Comments

  1. says

    Interesting article – “Julian Assange Went After a Former Ally. It Backfired Epically.”:

    A botched power play by Julian Assange has led to a split within a key organization supporting whistleblowers and leaves the WikiLeaks founder more isolated than ever among his core constituency of radical transparency activists.

    Assange has grown furious at a one-time ally with substantial moral authority within their movement: the journalist and activist Barrett Brown.

    Since his release from federal prison on trumped-up charges related to a major corporate hack, Brown been increasingly public in voicing disgust at Assange’s embrace of Donald Trump and general comfort with the nationalist right. That has led Assange, an erstwhile transparency advocate and whistleblower champion, to retaliate.

    “I have been increasingly vocal about my growing distaste for WikiLeaks in general and Julian Assange in particular, largely due to his close and ongoing involvement with fascist entities, his outright lies about his role in the last U.S. election, and his willingness to have others tell similar lies on his behalf,” Brown told The Daily Beast. “I have also continued to support his rights against the state and private organizations that have pursued him from the very beginning, when his original mission of ethical transparency was still in play.”

    The short-term result of Assange’s behavior may be to consolidate control over Courage. But it has come at the expense of broken ties with two heavily respected and influential figures within the hacktivist circles from which Assange emerged. At this point, it leaves Assange with more solid support from the extreme right and its media organs than from his original community….

    Much more at the link.

  2. says

    “Ex-CIA officer faces arrest over alleged Montenegro coup plot”:

    Prosecutors in Montenegro have called for the arrest of a former CIA officer, accusing him of involvement in an alleged Russian-backed coup attempt in 2016.

    The former CIA operative, Joseph Assad, has rejected the charges, saying he had been in Montenegro to provide personal security advice to a western political consultant, and calling on the US to reject any extradition request.

    “This is a deception campaign against a loyal American who had no role in any crimes or coup in Montenegro,” Assad said in a statement issued on Saturday through his lawyer.

    The accusation against Assad is the latest twist in a convoluted year-long trial in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, of 14 suspected coup plotters, including two Russians, nine Serbs and three Montenegrins accused of a conspiracy to bring down the country’s pro-Nato government and assassinate its then prime minister Milo Đjukanović.

    Prosecutors claim the goal of the putsch, on the day of parliament elections in March 2016, was to stop Montenegro from joining Nato but it was foiled by the security services. Montenegro became the alliance’s 29th member two months later.

    In a statement to the Guardian on Friday, the special prosecutor’s office in Podgorica said that Assad, who has also worked as a private security consultant, was suspected of “creating a criminal organisation” and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

    Assad was temporarily working in Montenegro as a security advisor to Aron Shaviv, a British-Israeli political consultant working for a pro-Moscow Montenegrin opposition group, the Democratic Front (DF).

    Shaviv specialises in making television commercials for international politicians. The website of his company, Shaviv Strategy and Campaigns, says he “has helped 14 heads of state win elections” and “consulted other parties and candidates in over 40 elections worldwide”. He won prizes for commercials in 2015 for Benjamin Netanyahu, presenting the Israeli leader in a soft, humorous light.

    In 2016 Shaviv produced satirical commercials on behalf of the DF party, which opposed Nato membership and was generally pro-Russian. As a result, he claimed he was repeatedly stopped and questioned by Montenegrin police and security officers.

    The court in Podgorica was told that Shaviv hired Assad and his firm, Peregrine Consulting, to provide counter-surveillance, find out whether Shaviv was being followed and plan an evacuation in case he was at risk. The prosecution have claimed that the real purpose of hiring Assad was to help extract the coup plotters after election day.

    Another former CIA officer and private security consultant, Brian Scott, told the court in June that he had considered collaborating with Assad in Montenegro but said he was warned off by a colleague in the region who pointed to allegations that DF had links with Russian intelligence….

  3. says

    “FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump texts”:

    The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts.

    Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.

    “This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said….

  4. says

    “Trump-appointed judge upholds special counsel Mueller’s authority”:

    A federal district judge who was appointed by President Donald Trump has upheld Robert Mueller’s appointment and constitutional authority in the special counsel’s case against Russian social media propagandists.

    Judge Dabney Friedrich, who serves at the trial-court level in DC federal court, said Concord Management and Consulting could not have its case tossed on constitutional grounds….

    “The appointment does not violate core separation-of-powers principles. Nor has the Special Counsel exceeded his authority under the appointment order by investigating and prosecuting Concord,” Friedrich wrote in an opinion published Monday morning. She was one of the first judges Trump placed into a federal court position.

    Friedrich cited opinions by three other federal judges — Amy Berman Jackson, who oversees Paul Manafort’s criminal foreign lobbying case; T.S. Ellis, who oversees Manafort’s financial fraud case; and DC District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell — to back up her decision….

  5. says

    I see that Omarosa is all over the news today. For those that didn’t see it in the previous chapter of this thread, Here is a link back to SC’s comment noting that Maggie Haberman wrote: “When ⁦@katierogers⁩ and I wrote that someone was secretly taping Trump, it was not Omarosa. Raises possibility that still others are doing same within the White House.”

  6. says

    SC in comment 1, Omarosa has a tape of Trump telling her that he didn’t know she was going to be fired, and that he hadn’t wanted her fired.

    Liars all around.

  7. says

    Team Trump says one thing, does another. Business as usual. Trump himself repeatedly claims that he supports the military and veterans especially. This policy says otherwise:

    The Trump administration is planning to suspend routine examinations of lenders for violations of the Military Lending Act, which was devised to protect military service members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans and credit card gouging, according to internal agency documents.

    Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, intends to scrap the use of so-called supervisory examinations of lenders, arguing that such proactive oversight is not explicitly laid out in the legislation, the main consumer measure protecting active-duty service members, according to a two-page draft of the change.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/us/politics/mulvaney-military-lending.html

    As Steve Benen wrote, Mulvaney’s move is unnecessary:

    […] advocates for military families were “surprised” by the Trump administration’s proposal, not only because they hoped to see the opposite when it comes to protecting veterans’ finances, but also because no one from the financial industry challenged the legality of these lender examinations when the Obama administration took action to protect servicemembers in recent years.

    In other words, Mulvaney is so eager to protect lenders, he’s apparently taking steps to fix a “problem” that no one thought existed. […]

    This comes on the heels of a variety of other Trump-related troubles with veterans issues, including revelations that the president effectively handed authority over many VA decisions to a trio of unqualified Mar-a-Lago members.

    Finally, those who followed the 2016 race closely may recall then-candidate Trump discussing the creation of a “private White House hotline” veterans would be able to call for assistance. “I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not addressed that the issue be brought directly to me, and I will pick up the phone and fix it myself if I have to,” Trump said in July 2016.

    The Washington Post reported two weeks ago on the customer-service reps who work at a new call center for veterans – and the degree to which they don’t appear to be doing much. […]

    Link

  8. says

    Another case in which Omarosa Manigault Newman is telling the truth:

    The Post’s Josh Dawsey has a document verifying Manigault Newman’s claim that she was offered what amounted to $15,000 per month in hush money to keep quiet about the White House. It was technically for a job with the Trump campaign, but it was premised on her signing a nondisclosure agreement that dealt with her time in the West Wing. That, notably, isn’t generally how NDAs work; they usually involve the job you are getting, not the one you previously had.

    Washington Post link

    Comments from Larry Noble, a campaign-finance lawyer and former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission:

    As a policy and ethics matter, this is very disturbing. If the White House is using NDAs to prohibit government employees from talking about their experiences, it potentially deprives the public from access to otherwise non-secret, non-privileged, information about the operation of the government. Such a practice would also raise serious questions about whether it was intended to prevent the disclosure of potentially illegal activity.

  9. says

    Mark Zaid re Strzok firing: “I have handled FBI employment cases for many years. First, #CandaceWill – as deciding official – is notorious for firing ppl, not allowing them to keep their jobs. Second, that Deputy FBI Director intervened is something we have NEVER seen.”

    They’ll now use this firing, which they orchestrated, as “evidence” that Strzok was corrupt and biased, since they couldn’t find any real evidence.

  10. says

    Brad Moss:

    Strzok’s lawyer is right. I’ve appeared before Candace Will – the head of FBI OPR – on behalf of clients. She is very tough. I have never seen senior leadership intervene to overrule her.

    In fact, appealing to DepDir of FBI wouldn’t even have been an option for Strzok.

    What on earth is FBI Deputy Director Bowdich doing? He is absolutely going to get dragged through oversight hearings at some point demanding to know why he overruled FBI OPR with respect to Strzok. That’s highly unusual. Maybe legal but definitely not standard practice.

    Fellow lawyers for federal officials —

    Have any of you EVER convinced Candace Will that a proposed termination of your client was not warranted?

  11. says

    Alex Jones’ “Infowars” content was removed from a lot digital platforms last week, including Facebook, apple, Spotify and Youtube. So Jones fled to Vimeo, which promptly banned him.

    Vimeo told Business Insider that it removed the videos because they “violated our Terms of Service prohibitions on discriminatory and hateful content.” The spokesperson added, “[W]e do not want to profit from content of this nature in any way.” Employees inside the company had reportedly voiced concern about the account’s existence last week. Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud plans to address the decision during a town hall meeting […].

    https://thinkprogress.org/vimeo-banned-alex-jones-5b29ac3141fe/

    Alex Jones is still up on Twitter.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey enraged many last week when he seemed to suggest that Twitter bore no responsibility for filtering the content posted on its platform, adding that journalists should suffer the burden of countering his lies and bigotry. After CNN uncovered numerous tweets from Jones that clearly violated Twitter’s rules, the company acknowledged the violations yet still gave Jones a pass, indicating that the remaining tweets were from before the platform had updated its community guidelines.

    So, what now? Jones is still carrying on:

    Jones is perhaps best known for suggesting the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, and that several grieving parents were crisis actors. In an attempt to rebut this portrayal — and provide some cover from a defamation lawsuit filed against him by several families of Sandy Hook victims — Jones posted an hour-long “respectful message for Sandy Hook parents” this weekend, in which he largely defended his skepticism about what happened and complained about how he’s been silenced. “Now Sandy Hook is an anti-First Amendment engine,” he said. “Isn’t it funny how that works?”

    On Sunday, Infowars also ran a piece defending Jones and claiming that the CIA helped create Google and Facebook “to make it easier to spy on people.”

  12. tomh says

    White House: It’s in ‘Public Interest’ for Staff to Skirt Ethics Rules to Meet With Fox News

    It is “in the public interest” for the White House’s top communicator to be excused from federal ethics laws so he can meet with Fox News, according to President Donald Trump’s top lawyer.

    Bill Shine, Trump’s newly minted communications director, and Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economist, who worked at CNBC before his White House post, have both been excused from provisions of the law, which seeks to prevent administration officials from advancing the financial interests of relatives or former employers.

    “The Administration has an interest in you interacting with Covered Organizations such as Fox News,” wrote White House counsel Don McGahn in a July 13 memo granting an ethics waivers to Shine, a former Fox executive. “[T]he need for your services outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the White House Office’s programs and operations.”

    Including Shine and Kudlow, the White House has granted a total of 20 waivers to provisions of various federal ethics laws and the ethics pledge that President Trump instituted by executive order the week he took office. Federal agencies have granted many more such waivers.

  13. says

    All the best people:

    On his current two-day visit to California, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke dismissed climate change as a reason for the increasing number and growing intensity of wildfires in the state. The real issue, insisted Zinke, is the proper management of forests and making sure there aren’t too many trees in them.

    “I’ve heard the climate change argument back and forth. This has nothing to do with climate change. This has to do with active forest management,” Zinke told reporters on Sunday.

    According to Zinke, officials should focus more on “dead and dying timber” and the density of forests, rather than climate change, when addressing wildfires.

    Zinke’s claims run contrary to forestry experts, firefighters, and scientists who are in agreement that hotter and longer summers are a primary factor contributing to record wildfires experienced in California in recent years. Their research has found that climate change is having an impact on western U.S. wildfires and that the impact will only grow. […]

    “Secretary Zinke is either being willfully ignorant or purposely deceptive. Any politician ignoring the role a warming climate plays in record-setting wildfire seasons loses all credibility as an honest broker,” Greg Zimmerman, deputy director of the Center for Western Priorities, said Monday in a statement. “Instead, Zinke is in California using an ongoing natural disaster to push an unpopular political agenda.”

    Even California newspapers are taking a stand against the Trump administration’s unwillingness to acknowledge the role played by climate change in the wildfires.

    “This is climate change, for real and in real time,” the Sacramento Bee wrote in a recent editorial. “We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.” […]

    Link

    As was noted in the previous chapter of this thread, some of the largest fires in California did not start in forested areas.

    Link to comment 225

    Link to comment 230

    Link to comment 240

    Comments 241 and 242 also apply to the previous discussion of wildfires in California.

  14. says

    Yes, this bad news. It’s good news to know that we have really intelligent 11 year olds, but bad news that state voting systems are so vulnerable:

    […] An 11-year-old boy changed fake voting results by hacking into an exact replica of Florida’s state election website in just 10 minutes, according to the organizers of DEF CON 26, an annual hacker convention.

    The competition pitted 39 kids, age 6 to 17, against one another to see who could hack into replica election systems of six swing states across the US. Thirty-five of the 39 kids completed the “exploit” and “tampered with vote tallies, party names, [and] candidate names” within 30 minutes, according to DEF CON. […]

    DEF CON participants discovered that voting systems running on expired SSL certificates, encryption keys that are intended to create secure connections, were the most vulnerable and easily hackable. DEF CON said this proved the “malleability of these systems.”

    The participants also discovered more vulnerabilities in the system where citizens directly cast their votes. The kids were able to wipe the memory cards from a recreation of state voting machine interfaces (within five seconds) and either replace a voter’s ballot altogether or overload the system with fake voters to render a real voter’s ballot useless. […]

    Link

  15. says

    Excerpt from the telephone call between Trump and Omarosa:

    He says, “Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving?” When Omarosa says that chief of staff John Kelly had told her that he wanted her to leave, Trump responded, “You know, they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it, I didn’t know that. Goddamn it!”

  16. says

    Trump’s tweets about Omarosa:

    Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things.

    Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!

    While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!

    Analysis from Steve Benen:

    […] Trump’s preoccupation with talking about people “begging” him is a little creepy.

    Second, the more the president describes Manigault Newman as someone who was disliked, “vicious,” “not smart,” and “nasty,” the more the White House should try to come up with some kind of explanation as to why Trump gave such a person a lucrative and high-ranking job in the White House.

    And third, there’s the simple fact that Trump, according to his own version of events, kept on a White House adviser he knew to be toxic and incompetent, solely because she praised him.

    In other words, according to the president, even if the White House chief of staff identified someone on the team as a “loser” who causes “nothing but problems,” that person remained in Trump’s good graces – since she said nice things about Donald Trump.

    Indeed, by his own admission, the president instructed his chief of staff to keep her in place, not because of her job performance, and not because of her qualifications, but because of her compliments.

    It’s amazing that Trump has is oblivious to how bad his own tweets make him look.

  17. says

    The prosecution has rested in the Manafort case. The judge is considering the sealed motion filed by Manafort’s team earlier today, but it’s in closed court so no reporting on that. The defense will say tomorrow whether they’ll call any witnesses or not.

  18. tomh says

    @ #28
    The judge also gave the defense until tomorrow morning to put together their motion for acquittal. The motion will basically say the evidence lacks “materiality” and “a failure to show the necessary willfulness.” It doesn’t seem possible he would grant it, but it seems like anything is possible with this judge.

  19. says

    OK, I get what they’re saying. But I don’t see how they could make the argument that his misrepresentations didn’t matter, since he put significant effort into them. If nothing else, he didn’t want the bank or regulators to start looking into the loans. Also, they had a procedure that involved various submissions on his part and investigations of their truthfulness on the part of the bank officials; if Calk could just bypass that process and grant the loans on his say-so, that would be an established procedure and they would have just done that.

  20. says

    I mean, if he made false and fraudulent statements to the bank in his loan application process, then he made false and fraudulent statements to the bank in his loan application process. That doesn’t change regardless of Calk’s role.

  21. tomh says

    Even if the Calk loans are ignored, there’s plenty of other charges to deal with. Hiding all that income from the IRS, to start with.

  22. says

    Even if the Calk loans are ignored, there’s plenty of other charges to deal with. Hiding all that income from the IRS, to start with.

    Oh, sure. But I (NAL) don’t see how the Calk argument holds water. It seems like he defrauded the bank.

  23. tomh says

    @ #36
    Oh, I agree. Calk is a red herring and I’m not sure just why the prosecution thought it a good idea to bring him up. Just stick with the fraudulent statements, it seems to me.

  24. says

    So I’ve now actually read the Mueller filing. Pp. 4-8 – yeah. The misrepresentations are material because “the recipient whose behavior the jury should assess in its materiality inquiry is a reasonable lender in the financial institution’s position, not the specific financial institution itself….” – turns on the misrepresentations’ “capacity to influence an objective ‘reasonable lender’, not a renegade lender with a demonstrated habit of disregarding materially false information.” “The testimony from multiple lenders in this trial has made clear that false information about a borrower’s income or liabilities is capable of influencing an objective reasonable bank because the information is important to bank’s analysis of whether the borrower can repay the loan.” Also, they don’t have to show that the bank relied on the false statements or that they ultimately influenced the decision for a finding of conspiracy to commit bank fraud – just that the misrepresentations had the “capability” to influence the decision. And “even if Calk was complicit in Manafort’s fraud or knew of Manafort’s falsehoods, that would not be relevant to the materiality of Manafort’s misrepresentations because Calk is not TFSB and the funds that were the subject of the fraud were not Calk’s.” And they only have to show that Manafort and Gates “intended to achieve” their ends, not that they actually did, so even if Calk hadn’t approved the loans they would still be guilty of the conspiracy.

    So…some things I thought already and some I just learned. :)

  25. says

    Oh, I agree. Calk is a red herring and I’m not sure just why the prosecution thought it a good idea to bring him up. Just stick with the fraudulent statements, it seems to me.

    It seems like there was a sidebar in which the defense made these arguments and the judge maybe seemed receptive? I think they’re trying to cut it off at the pass.

  26. blf says

    In Ozland, Australian senator calls for final solution to immigration problem:

    Crossbencher Fraser Anning praises white Australia policy and pushes for plebiscite on Muslim immigration

    An Australian crossbench senator has invoked the term the final solution in an inflammatory speech calling for a plebiscite asking voters whether they want to end all immigration by Muslims and non-English speaking people from the third world.

    Fraser Anning, formerly of the far-right Pauline Hanson[‘s] One Nation party [Ozland’s nazi party –blf], and now a member of the Katter’s Australia party [(no idea) –blf], used his maiden speech in the Senate to call for a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, and particularly whether they want any Muslims.

    Anning declared on Tuesday the reasons for ending all further Muslim immigration are both compelling and self-evident.

    The record of Muslims who have already come to this country in terms of rates of crime, welfare dependency and terrorism are the worst of any migrant and vastly exceed another immigrant group, he said.

    The majority of Muslims in Australia of working age do not work and exist on welfare. Muslims in New South Wales and Victoria are three times more likely than other groups to be convicted of crimes.

    We have black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne, we have Isis [daesh]-sympathising Muslims trying to go overseas to try and fight for Isis and while all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims.

    So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?

    Unusually, the Grauniad doesn’t include counter-evidence to the claims. I assume this is an oversight, or that a take-down is coming, but it is a bit surprising — it’s not the Grauniad’s usual analytical style. I myself presume all of the claims are at a multiple-Pinocchio level, ranging from severely misleading to “not even wrong” — but I have not tried to check the specifics (in Ozland).

    Anning contended Australia should return to a position where immigrants were not entitled to receive welfare payments for the first five years after their arrival. [… I]mmigrants arriving here were not allowed to apply for welfare and that attracted exactly the right sort of hardworking people this country needed.

    We should go back to that and ban all immigrants from receiving welfare for the first five years after they arrive, he said.

    Since the people he is talking can spend years in one of the concentration camps (Manus Island and Nauru) , that is exceptionally severely harsh. And opens up a lot of possibilities for exploitation.

    […]
    The final solution to the immigration problem, of course, is a popular vote.

    […]

  27. says

    Joyce White Vance: “The excessive inauguration payments ($26 mil) to a friend of Melania’s, who passed a portion on to the creator of The Apprentice (& rumored possessor of tapes in which Trump uses inflammatory language) could use a hard look from someone with investigative authority.”

  28. says

    It’s looking increasingly like not only have they been caught but they know they’ve been caught. Yesterday’s statement – “Don has received notoriety for a brief meeting, that many politicians would have taken, but most importantly, and to the best of my knowledge, nothing happened after the meeting concluded” – already suggested this: both the “to the best of my knowledge” (similar to Giuliani’s evasive “That’s what he’s prepares to testify to in an interview”) and the fact that it brings up the question of what happened after the meeting (of course, the claim that nothing happened generally was a lie, but raising the issue suggests to me that they have a reasonable fear about more information about further contacts will be revealed). The other recent propaganda trope they’re pushing is the ludicrous notion that the meeting was a set-up and he’s being framed. Trump just tweeted:

    “They were all in on it, clear Hillary Clinton and FRAME Donald Trump for things he didn’t do.” Gregg Jarrett on @foxandfriends If we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started! Looking at the wrong people.

  29. says

    Sarah Kendzior:

    …Now you can add Peter Strzok to the politically motivated firings of officials who spoke out about Trump’s corruption and illicit dealings with Russia.

    This is a slow-motion purge and it will not spare anyone outside Trump’s inner circle, which will become smaller over time.

    Trump, like any autocrat, aims to rewrite the law so that he can break it. As he purges the officials who investigate corruption, he packs courts with judges who will exonerate him regardless of evidence.

    This erosion of justice and accountability is an entirely predictable consequence of having a crime family in the White House. This is a dynastic kleptocracy and the longer they are in, the worse it will get.

    Those who still have the power of the law need to use it NOW.

    Spare me talk of how the Mueller probe is moving fast. It’s not. The probe long predates Mueller. Its prior failures are not Mueller’s fault, but he has choices now. Institutions, already very weak before Trump, are in free fall. Act now or likely lose the option to act at all.

    They’re already onto the next target. Trump tweeted this morning:

    Bruce Ohr of the “Justice” Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele “find dirt on Trump.” Ohr’s wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier. @foxandfriends

  30. says

    Dan Goldman on MSNBC is saying the judge hasn’t yet ruled on the defense (what’s believed to be a?) mistrial motion. He did evidently reject the defense motion to exclude the bank fraud charges related to Calk, but in doing so indicated that he thought there was something to Manafort’s team’s argument (given the Mueller filing @ #38 above, I can’t really imagine what that might be; also don’t know whether this will lead him to distort the jury instructions).

  31. says

    They’re dealing with the motion and jury instructions this afternoon. Closing arguments before the jury will be tomorrow morning beginning at 9:30 – two hours for each side.

  32. blf says

    I have no idea whatsoever if there is any merit in either the complaint or the project, but this is amusing, Guernsey resident halts roadworks with ancient plea (my added embedded link):

    Rosie Henderson kneels and cites Clameur de Haro to stop narrowing of road

    A woman has activated the ancient Norman rite of Clameur de Haro to protest against the narrowing of a road which she claims would endanger pedestrians and motorists.

    [Parish councillor] Rosie Henderson […] raised the clameur by kneeling and calling for help and reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Norman French. Fully enforceable in Guernsey and Jersey law, it means the construction work in St Peter Port must stop until a court decides the case.

    […]

    The clameur states: “Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide, mon prince, on me fait tort”, translated as “Come to my aid, my prince, for someone does me wrong”.

    Whoever calls the clameur has 24 hours to register it in court, but whoever it is called against must stop all work immediately.

    Legend says the raising of a clameur stretches back to the early Norman period in the Channel Islands and is thought to have been a plea to Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy.

    The feudal law dates back to the 10th century as a form of self-policing when there was no law enforcement.

    […]

  33. tomh says

    I really wish they had put Manafort on the stand, but they were too smart for that. Still, that usually doesn’t sit well with a jury, when people won’t even defend themselves.

  34. says

    “‘Not scared’: Russian teen charged under ‘gay propaganda’ law says he’ll keep protesting”:

    …Despite the charges and the fine, Neverov said he will continue to be politically active, noting he became an activist because he was “tired of watching what was happening in the country.”

    “It’s terrible,” he said. “In our country, people are tortured and killed in prisons, schoolchildren are intimidated only because they oppose Putin’s regime.”

    “Protest Biysk is sure that if the administration is so afraid of us, then we need to continue,” Neverov added. “We have everything that is needed: people, ideas, desire.”

    However, he noted one thing missing is “money to implement these ideas,” so he said the next step is raising funds to work on projects related to political prisoners.

    As for fear of the Russian authorities, Neverov said that ship has sailed.

    “I wasn’t afraid,” he said of being detained. “The police have not scared me for a long time.”

    Story at the link.

  35. blf says

    And in Big China, Very fishy: China rules rainbow trout can be sold as salmon:

    Much of what is sold as salmon in China is reportedly actually rainbow trout, so now the authorities are making it official

    In a move that customers have labelled very fishy, the Chinese government has ruled that rainbow trout can now be labelled and sold as salmon.

    […]

    In May, media reported that much of what was sold as salmon in China was actually rainbow trout, to widespread consternation from fish-buyers.

    But instead of banning vendors from deceiving their customers, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), which falls under the Chinese ministry of agriculture, has ruled that all salmonidae fish can now be sold under the umbrella name of “salmon”, reports the Global Times.

    Rainbow trout and salmon are both salmonidae fish and look quite similar when filleted. […]

    That’s certainly true for wild fish, albeit the über-pink (non-organically) farmed salmon, as least here in “Europe”, don’t look anything like any trout I know of. The über-pinkness is the result of added dyes (to the farmed fishes’s feed), since people associate “pink” with salmon — the natural pinkish tint is a result of the wild diet, but the dye-less farmed diet tends to result in a (supposedly) unappealing-looking grey fish.

    The ruling has been met with anger on the social media platform Weibo, where #RainbowTroutBecomesSalmon has been trending, according to the BBC.

    […;

    The BBC’s article, Rainbow trout can now be called salmon in China (linked embedded in previous excerpt), is amusing:

    […]
    The ruling has got people complaining that they’ve been misled, but there’s also a degree of sympathy for the reassigned rainbow trout.

    […]

    “The trout must be confused. After so many years its identity has suddenly been changed to a salmon,” said one person on Weibo.

    Many have their own suggestions for what could be re-labelled next.

    “Can we label seas and lake as the same thing? They are technically the same,” said one social media user.

    “Let’s label the crayfish a lobster instead,” another said.

    “If industry standards are determined by the manufacturers, can students mark their own test scores?” one asked.

    […]

    Both articles also report Chinese customers’s concerns about parasites, but do not explain what is behind that. The CAPPMA’s response, however, is not encouraging (unless there is some biology going on I don’t know of), Whether salmon has parasites does not depend on whether it is bred in sea water or fresh water.

    The Global Times report, Rainbow trout can now officially be labeled as salmon in China (link embedded in first excerpt), sheds some light on this parasite claim / worry, “Later many netizens began to claim rainbow trout from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is being mislabeled as salmon, and is infested with worms and painted to resemble salmon.” Unlike the CAPPMA response, that at least sounds mildly plausible, albeit I suspect it is also mostly nonsense. Food safety / contamination is a Big(?) Problem in Big China, albeit I do not know the overall scope nor do I recall any specific cases / issues involving fish.

  36. says

    “How three conspiracy theorists took ‘Q’ and sparked Qanon”:

    In November 2017, a small-time YouTube video creator and two moderators of the 4chan website, one of the most extreme message boards on the internet, banded together and plucked out of obscurity an anonymous and cryptic post from the many conspiracy theories that populated the website’s message board.

    Over the next several months, they would create videos, a Reddit community, a business and an entire mythology based off the 4chan posts of “Q,” the pseudonym of a person claiming to be a high-ranking military officer. The theory they espoused would become Qanon, and it would eventually make its way from those message boards to national media stories and the rallies of President Donald Trump.

    Now, the people behind that effort are at the center of a fractious debate among conspiracy enthusiasts, some of whom believe the three people who first popularized the Qanon theory are promoting it in order to make a living. Others suggest that these original followers actually wrote Q’s mysterious posts.

    While the identity of the original author or authors behind “Q” is still unknown, the history of the conspiracy theory’s spread is well-documented — through YouTube videos, social media posts, Reddit archives, and public records reviewed by NBC News.

    NBC News has found that the theory can be traced back to three people who sparked some of the first conversation about Qanon and, in doing so, attracted followers who they then asked to help fund Qanon “research.”

    Recently, some Qanon followers have accused Diaz and Rogers of profiting from the movement by soliciting donations from their followers. Other pro-Trump online groups have questioned the roles that Diaz and Rogers have played in promoting Q, pointing to a series of slip-ups that they say show Rogers and Diaz may have been involved in the theory from the start.

    Those accusations have led Diaz and Rogers to both deny that they are Q and say they don’t know who Q is. There is no direct proof that the group or any individual members are behind it.

    Still, Qanon skeptics have pointed to two videos as evidence that Rogers had insider knowledge of Q’s account….

    In part because of the mounting claims against Patriots’ Soapbox, the web’s largest pro-Trump community has banned all mentions of Qanon. Reddit’s 640,000-member community r/The_Donald set up an autodelete function for mentions of Qanon’s claims, two moderators confirmed to NBC News, believing the group of YouTubers is making posts as Q.

    Still, Patriots’ Soapbox 24-hour livestream remains live on YouTube, broadcasting to its 46,000 subscribers. And despite the growing skepticism of the group, they still have their supporters who ardently believe in the Qanon theory.

    “The funniest thing about those who try to discredit Q. They focus on whether Q is real or not, instead of the information being provided,” tweeted one follower. “NO ONE cares who Q is. WE care about the TRUTH.”

    Much more at the link. Fascinating information about the online environment out of which this emerged.

  37. says

    BREAKING: Omarosa tells @KatyTurNBC just now she has talked to Robert Mueller’s office, and ‘there was a lot of corruption’, in the campaign and the administration. She says Trump knew about hacked emails before they were released.”

  38. says

    Trump is continuing to use his bully pulpit as President of the United States to punish Harley Davidson:

    Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.

    A response from Tammy Baldwin:

    .@realDonaldTrump, you can’t run our economy with tweets. Wisconsin businesses like @harleydavidson need better trade deals, not tweets and trade wars.

    The issue of tariffs and trade wars may affect the primary elections in Wisconsin. Voters go to the polls there today. Tammy Baldwin is currently leading both Republican candidates by double digits in polls.

  39. says

    A summary of Trump’s tweets, statements and actions taken today:

    […] In a series of statements, Trump:

    ♦ made it clear that firing a long-term FBI agent for expressing insufficiently pro-Trump views isn’t enough. Trump also wants Strzok “and others” to be “criminally investigated.”

    ♦ left no doubt that he wants the Mueller investigation halted, claiming that it would never have started without “machinations” from Strzok, which is patently untrue, and was dependent on the memos from former British intelligence office Christopher Steele, which also a blatant lie.

    ♦ called on “the courts” or “honest prosecutors” to reject the Mueller investigation—a message clearly intended for the judge in the currently active Manafort trial.

    ♦ again alleged that Mueller is “conflicted” and his investigation consists of “17 angry Democrats,” which isn’t true.

    ♦ made it clear that he expects his opponents, both inside and outside the government, to be investigated by his FBI, saying “the Dems are the ones who should be investigated” and “Strzok and others at the FBI should be criminally investigated” and the investigation is “looking at the wrong people.”

    Trump’s initial brace of morning tweets cited a trio of his reliable sources—moneyman turned Trump ranter Lou Dobbs, the consistent fact-twisters at Judicial Watch, and of course Fox & Friends—but he laced those quotes with frequent inserts of his own. The combination makes it clear that, just as Trump calls any news unfavorable to himself “fake news,” any legal action that doesn’t support a pro-Trump position is now “Justice” in quotes.

    These statements may seem like more of the same, but taken as a whole, Trump has made no stronger case for his own despotism. […]

    Link

  40. lumipuna says

    blf at 59:

    That’s certainly true for wild fish, albeit the über-pink (non-organically) farmed salmon, as least here in “Europe”, don’t look anything like any trout I know of. The über-pinkness is the result of added dyes (to the farmed fishes’s feed), since people associate “pink” with salmon — the natural pinkish tint is a result of the wild diet, but the dye-less farmed diet tends to result in a (supposedly) unappealing-looking grey fish.

    Here in Finland, farmed rainbow trout is dyed like typical farmed salmon – and wild salmon is quite pale because of their local wild diet.

    BTW, the conventional English distinction of salmonids into “salmon” species and “trout” species is taxonomically arbitrary, so there’s that.

    Both articles also report Chinese customers’s concerns about parasites, but do not explain what is behind that. The CAPPMA’s response, however, is not encouraging (unless there is some biology going on I don’t know of), “Whether salmon has parasites does not depend on whether it is bred in sea water or fresh water”.

    The Global Times report, Rainbow trout can now officially be labeled as salmon in China (link embedded in first excerpt), sheds some light on this parasite claim / worry, “Later many netizens began to claim rainbow trout from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is being mislabeled as salmon, and is infested with worms and painted to resemble salmon.” Unlike the CAPPMA response, that at least sounds mildly plausible…

    Over here, freshwater fish is said to give you tapeworms if eaten raw – though I think it really depends more on fish species than the water. Rainbow trout is considered rather safe, as is salmon, when both are grown in our brackish coastal waters. Meanwhile, salmon grown in Norway (ie. proper sea water) can allegedly give you the Anisakis nematode, which doesn’t survive in the low salinity here.

    I think you could also reduce the parasite risk by growing fish in artificial freshwater pools, especially if the pools are covered.

  41. says

    Trump’s tweet in which he likened Omarosa to a dog:

    When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!

    Omarosa is a flawed human being. She is a woman, not a dog. She is a black woman, not dog.

  42. says

    Follow-up to comment 67.

    From Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton:

    Say what you want about @Omarosa and her recording private conversations. I’m not saying that I agree with it, but I have a serious issue with a white man dehumanizing a black woman by calling her dog. This is disgusting!

  43. says

    The Trump administration faces another lawsuit:

    Three Arkansas residents with Medicaid health insurance are suing the Trump administration for approving an 80-hours-a-month work requirement, as the policy jeopardizes their coverage and livelihood.

    This is the second lawsuit filed in federal court against the Trump administration’s work requirements. The first was against Kentucky’s, and plaintiffs scored a victory there when a federal judge temporarily blocked the 20-hours-a-week work requirement in June.

    Arkansas’ work requirements took effect earlier that month — the first state to do so in the country. State officials will drop residents from Medicaid rolls if they don’t comply for three consecutive months, meaning people could lose coverage as early as September.

    Tuesday’s lawsuit offers residents a chance to maintain health coverage. Already, more than 7,000 Arkansas residents have failed to report work or other volunteer opportunities online in June to meet the requirement, putting them at risk of losing their coverage. […]

    “This lawsuit is the continuation of our work, with our national and state partners, to stop conservative governors from following the direction of the Trump administration to impose severe, misguided and illegal restrictions on access to Medicaid coverage,” said National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins in a statement. […]

    37-year-old Charles Gresham suffers from a seizure disorder, an anxiety condition, and asthma, and has limited work options because he does not have his own means of transportation and his seizure disorder makes it even more difficult. […]

    Link

  44. says

    LOL – Kristen Welker asked Sarah Sanders if she, from that podium, could guarantee that the public won’t hear a recording of Trump using the racial slur. Sanders started by saying “Well, I can’t guarantee anything, but…” and then launched into one of those monotone speeches she reads at the press from a paper she has on the lectern. MSNBC’s chyron writers went with: “WH: ‘Can’t guarantee’ Trump wasn’t recorded using racial slur.” Good.

  45. says

    Trump spokesperson denies strategizing about N-word tape hours before Omarosa leaks recording of it.

    On Monday night, former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson went on Fox News and flatly denied taking part in an October 2016 call with other top Trump campaign officials in which they strategized about how to spin a recording of Trump saying the N-word on the set of The Apprentice.

    Host Ed Henry read Pierson the account of that October 2016 call as described by Omarosa Manigault-Newman in her new book, then asked her, “Did that happen?”

    “No Ed, that did not happen,” Pierson, who now serves as a spokesperson for Trump’s 2020 campaign, said with a chuckle. “It sounds like she’s writing the script for a movie. You know, I’ve already been out there talking about this — that is absolutely not true.” […]

    Less than 12 hours later, CBS played a recording that Omarosa says is secretly recorded tape of the October 2016 call — which confirms Omarosa’s account of what happened.

    On the tape, Pierson can be heard saying of Trump’s alleged N-bomb, “I am trying to find out at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it.”

    “He said it,” Pierson adds. “He is embarrassed.” […]

  46. says

    Entrapment … followed by deportation:

    Two federal immigration agencies worked together in a coordinated effort to set deportation traps for unsuspecting immigrants seeking legal status, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this week.

    According to the Boston Globe, the two agencies arranged meetings for the undocumented immigrants at government offices, where they were subsequently arrested, and in some cases deported.

    According to e-mails obtained by the Globe between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), ICE asked government officials to space out the meetings so that the public wouldn’t catch on and draw “negative media interests.”

    “As far as scheduling goes, I would prefer not to do them all at one time as it is [not] only a strain on our ability to transport and process several arrests at once, but it also has the potential to be a trigger for negative media interests, as we have seen in the past,” Andrew Graham, an ICE officer, wrote to a USCIS employee in one email from October.

    […] “They are typically the easiest to remove…and at the end of the day we are in the removal business and it’s our job to locate and arrest them.”

    ACLU lawyers described the meetings as “traps.” […] part of the lawsuit against DHS Secretary Nielsen challenging the Trump administration’s practice of separating married couples as one spouse seeks legal status. […]

    The federal government’s tactic of trapping immigrants seeking legal status squares with a Monday report by NBC News that found federal arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants have tripled under the Trump administration. In the first 14 months of the Trump administration alone, 58,010 undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions were arrested, many of them without warrants. […]

    https://thinkprogress.org/ice-agents-trap-immigrants-seeking-legal-residency-984970dcbc36/

  47. says

    John McCain goes high when Trump goes low:

    […] As Trump honored the signing of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, named after the veteran Arizona Republican, the president paid tribute to a number of GOP congresspeople including Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Don Bacon of Nebraska, Dan Donovan of New York, Martha McSally of Arizona and Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Left unmentioned in Trump’s 28-minute speech: John McCain.

    […] In an official statement released on Tuesday, McCain offered his own thoughts on the bill but ignored Trump’s snub. After touting the merits of the legislation that bears his name, McCain went on to say:

    I’m humbled that my colleagues in Congress chose to designate this bill in my name. Serving as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and working on behalf of America’s brave service members has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I’m proud that throughout my tenure, the committee has led with a spirit of comity and cooperation to provide for America’s Armed Forces. There is no higher calling than to serve a cause greater than self-interest. Through the committee’s work, I’ve been privileged to support our men and women in uniform who have dedicated their lives to that noble cause.

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate and senator who is a good friend of John McCain’s, was more direct in expressing disgust with Trump’s behavior.

    “Disgraceful – but nothing will erase for an instant the legacy John McCain has written and is still writing every day,” Kerry wrote on Twitter.

    CNN anchor Jake Tapper implicitly admonished Trump by praising McCain on his show. “Since President Trump would not do it, let us here on The Lead congratulate Senator John McCain and his family and thank him for his service to the country,” Tapper said on Monday. […]

    https://www.salon.com/2018/08/14/john-mccain-takes-the-high-road-after-donald-trump-snub/

  48. blf says

    lumipuna@66, “Here in Finland, farmed rainbow trout is dyed like typical farmed salmon”. Interesting! I cannot recall ever seeing outrageously coloured (e.g., über-pink) trout, even those I know to be farmed. That could be my poor memory, my own pickiness when selecting fish / food, or perhaps a peculiarity of Finland(? Scandinavia?). Or perhaps the trout-dyeing is more restrained than the salmon-dyeing (or trout don’t dye as readily?)?

    On parasites, the reported Big Chinese CAPPMA blithering, Whether salmon has parasites does not depend on whether it is bred in sea water or fresh water, is almost certainly absurd. It’s possible certain types and locations of fish farms are more / less susceptible to parasite infestations, and possible there is a loose correlation to the water (e.g., salty, fresh, brackish, …), but the quoted unqualified statement is highly dubious.

    My own recollection (from quite old memory) is the density of fish, and their feed, in farms is directly(?) correlated to parasite infestations — the more fish per unit volume of water, and/or feed which is ground-up other fish, have higher rates of parasite infestations, compared to wild fish, low-density farms, and natural / organic feed (such farms are also low-density, and often not coastal). High-density coastal farms (e.g., in fjords) have, again from old memory, problems with contamination from the fish’s own waste, which is often “trapped” in the fjord / farm. I can imagine that leading to unhealthy fish, presumably including parasites.

  49. blf says

    SC@70, The mildly deranged penguin suggests two things: (1) Remove all peas from the router / modem; and (2) Stuff some more cheese into the USB port.

  50. blf says

    Er, me@80, that should be …@79, obviously. I doubt either of the mildly deranged penguin’s remedies would help Sarah Sanders recognise, much less tell, anything approaching the truth.

  51. John Morales says

    nugget:

    Crossbench senator Derryn Hinch[*] says Fraser Anning’s speech was disgraceful, racist, homophobic and hateful. 

    I want to apologise to the Senate and the Australian people that after this vomitous poison last night I then stupidly, recklessly and unthinkingly — no, I did think about it — I followed Senate protocol, and I dutifully lined up here and shook this unworthy man’s hand.”

      * He was a journalist then a media jock, prior

  52. John Morales says

    Last one (this is live): “Parliament moves to condemn Anning’s controversial speech”

  53. blf says

    Re @82, Thanks, I was not aware both houses in Ozland’s Parliament were debating censuring the eejit. However, I note from the link: “Senate censure motion passes — 47 in favour, 12 against”. Presuming Anning is one those voting against his censure, that means there are at least 11 other nazis in the Senate who were not sufficiently outraged. (I believe the Lower House is still debating as this is being typed.)

    Also from that link:

    Fraser Anning has been claiming he didn’t know about the connection between the phrase “final solution” and Nazi Germany.

    But, he still refuses to apologise.

    It wasn’t an inflammatory comment, it was two words used.

    It’s the thought police who believe that it’s an inflammatory comment.

    I also note, with great amusement, Hanson is furiously denying she and her nazis (secretly) approve / agree. Yeah, sure…

  54. John Morales says

    blf, still, an indicator of where the Overton window for Nazism is in Ozland.

    (Hinch is not exactly anti-authoritarian, BTW. But I believe he is a conviction politician, a rare breed)

  55. blf says

    me@78, I just realised I’ve been misreading Big China’s CAPPMA statement (emphasis added), “Whether salmon has parasites does not depend on whether it is bred in sea water or fresh water”. That is very plausible. I somehow repeatedly overlooked the “not”, and so thought, incorrectly, they were claiming parasitic infections happened only in one type of water. No, they got it right, and I proceeded to badly(!) misread. Apologies.

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