If you keep telling the security guard that the break in the night before never happened and that they should just go home, what would you call that? Why he [Trump] is doing this I can’t say. But what he is doing is demonstrably and on its face active assistance of future attacks. There’s no other way to put it.

  199. says

    Yeah, they talked about a ““more open, more inclusive” process, but Republicans are doing exactly the opposite.

    Paul Ryan vowed an end to the much-despised top-down approach of his predecessor [Boehner] when he took the speaker’s gavel in 2015, promising a House that’s “more open, more inclusive, more deliberative, more participatory.”

    “We’re not going to bottle up the process so much and predetermine the outcome of everything around here,” he said in his first news conference as speaker.

    But two years later, the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the speaker, just set a record for the most closed rules in a session — barring lawmakers for the 49th time from offering amendments on a bill.

    Ryan has yet to allow a single piece of legislation to be governed by an open rule, which allows members to propose changes on the floor.

    That makes Ryan the only speaker in modern history to forgo the open process entirely so far, according to senior House Democratic sources. They argue such a strategy — while politically expedient for Republicans eager to avoid toxic and divisive votes — is bad for democracy because it stifles debate. […]

  200. says

    All of those elections the Republicans lost yesterday were not Trump’s fault. Of course. Trump is never to blame.

    […] “This is not about the president, […]

    Aides downplayed the importance of New Jersey and Virginia for the GOP in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

    “These are blue states that the president didn’t win last year, and candidly the results weren’t even close last year in either of the states.” […]

    Not every Republican is drinking the Kool-aid.

    GOP Rep. Scott Taylor (Va.) told The Hill that GOP’s losses were a “referendum” on the Trump administration.

    “There has to be some self-reflection at the top and how that’s spilling over in the down ballot,” Taylor said. “I know they would tout the four congressional special elections we won, that’s a little bit different. That’s a localized thing. We under-performed in places that we should have crushed as Republicans. … When you look at tonight in Virginia and the results that continue to come in…[our] leaders need to have some self-reflection.” […]

    Trump himself pushed the idea that any losses reflected a failure to cozy up to him enough, and he tried to distance himself from the losers:

    Trump immediately sought to separate himself from Gillespie, who lost to Democrat Ralph Northam by 9 points, saying he failed to fully “embrace” what his administration stands for. Trump sought to reassure Republicans that better days lay ahead, pointing to their four special-election victories this year in the House and declaring that the economy is “doing record numbers.”

    That assessment appeared to contradict the argument of his own political team that the president was not a factor in the losses. […]

    But the sentiments from the White House are unlikely to reassure GOP officials and donors, who fear electoral disaster awaits them in 2018. […]


  201. says

    Follow-up to comments 185, 208, and 220.

    Update on Rand Paul’s condition after he was attacked by a neighbor.

    I appreciate all of the support from everyone. A medical update: final report indicates six broken ribs & new X-ray shows a pleural effusion.

    A pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid around the lungs.

  202. says

    From former President Jimmy Carter and Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway:

    […] In a country as rich as the United States, blessed with talented medical professionals, world-class hospitals and research institutes, and an almost unparalleled capacity for technological innovation, the lack of universal health coverage should be a national scandal.

    It is all the more scandalous given the extremely high cost of the US health care system, which takes up 17.1 percent of Gross National Product. This is 40 percent higher than the average for high-income countries, but the heavy reliance on private financing leads to severe inefficiencies and inequalities within the system. Around a third of health expenditure is spent on administrative costs rather than infrastructure or patient care.

    None of this is inevitable, and a viable alternative is close at hand. For US neighbors and allies such as Canada and the United Kingdom, UHC has been a cherished element of the social contract between government and citizens for decades. UHC is also now an explicit Sustainable Development Goal of all countries, and some developing countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka are already covering their entire populations. […]

    President Trump seems intent on dismantling his predecessor’s reforms, through successive executive orders, including a halt on federal funding to provide health insurance coverage for nine million vulnerable children. […]

    The chaos and paralysis surrounding health reform on Capitol Hill must not be an excuse for vested interests to regain the initiative and block progress. Responsible leaders and citizens must come together and demand Americans enjoy the same rights to health as their fellow global citizens […]

    Time link

  203. blf says

    France’s Le Pen stripped of immunity over gruesome IS pictures:

    France’s National Assembly on Wednesday lifted the immunity from prosecution of far-right leader Marine Le Pen for tweeting pictures of Islamic State group atrocities […]

    The decision was taken by a cross-party committee in charge of the internal functioning of the assembly, after a request from the authorities to lift Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity over a crime that carries up to three years in prison.

    The leader of the National Front […] in 2015 tweeted three pictures of IS atrocities, including one of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the extremists.


    At the time Le Pen was a member of the European Parliament.

    That assembly voted in March to lift her immunity over the pictures […]

  204. says

    “Federal Subpoenas Seek Info on Carl Icahn’s Role as Trump Adviser”:

    Prosecutors are investigating whether billionaire businessman Carl Icahn pushed for a federal policy change that would have benefited one of his investments while he was serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump.

    The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has issued subpoenas to Icahn’s company and another company, CVR Energy, in which he has an 82 percent stake, both firms disclosed in regulatory filings. CVR is a publicly traded company that specializes in refining and is valued at nearly $3 billion.

    Icahn, who backed Trump during the campaign, was named a special adviser on regulation last December. He quit in August to avoid what he called “partisan bickering” about his position in the administration.

    His resignation followed an investigation by CNBC into potential conflicts of interest and came just before a magazine report questioning whether he had broken any laws….

  205. says

    “Flynn worries about son in special counsel probe”:

    Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who, like his father, is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

    Flynn’s concern could factor into decisions about how to respond to Mueller’s ongoing investigation….

    Flynn’s wife, Lori, shares his concerns about their son’s possible legal exposure, according to a person who knows the family….

  206. says

    SC @317, That is pathetic.

    SC @323, I think Trump’s friends in Saudi Arabia are responsible for part of that blockade. I don’t think Trump has commented on the impending humanitarian disaster.

  207. militantagnostic says

    Lynna @326

    I don’t think Trump has commented on the impending humanitarian disaster.

    I don’t think Trump cares about the impending humanitarian disaster.

  208. Arren ›‹ neverbound says

    As the ranking ongoing humanitarian disaster, Drumpf feels naturally territorial, so mum’s the word.

  209. says

    Update to #177 – “Lebanon believes Hariri held in Saudi, wants foreign pressure – top official”:

    Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia, is being held by Riyadh, and Beirut plans to work with foreign states to secure his return, a top Lebanese government official said on Thursday.

    A second source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A third source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement.

    Hariri’s shock resignation, read out on television from Saudi Arabia, pitched Lebanon into a deep political crisis and pushed the country back to the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    It has fuelled speculation in Lebanon that the Sunni Muslim politician, long an ally of Riyadh, was coerced into stepping down by the Saudis….

  210. says

    Kaitlan Collins: “Asked why President Trump didn’t take questions from reporters today, Sarah Sanders said, ‘It was at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today’.”

    Chuck Todd: “China isn’t supposed to have a say about press access. Previous press secs used to fight with Chinese counterparts for press access when in China. Witnessed personally.”

    Jay Carney: “I once had to tell Chinese officials that Pres. Obama would not show up for the press avail unless there would be a Q&A. They backed down.”

  211. says

    TPM: “Where In The World Was George Papadopoulos During The Campaign?”

    Kind of a strange article, in that it begins its timeline in July of 2016, with no explanation for why. Then later it states that on November 9, 2016, “After Trump’s election, Papadopoulos gets a personal shoutout on Twitter from Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, whom Papadopoulos met on a trip to Greece in the spring of 2016” and that “While in Greece” that month “he is wined and dined by various Greek politicians, including Kammenos, the defense minister, with whom Papadopoulos is photographed having lunch.” How is a meeting with the rightwing Greek Defense Minister* in the spring of 2016 not a major part of this timeline? How did Papadopoulos meet him? What was he doing in Greece? Was this before or after he joined the campaign?

    * (Mentioned in an Economist article in 2012: “Panos Kammenos, a former ND deputy who opposes austerity and admires Mr Putin, says Greece should turn to Russia if, as expected, it needs yet another bail-out.”)

  212. says

    “Prosecutors Seek Plea Deal With Manafort’s Former Son-in Law”:

    The Justice Department is seeking to reach a plea deal in its criminal investigation of the former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign chairman, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Last week, federal investigators working on a possible plea deal reached out to Mr. Yohai’s attorney and to a Los Angeles-based lender, Genesis Capital LLC, which lent money to entities Mr. Yohai had created for failed house-flipping projects in which Mr. Manafort had also invested, according to some of the people. The investigation has also scrutinized at least one real-estate deal involving Mr. Yohai in New York, The Wall Street Journal previously reported….

  213. says

    John Harwood interviews Gary Cohn about the Trumpublican tax plan:

    …Harwood: Let me suggest an alternative principle. Look at the components of the plan: big corporate reductions, big pass-through reductions for business, much more tax cuts for businesses than for individuals. You’ve got the elimination of the estate tax, you’ve got the preservation of the step-up basis, you’ve got the elimination of the alternative minimum tax. What you have is a bunch of people, including you, including the president, who think ‘What I do is good for the economy, therefore, taxing the things that I do less will be good for the economy and good for other people’ instead of giving direct benefits to those people. Because middle-class people in this tax cut do not get very much in direct benefit.

    Cohn: I just completely disagree with you.

    Harwood: Look at the numbers.

    Harwood: You’re not saying, as you did a few weeks ago, that the wealthy do not get a tax cut under your plan?

    Cohn: No. I’m saying there’s unique situations to everyone out there. Everyone has their own story. It’s not our intention to give the wealthy a tax cut.

    Harwood: But they’re getting one.

    Cohn: I don’t believe that we’ve set out to create a tax cut for the wealthy. If someone’s getting a tax cut, I’m not upset that they’re getting a tax cut. I’m really not upset….

    In related comments,

    @RepChrisCollins (R-NY) on tax reform: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again’.”

  214. says


    Eric Swalwell: “EVERY @HouseGOP member of @HouseJudiciary committee just voted against my legislation requiring Congress be notified ASAP by intel officials if election interference has occurred. So, we don’t want to know? #ProtectOurDemocracy”

    Amy Klobuchar: “For years I’ve been trying to pass my bill for expanding domestic abuse & stalking gun protections but NRA opposed.”

    ABC: “House Republicans on Tuesday blocked Democratic efforts to secure bigger tax benefits for parents’ costs of raising or adopting children, as they drove toward wrapping up their tax overhaul by week’s end.”

  215. blf says

    Syria to join Paris climate accord, leaving US as only non-member [sic†]:

    Syria told the UN climate talks in Bonn on Tuesday that it would join the Paris Agreement, leaving the United States as the only nation in the world opting to stay outside the landmark treaty [sic‡].

    “We are going to join the Paris Agreement,” the Syrian delegate, speaking in Arabic, said during a plenary session at the 196-nation talks, according to Safa Al Jayoussi of the IndyAct NGO, who was monitoring the session.

    [… T]he spokesman for the UN climate body, Nick] Nuttall identified the Syrian delegate as Wadah Katmawi, the deputy minister of the ministry of local administration and environment.

    Syria must submit their “instruments of ratification” at the UN headquarters in New York before their adherence becomes official, he added.

    According to the Syrian parliament website, a bill was passed on October 22 to ratify the Paris accord […]


    “When even Syria — with all its problems — can see the sense of a global climate agreement, it really shows how ideologically wedded to climate denialism the US Republican Party has become,” said Mohamed Adow, International Climate Lead for Christian Aid.

      † The States are a member until, at the earliest, late in 2020.

      ‡ The Paris agreement is very carefully designed to not be a “treaty” — at least for the States — so as to preclude oil-funded thugs in the senate from sinking the agreement.

  216. says

    “White House chief of staff tried to pressure acting DHS secretary to expel thousands of Hondurans, officials say”:

    On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Honduran immigrants living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.

    Duke refused to reverse her decision and was angered by what she felt was a politically driven intrusion by Kelly and Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, who also called her about the matter, according to officials with knowledge of Monday’s events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

    Duke, who was confirmed by the Senate in April, has informed Kelly she plans to resign, said the officials. Hoffman said there is “zero factual basis” to the claim that Duke has said she’ll step down….

  217. says

    Doug Jones:

    Roy Moore:
    1. Hiding from voters.
    2. Hiding from the media.
    3. Refuses to answer questions about the 1 million he took from his foundation.
    4. Even refuses to answer if he supports Medicaid/Medicare or CHIP’s.

    No wonder he doesn’t want to debate.

  218. says

    “Trump associates are getting buried in massive legal fees, and Roger Stone says his is more than $450,000”:

    Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone blasted out a 1,600-word statement this week asking for help paying the nearly $460,000 worth of legal fees he has incurred since landing in the crosshairs of the federal and congressional Russia investigations.

    In the emailed statement, Stone attacked special counsel Robert Mueller as a “deep state vigilante” and “deep state executioner” who “is busy casting about for anything he can latch onto.”

    Stone, whose contact with Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the election have come under scrutiny has part of the Russia probes, said it cost him $400,000 in legal fees to prepare for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee last month.

    Many of the president’s former advisers are facing sky-high legal fees as a result of the investigation, which is focused on whether his campaign colluded with Moscow to undermine Hillary Clinton during the election.

    Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is chummy with Stone, introduced legislation last week pressuring Mueller to resign. Speaking from the House floor on Tuesday night, Gaetz claimed that “we are in the midst of a coup d’etat in the United States.”

    Stone seemed to echo Gaetz in his email: “I am certain Special Counsel Mueller and his chummy side-kick, fired-FBI Director Jimmy Comey, intend to try to remove our President, in collusion with Democrats, many of whom are openly plotting a literal coup d’etat against the President of the United States.”

  219. says

    blf @340, I know it is not technically true, but I feel like only Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement (and maybe Steve Bannon withdrew), but the rest of the United States, including many major cities are still all in.

    This withdrawal from the agreement is deplorable.

  220. militantagnostic says

    SC @342

    It amazes me how open they are about this. Do any of them have town halls over the Thanksgiving recess?

    I am sure all the “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” in their districts also support tax cuts for the wealthy.

    As for the openness, Trump’s success indicates that the base does not give a fuck about corruption.

  221. militantagnostic says

    In other good news, professional shitweasel James O’Keef of phony Planned Parenthood fetus parts sting infamy is in a dispute with his Insurance company over their refusal to cover Project Veritas’ many libel judgements.

    In their counter, Gemini said (to) Veritas their claims didn’t fall within that policy because the group “misrepresented itself in its insurance application: specifically, Gemini said that Project Veritas reported that it had obtained consent from people appearing in its videos.”.

  222. says

    “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32”:

    Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

    It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

    Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

    Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

    Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another….

  223. says

    Susan Hennessey: “If you’re disgusted by Moore, don’t passively sit back and say ‘Oh well, it’s Alabama’. Doug Jones is a stellar and entirely viable candidate. Help him win.”

    And I don’t even think that about Alabama anymore. Since the women’s march, I’ve had a lot more optimism about Red states.

  224. says

    Follow-up to comments 350, 351 and 352.

    Sounds like Republican leaders may have been looking for an excuse to throw Roy Moore overboard. They certainly did not waste any time in coming out with comments like this one from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

    If these allegations are true, he must step aside.

    From Senator John Cornyn:

    If it is true, I don’t think his candidacy is sustainable, but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out. It’s not just an allegation, it’s a story. There has to be something more to it so I’m interested in seeing what substantiation there is for the story.

    From Senator Richard Shelby:

    If that’s true, then he wouldn’t belong in the Senate.

    From Senator Rob Portman:

    If the allegations are true, yes, I think he should step aside. It’s very troubling. If the story’s true, I would hope that he would do the right thing and step aside.

    From Senator John McCain:

    The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.

  225. says

    “Ex-Trump security chief testifies he rejected 2013 Russian offer of women for Trump in Moscow”:

    President Donald Trump’s long-time confidante Keith Schiller privately testified that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then private-citizen Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, according to multiple sources from both political parties with direct knowledge of the testimony.

    Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard and personal aide, testified that he took the offer as a joke, two of the sources said. On their way up to Trump’s hotel room that night, Schiller told the billionaire businessman about the offer and Trump laughed it off, Schiller told the House intelligence committee earlier this week.

    After several minutes outside of Trump’s door, which was Schiller’s practice as Trump’s security chief, he said he left….

  226. says

    “Long overdue” is right.

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would hold a hearing next week on “the executive’s authority to use nuclear weapons.”

    “A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement announcing the Nov. 14 hearing.

    “This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons,” he continued. “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.” […]

    The Hill link

  227. says

    Wow, Joel Pollak from Breitbart is on MSNBC with Ali Velshi right now actually suggesting that only one of the accusations is “problematic” because the other girls were technically of the age of consent (even though one says he started hitting on her when she was 14, and the others were like 16 and 18 when he was in his 30s). He’s somehow trying to argue that WaPo was misleading when it talked about several “teenagers,” despite the fact that all of the people involved were in fact teenagers and that this clearly establishes a pattern.

  228. says

    The Trump Administration Is Ignoring the First Major Climate Conference of His Presidency

    […] Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement has created a vacuum into which dozens of state, city and business leaders have leapt, with the aim of convincing other countries at the international summit that the administration is out of kilter with the American people.

    The counter-Trump movement in Bonn is being spearheaded by Jerry Brown, the governor of California, and Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York. Brown, in particular, has assumed the role of a de facto US leader, scheduling more than two dozen events to agitate for renewable energy and emissions cuts to combat what he has called an “existential crisis”.

    A US Climate Action Center has been set up for delegates in Bonn, representing the climate change priorities of several thousand US cities, states, tribes and businesses. Corporate giants Mars, Walmart and Citi are expected to push for action on climate change. The center is in lieu of an official US presence—for the first time, the US government won’t have a pavilion at the annual UN climate summit. […]

    At 2,500 sq meters, the alternative US dome—which is marked with the hashtag #wearestillin—is the biggest pavilion at the climate talks. Organizers say it is probably the biggest for any US group in the history of climate conference. […]

    Following recent decisions by Nicaragua and Syria to join the Paris pact, the US stands alone as the only country in the world to oppose the deal. […]

    The Trump administration has sent a delegation to Bonn, with the US still officially engaged in implementing the Paris deal until it is able to exit in 2020. […]

    This article backs up, to some degree, the comment I made up-thread about Trump pulling out of the agreement, but lots of other U.S. cities, etc. still being committed to the agreement.

  229. KG says

    It’s telling that while Moore is denying the WP story, his cronies and supporters are taking the line that it’s “much ado about very little”. I strongly suspect they know damn well the story is true – and very likely, that there are much more recent andor worse abuses that may now come out.

  230. says

    “Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Cleric to Turkey”:

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the investigation.

    Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pressed the U.S. to extradite him, views the cleric as a political enemy.

    Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have asked at least four individuals about a meeting in mid-December at the ‘21’ Club in New York City, where Mr. Flynn and representatives of the Turkish government discussed removing Mr. Gulen, according to people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries. The discussions allegedly involved the possibility of transporting Mr. Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali, according to one of the people who has spoken to the FBI….

    The scale of these alleged crimes is absolutely breathtaking.

  231. says

    Trump: “I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage of the U.S. on trade leading up to a point where the U.S. is losing $100’s of billions. How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would’ve done same!”

    This tweet, bullshit claims aside, perfectly encapsulates the portrait of Trump I draw here.

  232. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 367.

    So Flynn and cohorts had a meeting in September 2016 in which they talked about kidnapping Fethullah Gulen. Then they had another meeting in December 2016, where they discussed the same subject.

    December 2016, that date still shocks me. Trump had been elected and the transition to the Trump administration was underway. Flynn was, I assume, preparing for his new role as National Security Advisor. And yet, he and his son were still plotting to kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and to fly that man to Turkey where Recep Tayyip Erdogan could torture and/or kill him. The payoff was, reportedly (not confirmed), $15 million.

    And Trump asked Comey to go easy on Flynn, or to drop the investigation of Flynn, because Flynn is “a good guy.”

    Total criminality, with corruption as a side dish.

  233. blf says

    Russia threatens retaliation against US media as row over RT escalates:

    ● Moscow drafting tit-for-tat measures to place severe restrictions on US media
    ● US orders RT to register as ‘foreign agent’ or have its bank accounts frozen

    Russia’s parliament has begun drafting tit-for-tat measures that would place severe restrictions on some US media outlets operating in the country […]

    US intelligence agencies have accused RT of attempting to interfere with the US election.

    Russian president Vladimir Putin had previously warned that Russia would take retaliatory steps if RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was targeted by US authorities.

    The Russian parliamentary speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said MPs had been tasked with drafting amendments to Russia’s own law on foreign agents to include biased media organisations that oppose Russia’s political system.

    He said the amendments could be approved in their third and final reading as earlier as next Friday. What the US authorities are doing today is an infringement of fundamental civil rights, of freedom of speech, said Volodin.


    […] Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, did not rule out that the updated law could also result in the expulsion of Moscow-based correspondents from US newspapers such as the New York Times and The Washington Post.

    We have received so many appeals from our citizens demanding that we do something about American media outlets, Zakharova told state television.


    Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor also proposed it be granted powers to block the websites of foreign media outlets and non-governmental organisations without a court order.

    The Granuiad is unclear whether Roskomnadzor’s proposal is part of the current effort, or part of a previous effort (redacted from the above excerpt).

  234. says

    In the GOP tax plan, deductions are maintained for corporations, but deductions individuals use when itemizing their taxes are rescinded. Congresswoman Suzan Delbene, a Democrat from Washington state, exposed the GOP scam:

    DelBene: A few questions: Will a teacher in my district who buys pens, pencils, paper for his students be able to deduct these costs from his taxes under this plan?

    GOP: Uh, H.R. 1 would repeal the above the line deduction for teacher expenses.

    DelBene: Will a corporation that buys pens, pencils and paper from its workers be able to deduct those costs from its tax returns under this plan?

    GOP: Uh, the general deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses by any business entity is not changed. It need not be…

    DelBene: So they would.

    From the congresswoman’s Facebook page:

    The #GOPTaxScam eliminates deductions used by students, families and seniors, yet maintains the same deductions for corporations. What’s worse, while the wealthiest receive most of the tax cuts in this plan, some #middleclass families could see their taxes increase. Sadly, my Republican colleagues chose not to listen to the hardworking Americans who are just looking for a little fairness and relief in our #taxcode. Instead, they voted for tax cuts for corporations, adding trillions to the deficit, paid for on the backs of future generations.

  235. says

    The decimated State Department of the U.S. has said nothing as Egypt looks likely to pass a new law that makes homosexuality a crime. Trump has also said nothing.

    Egypt is considering a draft of a new law officially criminalizing same-sex relations, as part of a wider crackdown on LGBTQ rights after a concert in late September, when a few audience members waived rainbow flags. Reuters reported on Thursday that the proposed law, […] up to a decade in prison for “people engaging in or promoting same-sex relations.”

    While the White House has refrained from condemning the arrests and the proposed law (the United States provides Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid each year), rights groups have been calling out the Egyptian state on this issue. Amnesty International said that the law would “further entrench stigma and abuse against people based on their perceived sexual orientation.”

    Human Rights Watch has also spoken out against the wider crackdown, which has intensified since a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo in September (the lead singer of Mashrou Leila is openly gay, and the band is vocal in its support for LGTBQ rights). Since then, there have been at least 70 arrests, forced anal exams, torture, and trials where defendants have not been given access to lawyers. […]

  236. blf says

    Lynna@370, “[In December 2016] Flynn was, I assume, preparing for his new role as National Security Advisor.”

    I had to check the dates on that. You are correct, Mike Flynn was publicly announced as hair furor’s National Security Advisor in mid-November (Trump names Mike Flynn national security adviser). So, regardless of whether or not he was then “preparing”, he fecking well knew of his appointment.

  237. says

    blf @374, thanks. Good additional information.

    In other news, here is a followup to 373:

    Many of the arrests have taken place following police infiltration of alleged LGBT ‘safe spaces’, such as clubs and bars. This crackdown has also extended to online platforms, with many people taking to social media to hunt down, bully and harass those suspected of as ‘LGBT’. The police has also utilised dating applications, such as Grinder, and Facebook to find individuals with non-normative genders and sexualities. The Facebook page is not in English, you will need to translate.

  238. blf says

    Japan anger over South Korea’s shrimp surprise for Donald Trump:

    Tokyo complains after menu served to US president includes shellfish from disputed island and wartime sex slave is invited to dinner

    The menu at South Korea’s state banquet for Donald Trump has left a nasty taste in Japan, after the president was served seafood caught off islands at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

    Japanese officials have also complained about the decision to invite a former wartime sex slave to the event, held earlier this week during the second leg of Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia.

    Conservative media in Japan labeled the banquet anti-Japanese for featuring shrimp from near Dokdo — a rocky outcrop known in Japan as Takeshima. Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands, which are administered by Seoul.


    [… T]he guest list included Lee Yong-soo, who was forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during the second world war.


    Japan has lodged a protest through diplomatic channels, according to Kyodo news, describing Lee’s presence as going against the spirit of a 2015 agreement on the comfort women […]

    In my opinion, both sides seem to have a point. It does seem a bit crass of S.Korea to include Dokdo / Takeshima caught seafood (albeit I’ve never(?) heard of this dispute before, and so could easily be making bad assumptions). On the other hand, it took Japan until fecking 2015 to deal with the sex-slave atrocity (an agreement which, from memory, the current Japan PM (Abe) opposed), which is easily a least as crass.

  239. says

    It has been two months since DACA was rescinded by Trump. He kicked the can down the road, saying that Congress had to deal with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after he issued an executive order that was a sunset for DACA. Congress has not acted.

    We knew they wouldn’t, right?

    Today, hundreds of DACA recipients and their supporters marched into House and Senate office buildings to call for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) to be revived.

    “If they were to bring it to a vote, we know for a fact the Republicans and Democrats would vote for it, so that’s why we’re here today,” said Bouhid [Bruna Bouhid, a Washington-area DACA recipient and an activist working with the rally’s organizer, United We Dream.]. “We’re here to tell them, specifically Paul and Mitch: bring the DREAM Act to a vote. We need it before you guys go home for the holidays.”

    “If you’re outraged at Trump for killing DACA, for fulfilling a sick white supremacist scheme to terrorize immigrant youth and their families,” read United We Dream’s invite to the event, “we invite YOU to join hundreds of Dream Defenders: immigrant youth, allies, business leaders, and people of faith are descending on the Capitol to resist Trump’s attacks on immigrants and to demand a clean Dream Act.”

  240. says

    Some of the results of the Flint water crisis are just now being documented:

    […] A recent paper finds that the city’s lead crisis may have sparked a drop in birth rates and a precipitous rise in miscarriages. […] Daniel Grossman from West Virginia University and David Slusky from the University of Kansas compared fertility rates in Flint to those in other Michigan cities before and after Flint changed its water source in 2014.

    They found that fertility, or the birth rate, declined by 12 percent among Flint women, and the fetal death rate increased by 58 percent. The authors describe the difference as “horrifyingly large,” but say it’s also an undercount, because it doesn’t include miscarriages that happened before the 20th week of gestation, which is when most hospitals start counting. It did not appear that women were worried about the lead and opting not to have kids—sadly, it seemed more likely that they weren’t aware of the lead threat. […]


    Much more at the link.

  241. says

    “Pennsylvania court will expedite big gerrymandering case”:

    On Thursday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court said it would expedite hearings in a potentially major gerrymandering case with broader implications.

    The case in the commonwealth’s court is from a group challenging to 2011 redistricting maps, and it wants new maps drawn before the 2018 election, which involves federal and state offices. Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders are opposing the move.

    At the same time, there is a similar case about Pennsylvania redistricting in the federal court system, and the United States Supreme Court is considering a possible landmark gerrymandering decision from Wisconsin in Gill v. Whitford….

  242. says

    Can anyone be too bigoted for the Trump administration? Yes, but you have to ride the bigot train to the end of the line in order for team Trump to reject you.

    The Trump administration has yanked the nomination of a Michigan state lawmaker who called for banning all Muslims from air travel, said that women aren’t interested in science careers and labeled low-income preschool parents “academically and socially needy.”

    President Donald Trump had nominated Michigan state Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican, for a top career and technical education position at the Department of Education. In an interview with POLITICO on Thursday, Kelly accused the “deep state,” “haters” and federal employees who don’t like Trump for making the nomination process “toxic” and “intrusive.”

    “This is clearly not a good match for me,” said Kelly. “It’s too toxic of an atmosphere. I don’t see how anybody gets anything done. It’s just over-the-top toxic.”

    Kelly confirmed to POLITICO that his nomination was pulled because of statements that he made on his blog, the “Citizen Leader,” between 2009 and 2012. He said that none of the statements he made were “out of the mainstream.”

    “They asked me, ‘When are you going to give us a letter of resignation?'” Kelly said. “I said, ‘It’s your nomination, you take it away!'” […]


    Much more at the link.

  243. says

    Oh, FFS! Is it really this bad?

    An Alabama GOP state representative said Friday that he thinks legal action should be taken against the women who accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct with a minor.

    State Rep. Ed Henry told the Cullman Times that he is “not buying” the Washington Post report, which was published with accounts from four women and backed up by 30 sources. The report accused Moore of kissing and sexually touching a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. […]

    “I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion.” […]


  244. says

    Ogvorbis and I have discussed Zinke’s proposal to increase entry fees for national parks before. Zinke apparently feels the need to defend the fee increase:

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke defended his proposal to increase fees at some parks to as much as $70, saying critics do not appreciate what the entrance fees pay for.

    Zinke told Fox News’s Shannon Bream late Thursday night that the criticisms from environmentalists and Democrats are “baloney.”

    “The greatest bargain in America is $80 for a year-long pass of our public lands,” Zinke said, referring to the Interior Department’s annual pass for visits to all of its fee-charging areas.

    I can’t afford the gas and the time to drive to enough national parks to make the $80 annual pass a bargain. Instead, I would have to pay $70 just to enter the nearest national park. That fee is also more than I can afford. So, I am locked out of some of the public lands that I supposedly own along with my fellow taxpayers.

    “Now, I face an $11.5 billion backlog of our public lands and our parks. And our parks are being loved to death. Everyone loves our parks,” he continued.

    “As a former military, there’s two things we need to fund absolutely: our military and our parks. So come on, America,” Zinke said. “If you think that $80, all year, every park, all the time, by a carload, is too much to ask, I mean, come on.” […]

    Zinke’s critics say the new fees would shut out all but the richest park-goers.

    They also contrast the fee increases with the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the Park Service’s budget by 12.9 percent, or nearly $400 million, on an annual basis.

    “This proposal seems directly contrary to your often-stated goal of improving public access to our public lands,” 11 Democratic senators wrote to Zinke after the agency proposed the new fees.

    “We believe that it is especially problematic for your Department to propose fee increases at the same time that the Trump administration is recommending slashing National Park Service funding levels and holding virtual fire-sales on our public resources at below market value.” […]

    The agency is taking public comments on the proposed fees through Nov. 23.


  245. says

    From John Kasich:

    I’ve long opposed Roy Moore & his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP must not support him. He should step aside.

    From Mitt Romney:

    Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.

    From Roy Moore:

    The forces of evil are on the march in our country … I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values.

    In other statements, Moore cited “Christian conservative values.”

  246. blf says

    In the UK, House of Commons Speaker stands by ban on Donald Trump addressing parliament:

    John Bercow points out that ‘an address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right’ as he continues opposition to speech by US president [sic]
    A year on from Trump’s election victory, Bercow said his view remained that the US president [sic] did not deserve the honour of speaking to MPs and peers in the historic hall. In February, Bercow said he “strongly opposed” the idea of a presidential [sic] address in parliament and [on Thursday] the Speaker said he still held that view […].

    “An address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right; it is an earned honour,” he said. “My view is that he has not earned that honour.”


    “An invitation to address both Houses of Parliament is not a bauble to be handed out by the prime minister of the day. It is not a government prerogative; that is a matter for the speakers of the two Houses,” Bercow said.


    Obama won the 2008 election but did not make his Westminster Hall speech until May 2011. “The idea that the prize should be offered to President [sic] Trump within weeks of his election struck me as absolutely extraordinary,” Bercow said.


    Whilst I loathe the pomposity & hypocrisy of the UK’s parliament, the speaker does have several good points here.

  247. militantagnostic says

    Lynna @379

    They found that fertility, or the birth rate, declined by 12 percent among Flint women, and the fetal death rate increased by 58 percent. The authors describe the difference as “horrifyingly large,” but say it’s also an undercount, because it doesn’t include miscarriages that happened before the 20th week of gestation, which is when most hospitals start counting.

    I think we can safely assume that the cost cutting Republicans responsible for this cluster fuck were “pro-life:.

  248. says

    “How Donald Trump Is Remaking the Federal Courts in His Own Image”:

    When Donald Trump took office, he inherited more than 100 federal judicial vacancies. It was a nearly unprecedented number, roughly twice the number that President Barack Obama inherited in 2009. Trump has moved quickly to fill these lifetime appointments with a slate of the most conservative and least diverse nominations since Reagan.

    While Trump’s legislative efforts can be repealed and his executive orders undone, federal judges are rarely removed from the bench. By working to install judges with remarkable speed, Trump and his grateful conservative allies are creating a durable legacy that will last long beyond his administration. And as the minority party, Democrats in Congress have few tools to oppose him aside from a Senate tradition allowing lawmakers to block certain nominations affecting their home states.

    Trump’s nominees are, so far, roughly 90 percent white and 80 percent male….

    “We’re going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society,” Trump promised during a June 2016 interview on Breitbart News radio. According to data compiled by American Bridge in September, Trump has proved true to his word….

    While the Federalist Society has been given an unprecedented role in judicial selection, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has largely been dismissed….

    Other Trump nominees include people who have been members of, provided legal support to, or had other noteworthy links to the National Rifle Association, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the US Chamber Litigation Center, and a variety of pro-life organizations and local Republican parties….

  249. blf says

    This is breaking news, so there isn’t much detail yet, At least three injured in vehicle attack near Toulouse, police say: “A man deliberately ran his car into a group of students outside a high school near Toulouse in southern France on Friday, police sources said, injuring at least three people, two of them seriously.” (Broadly speaking, that’s on the other side of country from me, over 400 km away.)

    The Grauniad (Man rams car into students outside French high school) reports the suspect (who was arrested) was “known to police”, and cites a source claiming the suspect claimed to have “‘received orders’ to do what he did.”

  250. says

    militant agnostic @388, good point … or rather, horrifying but true point.

    SC @389, If I remember correctly, the American Bar Association has issued an “unqualified” rating for four of those judicial nominees. The label nominees “unqualified” is rare. None of Obama’s nominees were rated as unqualified.

  251. says

    More analysis of the Republican tax plan:

    A debt watchdog says the GOP is relying on “fantasy economics” in terms of overly-optimistic economic growth and deficit projections in its tax plans.

    “It is frightening that so many members of Congress are willing to believe in fantasy economics based in no historical or mathematical reality,” said Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya MacGuineas. […]

    MacGuinness said the plans also relied on a slew of budgetary tricks and gimmicks to make the deficit math look better than it really is. […]

    “We think there will be $2 trillion of growth. So we think this tax plan will cut down the deficits by a trillion dollars,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in September. […]

    The Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM), for example, said that even with economic growth taken into account, the plan would reduce revenues by $1.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion.

    Credit ratings agency Fitch said that under the GOP plan, the economy would settle on a 2.2 percent growth rate, well below the 3 percent rate the administration has promised. It would increase the debt burden from 77 percent of GDP to 120 percent of GDP in the next decade. […]


  252. says

    State Dept. statement on Lebanon:

    The United States strongly supports the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Lebanon and of its political institutions. The United States urges all parties both within Lebanon and outside to respect the integrity and independence of Lebanon’s legitimate national institutions, including the Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces. In this regard, we respect Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri as a strong partner of the United States.

    The United States supports the stability of Lebanon and is opposed to any actions that could threaten that stability. There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state – which must be recognized as the sole authority for security in Lebanon. The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country.

  253. says

    Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct made international headlines. Not on Fox News.[…] Fox’s top prime-time news shows, Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight, were more interested in the spat between former DNC Chair Donna Brazile and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Carlson barely mentioned the allegations against Moore, and Sean Hannity tried to play down the story. Hannity went as far as to suggest that the women in the story were lying about their interaction with Moore:

    “Do people do it for money, do they do it for political reasons? Is it more common than people would think?” Hannity asked a legal analyst on his show. […]

  254. blf says

    Lynna@391, “If I remember correctly, the American Bar Association has issued an ‘unqualified’ rating for four of those judicial nominees.”

    As of two days ago, yes, currently four (Some of Trump’s judicial nominees may be unfit. The Senate is rushing them through anyway.):

    With the exception of the George W Bush administration, previous presidents [sic] have used recommendations by the nation’s largest professional association of lawyers to screen out potentially problematic nominees before seeking Senate approval. Mr Trump, following in Mr Bush’s footsteps, departed from that process by cutting the ABA out of the loop. The ABA instead has provided its views on nominees’ qualifications after candidates have been unveiled.


    At issue are three candidates for federal district judgeships in Oklahoma, Kansas and Alabama, along with Leonard Steven Grasz, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. The ABA found all four unqualified, unanimously in the cases of Mr Grasz and Brett Talley, the Alabama nominee. In Mr Talley’s case and that of Holly Lou Teeter, nominated to the US District Court for the District of Kansas, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings before the ABA had announced its ratings. Now, only days after receiving the ABA’s vote of no confidence in Mr Talley and Ms Teeter, the committee is still planning to move forward briskly with their nominations.


  255. says

    “Mueller Probing Pre-Election Flynn Meeting with Pro-Russia Congressman”:

    Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

    The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.

    Mueller’s interest in the nature of Flynn and Rohrabacher’s discussion marks the first known time a member of Congress could be wrapped into the investigation….

  256. says

    Remember Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”? Reality seems to be taking that farce down.

    […] On Thursday, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democratic member of the voter fraud commission, filed a bombshell lawsuit against the commission and its chairs, alleging that the group has been violating federal law. Dunlap alleges the committee is a cynical partisan effort to exaggerate the frequency of fraudulent voting, that it flouts legal regulations, and that its token Democratic participants have been systematically shunned. Multiple civil rights advocates have already sued the commission for similar chicanery, but Dunlap’s suit is different. He isn’t just demanding access to potentially damning documents and information […]

    [Dunlap] appears to be atoning for his mistake of joining the commission by fighting to expose the rottenness at its core…. The tone of Dunlap’s lawsuit is notable: He is not bitter, just exasperated. It appears that he joined the commission out of a genuine desire to investigate election practices and, if necessary, suggest improvements to the nation’s voting system. But it didn’t take long for him to learn, he says, that he’d been invited “to afford the Commission and its prospective findings a veneer of legitimacy.”


    Background information that highlights the fraudulent nature of Trump’s “Commission on Election Integrity”:

    […] Trump established the commission after claiming that 3 million to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. He appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican notorious for his nativist voter suppression schemes, as its vice chair.

    Kobach has a penchant for peddling easily debunked lies about voter fraud. He has claimed that 18,000 noncitizens are registered to vote in Kansas; although that’s a blatant fabrication, he’s used this claim to justify suspending the voting rights of about 35,314 Kansans. His pet project, Crosscheck, purports to identify voters who are registered in multiple states so election officials can purge them from the rolls. It has a 99.5 percent false positive rate. […]

  257. says

    blf @395, thanks. So, the Republican-dominated Senate is rushing to confirm four judicial nominees who have been found to be “unqualified,” aiyiyiyi.

    In other news, the White House has decided to characterize the charges against Roy Moore as mere allegations:

    “Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”

  258. says

    “Senate GOP Campaign Arm Severs Financial Ties To Roy Moore”:

    A day after explosive allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, the Republican Party’s senate campaign arm has severed financial ties with the embattled former state supreme court justice.

    A joint fundraising committee benefitting Moore and a handful of Republican Party organs filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday removing the National Republican Senatorial Committee as one of its beneficiaries. Going forward, the committee’s fundraising will benefit Moore’s Senate campaign, the Alabama Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee but not the NRSC.

    The NRSC’s removal from the account is the most concrete step taken to date to create distance between the national Republican Party and the Moore campaign….

  259. blf says

    Shamshad TV news reader’s courage leaves Afghans in awe (Al Jazeera edits in {curly braces}):

    An Afghan journalist stunned viewers by appearing on television to present the news, moments after an attack by ISIL [daesh, ISIS, …] fighters [sic] at his station’s premises in Kabul came to an end.

    Defiant Parwiz Sapy appeared calm and collected on Shamshad TV as he announced to viewers on Tuesday: “The attack has ended.”


    A security guard was killed by the attackers, who were disguised as policemen. At least 24 others were wounded.

    “Asalamualikum {Peace be upon you} Shamshad TV viewers, all staff members inside the building have been rescued,” Sapy said in Pashto, his hands bandaged after breaking a window in the newsroom so his colleagues could flee the attack.


    Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, former EU ambassador and EU special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted: “Must admire Afghan journalist’s resilience and determination.”

    Twitter user Naimat Khan said: “A very loud message to terrorists. You can beat armies but not journalists.”

    Carmen Fernandez, a Spanish journalist, wrote on Twitter: “Much respect.”


    Sapy explained that at the time of his first live broadcast after the attack, he understood the “power of media” and that the experience made him adamant to continue his job as a journalist.

    “We all had tears of happiness and were as motivated as ever to continue doing our jobs as journalists,” he told Al Jazeera. “After this attack by militants, we knew we were doing something right.”

    Sapy and his colleagues refused to go home and waited outside the station until the operation was over.


    Shamshad TV broadcasts a variety of programmes including news and current affairs and it is one of the BBC’s partner stations.

    With a decade of experience in Afghanistan’s media, Sapy believes that journalists are constantly under threat.

    Afghan Journalists Safety Committee reported a surge in attacks against journalists with 73 cases recorded in 2017, an increase of 35 percent compared with 2016.

    This makes Afghanistan the second most dangerous country for reporters in the world after Syria.


    “It is one of the most difficult countries to report from, but such attacks can only make us stronger,” Sapy said. “My message to all young reporters is to continue doing your job. If they are attacking you, attack back with your journalism.”

  260. blf says

    Mr Sapy (see @402) has my respect. This eejit does not, US Marine trainer guilty of abusing Muslim recruits:

    A former US Marine instructor who abused Muslim military recruits — including ordering them into an industrial clothes dryer and turning it on — will be sentenced to prison on Friday.

    Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix […] was found guilty of “maltreatment” on Thursday after he physically and verbally abused three American Muslims training to become US Marines […].

    Felix “picked out Muslim recruits for special abuse because of their Muslim faith. He degraded their religion and put them in industrial appliances”, Lieutenant-Colonel John Norman, the prosecutor, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

    Witnesses said they heard Felix use the terms terrorist and ISIS when addressing the Muslim men.


    Al Jazeera also reports a “$100m civil lawsuit has also been filed against the Marine Corps and the American government by the family of one Muslim man who fell 12 metres to his death”, which the embedded Washington Post link (Military jury convicts Marine drill instructor who targeted Muslims) makes clear is related. That article also notes:

    Felix’s defense team presented only two witnesses during the trial: a mechanical engineer specializing in clothes dryers and a forensic pathologist. Dozens of witnesses, including other drill instructors who worked with Felix and at least 20 former recruits who trained under him, offered testimony for the prosecution.

  261. blf says

    Too Many People Fell for Jimmy Kimmel’s “Trumpcare” Bit (original emphasis):

    Days ago, Jimmy Kimmel adopted a new tactic on health care in order to get people to sign up during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period: telling them it was actually Trumpcare. You might be inclined to think that no one could be ignorant enough for that to actually work. You would be wrong.

    Last night, Kimmel noted some of the praise he’s received for bridging the partisan divide, a.k.a. putting Trump’s name on something President Obama did, in order to ease the minds of Trump supporters who just don’t like that Obama fella. Apparently, he had about as much success as Republicans initially found in labeling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” to make people hate it, without question, in the first place. As during the election last year, too many people seem to have no idea what the Affordable Care Act actually is or does, and only that Trump = good and Obama = bad.

    When I say “too many” people, I mean any people at all. It’s impossible to say, just from the few examples Kimmel presented, that there was actually a large number of people who were duped, but it’s distressing that anyone who felt strongly enough about the issue to comment could have such a poor grasp of what was going on here. […]

    (Hit tip to birgerjohansson in poopyhead’s Every argument with YouTube skeptics ever for pointing out this Kimmel stunt.)

  262. blf says

    Re @404 and writing “1000$”. And the issue is…?
    Whilst maybe uncommon in the blinkered States — which is possibly the point being made, its usage suggesting, e.g., a Russian troll — it is nonetheless a fairly common convention, even for currencies for which the locals position the symbol elsewhere. So is writing, e.g., “1000 USD”, which has the advantage of being less-confusing / ambiguous (e.g., multiple currencies use the “$” symbol, not all of them with “dollar” in the name).

  263. KG says

    Talking of RT, the former leader of the SNP (Scottish National Party), Alex Salmond, is to host a regular discussion programme on the channel. Salmond, who lost his Westminster seat at the 2017 election, has been widely criticised for the decision. The current leader, Nicola Sturgeon*, says the channel “would not have been my choice”, and that the SNP will criticize Russia when it feeld this is justified. My guess is that a lot of SNP members and voters will feel this is far too mild a response on Sturgeon’s part.

    *As has often been remarked, there’s definitely something fishy about the SNP!

  264. says

    “There is no bottom for Roy Moore Republicans”:

    …Take a look around you.

    We’re terrible as a state. We’re near the bottom in public education, medical care, infrastructure, economy and upward mobility and at the top in infant mortality, poverty, obesity and political corruption.

    Our budgets are consistently a mess — we’re going to have to magically find $100 million somewhere next year — and our state services are so underfunded that they’re all but worthless. We’re short on troopers, courthouse workers, road crews, maintenance personnel and teachers.

    This is what the Roy Moore Republican Party has brought Alabama.

    A government built on greed and hatefulness, on shunning anything different and thumbing our nose at any hint of progress.

    These people have convinced you that this is all some sort of a grand game, where we win by our chosen party maintaining control, instead of winning by electing men and women who best represent the actual interests of the people.

    And this is where it’s left you….

  265. says

    Follow-up to comment 395.

    Update on a judicial nominee:

    Brett J. Talley, President Trump’s nominee to be a federal judge in Alabama, has never tried a case, was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn.’s judicial rating committee, has practiced law for only three years and, as a blogger last year, displayed a degree of partisanship unusual for a judicial nominee, denouncing “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and pledging support for the National Rifle Assn.

    On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, approved him for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. […]

    LA Times link

  266. says

    Re @404 and writing “1000$”. And the issue is…?
    Whilst maybe uncommon in the blinkered States…

    That’s the issue – that it’s purported to be written by a USian, which is unlikely. And your responses to some comments recently are overly aggressive.

  267. says

    So is writing, e.g., “1000 USD”, which has the advantage of being less-confusing / ambiguous (e.g., multiple currencies use the “$” symbol, not all of them with “dollar” in the name).

    That’s precisely why any presumptive USian MAGA troll would be suspect if they used it.

  268. says

    The U.S. Conference of Mayors came out with a statement saying that the mayors are opposed to the Senate Republican tax plan to eliminate state and local tax deductions.

    […] “The nation’s mayors strongly oppose the Senate’s proposal to eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction in their tax reform bill,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), president of the USCM, said in a prepared statement on behalf of the group.

    “The Senate repeal of SALT violates the promise that tax reform would provide relief for middle class families. Instead the proposal would tax these families twice on the same income,” he added.

    The USCM is a nonpartisan organization of mayors or other top elected officials representing cities of more than 30,000 people. […]

  269. blf says

    Al Gore: ‘I tried my best’ but Trump can’t be educated on climate change:

    Al Gore has accused Donald Trump of surrounding himself “with the absolute worst of climate deniers” and said he has given up attempting to persuade the president [sic] to reverse his dismantling of policies combatting global warming.

    However, both Gore […] and Jerry Brown, governor of California, told the Guardian they were confident the US will regain [sic†] its leadership position on climate change if Trump is defeated in the next presidential election.


    Gore […] said other countries are “aghast” at Trump’s retreat from climate policy but said the backlash both within the US and abroad is encouraging.

    “The US cities and states have made a tremendous difference and I think the reaction of the rest of the world has minimized the damage done by Donald Trump,” he said. “The reaction to Trump is if anything stronger than the actions Trump is taking.

    “This experiment with Trump is less than a year old and in science, experiments are sometimes cut short early. I’m not saying this will happen this time, but this feels like a movie I’ve seen before.”


    Brown also said he sees little point attempting to sway the Trump administration. “The official policy of the US is that climate change is a total and complete hoax conceived by Chinese conspirators,” the California governor told the Guardian. “That is so preposterous that engagement on that basis is just useless.”


      † Excluding, perhaps, research and monitoring, when / what / how was the States ever a “leader” in dealing-with AGW? Causing AGW, very probably yes, but not so much in dealing with it, on either practical or political fronts.

  270. says

    From Wonkette’s coverage of the latest failure of electrical power in Puerto Rico:

    OK, sure, maybe a major power transmission line in Puerto Rico failed Thursday, leaving much of the San Juan area in the dark. And maybe that section of the major power line had been repaired by grifty Montana contractors Whitefish Energy before their very, very fishy contract was cancelled. But that doesn’t mean the line failed because Whitefish didn’t do a good job, heavens no! The two-person energy company is very, very displeased that anyone would think they did shoddy work.

    This was a huge failure. When the section of line in the northern part of the island failed yesterday, it took out a quarter of Puerto Rico’s generation capacity. Restoration of power had been up to 43% of the island before the failure, and now only 18% of the island has electricity again — about the same percentage as early October, shortly after the goddamned hurricane. Officials with the territory-run power company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), don’t even have an estimate of when the power will be restored:

    The line, which runs from the transmission center in Cambalache to Manatí, was part of the section Whitefish Energy had repaired, according to a November 3 press release from the company. But don’t you go blaming Whitefish for the failure, don’t you do it!

    [In] a statement to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, Whitefish Energy denied that the outage was caused by any of the work it had done on that line.

    “None of the issues reported today with the outage have anything to do with the repairs Whitefish Energy performed,” spokesperson Brandon Smulyan said.

    Another company spokesperson said PREPA is addressing the current problem without Whitefish Energy’s assistance because the issue was not caused by the firm’s work.

    PREPA doesn’t know why the line failed, but Whitefish is 100% certain the line didn’t fail due to any of its repairs. That’s pretty darn convenient. We’d sure like to know how they’re so sure of that […]

  271. says

    Louis C.K.’s statement:

    I want to address the stories told to the New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.

    These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.

    I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.

    I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it.

    There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.

    I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.

    The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I brought on people who I work with and have worked with and who[se] professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi and I Love You Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I’ve brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much[,] The Orchard who took a chance on my movie[,] and every other entity that has bet on me through the years.

    I’ve brought pain to my family and friends, my children and their mother.

    I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.

    Thank you for reading.

  272. says

    At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question.

    It’s never really a question. We don’t want to see your dick.

  273. says

    Chris Hayes seems to be livetweeting Moore’s appearance on Hannity’s radio show:

    “Well that’s convenient: the molestation charge against the 14-year-old is totally false, but two of the other teenagers he does remember…”

    “Moore just said of one of the teenagers, he knows her and maybe they did go on dates but he doesn’t remember. This is a very very unconvincing performance unless you deperately want to be convinced.”

    “this is an insane interview. Moore’s all over the place but won’t deny or rule out dating teenagers.”

    That’s…incriminating. The Trumpublicans don’t really have any excuse after this.

  274. blf says

    Related to @414, Trump’s nominee to lead his environmental council isn’t sure if water expands as it warms:

    Kathleen Hartnett White was nominated by President [sic] Trump last month to lead his Council on Environmental Quality, the top environmental position within the White House. Under Barack Obama, the council’s initiatives included implementing sustainability efforts throughout the executive branch and establishing systems for addressing climate change.

    Based on her testimony Wednesday during a confirmation hearing, it’s safe to assume that Hartnett White will not continue similar efforts.

    […] Hartnett White was pressed on the issue of climate change, including her insistence that, while human activity probably contributes to the warming climate, the extent of that contribution is very uncertain.


    [Senaor Sheldon] Whitehouse asks two questions. The first is whether Hartnett White is aware of the extent to which oceans trap heat. This is a complicated question that is probably outside the awareness of a layperson. Whitehouse seems to believe that such a question — not a complicated one in the context of the issue of climate change — should be understood by the nominee to serve in the top White House environmental position.

    In short, research suggests that as much as 90 percent of the heat trapped by the atmosphere ends up being stored in the Earth’s oceans. […]

    […] Hartnett White doesn’t say that she knows whether more than 50 percent of the heat trapped in the atmosphere has been stored in the oceans (the correct answer, of course, being that far more than 50 percent has). All she knows is that, whatever the answer, it’s contested. How it’s contested isn’t clear; all she knows is that it is. Her knowledge of the issue is limited to one data point: Uncertainty exists. We’ll note that that data point is not supported by any available evidence.

    [… W]hen Whitehouse asks […] does water expand when it’s warmer? — Hartnett White won’t answer.


    It’s likely that Hartnett White knows that water expands as it warms. Most humans do. What she’s doing is offering a political answer to a question asked in a political context. The question, then, is why she sees it as politically valuable to avoid acknowledging that water expands as it warms.

    The answer goes back to our point at the outset. Hartnett White was probably nominated to run the CEQ because she’s willing to brush aside the scientific consensus on climate change […]

    The Grauniad has a video, Trump environment nominee struggles to answer basic climate questions. From the Washington Post, Trump’s top environmental pick says she has many questions about climate change:

    I’m not a scientist […] Hartnett White, Trump’s nominee to lead the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, told senators Wednesday at her confirmation hearing. I think we indeed need to have more precise explanations of the human role and the natural role.


    Hartnett White’s history of statements challenging science and policy on climate change is extensive, and she did not substantially back away from that skepticism at the hearing. For instance, Senate Democrats highlighted an April 2016 article for The Federalist titled “Signing the Paris Agreement is the Worst Way to Celebrate Earth Day.”

    That a majority[] of the world’s nations would sign an agreement ‘recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat’ requiring an accelerated, ‘deep reduction’ in global greenhouse gas emissions is, indeed, an unprecedented but tragic event in mankind’s history, she wrote in that article.


    Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, asked Hartnett White some of the most detailed questions about climate change.

    He brought up dying coral reefs, and asked whether Hartnett White believed that was happening. I would need to read some statement of that science, she said.


    Merkley also presented a figure [graph? –blf] from the newly released first volume of the National Climate Assessment, which was reviewed and released by the Trump administration — making it a centerpiece of the hearing and highlighting how it underscores the human role in climate change.

    I view this report really as the product of the last administration, not of this president, Hartnett White countered.

    She cited an incredible difference of opinion among climate scientists and said, I think we need a more precise explanation of the human contribution.


    In addition, “The hearing also focused on the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler, a former Environment and Public Works Committee staffer who later worked as a coal industry lobbyist, to serve as the deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.” He isn’t reported as being quite as idiotic, but his background does give considerable pause and reason for concern.

      † As a reminder, it’s now ALL countries, with only the States attempting to back out.

  275. says

    “Snag in Media Merger Stirs Tensions Over Trump-CNN Feud”:

    Early this year, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, met a top executive at CNN parent Time Warner Inc. and raised concerns about the network’s coverage of the presidential election.

    Mr. Kushner told the executive, Gary Ginsberg, that CNN should fire 20% of its staff because they were so wrong in their analysis of the election and how it would turn out, people familiar with the matter say.

    A White House official said Mr. Kushner didn’t intend the comment to be taken seriously, and was simply trying to make a point. Inside Time Warner, it wasn’t taken lightly.

    Now, as the government has raised concerns in its review of Time Warner’s pending sale to AT&T Inc., people within the companies and on Wall Street are speculating that the Trump administration’s feelings about the network could be influencing the deal….

  276. Hj Hornbeck says

    If you’ve got a good memory, you might remember that Myeshia Johnson was denied the option of looking her husband’s body after that deadly Niger raid. Some local villagers have provided a straightforward explanation for that detail, which could also explain why Trump did everything he could to avoid discussing the subject.

  277. blf says

    In the immediately previous edition of this thread, I excerpted a report on an outrageous case of apparent mistaken identify by the authorities in Italy. They are prosecuting a man they claim to be Medhanie Yehdego Mered, a notorious people trafficker, but who in reality is a refugee, Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe. No-one, not even Mered’s wife, says the man is Mered, the authorities have no witness to testify the man is Mered, Mered was in jail at the time of his supposed arrest, and the authorities have refused to allow a DNA test which shows the man is indeed Berhe. Nonetheless, they insist he is the wanted Mered.

    There has been a new development, it seems the clowns have been wiretapping the Grauniad’s reporter, Italian prosecutors wiretap Guardian journalist Lorenzo Tondo:

    Italian prosecutors accused of mistaking a refugee for one of the world’s most notorious people-smugglers have wiretapped the conversations of a reporter working for the Guardian who helped expose their alleged error.

    Documents produced in court on Friday show prosecutors in Sicily secretly recorded two conversations[] between the journalist, Lorenzo Tondo, and one of his sources […].


    [Mr Tondo said] “I don’t see any reason for [the wiretaps / transcripts], if not to try to discredit the Guardian’s work. I’m a professional journalist in Italy, holding a professional journalist’s card. They cannot reveal my sources, or publish my conversations with them.

    “But in these documents they identify a source, and they reveal that I am using him to talk to another source. It is an attack on investigative journalism.”

      † That should probably be “at least two conversations”, since I know of no reason to think all the transcripts have been produced in court.

  278. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 382.

    Stephen Miller knew about George Papadopoulos’ overtures to Russians.

    George Papadopoulos told his Trump campaign colleague Stephen Miller, now a top White House official, about his efforts to coordinate a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, […]

    Miller is the unnamed “senior policy adviser” described in emails that were included in the recently unsealed charges against Papadopoulos.

    In one April email, Papadopoulos emailed that “senior policy adviser” to inform him that “the Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.”

    Two days later, after a London-based professor with ties to the Russian government told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, he followed up with another message saying he had “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”

    […] marks the first time that Miller has been identified as one of the campaign staffers who was in regular contact with Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia-linked foreign nationals.

    Miller also attended a March 2016 meeting of the campaign’s foreign policy team in which Papadopoulos told Trump directly that he could set up a meeting with him and Putin. […]

    The senior White House adviser was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team late last week. CNN reported that the discussion focused in part on Miller’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey […]

    Miller helped Trump draft an initial memo he planned to send outlining the reasons Comey should be fired. Other White House officials stepped in to keep that memo from going out over concerns that some of its arguments were problematic.

    The special counsel’s team reportedly has a copy of the initial draft letter.


  279. says

    I guess we should have seen this coming. On his latest international travels, Trump met briefly with Putin more than once. Trump’s take on the conversation(s):

    “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did,” Trump said of Putin, speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One as he traveled to Hanoi […]

    “Every time he sees me, he said: ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said, noting that Putin is “very insulted” by the accusation. Trump called the allegation an “artificial barrier” erected by Democrats — once again casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia tried to interfere in the election to help Trump win.

    […] the two spoke informally several times on the event’s sidelines and reached an agreement on a number of principles for the future of war-torn Syria.

    But Trump made clear that the issue of Russian meddling in the election hovers over the leaders’ relationship and said it jeopardized their ability to work together on issues including North Korea’s escalating nuclear program and the deadly conflict in Syria.

    “Having a good relationship with Russia’s a great, great thing. And this artificial Democratic hit job gets in the way,” Trump told reporters. “People will die because of it.” […]

    “Well, look, I can’t stand there and argue with him,” Trump said. “I’d rather have him get out of Syria, to be honest with you. I’d rather have him, you know, work with him on the Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not — ’cause that whole thing was set up by the Democrats.” […]


  280. says

    The Republican tax plan will harm disabled people:

    Under the Republicans’ tax proposal, disabled people—and other vulnerable communities—are set to shoulder a significantly greater responsibility for generating federal tax revenue, even as corporations get a substantial tax break. […]

    The provision that will have the most catastrophic effect on disabled people is the removal of the deduction for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Currently, if your out-of-pocket medical expenses exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct that from your tax bill. In the Jobs and Tax Cuts Bill, that provision is excised completely. […]

    Daily Beast link

    From Hunter, writing for Daily Kos:

    […] if you own a golf course, Republicans want to make sure your taxes are cut. If you spend a sizable chunk of your income on medical expenses in order to, say, not die, Republicans want to not only make sure the government doesn’t give you the slightest bit of help with your health insurance, they’ll be taxing the money you spend on medical care as well. […]

  281. says

    What a good idea! This is good news of one way to resist team Trump’s efforts to deport people:

    Eleven cities and counties across the United States announced on Thursday that they will provide free legal representation to immigrants facing deportation, part of a new initiative called the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Cities Network. The initiative, launched in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice, a national nonprofit and research organization, helps cities with funding and resources to help train legal service providers and share best practices.

    Unlike in criminal court cases, immigrants generally do not have the right to a free court-appointed attorney during removal proceedings, and often have to bear the costs on their own. Nationally, only 37 percent of immigrants facing deportation proceedings get access to a lawyer, and only 14 percent of immigrants in detention do, […] studies have shown that access to legal representation can drastically improve an immigrant’s chances of winning relief from deportation or release from detention. […]

    Vera started soliciting competitive applications from cities and counties to be part of the network earlier this summer. Local governments had to commit some public cash, which Vera would then supplement with additional funding. Atlanta, GA, Austin and San Antonio, TX, Baltimore and Prince George’s County, MD; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dane County, WI, and Oakland/Alameda County, Sacramento, and Santa Ana, CA were selected. […]


  282. says

    The State Department is already a shell of its former self, but it looks like stripping the State Department of much-needed personnel is going to get a lot worse:

    The State Department is reportedly prepared to extend buyouts of $25,000 to diplomats and other employees who want to retire early.

    The New York Times on Saturday reported that the State Department will give the buyouts to the first 641 personnel who say they will depart by the month of April. […]

    Barbara Stephenson, the president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), slammed the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce senior staff at the State Department, arguing doing so will hurt American diplomacy.

    “The rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate, and tangible effect on the capacity of the United States to shape world events,” Stephenson wrote in a column.

    Tillerson has also denied reports that morale at the State Department is low.

    “I walk the halls, people smile,” Tillerson said in an interview last month. “If it’s as bad as it seems to be described, I’m not seeing it, I’m not getting it.”


    Please frown at Rex Tillerson.

  283. says

    Follow-up to comment 437.

    Wonkette covered the Trump/Putin meeting in Vietnam:

    Let’s briefly note the irony of Donny Bonespurs representing the United States in Vietnam on Veterans Day. He finally made it to Danang! AHEM.

    This weekend, Putin got a chance to check in with his protégé at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. A perfect opportunity to assure the old fool that he did too win all the votes in 2016. And Putin is only too happy to whisper sweet nothings in the orange presidential ear. […]

    Then Trump obediently trotted off to tell reporters that he is THE LEGITIMATEST PRESIDENT EVER! […]

    I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election, he did not do what they are saying he did.

    Right. And the Russian hack of the DNC, Russian attacks on voting machines in 39 states, deceptive Facebook ads paid for in rubles, and the conclusion of the NSA, ODNI, CIA and FBI that it was Russian hacking directed by Putin?

    [Trump continues, referring to CNN etc.]:

    I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks. So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them. […]

    [T]hat whole thing was set up by the Democrats. Look at Podesta, look at all the things that they have done with the phony dossier. Those are the big events. […]

    To the extent there are tea leaves to be read in the reeking compost heap of Donald Trump’s ramblings, however, we should note that he’s got a brand new talking point: We can’t investigate Russian interference in the election because … North Korea. […]

  284. says

    Follow-up to comments 437 and 441.

    […] when asked if the Trump and the Russian leader had discussed election meddling, Putin’s press secretary Dmitri Peskov simply said, “No.” […]


  285. militantagnostic says

    Lynna @437

    Trump said, noting that Putin is “very insulted” by the accusation.

    It can’t be that bad if he is not “very very” insulted.

    What is with Trumpigula’s double adjectives/adverbs? It sounds like a pre-schooler talking. Has he always talked with this or has this only started in the last few years?

  286. blf says

    Hair furor lite, UK FM Boris Johnson, may have has just got caught up in “the Russia thing”, Boris Johnson met ‘London professor’ linked to FBI’s Russia investigation:

    Boris Johnson is facing questions about the government’s links to key individuals named by the FBI in its Trump-Russia investigation, following the emergence of a photo of him with Joseph Mifsud, the “London professor” with high-level Kremlin contacts.

    The foreign secretary is facing accusations of a potential security breach following the emergence of the photo of him with Mifsud [… on October 19th this year].

    This development comes less than a week after Johnson denied meeting the professor, and at a time when concern is growing about possible Russian interference in the Brexit campaign, in which the foreign secretary played a crucial role.


    Last week, a spokesman said Johnson had “never met” Mifsud, a statement that was updated to “never knowingly met” after they confirmed his presence at the event. […]

    The article points out there is also a link to “Putin’s niece”, Olga Polonskaya, via the third man in the photograph, Prasenjit Kumar Singh, described as a “businessman” who knows both Mifsud and Polonskaya.

  287. Ichthyic says

    Tillerson has also denied reports that morale at the State Department is low.

    “I walk the halls, people smile,” Tillerson said in an interview last month. “If it’s as bad as it seems to be described, I’m not seeing it, I’m not getting it.”

    typical narcissist, can’t tell the difference between a smile and a grimace.

  288. says

    “College chums: another academic link in the Mifsud puzzle”:

    …LSET is the latest in a series of academic or fringe-academic institutions with links to Joseph Mifsud, the now-vanished professor at the centre of the Trump/Russia affair. In 2014 LSET told inspectors it was “working in partnership” with the London Academy of Diplomacy where Mifsud was director until the academy’s recent closure.

    The owner of LSET is Prasenjit Kumar Singh, a donor to the British Conservative party who, in a post on Facebook, has described Mifsud as one of his “good old friends”.

    That in itself might not be significant — Mifsud appears to have been a virtuoso networker — but Kumar was also a Facebook friend of Olga Polonskaya, the mysterious Russian woman who in March last year attended a meeting with Mifsud and Trump “adviser” George Papadopoulos posing as a niece of President Putin.

    Last month, Mifsud and Kumar both attended a Conservative party fundraising dinner where they were photographed with foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Kumar posted the photo on Facebook, where it was “liked” by Ms Polonskaya.

    Before launching LSET in December 2013, Kumar was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses:…

    The way they appear to combine shady business dealings with political dark money and foreign collusion is impressive.

  289. says

    “After a Disciplined Week in Asia, Trump Unloads on Critics”:

    …Pressed again on Sunday about whether he believed President Vladimir V. Putin’s denials that Russia had intervened, Mr. Trump seemed to walk back his earlier comments somewhat. He said he did not dispute the assessment of the intelligence agencies that Moscow had interfered.

    “As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted, with their leadership,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference with Vietnam’s president, Tran Dai Quang. “I believe in our agencies. I’ve worked with them very strongly.”

    Still, Mr. Trump’s endorsement was grudging — he noted that the assessment reflected only four agencies, not 17 — and he repeated his assertion that Washington needed to move on from the Russia investigation to cooperate with the Russians on issues from North Korea to Syria.

    “What I believe is, we have to get to work,” he said. “It’s now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken.”

    Until Sunday, Mr. Trump had been careful not to make things personal with Mr. Kim. But after his speech in Seoul, in which he cataloged the brutality of the Kim government, North Korea described him as a “lunatic old man” and urged Americans to force him out of office or face an “abyss of doom.”

    That prompted an indignant response from Mr. Trump, who seemed more offended by the gibe about his age than about his mental condition. Shortly before leaving his hotel to meet the Vietnamese president, he tweeted, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend.”…

  290. says

    Fmr Dep. DA Theresa Jones, who worked alongside Roy Moore, tells CNN: ‘It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird…We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall…'”

    Here’s Jones’s comment on an article the Gadsden Times, calling on former colleagues to speak out against Moore’s candidacy, and an article in an AL paper about her public statements.

  291. says

    A former Ron Paul staffer tweeted: “I’d be fine with a child predator in the Senate so long as it would keep the Democrats from stealing* this seat. Child molesters are evil, Democrats are even worse.”

    Meanwhile, this exemplar of conservative philosophical thought has been liked 1.5 thousand times: “Where sexual morality is rooted in nothing but consent, sexual mores will be decided by nothing but power.”

    It doesn’t even make any sense. The claim relies on rhetorically using “nothing but” to already reduce consent to power, after which it follows that power=power. But of course requiring genuine consent is a form of sexual morality, in which a key element is the necessity of recognizing various constraints on people’s ability to consent, including but not limited to power relations. A consent-based sexual morality is the opposite of sexual mores decided by nothing but power. It’s disturbing how warped some conservatives’ view of consent is.

    * The tweet is so repugnant that this is easily missed. A Democrat winning this seat is seen as “stealing” it, as if it’s owned by Republicans.

  292. says

    There’s an interview with Hariri scheduled for 8:30 tonight Beirut time (1:30 PM ET in the US), which it now appears won’t run live but will be aired at 9:30 PM. The interviewer is also using a Saudi crew. It’s sounding like the Saudi regime want none of it to escape their control.

  293. says

    SC @ 451: and that conservative warping of the meaning of “consent” does not acknowledge that a 14 year old girl is too young to consent. That’s what the law says in every state. Including Alabama.

  294. says

    SC @450, Trump made derogatory comments about Clapper on Veterans Day. Clapper served for 30+ years in the military. Clapper and Brennan know what they are talking about. Trump does not. Trump is a dolt.

    To prove how much of a dolt he is, Trump tweeted a lot of nonsense:

    When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There always playing politics – bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!

    Does the Fake News Media remember when Crooked Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was begging Russia to be our friend with the misspelled reset button? Obama tried also, but he had zero chemistry with Putin.

    Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!

  295. says


    Trump […] is allowing the former head of KGB counter-intelligence to be handed the keys to US Embassy security in Moscow.

    Mr. Viktor Budanov and his son Dmitry run Elite Security Holdings, which was just awarded the $2.83 million contract to handle security for not only the Embassy, but US consulates in several cities to include St. Petersburg. […]

    Mr. Budanov was a Soviet spy who became the director of the KGB’s counter-intelligence division, and also headed the KGB branch in East Germany in the late 1980s. During that time, a young KGB officer named Vladimir Putin reported to him.

    Even more maddening: Budanov worked with Britain’s most infamous Soviet double agent, Mr. Kim Philby, after Philby defected to the USSR in 1963. According to UK court proceedings, Budanov handled sensitive operations like teaching Bulgarian agents how to kill dissidents.

    The UK Telegraph tried to seek answers from Rex Tillerson’s State Department on how it was okay that someone with Budanov’s background, who might just pose a significant “security or intelligence risk” to the United States, be allowed to provide security at the US Embassy.

    The State Department said “no comment”.

    Also troubling is the fact that Mr. Budanov was fiercely loyal to Putin and an outspoken critic of the United States.

    Then again, the exact same could be said of Donald Trump. I guess the Embassy staff is just screwed—at least until we can get our country back.


  296. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 450.

    […] “Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy and our whole process,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. “And to try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and, in fact, poses a peril to this country.”

    Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan were responding to comments Trump made on Saturday during his five-nation tour of Asia. Trump criticized multiple congressional and special investigations underway into Russia’s interference, claimed that his campaign did not collude with the Russians, and suggested that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t interfere in the 2016 election despite findings to the contrary by U.S. intelligence agencies.

    “Every time he [Putin] sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he is very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Vietnam. “Don’t forget, all he said is he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he’s very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.” […]

    “And then you hear it’s 17 agencies. Well, it’s three. And one is Brennan and one is whatever. I mean, give me a break. They’re political hacks. So you look at it — I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he’s proven to be a leaker,” Trump told the reporters on Air Force One […]

    “The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real. And I think his [Trump] continuing to not say very clearly and strongly that this is a national security problem and to say to Mr. Putin, we know you did it, you have to stop it, because there are going to be consequences if you don’t,” said Brennan.

    Trump’s attacks on Clapper, Comey and Brennan as “political hacks” are part of his effort to delegitimize the intelligence community’s assessment, said Brennan. He noted that contrary to what Trump insinuated, the assessment was not compiled by Comey, Clapper nor Brennan.

    Brennan told CNN that he found it “particularly reprehensible” that on Veterans Day Trump would attack the integrity of a veteran such as Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force who served in combat support missions in Vietnam.

    Trump tried to walk his comments back on Sunday in Vietnam, telling reporters there that he agrees with the intelligence community’s conclusions on Russia’s interference in the elections.

    “I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership,” Trump said […]

    But Trump had already relayed Putin’s reaction to the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions on Russian interference, CNN’s Tapper pointed out Sunday, and further noted that the Russian president was insulted by this conclusion. […]

    “I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump’s interest in being flattered. And also I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do or what might come out as a result of these investigations. So it’s very worrisome,” said Brennan. “So it’s either naïveté, ignorance or fear, in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vis the Russians.” […]


  297. says

    60,000 people marched in a Nazi rally in Poland. Sample rally sign: “Europe Will Be White”.

    Right-wing racists flew in from Slovakia, Hungary, and Spain to join tens of thousands of Poles at a white supremacist rally in Warsaw on Saturday […]

    […] A polish neo-nazi group called The Radical Camp, borrowing its name from a 1930s fascist movement in the country, organized the march. […]


  298. says

    This strategy might work for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, but I don’t think it works well for anyone else. If you ignore Trump’s tweets, those tweets won’t go away, and those tweets will continue to affect relations with other countries as well as domestic policy (and domestic conflict).

    […] Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Vietnam, Kelly said he doesn’t pay attention to what Trump is tweeting. “Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets,” Kelly said.

    Kelly also said that he prohibits his staff from reacting to Trump’s tweets and does not take them into account when developing policy. “We develop policy in the normal traditional staff way,” he said. […]


  299. says

    I think a way to consider whether Hariri is being restricted/pressured/coerced is to imagine what this interview would look like if it were just a normal interview in Lebanon with none of this happening. I don’t think it would look like this.

  300. says

    SC @ 451: and that conservative warping of the meaning of “consent” does not acknowledge that a 14 year old girl is too young to consent. That’s what the law says in every state. Including Alabama.

    I don’t think it’s about Moore (if anything, more about Louis C.K. et al.). I think it’s a criticism of secular sexual morality. The person is essentially saying that we need religious sexual morality (women are sacred, sex only within marriage, or whatever) because basing sexual mores on “nothing but” consent means a situation in which power is determinative. This is a complete misrepresentation or misunderstanding of secular consent-based sexual morality, but conservatives eat it up.

  301. says

    I think it’s a criticism of secular sexual morality.

    Which, of course, leads to the irony of someone tweeting it right now. Moore and his followers profess to live by strict religious codes of sexual morality (and to want to impose them on others). To the extent that they get their way, a situation is actually created in which the powerful are more able to prey on the less powerful, particularly on young girls.

  302. says

    SC in comment 465, good point. Well said.

    In related news, here is Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, commenting on Moore’s alleged dating of teenagers and sexual assault of at least one teenager:

    “I don’t know how this is going to turn out. You know, this is a terrible situation […] [there’s] no easy solution.

    I have to say, I think the accusations have more credibility than the denial. Many of us, I’ll speak for myself, would prefer for Roy to step aside. I think that’s a responsible way to approach this.

  303. says

    Re #464 – I just confirmed by reading the comments, in which the tweeter is asked “Help me understand this. What are you saying sexual morality should be rooted in? And what should sexual mores be decided by? I’m trying to follow you, but I just don’t get what you mean,” and responds “An account of human nature ordered to ends, sex ordered to procreation, sexual complementarity, marriage, education…”

  304. says

    “Lebanese prime minister whose resignation shook the region says he will return ‘very soon’”:

    Lebanon’s prime minister insisted Sunday on television from Saudi Arabia that he is “free” to move as he pleases, and, in his first interview since his unexpected resignation while in the Saudi capital, he rejected suggestions by his political allies that he was coerced into leaving his post.

    In a live television interview from Riyadh, a tired and sometimes emotional Saad Hariri said that he hoped his resignation would cause a “positive shock” between Saudi Arabia, his regional patron, and it rival, Iran, which backs the Hezbollah movement. Hezbollah plays a dominant role in Lebanese politics.

    His departure has caused wild speculation in Lebanon, with politicians across the political spectrum claiming that his hand was forced by Saudi Arabia. The resignation came after a surprise summons to Riyadh, and aides said this week that they had barely spoken to him since, beyond exchanges of pleasantries.

    Hariri denied those rumors Sunday. “I am free within the kingdom, if I want to travel I can travel tomorrow,” he said, in a reference to Saudi Arabia. He said that security arrangements were under review, and that his return to Beirut would come “soon.”

    At times, his eyes appeared to dart away from the interviewer, Paula Yacoubian, to a man behind a window of the studio….

  305. says

    “’I walk the halls, people smile’, Tillerson said in an interview last month. ‘If it’s as bad as it seems to be described, I’m not seeing it, I’m not getting it’.”

    “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true.”

  306. militantagnostic says

    Lynna @459

    As long as Viktor Budanov doesn’t set up any “Sonic Weapons” in the Embassy ….

  307. snuffcurry says

    So, in a grift as old as time, Whitefish Energy Holdings are pocketing much of the outrageous previously-reported mark-ups on (outsourced) labor, transportation, and equipment, as laid out in their dubious contract with PREPA. They are handwaving away the gouging with vague reference to “overhead,” a thing that functions quite differently from the mean in a two-person company that subcontracts out its entire portfolio, and union-mandated overtime, while a former PREPA official and spokesperson from a Florida public utilities agency providing Whitefish some of their labor dispute that suggestion:

    “We know what we are invoicing is our straight costs,” said Chris M. Gent, vice president for communications at the Kissimmee Utility Authority.

    Normally, when utilities help each other recover from disaster under mutual aid agreements, “nobody is marking anything up,” Mr. Gent said.

    “Linemen cost $60, $70, maybe $100 an hour,” said Luis A. Aviles, a former chairman at the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority under the previous administration, and an energy law professor at the University of Puerto Rico. “Let’s say you put an overage on it, because it’s a special emergency circumstance. But $300 an hour? No way.”

    Even private companies providing labor can’t readily explain the discrepancy between what is being billed and what is being shelled out to employees. Whitefish is internally “handling” room and board, but those were separate line items from wages. And previous PREPA administrations, of course, were well-versed in the art of concealing kickbacks and embezzlement in precisely this fashion. More at the NYT article linked above.

    I don’t believe in jinxes, but for all the horrors that surfaced and were left behind like so much silt once the waters in New Orleans metaphorically receded, post-Katrina, the full scale of this disaster, especially on the human side, can’t even really be guessed at yet. Hour by hour, day by day, we are all collectively sinking deeper into the mire. I can’t fathom what the bottom will look like, but we’re obviously not there yet.

  308. says

    “‘Only God can save us’: Yemeni children starve as aid is held at border”:

    …Seven million people are on on the brink of famine in war-torn Yemen, which was already in the grip of the world’s worst cholera outbreak when coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on the country last week, stemming vital aid flows.

    Aid agencies are now warning that Yemen’s already catastrophic humanitarian crisis could soon become a “nightmare scenario” if Saudi Arabia does not ease the blockade of the country’s land, sea and air ports – a move that the kingdom insists is necessary after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards Riyadh’s international airport this month.

    United Nations humanitarian flights have been cancelled for the past week and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), along with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), have been prevented from flying vital medical assistance into the country. More than 20 million Yemenis – over 70% of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance that is being blocked.

    Following international pressure, the major ports of Aden and Mukalla were reopened last week for commercial traffic and food supplies, along with land border crossings to neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia, but humanitarian aid and aid agency workers remained barred from entering the country on Sunday. UN aid chief Mark Lowcock has said if the restrictions remain, Yemen will face “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims”.

    In addition to the hunger crisis, Yemen has seen the worst cholera outbreak ever recorded, with more than 900,000 suspected cases and over 2,190 deaths. Although numbers keep rising, in September the rate of infection began to ease, largely due to the response by aid agencies who set up cholera treatment centres in towns and cities around the country.

    But the advances could be short-lived if restrictions on aid continue….

  309. says

    Update to #447 – “College linked to Trump/Russia affair covers its tracks”: “The London School of Executive Training — one of several quasi-academic institutions linked to the Trump/Russia affair — clearly has something to hide. Following my story yesterday about its owner’s relations with vanished professor Joseph Mifsud, with a Russian woman who posed as Putin’s niece and with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the school has deleted all mention of its board of governors from its website….”

  310. says

    “Russia’s Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure”:

    After failing to detect and stop Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack sixteen years ago, Congress more than doubled the budget of American intelligence agencies and gave them unprecedented secret authorities. As the intelligence beat reporter for the Washington Post at the time, I watched these agencies grow in size, as dozens of new buildings appeared around the Washington region to house a ballooning workforce of over a million people with top-secret security clearances.

    The National Security Agency obtained permission to collect and store the private Internet correspondence and cell-phone data of millions of Americans. The F.B.I. was granted the power to obtain citizens’ banking, library, and phone records without court approval. The C.I.A. opened secret prisons abroad where they tortured terrorist suspects. Local police departments began employing military-grade weapons, armored vehicles, and cell-phone-tracking devices.

    All these measures, and many more, were put in place in the name of national security. And yet, last year, these vastly larger agencies failed to defend, or even warn, the American public against the most audacious Russian covert operation toward the United States since the end of the Cold War….

    None of the work of these non-government researchers is conducted using surveillance systems, supercomputers, or subpoena power. Nothing the public researchers do is classified. And that is precisely the problem. Government analysts have always viewed open-source information, or OSINT, as it is called in the intelligence world, as a poor substitute for classified information. Intelligence officials often dismiss the importance of public pronouncements by foreign leaders, actions recorded by journalists, data collected by university professors, and discussions at open conferences….

    The 9/11 attacks were followed by a cascade of investigative journalism, congressional committees, and special panels that uncovered damning evidence of the I.C.’s failure to detect the plot and warn the public beforehand. This pattern could repeat itself soon in the Russian debacle….

    To avoid long drawn-out investigations and the wasting of even more time, the I.C. should remember two of the most important lessons that emerged after 9/11: it is unwise to conceal the truth and to pretend that all is well….

    If Coats doesn’t take these steps, then Congress should do so. There is no time to waste. As the senior intelligence officer told me recently, “We have no reason to believe that 2018 will be any different.”

  311. says

    “‘One of the most secretive, dark states’: What is Kansas trying to hide?”:

    …Kansas runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation, and its secrecy permeates nearly every aspect of service, The Star found in a months-long investigation.

    From the governor’s office to state agencies, from police departments to business relationships to health care, on the floors of the House and Senate, a veil has descended over the years and through administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

    “My No. 1 question to anybody who opts in favor of nondisclosure is, ‘What are you trying to hide from us?’ ” said former Rep. John Rubin, a Johnson County Republican, calling Kansas “one of the most secretive, dark states in the country in many of these areas.”

    What’s hidden are stories of regular Kansans who have suffered inside the silence.*

    Many lawmakers who have attempted more openness in government say accountability has withered in the Brownback era.

    Though the state’s obsession with secrecy goes back decades, Brownback’s seven years as governor have been marked by efforts to shield executive decisions from the public.

    Obtaining records and information isn’t the only obstacle regular citizens encounter.

    Kansas is one of four states that do not require public notice of all regular public meetings, according to a Star analysis of the 50 states’ open meetings laws. The Kansas Open Meetings Act only requires notice be given to individuals who have requested it.

    And Kansas and Arkansas are the only two states that do not require minutes to be kept of a public meeting.

    Aside from using “gut-and-go” measures and anonymous bills, lawmakers also can keep their votes from being disclosed to the public in committee meetings where much of the legislative work is done.

    “I’ve talked to legislators in other states and so did Legislative Research, and they’ve never heard of such a thing,” Rubin said.

    He said Topeka should not be a place for covert actions.

    “The things we do in the Legislature affect people’s lives profoundly,” Rubin said. “People in Kansas have a right to know how their government operates and have the right to know about how decisions are arrived at that affect their lives.

    “People have no idea this stuff is going on.”

    * “In the past decade, more than 90 percent of the laws passed by the Kansas Legislature have come from anonymous authors. Kansans often had no way of knowing who was pushing which legislation and why, and the topics have included abortion, concealed weapons and school funding. Kansas is one of only a few states that allow the practice.”

  312. says

    “More than 400 millionaires tell Congress: Don’t cut our taxes”:

    More than 400 American millionaires and billionaires are sending a letter to Congress this week urging Republican lawmakers not to cut their taxes.

    The wealthy Americans — including doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and chief executives — say the GOP is making a mistake by reducing taxes on the richest families at a time when the nation’s debt is high and inequality is back at the worst level since the 1920s.

    The letter calls on Congress not to pass any tax bill that “further exacerbates inequality” and adds to the debt. Instead of petitioning tax cuts for the wealthy, the letter tells Congress to raises taxes on rich people like them. It is being released publicly this week, as Republicans debate legislation that would add $1.5 trillion to the debt to pay for widespread tax cuts for businesses and individuals.

    The White House and congressional Republicans argue that everything in the bill is geared toward pumping more investment into the U.S. economy. They say the money that corporations and the rich save on their taxes would likely be used to start new companies or build new factories.

    But signers of the Responsible Wealth letter disagree, arguing that corporations are already at record profit levels and that wealthy people don’t need more money. They would rather see the government use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone and to ensure that safety net programs such as Medicaid aren’t cut.

    “I have a big income. If my income gets bigger, I’m not going to invest more. I’ll just save more,” said [former American Airlines CEO Bob] Crandall, who is retired.

    “Repealing the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over 10 years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency combined,” the letter said….

  313. says

    Here’s video of the McConnell quote in #490.

    Ugh. Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi talked about two polls of AL voters, one showing Jones ahead by 6 points and one showing Moore ahead by the same amount. Ruhle took care to note that neither poll met NBC’s standards for polling, but then concluded that “at the very least, they show the race is tightening.” That’s not how it works. An unscientific poll is an unscientific poll.

    And all of the pundits have now decided that the TPP was just awesome and pulling out of it was a huge mistake. It was a POS developed through a secret, undemocratic process led by corporate lobbyists. It was a big mistake for Obama to push it, and the option of a trade deal that protected workers’ rights, human health, the environment, and sovereignty was always an option.

  314. says

    SC @485, thanks for that link. John Oliver is great. He’s a national treasure.

    Oliver’s “catheter cowboy” commercials on Fox are priceless.

    I like the way Oliver’s presentation uses discreet, well-defined moments of Trumpism to paint a larger picture of the damage Trump is doing.